Thursday, September 27, 2007

Modern 20mm – Part One: British and French

As I mentioned a week or so ago my plan for the next month is to take stock of all the figures I have (painted or not) and make a loose project plan for the next year.

I thought I’d start with the 20mm figures as that’s what I’m most stoked about right now.

I’ll be using these with Cold War Commander. The idea is to put together a number of versatile forces to cover a number of conflicts or potential conflicts. The soviets, for example, could be used for the war in Afghanistan, Red Dawn/World War Three games, and their equipment could be used by any number of Middle East or African forces.

Lower level conflicts/actions seem appealing to me so I would probably be using a figure/model scale of one infantry stand = one section and one vehicle or gun model = approximately two on the ground.

I think tonight I shall start with the British and French….

Why Brits….? Well, being a super-power (or former super-power – depending on who you’re asking…) with fairly strong ties with their former colonial possessions, they’ve been “involved”. There are loads of conflicts they’re actually been involved in and many, many more potential/”what if” conflicts they could be used in.

I’ve been particularly inspired by Fireman Tim’s Cold Wargaming Blog. Checkout the Red Dawn scenario ideas – in the July 2007 Blog Archives! Something about fighting Russians in the Rockies or on the Canadian plains tickled my fancy. I thought a British Battlegroup could slide really easily into a campaign like that – they could be a battlegroup that just happened to be training at BATUS when the Russians launched their surprise invasion!

I also imagine they could be used with my African armies – a task group being brought in to protect British interests in some small African country spiraling down into chaos..

Of course any FN armed British would see action in the Falklands…

I debated whether to do them in temperate or desert DPM. In the end I decided to go with temperate. I decided that really I’m just not interested in the Gulf War (episodes I or II) – which is pretty much all there is to do with guys in Desert DPM. The tropical DPM is identical to the temperate (just lighter weight) if I wanted to dump them in a jungle somewhere. Considering the locales I envision them operating I decided to go with Temperate DPM (Actually I was at CFB Wainwright – in Alberta - in the summer of 1992 taking an MSE Op course and there were British training there and they were using Desert DPM out in the field… but… whatever…).

Next I had to decide SA-80s or FNs. I’d have liked to go with FNs all the way. That would have made them useable for the Falklands. I have about a company’s worth of guys armed with FNs. However, as there are cheap plastic figures with SA80s readily available, the bulk of my force, for the time being, will be thus armed, making the nominal date of my forces late ‘80’s and beyond.

The French are interesting for many of the same reasons. I’d like to have a few for intervening in Beirut or Tchad (or Timbogo…!?). So early ‘80’sish Legionnaires in OD uniforms (maybe even shorts!) and not so much body armour.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far…


(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

I have three Airfix Scorpion CVRT kits. Conveniently the kits can be built as either a Scorpion or a Scimitar. I’ve assembled one as a Scorpion, leaving all hatches open for adding turret crew and driver in the future. The other two kits I will build as Scimitars.

I’ve picked up some other equipment for the Brits recently; Six Challengers, including two with reactive armour. Three of the kits come with sprues of infantry – enough for three more companies of SA-80 armed infantry.

For painted and ready for action troops I have exactly two stands of Platoon 20, SA-80 armed British infantry (these are quite old. I ordered them from Platoon 20 back in 1991? That’s the original paint job, though they have been rebased recently)….

…and two platoons worth of the 1:72 plastic Revell figures (plus two command stands).

Before I settled on the temperate DPM I tried painting three stands in Desert DPM just for kicks…

For FN armed British infantry I have three infantry stands plus one HQ of Combat Minis…

…and darn near a company of other assorted figures. Included in this lost are Platoon 20, Skytrex or Hinchliffe, and Heroes Miniatures (again all ordered from England and painted circa 1991 – you know before the internet, online catalogues, web-based commerce, and all that…?!)

I have a couple more Combat Miniatures figures to make up a couple more HQs or to add to an infantry stand.

I also have three stands of plastic figures, armed with FNs and Sterlings, which I neglected to take a picture or. They’re from an old ESCI “NATO soldiers” box. I’ve recently stuck them on new bases and primed them black for repainting. They’ll look a little out of place but can fill in as an extra platoon until I can get some more appropriate figures…

The French… I recently picked up this Heller VAB 4x4. Wish I could find a few more.

I’ve also ordered a pair of ACE AML-90 from Models UA for some additional light armour support for my Legionnaires. Should be here in the next week or so.

For infantry I have two infantry stands and one HQ of the long gone Heroes Miniatures…

… and three infantry stands of the aforementioned, and likewise long gone, ESCI NATO troops kit…

Where to get more Frenchmen (or I guess I should say “Legionnaires” as technically they’re not really “Frenchmen”…)? I have a feeling I may have to make my own – which will be my first attempt at doing 20mm figures…!


For the British I’d like to eventually field a battalion-plus-sized Mechanized Battlegroup. To start with I will probably paint up all the infantry I have still to paint and the CVRTs will take first priority among the armour to be painted. That way they could be fielded as some light role infantry (paras, marines, or regular ol’ infantry)…

Here’s what the battlegroup would eventually look like:

CO (Sultan?)

1x Armoured Squadron HQ + 6x Challenger I (technically the HQ should probably be another Challenger… not sure what I’ll use just yet…)
HAVE: 6 to assemble and paint, NEED TO GET: 1? (or something else for an HQ…?)

Armoured Infantry Battalion
-3x Armoured infantry companies each:
HQ, 9 Infantry Stands, 5 Warrior MCV
3 HQ - HAVE: 1 Painted, 2+ To Paint
28 Infantry Stands - HAVE: 8 Painted, 20+ To Paint, (Manufacturer/Store)
15 Warrior HAVE: 2 to assemble and paint, NEED TO GET: 3 to start… 10, maybe someday… (Revell)

-1x Maneuver Support Company with:
--Mortar platoon 3x 81mm Mortar stands NEED TO GET: 3 (FAA? Liberation?)
--ATGW Platoon 3x Milan Stands + 2 more Warrior MCVs?! HAVE: 3 Milan To Paint, NEED TO GET: Warriors? (Revell)
--Assault Pioneer Platoon: 3 Engineer stands + 2 more Warrior MCVs?! HAVE: additional infantry that could be painted up to be “engineers” NEED TO GET: still more warriors!? (Manufacturer/Store)
--Recce Platoon: 4 Sabres? (I’ll probably just used the Scorpion and Scimitars here…)
HAVE: 1 Scorpion assembled to paint, 2 more to assemble and paint NEED TO GET: Turret Crews/Drivers (Liberation?)

Aritillery Battery in Direct Support – 105mm SP Abbot (Cromwell)

Maybe I should do a separate force of FN armed troops for the Falklands…

20mm Modern British Light Infantry Battalion (‘70’s/Early ‘80’s - FNs)

CO - NEED TO GET (BV-202? Land Rover with staff and signalers milling about?)

Infantry Battalion
-3-4x Infantry Companies each:
--HQ, 9 Infantry Stands
3x HQ - HAVE: 2 Painted, 2 To Paint
36x Infantry Stands - HAVE: 11 Painted, 3 To Paint, NEED TO GET: 22!? (Combat Miniatures? Platoon 20?)

-1x Maneuver Support Company with:
--Mortar platoon 3x 81mm Mortar stands NEED TO GET: 3 (FAA? Liberation?)
--ATGW Platoon 3x Milan Stands - NEED TO GET: 3 (L:iberation?)
--Assault Pioneer Platoon: 3 Engineer stands? (more infantry stands - preferably with bergens loaded with explosives?)
--Recce Platoon: ? more infantry? Use some of the Special forces that I HAVE?
--MG Platoon: 2-3? GPMG on tripod - HAVE: 1 Painted, NEED TO GET: 1-2 (FAA?)

For the French… well… I have a nice little force to guard embassies or other French interests – but eventually I’d like to field a battalion of the FAR (Force d’Action Rapide) – like, say, the 2e REP!


4 Infantry Companies each:
HQ + 9 Infantry stands
Total: 4 HQ, 36 Infantry stands
HAVE: 1 HQ + 5 Infantry Stands Painted, NEED TO GET: 3 HQ, 32 Infantry Stands

Support company with:
3x 20mm AA….? - NEED TO GET
4x Milan - NEED TO GET
3x 120mm Mortars – these could be off-table…
4x 81mm Mortars - NEED TO GET
4x VLTT trucks with 12.7MG - NEED TO GET?

Other supporting elements or options to field as mechanized (1er REI, 1er REC), etc
VAB 4x4 APC- HAVE: 1 to assemble and paint, NEED TO GET: 2-3 more? Heller!
AML-90 HAVE: 2 (on order) to assemble and paint,



81mm mortars! – Priority one! I have just about everything I need to field a Light Role Infantry Battalion circa 1990 except the mortars. Either FAA or Liberation miniatures have suitable miniatures. If the crews don't have small arms they could be used for either force!

Tanks… nothing… except something for an HQ for the armoured squadron – if it ever gets fielded as a squadron and the tanks aren’t just parceled out to directly support the Mechanized infantry companies… This will probably be one more Challenger…

More Warriors – Okay I’m probably NEVER going to have enough to field the entire battalion – but a companies worth might be nice. I have two, at least three more would do the job for now.

FN armed troops aren't going to be cheap so they're a bit lower in priority. I guess I could try making some - as I do need a few, it might be worth trying....


The french aren't a huge priority right now... nothing is really "NEED TO"



Like I said a British SP gun would be nice to stick at the table edge to show the artillery in Direct Support. Cromwell makes a 105mm SP Abbot.

For the Battlegroup’s CO stand I was thinking Cromwell’s Sultan might do the job…?


As I mentioned before I don’t know of anyone still making appropriate infantry models so I’ll probably have to make my own… maybe for mortars and Milans and other support weapons I’ll pick up some generic looking Liberation Miniatures and convert as required…?

The VLTT trucks with 12.7MG…? no idea…

Some more VAB would be nice. Anyone make an AMX-10 RC…?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

More 20mm Cold War/Modern stuff: Vietnam, Canadians, Americans, Africans, Russians, etc!

Wow… this is going to take a while…


  1. hi Tim

    I'm pretty sure that Rolf Hedges does modern French infantry in his Liberation Miniatures ranges.

    Just thought you'd like to know.

    Keep up the good work/megalomania!



  2. I think you are right! If I recall they are in Gulf War kit - so they'd be in body armour.

    I'd kind of like guys that match the ones I already have, which have no body armour and useable for action in Lebanon in 1982.

    We shall see. It will be a while before I get around to working on the French.



    1. A Call To Arms from House of campaign do a set of 70's infantary.