Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tarawa Preparations: LVTs, Higgins Boats, More Terrain!

You may have seen the post I put up about M3 Stuarts showing some progress for our Tarawa board at Foodhammer. The Stuarts will definitely fulfill most of the armored part of the game; I'm thinking about finishing a Sherman as well to put on the board.

What I've been putting off a bit has been actually painting the infantry. It has been slow. I primed them in a green primer that matches their HBTs really well. I painted their helmets yellow, their boots and rifles brown, and flesh in a tan so I can highlight it up. You can see the guide I'm using here. I put them off some more to finish up my vehicles for the table.

In order to get there the Marines had to ride LVTs (armored boats) and LVCPs (Higgins boats, made out of plywood). You may recognize Higgins boats from Saving Private Ryan's beach scene. In game terms, LVTs are armored with a 7+ armor rating and Higgins Boats are a 6+, which means they can be damaged by rifles. Both are opened topped so they confer pins to the guys inside.

From what I've read the LVTs went first and had a lot of trouble making it ashore. The tide was out, meaning there was only three feet of clearance over the reef. The LVTs could make it but the Higgins boats coming behind couldn't, so they were stranded and Marines had to wade 500 yards ashore.

It seems like most of the LVTs were damaged heavily by MGs, mortars, artillery, and once they hit shore, grenades. In the game the LVTs will likely make it ashore if they don't get destroyed by tank rounds, but will take many pins. Our practice games have shown that the Marines inside usually hit the shore with four or more pins, which provides rough going afterward for them to do anything.

You can see here the LVTs I've painted. Two are LVT-4s from Warlord Games and one is a LVT-2 from Company B. In truth the Marines mostly had LVT-1s at Tarawa but they don't look a lot different, and this is what I could get. 

I used a gray primer, then highlighted, then weathered. I used Secret Weapon Miniatures weathering powders and they worked really well. The models came out a little 'too' weathered so I used some matte to dull it down a little. Overall the Warlord Games LVTs are super crisp and beautiful models; I really think they're going to stand out on the table. The Company B LVT is about the same size and has many little details to pick out. Adding on some stowage really gives it some character in my opinion.

You can see the sweet LVT decals that Company B sells on each model. The markings for LVTs were really not very uniform; many had hand painted on numbers that looked really sloppy. I chose to number mine, put two stars and a name and a nickname for each. The stars are somewhat close to what I've seen, and I imagine Marines painting on slogans before they left the big boats.

I also purchased an LCM (Landing Craft - Motorized). At $16.99 produced by Corsec Engineering you really can't beat the price. There were some gaps in the plasticard and MDF but they don't bother me too much. For a model we're only going to use a few times a year I can deal with it. I used the same process on these models - prime gray, highlight, then weather. I put some big Pinewood Derby numbers on them and added some slogans and a star.

I also have three MDF and plasticard LCAs now from Corsec Engineering. These models weren't too tough to put together and at $7.99 for a troop transport I was very happy with the results. It actually is sized correctly to fit 28mm Marines in there as well which looks really sweet. I plan to add the drivers soon, I just have to get the right models to fit in there.

 This was our setup for our second practice game. You can see this time we're playing long-ways and I have my LVTs (armored) on the board first with the Higgins boats as first wave models. The terrain looks pretty sweet and the bunkers really blend in, which is true to form. I think in the real game we'll just use one really big pier on the right side of the Japanese lines as that is closer to the real history. The ocean tabletop sheet comes from Cigar Box Battle. They make some really sweet mats for other engagements as well.

Please check back later this week when I'll talk about the Corsair airplane model I'm using and how happy I am with how it turned out. Thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment