Very much so! The lads of the Durham Club were great hosts and extremely helpful, especially to a one man/one rat band trying to do it all on their own! The atmosphere was very open and friendly, I thought the layout worked well, using the space to best effect, and I really do recommend a visit if you can be in the area at the time.

I had my Eastern Front Chain of Command set up there as normal (at least for this year!) along with my ‘pre-order collect on the day’ setup for Battlefront and Plastic Soldier Company. And here are some photos:


Hope to see you there next year,

Monty the Desert Rat



Preparations for our participation game this year march on and I took the opportunity of the game last week to take some photos of the stuff I have been preparing, so here goes!!

First off, a village in Russia. The buildings are Kerr and King and I have really enjoyed painting them – they are lovely buildings and I really do like the damage effects they have, especially as they have gaps. The trees are Woodland Scenic tree armatures and the fences are from Ironclad  (nice pieces and very good value). The wagons are Battlefront.

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And now Soviets advancing through the village – a PSC T70 and Peter Pig infantry (lovely sculpts and easy to paint too!!)

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Svetlana the Sniper (Peter Pig) and a PSC 45mm ATG with Peter Pig crew lurk in the woods!

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While the Germans prepare in another village. First up, a Battlefront Sdkfz 10/5, then Battlefront wagons and a PSC Sdkfz 251/C in the centre of the village – this time with some Ironclad buildings added in – these are also very nice and good value.

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And now for the Panzers!! A PSC Panzer IV covers whilst a Panzer Keil of 3 Mark IIIs advances across the Steppe. The 2 in grey are Battlefront and the camoflaged one is from Peter Pig. A Battlefront Marder III also provides cover from some trees (Noch pine trees).

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I’ll be posting an update on show dates in the next few days – we really do hope to see you on our travels and, if you fancy a game with us, please do let me know and I’ll reserve you a slot!

Monty the Desert Rat



A most enjoyable evening at Monty  HQ last night as an old friend came round for a game of CoC. Dave (a different one!) asked me if I would run a starter game of CoC for him and I was, of course, delighted. It also gave me a chance to set up the basics of the demo game and see what yet had to be done.

Anyway, the game!! It was set in Russia in Dec 1942. An overview of the table:


From the German side:

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and from the Soviet side:

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The scenario was that, off the German table edge, there was a village of absolutely no tactical significance whatsoever! However, even Ukrainian hovels are better than being in the open in winter so the Soviets are determined to capture the village for reasons of personal comfort! The Germans had an infantry platoon and the Soviets a rifle platoon and an MMG. Both sides started with a Force Morale of 9.

This shows the end of the patrol phase with the Patrol markers in place (you may notice I didn’t have any Soviet ones ready! Doh – I make them for others and forget to do my own – much ragging resulted!!) Both sides were pretty happy – the Germans had one JOP in the small wood to their left front, one in a crater on the reverse slope of the high ground on their right and one in the centre at the rear table edge (please don’t ask me to annotate photos – I have enough trouble taking them!!). The Soviets had the destroyed supply cart by the road, a crater centrally on the reverse slope and a final one in some scrub on their extreme left.



We went through a couple of turns VERY quickly (my dice throwing – lots of 6s!!). But we then got into the meat of it and had a good run of phases. This isn’t going to be a blow by blow account with all the dice throws, I didn’t have time to log all that and play, but it will cover the main points and provide a commentary.

The Soviets kicked things off with the deployment of a squad on their left and the MMG in the centre, moving the latter forward to try and gain the cover of a shell crater. The Germans responded by deploying Gefreiter Oberkamp’s section on high ground to their left centre and giving the MMG a good pasting! The MMG continued to try to get to cover but the Germans burnt a CoC dice to interupt and give them some more of the good news. End result – one broken MMG team. Here we see the Soviet squad in the foreground advancing from the JOP (the tree stump by the scrub) and the MMG team in the centre (right at the top of the trees).


And here is Gefreiter Oberkamp and his men:


Meanwhile, over on the Soviet right, the squad probed forward into the scub and Gefreiter Schulz and his men deployed to give them a warm welcome! Over time the Germans continued to pile on the hurt and the Soviet squad leader was burning all his command initiatives just to try and keep shock down against an ever dwindling number of men. A losing battle as they too finally broke. Here they are taking fire and with shock mounting:


The whole table showing the 2 German sections, the Soviet squad in the scrub, the MMG team in the centre and a third squad over on the Soviet right – the start of the buildup of their assault force.


The Soviets were really feeling this now and deployed their senior leader to try to address the situation. They also brought on their remaining troops, forming a ‘mass’ of 3 squads on their right whilst the senior leader headed off to sort out the left flank. He rallied the MMG team (although we agreed it was now too fragile with just 2 men to be a reall asset) and also rallied the broken section by the Soviet JOP in the scrub. Here is the Soviet ‘masse de decision’.


And now for glory!! Gefreiter Schultz saw his moment – the Soviets were committed to their right and the left was vulnerable. He ordered his men up and down the slope at the double! They took the shock on the way with Schultz only able to rally the odd point and it took them 3 phases to get there, but they JUST made it into close combat range. The Soviets burnt a CoC dice to interrupt and fire as they closed and did some damage, but not enough and the Germans closed. The Soviets, although rallied from broken, were still pinned and it was a one sided fight with all 4 Soviets, including their junior leader, falling. Cue 2 Force Morale tests. But that was not all, Gefreiter Schultz and one of his men fell in the combat as well (but there is an Iron Cross 1st Class on its way!) but their victory allowed them to move forward and occupy the ground held (formerly!) by the Soviets – and this was a JOP! The German player then used his CoC dice to end the turn and force a 3rd Force Morale test on the Soviets. It did not go well and their morale plummeted to zero and off they went! A clear German victory, much to the relief of Schultz’s men, who had shock equal to men on both teams and no junior leader to rally them.

The end of the charge! The Soviets at the back with the pinned marker are the dead from the close combat!


You can just see the Soviet senior leader to the left by the trees with the remnants of the MMG team.

So, conclusions? First off, this was a learning game and so there was lots of debate as we went through. We agreed Dave’s plan to draw out German sections on both sides  of the table was sound – he needed to spread them out. The problem was that the punishment he took robbed him of the initiative. He was throwing LOTS of 4s and with only one team (the MMG) and that gone early, ones were only useful to combine with other dice. It was a real challenge getting the Soviets to do much on any one phase and that activity became focused on rallying broken units. We agreed his MMG team was wasted – he was trying to get into a good position but we reckoned in retrospect that it would have been better kept back. It also forced him to commit his senior leader to rally it, and thus deprived his main body of leadership and activation. The squad on the left also presented a problem. Once under fire the junior leader was fixed removing shock. Looking back, I think his priority should have been to get out of the killing zone, probably by a hasty withdrawal, and then take time to rally shock without the Germans piling more on. We also discussed the use of scouts to push forward with the main body of the section held back – this would create a threat forcing German deployment but without too much exposure.

We also discussed the problem of the German section on their left, which had got onto some high ground with excellent fields of fire – how to cross the open steppe? We did some maths! Dave could easily have got 2 squads and the MMG onto the crest of the ridge on his side and the Germans could have thrown their last section in too. Fire dice would have been about equal, but the Soviets would have had the numbers to take the losses with a 3rd squad available (and possibly also able to get into the firing line). What could the Germans do then? The odds would have been against them and they would have had to withdraw, probably back to the enclosure. That would have exposed a JOP, so a CoC dice would have had to have been used to move that. And then would it have just been the same again – Soviet firepower forcing the Germans back?

And what of the preparations for Carronade – our first show of the year! All seems good – I need to do the Soviet Patrol Markers (!), make some new shell craters (I’m not happy with the way these look – too ‘prominent’) and I need some wintery shock markers. As for the Mat – hmmmm. Some of the scatter seems to have formed a ‘skin’ on the top rather than sticking to the gunk. I think this is just excess flock that didn’t come off on shaking and I need to brush it off to see what it looks like underneath, but it seems there may be some more work needed on this mat before Carronade and on winter mats in general before offering them for sale.

But, overall, a great game, lots of fun and challenges and we are already talking about meeting again for round 2.

Monty the Desert Rat



Well we have been busy here at Monty’s!! I have realised I could spend an age taking photos and maintaining my web presence at the expense of doing the work, which is a bad idea! So I have decided to do a SITREP about once a week and then add other articles as and when; I think this is the best way ahead but would appreciate any comments. I have also started to take photos in ‘The Rat Pit’, as the workroom is known (if you saw it, you’d know why!!), so less staged than they could be, but it is more time efficient!

So here goes, first up, some Ainsty Castings stuff – dungeon pieces:

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And a jetty set:

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I’ve also been working on the stuff I need for my Operation WINTER STORM games on the show circuit this year. First up, some Soviet T70 tanks. The one on the left is Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) and the other is from Battlefront.

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And more Soviet stuff: PSC 45mm anti tank gun, Zvezda (from PSC) trucks and Battlefront Stalinets:

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Now on to the Germans!! First up, Panzer IIIs – the 2 in grey are Battlefront, the camoflaged one (based on photos of the command tank of CO 11 Panzer Regt, 6th Panzer Division) is from Peter Pig.

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And a PSC Panzer IV:

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A 251/C, also from PSC:

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The camo may seem a little strange, only covering the front, but it is based on a photo of a 6th Panzer Division half track during Operation WINTER STORM.

Next up, a Sdkfz 10/5 and Marder III from Battlefront:

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And finally some supply wagons, all from Battlefront, and including some destroyed ones, ideal for Chain of Command Jump Off Points!

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As I have said before, I am no great shakes with a camera, but I hope these are clear enough – enjoy!

Monty the Desert Rat





News and new releases from the lads at Battlefront:

This week we see the release of the next batch of Gothic scenery these are perfect for Dust Tactics and other 28mm sci fi games.

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We also have the new Italy Battles book which features the infantry aces campaign rules.

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Italy Battles (FW229)

“The stubbornness of the German defence at Cassino and on Monastery Hill was already a byword, for although the Monastery had been bombed, and the town of Cassino was a heap of ruins, the Germans still held firm and blocked the road to Rome. I realised the cost in lives must be heavy, but I realised too the importance of the capture of Monte Cassino to the Allied cause…”

~ Polish General Wladyslaw Anders comments on the situation at Cassino, March, 1944.

What Is Italy Battles?

Italy Battles contains the best scenarios from the original Dogs & Devils and Cassino books, as well as the Battlefront Studio’s favourite web and Wargames Illustrated scenarios, and updates them for the third edition of Flames Of War, and the two Italy compilations: Road to Rome and Fortress Italy. Italy Battles also includes rules for running Linked Mission Campaigns and Axis Of Attack Campaigns, including Axis Of Attack campaigns for Anzio and Cassino.

 And for those of you who missed the new Panzer IVH release.

GBX79 Plastic Panzer IV H Platoon

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 And remember, you can get all these lovely goodies through us at what I think is a fantastic price, see the post  MONTY’S IN CONJUNCTION WITH PLASTIC SOLDIER COMPANY AND BATTLEFRONT PRESENT A NOT TO BE MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Monty the Desert Rat



Following on from the last post, some exciting Dust Tactics news from our chums at Battlefront:

Dust Tactics

“Wargames Illustrated is pleased to announce the inclusion of a FREE, 44-page Dust Tactics booklet with the March issue of the world’s premier tabletop gaming magazine.
“Wargames Illustrated have teamed up with the Battlefront Studio to publish this introductory guide to the world of Dust – a world in which WWII has continued into 1947 and alien resources have allowed the Allies and Axis to create heavy body armour, combat walkers, lasers and more and their quest to defeat the other.”

As well as introducing you to the background of Dust, your FREE Dust Tactics booklet provides a set of rules for playing Dust as a tabletop board game.

The Dust Tactics booklet is available with all printed and digital copies of WI317.

Visit The World Of Dust website to learn more about the Dust universe:


And remember, you can order your Dust Tactics products through us here at Monty HQ for collection at Shows or during Club visits!

Monty the Desert Rat



Right, chums, BIG news! As many of you may know, we are going on the road around Scotland and the North East in 2014 in association with TooFatLardies to bring you as series of participation games using “Chain of Command” and set during Operation WINTER STORM (WINTERGEWITTER) – the drive to link up with the Stalingrad garrison. Anyway, I am delighted to say that we will also be able to take pre-orders for Plastic Soldier Company and Battlefront products for collection on the day and, potentially at a significant discount! So:

What’s included? Pretty much everything on the PSC website (http://theplasticsoldiercompany.co.uk/) including Zvezda and Minairons but excluding Vallejo paints. For Battlefront, again, pretty much everything on the website (http://www.flamesofwar.com/online_store.aspx) including Gale Force 9. If in doubt, drop me an email (morr2212@yahoo.co.uk) and I’ll confirm.

What will I pay?

1. PSC:

i.      Minimum Order is £20.
ii.     Orders of £30 and more attract a 10% discount.
iii.    Orders of £70 and more attract a 15% discount.

2. Battlefront:

i.      Minimum Order is £40.
ii.     Orders of £60 and more attract a 10% discount.
iii.    Orders of £150 and more attract a 15% discount.

How does it work? Simple:

  1. Decide what you want, it’s probably best to use the relevant company’s website for this.
  2. Email me the Code, Description and Quantity
  3. I’ll reply with a price and bank details for payment – I need to be at this stage at least 2 weeks before the show or Club visit.
  4. I place a consolidated order.
  5. If anything is not available, I’ll be in touch, ideally for you to select an alternative but, if not, you will be refunded in full for missing items.
  6. I bring the items to the show/Club and you collect. The best times at Shows are first thing, lunchtime and last thing as I am a one rat operation and I’ll be running games in between those times.

Can I combine an order with my mates to get more discount? I’d be surprised if you didn’t!! I really want to make these excellent products accessible and, as long as I have one person to deal with, he or she can be ordering on behalf of as many as they like.
Are there other options for getting my hands on these products from Monty’s? Not really, I am not getting into the mail order business so this is by handover only. The whole idea sprang from realising that these products are not readily accessible in my area and a desire to help gamers get their hands on them at a good price. However, if the order is significant and some form of collection/delivery can be arranged, then that is a real possibility.

So, there it is, what I hope is a great opportunity for you all up here in Scotland and the North to get your hands on some excellent products at what I hope are great prices.
Monty the Desert Rat