Arsenal of Democracy (and the Axis too!) 11JAN2012

Demented! An accurate description of my current state of mind. That is at least with respect to WWII gaming acquisitions. Or maybe the word should be Addicted, as I scoop up yet another SOLIDO AFV and scour e-bay for deals.

This addiction started back in the innocent summer of 1973. Flower power, platform shoes, and AFVs… Way back then my best friends were Rusty and Jon. Rusty convinced me that we should spend the summer amassing 1/72nd scale WWII AFVs and then have a free-for-all towards Labor Day using rules to be devised by the Germans. He and Jon picked Germans and allocated the Allies to me (and my penniless younger brother). At the time, this mostly meant models from Airfix, Hasegawa, or MPC. Thing was a Panther or a Tiger model costs about the same as a puny M-4 with its stubby 75mm cannon. I was overmatched as Rusty built squadrons of German armor with reinforcements from the occasional Ferdinand, Maus, Jagdtiger, Tiger II, Brumbar or FlaK 36. I got crafty with my Mattel Vac-U-Form Machine and used a MPC Sherman to fabricate dozens of little hollow tanks with tooth-pick cannons. Even so, I could not keep up with the German war machine. I was outmatched and when the fateful day came, the Allies lost WWII – sorry. This jag next turned to micro-armor and some real rules that limited the hordes of German cats and introduced me to the M-36, Pershings, Fireflys, Jumbo Shermans, airpower, and artillery. Adulthood and distance cooled the passion for awhile.

In 2006, the Navy decided that I should be a ground-pounder and sent me to Iraq. While there I developed a fascination for WWII desert warfare and studied the LRDG and its targets when I had down-time. This lead to my war-time acquisitions of the beautiful 1/56th LRDG trucks and jeeps from the now defunct Chieftain Miniatures. While still in Baghdad, I read that Wal-Mart was carrying the Classic Armor tanks. As soon as I was back stateside, I obtained a German column of Kubelwagens, Schwimmwagen, Pz IVs, Pz 38t, Marders, etc., but there it sat waiting for the right time and place.

And then, late Fall 2011 I was minding my own business when I saw a TMP marketplace add for painted 28mm WWII platoons from “All About Miniatures” ( I pounced and soon one platoon each of Brits and Gerries marched to my door. They were Shiny! Well done I said! I really like these. Carrying on smartly and join your respective columns. That was tasty….

No sooner did they arrive then yet another TMP add caught my eye for another pile of painted American armor and minis that needed a new HQ. I was soon the proud owner of a US column (Shermans, M-10s, Halftracks, Dodge WCs, and Jeeps).

Out pops the Crossfire rules that were moldering in my files from my time in Iraq and I am soon hip deep in WWII gaming.

Up to then I was just toying with a new fancy and hardly even got the shakes if a new WWII fix was not waiting on my stoop when I got home.

Oh well that is the past, I am now fully addicted and loving it. I also learned two valuable lessons, having someone else to paint your stuff is awesome. So are Corgi and Solido die cast vehicles. Also I have learned not to get too bent about that 1/43rd, 1/48th, 1/50th, 1/56th, and 1/64th versus 28mm scale issue. Just make sure the tanks are bigger than each other and bigger than the jeeps and it all seems to work out (in my forces scalus interruptus occurs between Pz III and Pz IV). Anyone want a zug of 1/56th Tigers?

PS – Just in case you wondered, my Iraq assignment kept me busy pretty much 24×7, but even a Soldier at war has time to noodle around the internet a bit and read a book or two when waiting for the next mission to start or toy soldier delivery 😉

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