Escalating Tensions Part 10 – Fall in the Desert

Welcome back to another edition of Escalating Tensions! Last month we discussed September and October’s diversion into Soviets and this month, in a rare demonstration of discipline, we return back to the Gulf to finish off the Op Granby project.


I had already done some prep work on the Scimitars, Spartans and Warrior IFV but there was still some work required to finish off the stowage and greenstuff work for the camo nets.

To make the Scimitars more distinct from their 1985 brethren (if the Light Stone wasn’t enough) I wanted to recreate some of the features of the Gulf War ones, namely gunner side hatches (rather than just commander ones), LAW80s and nose stowage bins.

The nose stowage bins were simply the case of cutting some styrene rod (rectangular section) to the right size that it would fit between and either side of the driving lights.  The turret bins were up next and I opted to go with greenstuff, mould a roughly right shape (albeit oversized) then trim the bin down to size, knowing I could always hide it behind a scrim net!

The LAW80 was, alas a step too far.  I had purchased some missile tubes from “The Scene” and these were clearly sized to be something like a spare Milan round (part of the reason I got them).  My plan was to cut out a chunk from the middle, glue the two halves back together (so it was shorter) then add the ranging gun/firing mechanism lump on the top with greenstuff. 
After two wasted tubes, I resigned myself to the fact that this was a case of ideas outreaching my capability. 

Which is a shame as nothing is as “ally” as Three LAW Samson

I wanted the Spartan to be the MCT version to provide my anti-tank support as I knew they were in Operation Granby (though I wasn’t sure if they were part of the Royal Scots). However, I also wanted the option of fielding Blowpipes to bolster the anti-air component as, unlike in real life, I would not have the luxury of a bunch of F-15C pilots ensuring that *any* Iraqi air power would be a rapidly expanding cloud of scrap.

I’ll admit that I did briefly consider replicating this.

I had magnetised the lower hull of my 1985 Spartans so they could hotswap as Blowpipes on a medium base and the obvious thing to do was put another magnet inside the hull, under the hatch, so that another magnet in the turret could mate with it.  I used a small bit of sprue to set the height of the magnet right.

That now gave me a basic Samson (useful if I ever do a desert Medium Recce Squadron, though its pretty unlikely!) that could mount on the blowpipe base to form a Blowpipe Sampson, or that could be fiited with the MCT to form a, erm,  Sampson MCT.

After that, all four types received the usual mix of stowage; jerry cans, 10 day ration packs (made out of more styrene rod), a few repurposed ammo tins and some green stuff and flock camo scrim and tarp rolls.
On the MCT turrets, to make the stowage bins look more like stowage bins, I chopped the tops off of jerry cans and glued them in the bins to imply the full can was present (you can see it below in the painting section).

I found one picture of what appears to be a Gulf war era Tracked Rapier (12 RA, T Battery, The Shah Sujah’s Troop, took theirs to the Gulf as part of Granby) and that showed quite a pile of stowage on the sloped rear roof of the superstructure, something I copied on mine.

Honestly, I’m sharing this because rapier with a moustache made me chuckle


The painting followed the same sequence as used on the Warriors from part 6.  The only real difference was that I realised after starting on the tracks that I had forgotten the air identification panels!  Thankfully that was easily rectified.

One of the things I needed to do in the painting stage was “fix” the MCT turrets stowage bins.  As noted, I had already cut up some Jerry cans to give the impression of depth.  The next thing was to give the impression that these were basket style bins.  I did make a small error here as I painted them like wire mesh rather than vertical bars we can see above.  Always double check you reference photos, kids!  In my defence, the mesh style did look good.

I had two surplus Warriors (that can be used to form a short platoon if the Warrior Milan Posts are not used for their intended purpose) and one of them was used as a test bed to use Agrax Earthshade Gloss instead of Seraphimn Sepia for the pin wash.  The Sepia is not a gloss wash so I noticed it tends to leach more, even over a (admittedly acrylic) gloss varnish (and life’s too short for oil washes or varnish).  The Agrax, as I expected, did behave better and I may well use that for the Desert US Army when I get to that project.

Painted Models

Warrior (with Milan post)

Spartan (MCT and Blowpipe)

Scimitar CVR(T)

Tracked Rapier 

End of the Gulf?

Back in January I closed out my article on wargaming Operation Granby with the line “Right now, this is very much on the “paper list” pile.”. 
Well, here we are 11 months later and, with the assistance of Battlefront, that paper list is very much a real thing!

That’s surpassed my original 100pt force somewhat, though I have forgotten to do a mortar battery!

I’m also not sure the Granby project is even over yet.  Battlefront launched a three for two sale and the Challenger was on the sale.  I had three tanks painted (one troop) and two more partly assembled (albeit with non-ROMOR skirts, but I kept those somewhere).  A mere two boxes would allow me to field a full 14 tank squadron.  I also found four long barrelled M109 that would be ideal for the desert force.  Finally, I had two FV432 not doing anything.  If I can find two more then I can do the four tube mortar battery that I had in my original list.  That doesn’t even touch upon the six Lynx stuck in a box from all those Charlie’s Chieftains boxes I used to start my ’85 force!

No, this isn’t over by a long shot, even if it is a force that will get used once in a blue moon for a massive game in Mike’s barn!

To the Green Fields Beyond…

I’m going to spend December round out the 1985 force by adding the second platoon of FV432, the Milan platoon’s FV432, some mortar FV432 and a box of FV433 Abbots.  Its a very FV432 month!  That will let me field a well equipped mech company, as well as bolster the Chieftain squadron with its last option (the Abbots).

I started the year with the intent of completing three forces; 1985 Brits, WW2 US and 1967 Israelis.   I’m going to end it with the 1985 Brits done, plus a 1991 Brit force.  Given how crazy a year its been, with no real constant gaming done after March, that’s not a bad year by my books.

Join me next month as we look at how December went and discuss the plan for 2021’s Escalating Tensions!

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