Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mighty Eyeties: 132nd Ariete Armored Division, 1941-42

I've finally finished the Ariete for Blitzkrieg Commander. A few changes were made from my plans as detailed in an earlier post. First of all, I've not yet provided Ariete with its engineer or anti-aircraft contingent (a detachment of German 88s are with the division in the meantime). We'll also have to wait until O8 produces some Italian 100mm artillery pieces and gets them off to Picoarmor before I can finish the artillery regiment.

132nd Italian Armored Division, 1941. Each stand represents a company.

Basically, everything's worked out fine. Ariete, as modled here, has two infantry battalions, three M13/40 battalions, an artillery regiment and supporting arms. I should point out that each unit represents roughly a company of 100-200 soldiers, 10-15 tanks, or 8-12 guns. Often, however, there isn't a precise map-over between units. The artillery regiment, for example, had 6 batteries of 4 75mm canons, here represented by 3 game pieces and a Forward Artillery observer. Also, my goal isn't to create a precise copy of the Ariete at any point in time, but a general overview of its capacities - sort of a "universe right next door" version of the Ariete. The division as pictured above thus has a battalion of L3 tankettes, even though these never shared the battlefield with the M13/40s, as far as I know.

The L3s are another issue. Since beginning this project, BKCII has arrived and I've done some further thinking about basing and decided that I will use 25mm x 17mm stands for all low visibility units (basically infantry, guns and support weapons) and 25mm x 25mm stands for everything else. Strictly speaking, then, the L3s should be mounted on the smaller stands and one could argue that the 88mm AAA canons should be mounted on larger stands.

I decided to keep them as-is, however. In the first place, the Italians used - or tried to use - L3 tankettes as if they were by-God tanks. Making them low visibility, in my opinion, would encourage an anti-historic use of them as weak ambushing units. As for the 88mm cannons, big they may well be, but the history of the Desert War is full of examples of British armor getting severely pwned by 88s operating under cover.

Here are some pictures of the painting process. Again, I followed the same recipe as before: base coat of sand, sepia wash, successive dry brushes of lighter sand colors and a final fake drybrushing of Valejo Light Sand, followed by detailing. Also, color flashes are again exageratedly big to help the miniatures stand out:

Flocking the bases for this one was difficult. As readers of this blog know, I flock bases in a different color from the figure's paint job because otherwise 3mm figures blend in too handily with the base. So far, I've been using dark bases set against light paint jobs. This has caused difficulties, however, when it comes to blending into my terrain backdrop: the bases are simply too dark.

This time I tried another tactic. I glued dark flocking near the figures and then added another coat of light yellow flocking around the base's edges. Here and there I laid down some dark green patches, then glued coarse light green flock over those. I'm pretty pleased with the result: the figures still stand out, but the base blends better into the terrain sheet.

Here are some pictures of the final units:

Infantry battalion of the 8th Bersaglieri Regiment

Headquarters of 8th Bersaglieri Regiment and supporting units

Headquarters of 8th Bersaglieri Regiment

Armored Regiment

VIIIth and XIth Armored Battalions

VIIIth Armored Battalion and Armored Regiment HQ


  1. Fantastic work there, you've really brought this division to life; if only Oddzial would bring out some of the Italian truck-mounted Portee guns, and you'd have the whole package!

    I'm really liking the basing texture and flocking on these, as you describe, and the muddy track on the Div. Hq stand is particularly effective -those cut out curved unit tags to go around the circular bases are pretty nifty too!

    I suppose the next step should be some aircraft.... :-).

  2. Thanks for the kind comments!

    I'm going to finish up thr Brits first before doing any air units, I think. Then I'm going to run a 1941 battle with the Brits trying to take a crossroads away from entrenched Bersaglieri backed by 88s. The working title is "The Battle of Fuq Al".

  3. 若對自己誠實,日積月累,就無法對別人不忠了。........................................

  4. I can't wait to read some AAR's. Your armies are really looking nice.

  5. Gotta finish the Brits first, Chris. Then it's off to battle at Fuq Al!

  6. I am always happy to see the Italians getting some wargaming attention. Ariete gave a good account for itself despite the negative stigma given to the Italians in ww2.
    Good show!

  7. I am always happy to see the Italians getting some wargaming attention. Ariete gave a good account for itself despite the negative stigma given to the Italians in ww2.
    Good show!