Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Desert War Mega Project

It has been a log time since my last post. I have been very active with the hobby but have not been good about documenting my journey. I have thought about posting a lot and been a bit paralyzed lately because I was not sure where to start. In the end, I might as well start with my most recent project and the one I am currently excited about.

I have always had an interest in the Desert War WW2. I like tanks and the desert is tank country. I have been reading about the campaign and watching documentaries to fire my imagination for recreating the scenes and battles of the conflict. I have chosen Sam Mustafa’s "Rommel"
as my rules for the game. These rules are divisional in scale and allow the refighting of the battles at this large scale. There are 12 scenarios available covering the period and I have used these as a basis for building my forces. The rules require two or more players as there is a lot of bluffing involved, so solo play will be a challenge, if not impossible. I will review the rules at a later date. I was able to play them at last years Huzzah to try them out.

I have made excellent use of my 3d printers to build my forces. I am playing the game in 15mm as this is the scale of the bulk of my WWII toys (I also have 28mm, but this would not be good for a mass battle scale game). As I have been in lockdown for 3 months now, I have been able to focus on a lot of painting and preparing for games but no gaming.
Panzer IIIs
DAK so far

DAK infantry from Battlefront

I went through the list of scenarios and this provided my list of needed troops for the campaign. I have been printing and painting Desert War tanks for a while without focus, so I had a good pool of models to get started. With a 3d printer, the tanks, trucks and guns are penny’s a model so I was able to indulge my megalomania and build lots of goodies. The problem will come when I need to paint them all up. Luckily, I have painted lots of test models and have a reasonably fast and attractive process.
Italians 100% 3d printed

The missing element of my plan has been infantry. There are not many historical 3d printable infantry out there but I did find a good selection of Italian infantry for a mere $20. That $20 and the cost of materials allowed me to print 150 troops to meet my needs for Italians. They were made for 28mm but I was able to rescale them to 15mm. I was also able to do head swaps digitally to build Bersagliari troops as well as regular infantry.
British armor and guns

I went to my FLGS and bought up British 8th army, DAK and British Indian troops from the Battlefront  line to complete my infantry needs.

At this point my printing is wrapped up, now to paint and build some terrain.

I am planning to use my desert hex map for the games. The scenarios require an 8x12 hex map with each hex being a km across.

Building three armies for WWII during the COVID isolation has been helpful for me. I need an outlet for my creativity and mental energy that I cannot get with gaming these days. I am looking forward to finding a willing opponent and playing out the campaign with a live opponent in the very near future!


  1. This looks like an interesting project. It has been a long time since your last post!

    1. Thanks. I have to keep building the habit of posting...

  2. Interesting plans, your 3D printer has served you very well, that is a lovely collection.

    1. Thanks Norm. The 3D printing is a hobby all it's own.

  3. Hi Jeff, I just came across your blog. I'm very impressed with your 3D printed Italians - well done. I've wargamed the desert in 20mm using Rapid Fire, which has some flaws as a rule set. So I will be interested in seeing some Rommel battle reports in the future. Cheers Greg

    1. Thanks Delta. All rules have flaws. The trick is getting a set everyone can agree on!

  4. Spray paint! (As a base coat anyway).

    One day there will be games again.

    1. Good advice Ross. I am ready to get the crew together and roll some dice.