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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Unit Spotlight: Dac Cong (Special Tasks) Company

In both the Tour of Duty and The People's Liberators PDF we find the Dac Cong (Special Tasks) Company as a support option for a PAVN or Local Force Battalion in Flames of War's Vietnam battles.

The Communist Forces in the Vietnam war made great use of Combat Assault Engineers aka Sappers.  These soldiers were tasked with cracking the enemy defensive line for the rest to follow through.  They were adept at getting very close before opening up the assault.
O-M-G!!!  Lots of goodness here.  Recce Pioneers with flamethrowers that can get as close as 2 inches away from the enemy with their Recce move in darkness or dawn missions? ... and they are Fearless Veteran also?!?!?!? Holy Crap Batman!  Battlefront captured the essence of the Sapper for sure.

Imagine if you will....First turn....You are 2 inches away front the Imperialist running dogs hiding in their fighting positions...the Flamethrower fires...


you are stationary....The AK team lifts Gone to Ground...the Flamethrower fires.....the B40 (B41) teams fires using the RPG Salvo special rule where they re-roll misses ...yikes!

They do get "Quality of Quantity" since they are a Nationalist Company, but sadly they do not get "Born in the North to Die in the South" where they can come back in Guerrilla Reserves if they die. I guess you can't have EVERYTHING.  :-)

Still, they are a little expensive...goodness is expensive after all.  To get the Quality of Quantity benefit you are going to have add the 3 extra teams at 40 pts each.  That brings the full company up to 490 points...then if you add the LMG for 25 pts you are at 515 pts.  Yikes!

I like these guys with the B40.  You don't need the extra range or AT....these guys are going to be used for busting units out of bulletproof cover and you want that better Firepower of 4+.  Because what special benefit does a 4+ Firepower give you?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Anyone?  All Firepower 4+ or better weapons allows the shooting player to decide if Man Packed Gun teams count as Gun Teams or Infantry Teams when they are calling a Priority Target and shooting at a mixed unit.  The B41's Firepower of 5+ doesn't give you that benefit...and staying with the B40s saves you 5 pts per team., and if you do the upgrade, you have to upgrade all the teams and that could be up to another 45 pts!

Sadly, there is not a boxed set or blister for this unit from Battlefront (yet?) what was I to do?  I happened to have a PAVN Company boxed set (VPABX07) lying around.and looking at the figures and a picture I found when I did my Local Force articles...
I started to get some ideas for a major conversion opportunity.  The guys in the picture looked too much like the PAVN infantry boxed set and I need the unit to look different enough so it would stand out on the table...and fit in with both a PAVN Battalion and a Local Forces Battalion.  Then I thought....floppy hats like the Local Forces.  The PAVN Infantry Boxed Set only has 2 sculpts with floppy hats, so I would have to convert the rest.  Leaving the helmets would be fine, but I wanted these guys to blend in with a Local Force Battalion....and besides.... EVERYONE knows how easy it is to make the floppy hats...right?  RIGHT?!?!?

To do this all you need is a SHARP hobby knife and a triangular file.

1st:  Chop the top 1/3 to 1/2 of the helmeted figure's helmet.
2nd:  File the top smooth and rounded down the sides
3rd:  File inwards along the brim to form the "floppy brim"
From left to right:  Helmet, conversion, stock floppy hat.  This conversion was one of the first ones.  I got A LOT better towards the end  :-)
It takes a little practice and some figures lend themselves more readily to the process than others.  You can tell which ones I did early in the process in the photos below.

For the flamethrower option, I found a few sculpts that looked like they were holding their rifles either very high or very low with the hands close together.  I then lopped off the rifle parts down to their hands.  Next, I drilled out a little hole and glued in a 0.015" piece of wire into their hands.  This would be the frame for the "flame" coming out of the flamethrower.  There were 2 types of flamethrowers in use....the lifesaver (circular) type and the side-by-side cans.

I went with the circular as it is easier to make....just take a little ball of green stuff and then flatten it.  Next take the non-brush end of a paint brush and poke the flattened ball in the middle.  Now, just glue it on the back of the lucky figure.

To round out the force and make them look more like sappers (assault engineers), I just had to make the guy with the demo charge on the long pole.

This is a very similar process to making a flamethrower.  I found the same type of figure (hand close together); chopped of the gun parts (don't forget the stock under his arm!); glued in a slightly thicker piece of wire; glue on a square piece of greenstuff...and voila!  Making the grenade bundle could be done and I might go back and swap out at least one of the square demo charges later.

I followed the paint scheme below.  I mixed in some black "pajamas" just to break up the green a little and to represent a Special Tasks Company that has seen time with the Local Forces.

 Command Group:

Floppy hat on the guy with his arm raised didn't come out too good on this side.  He was actually the first one I did. From a foot away though, it is hard to tell.

Same sculpt with his arm raised....hat turn rout much better.

1st Platoon:

Converted LMG Gunner is turning a Claymore around so it has its FRONT TOWARD ENEMY

Only one here has a non-converted floppy hat.  Which one?  I'll never tell.  >:-)

Sgt. Petersen: They throw the ladders across the wire to get at us. And later on, they use them for litters to stack on and carry away the dead bodies.  Movie: Green Berets
Ladders were made by melting then slowly stretching old plastic sprues to get the right thickness...then just gluing together the pieces

Flamethrower flame is just clump foliage glued to the wire and then soaked in watered down PVA glue (matte medium) and then painted when dry

2nd Platoon:

3rd Platoon:

Converted LMG Assistant Gunner planting a surpise

I am dying to get these guys into the fight...Fearless Veteran, Recce Engineers who can infiltrate...WITH FLAMETHROWERS!!!!!  calm down....breathe...breathe....

Ok I'm better now....

As always, a special thanks The Foundry for allowing me to use their tables and terrain to take these pictures.

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

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