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"Series of Modern Skirmish Fights Using 5 Men at Kursk" Topic


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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2017 7:20 a.m. PST

All,

First, Happy New Year! And to celebrate, I'm going to post a series of 6 or so modern skirmish battle reports, one a day until I'm done. Thus begins the first of 6-10 modern skirmish fights; I'm playing with my 7-year old son, and we're playing co-op, so that each of us controls a 'good-guy' fireteam of four men against the enemy squad of 6 to 8 men (depending on a die roll).

AKA Cronstria Fight #26, AKA "The reduction of Dubrovna," Fight #1

It's 0725 on 1 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias is moving up to the line of departure, preparing to jump-off into yet another attack. It's been a busy few days, but if today goes well, enemy forces on the west side of the capital city of Miran will be totally eliminated.

If you're a loyal follower of Cuba Libre, go ahead and skip down to the last bullet-paragraph before the map. If not, and you're bored:

It's recently come to my attention that not all of you out there in wargaming land have bothered to read every single one of my batreps, thus you may be confused about what the heck all this talk about Cubans, Cronistrians, Miran, etc…, is about ;)

So, for the uninitiated, here's a synopsis:

-In Feb 1990, Cuban exiles, with substantial support from several Western nations, staged an invasion of Cuba to depose its dictator and install a constitutional republic. The invasion was a roaring success, and the war was over after five days of heavy fighting (32 tabletop fights can be found on this blog under the label "Liberation").

-A transition government was put into place, elections were held, and a new government was quickly established. The Cuban military was essentially split in two: a Home Defense Force (about 75% of the military), which never leaves Cuba, and the Cuban Liberation Expeditionary Force (or CLEF; about 25% of the military), which is an all-arms, air-ground force deployable to all corners of the globe, fighting for the cause of freedom.

-There have been some minor operations, but the first sizable deployment was of a Cuban Special Forces A-Team to the (fictional) Balkan republic of Cronistria. It's 1990 and the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are falling apart; Cronistria has declared independence and is striving to become a democracy, but Communist hardliners and Yugoslavian federalists are actively opposing this. Fighting broke out between the Cronistrian Democratic Militia (or CDM, the good guys) and Cronistrian Communist Army (or CPA, the bad guys); the Cuban SF troops were deployed to support and train the CDM. The Cuban SF (designated Task Force Trojas) performed their mission very well, surpassing expectations, to the point Cuban leadership began to believe they might actually succeed in helping Cronistria become an independent, stable, and free state. With this realization, the Cuban leadership deployed additional, conventional forces to Cronistria (reinforcing success). The Cuban element in Cronistria is now known as Task Force Galban, a roughly battalion-sized element composed of three mechanized Battlegroups (Aguilera, Caballero, and Elias), and Lt Trojas' SF detachment.

-CDM and Cuban forces had been marching on the Cronistrian capital city of Miran, but had become stalled by heavy fighting in the village of Brezno, just southwest of the capital (see map, below). Upon arrival of the mechanized elements of TF Galban, they were immediately thrown into battle. Two days ago they conducted a series of lightning quick attacks to encircle Miran from the west (eight fights in "Operation Chokehold," on this blog they are Cronistria fights 14-21, and 24, with 22, 23, and 25 being a Special Forces operation gone wrong).

-So, this blog concept, 'Cuba Libre,' is really nothing more than a vehicle for me to play out whatever modern ideas and scenarios I feel like playing, in the overall concept of a single 'history,' if you will, as I follow the exploits of the various units and leaders of the Cuban Liberation Expeditionary Force. To illustrate, I felt like playing some skirmish-level games using my Peter Pig US Marines and my Eureka Russians. I didn't really care about climate, so I used Cronistria. If I wanted Arctic or desert, I would have just made up a new operation somewhere in the world (like I just played out Operation Pay-Off because I wanted to play Special Forces against terrorists in the Middle East). It's great!

-I'm a big fan of Ivan Sorensen's "5Core" series of rules, having played Five Men in Normandy (skirmish), 5Core Company Command (company/battalion-level), and 5Core Brigade Command (brigade/division-level). I love the activation process, which puts limits on what I'm able to do and forces interesting decisions to be made, and I love the combat processes, which are simple, quick, and to the point. Most recently, Ivan put out a new/updated/modified version of 5 Men in Normandy, known as Five Men at Kursk (5MAK). I modified these slightly to play out modern games, and that's what I'm using for this set of skirmish fights.

-CDM forces currently have their hands full clearing Brezno, and have asked for Cuban assistance. Colonel Galban acquiesced to this request, sending Battlegroup Elias to aid their allies. Battlegroup Elias left Stanje (see map, below), heading south to attack the rear of the Communist defensive positions, located atop Hill 489 and in the town of Dubrovna.

picture

Overview, north is up. Shown is the slope of Hill 489; the Cubans will enter from the south/southwest (bottom/bottom left), while the Communists enter from the north/northwest (top/top left). The situation is Cuban infantry of Battlegroup Elias are dismounted and conducting a movement to contact, when they run into a Communist patrol in the early morning mists of July 1, 1990.

The Cuban mission is to defeat the enemy patrol in order to clear the path to this morning's first objective, the enemy defensive line atop Hill 489.

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The opposing forces, with bad guys on the left and good guys on the right. The Cubans will always have eight men (so that my son and I can always control four guys, each), while the bad guys will roll to see if they get 6, 7, or 8 guys. Here they got eight…

The Cuban squad is eight men in two fireteams, 15mm Modern Marines from Peter Pig, painted up in temperate MARCAM, with each fireteam containing a grenadier, a SAW, and two riflemen. The bad guys are 15mm Modern Russians from Eureka Miniatures, painted up in 'Sun Bunny' camo. Each game we roll to see how many bad guys there will be on table, with the options being 6, 7, or 8 men. With eight men they get two whole teams, each of a grenadier, a machine gunner with PKM, and two riflemen with AKs.

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Team 1 in the thick of the fight, laying down fire. To see the whole fight, please check the blog at:
link

Team 1 moves up the slope to capture the last enemy soldier, officially ending the fight in victory for the good guys! Cpl Lira calls in for CASEVAC with two WIA, as well as a SITREP to inform Battlegroup Elias HQ the way to the crest of Hill 489 is clear, though it appears the enemy has established a bunker line there that is going to need to be taken care of.

The boy and I are quite pleased with ourselves, getting away with 7 bad guy KIAs and 1 EPW for only two WIA. Not just winning, but winning in style, accomplishing the objective of defeating the enemy patrol to clear the approach to the defensive line atop Hill 489. Which, as luck would have it, is the next fight, so stay tuned ;)

V/R,
Jack

blacksmith01 Jan 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

So you're finally playing games with your son, congratulations!
Fivecore is perfect for playing with kids IMHO.
Happy New Year BTW!

Weasel01 Jan 2017 10:50 a.m. PST

Hard to resist those Eureka Russian figures isn't it? :-)

Nice looking game as always and a well fought battle for sure.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2017 5:18 p.m. PST

Javier – Thanks man, and yeah, the boy and I have played about twenty games together now, mostly opposed, but a few coop. It's been a blast. He wants to get back to playing air to air and tank on tank fights. I'm thinking about finally finishing up Kampfgruppe Klink in France, making him play the French against my Germans!

Ivan – Thanks bud, and yeah, Eureka is fantastic. I've got modern Russians, Chechens, and Australians, and WWII Japanese and early USMC. I want desert Aussies and Italians, and Aussies for WWII in the Pacific. I have no idea when I'll find time to paint and play all that, mind you.

But wait til you see all the new stuff I've got on the way! The wife is gonna kill me ;)

Oh, and check back on this thread; so far we've played five fights, and I've got four written up. I'm working on number 5, and we plan on playing a couple tomorrow. I plan on posting one a day until this operation is finished, and I'M GOING TO POST ALL THE SUBSEQUENT BATREPS FOR THIS OPERATION ON THIS THREAD.

Hope you guys like them, they've been a blast for us.

V/R,
Jack

Joe Legan02 Jan 2017 10:35 a.m. PST

Jack,
Great stuff as always. Am currently working on a campaign based on the FFL intervening in Kowleski.
Happy New Year!

Joe

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2017 11:38 a.m. PST

Joe,

Thanks man! And I can't wait to see your FFL. But dammit, this reminds me that I have forgotten to send your package!

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2017 11:45 a.m. PST

It's 0845 on 1 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias continues to push up Hill 489. Earlier, units from 2nd Platoon made contact with an enemy patrol and defeated it. Following that firefight, 2nd Platoon continued up Hill 489 and conducted a reconnaissance. Their Platoon Sergeant quickly sketched out a Communist bunker complex atop the hill, noting a ravine which afforded a covered and concealed avenue of approach to within 150 meters of the enemy defensive positions. The Plt Sgt had carefully reconnoitered the ravine; he found an engineer stake, signalling the enemy had likely registered the ravine for indirect fire, but it didn't appear the enemy had eyes on the ravine, nor where there any indications of mines or booby traps. He'd found what looked to be a two-man observation post (OP), but it looked to be abandoned. Encircled and cut-off, the enemy's morale was beginning to crack, and the platoon's earlier defeat of the enemy patrol likely was enough to convince the OP to fall back into the bunkers.

But that meant Battlegroup Elias had a way to get within 150m of the enemy defensive line without being seen. If they could slip across the small stream unnoticed, they could get within range to put a rocket into the nearest Communist bunker. And if they could do that, they could rush more troops across the stream, face left, and roll up the enemy line. Because of the dense forest and undergrowth, and because the enemy had chosen to site their defensive positions too close to the crest, the bunkers weren't in very good position to support each other. Without the OP in the ravine, the enemy defense was compromised.

The Battlegroup commander, Captain Elias, was briefed on the situation, and he quickly issued his orders. 2nd Platoon would go firm on either side of the ravine, and act aggressively against enemy troops attempting to patrol in/around the ravine, or trying to re-establish their OP in the ravine. Meanwhile, 3rd Platoon, following in trace of 2nd, would pass through 2nd Platoon, move up the ravine, then attack the enemy defensive line.

picture

The enemy line atop Hill 489.

picture

Fight's on! And nothing says 'fight's on!' like an AT-4 ;) To see the whole thing, please check the blog at:
link

The Squad takes up defensive positions to the west and begins the CASEVAC process, with one KIA and one WIA, to the enemy's eight KIA. The remainder of 3rd Platoon is atop Hill 489, working east to clear the rest of the enemy bunkers. 2nd Platoon begins moving up the center, between 3rd Platoon's 3rd Squad on the left (south) and 1st and 2nd Squads on the right (north). As 2nd Platoon reaches the crest they can see the enemy is broken, and a good thing too! The enemy massively outnumbers the two Cuban platoons atop Hill 489, but they're outflanked and in full route down the west slope of Hill 489.

2nd Platoon's commander calls the development in to Captain Elias, who immediately orders 1st Platoon, still unengaged in a blocking position astride the highway at the base of Hill 489. Capt Elias orders 1st Platoon to proceed southwest at all speed, then turn right and push up the backside of Hill 489 to cut off the enemy's retreat, to prevent them from falling back into the town of Dubrovna and setting up defensive positions there. Battlegroup Elias' AMX-10RCs and LAVs will remain on the highway and cover 1st Platoon's left flank (facing Dubrovna).

1st Platoon mounted its LAVs, dashed west to the backside of Hill 489 (screened by Battlegroup Elias' armor), then dismounted and began pushing to cut off the enemy troops. However, the dismounts quickly ran into an enemy strongpoint, a weak enemy force seeking to 'hold the door open' for their comrades, i.e., not allow the Cubans to close their path of escape. As 1st Platoon's 3rd Squad moved on the strongpoint, a few routing enemy stragglers moved over to join the fight.

Next fight coming up tomorrow.

V/R,
Jack

Weasel02 Jan 2017 1:57 p.m. PST

Digging the hell out of those little block houses.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2017 7:57 a.m. PST

All,

AKA The reduction of Dubrovna, Fight #3

It's 1010 on 1 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias has two rifle platoons on Hill 489, where the enemy is routing down the backside, attempting to flee into the town of Dubrovna, where their commander hopes to rally them and re-establish defensive positions. 1st Platoon rolled down the highway towards Dubrovna, covered by AMX-10RCs of Battlegroup Elias, then de-bussed near an enemy strongpoint. The Communist position was key to both sides; a machine gun in an old, bombed out house was keeping Battlegroup Elias at bay, holding the door open for their comrades to escape the carnage of Hill 489, where 2nd and 3rd Platoons quickly broke their defensive line. 1st Platoon was tasked with eliminating the enemy machine gun position, then driving north to cut off the enemy's retreat.

picture

Overview, north is up. The enemy strongpoint, a bombed out house, is at center, and Hill 489 is at top right. It will not be pictured (sorry, I should have put some minis up there as decoration), but enemy troops are streaming down from Hill 489 off the map, from top right to left, while an enemy MG in the strongpoint is firing to cover their exit. The Cuban 1st Platoon's 3rd Squad will enter from the bottom (south) and is tasked with taking the strongpoint, then the other two squads will push past to the north (top) to cut off the enemy escape route.

picture

Cubans move on the Communist strongpoint, hoping to seize the day. To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
link

The squad consolidated its position in the objective house while Cpl Lupe sets the SAW into position facing northeast, the other two on policing up their casualties (1 KIA and 2 WIA, Pvt Salazar was knocked down but okay), then pops a green star cluster to signal the objective is taken. The other two squads immediately begin streaming past the objective house, setting up blocking positions to bag the enemy troops still streaming down Hill 489, attempting to escape 2nd and 3rd Platoons, now on line and moving down the crest.

Battlegroup Elias now has all three rifle platoons engaged, though they are reaping a considerable harvest of wounded and de-motivated Communist troops, men now caught between hostile forces and only too happy to capitulate. Captain Elias raises TF Galban HQ on the radio and provides a SITREP, and requests reinforcement; all these enemy prisoners (more than 400 as of 1630 local time) are eating up resources, and Battlegroup Elias is unable to enter Dubrovna. A plan is devised: Battlegroup Elias will go firm, isolating Dubrovna from the east/northeast (while Cronistrian Democrat forces push from the west/southwest), while HQ and Support elements are stripped for bodies and pushed forward to come take care of Battlegroup Elias' enemy prisoner problem.

Battlegroup Elias will resume combat operations tomorrow morning (2 July 1990), looking to enter and finish off Dubrovna. The entry op is the next fight, coming right up.

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2017 8:51 a.m. PST

All,

AKA The reduction of Dubrovna, Fight #4

It's 0630 on 2 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias is again moving up to its jump-off positions. Yesterday saw the Cubans attack a strong defensive position, Hill 489, and defeat it in detail, causing approximately 75 enemy casualties and capturing approximately 400. The Cubans had gotten extraordinarily lucky in that a patrol spotted a covered and concealed approach into the enemy line, which allowed its units to infiltrate and flank the enemy bunkers, which drove the numerically superior enemy force to flee headlong from the fight. Cuban forces were able to circle around and block the route of escape, which is what allowed them to bag so many Communist troops (also keeping in mind that the enemy troops in and around the town of Dubrovna are already encircled and cut off from other Communist forces, so they're morale wasn't all it could be).

As Battlegroup Elias rest, refit, and reorganized, Cuban air and artillery pounded Dubrovna all through the night. Rather than an all-out assault on Dubrovna, Captain Elias has elected to try to infiltrate his infantry on foot, behind a creeping barrage, and once the artillery has moved on and the troops are on the edge of town, the Battlegroup's mortars will give the forward edge of town one more sharp, quick pounding before the grunts push forward.

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Overview of map, the outskirts of Dubrovna, north is bottom right. The Communists are defending the buildings at center/top right and the Cubans enter from bottom left (east). 1st Platoon is in the lead, and 1st Squad the tip of the spear. 1st Squad's mission is to secure the first four buildings at the town' initial crossroads, opening the door for 2nd and 3rd Squads to pass through them, then 2nd Platoon to pass through 1st Platoon, moving into the town, proper.

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With smoke still rising from the craters left by the mortar barrage, Team 1 moves up through the Dragon's Teeth to Building 2, laying down fire as they go. To check out the whole fight, please check the blog at:
link

Mission accomplished, the squad consolidates, Team 1 in B3 and Team 2 in B4. They take up defensive positions, redistribute ammo and water, and Cpl Lupe moves back to tag PFC Abrera's body (1 KIA, enemy 6 KIA). Cpl Lira calls in the pro-word for objective taken, and 2nd and 3rd Squads immediately go streaming past them to the west, securing the next to buildings without firing a shot. 2nd Platoon now passes through 1st Platoon, and they come smack up against Old Town, the original section of the town of Dubrovno, a sniper's paradise of narrow, cobblestone streets surrounded by two story buildings with nooks and crannies everywhere. Well, someone's gotta clear that rat's nest, looks like 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon is up next.

Which, of course, is the next fight, and it's an absolute mess!

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2017 8:53 a.m. PST

All,

AKA The reduction of Dubrovna, Fight #5

It's 0715 on 2 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias is inching through Dubrovna, clearing the city house by house. 1st Platoon just completed its mission of breaking into the city, and now 2nd Platoon was passing through them to continue the momentum forward. However, 2nd Platoon was entering Old Town, the oldest portion of Dubrovna, a sniper's paradise of narrow, cobblestone streets surrounded by two story buildings with nooks and crannies everywhere. The Platoon Commander called a halt, established 360 security (there was now a gap between them and the other platoons of Battlegroup Elias), and called out "2nd Squad, you're on point." He gave a quick brief to the squad leader, then 2nd Squad pushing into Old Town, with 1st Squad providing rear/flank security and 3rd Squad standing by to support by fire (an almost impossible task in the densely packed terrain), reinforce, and perform CASEVAC.

2nd Squad's leader briefed his men, finishing with "up and at'em boys."

picture

Overview of table, north is up. We're looking square at Old Town, which is separated from the newer developments to north and south by a city park. 2nd Squad is entering Old town from the east (right), and their mission is to clear every last nook and cranny, right to left, flipping over every blind, to secure Old Town.

picture

These little guys are in for a world of hurt. Actually, I just wanted to show'em off. The Peter Pig US Marines are fantastic, and I'm proud of my MARCAM paintjob.

picture

Two Cuban soldiers dash up the street (center right), getting close to The Lion's Den. A team leader sits tight at bottom left: "better them than me." To hear all about the Lion's Den, please check the blog at:
link

The squad's in tatter's, 1 KIA and 3 WIA. Cpl Lira calls in to inform HQ they've cleared the Old Town, but at quite a cost. 3rd Squad moves up for CASEVAC, while 1st Squad comes up to relieve 2nd Squad, with 3rd Platoon right on their heals, looking to clear the rest of Dubrovna. 3rd Platoon finds the going easy, particularly as they're able to make use of a couple AMX-10RCs in the wider boulevards of the newer sections of town. A couple 105mm rounds into a building makes believers rather quickly, so 3rd Platoon found itself primarily responsible for searching prisoners and shuttling them to the rear. However, as they reached the edge of town the AMXs were called off to deal with some enemy armor spotted to the south, and the Platoon Commander heard a flurry of rifle shots up ahead, from the area of 3rd Squad, the platoon's point element. Seems there were a few hardliners holed up in an old, bombed out industrial plant.

Which just so happens to be the last fight of the Cuban operations to seize Dubrovna. See ya tomorrow.

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2017 12:09 p.m. PST

All,

AKA The reduction of Dubrovna, Fight #6

It's 1135 on 2 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias is on the verge of completing its mission to take the Cronistrian town of Dubrovna. 1st Platoon had made the initial breach into the city, and 2nd Platoon expanded it, with heavy fighting to take the 'Old Town' portion of the city. 3rd Platoon passed through them, clearing the balance of Dubrovna. 3rd Platoon finds the going easy, particularly as they're able to make use of a couple AMX-10RCs in the wider boulevards of the newer sections of town. A couple 105mm rounds into a building makes believers rather quickly, so 3rd Platoon found itself primarily responsible for searching prisoners and shuttling them to the rear. However, as they reached the edge of town the AMXs were called off to deal with some enemy armor spotted to the south, and the Platoon Commander heard a flurry of rifle shots up ahead, from the area of 3rd Squad, the platoon's point element. Seems there were a few hardliners holed up in an old, bombed out industrial plant.

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Overview of table, north is up. The factory is in the southwest outskirts of town, with a tree-lined road leading to it, and open fields to the far side (which is perhaps why the bad guys chose to make their stand here, there was nowhere else to go). The Cubans will start the fight on the right side of the factory, the Communists on the left.

This is my brand spankin' new piece of terrain from Novus design, and it's fantastic. It took me a full day to paint and wash, but it looks great and I'm happy to have it. I have another large piece like this from Novus, but so far I've only found time to prime it. Lotta work ahead of me still.

picture

The action is up close and deadly. To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
link

Mopping up operations continued for a couple more hours, but Captain Elias called in to Task Force Galban Headquarters to declare Hill 489 and Dubrovna secured as of 1730 local time on 2 July 1990. Mission accomplished, lots of fun. I hope you guys had half as much fun as the boy did. But it's high time he and I get back to some 'opposed' games, vice 'co-op' games. He's getting a bit big for his britches, basically declaring after both the last two fights that he did all the work.

I am not exactly sure what we're going to play yet, but the weekend is coming and we'll be playing something, so stay tuned.

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 2:00 p.m. PST

Well, the lack of comments would lead me to believe putting all the batreps in one post was probably not the best idea…

Which really sucks as I was quite proud of six batreps in six days. Lesson learned.

V/R,
Jack

Alan Lauder10 Jan 2017 4:37 a.m. PST

Hey Jack,

Let's break the drought! I've looked over your posts a few times and enjoyed them. Great terrain too – that short of 'Two Cuban soldiers dash up the street' is a cracker!

Cheers
Alan

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2017 6:49 a.m. PST

Alan,

Thanks, I really appreciate it, works wonders for my sagging morale ;)

Some forums are built where it makes sense to put follow-up stuff into the same thread, which then pops back to the top and everyone sees it. TMP is not, there's just too many new topics and too many boards (nothing wrong with that, it just doesn't suit going back to one topic as well). I actually knew that, not sure why I did this.

I'm typically pretty fortunate in terms of folks taking a look at my batreps and posting comments, so I'm pretty sure the lack of comments was due to my mistake; I'll go back to posting each batrep separately.

In any case, I'm glad you enjoyed them, and thanks again!

V/R,
Jack

Alan Lauder11 Jan 2017 3:35 a.m. PST

Hi Jack,
Yes, I've wondered about the benefits (or not) of updating my threads on TMP. With the pace I work at it can take some weeks to update a project (eg. scratchbuilding) and subsequent posts tend to go unnoticed.
Alan

Joe Legan11 Jan 2017 6:30 a.m. PST

Jack,
Great stuff as always. Those PP Marines are great figures. Your camouflage is top notch as well. Am currently painting up a M240 mg team for Delta.
Just picked up 10 contractors from Khruasian minis. Same size as PP but slender. On a base think they will mix fine; some guys are slender.

Thanks
Joe

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2017 6:58 a.m. PST

Alan – Absolutely, it's gotta be a new post or hardly anyone will see it.

Joe – Thanks man, and I do love me them PP Marines. I did up platoons for desert, temperate, and arctic! I also have those Khurasan contractors, they're fantastic, I need to post pics (I've had them finished for a month or so).

V/R,
Jack

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