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"Getting Started in Vietnam War Miniatures" Topic

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ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 6:15 a.m. PST

Looking for some help with references for the following:

1. Components of basic US and Vietnamese infantry squads, platoons and companies.

2. Good uniform guides.

I appreciate any and all help.


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 6:20 a.m. PST

I love when this happens. (happened to me countless times)

I assume by Vietnamese you mean the baddies (VC and NVA) and not the Goodies (ARVN, Militia, Montagnards)

Not to mention ANZACS, S. Korean, Philippino, Thai.

Even for US there is all the fun of Army, Marines, Special Forces, SEALs etc….

I am only just getting started in this myself and am relying on photos and four Osprey books. Why did I give that book away to charity years ago? US Army Uniforms of the Vietnam war (Shelby Stanton). Actually it is still around on ebay. Black and white almost throughout but very good on the kit they carried on webbing as well as uniform variations/boots etc. Every kind of possible bag, sack, pouch is described and illustrated. Even nurses' uniforms!

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 7:03 a.m. PST

The utilities (fatigues in the army) would vary from very dark green to almost white -- no matter what the book says. Depends on time in the country due to the sun.
Occasionally troops could be given the odd weapon, shotgun, AK in U.S hands, M14 even in the later years, Bowie knifes, even tommy gun, etc,etc!! Although there are some basics, was not a real "uniformed" war.

Russ Dunaway

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 7:53 a.m. PST

Ummm…apparently I hit the submit button a couple more times than I needed….

You can just blame the bug, you know.

Gi'ac My, a set of miniatures rules for the Vietnam War published in about the early 1980s (maybe late 1970s), has many useful small unit TOEs.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 7:59 a.m. PST

A very good point worth repeating. Colour photos of the time are plentiful enough and show how greens could look almost white or light earth colours indeed.

The snag is you are dealing with miniatures and want them to look right.

There is that "scale effect" and if you are too realistic the helmet cammo cover will be barren and plain…no pattern to see. Jungle Boots never looked black, with a very distinctive green for canvas/nylon and a darker green for the ankle reinforcement. They were earth coloured overall…in reality.

As long as the helmet cover is lighter than the utilities/fatigues and the flak jacket lighter still, you will get the effect. Do try washes. They work miracles of highlighting/shading for you. 28mm figures (I presume) need a little bit of exaggeration in colour contrasts…..I think so anyway.

Legion 408 Oct 2019 8:20 a.m. PST

Good advise Guys !

Pete W08 Oct 2019 12:43 p.m. PST

It's worth noting it was a long war, and things changed over its course.

USMC Platoon 1968

and a US Airborne Platoon 1972 (this is from a novel, but despite this is one of the most authentic breakdowns I've seen)

13th Valley is a must read for anybody remotely interested in the late Vietnam War period. Don't let the fact it is a novel put you off.



sillypoint08 Oct 2019 12:49 p.m. PST

Depends on what you are after.
Me personally, I felt the interactions at the lower level, distinguished the Vietnam War.
I would recommend:

Platoon Leader James R. McDonough | | | Books Platoon-Leader-James-R-McDonough

The 13th Valley by John M. Del Vecchio link book show 341591.The_13th_Valley


Paper strengths were often non-existent, the enemy was rarely seen, so what you need to represent on the tabletop can vary.

I went 28mm which impacts on the sort of vehicles and aircraft you can use on the tabletop, but with tenacity and time you collect enough stuff, that you cannot "realistically" field on the table.

To me it is a different period to game. I've run scenarios based on those books, and the Tet Offensive which are more like a Tarentino movie.

I've had players defending their Firebase, shoot the surrounding jungle with their 50 cal., for several turns, before the other players point out that he hasn't made a spotting roll for the target- sadly as umpire I decided double "0" on 2d10 and a "6" on 1d6 was required, however, none of the players were told. The night assault on that FB was really tense.
Anyway, players ran platoons of 12-18 men in that game.

Roger that Pete.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 1:52 p.m. PST

Now that Moniker will baffle most folk over the pond.

Why were you not "Two Slips and a Gully"?

Must agree with you…enemy rarely seen on your Tour of Duty, until they were. IF stress IF, I ever felt I wanted to chuck dice for something like Vietnam (or Iraq, Afghanistan, Falklands) I would remember that most fighting, when it did then happen, was indeed very close quarter. If you had hit your enemy with small arms, chances were you probably had seen him for an instant, r at least he was well within 100yds of you when you fired.

Personal logo Buckeye AKA Darryl Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 5:38 p.m. PST

The Ambush Valley Vietnam book is very good for basic small unit organizations. It also has some Osprey artwork within.

For figures there are several companies making them in various sizes. In 15mm the Battlefront figures are pretty nice, and Jimmi at Flashpoint makes some great figures, which he plans on expanding. Even Khurasan make 15mm 'Nam.


Other size figures are beyond my scope.

A small unit level book I have enjoyed is The Village. The Blackjack series of books are pretty good as well.

Skarper08 Oct 2019 11:13 p.m. PST

Great novel that – The 13th Valley. I based my campaign on that book.

Bismarck09 Oct 2019 1:41 p.m. PST

At a recent con, I played Force on Force Ambush Alley for the first time. Can't speak for Ambush Valley, but that Fallujah game gave the feel of being a squad leader and ability to lay down a base of fire and maneuver using fire teams better than any small scale skirmish game I have ever played. Nice to be able to use actual fire team tactics rather than the often "hippity hop, mob stop" squad rules.

Now, I have to go to the library and check out 13th Valley.

This is all so strange to see a rise in popularity of gaming a period which I served in. Sort of makes you smile now, but back in the early to mid 90s was very critical and objected to seeing it played. Time changes all.

My Vietnam army is, of course Marines and a mix of NVA, Main
Force VC, and local VC. I have never gamed with it and only built it to pass on to my heirs.

You have a great period to get into, plenty of great rules,
and an incredible variety of figs ranging from 15s to 28s.
Mine are 20s, which was all that was available when I bought them. I would hit the 28s now, if I was starting out.

Good gaming


ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2019 5:52 a.m. PST

Ummm…apparently I hit the submit button a couple more times than I needed….


ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2019 7:36 p.m. PST

To piggy back on my thread above, which manufacturer makes a sufficient number of different NVA for wargaming against the US? I seen Gringo40 and Empress both have some, but not yet enough…


I will be checking out the 13th Valley…

ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2019 8:03 p.m. PST

Just purchased The 13th Valley and looking forward to reading it. Thank you all for the recommendations.

Skarper10 Oct 2019 9:08 p.m. PST

I used to keep the NLF/PAVN hidden and play umpired games with all the players on the same [US] side.

That way a few figures went a long way…but I still had plenty. Mostly ESCI plastics with a lot of conversions.

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Oct 2019 8:08 a.m. PST

the thread is becoming more and more interesting

NB CCMATTY..Gringo40s have just released a swathe
of NVA main force additions today 11.10.2019 available
now from our site!


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2019 8:16 a.m. PST

You will puzzle our cousins over the Pond. They think today is 10.11.2019. Those latest NVA are nice, I always prefer them in the helmet, for main force regulars. I must take that plunge.

But I have spent the day making a 28mm dining room chair. Though I say so myself…it ain't bad. Now why would anyone want a dining room chair for a bunch of US Marines?

Lion in the Stars11 Oct 2019 11:59 a.m. PST

Oooh, a new book for Vietnam gaming? Must. READ!!!

I also recommend LRRP Company Command, We Were Soldiers, and Chickenhawk. There should be another one in there with Chickenhawk, but I'm not remembering the title. Blues, or something like that. Author went from a helo crew chief to Air Cav Blues platoon member.

But I have spent the day making a 28mm dining room chair. Though I say so myself…it ain't bad. Now why would anyone want a dining room chair for a bunch of US Marines?

That ain't a dining room chain, deadhead, it's the poker-table chair! evil grin

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2019 12:15 p.m. PST

Sorry mate. You still have not worked it out though.

Why would I want even a poker table chair for Hue Tet 1968?

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2019 11:04 p.m. PST

While we're talking about books:

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (1990) is a moving book about an infantry squad

Small Unit Action in Vietnam, Summer 1966, by Capt. Francis West was written by an expert observer and will give you ideas and information for wargaming

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Oct 2019 5:40 a.m. PST

ps……………release date for NEW NVA was 11th October 2019


Lion in the Stars12 Oct 2019 11:39 a.m. PST

OK, now that I saw your other post, I know what you were going for, deadhead, but I still maintain that said chair was originally going to be someone's poker table accoutrement.

Because trying to stop the troops from playing poker is the ultimate exercise in futility.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2019 2:59 p.m. PST

It's bin along time comin'….

Music plays to make your spine tingle….

I am not sure my diorama will compare with Buff Spring and S Stills…..but any Deadhead will know what I mean

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