The Manpower of the Empire – Part I

Chicago Dice is thrilled to welcome John, our newest Author to the team! – Andrew


There’s nothing like an awesome event to get me excited for my next hobby project. In this case, the highly successful Armored Apocalypse has energized me to expand my Bolt Action North Africa British. While my Armored Apocalypse army represented the 9th Armoured Brigade during Operation Supercharge at the end of 1942, my focus is now shifting to Early War. Inspired by AdeptiCon 2023’s “Rising Tide 1939-140” theme for the Combat Patrol and Doubles events, I am building a Commonwealth force representing the early stages of Operation Compass. My specific inspirations are the 4th Indian and 7th Armoured Divisions during the battles of Nibeiwa and Sidi Barrani in December 1940. These engagements saw Indian infantry work in close coordination with British armor, a tactic I hope to emulate.

I will use this theme for both AdeptiCon in March and Polar Vortex in February. My planned lists for these events have a lot of overlap, so if all goes according to plan the bulk of my AdeptiCon force will be completed well in advance.

Project Overview

As with most Bolt Action armies, this project can be split into three categories: infantry, artillery, and vehicles. I’ll be using minis from a few different companies along with 3D prints.


The bulk of my infantry will be built using Warlord’s 8th Army infantry box. I have 2 of these boxes, each of which includes parts to build 30 soldiers. Of the 60 total infantrymen, the vast majority will be armed with rifles. I will also put together a few NCOs and support weapons (LMGs, Anti-Tank Rifles, Light Mortars). I will use Indian Sikh heads for all infantry in this army. To add some variety to my infantry I also picked up additional models from Aritzan Designs:

Finally, for the leader of my Sikhs I’ll be using the stunning model of Havildar Ishar Singh from Wargames Illustrated’s “Giants in Miniature” range. Although this model depicts Singh at The Battle of Saragarhi in 1897 and therefore doesn’t technically belong in a WW2 game, the uniform is close enough and this model is simply too cool not to use in an all-Sikh army.


The only Artillery I intend to field is the 25-pounder Light Artillery. This versatile piece serves as both a Light Howitzer and a Light Anti-Tank Gun. Just like the Bofos anti-air gun I brought to Armored Apocalypse, I will 3D print this artillery piece. I plan to use this 3D model from the prolific Deweycat Productions. I will also 3D print the crew for my artillery. I had success with this set of 8th Army crew from Studio Grozny for my Bofors and will print additional copies for the 25-pounders. I will try swapping their heads with Sikh heads. Even though Sikhs would not have normally crewed artillery in the British army, I have no problem sacrificing a bit of historical accuracy for better army cohesion. Not to mention, you can never go wrong by following the “rule of cool”.


As I did for Armored Apocalypse, I will 3D print all of my vehicles for this project. My planned lists use vehicles sourced from Deweycat Productions and TigerAce1945, two of my go-to sources for STLs:

The Goal

For this project I expect to:

  • Build and paint:
    • 450pt Combat Patrol Platoon: AdeptiCon Combat Patrol and Polar Vortex Game 1
    • 750pt 1940-42 Commonwealth Infantry Brigade: Polar Vortex Game 2
    • 1000pt 1940-42 Commonwealth Infantry Brigade: Polar Vortex Game 3
    • 685pt 1940-41 British Armoured Brigade: AdeptiCon Doubles
  • Create display boards for Polar Vortex and Adepticon
  • Incorporate new hobby techniques
    • Airbrushing
    • Building terrain for display boards
    • Camo patterns
  • Write consistent, on-time update posts

The schedule for this project is:

  • Assemble all infantry by Dec. 18.
  • Print all artillery and vehicles by Jan. 1.
  • Paint Polar Vortex force by Jan. 22.
  • Build Polar Vortex display board by Feb. 5.
  • Paint Polar Vortex display board by Feb. 17.
  • Paint Adepticon Force by March 5.
  • Build AdeptiCon display board by March 12.
  • Paint AdeptiCon display board by March 22.

This is my most ambitious hobby project to date, but I am confident that posting regular updates will maintain my momentum and keep me on schedule.

With that, it’s time to sally forth and give those blasted Italians what for! Onward, for the Empire!

3 thoughts on “The Manpower of the Empire – Part I

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