Thursday, June 18, 2015

Faramir - Knight Captain of Gondor

Well it's been a hectic, at times frustrating, and yet exciting, last three weeks at work... and yet, after the first couple of weeks, we seem to be getting the hang of things, and I have been able to find a little time at the end of the day to pick up the paint brush again... to chill out, and clear the head a little... the vino helps too! ;-)


Faramir - Knight Captain of Gondor

I am still hoping to attend Wellington Warlords Call to Arms in August, accompanied by my son, Chris. He wants to run a Gondor force, and at 800 points, wants to add a little cavalry support. But who to lead them?... I didn't have any mounted heroes that were painted...

A rummage in the lead mountain found the original Faramir model in knights armour - mounted and on foot.



The original model depicts Faramir as he leads his brave horsemen in their doomed charged to retake the ruins of Osgiliath from the occupying orc army. In that pose he is wielding a sword aloft, urging his men onward.



However, in the game, the character may be upgraded to have a shield and carry a lance. This I would normally just tell my opponent before the game, and that would be fine. But in the more formal tournament setting, that simply would not do, where WYSIWYG is the almighty acronym!



So what to do?



Well it was time to sacrifice a couple of plastic Warriors of Minas Tirith to take their shields from them, and glue those into place. An easy conversion for the foot model and  revamp for the mounted version. But what to do about the lance?



As it turned out, I had a spare metal mounted Knight banner bearer. So I cut off his arm, from the body, and separated the hand from the banner pole. I then drilled a hole down through the hand grip, to take a Foundry steel pin, as a lance, and drilled and pinned the arm in position on to the mounted Faramir model, having first, of course, cut away the sword arm. A final detail was to add a spear top to the lance head from another WoMT, to complete the look. Et Voila!

Then just to paint him up...


I am rather pleased at how he has turned out, and I look forward to seeing him in action. Hoping to find time for a little practice game with Chris this weekend, fingers crossed.

Back to the movie, and I always find Faramir's doomed charge and very moving moment, especially to the accompaniment of Pippins mournful song... stirring stuff!

Nice to find time for a little blogging again too :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

A Blogger, interrupted...

Dear all,

I would just like to announce that there have been some major goings on affecting 'Bowman Towers' of late... or at least, affecting the 'funding mechanism', keeping Bowman Towers going!

My wife and I have bought our own business together, as we advertised in the local newspaper... as pictured below...



This has been a rapid event, taking 2 months from start to finish, and we feel our feet have hardly touched the ground... getting this all done, in time for the agreed hand over date.

Tuesday was our first day at the helm so to speak, and it has been a bit of a jump in the deep end for us as we get to grip with systems and practices in the business, the computer system in particular, causing me some angst as its one I havent used for 9 years...

This business is also noticeably busier than the one that I have been manager of, prior to this venture.

Now I'll be quite honest here, the last place I was at, was fairly 'cruisy'... and there was certainly spare time to interact with 'social media' in all its various forms... Well the rude shock to my poor little bloggers mind, is that this is likely to come to an abrupt halt, at least until I get the new place figured out...

So, I guess what I am saying is... my blogging output will take a serious dent in the forth coming months, as will my attendance and perusal of your own blogging efforts... I may have time for the odd 'Facebook-like' or 'Google+1'... but that may be it for some time to come...

So I must apologise for my enforced web absence... but rest assured I'll still be in the background beavering away on hobby matters when I get a spare moment... and hope normal service will resume in the not too distant future...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Azog - the pale orc!

I recently finished Azog for The Hobbit / LOTR SBG.

The chief bad guy from the Hobbit movies, he makes a great villain through the Hobbit trilogy, even if his role in the movies is somewhat different to the book and his position in the appendices of LOTR.

I also really liked the fact that we got spoken black speech for the evil orcs in the Hobbit trilogy, compared to the English accents from LOTR...



The model is the Finecast resin stuff from GW, but wasn't too bad this time in terms of flash or bubble holes so was fairly easy to assemble. And the paint job was relatively straight forward... typical dark armour, brown leather and pale skin.


A picture of the full size Azog at Te Papa museum, Wellington, NZ.

And mounted on the White Warg...


A very dynamic pose that I really like, leaping into the action!


They are a pretty fearsome combination in the game too... Azog has multiple attacks, high fight skill and strength and a special rule that he always wounds on 3+... add to that the mobility of the warg and its cavalry charge bonuses and you really wont want to be on the receiving end of one of his charges!



But he's quite a hefty points cost in the game too as you would imagine...



Now that he's done I look forward to giving him a whirl in game ... it will be interesting to see how he does against Beorn!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Theodred, on foot.

Continuing the Rohan theme of LOTR painting... I dug out my Theodred, on foot model.

I painted the mounted version some time ago, but at that time didnt have the foot model, but managed to source one on the web trade groups, though had to buy the whole character pack again to get him... so I have a spare Mounted Theodred now...not sure whether to sell him on or keep for a captain conversion...



I painted him up trying to match the original colour scheme I did for the mounted version, and I think I came pretty close.


I also entered him the New Zealand Hobbit League painting competition for May...


The mounted Theodred model, painted back in March 2011. I jazzed up the base a bit adding a few scenic clumps to better match my more recently done stuff.



Both models together...


Theodred...Kings son,.. doomed to die at the Battle of the Fords of Isen...

He's a good hero in the game to lead a Rohan warband... his only downfall... a lack of fate points!

Monday, May 11, 2015

North Africa Campaign Day - FoW, with a twist!

On Saturday Bowman Towers played host to a days FoW campaigning, set in the MidWar North African theatre... 3 Axis players would face off against three Allied players in a team event. But this was going to be FoW, with a twist...

Brett and Paul have been working on ways to perhaps make the game a little more interesting and flowing, and while the core game mechanic and deployments would remain the same... the position and number of objective markers would be adjusted, and there would be an introduction of a 'force morale' system, which could have the effect of reducing your forces morale rating over the course of the days campaigning as wear and tear took its toll on battered forces...

 This is further detailed here on Pauls blog...

So the day saw myself, Ash and Brett play the dastardly Huns, each bringing 1000 points of Midwar Kraut goodness to the tables.
The sneaky cunning Allies were Paul, Ste and Bryan.

Three tables were set up loosely depicting North Africa, Sicily and Italy...

The force I would bring to the table was a Confident Veteran Panzerkompanie:
HQ ; PzIV G + PzIV F1
CBT; PzIV F1 + 2 x PzIII L/M
CBT; PzIV F1 + 2 x PzIII L/M
Recce: 2 x 8Rad

Thinking was the CO with a big gun to kill stuff, the 2ic with an independent ability to fire for effect or direct fire smoke to conceal trickier targets.
The CBT platoons each had 2 PzIII, with Rof 3 AT9 that's quite usable in midwar against most targets, only downside is range... backed up again with direct firing smoke from PzIV.
The cheap recce would do what recce do!
I figured I'd have an even chance against tanks and good chance against infantry/mech...

North Africa

Sicily

Italy
Game 1 and I drew Paul with his Confident Trained Shermans and Grants, in Free for All.
This game could go either way...Pauls trained tanks are easier to hit, but he has range on me and semi-indirect fire... I'd have to close to get effective shots, hope to do some damage, lob off a bit of smoke and weather the return fire.... its going to come down to who blinks first... in gaming parlance... who gets the better dice...

Paul got first turn and adjusted slightly and sneaked one tank ahead behind cover to contest the loose objective, but held fire.

I couldn't move anything up to contest without being caught in a crossfire... so I decided to just start trying to take out his trained tanks. My CO hit as did a several of my PzIIIs... but Paul rolled 5's+6's for all saves.... Curses... Oh well in return fire he's hitting me on 6's... 20+ dice later (semi-indirect fire remember?)... and nothing higher than a 2 rolled for an armour save and I have the 2ic dead and two tanks dead from the left flank platoon, the third typically fails morale and I am down 4 tanks... facing 8... with more of the same to come...  I could dance about and try and play cat and mouse, but with Paul sitting on 2 objectives out of 3 he was just going to wrack up the points and I'd likely just lose more Force Morale points, so I elected to withdraw... first game over in about 10 mins... Not a very auspicious start to the days gaming... on the plus side, it can only get better ...right?


vs Pauls Shermans

Game 2 and I am facing Ste and a mad mix of Fearless Trained Indian Infantry, with Confident Vet Pios and two platoons of Matildas, in Dust Up.
Ste put three infantry platoons on the table, against my one platoon of panzers, plus HQ tanks. Again my opponent quickly had the jump on two out of three objective markers so I was forced to be aggressive which is justly right for armour...

Ste camped one infantry platoon in a building t-junction with an objective, moved his small pios into a little palm tree cover and more indians held a hill top objective.

I sent the cbt platoon for the hilltop indians with the HQ tanks moving to keep harassing the other troops till my reserves arrived. As the five tanks past the pios they sprayed them with MG fire. 20 dice and 11 hits on the 4 element un-dug-in platoon. Expecting to see the pios evaporate... Ste then passed every save, all 11 dice came up 3+...

Ste was battling his own issue as his troops steadfastly refused to dig in, and were prey to continued MG fire, and though I whittled him down gradually he held on. My Panzers eventually, got to and sprayed up the hill top indians then rolled in for the assault...  3 hits on 3+...and I miss with two...whats worse Ste comes back at me with sticky bombs, gets a couple of hits, and yep I rolled two 1's for top armour saves, two tanks go boom! Oh for @#$^% sakes!... I swing back, and miss, and Ste fails to motivate... so I 'win' and advance to push him off the objective with my lone panzer... but then it comes down to a morale check for the lone panzer, a fail and my force withdraws!
I rolled a 4, so I am still in it by the skin of my teeth...
The only good bit of that was seeing some sticky bombs also blow up the indians!

Reserves then start arriving for both of us... The matildas arrive and double time to try and get near the action... my panzers and 8rads arrive and move to attack the T junction.

With time running out, my 2ic parked on the only objective I have keeps the matildas at bay, just as they trade insults...My lone panzer on the hill with the indians manages to hold them off as they try an assault...

Finally things hot up in the T-junction as my armour try an assault, but only bops a pio team who come back at me with the crazy indians joining in... thankfully I pass my saves, but then fail to motivate and must withdraw, reversing over a hedge one tank bogs and is captured... and that's the game...

Over the course of the game Ste has wracked up more objective points than me so he's the winner...

Well that should have gone better... lady luck farts in my face again! Still at least I got to kill some stuff this time...

vs Ste's Brits & Indians

Game 3 is against Bryan and his Fearless Vet Yank Paras... with Trained support - Howitzers, recce and M10s, in Encounter...

Again I find the revealed objectives have me at a disadvantage. Bryan is camped on one from the start with his core force. I have a chance to sneak the flank one and my 2ic heads for that and stops there for a sausage sandwich... My panzer platoon and CO move forward to start harassing the paras position and threaten the other flank objective which Bryan has his 2ic trying to hold. Taking some cover from the assorted huts and building they fire on the howitzers, being trained and large guns in the open, they are easy targets and I start whittling them down. In return Bryan pops his m10s and nails my CO.
In their turn my panzers return fire and kill the m10s, over two turns, then settle back to finishing off the guns. My reserves arrive and start rushing to get in on the action. Bryan starts getting reserves on and some paras get going running towards my 2ic, who backs off not wanting to be gammon bombed by crazy yank paras... so I lose points for that objective, but have gained the other flank one having mg-ed off Bryans brave 2ic.

The howitzer platoon is virtually destroyed and withdraws... and the cat and mouse starts on the other flank... Bryans HMG platoon arrives with no hope of hurting the tanks and I look to take them out ... but again time catches up with us... I didnt fancy my chances assaulting Bryans paras with Gammon bombs in the centre with just three tanks after my sticky bomb experiences until I had reduced their numbers but they had refused to die... so with that the games ends, with Bryan just ahead on objective points though at least this time I won the exchange on force morale points having killed two platoons.

A better game for me this time, which probably would have gone my way in the end if time had not been a factor, but they're the breaks...

vs Bryans Yanks

And with that the day came to an end...

As the points were tallied up it was clear the Germans had taken a pasting... all three German players added together managed to just beat Bryans points, but when you add in Pauls and Stes scores it wasn't anywhere near close... I wonder if the date had anything to do with it, May 9th... VE day?

Ah well, a good days fun and dice rolling, in great company... if only the gods of dice and games wouldnt keep taking great delight in their gaseous expulsions in my facial orientation! ;-)

Oh and a special thanks to 'Mrs Ste' for the wargamers cupcakes with handcrafted dice on top - very impressive :)

Monday, May 04, 2015

Erkenbrand, Lord of the Westfold

Getting back to some LOTR painting, and I have recently completed Erkenbrand, Lord of the Westfold of Rohan, to compliment my growing Rohan force.


Erkenbrand's name is possibly derived from the Old English 'eorcan' meaning precious, and 'brand' meaning sword.


Erkenbrand was the Lord of the Westfold of Rohan at the time of the War of the Ring, at the end of the Third Age.

He is largely missed from the movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, with a brief appearance in Return of the King.

In the books, during the battle of Helms Deep, it is he and his Eored, that Gandalf seeks out as reinforcements to the beleaguered defenders of the Hornburg, and not Eomer, as in the movie. In the books, Eomer is already in the Hornburg, as one of the defenders...




Again, in the books, after the battle of Helms Deep, when Theoden leads the forces of Rohan to Gondor's aid, Erkenbrand remains behind to manage the Dunlending prisoners and make repairs to the fortress.


After the War of the Ring comes to an end, Éomer makes Erkenbrand Marshal of the West-mark


In the game, Erkenbrand is a potent hero of Rohan, allowing me to field another warband of 12 Riders of Rohan. What attracts me to using him though is his special rule "Red Shields". For 1pt per model, Warriors and Riders of Rohan can have their Fight skill increased from 3 to 4.

That doesn't sound much but when their traditional foes are Uruks with Fight 4, that brings the Riders back to parity... and with the extra mounted attacks a cavalry charge brings, that should start scattering the evil forces, especially against any lowly Fight 3 orcs in their forces...


Looking forward to giving Erkenbrand a whirl, alongside Eomer and Theodred...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Panzer IV's, Mobelwagons... and the 'Panzer Bums!'

The last weekend's long holiday in remembrance of ANZAC day here in NZ, allowed me some time off, to finish off, a project I have had on the the go for several months now...

The first part of which was completing another box of PSC panzer IV's...

I made 4 in the Ausf H variety, to complete the missing platoon command and platoons tanks, by turret numbering, giving sufficent for an HQ and 3 combat platoons of 4 tanks each...

Panzer IV Ausf H
The remaining Panzer from the boxed set of 5  I turned out an Ausf G... no side Schurzen armour for this fellow... but still a nice big gun, which in the MidWar setting he is destined for, should be ample...

Panzer IV Ausf G

Back to the core project and I needed 4 Mobelwagons... These are Battlefront resin and metal...and were a bit of a sod to put together! The worst part was the gun mount,  which once assembled then sits off centre on the mounting point, and wouldnt rotate properly without hitting the hull sides... Darm it! I was going to drill and pin it so it could rotate... but after buggering about for a while I gave up, cut off the mounting lug from the base of the gun and just glued them into position so they sat centrally and glued the base of the front gun shield to the hull front side for extra strength and stability...

Mobelwagons

I glued the side walls in the lowest position as I hope these will be shooting up ground targets as well as their original AAA role! I have added decals to the hull sides but you cant really see as they are hidden under the lowered side panels.

So this completed the require platoons for me to field... "The Panzer Bums!"

"Here come the Panzer Bums" (hummed to the tune of Men In Black...) ;-)

I read a battle rep a few months back on the WWPD site where they described a force of Reluctant Trained panzers from the Blood Guts and Glory book as the 'Panzer Bums'. Intrigued I read the report and laughed it off...Reluctant Trained was a little out of my comfort zone, being more used to the Confident Veteran German troops... but then a little comment in the report said that while they typically take horrendous casualties, theres frequently still enough left to get the job done and the list had proved to be quite successful on the whole...


The 'Panzer Bums'...

...that got me thinking... and playing about on EasyArmy... and sure enough... at ~1750points you get a ton of armour... 20 medium tanks, 4 AAA and 14 halftracks and two platoons of MG/faust infantry. Thats a shit load of firepower! Even if half of it gets destroyed there's always going to be something to fire back...






So there we have it, the Panzer Bums ready to rock and roll in Lorraine... the only fly in the aspic is no recce... so ambushes are no doubt going to hurt... but with 14 halftracks zooming ahead they could be the forced 'recce' of the main tank force... whatever pops up in ambush is probably going to catch a ton of return fire... oh and no artillery...so no smoke either!

The Panzers in the above list are admittedly Ausf J's... which just means they also have slow traverse on the turrents, but I dont think anyone is going to mind too much me proxying them with the Ausf H.

I recall a mate telling me that Trained armies are usually 'shooty armies' ... well yep I think that's certainly the case here... and since this force is Auto-Attack you'll always have all the guns on the table...

PanzerKompanie from Blood, Guts and Glory

Of course, being Reluctant Trained...its going to hurt!... So I also made a whole load of burning tank markers recently too - gulp!

Wish me luck!
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