Friday, December 30, 2011

Anologue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge (AHWPC) - update

Just a quick shot to show where I am upto:

  • 20 PSC Half Tracks assembled, base coated, and washed
  • 3 Typhoons assembled, undercoat basecoat done
  • 3 Command HalfTracks from GpPzGr HQ pack assembled and base coated
  • 3/4s of the ' driver' figures trimmed ready for paint for the PSC Half-Tracks.
So next jobs to do:

  • Drybrush Halftracks 'middlestone'
  • Paint halftracks tyres black
  • Drybrush 'mud brown' to Half track wheels and tracks
  • Do stowage options for halftracks
  • Do crews for halftracks
  • Wash command halftracks, do command figures for GpPzGr HQ
  • Paint Typhoons
  • Add decals to halftracks and typhoons
So still a fair bit to do, but its started raining here, and its set in for the weekend :-), so I'll get some painting done hopefully, and have a game of Flames of War lined up too!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A year in review (2011), and looking forward...

Well it’s that time of year, and what a year, to look back and reflect a little, and look forward to next years activities.

To start off with, the year really took off in terms of blogging output, from a handful of posts per year, and finally cracking double figures the last couple of years, I’ve jumped massively and gone over 80 posts this year, from 16 last year!

I can put this down to improvements in blogger itself (I updated my template options and enjoyed tweaking the appearance of the blog, and learned more how to use it).

I added features which improved the blogs look and the way it’s laid out. The Linked Within Widget has worked well I think, as did adding ‘popular posts’ but I think the biggest change, was fully ‘Labelling’ posts and putting a ‘cloud effect’ Label list in blog sidebar. This one action seemed to massively increase my blog hits.

I’ve turned off the ‘light-box’ effect for pictures, which I didn’t like (takes too long to load and view pictures with this effect – blogger are you listening?).

I’ve also made commenting easier. All this has seen my total blog hits soar, jumping to over 2000 per week now. Thank you all for stopping by and commenting :-)

I think the fact that I have joined as a follower to many great blogs out there, and comment frequently of these blogs, I believe has thus raised my blogging profile, so folks check back to my own blog. It really has opened up the blogging/hobby online community for me.

So what happened during the year?


January through to April, started off and continued well with many Lord of the Rings figures being painted, filling gaps in my collections and making new painted units available for LOTR SBG and the newer WOTR.
An odd couple of games of Black Powder, raised the profile of this game in my mind, and I looked to further my chances of fielding armies for this rule-set, instead of having to rely on others, to play a game. And thus Perry ACW and Napoleonic stuff was ordered.

May, saw an unexpected and complete change of tack after seeing Joe Harrison’s Leadwood, though this inspired my laterally as such and the great Pirate adventure of 2011 commenced. A few more LOTR projects were completed to clear the way so to speak for the Pirates.

June through to October, saw a great deal of Pirate (Legends of the High Seas) painting, modelling and gaming done. A great time of it was had. June also gave rise to my frustrations with gaming LOTR, and I think this dissatisfaction further made the switch to Pirates and LotHS that much easier, to throw myself into… Another idea was kicked off, again with Joe’s inspiration; for VSF, and though models and a rulebook (GASLIGHT) were bought, nothing much got painted, or played…. So Zulus, Colonial Brits and Prussians were added to the paint backlog.

November came around, and this found me at a lull. I still had some pirate things to finish off, but I was in a mood to clear various backlogs, so I finally completed the ACW regiment started back in March, ‘multi-based’ for various formats of play. November also saw my WW2 interest tweaked again, and this launched me off in another direction for the year, back in to Flames of War, with another project finished that had been started months if not years ago – more commandos, and also saw the start and completion of Panzers from PSC. Meeting a new chap to the area; Paul who plays FoW, and encouraging a couple of others to play; Brett & Chris, has certainly kept this interest going.

December, saw continued work on FoW matters, and late entry into Analogue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge, with slow but steady progress to date.

So a good year all round I think with many diverse figures painted, terrain made, games played, and more added to the Plastic & Lead Mountain (PLM) ;-)

So what does 2012 have in store?

Well so long as the world doesn’t come to an abrupt Nostradamus-like end, then I hope to continue with many projects that have been started this year, and try and reduce the PLM.

Hopefully the Painting Challenge will keep me motivated through to March, and I expect to get current FoW projects completed. Whether I start on another one, I am unsure. I have had a hankering to do the 50th Div - Tyne Tees, as that’s my home area back in the UK. There is also talk of starting MidWar for FoW and I could be tempted by a DAK (Africa Korps) force…

Other than that I really must get on and start making a serious dent in my piles of plastic historic figures of various periods; WSS, Naps, ACW, Zulus & Colonial Brits, and the VSF Prussians, and I still need to finish my Brig!

I sincerely hope I don’t get tempted into any more periods, scales and projects, though I have been pondering skirmish gaming WW2 in either 20mm or 28mm, though not sure which rule set would be best…

Well that’s enough rambling from me.

As for what 2012 will bring, well… I am not going to dwell on Nostradamus or ancient Myan prophecies, rather I would view any possible events to be a fresh start for many, rather than an end of all things. What put me in mind of this is that my wife likes to play about with Tarot cards, nothing serious as such, taken with a pinch of salt, and all that…but one thing folks always dread coming up is the ‘Death’ card – yet this rarely literally means ‘death’. Usually it refers to the end of one phase of your life and the beginning of another… that’s how I will view much of the mumbo jumbo that has been spouted about 2012; a new start!

Another odd thing about this year is that I will be 42 years old. If we are to believe the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy; well, that’s the ‘Meaning of life, the universe and everything!’ So it could be a very interesting year for me!

Hope you all have a good one, and best wishes for 2012!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Painting Challenge update

My progress so far. Compared to some of my fellow 'challengers', I have not got a huge amount done, but slow and steady progress I guess, is where I am now.

I have assembled the first 15 halftracks and typhoons. The half tracks have been sprayed base coated, and the camo patterns done. I have done these as varied as possible, as much research into this seems to show the vehicles were painted dunkelgelb (dark yellow) at the 'factory' then the crews may be issued paint to add their own camo, so each vehicle would be quite individual.
So I have done a whole mix of spots and stripes in varying thickness and sizes.

I have also done 18 of the 20 halftracks tracks base coated brown - next to do will be to drybrush them boltgun or 'dark silver'.

The typhoons, have been assembled, black undercoated and dark grey base coated. Their flying bases have been sand flocked and painted dark brown.

And that was about it so far...

And then Saturday 24th came around and I finally got a day off work since the Challenge started.

But, chores first; mow the lawns, clean the patio and BBQ ready for Xmas, inflate an fill the kids pre-xmas pool prezzie.

And then finally at about 3pm, I got some time to relax to myself. Its clearly summer here and its just too nice to sit inside and paint. I cant paint outside either, but I figured I could make my last box of halftracks, so I sat in the sun doing that...

Happy Xmas everybody!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And so it begins...

Anologue Hobbies Painting Challenge is officially on!

Well here's what I managed to get assembled to start the ball rolling:

15 Half Tracks, 3 Typhoons and a partridge in a pear tree!

Ok maybe not the partridge ;-)

One small fly in the ointment - when I unpacked the typhoons I found 3 of the under wing rocket racks were missing, so a frantic email to battlefront customer services, has 3 replacement parts zapping their way to me as we speak, through the frantic xmas courier rush! As it is I can still probably make a start on them as the rocket racks will have to go on last after I have done the invasion bands on the wings.

The half tracks are good to go, these will mount up my three platoons of grenadiers and have some for the prospective HMG platoon to have 'battle taxis' awaiting them.

I havent glued on the tops of the half tracks and will be doing them seperartely like this as I need to add the drivers inside and paint the internal seats too.

Right, off to get spray painting...

Good luck to all!

Bah Humbug!

Well its that time of year again, where we are supposed to offer Merry Christmas wishes to one and all…


Bah Humbug!

I have to admit, I am not a fan of the ‘silly season’.

Of course I loved it as a kid, all the prezzies and time off school – the best time of the year!

Now as an adult, I find the whole thing an absolutely awful time. Over commercialised, in your face, stressed and harassed people everywhere, queues a mile long at any shops you are trying to go to, whether its for Xmas shopping or just the mundane items you need day to day, traffic everywhere and all the car parks full…

It’s just an excuse for the stores to fleece us of money, buying more and more each year, for the 101 relatives, friends and assorted hangers on who come out of the wood work…, and trying to figure out what the heck to get them this year. Do you go the ‘surprise’ route, or ask them what they want. Always a dilemma? Commercialism gone mad!

I recall one year when I went to visit my ol’ granny and mum. One of granny’s friends turned up unexpectedly, and she had a present for me. Bugger, I hadn’t planned for that, so mum had to sneak off, wrap up the ear-rings I had just given her and sneak them back to me to give to granny’s friend. I felt absolutely awful, and I think that was just about the straw that broke the donkeys back for me so to speak.

I am not a religious person, so that whole angle is lost on me, and I think I am not the only one in our growing secular society…, and then theres the whole political correctness thing these days with our multicultural societies - is it offensive to certain religeons to have this whole Christmas thing flung at them? But I guess if you choose to live in a country that has its roots in Christianity, and celebrates Christmas, then I guess all I can say is, "When in Rome..."

I think my perspective changed when suddenly you become the one having to empty your wallet and bounce your credit card repeatedly off the rev limiter… That and the fact that I work in retail. The busiest bloody awful time of year for staff in any retail outlet. Add to that the medical requirements down at your local pharmacy, where everyone thinks you’re going to be closed forever, and thus everyone needs all their prescription items right now, just in case…

When Xmas day finally arrives, and the store closes you get a day off to try and rest and recuperate. But no, you have to watch over excited kids ripping open parcels, then having to find out how the Transformer works or where you put the batteries, or heck, even how you get the damn toy out of the box in the first place. Then you have to get on with a massively over-indulgent meal.

Once you’ve got over that, lie around feeling too full to do anything, or too inebriated to care…

Add to all this the time of the season – winter, at least back in the UK as it was. An Xmas card White Christmas is rarer than hens teeth… more likely just freezing cold, wind, rain, ice, and slush. If a White Xmas did arrive it usually caused traffic chaos as roads were closed because the council forget to get the gritters out in time, the trains couldn’t run on the snow laden lines and buses couldn't manage the steep snow covered hills...

Quite honestly for me, you can keep the whole thing. If they banned Christmas, and just gave us a ‘seasonal holiday’ instead, I’d be more than happy.

Thankfully, since migrating to New Zealand, at least I don’t have to put up with the crappy weather, and can enjoy an easy BBQ lunch on Xmas day!

Personally, I am reasonable solvent, so if I want something, I buy it. I don’t wait till Xmas or birthday to ask for it as a prezzy…

I guess at the end of the day, you do it for the kids and hope you get through it with as little stress and hassle as possible and try and minimise the effects of the hole in your finances – Happy New Year – what a way to start the year; "I’ve got no money left till pay day and then I have to pay off the credit card and the mortgage is due the next week. Oh Joy!"

So what’s a war-gamers perspective on all this?

Well I guess there’s always the chance your significant other may surprise you with a box of soldiers, but she is probably just as aware as you are of the backlog that already is the lead & plastic mountain, so that’s probably out of the question… so it will probably be socks and handkerchiefs again… ;-)

Then there’s perhaps the occasional pondering about history and Christmas’s past,… I am always intrigued about the tales of opposing soldiers through WW2 & WW1 hearing each other across no-mans land trying to enjoy Xmas and even exchanging gifts… and then the next day trying to kill each other again… and of course there is the famous tale of the impromptu football match in no-mans land in WW1, made into a movie called “Joyeux Noel” - I haven’t seen it yet, so welcome any reviews…

If we go back to where it started it becomes clear what we celebrate now in the West, is a hodge podge of many factors; a mix of religion, mythology, pagan rituals of the winter solstice, and commercialised characters – Santa Claus for one as the image we now know and ‘love’, having been created by the Coca Cola company back in the 50’s.

My significant other, well knows my opinions on the matter, and bless her cotton socks, tries to make it as easy as possible for the ol’ grumpy of the household; buying the prezzies, putting the tree and decorations up, organising childcare activities while they are off and we are both still at work (retail remember, especially in a pharmacy that opens 7 days a week and open ALL the public holidays) etc etc.

However, I have been very good this year, and even bought the ‘Best Christmas album in the world ever’ – just coz its got Snoopy on! ;-)

So as a final sign off for the year, have a Merry or Grumpy ol’ Xmas, whatever takes your fancy. I hope you get all the prezzies you wanted, and if you can remember, spare a thought for the poor buggers slaving away in retail, or those dedicated folks staffing emergency services; police, fire-fighters, ambulance, hospital and related medical staff etc etc, who may not be getting a day off on Xmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Panzer IV H platoon

With my WW2 interest thoroughly re-invigorated, I have set to with painting projects to get my existing forces re-inforced. You may have see the prior post to this one with my newly arrived commando section? Not to be out done, the forces of the Wehrmacht have been bolstered aswell.

Having found that the Plastic Soldier Company have released a range of hard plastic kits in 15mm scale that, from the reviews I had read, match very well with Battlefronts range of figures and vehicles, I couldnt resist the temptation to buy a pack of Panzer IV's to help my beleagured German grenadier force.

The kit comes with several variant options, allowing you to field the short barrel early varieties, aswell as the longer barrelled later variety. It was the late version 'H' that I was interested in, with the longer barrel, and side Schurzen armour plates.

The kits were very easy to make, and aimed at the gamer rather than modeller, so you can get your tank force quickly into action. Of note the tracks are the same hard plastic, and glue on easily with the same glue you make the rest of the tank with. Unlike prior Airfix kits I have had the dubious honour of making where you make the whole tank and all the dang fiddly wheels, only to find the tracks are some horrible soft plastic that no glue known to man will stick (despite asking Airfix via email drectly and getting no response, surprise surprise...)

Once assembled, each tank taking maybe 15-20 minutes, and with them being in a dark yellow (dunkelgelb?) colour, I sprayed them straight away with the new sprays from Battlefront. I didnt bother to black undercoat first. Once dry I painted the tracks and added the camo markings. Then I washed the whole tank in in my 50/50 mix of vallejo brown and black wash. Once dry they were drybrushed with 'dark yellow' - I could have used the Vallejo middlestone colour but I think I actually used a matching Foundry shade that I had. After that, I detailed the commander, and tools on the deck, redid the exhaust and air intake tubes in a dark copper colour and washed these in black. Finally added some dry-brushed on mid-brown to give a muddy appearance to the tracks and lower area of the tank.

The last bit then to do was add some decals. I had some spare from the StuGs I made a while ago, so used these. They simply show the black cross of German forces and a vehicle identification number.

Other than the decals, I have not varnished the tanks. I find that plastic figures seem less in need of it, as they are less susceptible to being chipped, and the paint adheres very well to the plastic surface.

The Panzer IV H, by Late War standards was a medium tank, and very similar in the game to the Allies Sherman, although it has a slightly better main gun, and the side Schurzen armour affords it a little extra protection against infantry fired anti-tank weapons.

The Panzer IV was widely used by the Germans, both in defending Fortress Europe from the Western Allies in Normandy and Italy, and also on the Eastern front against the Soviet threat, so no doubt my small force of Panzers will get regular use against all comers!

And just to re-iterate, these tanks are NOT contributing towards Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, which is another reason I pushed along to get them finished before the 20th December kick off!

More Commandos

In a bid to clear the painting desk of half done projects, with Anologue Hobbies Painting Challenge about to kick off, and with my current interest focussed once again on World War Two, and gaming it with Flames of War, I uncovered a pack of commandos that I had base coated and then left in a drawer, probably somewhere between 1-2 years ago...

They were started after Simon McBeth, hosted me to a learning game of FoW over at the Hutt Club longer ago than I can recall correctly now. I played my Commando force, as was then, backed up by my Sherman platoon and my 6pdr AT platoon, and some Naval gunfire support (always easy to include as you just need a spare command stand to use as the Naval Gunfire Officer). I believe at the time Simon was trying out his 51st Highlanders - Reluctant Veterans, backed up by crocodiles.

I recall to my deep concern that nothing I had could penetrate the front armour of Simons Croc's... Luckily they were vulnerable to large calibre shells fired from HMS Diadem, parked somewhere in the Channel...and as I recall I did indeed get one of them that way. Other than this I did try manouvering my Shermans about tying to get a flank shot at them...

I cant recall the whole game now, but recall Simons problems with trying to unpin his troops at times. My small force of commandos aquitted themselves rather quite well. Simons a top bloke, pleasure to play against and very helpful to a newbie, and his sage observation at the time was, I needed more of them! So at that time I bought a couple more packs of Commandos, and started upon one of them... and this is where they were left until about a fortnight ago, when I decided to get them finished. What distracted me from getting them finished back then, I can no longer remember...

I am quite pleased the way they have come out and will match my existing commandos very well bringing my small British force, to an almost tournament size readiness, especially once I complete my Typhoons, and there is still one more pack of commandos waiting in the wings...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Analogue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge - The Gauntlet is picked up!

Well, I have had a rummage through the cupboards, and have dug out what I hope to work on through the period of the challenge, as can be seen pictured above.

  • a box of Flames of War - Battlefront Typhoons
  • 4 boxes of Plastic Soldier Company (15mm for FoW) - SDKfz 251's - thats 20 vehicles!
  • a box of Flames of War - Battlefront PaK 40 platoon.
  • 1 blister pack of Flames of War - Battlefront German HMG platoon
  • 1 blister pack of Flames of War - Battlefront German 8cm Mortar platoon
...and if I get through that little lot in 3 months it will be a bloody miracle, but I figure 'aim high, and if you miss, you still hopefully hit fairly high"... Also still winging their way from Wayland Games in UK is a box of BF FoW - Panzergrenadier Command HQ ( 2 more half tracks and command teams), and a 10.5cm artillery battery boxed set and a bunch of loose 'fausts and 'shreks, just in case I manage to get through the above - yeah right who am I kidding!

I've made an (allowed) start - I have so far half assembled 1 halftrack (sitting on opened box in pic)... theres a lot of work ahead...

Also, (God it would have been so easy to cheat!), just tonight, I have finished painting, my second commando platoon pack, and the PSC Panzer IV H platoon... just need to varnish and base the commandos , and do the decals and varnishing of the panzers, so these guys are a current WIP - and not to be included in the Challenge. So this pretty much clears my painting table, ready for the off!

So what I am doing sitting here writing this, theres work to be done...

update 15/12/11:
The parcel arrived from Wayland Games, and the FoW Panzergrenadier HQ, and German 10.5 Artillery Battery , plus 'shreks & 'fausts have been added to the pile :-)

Analogue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge

Well I have to say, I stumbled across Curt's challenge a little late, and thought I was too late to take part, but it seems I have been lucky enough to be allowed in at the last minute! :-)
More details of the event can be seen here at Curt's blog:

I must confess I am not too worried about winning, but its nice to get involved in something on such an international level, and it will be an incentive to keep painting through the summer months, here in New Zealand (Southern Hemisphere and all that...).

Well, in terms of output, I've got some things going for me and some against. As it happens I have thoroughly got my WWII head on and Flames of War stuff is right at the fore of my painting projects.

So I have a pile of vehicles to do, which can of course be sprayed up fairly easily. But they are mostly Plastic Soldier Company stuff so do require a fair bit of assembly first...

Plus in the midst of the painting challenge I have my father, from the UK, visiting and staying with us for about 2-3 weeks, so I can't really be sitting painting while he's here, more likely I'll be sat up to the wee hours chatting and enjoying the odd dram or two of Glenmorangie and The Macallan whiskeys he'll be bringing with him ;-)

But no matter, I'm still in and will see what I manage to get achieved, by the deadline in March 2012.

The only thing is that things may get a bit quiet here on the blog, as the results can't be posted up anywhere till Curt has received them in March. So you may just have to put up with my inane whitterings and the odd battle-report and such in the meantime...

I'll try and keep things interesting here none-the-less, and good luck to all involved !

Monday, November 28, 2011

American Civil War - Confederate Battalion

I have finally finished that box of 36 Perry ACW 28mm figures, started oh so long ago! They have stared at me rather mournfully ever since I got started on that journey into Piracy ;-) I finally felt they deserved to be finished.
When I started the project they were just going to be for Black Powder gaming, but then I realised there may be some skirmish gaming opportunities for them also.

So I am pleased to present to you, a Confederate Battalion with Battle honours of Seven Pines & Manassas, upon their flags.

Firing Line
 Here above seen in all their glory in full firing line.

Skirmishers deployed
 Here above seen with skirmishers deployed. Having checked the Black Powder rules on such a Mixed order formation, it seems about a third of the unit should be deployed as skirmishers in this fashion, so thats 12 figures out of the full 36 figure set.

Full Skirmish Order
And here above in full skirmish order.

All the figures are based on nominally 20mm (but actually19mm) zinc plated steel washers. Being steel they are attracted to magnets, and so I made sabot bases from 3mm mdf sheet cut 40mm x 40mm. This was then covered with a layer magnetic paper, painted brown, and flocked to match the figures. As the figures are light weight plastic, the strength of the magnet works well, the base can be fully inverted and the figures don't fall off.
Mounted on magnetised sabot base

4 figures on a 40mm x 40mm sabot base.

Magnestised sabot base
The sabot base itself, flocked just enough to allow the washers contact with the magnetic layer.

The figures themselves I must admit, I took several short cuts in their painting, realising that with 'gerzillions' of figures for multiple periods still to paint, I had to try and get quicker.
So, I black undercoated, and then base coated all figures in their required 'mid tone'.
I then washed the entire figure in a 50/50 mix of Vallejo Dark Brown and Black wash.
I then worked back up the colours using the original mid tone colours.
I didn't do the eyes, just left them as a dark brown line in the eye socket recess.
Being plastic figures I only gave them one coat on Vallejo acrylic matt brush on varnish. I didnt bother with the polyurethane gloss, reasoning that the gloss was only really required for metal figures to resist chipping from the metal surface. Plastic figures don't require this.
The base was flocked with GW sand and this was just given a wash of Vallejo Dark brown wash. Normally I'd then drybrush lighter browns and cream colour to the sand, but didn't this time, content just to add the static grass.

I think the figures still look fine, and a lot of time and effort was saved. I am happy with the result.

So I can use my figures as originally planned for Black Powder as ACW troops.

I can also use them in full skirmish order for Rules with No Name, on Joe Harrison's Leadwood.

And finally, again as skirmishers, I can use them for some GASLIGHT gaming, whether as ACW themed troops, or perhaps as a Colonial force; the '1st FusilierAbteilung of Neu-Bavaria', to go alongside my planned Prussian themed VSF army.

So several uses out of one box of figures. More bang for your buck I say!

Second thoughts too: Using the washers also means I am no longer defacing Her Majestys currency, by using NZ10cent coins for bases, though oddly enough, the washers I bought are exactly the same size as the 10cent coin, yet have a hole in the middle (therefore less physical metal than the coin) and cost 21 cents each to buy... not sure what that says about the state of our economy? I wonder if  I might get any odd looks if I tried to pay for my lunchtime sarnie down at the cafe with a handful of washers....  'honest, they're worth more than the coins in your till !"  ;-)


I have just discovered this website, and with its current catalogue of over 400 war related documentaries, there's bound to be something there for you as a historical wargamer. I am currently enjoying the Battlefield series again, free to watch on demand. Brilliant.
It's got me itching to play another Flames of War game, can't wait.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flames of War - Battle Report - newbies!

Well as promised in the prior blogpost, I offer you a Flames of War Battle report. Brett Mudgway and myself managed a trial learning game tonight, using forces of approx. 800 points each. Please bear in mind, we are both newbies and possibly using older books/sourcebooks which may not be 'correct' by current standards, but we got a feel for the rules, both enjoyed it, and look forward to more games :-)

Since I don't have many 15mm buildings suitable we had planned to play a Sicily type game using Brett's 15mm African adobe buildings, but these had been packed away somewhere in Brett's 'gaming bunker', and could not be quickly located so we made do with a few left over Warmaster buildings I had from many moons ago.

And thus a Normandy style landscape appeared before us...

I took a force themed on KampGruppe Meyer; 352 Inf Div, 916 Grenadier regiment, Fusilier Abteilung. This force was made up from veterans of the Eastern front and as such are rated 'Confident Veteran'.

I had:
  • HQ upgraded to PanzerKnacker + PanzerShrek Team + 2 x 8cm G42 stummelwerfer mortars
  • (Grenadier platoon (3 squads) + Command SMG Panzerknacker) x 2
  • StuG G platoon of 3 assault guns
Brett took a force that was a bit of mix, he'd taken an Armoured Rifle Company initially taken from an older version of the Desert sourcebook, which I looked at and compared to a similar list I had in the Cobra sourcebook. So it emerged as a bit of a midwar/latewar mixture... Consequently were rated 'Confident Trained'.

He took (roughly)
  • HQ, with towed gun
  • Two full Combat platoons
  • a platoon of 3 GMC halftracks fitted with a 75mm gun (this was from the Desert Midwar list )
  • a platoon of 4 Stuart light tanks
We rolled up scenario and Breakthrough resulted. Since I was an Infantry company facing a mechanised Infantry company, I was the defender, which was as we would have thought, and played it anyway.

Checking through the rules for scenario; Delayed reserves, Prepared positions, Defensive battle, Mobile reserves, I deployed my troops roughly in a diagonal line through centre of board. Grenadier squads to either side with HQ and StuGs on central small hill.

German deployment

Brett came on with HQ + Stuarts behind small wood to left, and combat platoon and 75mms to right. One combat platoon in reserve waiting to come on behind my lines! Grrr!

American deployment

Brett as the attacker got first turn and swung his Stuarts round the woods to his left trying to out flank my grenadiers on my right. His combat platoon opened up on my concealed troops and after a hail of lead, killed one team. He then failed to range in his 75mm Artillery.

In my turn, I decided to keep my grenadiers heads down, hoping they would stay alive longer doing so rather than firing back. My StuGs however fired on the combat platoon as one of its halftracks was clearly visible on the road. The halftrack exploded in a ball of flame, as Brett realised his frontal armour of 1, didn't stand a lot of chance of stopping the 75mm round from the StuGs StuK40 gun. I also managed to call in an artillery strike from my command HQ Stummelwerfers and while not doing any damage, did pin the combat platoon.

Combat platoon mounts up as halftrack burns in background

In the second turn, Brett unpinned the combat platoon and decided to mount them up and try to drive through the woods. The Stuarts continued their end around run, getting right on the flank of the grenadiers this time.

Stuarts outflank grenadiers
The air filled with machine gun fire from the Stuarts but amazingly the grenadiers all survived in their foxholes. This time the 75mm artillery did range in but failed to kill any troops but did pin down the platoon.

In my turn I looked hungrily at the Stuarts, down the barrels of my StuG platoon and measuring the range, found them just within. A groan from Brett... I need to move slightly to get all tanks in firing position, (hull mounted main gun) . I also realised I needed something else over that side of the battlefield and advanced my Panzershrek toward to the right flank.

Needing a 4+ to kill the Stuarts with my StuGs from 3 shots I rolled; 3,3,1. Arrgh! Where's a re-roll when you want one?

In frustration my grenadier platoon on my left fired a couple of teams at the unmounted remains of the combat platoon but the firing pinged off the stone wall they were sheltering behind.

Turn three and Brett asked; what was that rule about about bringing on reserves again? Ok, he got one dice and need a 5 to bring on his reserve platoon. And he rolled... a 5. Damn! His Stuarts raced past the grenadiers in their foxholes heading towards the objectives to my right. The mounted combat platoon edged into the woods, with the last half track bogging down in the difficult terrain. I could see what he was trying to do; get my StuGs to turn to fire one way and present their weaker sides to his other troops. But there was not much I could do about it as my only platoon doing anything was my StuGs... all the others were cowering in their foxholes.

In true John Wayne fashion the American reserve combat platoon roared onto the field of battle and took the objective marker on the hill to my right flank. But they would have to still be holding it at the beginning of their next turn to win.

The Stuarts had seen the Panzershrek team scampering about earlier, and let rip with their machine guns on my command HQ, getting 5 hits and pinning the platoon. The only team that failed his infantry save was the Panzershrek team! Bloody typical! Cue; finger of doom -  'Its YOOOOOOOUUU'!

Panzershrek team gets nailed by the MG fire from the Stuarts
My turn 3, what to do. Time was pressing also... I thought about using my grenadier platoon on my right flank to close assault the Stuarts from the behind, with my trusty panzerknacker, but they failed to unpin from the previous turns 75mm arty fire. The American combat platoon in the woods was going to take forever to emerge, so I pondered moving my grenadiers from the left over to assault the Stuarts from the front but that I was sure would have been suicide, so they put the kettle on and dug out the frankfurters and mustard instead.

It all came down this turn, to my StuGs. Could they redeem themselves from the previous turns complete miss (Ostfront veterans my foot!) Again hull mounted main guns meant they had to turn to engage the 2nd American combat platoon on the hill objective, reducing their firing. Checking the hill , I had to kill 3 halftracks that were on or within 4" of the objective marker, from 3 shots... Drum roll please, build the tension...; a 5,5 and 4. Boom! 3 half tracks brew up nicely!

StuGs take out the halftracks on the hill objective
Checking Morale, that would appear to have broken that combat platoon. So it would now on turn 4 but up to the Stuarts to race forward and claim the objective, but once again they would have then been sitting under the gaze of the StuGs...

As it happened Brett had to call time, as he had to get away.

So we ended the game there. I think technically that would have been a win to me, as Brett's combat platoon was the only one to quit the field.

However, it should be noted that, Brett could have simply come onto the battlefield with his reserve platoon, and just parked on the rear slope of the hill and I would not have been able to see them to fire my StuGs and he would have claimed the objective.

However in true Yankie fashion  he roared on, full of gusto, with plenty of fuel, ammo and chocolate on board ;-)

Good on yer Brett!

So the main thing to come out of this was a very enjoyable game for us both. The rules were got to grips with quite well, though we didn't get to try out the assault phase...
We are both more than happy to play more games.
And since Brett has a huge American force ready painted to go, looks like I'll be putting painting priority to my Germans to try and defend Festung Europa against his invasion!

Early Santa, and the dilemma of unpainted plastic !

Early Santa for me :-) I was pleasantly pleased to see a couple more boxes of goodies waiting on my doorstep when I arrived home yesterday, that I had ordered a little while ago.

First up was a box of Flames of War Typhoons to add to my commando force. These came courtesy of Wayland Games.

I must admit, the recent Remembrance day on 11th November got me thinking about all things WWII again, and I started flicking through my FoW rulebook and supplements again. I have never fully got to grips with the rules having only had a handful of games, widely spaced apart. My last one was probably over a year ago when Simon McBeth offered to show me the ropes over at the Hutt club. So yep I've probably forgotten whatever I learnt back then...

Not wanting my German forces to feel left out [and to give my typhoons something to fire at ;-)], I got some goodies for them too, from Mealstromgames; SdKfz 251/D and Panzer IV's from the Plastic Soldier Company. I've read good reviews of these new plastic kits and they are great value for money I think compared to the Resin/Metal style of figures.

I decided to add the half-tracks to my German forces to convert my Festungskompanie to Panzergrenadiers, giving me a bit more bang for your buck, with the troops I already have painted up. I also ordered the Panzergrenadier command pack and a bunch of Panzerfausts and Panzershreks to effect this change. Again from Wayland games, just awaiting delivery.

You just never can have enough Panzer support! ;-)

I have also managed to find a local player, or at least someone who has a force ready (bought second hand but as yet untried) who's willing to learn the rules with me, so it will be the blind leading the blind no doubt! Brett is bringing his Yanks over tonight, and I will be holding them off as best I can with my plucky German defenders. The only 15mm buildings we currently have are Bretts African style adobe buildings, so we figured we will use them in a Sicily type scenario... I'll try and take a few pics and write a report afterwards.

Along with the Maelstromgames order also came 3 boxes of WargamesFactory WSS cavalry.

I now have enough WSS troops to create an army for Black Powder with 6 units of 24 infantry, and 3 units of cavalry, so three brigades of 3 units. I'll try and add some infantry guns too and that will complete the set up.

Now of course all this plastic WSS is going to take me an age to assemble and paint before its ready for use, at my glacial painting rate.

So what I thought, and troubled me a little as it is most definitely NOT in the finest traditions of the Kapiti Fusiliers, is to simply assemble and temporarily (blu-tac) base it all, and at least then I can get a game with it, and paint it up as and when I get a chance to do a unit.

The same goes for my back log of Perry ACW and Perry Napoleonic Brits, all destined for Black Powder gaming.

It would mean any Battle Report pictures are liable to full of drab unpainted grey plastic, so I apologise in advance if this occurs.

But at least I'll get to get some games in :-)

So what's your thoughts, do you mind playing with unpainted figures? Is it OK generally, or complete anathema!? Or somewhere in between? ;-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hail Caesar Army Lists - Biblical and Classical

I have just received my copy of the Hail Caesar army lists book. I have only really had a quick glance through, but did have a good look at the Early Germans list, as I will now hopefully be able to blow the dust off my Foundry Ancient Germans I painted up oh so long ago for WAB.

My only slight angst is that, whilst this army was certainly a good and sizeable force for WAB, I now find myself realizing the dilemma that in Hail Caesar, for the Early Germans, a division is a minimum of 4 units, and looking at what I have, I have about one to one and half divisions, so if I am going to get these troops back on the table I am going to have to add to them or ally them up with some other troops.

But there again, that is perhaps one of the strengths of Hail Caesar, its ability to draw several players together for an all mighty shin-dig!

I am also looking forward to redoing their bases, and getting rid of the WAB style movement trays of single figures, onto multiple bases. Though I'll probably keep the skirmishers on singles, as this will also allow the chance to do some seperate skirmish style gaming with these troops if that ever comes up...

So who do I choose to ally them with? Well I do still have a bunch of Foundry EIR Romans I got off ebay many years ago that have never seen a lick of paint. Also a pile of Foundry Celts, that I was going to trademe off a little while back that didn't sell, maybe thats why they didnt sell, fate has something else in store for them...

Another use of this book may be to help get a handle on army list development for the Hail Sauron group, converting War of the Rings army lists across to Hail Caesar format, though I may well have to wait for a further supplement that more closely deals with dark-age and medieval troops...
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