Saturday, August 25, 2012

Prussians - GASLIGHT / Zendarians - Empire of the Dead

Well they have taken a little while, and their painting has been interrupted by several FoW items, but they are now finally done; my VSF Prussians, for GASLIGHT. And a wonderful surprise was finding they are also perfect for depicting the Zendarian Gentleman's club for Empire of the Dead. Two games with one set of models - more bang for your buck, can't be bad I say!

For those who missed the earlier WIP post, they are 28mm Paroom Station figures from BrigadeGames.

20 trooper models in a good advance attack pose (in 5 subtle variants) that will suit the skirmish nature of these games very well. 3 Officers that will no doubt be various Hauptmanns, Feldwebels and what have you (must research German military ranks!) and two Extraordinary Prussian officers. No doubt perhaps an Oberst and Major. I'll have to name them of course... I can see Ottos, vons, Ludwigs and all sorts of other Germanic name combos coming up...

I must admit I painted them as quick as I could, and skimped on a few details, I didn't bother doing eyes on the troopers, nor did I do a top highlight, but I think they have turned out well enough for the tabletop. The flesh tone appears a bit yellowy in the pics but they are fine to the naked eye, I think this is a lighting effect during photography.

Please excuse the odd tuft of static grass clinging to the models, this will fall off with time.

Next up, a WIP; a fiendishly nasty Maxim heavy machinegun. Not terribly steampunk in appearance but hopefully quite terribly deadly to its targets none the less ol' boy! ;-)

Again Paroom station from Brigadegames.

Right, wheres that Colonel O'Truth got his redcoats hiding? Ah yes that tropical place Ah-Pul Sh'Napps, somewhere on the Dark Continent, we'll find 'em and giving a sound Prussian thrashing!

Friday, August 24, 2012

20 Questions... For Ray & Fran

I 'ummed and arred' over doing this quiz thingy... Some of it is already on my Blogger profile anyway so no surprises for those who've checked it out, perhaps...

There's also the risk of giving an answer to question 11 that will probably get me into more bother on the domestic front than its worth...

Trouble with these kind of things, is many of my answers would vary, depending on the mood I am in or what has recently inspired or motivated me... (no I'm not schizophrenic, who said that, the other Scott, Oh OK).... so all answers are likely to be couched with 'ifs, buts and maybes'...

For what its worth... here goes...

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?

Originally it would have been anything Dark Age/Medieval & Fantasy LOTR - I love the in your face hack and slash of it all, and the MiddleEarth setting really floats my boat.... Recently WWII has had most of my attention, and its hard not to watch docs about that guy with the moustache...

2. Next period, money no object? 

I generally don't find money an issue, especially with the amount of good quality plastics available. Its more an issue of time to get it all painted ! But if you want a definitive answer - I look forward to plonking down on the table a completed 28mm British Napoleonic Army.

3. Favourite 5 films? 

Oh heck where to start... there's so many and again mood dependant.

1. Lord of the Rings trilogy - this was a stand out cinematic moment for me, that I doubt will ever be beaten for experience. (perhaps by the Hobbit?)

2. Favourite War - a) WWII - Saving Private Ryan - close seconds; A Bridge too Far, Cross of Iron.
                              b) other periods - Braveheart, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven all notable too.
                              c) Classics - Zulu, Waterloo

3. Favourite SciFi - Aliens II. Raised the horror of the first movie to a battle setting and frantic pace has you on edge of your seat till the end

4. Favourite Comedy - Pink Panther series, especially 'Strikes Again'. 'Dogma' cracks me up too, and I had a recent laugh out loud moment watching 'The Guard' on the plane home from Fiji, goodness knows what the poor lass sitting beside me thought of it all... Oh, mustn't forget Fish called Wanda! Wonderful.

5. Favourite Horror - Dracula (Gary Oldman) - Stellar performance, and brought a classic story up with a modern production version retelling of the tale.

4. Favourite 5 TV series? 

Generally I am not one to sit and watch TV. These days where I compete with the wife and kids for TV time, I put on SKYs History Channel. Some shows I have enjoyed in the past:

1. Black Adder - always enjoyable in all its forms, and has been fun to share with my young son thanks to having it on DVD.

2. Band Of Brothers - Really enjoyed this, wish they'd do a British side of the story. I'd love to see the action around Villers Bocage with Wittmann!

3. I used to quite enjoy Star Trek Next Generation, mostly for a certain counsellor... The stories weren't bad either. I gave up on Star Trek with Voyager (couldn't stand the female Captain) and Deep Space 9 was just like 'Coronation Street in space', pah!

4. M*A*S*H - for laughs...

5. Kenny Everetts TV show on the Beeb... wonderful viewing for a teenager ;-)

5. Favourite book and author? 

Again, Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Just for the sheer scope of the tale, and epic battle of good verses evil, with little or no grey areas. Orcs are bad - simple!
I also love Terry Pratchett's DiskWorld.
And as a standout solitary book that always has me laughing no matter how many times I pick it up, Good Omens, by Pratchett & Gaiman.

6. Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!

To be honest I am not scholarly enough to really pick them apart. They have been so many greats throughout history both modern and ancient.
Ancients - Probably Alexander, as he conquered such a large area. But I have a tough time reconciling the alleged homosexuality (that's a very odd thing to have in a military man!)
Big gap then to the Duke of Marlbrough, at Blenheim.
After that, Boney or Wellington? Boney gets a good rep, but Wellington beat him so who's better?
WWII; Rommel had a great rep as a battlefield commander, but he has come under criticism too. There were other good German commanders who may have been able to standout more had not Hitler kept meddling...
I don't rate Monty - he only won if he massively outnumbered his opponent and had all his logistics in order too, and as for taking Caen on d-day +1 or whatever, ha! He only got it when he'd flattened it with bombers and killed untold french civilians doing so...
I think my choice has to be - Patton. Just for being ballsy, getting the job done with his no nonsense approach.

7. Favourite Wargames rules? 

Easy - Black Powder/Hail Caesar, hands down.
WWII - Flames of War.
GASLIGHT & Empire of the Dead look a lot of fun too
LOTR SBG & Legends of the High Seas for fun skirmishing.

8. Favourite Sport and team?
Despite being a Brit, I've never enjoyed the traditional sports; soccer, cricket, nor rugby now I'm in NZ. As a kid my first foreign holiday was to the USA, and first major city visited was Miami. When channel 4 started showing NFL with Nicky Horne, I was already into American Football, from my dads early influence (he loved the 10 minutes we got of the superbowl each year on Grandstand - remember that?)
So that has been it ever since; American Football (NFL) 'Gridiron' - Miami Dolphins
I love the tactical set piece plays with a clear structured offense and defense (this is bound to appeal to wargamer), combined with the amazing athleticism of the star players. 

9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?

I would head back to biblical times, perhaps be a fly on the wall to Moses, and just see if the head of God did poke through the clouds and talk to him. Just to see if he exists, or have millions of people been kidding themselves for last 2000+ years as I suspect!

 10. Last meal on Death Row? 

Assuming I wasn't so panicked into being unable to eat...

Start with a tower of alternating pieces of black-pudding and bacon drizzled over with a honey mustard sauce. Followed by a well done Porterhouse steak with all the trimmings, a good glass bottle of red wine,  and a classic English pud; something like sticky toffee pudding and custard. Cheeseboard, with a good blue cheese, and tawny port.

Then I'll probably barf all over the guard... ;-)

11. Fantasy relationship and why?

Oh heck, I'm going to pay for it, if a certain person reads this. I live with the proverbial 'green monster', though she assures me she is not so bad these days...

OK, well I always prefer the 'dusky maidens' over the blonde bombshells... and this is a Fantasy, so I guess I have to pick a suitable actress. There are several that catch the eye, but I think the one that perhaps stands out is, Rosario Dawson. Pretty face and nice figure. What more can I say...

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you? 

Aw, that's a tough one... I have been likened to Val Kilmer and Daniel Day Louis in the past, by friends, when I was younger, fitter and had more hair, though I never saw the connection myself!

These days it would have to be a middle-aged grumpy - I'll let you offer suggestions

13. Favourite Comic Superhero? 

I must admit I have never really been big on the whole superhero thing... I suppose the recent incarnation of Batman with Christian Bale was pretty cool, and I found Wolverine pretty cool too in  X-men.

14. Favourite Military quote?

I have already been beaten to the punch for this one by Fran, but it has to be:

The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” ; Patton - wonderfully done by George C Scott, in the movie, Patton.

Another one I found rather amusing was the banter from the film Waterloo; Cannons go boom and Wellington's General says, "My God Sir, I've lost my leg!" , to which Wellington replied "My God Sir, so you have!" This probably doesn't count as a quote, but its a memorable piece of movie theatre...

15. Historical destination to visit?

To be honest, any European castle. They're all amazing, and they're the only things I miss since moving to New Zealand. 

16. Biggest Wargaming regret? 

This is a tough one to answer, but it would probably be how much money I wasted on GW games and products, especially 40K, where they endlessly changed the rules and codex's, and like a mug I lapped it up and bought the next incarnation, consigning tons of models to the scrap heap. And they're still doing it. It amazes me people still buy and their stuff and play their games now as there's so many better competitors and games out there!

17. Favourite Fantasy job?

Anything where I can go and sack bureaucrats - those people who sit happily in their ivory towers making rules for the rest of us. Get a proper job, at 'the coal face', before you make up any of your stupid rules. Oh and if that includes shooting auditors, then so much the better!

18. Favourite Song, Top 5?

Oh heck this is tough too. I have quite an eclectic music collection, enjoying pop, rock, heavy rock, heavy metal, blues, classical, all depending on the mood.... What I can't stand is a lot modern stuff like Rap, hip hop, stuff like that, not a fan of thrash metal either, or jazz... Some of the best tracks I have found are often those that perhaps go a bit unnoticed from albums, especially the 'soft rock ballads' performed by some of the heavy rock, heavy metal bands... I'll offer you a few of those, and other stuff I like:

1. WASP - Hold on to my heart

2. Whitesnake - Is this love?

3. KISS - Who wants to be lonely

4. ZZ Top - La Grange

5. Ozzy Osbourne - So Tired

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?

I'd have to say hanging on for a win, 'by my bleeding fingernails', in a recent game from my CTA FoW tournament, against Russell Briant's T34/85 horde in the Cauldron mission. In checking out the army lists before the tournament started, his was the one I dreaded getting drawn against, and didn't I damn well get it in the worst mission too! 

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?

Everything, I am the proverbial Grumpy old 'middle-aged' man! And a pessimist too!
Whats currently annoying me the most...Captcha on blog comments - please turn it off!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

German Heavy Mortar platoon - FoW

In the run up to CTA this year, I got myself in quite a frenzy of indecision about what army list to take to the event. It's tough trying to come up with the best list that can deal with all possible situations and foes!

 I thought I had it sorted, then with a week or so to go, a last minute panic change had me ripping open a blister pack to get it done in time for the event!

 As it happened after getting it half done, I changed my mind again and took a different list, that I had everything ready for.

But no matter, I finished the platoon off anyway; 12cm Heavy Mortars for my Wehrmacht forces. No doubt they will come in useful.

The reason I wanted to take them, was that whilst my Nebelwerfers are useful cheap artillery, they haven't got the greatest punch in the world, and I got frustrated at hitting things but not killing them with the Nebs. The Heavy Mortars have nearly as a good range, as the Nebs, but a bit of a stronger hit. The downside is they don't have the smoke bombardment option...

12cm Heavy mortar platoon


Heavy mortar team

Command SMG team
They will be a useful platoon no doubt, and useable throughout the war periods.

I look forward to trying them out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

FoW at Call to Arms, Wellington.

I was going to do a full post tourney report, but to be honest I am mentally buggered, so here's some pics for you to enjoy, mostly from the 'beauty pagent' ...

My Lehr Panzergrenadiers

Wargamers tottie , as objective markers!

Aly Morrison, the Perrys and me.

Aly Morrison and the Perrys had been visiting with Peter Jackson with a view to work on the new models for the Hobbit movie. The guys came along to the tourney for a look. Great to see them there, even though I don't think there was any Lord of the Rings gaming going on...

Game 1 : 'Losing Draw' vs Ken Camel's American Rifles in Encounter, 2-3.

Game 2 : Win vs Sam Page's British Armour in No Retreat, 4-3

Game 3 : Win vs Russell Briant's Soviet Tank horde in Cauldron, 4-3

Game 4 : 'Winning Draw' vs Bryan Thomson's British Mechanised in Fair Fight, 2-1

Game 5 : Loss to Benjamin Lindsay's Panzergrenadiers in Fighting Withdrawal, 1-6.

Final points 13 scored.

What did I learn?

In Mobile missions like Encounter and Fair Fight, I can play a fairly tight game, generally defending reasonably well, but struggle to break out and attack in these missions, especially in the face of roaming armour or AT with decent lines of fire...

Despite the speed and manoeuvrability of this force, I rarely get it across the table in one piece, invariably the half tracks get blown to pieces half way across the board, with bodies spilling out all over the place.
That knacks the whole attack and weakens me in the defensive, then, potentially resulting in a big loss...

Consequently I now play these missions defensively...

I can defend fairly well, dug in infantry with AT weapons are tough to shift backed up by the Panthers, but Cauldron is horrible, especially with 20 + T34s coming at you from all directions. It was a miracle I hung on to win this game.

Its the attacking missions I struggle to get consistent results... sometimes I can get it right, other times it just turns to custard.

The last game against Ben was just awful. (Just to clarify, I don't mean anything negative against Ben here who played a good sporting game, rather more my awful performance!) The mission forces Ben to cover the width of the board... so I load one side with everything. Greater numbers should work right???

I even get across the board OK, recce forcing his ambush a long way away (which still claimed a panther in the rear), and my AA dealing with aircraft. I am across the board in two turns, 2" away from his dug in line of panzergrenadiers, facing him down with 4 panthers, 10 half tracks and 2 mobile AA half tracks and 3 recce motorcycles, my nebs are still working and I am now too close to his troops for his aircraft to be effective... Sounds good so far...????

 I pin him down with neb fire after lifting gone to ground with Recce, and chance my arm with a mounted assault, to the flank end of his line... Boom ... despite pinning him down, a panzerfaust from his CO or 2iC hit and the 'pinned MG fire' blasts them to pieces too forcing back the assault... I am now left with my arse hanging out...

I had thought about waiting a turn and dismounting half the grenadiers thus being able to assault with more teams, but was concerned Ben would just open up and mow them down with MG fire in his subsequent turn...

I fought on over the next few turns and eventually captured the end objective but had taken crippling loses, and with time running out I went for an all or nothing final go at the centre objective with the two remaining Panthers... Again I pin with the nebs, and still lose a Panther on the way in to a panzerfaust, my last Panther makes the assault and rolls a 1... Ben motivates against tank terror and the panzerfaust sees to the last Panther... F@#K!

Ben starts his next turn and pulls the objective out from under my feet that I had just captured, as I knew he would.

Game over...

Now if I had done this on the other end of the board, Ben wouldn't have been able to pull that objective, but it looked a much more difficult approach to me, and I had hoped I could force the issue early with greater numbers on the easier looking flank... it was not to be...

Ah well...

I REALLY need to learn how best to build up an assault with these armoured Half Tracks...

I came 25th of 28 players, I think...

The worst of it is... I take forever to 'come down' after one of these events, mulling over everything that happened and trying to figure out what I should have done...this tense state of mind, results in lets just say, a short fuse, and a resulting degree of 'domestic disharmoney'...

I have always been more a painter, than a clever gamer, and I am just not sure I am cut out to be a tournament player... especially as I'll probably be sleeping on the sofa tonight! ;-)

Back to the paint brushes... at least they can't roll a 6 against me!

[Update, another minor thing I just noticed - I forgot to take the infantry teams for the dismount option for the recce motorcycles. I don't think I would have used them this way, though it may have given me another small dimension somewhere to do a little mischief... in 4th game against Bryan, they were awful close to getting round onto his 25pdrs holding an objective...]

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Empire of the Dead - arrives!

Well its been a while, but several weeks after placing my order, my Empire of the Dead stuff arrived. I ordered the Rule book and two factions; the Gentlemen adventurers and the Vampires, and I also got a bonus figure of Professor Erazmus.

There have been several reviews already on the web so I wont repeat them here, other than to say I am very pleased with initial look of the book and rules, and can't wait to give them a whirl and get the figures painted.

And of course start an odyssey of terrain making... Glad I ordered the Rendra Plastic Gravestones some months ago...

Things have been a little frantic here of late... With Call to Arms and the FoW tournament one week away, I've had a last minute army list choice panic, and rehashed the list several times over and start painting a new platoon thinking I was going to need them.... then changed my mind again and now don't need them, but they're now half done on the painting desk, so I may as well finish them off...

The VSF Prussians are very nearly done, and once I get CTA out of the way, I'll get them finished and have a look at opening these EOTD figure packs. Can't wait...

Thursday, August 09, 2012

WWII - 28mm temptation... Bolt Action!

Warlord Games, who have released the great series of mass battle period wargames rules; Hail Caesar, Pike and Shotte and Black Powder, have been steadily releasing 28mm goodies for WWII over sometime now...

And now it appears a set of rules are about to surface..., if they havent already? Bolt Action, written I believe by a certain Mr Priestley.

This fine fellow, has certainly been known to turn out a decent set of rules or two... and I await some web feedback and reviews of these rules before diving in.

I have been thoroughly enjoying my Flames of War gaming recently but this would give another twist to the period, and allow me to paint up forces with my favorite scale figures...

A write up here from Rick.

Plus the plastic figures from Warlord, should I hope be a fair and dare I say affordable (Is the Missus listening?) price too!

Monday, August 06, 2012

FoW - FRACAS 2012 Shannon.

Saturday I took part in Bob Pearce's 600 EW FoW tournament, 5 games over a single day, using Free for All and No Retreat  as alternating missions for the five games. It was the first time I have played in a formal FoW tournament....

I'd hoped to take some pictures of the games, but I was concentrating on the games, played at a fast pace, that I didnt have time to take any pictures, and didnt want to hold up my opponents doing so...

Anyway, a quick synopsis:

Companies were small 600 points and didn't have to be typically the minimum 2 platoons... so people were running some interesting things... eg an infantry company with one platoon but adding in tanks and armoured cars and guns etc...

Also the winner per game got a bonus point...

I just went with a normal 'legal' infantry company (not having any EW armoured assets); 2 platoons plus some mortars and an infantry gun platoon, that could deal with thin skinned tanks... I'd hopefully be OK against other infantry, but would struggle as more armoured elements showed up, having little true AT assets of my own...

Game1 vs Tim (a guy from Upper Hutt club I believe who's one of the BF play-testers?) with his small veteran British force; one small infantry platoon and a 25pdr platoon, in Free for All.

Lots of concealing terrain...

Basically I ran over Tim with my two infantry platoons... one attacked his infantry at one end of the board, my assault didn't go in very well but tied him up, he counter attacked but wiffed his dice, leaving that way fairly open, but my main assault against his gun platoon rocked and that was it.
7 - 1 to me...

Game2 vs Andrew Stanton in No retreat. He ran a Polish 'mixed' company (I cant recall whether it was infantry or armoured) ... I got to defend... He also had a funky flank ambush infantry platoon that could come on if it rolled a six, which he did on the first turn! He was right on top of me...

I managed to hold on and my reserves arrived in first turn to fight off this flanking force... I blunted his tank assault with my infantry guns, again long enough to slow his attack on the objective. And when his assault happened I beat it off.... Time was called. I thought I'd lost the game overall, as although I had hung on and he hadn't claimed an objective, he had killed one of my platoons whilst I had killed none of his. But it turned out defender auto wins if the attacker doesn't get an objective... so I got a win.
6 - 2 to me...

Game3 vs Simon Mcbeth and his British tank force with lorried portee guns, universal carriers and light tanks, in Free for All.

I defended gamely and hung on as best I could, I surprised him with mortars knocking out half his portee guns... I killed half his UC's as they assaulted me and hung on.

I knocked out some light tanks with AT rifle team and infantry gun on other flank...

But I was just holding on... I knew I couldn't stop him and no way I could get to attack my objective in his half of board, so I just tried to kill a platoon to get a point, which I did when I assaulted and killed his damaged tank platoon. Then he got the objective...
2 - 6 against... honestly I expected to lose this no matter what, as I knew my force would struggle against tanks... plus Simon is a very talented player anyway...

Game4 vs Damien (one of the guys from the Hutt club) with his French infantry, plus AT guns, Armoured cars and portee guns, in No Retreat.

Having learned from the 2nd game that as the defender all I have to do is hold on for a win, I had high hopes for this game... but despite Damien having a couple of armoured things, he was still classed as an infantry co. so we had to roll off to see who was the attacker, and didnt I damn well roll a 6... so I had to attack...

At first glance it looked good. I got an objective up the front and saw a way to get my infantry towards it through cover nearly all the way... But things started going wrong...

I realised I had misplaced my artillery template and went off trying to find it from the last game... (it turned out much later Simon had picked it up by mistake) thinking I had just lost a $17 piece of plastic I was a bit rattled, then I couldn't find my counters... concentration was now buggered...

Anyway I got close to the sole defending infantry platoon, but Damiens armoured cars and portees turned up almost immediately and covered the approach to the objective. I knocked one out with an infantry gun, but they got knocked out in turn and my infantry was now getting hit and taking casualties despite hiding behind a hedge about 6" from the objective. One infantry platoon broke, and took my CIC with them trying to keep them on the board... realizing I was down to one infantry platoon with which to attack, time was a factor and if I wasn't near an objective by a certain turn I'd lose anyway, and Damiens armoured cars could easily head me off if I tried to go to the other objective, plus they were now pressuring my mortars, I launched a suicidal death or glory charge, and got predictably murdered...
1- 7 against...

Game5 vs Tom from Upper Hutt club, in Free for All. Tom had a French Tank force led by quite thickly armoured tanks, backed by artillery guns, AT guns and armoured cars.

Again as against Simon in 2nd game, I knew this was going to be tough...

I could dig in and wait to die eventually, or I could try and make an interesting game of it, so I chose the latter...

I left infantry guns covering one objective and mortars on the other... infantry in middle so one could go in either direction at need and one to try and attack.

Tom had placed his artillery on one objective, and AT guns on the other...

I saw a chance against his AT guns as the approach was all through concealing terrain...

I pressed on here and got so far... whilst Tom moved up his armoured cars to head them off and pressed forward with his Tanks towards my infantry guns... these I tried to make life hard for with smoke from the mortars...

With a combination of fire I bailed out 2 of his armoured cars (with mortars and AT rifle I think). Tom failed to remount them, and spread the others out to get more shots on the approaching infantry.

Seeing a chance here, with new assault rules and ' 8" bubble ' I got the infantry up and attacked the bailed armoured cars. Tom countered by throwing in his observer. I managed to kill him and claim the 2 bailed armoured cars. Then I consolidated forward into the building the observer had come from. I was another step nearer the AT gun objective...

Tom now had a decision to make... bring the armoured cars back to cover his objective, or press on towards my mortars. He weighed it up and pushed forward.

His tanks were also now in a position to assault my infantry guns, which they started to do, and he claimed them and the objective.

I had nothing left to kill them really, other than trusting to good luck in an assault with infantry at AT2, and his armoured cars were about to attack my mortars. I was maybe a move away from attacking his AT gun objective...

Realising really the situation was lost I capitulated... I could have battled on throwing infantry teams in to try and contest the objective, which could have kept me in the game longer, by perhaps a turn or two if I managed to keep close to the objective, using moves and storm troopers to get near and then hope his tanks missed in either shooting or assault... which might have given me a slim chance to get to and take the AT gun objective... but it was the last game of the day, I was feeling a bit pooped and I think I'd had my fill of FoW for one day...
1 - 7 against

Total for tournament = 17 points.

Not too bad I hope, most likely in the lower half of the table of 34 players, but I don't think I came last and thus avoided winning the wooden spoon ;-)

And it was great, getting some practice in for CTA in two weeks time, both in getting familiar with the rules, and trying to learn to play quick in the tournament setting. Good to catch up with some of the guys on the circuit I am slowly getting to know and meeting faces I haven't seen before.

Oh, Simon McBeth won best General by quite a margin, as did Bede Bailey for best painted.

Well done to all, especially Bob for organising, and many thanks to my opponents for their sporting gamesmanship, and sorry if I remembered any of the above events different to you and didn't mention anything pertinent...

Looking forward to Call to Arms.

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