You ever get half way into a large project and realize that it would have been a lot wiser to split it up into two or three smaller projects? I'm there right now. I've committed the all too common offense of having too much work in progress (WIP) on my painting table at one time. Here you can see seven (7) different German WWII vehicles, a German AA gun, and four French Napoleonic artillery pieces with artillerists and crews for all of them. In truth, doing all these WWII vehicles at once has afforded me a large amount of economy of scale. The problem is it also means no completed models have been posted to this blog in quite a while.
When they do get finished, there will be a smorgasbord of goodies to post. In hindsight, I probably should have finished the French artillery before starting this batch of armor. I also would have been better served splitting the armor up into two or three smaller batches. I'll keep plugging away at it. I'm pretty excited about some of the vehicles in this next batch as there are a couple of conversions in it including one vehicle conversion that uses magnets to be able to transform into two different AFVs. For the curious, in the group of vehicles are a Kubelwagon, an RSO, an RSO Pak-40, an SdKfz 250 half track, a Flakpanzer 38 (t), a Panzer II Luchs, a Stug IIIg and a Wirbelwind.
The scenario is set in a hypothetical area of modern day Africa, with a French and local Fracno-loyal Africans and local African insurgents are fighting for control of a small village, expected to be the location of a soon to crash-land Kittyhawk observation plane. The game uses Mark's own modifications to Bolt Action for the modern period, and they work quite nicely.
As the insurgents, were Warren and Paul. On our side, were Phil, Dave and myself. I'd played the scenario once before so I gave Phil and Dave first pick of the forces. Dave picked an African force with a Mortar, HMG Jeep and MMG squad, plus infantry. Phil selected an African force with a Helicopter, an HMG Jeep and plenty of infantry squads. That left me with the smaller, elite French force with a wheeled armored car and some smaller, but elite infantry squads.
The game went well. Warren embraced the insurgent role and immediately made a suicide attack with an insurgent with an AK-47 riding a civilian motorcycle. The attack destroyed Dave's HMG Jeep and Warren's insurgent was then immediately killed. This is the stuff out of a bad B-movie, but we all had great fun with it, particularly Warren. To the left you can see the burning wreck of Dave's jeep.
The game progressed normally until the Kittyhawk finally crashed on the table. This is a randomized location, but it ended up smack dab in the middle of the road near the compound Dave's Africans controlled and a hill my French occupied. Warren's Command team and sniper were opposite Dave. Warren made the first move to capture the downed plane with one of his depleted squads. I counter-attacked with a fresh French squad and took out Warren's insurgents. I followed up by bringing a second squad out in front of the plane to insure that at least one of my squads could hold the objective.
Warren's sniper was a terror in this game, taking out my sniper team and several other Franco-allied figures, but in the end the lone sniper and small command team weren't sufficient to push my French off the plane. Good game. Well played by all and quite fun. Warren's play was particularly enjoyable since he added immensely to the flavor of the game.
The other two games played were Charlie running a Napoleonic game with his rules, Napoleon's Rules of War and Early running a French and Indian skirmish game using 'Bloody Tomahawks' rules.
After recently selling off some 28mm ACW I wasn't using, I decided to use some of the money earned doing so to buy some more painted 28mm WWII German Infantry. This is two units purchased from Veteran Wargames Shop on Ebay. They offer many different combinations of figures, this is their G005 and G007 squads. Every squad has a different mix of figures. I like this combination for it's selection of officers, MG 34/42 squad and a large number of rifle-armed infantry.
Veteran gives a good level of quality for the price you pay if you watch for their sales, or only bid the minimum bid on their auctions. If you're careful you can get these for $5.00 a figure. That's quite a deal considering the Artisan lead plus shipping to the USA costs almost $2.00 a figure. Veteran does a GREAT job on the faces and the uniforms have a two-tone shaded paint job. Nicer than I'd do for myself! The figures also come nicely based as shown.
Now the catch, because there always is one. Gun barrels come in straight black primer. Also the helmets and gas mask cases are painted in German grey, but only with a haphazard quick dry brush. The ammunition on the MG-34 is also only painted silver, not brass which would be the predominant color. The latter two items are probably forgivable for most players, but the first is not. The good news is since the figures are black primed, fixing these items is very quick. The lot in the photo took me about 15 minutes in total to re-paint the helmets and gas mask cases, give the guns a quick dry brush of gunmetal and hit the MG's ammo strip with some brass color. It's so little work I'm not even willing to call the effort a re-basing. I've had to do more after a game to fix damaged figures!
This lot is 16 figures that will go on the 'purchased 28mm painted' list. I'm already behind the eight ball for my pre-painted to self-painted ratio for 2017. Next up on the painting table is a large batch of 28mm German armor, including TWO conversions.
This was my last game of 2016. Marc D. and Gordon from Adler Hobby wanted to give Iron Cross another go and they invited me up to Gordon's store to join them. While we were setting up Bob showed up and helped Mark with the first few turns of the game until he had to leave. For more photos, and a summary from the French side of the table, you can read Mark's post about this game on his blog.
Mark and I matched up mirror armies to each other, Free French for Bob and Mark and Germas for Gordon and I. Each force consisted of a CinC, four infantry detachments, a medium machine gun, a flame-thrower team, a mortar, an anti-tank gun, an SP anti-tank gun (Marder III for me, GMC half track with AT gun for Mark), a recon armor piece (Stuart for Mark, SdKfz 222 for me) and a medium tank each (Mark's Grant was used but we used Serman factors for it and I used a Panzer IV). We wanted to load up on vehicles and see how that worked with AT guns and mortars to try out all the rules.
This second time through, I believe we got almost all the rules right. The game was fun and played fast even with two new players in the mix. We learned that the MMGs were very powerful when they hit with all of their dice, and that anti-tank fire, while it can be very devastating, can also outright miss. Mortars are great when they hit and feel right, with multiple activations making them more likely to hit and more effective when they do. Flamethrowers seemed just right as well being good against enemies in cover but vulnerable to incoming fire. Even with three vehicles on the table for each side, I don't believe the vehicles unblananced the game. We equipped our infantry teams with bazookas and panzerfausts, and when infantry advanced on un-supported tanks, the tanks were in trouble and had to withdraw or could have been destroyed. Armor supported with infantry seemed to work nicely.
The game started off with Mark's MG team wiping out one of our infantry detachments and our Mortar pinning the MG in return. In the following turns Bob pressed our right flank with an infantry team trying to capture the tall building on the hill. Gordon's AT gun blew up the Grant which shook up the nearby infantry and mortar team. The advancing team reached the tall building, but then got blown away by combined 222 MG fire and infantry fire. Likewise my MMG took out Mark's MMG in a single turn of sustained MG on MG action. My Marder III lived a charmed life bouncing a side shot from the Stuart and then withdrew behind the hill not wanting to press its luck.
On the other Flank Bob's infantry team swept around the ruined building and took out our flame-thrower team at the end of a turn when the French had activation tokens left and we had spent all of ours. The following turn our Panzer IV reacted to this advance and with the help of our lone infantry detachment on that flank, held long enough for us to call time as Mark had to leave.
These are simple, fun, fast-play rules. While they cover almost everything you need, we found one glaring omission. The rules cover movement through terrain, but don't seem to have any line-of-sight rules in them. For this game we used the Bolt Action rule for area terrain - you can see into but not through it. This helped, but still seemed lacking when shooting through multiple pieces of linear terrain. I think using Bolt Action's area terrain rule and additionally using Chain of Command's linear terrain rule will make it 'just right'.
One can't have a Freya limber radar without a portable power source for it to run off of now can they? There is one model manufacturer that offers this kit in 1:48 scale, which would have been quite sufficient, but I was unwilling to pay the cost plus the shipping from eastern Europe for it as it would have totaled well over $50.00. Instead, I chose to scratch built it myself. As a terrain piece I took some liberties and chose to model just the important stuff. I only had two matching wheels in my spares box (thanks to my friend Gordon for those) so I left off the spare tire over the tongue of the trailer. Some day if I can find a matching wheel maybe I'll add it on. The entire trailer is scratch built from polystyrene sheet and model sprue with the exception of the wheels and the towing eye on the tongue, both of which are lead. The power terminals were scratch built up from styrene stick stock and stretched sprue.
Here's a photo of an Sd.Ah.24 powering a German radio truck. For obvious reasons I chose to model the generator with the doors closed. I couldn't find any supporting photos for the right side of the trailer, so I went with the assumption that a single larger door was there to allow maintenance of the motor. I also took some liberties in making the attached tool boxes near the wheel wells uniform in size. It was just easier that way.
I'm counting this as my first completed item of 2017, putting my 'terrain/misc' total at one. I will be posting other items this year that I started in 2016, but this one I started yesterday afternoon and finished this afternoon. A nice quick project to get my first completion of the year in the books. Aww crud, now I need to build that radio truck......
We played this game a few days ago, but with so much going on over the holiday break, I'm a bit behind in posting everything. This was a battle between Charlie (Levant) and Mike (Greece). Mike had his allies, Bob an I along with his 2iC, Earl helping him on his side, but this night Charlie was alone. It reminded me a bit of the chess master in the park playing several tables at once.
Like the chess master, this game was a showcase of Charlie imposing his will on us. On my flank he out-maneuvered my less nimble spear phalanx. In the middle he weathered the charges of Earl's phalanx, and against both of our warrior wings he got the better of the exchanges. We had to call the game due to time, but even at that Charlie ended up losing only one army point worth of troops in the campaign to Mike's three. Not bad considering Charlie was fighting out-numbered 8-10 to start the game. Well played Charlie.
2016 was another great year with a lot of my hobby time focused on Wargaming and less time spent on my R/C model airplane and woodworking hobbies. All three compete for my free time and I let my passions dictate which I focus on. This was definitely a great Wargaming year. The biggest 'bounty' of the year was the games. Including the two games I haven't posted yet, I played in 26 games this year. That's down two from last year's total of 28, but still an amazing amount of gaming.
The year started off with a bang with me doing a majority of this year's painting in the winter and spring months. All of my painting and purchases were in 28mm scale with totals all improved from last year. I painted 189 28mm figures (up from last year's 176). Purchased 28mm painted figures only totaled 38 this year, so I've done very well with the painted/purchased ratio! Subject matter focused about 2/3rds on ancients early in the year and the balance WWII towards the end of the year. My favorite unit of the year hands down is the Samnite colorful legion shown to the left. I'm quite satisfied with the quality of everything I painted this year, which is not always the case! I also completed nine WWII vehicles, seven British and two German. With local interest in the Iron Cross rules building, I expect a flurry of WWII painting and gaming activity to dominate the winter months this year.
Terrain and re-basing efforts this year were modest with only 20 stands re-based and only a single terrain piece created. The one terrain piece is one I'm very excited about, a WWII German Freya Limber Radar array. This is a project that will be continued and eventually end up being a portion of a larger objective for the tabletop. On the drawing board is a generator for it, a concrete protective surround, and probably a dedicated radio bunker. I hope to include the radio antenna shown in this photo, which was a gift, scratch-built by my uncle.
In the 'regrets' column this year was a slow-down in my progress on my computer-moderated wargaming rules, the Electronic Brigadier. I hosted only three games using my rules this year, including one at Otto Schmidt's non-conventional convention, The Weekend, and one at Huzzah! 2016. The one game I had scheduled to run at our club ended up not going off due to low attendance that month. I've come to the point where I'm very happy with how the rules work for AWI, and now am preparing to enter what I expect will be the most challenging work on the rules - Napoleonics. Possibly my satisfaction with the AWI period caused a bit of a period where I needed to catch my breath on the project after quite a sustained effort for almost 18 months. Standing in my way of continuing to work on the Napoleonic tuning is amassing enough figures to start doing some solitaire play and then eventually enough to run some play test games. The latter is less of an issue, since the club, and most of my play testers have significant collections that match mine, thanks to us all basing for Charlie's excellent Napoleon's Rules of War rules. Also on the slate is possibly allowing some friends access to the system to run their own AWI games in order to test the game master features a bit.
For 2017 (back to the future, get it?) my hopes are to continue with the current momentum painting 28mm WWII figures and vehicles to hopefully play some fun WWII games with Iron Cross. My other big goal will be to continue hosting Electronic Brigadier games at local conventions, my club's game nights, and hopefully some Napoleonic play tests in my basement. This second goal will most likely mean more Napoleonic figures on the painting table and purchased.
I'd like to close by wishing everyone a Happy New Year with hopes that 2017 will be a year of happiness with much gaming, lucky dice rolls and productivity at the painting table.
Two recently finished German AFVs. A Panther and a Marder III Ausf. M. Both are Warlord models in resin. Paint is Vallejo dunkelgelb airbrush primer. Brown and green camouflage are Tamiya XF-10 and XF-61 thinned with alcohol. I gave the cammo a good filter of thinned dunkelgelb and then the whole model got a sepia detail wash after painting the details and applying decals. Final dusting is with Mig European dust.
It's been a busy holiday break. I'll be doing back-to-back posts over the next few days to catch up with all the modeling and gaming that I've crammed into this week break from work.