I've decided that I've invested so much time and energy in my Flames of War collection that I've come to the decision that I'm most likely never going to use my Spearhead WWII figures again. Sadly I've decided to sell them on Ebay rather than re-base them for Flames of War.
Not quite like the Denzel Washington movie "Training Day", Gordon and I got together yesterday to each try out our late war German forces. Since this was Germany vs. Germany, Flames of War calls it a 'training mission'. I had my Panzerkompanie that I've been working on and Gordon had an Panzerspähkompanie reconnaissance company with swarms and swarms of half tracks and armored cars. As the battle began I smirked at the puny thin-skinned armored cars from the perch high above them in my Panther tanks....
With no fear, Gordon gave my tanks the 'bum rush' and was on me like ugly on an ape right off the bat. I thought, sure I'll just start popping open these tin cans with my 'real' tanks. Then one of his Pumas blew up the first panther. Houston, we have a problem! Gordon contested his objective in my deployment area on Turn two and I was 'feeding in' PANTHERS to keep him from winning the game. Holy crapola Batman. This armored car company he had was serious business.
Over the next 7 or 8 turns we slugged it out with successive incoming waves and constant pressure coming from Gordon's swarm. Gordon was clawing at my soft underbelly and punching me right in the nose at the same time. Eventually he destroyed my entire platoon of Panthers and my rocket launcher battery had 3 of 4 vehicles bailed out. My tiny motorcycle recon unit, sent their cycles to the rear and dug into fox holes immediately and even then were suppressed most of the game. At one point Gordon's Hummel artillery knocked out a second Panther and the remaining one headed for home....the coward. That left me rushing my Wirbelwinds forward to contest the objective to keep from losing the game.
In the end I was just barely able to scrape out a narrow victory thanks to being able to rush Gordon's right flank after catching his 88 battery limbered up. All things considered it was a very close and exciting game. The armored cars gave me more trouble than I expected and almost more than I could handle.
On the day after Battlefront announces their new boxed set with sexy terrained bases and new models, I've finished up painting the vehicle models for my Armoured Rocket Battery using their single-model blister packs. Although the models are finished, the platoon is still a work in progress (WIP) as I still have to paint up the 20 optional 'extra crew' and mount the crew on a terrained base that these Panzerwerfer 42s can sit on. The extra crews allow each model to count as two when calculating the size of the battery. This will allow these four armoured rocket launchers to use a double width bombardment template.
This is a platoon of Tiger I H tanks for my late war German Panzerkompanie. The models are from Forged in Battle and come as a platoon pack of the three tanks shown. Provided are three commanders, but I chose to only use one so I can easily identify my platoon commander. I've also used Battlefront decals on the rear of the turret to number each tank to help me identify each tank's tiger Ace skill.
I like the detail of the Forged in Battle models. It's quite crisp and the resin and metal parts had very little flash. There were some air bubbles in the resin parts, but these were very small. I suppose you could fill them, but I didn't bother. Once painted I didn't find them all that visible.
In a Flames of War Panzerkompanie, Tigers can be used in a platoon of 2,3 or 4 models. I'm not sure buying the full platoon of four tanks is cost effective, but I may use three from time to time so I chose to buy the platoon pack and paint all three of the included tanks in the same scheme. For the cammo pattern I used my airbrush and opted for the classic tiger stripe pattern. If I do a second platoon of these sometime I'll do a different cammo pattern to help distinguish the platoons.
I've painted these up in a three color late-war cammo scheme and added some Silfor foliage to help unify the look of the two different model types. I'm liking the effect enough that I may use it on some Stug G tanks I'll be painting in the future.
For the foliage I was hoping to achieve a look that was something similar to these photos I found on the Internet.
My friend Gordon stopped by today so we could do a bunch of projects on the laser. The primary goal was to engrave the awards for his upcoming Flames of War tournament and Terrain contest at Huzzah! In addition to that we had a few other projects we've been wanting to do for quite a while. Today was a whole day for us to indulge our wargaming ADD and do a few of them.
First up was creating a set of laser-cut terrain bases that would match up with some excellent trees offered by the model railroad acessory company Noch. The thought was to package up some ready-shaped bases to make creating wooded terrain pieces easier for gamers without access to larger tools such as band saws or scroll saws. The package would include two sets of the three cards of bases shown above. This many bases matches up quite nicely to one large (or two small to give variety) package of the Noch trees to make a bunch of woods bases quickly. The set uses larger bases to represent the perimeter of the wooded area with removable trees on smaller bases to allow troops to be placed anywhere in the woods simply by displacing the smaller tree bases as needed. The smaller tree bases would also make storing the wooded sections easier.
Gordon brought some of the Noch trees, and after we designed the bases and cut them on the laser we were able to assemble the bases, paint and flock them all in less than an hour. Qhite nice considering how much terrain it makes. Half of the bases are shown un-flocked below left, and the complete set below right. If you're interested in these bases with trees, contact Adler Hobby and Gordon will be happy to help you out.
While we were waiting for the laser to cut some of the awards Gordon and I worked on a double-wide artillery barrage template. While working on the layout it occurred to me that some dotted lines on it to show the outline of a single template would allow this to be dual use. We also added a sporty reticle and some handy cutouts to help hold it while using it. The cutouts also are labeled to be used as "double time" markers. Nothing is wasted. This one is customized for Gordon (G Dog). I'm still trying to figure out if I'll keep the Flames of War helper text on it or leave it off. Leaving it off is the way I'm leaning since the template can be used for many games in addition to FOW. I'm not sure if people would be interested in buying these. I mostly made them because Gordon and I both needed one.
General Dietrich Von Sauken is they only hero in Flames of War available to a German Panzerkompanie from the Grey Wolf army book. In our league we're going to be playing at several point totals and it's quite probably that with at least one of those being able to spend a mere 65 points on a hero might just be the thing that makes a list work out. Plus Von Sauken comes in a pretty neat SdKfz 250 halftrack and has some useful advantages.
As a dismounted stand Von Sauken is a higher level command SMG infantry stand. To distinguish him from average run of the mill infantry I've modeled him in a ruined section of house. The terrain piece is sold by Sentinel Miniature Painting Service. The SMG figure, commander, half track and table are part of the General Rommel blister pack from Battlefront. Since Von Sauken also rides an SdKfz 250 I didn't think Rommel would mind. The radio version of the vehicle just seems 'right' for a general visiting a panzer company. Somehow when I un-packed the blister I lost the top of the antenna array, so I scratch built a replacement from piano wire. I think it came out ok.
This is the last of the vehicles from the last airbrush session. Next up on the table are the dismounts for both of my motorcycle recon platoons. After that I fire up the airbrush and try my hand at doing three-color cammo patterns on actual tanks: Stugs, Wirbelwinds and even a few Tigers. Wish me luck!
This is an Sd.Kfz.9 'Famo' recovery halftrack for my late-war German Panzerkompanie. This is a model I've had in my stash for a long time. I originally thought I might use it with my Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks as part of a Czech Panzerkompanie. In the end the Czech tanks ended up not really needing it so it sat about in my dead lead box until now. With my late war Panzers I'm going to very much want to have this additional asset in my headquarters company. For 5 points it's valuable if only to soak up an extra hit now and again. The added benefit of it being able to rescue bogged or broken down tanks is icing on the cake.
The Battlefront model came with a driver, the fuel drums and a removable canvas top. I ditched the top in favor of having the bed exposed showing the fuel drums. I added a few loose crates I had in my bits box, and some extra loose crew riding in the back seat and riding shotgun.
Think a halftrack pulling a tank sounds rediculous? Well think again. This beast was a full 18 Tons and was larger than a Tiger tank. Here's a photo of one doing it's job towing a Panzer IV.
When I decided to swap one of my motorcycle teams out for an SdKfz 2 Kettenkrad in my Aufklärungs platoon I ended up with a spare painted motorcycle. Recently at the Adler Hobby 'bring out your dead lead' day I was able to pick up a cheap blister of Kübelwagens from another gamer's dead lead stash. I added a new blister to that and another from my spares box to make this platoon. I airbrushed these at the same time as the Kettenkrad to save time, but painted the crews later. These three scout squads and command stand use the 'Motorcycle Recon' rules in Flames of War even though they're modeled with the Kübelwagen models. I added the spare motorcycle to one stand to hopefully help remind my opponents that these are motorcycle recon stands.
I probably won't ever want both recon platoons in a 'tournament' single-player army, but with our upcoming Total War league it's quite possible that my German partner may not have any recon and having this second small unit available to help cover the larger battlefield could prove quite valuable. Considering the low points cost for the unit and the small monetary investment I thought the time taken to paint this unit up was quite worth the effort. Sure they're not half as 'cool' ad my Aufklärungs platoon but they're still pretty neat.
This is my completed Aufklärungs platoon. Three motorcycle scout sections of two bases each, and an officer. I will need to paint up infantry dismount stands for these in the future. The figures are all Battlefront figures. I decided to do some creative modeling with this unit utilizing a SdKfz 2 Kettenkrad towing an ammunition trailer with some troopers riding on top. It's my favorite part of the unit! My thoughts were it wouldn't be completely unreasonable for some enterprising troopers to get a hold of one to use as an improvised recovery vehicle for the platoon.
I've based these with a combination of Scenic Express, Silfor and Gale Force 9 products. I haven't been particularly happy with the basing on my Finnish army, so I decided to try a new process for my Germans. Although I like these stands better, I think there are still some improvements that can be made. Hopefully whatever I come up with can be added to these stands retroactively.
Gordon's friend Russ is a FOW V2 veteran and will be helping Gordon run an upcoming FOW tournament at the Huzzah! convention. Gordon asked that I give Russ a game for him to get tuned into the new V3 rule changes. I could also use the help learning the new V3 changes so I was very excited to play a game with Russ with learning the V3 rules as the primary goal.
To keep things simple we played a 1000-point game. Russ pushed Gordon's Italian infantry horde with some AT guns, artillery, mortars, a platoon of M13/40 tanks and a huge infantry platoon with integral heavy weapons. I pushed my Aussie Commonwealth Infantry with two small platoons of Captured Italian tanks (mixed 11/39s and 13/40s) mortars and OQF 18/25 artillery battery.
Russ placed both his artillery and AT guns on one flank so I chose to press the other with my two small tank platoons. Russ countered with his tanks, but with help from my artillery I was able to kill the tanks and press the flank with repeated assaults on Russ' infantry with my tanks. All in all the game was a success. We got a good handle on how warrior and independent teams work when selected as targets for shooting, and also were able to get a solid grip in the air and new assault rules. Russ, Gordon and I are hoping we can get Russ a few more tune-up games before Huzzah! Possibly next time I'll push my Blitzkrieg Germans so Russ can see another nationality as an opponent.
Saturday was 'bring out your dead lead' day at Adler. Everyone brings their unwanted lead and we had a good swap meet. I was able to get rid of a few things allowing me to buy some new stuff I'm excited about painting up. The swap meet means we had a full house with the other table playing a late-war game of Germans against Americans. The left photo below is Russ and Don discussing some of the new V3 rules. Below right is Russ and Scott (right) with Scott's friend playing their late war game.
We got together Friday night for the third of our Field of Glory ancients games. This completed our 'tournament' with each of us playing each other once. What a great night of gaming! Every time we all play FOG we like it more and more. In the end three of the four of us ended up with two wins and one loss - very closely matched. My favorite photo of the night was the one to the left of my friend Phil pushing my Seleucid army (on loan) against Charlie's late Republican Romans.
The opening moves of my game against Mike's Carthaginians is shown below left. Below right Mike and Phil are making their initial moves. Mike's army featured as much battle cavalry as my Roman's could muster plus a couple extra light cavalry . Nervous that I'd get outflanked I pressed with my cavalry and thureophoroi. Mike called it Sikle's charge....and he was right. My advanced position was as poor of a decision as Sickle's advance on the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg. The advanced position was vulnerable and Mike smartly flanked it before my legions could cover the flank. Mike was able to carve up my thureophoroi, then cavalry in order with successive flank attacks by his light cavalry until I could get my legions forward. By then the damage was done. Well played Mike!
On the other table Charlie's hoards of Numidian allied cavalry negotiated their hill-cluttered battlefield better than Phil's pikes and cataphracts and Charlie was able to get a victory sacking the Seleucid camp.
Great games, great guys. Good fun. We're thinking of starting up a FOG campaign to hopefully pull in some additional players. We're going to use the first two army books which should keep all of the armies in the 'classical' pre-medevial period. Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Successors, etc. Should be great fun. Charlie is even considering making a Parthian army for the campaign.
This is another update on my in-progress Aufklärungs Platoon. I've now finished painting up the cycles and crews and I have them all assembled. All that I have left is to base everything up. In the past I haven't been very happy with my European bases, so I'm going to wait to finish these until I can look over the basing kits from Gale Force 9 at the LHS. I'm hoping one of those will help me bring my bases up to a level that's worthy of the figures.
This is a late war Aufklärungs (motorcycle reconnaissance) platoon that will be the first new platoon for my late war German tank company. I don't usually post work-in-progress (WIP) posts, but this platoon has been taking me a lot longer than a normal platoon, and I wanted to post a progress report for some of my friends who have been helping me with historical information about the cycles and uniforms.
The advice I received on the Flames of War forums was to paint the cycles in the same scheme as the majority of the tanks in my tank company, which is how I settled on the primary colors. I painted them on with my airbrush then filled in the details like I normally would on any figures. These will get a black wash after the crews (all 39 of them!) are added. I'm anticipating the wash will bring a lot more of the detail out of the cycles.
Sorry for the shoddy photos, I took these off my dirty workbench using my painting light. I'm five (5) evenings into this project so far. I'm figuring another 2-3 evenings to paint the crews and 1-2 evenings for basing. I was hoping to get these done for this weekend, but at this point I'm less than optimistic that I'll be able to achieve that lofty goal.