Thursday, January 13, 2022

15mm Napoleonics at Robert's

Last week a bunch of us played an excellent game of 15mm Napoleonics using my friend Robert's rules which he's been working on for the past couple of years. The games are coming along more frequently as the rules approach a state of completion. 

This was a large, 7-player game. There were four French players and four alliance players. The alliance army features Austrian, Prussian and Russian forces. Robert's collection is quite complete!

The French got the first march and we set off to capture the center of the battlefield including the central town and windmill hill. I was tasked with holding the left flank against the Allied reserve of heavy cavalry and converged grenadiers commanded by my carpool partner, Byron. I also had the left section of the battle line opposite Mike. 

Here the rules author Robert, new friend Kurt in the middle, and CinC Charlie on the right. Kurt pushed the right flank quite successfully as Charlie pushed the right center. My task was to hold my own on the left and eventually deny the flank.

Here the French get stuck in.

The aftermath of Byron and Mike's attacks (two photos). Mike destroyed nearly the entire right-half of my command in a Pyrrhic effort. Byron, with the elite reserve corps, fared much better eliminating a majority of my left wing with acceptable casualties to his infantry and his heavy cavalry untouched. 

In the end, I bought enough time for Kurt and Charlie to edge out a minor French Victory, their efforts being more effective than mine. 

Left, the result of Mike's efforts for the battle. Remaining of my command, a small battery and a single stand of infantry. Certainly not enough to hold off Byron's command on the flank.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Northern Conspiracy Game Night - January 2022

Last Friday we had the first Northern Conspiracy game night of 2022. With Omicron looming large here in New Hampshire the club members opted to return to masking up for the event. We also had a winter storm that made travel difficult so we had a smaller than usual turnout - 11 members. We ended up running two of the three scheduled games. 

To the left, a photo of Michael's Crusades 'Saga Big Battles' game with his beautifully painted 28mm figures. 

I was engrossed in the game I was playing, so I was remiss in my duties as photographer and only got this one additional photograph of Michael's game, part way through the setup.

By the time my game finished, Michael and his players were also picking up his game, so I assume it went well and played to conclusion.


I played in John's Blitzkrieg Commander 4 game which was a historical WWII Eastern Front scenario in 15mm. Charlie and I were the Russians, with Ross and John as the Germans. The scenario is to capture the village in the center of the table. 



Charlie had T-34/66 tanks and infantry riding on them and some unarmored trucks with a mortar team. Opposite him John had Panzer IVs and some Panzergrenadiers in halftracks. 

I had three KV-1 heavy tanks and three T-70 light tanks - all with infantry riding on them. 

Opposite me Ross had three Panzer III tanks and Panzergrenadiers in halftracks. He also had a tripod-mounted MG-42 MMG team which was quite effective.

On the Russian right flank, Charlie races to the ravine and the cover it offers. He ended up dueling with John's Panzer IVs. The German tanks earned a Pyrrhic victory in that duel. Charlie's infantry later diverted to take the German side of the town as I was occupying our side and contesting the central building. 

My assault's initial stages. I opted to press forward with my KV-1 tanks. In hindsight they would have been better off in the rear on a hill overlooking the town. This would have taken advantage of their longer range and heavier armor. My T-70s scored an early destruction of one of Ross's halftracks, then they got systematically destroyed one at a time by Ross's Panzer IIIs. Ross' HMG and remaining halftrack MGs out-ranged my infantry and eventually all but wiped them out. My SMG tank riders from the KV-1s were all I had left after I assaulted Ross' Panzer-IIIs with infantry and took one out in a mutually destructive duel with one of my KV-1 tanks. 

In the end, the Russians held the majority of the town's building and had all but eliminated the German Infantry. We had two KV-1 tanks at the crossroads and only one Panzer III and one (or two?) battered Panzer IVs opposing us. General consensus from John was a minor Russian victory. 

In typical Russian style, my command suffered over 60% casualties in the 'victory'. I think Charlie fared better staying under 50%. No matter the costs, it was a VERY fun game. Thanks to John for running it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

28mm French Napoleonic Infantry From Ebay

This is a collection of three separate units of 28mm French Napoleonic infantry that I purchased from three separate Ebay auctions. This post could also be titled, "the good, the bad and the ugly", or "caveat emptor". More about that below.

This first unit in greatcoats I purchased about 15 months ago just as I was moving into my new home. They are the 'good' part of the story. They were based individually for Sharpe's Practice or some similar skirmish rule set. The figures are mostly plastic figures and were well painted and arrived well packaged and in good shape. All I had to do was re-base for my preferred basing, and do some minor touch-ups and a little bit of washing to give the great coats better shading. A nice unit for a good value.

These two units were purchased from the same seller on Ebay. While I usually consider myself a savvy Ebay purchaser, I definitely did not review the photos of these figures carefully enough. They were only partially painted. Many of the details on the rear of the figures were still in white primer: cartridge boxes, bayonet scabbards, canteens, powder flasks, packs, etc. Also most of the minor straps and pack straps were unpainted. The backs of the figures were in short - an incomplete mess. This is the bad.

The figures were plastic, and packaged four to a small bubble-wrapped pouch. These pouches for 48 figures were over-stuffed into a USPS Priority Mail small flat-rate box. While I cannot prove they were damaged when stuffed in, by the time I received them the figures were destroyed. To the left, a typical selection of four figures from a pouch. Every musket is broken, some in up to three places. Heads decapitated, ankles broken, pom-poms ripped off. Three of the 48 figures were a complete write-off. Many more ended up not having bayonets after repairing them. Of the 48 figures, only 13 had no major damage, of these 4 were lead figures that required some re-bending to straighten them out.

One I had completed the figure repairs using plastic cement, the re-painting, or in many cases the initial painting of everything began. I put another nine or ten hours into touch-ups, re-paints, painting details and finally putting some heavy washes on the figures to hide the myriad of sins. 

In the end, I have a couple of 'OK' units for my collection, not the 'very good' ones I had thought I had purchased. In contrast to the great coat unit above these were far inferior in all ways: more expensive, damaged, un-paited and even after re-working them they're much less eye-catching on the tabletop. Still, they're now done and will see at least a few battles on the tabletop before I consider replacing them. I want to get my time investment back before I consider trying to recoup a portion of my monetary losses. 

Here's a small gallery below of the completed units based up. I'm counting this entire project as 32 stands re-based and 12 figures 'painted' based on the approximate amount of work re-painting.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Blitzkrieg Commander - American Figures - Ebay Purchases and Re-basing

With my previous post showing the new German infantry in my collection, here are some Americans I also recently purchased from Ebay. This group required re-basing and also in some cases repair and re-painting.  Included are two 105mm artillery guns, two .50 cal heavy machine guns, a platoon of infantry with a commander and a command jeep. 

The /50 cal machine guns were based in the same brown gravel as some of the Germans from the previous post. The 'bushes' were just clumps of railroad ballast glued into strange clumps, painted black and dry brushed white. I GUESS they were supposed to be rock walls? I painted them dark green, then flocked them with blended turf. Now they look like proper foliage. The bases re-turfed with static grass.  After all this work I ended up having too many .50 cal guns so these were gifted to my friend Phil.

The 105mm artillery guns are both broken off the stands and the infantry was poorly painted. The guns were painted in a single color. I gave them a black wash and some highlighting. I gave the crews some touch ups, re-terrained the bases with static grass, tufts and foliage clumps and permanently attached the guns. I'm not sure that I 'needed' these, but the came with the rest of the figures, so I am happy to have them. 

The infantry and Jeep just needed to have their basses grassed and tufts added. The uniforms are a bit too vivid, but that's not something I'm willing to address. They're perfectly fine for my table!

These infantry I purchased in a separate lot and they're good to go out of the box. Included are infantry, command stands, bazooka stands and four .50 cal machine guns. The latter are why I gave the other two .50 cal MGs to my friend Phil.  This group contains a single 57mm anti-tank gun. I'd like to get another one or two to round out the force.

I'm also short on infantry compared to my Germans. I'll be keeping my eye out for a couple more platoons of GIs, or maybe even some airborne.

Also purchased with this group, four .30-cal machine gun teams, another command stand and another bazooka team.

Finally vehicles included with these 'lots' and one group of tank-destroyers purchased separately. I haven't touched these yet. They need some minor repairs and weathering, but are pretty close to tabletop ready. They include plenty of half tracks to mount up the infantry as armored infantry. That might also explain the copious amount of .50 caliber MGs. 

About the only thing that's missing here would be some sort of half-track anti-aircraft vehicle.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Return to 15mm WWII - Blitzkrieg Commander 4 - Ebay Purchases and Re-basing

Recently my friend John has got me interested in 15mm WWII by introducing me to Blitzkrieg Commander 4th edition by Pendraken Miniatures. In the past I've played a lot of Flames of War, but eventually got out of it as it was more played as a competitive rule set than for general multi-person historical battles. Having sold off a lot of my armies, I was in the position to have to get some late-war German Infantry to go with the late-war German tanks and Kradschutzen platoons that I still had.  

The group of infantry shown to the left I acquired on Ebay, and they match my existing collection's basing quite closely. I didn't think I needed to do anything to them to put them straight onto the table.

That solved my infantry problem, but I was still short support weapons, heavy machine guns (tripod mounted MG-34/42), mortars and especially some Pak-40 anti-tank guns. I picked up an additional three smaller auctions but those figures needed some re-basing to be used with the rest of my collection.

Here are the two Pak-40 anti-tank guns. The guns themselves were nicely painted, but the figures needed some touch-ups here and there. Also the basing was very crude. It was simply sand painted brown and dry-brushed. There were craters where there were empty holes in the pre-made bases. I filled the holes, and re-based with static grass, tufts and foliage clumps.
This 37mm Anti-Aircraft gun was based in just sand, but in an emplacement. The sand looked appropriate in the dugout, but I added bushes and static grass to the outside.
Here are the tripod-mounted MG-34/42 stands. A couple of these were missing the actual weapon, it having previously broken off. I replaced them from my spared box and repainted. The figures also needed some touch-ups. The bases had the same dark brown sand basing. Re-based with static grass, foliage clumps and grass tufts as well. The front three stands look like they may have originally been painted by the GAJO miniatures service.

Mortars. Although these all look like 81mm mortar models, the two different figure manufacturers make the rear two stands tubes look a lot smaller. I could possibly use this to call the front stands 100mm mortars I guess. Similarly to the MGs the front three stands look like they might be GAJO-painted minis. Same re-basing was required here. 

The rest of these figures are of my existing collection of vehicles and dismounted crews for the motorcycle and kubelwagon teams. Many of these have been featured earlier on this blog.


Sunday, December 19, 2021

28mm WWII German Fallschirmjagers

I picked these German Fallschirmjagers up from Ebay for a very nice price. They were well painted in general but I did do some touch ups. The flesh was a touch too bright so I gave the faces and hands a flesh wash. The gunmetal was non-metallic grey so I gave those areas a quick touch-up with some gunmetal. Finally I did some washes on some areas that seemed a bit monochromatic. 

Short post, just to make sure everyone know I'm still alive.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Tobacco Factory game at Adler Hobby

My friend Gordon at Adler Hobby asked me to run my Iron Cross Salerno Tobacco Factory game at his store to kick off an Italy WWII campaign he was starting there. I can't resist the chance to break out the scenario with all of the custom buildings I made for it, so it was an easy 'yes' from me to run the game. An additional benefit would be letting Gordon finally get to play the scenario himself.

The scenario starts at 10am the second day as the Scott's guards attempt to re-capture the complex after the Americans were driven out on the first day. Both sides start with some listening posts in the complex from the overnight probes, but both have to rush to the scene to attack the buildings, the Germans having withdrawn overnight (as they did during the actual battle). 

Two players were British.





Three were German, including Gordon.



The British started on with their mortar team and infantry streaming to the buildings. Their armor and anti-tank guns held in reserve waiting to see where the Germans put their heavy assets.

The Germans pulled no punches and dropped down their Pak-40 along the northern edge of the table with the Hetzer charging forward.
The Germans occupied some buildings on their side, but also blew a hole in the buildings in the middle of the complex and established a stronghold there. This gave them the edge in amount of the complex occupied; the primary scenario objective.
The British brought in their 17 pounder anti-tank opposite the Hetzer but failed to destroy it, instead driving it back. It would later return over the rubble, safe from the 17 pounder. The British brought in their Sherman 1 (75mm) to try to counter it, but the Germans got the best of the exchange taking out the thin-skinned Sherman with the Hetzer's main gun.
The British tried to come into the complex on the back side, similar to the Germans by using some TNT to blow a hole in the rear wall. The Germans met them there and again got the best of the exchange. Things looked bleak for the British at this point. It was time for more desperate measures by the British.
On the far side of the complex the British took advantage of a streak of activations in a row and dashed across the open ground in the middle of the complex. They first attempted two separate PIAT shots at the German's SdKfz 222 armored car, eventually deciding to bypass it and dash directly into the German buildings. Some fierce close assault fighting ensued with the British coming out on top. From here they spread like locusts across the complex.
In the middle of the complex the Hetzer was still causing all sorts of havoc. A second hard push from the British failed to take it out and again they dashed to the safety of the buildings. The Germans tried several times to rally their troops with their company commander, but he was ineffective at the task. The pendulum had swung. At the end of the day the British had a firm grasp on the majority of the buildings. At dusk the Germans would again have to withdraw. Result a solid British victory snatched from the jaws of defeat.


This was an amazingly fun scenario to run. In my local group players tend to play in a very calculated and conservative manner. This works well when we play in the local group. At Adler hobby, all of the players played much more aggressively. It showed me how mobile a force can be in Iron Cross and how using mobility can be an effective tool. I appreciate all of the players having fun and playing with the utmost sportsmanship. I won't hesitate to host another game at Adler, or game with any of these players again.