Saturday, February 26, 2011

AWI Re-Basing Project (2)

This is the second and final installment of my AWI re-basing project. This update includes the British figures I purchased on Ebay from the same person who sold me the Americans in my previous post. Like the Americans, these are wonderfully painted figures that were based up on small square stands, four figures per stand. If I had to guess I'd say the basing was probably for British Grenadier! rules. This photo shows the complete group of British figures I purchased which contains twenty-four redcoats in blue facing and another twenty-four in yellow facings. Initially I thought about basing each of these units as four massed bases with my standard six figures per base, but after looking at the march poses I decided that six figures looked a little too sparse on the stands and I settled for three massed stands and a skirmish stand for each color facing. This allows me to field them in both V&B or C&G since my preferred basing for C&G is two massed stands and a skirmish stand. 

The first unit has yellow facings and flag. This can be used to represent the 15th, 28th, 44th or 46th regiments of foot. Although they would normally be found located together in a single formed unit, I've decided to distribute the king's colors, the regimental colors and the drummer on separate stands which I think will look better when single stands are used to represent a single regiment or battalion acting independently.

The second unit has blue facings and flag. This can be used to represent the 1st regiment second battalion, 60th, 61st or 94th regiments of foot. Like the first unit I've chosen to break up the colors and officer each to their own stand so that individual stands will still appear as full units when used separately.  Terrain is my standard mix of railroad static grass and ballast, rocks made from painted broken cork and tall grass is another model railroad item.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

AWI Re-Basing Project (1)

Although I'm quite happy with the progress I'm making on my AWI armies, I'm also always on the look out for nicely painted units for sale at conventions or on Ebay. Recently I found several auctions offering some beautifully painted AWI figures. The figure mix was mostly Perry and Old Glory figures and the paint jobs were much nicer than figures that I paint for myself while still matching mine in style very closely. Having a little 'pin money' sitting in my bank account I splurged on them as a late Christmas gift to myself. The figures were based significantly differently than how I base my figures so I've been working on re-basing them for use with the Volley & Bayonet and Carnage & Glory rule sets that I prefer. This update shows all of the Americans that I purchased. The title photo above shows all of the figures together.

This is the first unit of American militia. I based these up as two formed bases and a skirmish base. This will allow me maximum flexibility when using them with both rule sets. The flag for this unit came with the figures so I'm not sure of its origins.
The second unit below also contains two formed stands and a skirmish stand. The flag for this unit was made from the downloadable AWI flag sets offered on the site.

The third unit contains only two formed stands. I may use this unit when I need Canadian militia as there are a lot of stocking caps among the figures. With no flag this unit could also stand in for British loyalist militia as needed.

The next installment will contain photos of the British figures. I know I still have an in-prgress ACW re-basing project going as well as several other projects, but since there weren't too many units to re-base I thought I'd get these taken care of first. Also the un-based ACW figures already have a place to live in my figure closet while these were waiting out on my wargaming table. Re-basing them was a good way to keep the table open for gaming.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Leichte Pionierkompanie

This is a progress update on my early war German Leichte Pionierkompanie for the Flames of War escalation league at Adler Hobby. Recently I completed my second full combat platoon for this force as well as 1500 points worth of troops. Both are milestones that the league rewards with a free blister of figures courtesy of Battlefront. In order to get the reward Battlefront requires the local store furnish them with some paperwork, but Gordon (owner of Adler Hobby) likes to also send them photos of the figures. Gordon also has a 'wall of fame' in his store where he posts the photos. Since I had to take photos, I thought this would be a good time to do a quick review of my progress so far. This photo shows the sum total of figures and vehicles I've painted up since the start of the escalation league back in early September. Actually not pictured is a light AA platoon that I initially painted up, but have since decided not to use. It is shown here in this earlier blog post.

The left section shows my artillery units. In the front is a battery of four 10.5cm NbW35 chemical mortars. These are part of the TO&E for the infantry pioneer list, which I used for most of the lower point games in the league. They're not part of the TO&E for the Leichte Pionierkompanie list, but will still be nice to have around when I use this lead as the infantry pioneers. Behind the mortars is a battery of four 10.5cm leFH18 guns with staff team and transport. These can be used with both lists.

Points for these units: Mortars: 145 points, Artillery 360 points

Center of the force contains the CinC and 2iC with their optional transport of a Pazerbefelswagen tank and motorcycle. Behind them are two full platoons of engineers. Behind that on the left is a platoon of four Panzerjager I tank hunters on the left and a platoon of five Panzer IIc tanks on the right. Behind those are three Panzer IVd  tanks bracketed by my two objective markers.

Points for these units: Company command: 60 points, two platoons of pioneers: 170, 215 or 220 points each depending on motivation and skill, Panzerjager I platoon: 335 points, Panzer IIc (early) platoon: 225 points, Panzer IVd platoon: 450 points, objectives: free.

On the right are my anti-tank guns. In the front a platoon of four PaK36 anti-tank guns. In the rear one 8.8cm FlaK38 Luftwaffe anti-aircraft gun, or more commonly called an '88'. With the 88 is its transportation and to the right transportation for the PaK36 platoon.

Points for these units: Pak36 guns: 145 points, 88 gun: 130 points.

With these figures I'm starting to have a workable force with some options to tailor it to my anticipated opponent(s) or scenario. I still have a few items to finish before I'll consider the pioneer company forces completed. These include: a Panzer I 'destruction platoon' consisting of 5 Panzer I tanks, a second 88 for the heavy AA battery, and six bases of flamethrowers for when I field the pioneers as infantry pioneers.

Once the above items are done I also have a platoon of five Panzer 35(t) tanks and two more Panzer 35(t) tanks for company command which will allow me to use the Panzer I, II and IV tanks along with a platoon of pioneers and the artillery to form what should be a very fun to play Czech Panzerkompanie. The Czech Panzerkompanie will also let me paint up and field a Kradschutzen (motorcycle) platoon that I recently purchased. I just couldn't resist getting them because the models are so 'cool'.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

German Panzer IIc Platoon and Halftracks

This is the first of two light tank platoons for my  Leichte Pionierkompanie. Up to now I've been pushing my pioneers as regular infantry pioneers. This platoon is one of two platoons that are key to transitioning from infantry pioneers to mechanized pioneers.

The platoon is made up of five Panzer IIc (early) tanks. These are lightly armored but mount a good AT gun with a rate of fire of 3 shots per turn, amounting to an excellent amount of offensive anti-tank power as well as good machine gun capability should I face Polish infantry or cavalry horde armies, which the local FOW gaming group is fond of. These aren't going to be turning any French or British heavy tanks away, but will serve me well as close support for my pioneers. I think of them filling a similar role that Marders would in mid and late war. This platoon can also serve double duty in a Czech Panzer Company which I think I will work on since it can re-use a lot of the figures and vehicles from my Pioneer force.

I experimented with a few new techniques on these. First I used Flames of War 'War Paint' brand base paint in their 'German Armor' color. This is significantly darker than the Testors Model Master 'Panzer Grey' I've used previously. Because of this I didn't feel I needed a dark wash to bring out the panel lines. I did dry-brush lighter grey over the whole tank as usual and painted the tracks, road wheels and details as I normally would. After this I applied three different applications of Mig detailing powders: Panzer Grey Lightening, European Dust and Dark Mud (in the track areas). Matt overcoat sealed it all in and to my surprise lightened the effect of the detailing powders more than I expected. I like the effect and may actually go back and add the detailing powders to my finished armor.

These are three German halftracks that I've had on my painting table for quite a while. I haven't decided if I'll use them with one of my pioneer platoons or not, but having the Panzer II tanks on the painting table gave me an opportunity to finish them up. These were base coated using the Model Master 'Panzer Grey' spray, and detailed as I have previously done with my other vehicles. I did apply the same three Mig detailing power applications so these will give a good impression of how doing the same to my other older armor will look.

Sorry about the shoddy lighting in the photos. I usually prefer to photograph figures outdoors in natural light but winds here are gusting 30-40 mph and I was afraid they'd blow the figures off the table so I photographed them inside using incandescent light. I really need to invest in a proper photography tent.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cedar Mountain & February Game Night

Tonight at our monthly club game night I ran my Cedar Mountain game that I play tested a couple weeks ago. Where the first play test was a major Union victory, and the second play test was a marginal Union victory, this game was a stark contrast as the confederates were able to score a major victory replicating history in result if not in tactics. The game was limited to eight (8) turns, but the confederates were able to collapse the Union army's morale in a mere six (6) turns. With the three games running 1-1-1 I think the scenario balance is pretty close to correct, close enough for me to use it at the upcoming Huzzah! convention in May.

I was able to keep this game to my preferred size of five players. Below are photos of the teams. In the left photo are the Confederate players left to right Tom, Charlie and Byron. In the right photo are the Union players left to right Bob and John. The title photo above shows the starting positions with the Union on the left behind the Cedar creek and the Confederates on the right coming down the road and perched on Cedar mountain.

The game started off with the Confederates rushing to each flank and all but ignoring the center. The Union reacted by rushing their cavalry reserve into the woods to attempt to delay the Confederate advance while simultaneously trying to swing their line to react to the confederates on the Union left flank.

After eliminating the Union cavalry the Confederates continued to pressure the Union right flank. In the center the Union drove off a Confederate attach and mounted a successful counter attack but the Union left flank continued to falter to continued attacks by Tom's command which included the excellent Louisiana Tiger Zouaves which lived up to their reputation in this game driving several Union units from the field. In the end the pressure from this flank drove it into the backs of the Union on the other flank all but destroying the Union army. The photos below show the final turns of the game. Units with red and yellow markers are in rout and the Confederates all but hold the crossroads and the battlefield.

Below are a few photos of the other Games at our club's game night. Leo ran a Pacific theater WWII naval game using modified Axis and Allies War at Sea and Phil ran a French and Indian War skirmish game using the Brother against Brother rules.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Early War Escalation League (5)

Saturday we had another session of out escalation league at Adler Hobby. This week we escalated to 1250 points, which required two combat platoons. See my earlier entry for photos of my second platoon of German pioneer infantry.

My opponent for this game was store owner Gordon. Gordon is pushing Polish cavalry with an armored train. Gordon is using a scratch built train he made by kit bashing some HO trains he had. With dazzle camouflage and gun turrets scuttled from 15mm tanks, Gordon's train looked every bit as good as it performed. As far as performance goes, the train proved to be unstoppable for my troops.  I deployed my one platoon of PaK36 AT guns on each side of the tracks in hopes of scoring an early knock-out of the train. Gordon survived round after round of hits with good armor saving rolls and rode the train's 14 MG dice and two main gun batteries to victory. Even my Stuka schwerpunkt didn't seem to be able to stop the train or Gordon's hordes of cavalry and infantry. The Poles seem to be a very nice choice for early war.

Gordon and I had a fun game both learning the train and scenario rules. I definitely made some mistakes in deployment near the train which I will learn from and try not to repeat. When dealing with the train I think treating it like one of the Ogres in Steve Jackson's science fiction board & miniatures game OGRE/GEV might be the way to go. Hit it hard, fast and often until you take it out. I think an all armor force will be less fearful of the train's many MG guns, but for infantry forces the train is a nightmare that has to be dealt with and FAST if you're going to win against it.

We had a good turnout with five players total enabling us to get a game running on each of the three tables Gordon set up. I think the appeal of the larger point totals brought people out for the day of gaming. Photos below are of Don (British Matilda company) and Matt's (German Medium Armor Company) game on the airfield table. And Matt and Jerry's (French Armor) game on the wheatfield table. Matt's Matilda company proved difficult to handle at this point total. I'm encouraged by this since I also have one in the works.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Leichte Pionierkompanie Platoon (2)

This is my second full German light pioneer platoon for my Flames of War German pioneer company. Like the first platoon these are Battlefront figures from several sources: mid-war pioneer blister, Finnish pioneer blister, panzergrenadier blister, etc. Anybody carrying anything remotely like pioneering equipment was pressed into service. I managed to get at least one and in most cases two figures on each stand that are suitably 'pioneerish'.

Since this is my second platoon I needed a way to tell which stands were in each platoon. I chose to mark this platoon with a mustard colored spot at the rear of each stand. I'm hoping this will be sufficient. If not I can always add more later. I just put the finishing protective top coat spray on these this morning in time to head off to escalation league day at Adler Hobby. We're escalating to 1250 points today and two core combat platoons are now required. There's nothing like a game to motivate you to finish a unit!

Now that these are done I can field a full 1500 or 1750 point force for my pioneers. I still have some Panzer I and II tanks to paint up so that I can field these as true Leichte Pioniers. Without the tanks I've been fielding them as standard infantry pioneers. The tanks are in my possession and will be my next project, but for today - we game!