Monday, January 30, 2017

More 28mm Late-WWII German Armor and Big Game Preparation Update #2

Here are a portion of the AFVs that were previewed earlier in my "Too Much WIP" post. These are the completed vehicles that aren't waiting on crews to be painted. Hopefully those that are waiting for crew figures to be painted will be completed soon. This is a mix of no less than three different manufacturers.
First up are two vehicles from Die Waffenkamer Miniatures. This is an SdKfz 121 Panzer II Luchs. The casting on this model was quite good. I did have to replace the barrel and muzzle break with a scratch-built one made of steel wire. Likewise, I chose to replace the antenna with steel wire with the kit-supplied birds nest antenna affixed on top after some slight modifications. I also chose to add magnets to the turret to help secure it during play. There were some slight bubbles in the tracks, but nothing that wasn't forgivable once weathering powders were applied.

The Kubelwagen was another story. The casting on this was much less acceptable, with many air bubbles in the resin. After filling some, I gave up and painted it as-is. They look a bit like battle damage, but honestly they mostly look like crappy air bubbles. Moral of this story is buy these at a shop or trade show so you can look over the castings. When the casting is good, they're excellent models.

 Next up is a Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind from West Wind's "Berlin or Bust" line. These are listed as 1/60 scale, and to be honest that's pretty accurate. They're a touch smaller than the Warlord and Die Waffenkamer models which are 1/56 scale. It's enough of a difference that I'll probably have to not use the Wirbelwind on the table at the same time as Panzer IVs or Stugs from the other manufacturers. This is probably an acceptable trade off for such a unique model. I may still add some foliage to this model similarly to how I added it to my 15mm ones. The four barrels were cut off and replaced with scratch-built ones made of steel wire. I'm starting to make this S.O.P. with anything I feel won't stay straight when used on the tabletop. Better to do the work now than after they break off!

 Last up for the newly-completed armor, a bog-standard Warlord Stug IIIg. Considering how common these and Panzer IVs were in the German arsenal, I think every collection should have at least one of each. I've chosen to leave off the schurzen but added some additional stowage to make up for the lack of 'stuff' on the sides. I just like the looks of Stugs without the schurzen a lot more than those with. I wasn't happy with the barrel of the gun after I cleaned it up. To fix this I cut off the muzzle break, drilled it out and replaced the lead barrel with one built from brass rod. I turned each end of the rod to the correct size by chucking it into my rotary tool and using a file on it at high RPMs - the poor-man's miniature engine lathe!

In addition to the above armor that I painted. I also added the finishing touches to 17 more German infantry that I recently purchased from the Veteran Painting Service on Ebay. Not much to say here that wasn't covered in my post from my previous purchase. I'm not sure I needed these for the big game. I purchased them well before I scheduled the big game because they were a good deal and I recently had some free hobby money from selling off some un-used 28mm ACW lead.

 Last up I laser-cut, assembled and painted up fifty (50) movement trays for the big game. I'm pretty sure I won't be using all of these, but I'm not exactly sure of how many of which I will need, so I cut up a bunch of each just to be safe. Time is getting short, so economy of scale is important. Below a quick shot of one infantry unit in a tray. So my total for tonight is four vehicles completed, 17 figures touched up for play and 50 movement trays cut, assembled and painted. Not a bad night's work!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Terrain Set for upcoming Iron Cross 'Big Game'

Next week I'm going to hopefully introduce a large number of people in our club to Iron Cross. I'm trying out the suggested method to run larger games with the rules by having a CinC on each side with extra command tokens and force sub-commanders with combat troops to command. Not wanting the CinC to have no assets, I'll be giving them a smaller force including of course their commander's unit. To the left, the primary scenario objective, a German radar installation somewhere east of Carentan, France. The scenario will be an allied, primarily British force trying to capture a German radar post, while the Germans rush to the same locale to stop them.

The view from the British side of the battlefield:

The view from the German side of the battlefield:

Adler Con - After Action Report

Yesterday was the first Adler Con - a small one-day gaming convention for historical, science fiction and board gaming. Several of my fellow Northern Conspirators hosted games. I took a tour of the venue in the morning during set-up and snapped the following photographs.

Being the first time this was run, attendance was a bit low. There were more game slots than attendees. This is of course less of a problem than the reverse, but there were some games that didn't get filled. Mine was among one of those. Still the quality of games was very high, and everyone who attended had a good time. More about my game below these photos:

For my offering, I chose to re-run my Battle of Monmouth scenario that I ran at Huzzah! 2016 and The Weekend 2016. This is my planned final public running of this scenario for a while. Next Huzzah! I'll be running a new scenario for the battle of Bemis Heights - the Colonial army attacking the British redoubts.

For this game one of my blog readers, Kevin, was keen to see the Electronic Brigadier rules in action. Without the full compliment of players, we decided to use one brigade each from the scenario and try out a small game. Kevin played well, and took good advantage of my aggressive play, eventually routing my best unit. From there the writing was on the wall, but we played on for fun, eventually with additional units on each side leaving the table or in serious jeopardy. In the end, Kevin's regiment of light infantry and his howitzer remained on the field of battle with my force heading for their camp. Well done Kevin!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

RSO Pak-40 / RSO Conversion - WIP

Ballardian on the Lead Adventure Forums asked about the 'strange' part in my previous work in progress shot. That part was the magnetized cabin of my WIP RSO Pak-40. The armored cabin is scratch built and it and the original cabin are both fitted with magnets so they can be swapped out. The Pak-40 gun is also magnetized as well. This allows me to get double duty out of the vehicle, either as an AFV or a simple tow/transport.

The Pak-40 gun barrel was left over from my (also WIP) Flakpanzer 38 (t) conversion. When converting to the AA AFV, the original Pak-40 gun isn't needed. Re-using it here made the most sense. I did have to scratch-build the gun mount and gun shield, with it's characteristic rivets. I think I did an ok job of that. With the mount being fully magnetized, the Pak-40 gun can swivel similarly to a turreted tank. Both the RSO and the Flakpanzer 38 (t) are on the work bench awaiting final painting, decals and detailing. Both also need some crew painted up for them. I have a convention to attend next weekend, and then a club game to prepare to host, so I don't expect any finished work on these to be completed for a few weeks.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Too Much WIP

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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Northern Conspiracy January 2017 Game Night

Last Friday evening was our club's first game night of 2017. We had a good turn-out with over 20 members attending. I played in Mark D's game "Kittyhawk Down". Follow the link for Mark's blog post about the game. Mark will be re-running this excellent scenario at the upcoming Adler Hobby Game Day mini-convention.

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.