In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Entish Addition!

I've been thinking I needed another Ent to bulk out the Elves.

So I've been searching the web, and good looking (to me) Ents are hard to find. The Reaper Ent looks like a piece of broccoli.
With the demise of Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Lord of the Rings, Games Workshop Ents have gone from the market.

This fellow from Majestic Bear Enterprises looks the business (and he's pretty big), but at GBP24.99 plus shipping he's a bit too dear.

So I did a search on eBay, and found this fellow in France:

For 8.80 Euros, including shipping. So Cdn$13.06, which is about what I'd pay in gas to drive to London or Kitchener and maybe find a Games Workshop LOTR Ent in stock at a game store.

A week and a half later, a small padded envelope arrived in the mail. So here's the figure on a half inch grid:
Yup, pretty basic and what I paid for.

Assembly was easy. Not a lot of flash, and really, is it a mold line or bark? A bit of super glue and a 40x40 card base I had precut and voila!

OK, kinda puny compared to the older Games Workshop Ent. But still tough. Perhaps make the new guy a lesser warbeast and the old figure a greater warbeast.

And there he sat for a few weeks.

But when I did get around to painting it was fast. A few shades of brown. A brown ink wash and then dry brushing with a mid-grey finished the skin. Patches of leaves were done in two tones of green and then given a green ink wash. The eyes were dotted yellow and hit with some green ink at the same time.

Here are some quick snaps right from the flocking tub.

Enough to scare an orc, I think!

Meanwhile, Pete spotted a batch of Vendel elves in the Lead Adventure Forum trading board. So a significant reinforcement for my elves will be coming in a few months!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Orc Raid!

Garshak, the Goblin chieftain, sat in his dim, smokey hall, gnawing a gristly chunk of mutton. Two of his uruks were fighting while the rest egged them on. He had a headache and then he chipped one of his dirty brown fangs on a bone.

He cursed and threw the offending bone at the head of the nearest of the fighting guards. "Stop that you maggots! We're goin' ta get some bacon!"
Gandalf was caught by early snow in the passes on the wrong side of the Misty Mountains. He'd hoped to spend Yule in Rivendell, but the halls of the men who lived between the mountains and the Great Wood along the Anduin would have to do. Fortunately the beer was good and Erkenbard, the local headman was a fairly decent draughts player.

He sucked on his pipe while studying the board. Suddenly the door at the far end of the hall banged open. A wild-eyed herdsman stood panting in the open door. Just as someone was about to protest he summoned the breath to blurt out one word.

Garshak lead his raiding force along the foot hills, taking unsuspecting hamlets and farmsteads unawares. But as the columns of smoke and fire leaped into the winter sky word of his raid spread and some of the villages were better prepared. Soon it would be time to take his loot of smoked bacon, barrels of ale and slaves back to his caves.

But the trolls were still hungry, so one more village.

I played this game of Dragon Rampant solo on the weekend. I used the "Sausages and Mustard" scenario from Lion Rampant. The Orcs get 2 Glory Points for each building looted and set on fire, the Men get 2 GPs for each building left standing. The Men are mostly Light Foot with short range missiles, plus a unit of skirmishers. Erkenbard's Hearthmen (the unit with the Boar banner) are heavy foot. My new Elf archers also joined in as Light Missiles. Both warbands came to around 28-30 points each. Because my men are on multi figure bases, I used the red bingo chips to mark hits, and then I decided to leave them on table to mark the blood and mark where I'd removed Orc figures as well.
Initial deployment, Men enter from lower left, orcs from upper right
It was a hard march through the snow. Erkenbard had his company of Hearthmen, the best fighters, hunters and biggest farmers in his community, plus as many other warriors as he could muster. Quicker youths ranged ahead scouting.

Gandalf stopped to lean on his staff. "Erkenbard, look! I don't think you will fight alone today." Erkenbard turned to look where Gandalf was pointing. A column of cloaked figures were marching swiftly from the forests to the east and joined them.
Elves from the Great Wood. "We saw the fires of the Orc raid and came to help."
Initial deployment from the other angle, orcs on left, men upper right
Garshak had his warband formed into a rough line. Nothing fancy. Straight in, smash 'em up, grab everything they can and burn the rest. 
"At 'em boys!"
With a growling of throats and the blaring of harsh horns the Orcs swept forward over the fields.

Orcs advance

Men off to a slow start

Early moves

Alford stood quivering. The old, young and women had been sent into the forests with everything they could carry. But they had to protect the huts and remaining stores of food, or they would all be dead from hunger and cold by spring.

Like the others he had a hunting spear and a couple of light javelins. As he watched the dark mass with ragged black banners like crows wings come at them over  the fields and through the orchard he felt his guts turn to ice. The wattle fence didn't seem like very much protection.
Attacking the village
A few black feathered arrows fell among them. They answered with a roar and a volley of javelins. Several Orcs went down, staining the snow black. More arrows filled the air around them. Men went down screaming. Somewhere a wolf was howling. Looming over the Orcs they could see the great horrible shapes of trolls stomping through the orchard. 

"Trolls! Save yourselves!" someone shouted starting a panic. The men of the village fled.

Erkenbard swore in disgust as the villagers ran past him screaming.
"Doesn't matter lads. If we don't stop this filth here then they'll be burning our homes next! Forward!"
Help arrives!
The scouts skirmished through the village raining javelins onto an Orc company. "Bugger dis! We've 'ad enuff!" the Orcs shouted and fled.
Too late! Village defenders panic and the Orcs are in the defences
"Right lads! get to lootin'" Although it seemed to take his boys a while to stop squabbling and sort out who was taking what. The snow wet thatch took forever to catch fire too. A javelin took the uruk closest to him in the throat. Men were counter attacking! Where'd they come from? After an initial close fight where the heavier armour of the Orcs gave them the advantage, the men backed off and harassed the Orcs with javelins and quick stabbing forays among the huts keeping Garshak's uruks distracted and off balance.

Fighting in the village

Erkenbard was going to bring his Hearthmen around the edge of village to hit the Orcs in the rear when a giant howling Wolf charged at them! His warriors started to fall back and looked ready to run when Gandalf's voice was in all their ears "Stand fast! Here is where you defend your own hearths!"

Erkenbard's warriors steadied and reformed their shieldwall. The Wolf attacked again, but enough spears had pierced it and it slunk away into the trees leaving a trail of blood.
Erkenbard's men attacked by the Giant Wolf

Culain and his Elf warriors were sweeping around the other side of the village, trying to get to a spot where their archery could get a good field of fire. Orcs and the Trolls moved to attacked them.
Elves sweeping around the village
"Draw. Loose!" Culain shouted and volleys of grey fletched arrows slashed into the advancing black waves. The young men skirmishing from the edge of the village also dashed out to hurl javelins into the flank. Soon the snow was black with the blood of Orcs and Trolls. The remainder fled over the fields and back to the mountains.
Trolls go down in a hail of arrows and javelins
The Men had been driven back a bit and Garshak had some breathing space. A chance to loot more of the village.
With the barn finally on fire, Garshak tries to loot the next building 
One of his Uruks grabbed his sleeve in a panic. "Hey Boss! De Trolls iz dead!" He looked over to the fields on the left. "And where iz all de uvvers?" the Uruk asked, echoing his own thoughts. A voice was snarling in every hairy, orcish ear "Doom! You'll all die here in the cold!" Panic set in and the uruks fled from the village squealing.

Garshak managed to stop a complete rout in the field beyond the village by generous use of his whip and lopping a couple of heads from shoulders. 
"Back into line you maggots!"
But the men were advancing steadily, shields to the fore, spears down, a fighting boar banner snapping bravely overhead. To his left Garshak could see the elves advancing through the wreck of the rest of his warband.
Garshak's last company of Orcs are driven from the village
He didn't fancy being picked apart by those damned elf arrows and simultaneously spitted on the Men's spears"Right lads. Let's get out 'uv 'ere!"

Gandalf had a quiet word with the Elf captain, sending his best hunters after the trail of wolf blood. Erkenbard organized the putting out of fires and tending to the wounded. The scouts ranged into the woods to find the gathered loot and slaves the Orcs had been unable to carry off in their panicked flight.

Gandalf pulled out his pipe and got it puffing. "Now then, Erkenbard. Perhaps we can return to that game of draughts? I think I've almost got you!"

The Orcs were hampered by some pretty bad Courage tests leaving Garshak's company on it's own. The Men had trouble activating. Only the Orcs trouble with flint and steel kept more of the village from burning.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Unified Land Operations and the Siege of Gondor

This is funny. And informative.

A military blogger, The Angry Staff Officer uses the siege of Minas Tirith to illustrate Unified Land Operations concepts.

Since it combines Lord of the Rings with modern military stuff, I had to share. Plus it's interesting to see how the fictional battle works under modern military doctrines.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Night Raid!

Played a game of Black Ops Saturday night with Patrick. Two 4-man JTF2 teams were tasked to snatch a Taliban commander hiding in a village. The raid takes place at night, so stealth rules and sentries are in play. Just pretend all the pictures are that livid green colour from Night Vision Gear.

Table layout. Canadians enter lower left. Target in house with red poker chip
Crossing the irrigation ditch
They had been inserted a kilometer away. WO Stan Uchanski had picked an approach route that have them some cover among the grape mounds but passed the fewest compounds. The last thing he wanted was a dog giving them away.

Carefully they all crossed the ditch. Pete on the SAW covered them as everyone scrambled up.

A splash and muffled "fuck"
"Damn it Carl, keep it quiet."

Everyone gathered in the shadows of an orchard wall. Stan sent Pete and his no. 2 across the road to cover the final advance from some ruins. He had just joined them among the rubble when the sputtering of a small engine and the blob of a weak headlamp made them all hug the shadows tighter and hold their breath.
Random civilian
After the motorcycle passed, Stan keyed his mic. "Mike? Go."
Several muffled shots dropped the two closest guards. One fell with a loud groan and clatter as he dropped his AK.
Assault team advancing
One of the other guards started shouting. A Taliban came out of the left hand building, spraying bullets from a PKM LMG.
Marksman takes out sentries
Pete responded with the C9, dropping him in the archway. Carl and Tom ran up to put a couple of grenades followed by bursts from their C7 rifles into the room, chopping down a section of Taliban as they were still grabbing their weapons.
Clearing the first building
Other fighters boiled out of the target compound though. Bullets snapped around them. Carl and Tom were quickly knocked down. Turbaned fighters shouldering RPG launchers appeared on the roof and at the corner. Pete and Mike quickly took them out, covering Stan as he dashed over to his stricken team members.
Man down!
Uchanski tore open his first aid kit as bullets ripped up the air around him. Their target, the Taliban commander jumped into the pickup truck and gunned the engine. Sands flew as he backed up narrowly missing some of his guards.
Firefight in the street
Uchanski yelled at his RTO, who was carrying a grenade launcher. "Sparky! Take him out!" A fragmentation grenade exploded against the front tire, flattening it, damaging the engine and shattering the side window.
The C9 team joined in, spraying the truck with 5.56mm rounds. Return fire hit them both, but too late, the Taliban commander was bleeding out in the cab of the smoking truck.

At this point both sides made a hasty disengagement. Sparky yelling the 9-Liner into the radio and arranging for a helicopter extraction as they carried their casualties out of danger.

Tom was VSA when they got to the Blackhawk. By the time they had returned to KAF cellphone chatter picked up by a listening post confirmed that the target was dead along with half of the Taliban cell.

For extreme coolness and bravery under fire while rescuing his wounded comrades which contributed to the success of the mission, WO Uchanski was awarded the Military Medal.

It was a tight game. I don't know if the Canadians could have done better.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A New Hope

A lot of anxiety and anticipation here at the Townhouse of Solitude lately. But after a 20 hour labour, Daughter No 1 has popped out our first Grandchild. A fine healthy boy, 8 lbs. 15 oz., who has my name (which I'll admit does please me).

Mom and baby are doing fine. I've put Mrs Rabbitman on a plane to the Wild Frontier so she can help out and get all the baby snuggling.

I will console myself in my loneliness with painting and eating bacon.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Counter Attack at Cinque Lapins

Last weekend I solo played the 'Attack-Defend' scenario as the Germans launched a counter attack on Lt. Black and his platoon from the London and Oxford Fusiliers, as they would.

Germans got a platoon of Panzer grenadiers and with a roll of 12 for support options I took two StuGs. For the Canadians I hemmed and hawed and finally took the ubiquitous Sherman tank.

During the Patrol Phase, remembering the carnage on the German right, I concentrated on patrolling into the farm and around the left of the town. For the Canadians I tried to consolidate on the town but also pushed patrols out to the right to shut down the German probes.

End of Patrol Phase. Canadians in blue, Germans in red.
Location of JOPs
If you can see them, the Canadian JOPs are in two back gardens and a 15 CWT truck in a field. The Germans also have an Opel Blitz in a field and two JOPs in the farm.

As the game progressed the Germans put one section into the trees facing the hotel and two sections deployed from the farm. The Canadians reacted by quickly getting a section each into the hotel and the shop. The third section deployed from the terrace houses to the left of the hotel. Some MG42 rounds hitting the brick work around them caused some frantic scuttling into the brush on their left.

German right flank facing the hotel

3 Section covers the Canadian left

First shots

2 Section moves into the hotel

3 Section takes cover
At the farm, one German section moved out of the barn, with its poor fields of fire to try and take the shop. But 1 Section got there first and started laying down fire. The Germans replied in kind, two MG42s putting a horrible amount of lead through the shop windows. Two Canadian riflemen went down.

After deploying the PIAT team to the upper floor to cover the road and the 2" mortar at the intersection under Lt Black's control, Sgt Bedford took charge in the shop, directing the defense.

The Germans had moved tactically and taken cover but they now found themselves in a cross fire from both the shop and the hotel.
On the left, the German third section moved from the farm to try and flank the Canadian position. But help arrived as the Sherman tank rattled up. Seeing that the road was blocked, the tank moved to the right to protect the Canadian JOP which was vulnerable to the German flanking move.
Somewhere around this time, Lt Black got another game saving run of initiative, rolling double 6s for four consecutive phases.

The Sherman moved up to cover the JOP and opened fire on the German section, killing the section leader and some grenadiers. Lt. Black and Sgt. Bedford directed fire on the grenadiers in front of the barn. Even with the hard cover from being tactical in cover, the Canadians rolled a lot of 6s eventually shooting down the entire section.

The Germans facing the hotel tried to support, killing a few more Canadians. With the threat from the farm eliminated, 2 Section in the hotel switched it's fire to the trees. A good burst killed the third section leader and broke one of the MG42 teams. The German Force Morale collapsed and it was game over. With half of the German platoon down, including all three section commanders, it was time to fall back and regroup.

Unfortunately for the German side (and my  game objective of refreshing my memory on the armour rules), the Germans never got enough junior leader activations to get the StuGs into the fight. The Canadian platoon, with a second senior leader, meant they could take full advantage of some command rolls with two 4s which kept the rifle sections firing when it was critical.