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!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Workbench Update

A few fits and starts as I stumble towards something.

Got all of my spacesuited figures painted. I decided to do a large percentage of them in a low visibility greenish grey as pirates/raiders/Outer Planet Alliance radicals to fight the security forces and armed colonists (until I buy some power armoured marines from Ground Zero Games).

You'll notice that the drone is done too and I'm overpainting some Matchbox toy vehicles. The yellow thing is a Bison mine clearing truck, which came in a lovely grey digital camo pattern. My colonists don't need mine clearing, but I thought doing it in some dirty yellow and it can be a survey vehicle. It scales nicely with the 15mm figures.

I've also been sorting armament for the Imp APCs. Mounted the second missile system on a metal collar that I stuck in my pocket during a job I had making Toyota parts 10 years ago. This will make it a base defense system to be attacked by commandos etc. Still not happy with the gun turret for the second tank, just don't like the look. Found the red box abandoned on a work bench. I like the natural wear on the printed logo. I cut the yellow number panel from the label sticker and distressed it with some isopropyl alcohol. It will make another nice shipping container.
Finally, while pondering the defensive missile launcher I remembered this stashed on a shelf:
I don't think that the searchlight and naval gun quite fit. But how about this?
The 15mm figures work well and fit in the trenches. Should figure out some doors on the bunkers though.

And there's Hotlead next weekend!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Soviet Armoured Steamroller of DOOM!

Met a chap on Facebook last week. He wanted to swap for some terrain. So in exchange for 3 resin buildings I wasn't using much I got this:
Green are Zvezda, grey are Plastic Soldier Company.
So 2x BT7s and a T26 for early war (yay! Finally!)
4x 45mm AT guns.
An always useful Gaz truck.
17x T34s. 8 of which can have either the late war 85mm gun turret or the 76mm gun turret.
They'll be easy to paint.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pimping My 4Ground

My new Crescent Root Studio buildings with their lovely bases have made my 4Ground terrace houses jealous. I've quite often deployed my set of sidewalks and improvised some walled back gardens for them (for example here). But it's always been "not quite."

So this week I decided to set things right and make them bases. The first step was to decide on the size with some thin card that would be the bottom layer. This involved a lot of manipulating buildings and bits of sidewalk, and trying to measure very odd dimensions while things kept shifting.

The sidewalks I'm using are 15S-TAO-105 12mm wide pavements. The set comes with enough lengths and corner pieces to go around 2x two door terraces and 2x three door terraces. I used some of the spare pieces and cut them to make the depth of the gardens.
The next hurdle was to find a piece of card stock the same thickness as the walkways and cut pieces out to infill the garden areas. More measuring of odd, irregular dimensions while everything shifts.
Once everything was cut out it was time to glue it down and leave under a board with a heavy jug on top to make sure they dried flat.
I then used scrap MDF board from the left over frames and cut out garden walls, gluing them in place with the quick setting Aileen's Tacky Glue.

Then paint and flock.

Because these are back gardens, I used an unmixed light green flocking instead of my usual mix of shades and textures, tea leaves and bits of lichen.
While I was at it, I added a German propaganda poster to one end wall, tearing it and scrawling graffiti from an angry local.
For the ruined terrace I decided to make a rubble pile and have it fallen into the street. A pet peeve of mine is not enough rubble blocking the streets in our blasted urban battlefields. It was reading an article about using the leftover MDF frames to make rubble that got me to start saving them.
So I started building up some layers to give a shape, gradually using smaller pieces to give the basic form.

I then started chopping up MDF into bricks.
After gluing the substrate in place (first putting a MG team in the building to ensure the pile didn't intrude too much), I sprayed it with aerosol glue and then dumped the bricks on top. I then gave it another top coat of aerosol glue to stick everything down and added some beams on top. I also added some fine sand around the edges, using the sticky aerosol glue to grab much of it, but adding blobs of PVA and sand to hide the the straight edges of the sublayers.
Demonstrating blocking a street.
Now I'm just letting the aerosol glue fully dry and then it's dabs of PVA and fine sand to fill things in a bit, but not soo much that it looks like a cat turd.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Barbecue and Dwarves

It was supposed to be 8 of us last night. So instead of WW2, which can get complex and move slowly, I decided a big game of Dragon Rampant would be fun, easy to GM and bash along even with all the side chatter and socialising. 1944 France got switched around to 14th century France/Middle Earth.

Dan brought his 80s vintage Warhammer Dwarves.  He also brought the "5 Meat Platter" from the infamous Lancaster Smoke House for pregame nibbles (or in my case dinner; I'd saved my appetite being forewarned).

Ribs, brisket, chicken, pulled pork

Grits, slaw, bacon macaroni, beans, jambalaya and corn bread
So after stuffing our faces and then washing the barbecue sauce off we trooped downstairs. With some bad weather it turned out to be only five us.

Dan decided he didn't need any of my troops and did a list up using his Warhammer figures. Slayers were bellicose foot, gyrocopters were greater Warbeast with flying and artillery were heavy missiles. He gave all his infantry the invisible upgrade, negating my goblin archery but after the barbecue I gave him a pass on that.

I tried something different last night and interspersed the goblin light foot with missiles to support the evil men heavy foot and also spread the trolls out more to give each group some offensive thump.
Each side ran to 90 points. Even with the invisible upgrade negating my archery, I was able to use my 3:1 advantage to destroy Dick's dwarves on my left. I lost some scouts, a pair of trolls and my wizardling lost a fight with a gyrocopter.

Some snaps of Dan's retro Dwarves.

I think my trolls had some grilled dwarf that night for dinner.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Some Late Roman cavalry

Some more work on my slow going painting commission for a friend's 28mm Late Imperial Romans army. I've been working on this off and on for a few years. Fortunately my friend is patient and figures that even with my slow progress they are getting done faster than if he were painting them.

This installment is three units of cavalry and another cohort of Auxilia Palatina.

The sudden announcement that he is coming from Ottawa to visit friends in the area this weekend prompted me to get a shift on and decal the shields. Otherwise they've been done for a couple of months. But I wasn't expecting to see him for another month at Hotlead.

While I was busy with water and tweezers to apply decals I put some more crosses and numbers on my German armour.

I'm thinking I need to do some scenarios in Normandy or Market Garden to put the Tigers and King Tigers on the table. I also need some Polish or French opposition for my Early War German armour.

Monday, January 29, 2018

4 Cdn Arm Div Bounces the Somme

Inspired by reading the Cinderella Campaign and the dash across France in Sept 1944 plus the table I set up Friday to try out my new buildings, I thought that a Breakthrough scenario would be spiffing good fun. I also haven't had a lot of Shermans out in years. Playing solo I could take my time, enjoy a glass of port and not worry about comments about play balance.

So two platoons of Grenadiers with a platoon of 3 pak40s and a platoon of 3 StuGs are holding the town as a rear guard. For the German company HQ I opted for 2x MG42 teams. Each platoon also had 2 panzerfausts.

The attackers get a company HQ plus 5 platoons. So I took an armoured squadron HQ, 3 troops of tanks and 2 platoons of infantry mounted in carriers and trucks.

Both sides also rolled well for air support, which gave my FW190 and Spitfire a chance to see some table action for the first time since I bought them 10 or 12 years ago!

The Canadians deployed into two elements: Squadron HQ, 1 Troop and a platoon of infantry in 15 CWT trucks advanced up the road past the farm. The other two troops and a platoon of infantry in carriers advanced through the fields on the left. The Germans put some infantry in the hedges and trees in front of the town. An MG42 was positioned in a  building to cover each flank of the town. One pak40 was in the trees covering the Canadian left, but the second was back closer to the town to shoot down the road and the third was dug in near the bridge. The StuGs were held in reserve. In hindsight I should have deployed the infantry in the houses and put the StuGs forward to engage the allied armour right away.

The Canadian plan was to use a rapid advance to get to the bridge before the twelfth turn of the "blank/special" card, which designated the end of the game (or in my version the pioneers blow the bridge) and try not to get bogged down in firefights. The scenario specified "Armoured Bonus Move" card really helped with that, especially in the early turns.

Opening moves. Squadron HQ spots German infantry lining the hedge and deploy into the field, hosing the poor landsers with HE and .30 cal. fire. 1 Troop roars past along the road spraying the German flank.

A FW190 strafes the road, stopping the allied advance.
More air power overhead. A Spitfire buzzes the Germans.

A pak40 reveals itself, brewing up the lead Sherman. 

The pak40 in the woods in front of the town also opens fire, getting a few ineffective hits.

Using an "Armoured Bonus Move" card a troop of Shermans rush forward. Infantry in their carriers swing to the left. But the pak40 card comes up first and brews up the troop leader.

Meanwhile, demonstrating how fire and maneuver works. A section from the right platoon clears the first line of trenches taking 6 POWs .
1 Troop roars forward with another Armoured Bonus Move card, overrunning the second trench line. The Germans hunkered down and tried assaulting the tanks without effect. Once the Canadian infantry came up the combination was able to eliminate the trench line.

The troop leader is positioned just short of crushing the dug in Pak 40. But he got stunned by a shot from a StuG in the town and delayed crushing the gun. But I didn't let the gun fire, having a tank on the edge of the gun pit and all.
Middle troop of Shermans breaks into the German position, flanking the right hand platoon. Fire from both troops shattered the Germans and destroyed the Pak 40.
Canadians deploy from their carriers on the flank of the town, end running the German defense.
Shermans then overrun the shocked Germans at the tree line avenging their dead troop leader. Only 3 Grenadiers  make it back to town.
Flanking platoon sends out its PIAT team to hunt StuGs.
On the Canadian right, there is a traffic jam, with a mass of tanks and one narrow road, down which high velocity 75mm AP shells are screaming. 

The StuGs deployed at the crossroads, firing down each street at advancing Canadian armour. Canadian and German armour spend a few turns banging away at each other.
With the German position crumbling, I decided they should try and save what they could. One StuG followed by a truck towing the last Pak 40 try escaping over the bridge. A Spitfire swoops low, 20mm cannon chattering, pinning the truck in place.

The left hand Canadian platoon dash to the river and engage Germans on the bridge, knocking out the truck with rifle fire. Gun crew dismount as a half section of infantry.

The surviving German infantry had retreated to the central house and spent a few turns having their shock rallied off by the surviving German Big Men. The tank duel was going badly. Shermans are at both ends of the street and getting a mobility kill on the StuG in the picture, causing the crew to bail out. The Canadian Squadron commander and one of his troop tanks advance up the street. The surviving Germans fired off their remaining panzerfausts, causing minor damage and then ran for the bridge.
The last StuG was heavily damaged in a shoot out with a Firefly and tried retreating to the bridge but got brewed up trying to squeeze by the disabled truck and Pak 40.

A German MG42 team had relocated to the green house, firing on the Canadians near the bridge. Seeing this two Shermans poured fire into the lower floor setting the house on fire.

Here you can see the end as Shermans roll up each street, squeezing past the knocked out StuG to round up the fleeing Germans.

The Squadron commander advanced his tank to the bridge, machine gunning the fleeing Germans. Those who survived surrendered.

The Germans were utterly destroyed (except for one damaged StuG) and the Canadians still had 5 turns of the special card to secure the bridge. The Canadians lost 11 KIA plus 3 tanks brewed up (so 26 total dead) and took 13 POWs including 2 Big Men.

Playing solo I could also play this out to it's bitter end, pausing Saturday night for bed and then resuming action on Sunday. I also "live Tweeted " this game which was an interesting way to record events as they unfolded, taking and tweeting an awful lot of pictures with commentary. But it would be annoying if I hadn't been playing solo. I did garner some "retweets " and likes from strangers, which is all very odd. But Twitter is rather ephemeral and strange.