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!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Technical Upgrades

Mrs. Rabbitman, loving helpmate that she is, insisted upon spending a bunch of money to do some technical upgrades in the Basement o'Rabbits in order for me to play remotely with my chums. A bodged vaccine roll out means we probably won't be gathering until September. I think that despite creeping misanthropy and enjoying this Covid hermitage, not being able to roll dice with my friends is taking a toll.

A second computer will probably be more useful in the long term than impulse buying more figures or terrain. This will also reduce competition for the first desk top, which Mrs. Rabbitman likes to watch her mystery shows on when she retires in the evening. Clever woman.

So computer, Webcam and Discord were purchased and set up on a corner of the second table. 

I argued with the technology for about a week trying to set up two Discord accounts so I could have both phone and Webcam logged in to no avail. I did manage one brief moment of ear piercing microphone feedback to the dismay of the household. So just the Webcam. 

Fortunately in a test game of What A Tanker with the Mad Padre it was demonstrated that the microphone on the Webcam is pretty good and he was able to hear me even as I moved around or typed into the Dicebot I have on my server. 

I'm currently reading a book on the Canadian Corps' final months in Italy, and with the new battalion level rules O Group coming out on Monday, I set up an Italian table for some anticipated play throughs.

Mike and I spent a couple of hours chasing each other around and he really had me on the ropes right up until the last turn. He took me on with a Panzer IIIN, so he gets bragging rights for that I think.

I thought ahead and left the brighter end of my table free for painting. First batch of Prussians are done. Some Russians up next!

Friday, February 19, 2021

"Give Me Blücher, Or Give Me Night!"

I have decided that this year I will either crack on with my long abandoned Napoleonic Sharp Practice project, or I will sell off the figures.

I dug the figures out of their cryopods and saw that I had, actually started to put paint on them.

I think last time out I had gotten hung up on picayune uniform details and this dampened my powder considerably. But not now. Life is too short, and the critics be damned.

So I've organized what I've got. It seems that I've got a lot.

4x 8 figure groups of Prussian Landwehr.
3x 8 figure groups of Russian infantry plus a 6x figure group of skirmishers.
2x formations of Russian grenadiers. Each of 3x 8 figure groups. Plus a 6 figure group of skirmishers. 
1x Russian gun and an extra crew.

Each formation has extra Big Men as well. I transferred some Russians in forage caps over to the Landwehr to bring them up to 4 groups with 2 Big Men though. 

Started painting last night. 

I bought this jar of paint before Mrs. Rabbitman and I got married! Still works with a bit of thinning. The "New" notation was made when purchased so I wouldn't get into it before the older pot was done. 

Considerable progress with one 90 minute session!

I'm going to keep to manageable batches of 16 or so to aid productivity and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Once I'm done what I've got, I will see what my friend Mikey has to unload. Then anything else I can buy from the Perry's later this year.

Just need some cavalry and maybe a wagon to finish the Allies.

And French of course. But Mikey has lots of unpainted French.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Brewery Bashup

Many years ago, before laser cut MDF buildings were available,  I tried to use model RR buildings for my Pulp Gangster game.

It was quite frustrating and lead to my gangsters getting shelved for a decade or more. Then I bought the Sarissa Precision kits and things were great again in gangland. But I still had a box of plastic to do something with. 

One of the model RR buildings was this enormous brewery from Heljan in Denmark. Trying to add interior floors and rooms proved beyond my patience or skill. The building on the right got turned into the coal merchant and the water tank is now on the roof of the warehouse. 

But the central tower and 3 story wing will provide components for ruined 15mm buildings.

Look closely, there's a stand of German paratroopers for scale beside the glue.

I had also bought these false fronts. I assume that they are to provide a backdrop for a shallow railroad layout. I thought I could add a box and use them to line the edge of the Gangster game. As you can see, from the half started paint, that didn't work either. So I cut back the boxes, added floors and rubble piles. 

Some broken match sticks for beams and sand glued on over the polystyrene base.

Which is where these will have to stay until it warms up outside and I can start spray painting. 

I'll bash more pieces together and get them to the same state in the meantime. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Gamer ADD Again

My intentions to stay focused and chip away at the leadpile are under assault. 

I bravely started work on the last platoon of German paratroopers. Thus emptying the "unpainted WW2 " box. Then I got distracted after only a few colours. 

Thanks to Wargaming Twitter I've caught myself perusing 

  • 14th Army in Burma because bush hats are cool
  • Age of Sail miniatures because full rigged ships of war are also cool
  • 1/2400 scale WW2 naval because destroyer skirmishes in the Pacific are a cool spin off from my aircraft (and GHQ has pretty reasonable postage rates too!)
  • Royal Marines and Blue Jackets because they are cool and a good excuse for a ship in a 28mm Napoleonics game
  • The Perry Miniatures webstore, because...just because. 
Fortunately I remembered that Mikey mentioned wanting to unload his unpainted Napoleonics. So the idea of returning to my 12 year sidelined Sharp Practice project has bubbled up again, providing a focus. Of course pandemic restrictions need to be eased before I visit my old and medically vulnerable friend to rummage through his stash. 

In the meantime, I'm pulling boxes off shelves and generally making a mess as I resort my Russians and Prussians. 

I'm also using this nervous energy to start hacking into a pile of junk to make 15mm urban ruins. With O Group from Two Fat Lardies just going up for pre-order, I'm thinking that my WW2 troops will be out of their boxes this year. 

Of course, I notice that since the last time I commented on becoming unfocused, which was also in a February, I've done 3 or 4 of the things that were distracting me at the time.

So Goodness knows what the year will bring. Something from out of left field. Hopefully you'll read about Napoleonic Sharp Practice and building Stalingrad.

Maybe those German paratroopers will be finished after 12 years.

Or maybe thrilling games of Battle Hamsters. Its a coin toss, really.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Fighter Sweep Over the Pacific

After the last couple of rather complicated games of Bag the Hun, I wanted to try a straight up dog fight to work on my grasp of the maneuvering subtleties. I mean honestly, I really should have done a few games like this before trying to dive bomb ships.

But mistakes were made. 

The Zeros have been coming off rather badly and I was pretty sure it was a combination of tactics on my part and me missing something, not bad game design. 

There were a few moments like this as I reread sections of the rules 

So, two opposing 12 aircraft formations. The Zeros are in four 3 aircraft Chotais. The Wildcats are in 2 six aircraft divisions, each division flying in 3 pairs. I deployed them in the A-B-C Formation. 

Prowling for the enemy. The Japanese are looser and more spread out 

Americans mind their ABCs and try to stick together. 

I used the 1942 table to generate pilot quality. I now roll a handful of dice equal to the number of pilots. Best roll is the Squadron Leader. Next best are flight leaders, then section leaders and so on, until the worst rolls go to the wingmen. This eliminates crappy pilots leading flights and splits the sprogs up around the formation, which looks more realistic to me. The Japanese got 3 Junior Aces, assigned to lead 3 of the Chotai. They also got 5 Sprogs (Sprogs get a -1 for shooting, defense, tailing, and maneuver tests). The USN didn't get any aces, and 5 Sprogs. Aces get extra cards to activate and +1 (JuniorAce) or +2 (Top Ace) for shooting,  defense,  tailing and maneuver tests. So the Japanese having the more experienced pilots should be telling. 

Blue dice indicate relative altitude 

Both sides tried to maneuver to concentrate against one half of the enemy formation causing a few turns of bloodless swirling. I also wanted to try the historical diving attack, so everyone also kept climbing to get above and behind a target. Often aircraft would get in position to attack and then the targets would slip away, often with the use of a Formation or Ace bonus card. This helped the Japanese escape the heavier American firepower a lot.

Turn 4 someone finally gets a shot! IJN Red Leader causes wing damage on USN Red Leader 

Who circles out of danger, but then Green Chotai closes in

USN Blue Division is all over the place dueling with blue and yellow Chotai 

The Wildcats are in position to roll over into a diving attack on the Zeros below them


Positioned for a "boom and zoom"

Success! Fuel line hit on the Zero 

IJN ace kills a Sprog

Red Leader has some wing damage but shoots down the IJN Ace 

The game has divided into two separate fights. USN Red division vs. IJN Red and Green at the left. USN Blue Division vs IJN yellow and blue center and right.

US Blue1 performs an Immelman and gets above and behind a Zero, but his wingman doesn't follow and flies off

WTF? Moment as a Rush Hour in the Sky develops. It's all going to turn on who's card comes up first next turn. IJN Red get to shoot wounding both pilots (-2 on shooting now and limit maneuvering). USN Red division is in rough shape, 2x wounded, 2 aircraft damaged, 1 shot down. Only 1 Sprog untouched. 

Back to US Blue1 which gets a Flight Leader card and does a diving attack 

Boom! Another Zero killed. 

The Wildcats dive through IJN Green to escape, .50 cals blazing, destroying one. But the Zeros don't lose their tail.

The rest of USN Red division breaks their tails on IJN Green to help out the others 

To good effect! One Zero vaporizes and the other is severely damage 

Ace IJN B1, leaking fuel sneaks up behind the Sprog causing some damage. But Blue 3 &4 are in  perfect position to roll into a diving attack on him

Which they do. IJN B1 explodes after 2 sets of .50 cal bullets tear into his aircraft 

IJN Green dives through USN Red doing minor damage,  but this puts them in front of a flight of angry Wildcats. 

USN Blue Division breaks off. B1 goes to rejoin his wounded and damaged novice wingman 

The Wildcats of Red flight pounce!

IJN Green 1 explodes giving USN Red Leader his 2nd kill and the US Sprog sends IJN Red2 spinning into the waves!

I called it there. The Japanese losing 3 aircraft in the last turn was pretty devastating. The ruggedness of the Wildcats really helped the Americans I think. Of course, the Japanese wounded 3 of the American pilots and those could have easily become kills if I'd rolled a 4+ instead of a 2 each time.

VF-19 returns to the carrier with 3 pilots wounded,  3 aircraft damaged and 1 lost, but 7 kills to their credit. 

Keeping formations, or at least pairs, for as long as possible, even if it limited firing opportunities, paid off in the long run I think. It was certainly a different experience not having bombers affecting tactics. 

I almost set the game in late '43 and took my 6 Hellcats. With robustness of 3, to the Zero's 1, that would have been ugly!

Maybe I should try the Wildcats as proxies for Brewster Buffaloes for a true early war experience? Or repeat the scenario but set it over England?