Thursday, 25 August 2016

British Infantry Section

I already have four 8 man sections* but looking in my boxes of toy soldiers I stumbled upon enough figures for another section. So on to the painting table they went!

(*I know that sections are theoretically 10 strong, but I'm allowing for a few casualties)

The 'recipe' I use can be found under the Painting tab, see above.

I especially liked the Bren gunner with the weapon shouldered and a look on his face that suggests he's having a good grumble about boots / officers / weather, etc. Hard to see at this scale but he has, honest!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Monte Cassino - Duel in the Sun - Game 5

Another Saturday at Bristol Independent Gaming playing Bolt Action with Wargames Table chum Orange Dave!! This time it's game five of our Italian campaign. The notorious Monte Cassino!! The battlefield map is shown below.
Scenario map: published without permission ;o)

Here's the table with all the troops in play. Dave's mega-hill does sterling service again!

I put my best troops amongst the ruins on Monastery Hill with a strong secondary force holding Hill 444. By the way - we both missed the rule about the battlefield being impassable to vehicles - doh!?

Dave's fine body of men! Indians and Kiwis - tough chaps all.

Turn 1 saw a general advance mainly on the north-eastern flank of the hill. The tanks exchanged long range shots but the shells either missed or bounced off.

Dave had deployed some smoke in turn 1 and now it rather usefully (for the Allies) drifted towards Monastery Hill. Turn 2 saw a little more shooting from the longer ranged elements of each force along with more advancing.

Here's the situation at the start of turn 4. Turn 3 saw the Allies gain a lot of pins as the well dug-in defenders of both hills opened up with pretty much everything they had. The Germans on Hill 444 were wiped out as they were closer to the Allies plus had less cover.

A closer shot of how Dave's truck mounted Maoris were able to exploit the drifting smoke.

Turn 4 and the Panzer IV wins the tank duel as the Churchill brews up.

Turn 4 was particularly bad for the Allies. The Churchill blown to smithereens, the Indians in the centre wiped out and lots more pins on most of the other troops. Also hardly any damage to the troops occupying the ruined monastery. Turn 5 began badly as the smoke disappeared revealing the truck full of Maoris, plus the first couple of dice out of the bag were black not green... Dakka dakka dakka went the MG42s.

The brave chaps in that Bren carrier were stoically pouring fire in to the ruins so as to pin the Germans and give their comrades a chance to storm the hill. But the dastardly Panzer commander had other ideas .... "Hans... Bereit. Ziel. Feuer!!!" ... Boom!!! (once again I apologise to any German speaking readers for my terrible German language skills)

The brave Kiwis begin to ascend the hill.

Turn 6 begins but the Allied attack has been shattered.

Undaunted the Maoris launch their assault... and By George they're tough fellas. They slaughter the veteran German troops in a hail of grenades and bullets. Take that Jerry!!

Turn 7 and it's almost over the for the attackers. The Maoris have consolidated into the northern end of the ruins but they are too few to clear the hill.

The last two turns were played out fairly quickly. The Maoris on the hill were annihilated by the combined fire-power of the squads still holding the ruins. Dave was not helped by the BA dice coming out of the bag very much in favour of the Germans.

As the dust settled we totalled up the VPs and it was Germans 18 and Allies 7. The win was not really due to any great skill on my part if I'm honest. Dave acknowledged that he'd made a couple of little fluff ups (such as using his 25lber and timing his advance). Nonetheless this was always going to be an incredibly hard nut for the Allies to crack. Still, it was laugh and Dave is always a pleasure to game with. My thanks for sorting out this scenario mate!!

So after 5 games it's Axis 3 and Allies 2 in the campaign. The grand finale will see three allied forces taking on the Germans behind the Gothic Line. That's 3000pts of Allies fighting 1000pts of Germans ... but Jerry does get quite a few bunkers and lots of lovely barbed wire. Should be a corker! Hopefully Dave will be joined by fellow Wargames Table chums Mike and Steve. Bring it on!!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Building the Brasserie - Part 1

Here's a little article with some tips for building the lovely Brasserie from Charlie Foxtrot Models. I've already posted a few articles about building CFM kits (here, here, here and here) so I'll try not to repeat myself! I'll start with a pic of the nearly finished article.

Here's the kit.

Like the other buildings it's mainly a series of boxes which are easy to build, but a couple of things worth pointing out are the order of the pieces for the front doors and how the roof chimney components look. (Colin does include diagrams with his kit but I thought you might like to see it 'for real'). Don't glue the pieces with doors or panelling yet (the top and bottom pieces in the following pic) as these are easier to paint first then attach later!

In this pic the final end piece for the gable/chimney has yet to be attached, so you can see how it all goes together. Also I spray the roof sections black or dark grey before assembly.

To make it easier to paint the doors and window frames etc, I've got some home-made mounts built from corks on to which I've screwed a length of MDF. Some tiny dots of blu-tak hold the pieces in place. They'll be under-coated in grey primer.

So here's the building assembled. I use pieces of Lego for the chimney pots as it's easier than trimming up the plastic pipe supplied with the kit ;o)

A couple of good layers of gritty masonry paint gives the MDF some texture. Just make sure you keep it away from the door and window frames.

With dormers I've found it easier to texture them before attaching to the roof otherwise I just get masonry paint all over the roof. Glue the dormer to the roof then attach the two small roof sections; this gives a neater join.

As with other buildings I've used some tester pots from the DIY store to get the colours for the walls. Far cheaper than VMC or Foundry! For a creamy white finish start with a beige/biscuit colour then apply some lighter cream/magnolia colours. Finish off with a little pure white. (I did take some pics but the flash obliterated any useful detail). Also, I try to get a slightly uneven coverage as real buildings are rarely completely uniform in colour.

I decided to paint the door, windows, etc in red. I started with a base of Foundry Scarlet shade 38A, then highlights of British Red Coat shade 68A and mid 68B. For a deeper finish you could start with a base of deep red/brown such as Conker Brown Shade 54A and leave off the final highlight. Again I tried to get a slightly uneven coverage to give the finish more depth.

On the front section I painted one panel in black to be a black board, then I picked out the lettering in VMC Dark Sand followed by a faint highlight with pure white.

Here's the (almost) completed Brasserie!

I've described how to paint roofs before so will skip that. The chimney pots are simply painted Foundry Brick Red shade (the closest I have to terracotta) and highlighted with some greys to make them look 'used'. With a fine brush and some white paint I put "Menu" and some scribbles on the black board.

It's not quite properly finished yet though... I intend to add some shutters plus a couple of advertising signs and posters such as "Cinzano". (See the first pic) Pinterest has some great posters! The roof also needs bird droppings, lichen and moss.

In part two I'll look at creating a "tile" on to which the building will be placed so that it can have an area for those naughty Germans to enjoy a coffee outdoors, a backyard, outbuildings, etc. Here's a sneaky-peak of the sort of thing I'm considering.

Maybe I'm taking this scenery thing a little too far? ;o)

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Normandy again!

Private Perkins hummed gently to himself as he brewed his Lieutenant's morning cup of tea. The platoon had halted late last night and made themselves comfortable in a rather dilapidated barn. The old farmer had welcomed them by handing out jars of rough Normandy cider and fresh eggs. Naturally the men were delighted, though a few were probably feeling a little shabby as the day dawned cool and bright.

The young officer was poring over his maps as Perkins approached, "Here we are sir, a nice cup of tea," he said placing the steaming mug on the table. The farmer had even provided some fresh milk. "Eggs for breakfast sir?"

"Thank you George but alas there's no time for that," he said tapping the papers on the desk, "Message from Company HQ, they want us to push on and take a vital rail junction. Jerry is on the move. Reconnaissance suggests they could be Fallschirmjagers. So, be a good chap and let the Sergeants know I want them here in five minutes"

"Sir!" came the reply accompanied by a crisp salute.

Yes, Mike and I were battling it out again amongst the Normandy hedgerows. He led his formidable FJs whilst (for a change) I fielded my British regulars instead of my Paras. The game was to be a straightforward clash of reinforced platoons using a variant of Maximum Attrition scenario. To spice things up a bit we deployed in opposite corners of the table and extended the game length by a couple of turns.
Mike begins his advance

My British would arrive from behind the farmhouse and signal box whilst Mike's FJs entered from beyond the larger farm complex. I was delighted to be able to use my Signal Box (Charlie Foxtrot of course!) and tracks for the first time.
Sniper upstairs and the artillery observer below

The first couple of turns were pretty cautious affairs with both of us gradually moving men forward, both trying to turn around the flanks without exposing our men.
The British begin their attempt to outflank the Germans

Mike was trying out a slightly different FJ list with fewer but larger squads giving a total command dice count of just seven. I had four main sections plus a variety of support including an armoured car giving me a whopping twelve dice.
Jerry advances steadily

First shot of the game went to my sniper who somewhat predictably missed! However my 3" mortar team were 'on point' landing a shell plum on top of the German MMG and wiping it out. Take that Jerry!! ;o) Undeterred, Mike's elites continued to push forward and started chipping away at the larger but less experienced British force.
A badly pinned section takes cover as the Lt tries to get them moving

The British artillery support was delayed a couple of times but I did get to move the aiming marker to keep up with the German advance. When it did finally arrive it just put a few pins on a couple of units. Still, it is a freebie.
There's lots of them sir!

In one of the superb cinematic moments from the game, Mike's Stug rumbled on to the table and let rip at my Bren carrier (with flamethrower crew on board). I had gambled that he would be more interested in dealing with my armoured car. The shell tore in to the lightly armoured Bren and set it ablaze. The crew promptly failed their morale test (hey, there was a flamethrower on board!) so they bailed out.
Rumble ... rumble ... !?


In another superb ‘movie moment’, my Lieutenant was activated but with only a pistol he couldn't do too much against the German squad behind the hedge to his front. "Excuse me sir, let me handle this," said the confident Perkins. He calmly took aim... and I rolled three consecutive 6's to pick off the MG42 in the squad. Very amusing!

However, the continued advance of the FJs was putting ever greater pressure on my sections. Mike's larger squads made them very durable, particularly when combined with their veteran status. Mike's troops advanced along the railway to draw a bead on the Lieutenant and his trusty bat-man. Poor Perkins was wounded so was ordered to the rear.

The Stug and armoured car had a brief duel but Jerry had the best of it as another shell tore through British armour like a hot knife through butter.
Boom!!! (again :-S)

At the end of turn 9 the result was crystal clear. A solid and well deserved victory for Mike's FJs. This was a superb game of BA with plenty of drama and lots of laughs. My thanks to Mike for a great game played with the customary spirit of gentlemanly wargaming. Very much looking forward to a re-match.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Church and Graveyard

I've wanted to add a church to my Normandy collection for some time. Total Battle Miniatures do a beautiful church but at £60 it's way beyond my pocket! So instead I ordered up this from Hovels Ltd. Great value at just £13.50.
A couple of paras for scale

The casting was good with little trimming up required. The spire is a separate piece which makes storage a little easier. Make sure you give it a good wash before painting.

So that I could use it in different settings, that is as a standalone church or within a village perhaps. I decided to make a tile for the graveyard. The church could then just be placed on it. Again this would make storage easier.

The paved/tiled area is just some good quality printed card I picked up from my local model shop. I've applied some textured masonry paint so that the edge blends in nicely, plus it makes for a good path.

The area around the church will have a scatter of gravestones.

Painting the church was very straightforward. Undercoat with matt black spray, then apply successive drybrushed layers of Foundry Stone for the walls and Found Slate Grey for the roof. The actual effect is more dramatic than this picture suggests. They are quite different greys, honest!

The door is just dark brown such as Found Bay Brown shade highlighted with a faint drybrush of a Foundry Boneyard mid. The patches of mould in the stonework are simply a watered mid green that is given a highlight of watered yellow-green. Thinning the paint lets the stone show through in places.

Some of the gravestone were old metal items that I'd had in my bits box. I especially like the one covered in ivy with a raven on top - from Essex miniatures I think? The rest were simply off-cuts of plasticard that I trimmed in to various headstone shapes.

I decided to keep the gravestones quite sparse so as to make it easier to place and move figures during games.

Here's the finished article surrounded by stone walls. I made the gates from some odd bits of balsa. The graveyard was flocked and then spruced up with a selection of tufts, flowers and clump foliage.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Bovington Wargames Show

Battlegroup South recently staged their annual two-day show in Bovington Tank Museum, what a venue eh!? I also had the great pleasure of helping out Wargames Table chum Colin with his stand for Charlie Foxtrot Models – always great fun!
Colin's impressive stand packed with lovely models!

Unsurprisingly there is a display dedicated to the film/tank “Fury”. Can you believe that I (almost) had to stop Colin from licking the tank? ;o)

Two chaps getting in the way of a nice picture of a tank ;o)

The show had a good range of games; historical, sci-fi and fantasy, 6mm to 40mm, etc. A couple really caught my eye so here's a few photos.
20mm WW2

Packed with little details

Well worth a good look round

The game is Soldiers of God, Arabs vs Crusaders

Beautifully painted in sumptuous colours

I was very restrained in my purchases at this show. A few Vikings, a couple of packs of WW1 British and a few tables/chairs from 4Ground. All bought from Stu and Scott of the excellent Colonel Bills stand; good to have a natter with you fellas!

The Vikings are to expand my Saga war band. The WW1 British were a bit of an impulse buy as I’ve been thinking about some big WW1 games with Dave, Steve, Rob, etc next year to mark some of the centenaries. More on that in the future, hopefully. By the way, I’m allowed to purchase the MDF table and chairs from 4Ground coz Colin doesn’t have any in his range yet. :-P

It was a real pleasure to chat to visitors to the CFM stand and also wander round chatting to other traders and gamers. It’s great to hear what other people are doing with the kits and just share a mutual enthusiasm for all things gaming. Plus it’s always good to meet up with old friends and make a few new ones.

As it was a two day show, Colin and I camped in the field adjacent to the museum. My range of camping equipment is a bit limited but Colin looked after me in fine style – thank you! There was also a beer tent and a BBQ, along with a quiz for those who didn’t mind the cold/wind/rain! Can’t do much about the weather.

In summary then, a well organised and friendly show with a range of traders to suit most tastes. Add in some impressive games run by friendly and enthusiastic gamers, plus a superb venue and you have all the ingredients for a great show. Look forward to the 2017 event!