Sunday, 9 October 2016

A bit of World War One

Wargames Table chums Rob Broom and Orange Dave put on a rather splendid Somme inspired WW1 demo game for Dave's superb Zero Hour rules at the Worlds show, Donnington (01/10/16). Now, I couldn't make it along but I did supply some scenery and troops so I was kind of there in spirit! ;o)  Here's a few pics... (slightly dodgy lighting made good pics quite tricky)

British mass for the attack on the German trenches
From the German side
New technology makes it's debut ... a tank rumbles into the line!
Not to be outdone... he comes the RFC
The French also attack
The tank proves useful at cutting through obstacles
A shattered farm somewhere on the Somme
Every battlefield needs a river
The British reach the trench lines! Hurrah!

Hopefully this demo game will gradually expand and feature at a few more shows!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

SAGA - Age of the Wolf Campaign

At last!!! Orange Dave and I have got our calendars sorted and played the first two rounds of the club Saga campaign which brings me nicely up to date. My faction is a Viking War band led by the indomitable Magnus Håkonsson. I rolled for his traits and got "Learn'd" and "Hard Ruler" - both great for boosting my war band before and after battles, plus the special rule "The Conqueror". Magnus is clearly a man to be reckoned with!!

Dave has been busy painting some lovely Foundry figures. The photos are a bit shonky but hopefully you can see how good they are!
Some of Dave's lovely Anglo-Danes

Game One - I decided to raid the territory of Dave's Warlord, the Anglo-Danish Leofstan the Bastard. The scenario came up as "Scout" so we both cautiously advanced in to an abandoned village. Now, it's been ages since I last played (that's my excuse anyway!) so I was a bit vague about how the game worked, but I soon picked it up.
The action in the abandoned village... Ouch!

Anyway, Dave's Warlord has a great ability to move two units with his freebie move so he was able to swiftly bring his forces to bear with superior numbers. My Vikings gave the Danes a bloody nose (metaphorically speaking!!) but with two Hirdmen units gone plus a unit of Bondi, my warlord signalled a withdrawal.
While over on the flank the levy throw sticks at each other!?

Post game we sorted out the campaign stuff. This went well for Magnus as his unit of Thralls were upgraded to Warriors and most of the casualties were replaced thanks to his traits.

Game Two - sorry no pics - was a simply ambush on a forest road. Dave's Anglo-Danes were ambushing. I sacrificed a unit of Bondi (and ultimately a unit of Hirdmen too) in order to allow the rest of my force to escape the ambush and head off in search of plunder. Again the post game campaign rolls were fairly good, giving Magnus a 5pt war band of 2 x 4 Hirdmen, 2 x 8 Warriors and 1 x 8 Thralls. Plus a campaign point in to the bargain too - a good start for my Norse Raiders!

A big thank you to Dave for coming over and sorting out a splendid introduction to Age of the Wolf. Really enjoyed it mate! :o)

Friday, 16 September 2016

Bolt Action - Germany vs Russia

With the second edition of the Bolt Action rules almost upon us, Wargames Table chum Steve and I decided to have one more go with first edition! Steve would be fielding his beautiful First Corps Russians whilst I would once again be trying to stem the advance in to Germany with my Panzergrenadiers. Here’s the field of battle.

The scenario was simple: German forces must stall the Russian steamroller in this sector long enough to bring reserves up, however this can only be done if the crossroads remain in German hands. So, the usual 6 (or 7) turn game and the winner would be the one controlling the vital crossroads near the centre of the board at the end of the game.

Steve and I both decided to commit our entire forces in turn 1 ... no faffing around with reserves here!! First blood went to the Germans as my tank rumbled on to the table and took aim at the only viable target, the Russian sniper in the church belfry... Boom!

Steve had an alarming number of troops at his command! They begin to advance around the farm, through the orchard and across the church yard.

Steve took a shot with his tank against mine. The shell missed by a whisker, so rather than risk another volatile tank duel I pushed my Panzer forwards with the intention of blocking his shots to it and also being able hose down the advancing Russian hordes at short range.

On my left Steve had a unit of veteran scouts holed up in the farm house so I pushed a couple of squads forwards to try to dislodge them. Surely they would not stand against three MG42s at short range?!?

Amazingly they not only held but shredded one of the German squads in reply! What had these Russkies eaten for breakfast??

With my tank well forward my squads also pushed onwards to support it but not before a pesky (free) unit of inexperienced Russians managed to dodge the twin MGs and get close enough to plaster the Panzer with anti-tank grenades… Boom! Steve and I were both laughing our heads off!

This left his tank free to roam around the table, backed up by fearsome SMG wielding tank riders, annihilating anything remotely German!

So, another solid victory for Steve and his Russians, and another superb game with plenty of laughs and more than a few dramatic moments. My thanks to Steve for a great game… and a superb chocolate cake! Looking forward to lots more fun with the new rules.

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)