Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Bolt Action Battle Report

Following the show in Penarth, Colin and I returned to Wargames Table Manor and, after a fine curry, set to with a game of Bolt Action. I'd designed both sides in this 750pt game so the core of each force was an almost full strength platoon consisting of the HQ plus 3 or 4 sections/squads along with a few little extras like a mortar or an HMG or even a sniper. Definitely no armour for this game either.

The scenario was simple - wipe out the opposing force. The winner would be decided by how many order dice had been lost (a win required a clear margin of two dice). There are only a few photos as the game was quite intense (in a very enjoyable way) so I forgot to take more.

The pic below shows the battlefield after turn one. My plan was to focus my attack on my right flank using the stout walls of the churchyard to give my troops plenty of good cover.

Interestingly, Colin's main attack was also on his right flank as he sought to make the best use of the cover offered by the café and the farmhouse. Both of us put one section/squad on our left flanks in order to slow any enemy advance. I also reinforced my left with the HMG whilst Colin placed his mortar on his left adjacent to the café.

We each had a sniper: mine went in the church tower (had to really!) whilst Colin put his chap in the upstairs of the café. However the sniper duel rapidly went in favour of the Germans - after which he was able to turn his attention to the rest of Colin's force.

Having shredded the one squad on my left, and reduced the HMG to just one crewman, Colin makes a bold advance around the café.

Whilst across the field my chaps are moving around the church. One squad of regulars left the churchyard and moved through the orchard. The idea was to take up a position on the edge of the field and hold up the British advance.

Below, Colin is withdrawing his left flank section as they face overwhelming opposition and were racking up the pins.
In the road you can see a German squad that's been caught in the open! I used my last dice of the turn to move them in to the road hoping to get an early German dice in the next turn to move them over the hedge... But a series of British dice came out of the bag and they got shot up quite badly.

This pic is a couple of turns later. The squad that were holding the hedge have been slaughtered almost to the last man - an amazing series of dice rolls meant he stayed in the fight! 
My flamethrower team had crept through the orchard and hosed down one section in the previous turn, forcing them to run. But here the brave fellow has made a dash towards the jeep and the section by the cafe - the second shot was rather less effective and he disappeared in a hail of bullets.

The last couple of turns saw both of us trying to gain the upper hand with our now rather battered forces. The action went right up to the last dice roll! My Germans had the upper hand with 4 VPs whilst Colin's British had 3 VPs. With a margin of only 1 VP it was, strictly speaking, a draw ... but I'd call that a winning draw ;o)

A hugely enjoyable game that was close all the way from the start right through to the last dice. My thanks to Colin for being a splendid opponent.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Crusade 2017

It's the last weekend in January so it must be time for the Crusade show, hosted by the Penarth & District Wargamers! This year there was a new venue and IMHO it was a massive improvement. The show itself was superbly organised and the club members were hugely helpful in terms of loading/unloading, etc.

As with many wargames shows there were a number of re-enactors. This fine fellow, from the 41st Regiment of Foot, was a pleasure to chat with. Colin and I couldn't resist playing with his musket!
Present arms!!
The musket had to be prised from his arms!!
The show itself was fairly busy throughout the day and it was a real pleasure to catch up with some friends (Hi to Chris, Stu, Scott, John and Dad-John, etc!!). It was also good fun to wander around and have a chat with a few of the traders; having done quite a few shows now you really do see how it's a community of its own!

I managed to have a quick wander around with Chris Harris (see his excellent YouTube channel here) so here's a few pics of games that tickled my fancy.

First up is "What a Tanker!" from Too Fat Lardies. Chatting with the Lard Islanders it appears they've used the CoC dice mechanism to manage the manoeuvring of tanks. It seemed quite detailed (e.g. keeping track of whether your main gun was loaded and with what kind of shell, how far your turret could rotate, etc) but plenty of people were playing and having fun.
TFL tanks rumble across Normandy
Nick explains the game
The Skirmish Wargames Society were playing WHFB using 54mm figures. This was very impressive and the photos alas do not really capture the spectacle.

One game that I thought was stunning was this one, set in the French Indo-China War - no, I didn't know much about it either!?! The level of detail was incredible! Lots of little vignettes, etc.
The intel...
The main gates of the airfield
There were at least eight large aircraft on the table!
Plenty of action in this area
There was even a model brothel!!
The show has a good range of traders too, although I bought very little this time. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to the gamers and modellers who stopped by the Charlie Foxtrot stand.

So... a good day out and well worth attending.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Italian Campaign - The Grand Finale

It's game six of our campaign to recreate the allied advance in to Sicily and north across Italy. With three Axis wins and two Allied wins so far it was all to play for. This scenario represents the Allied attack on a section of the formidable Gothic Line.
The Allied High Command debate their strategy... or wait for some tea!
The field of battle
The above pic shows the field of battle. There are three distinct lines of Axis defence, each with a bunker. This scenario has three 1,000pt reinforced Allied platoons, commanded by Orange Dave, Mike and Steve, facing a single 1,000pt reinforced Axis platoon that has had the opportunity to dig in and lay some minefields.

The Germans (me) were mainly an infantry force with plenty of LMGs backed up by a tank and some light artillery. The Germans deploy first then the Allies attack in a series of waves. The objective was simple... breach all three lines by capturing the bunker in each line. The Allies have 10 turns to do this.

What a fine bunch of fellows, L-R, Steve, Mike, Me and Dave.

The opening couple of turns were fairly quiet with the Allies bringing on lots of transports (a total of 11 vehicles in all!) whilst the German front lines opened up but with relatively little effect.
The Allied convoy rolls on to the table and immediately engages the Germans

The heavy Churchill gets ready to clear the wire for the lighter vehicles

Turn 3 was where the action began... The Churchill fired at the distant Panzer IV but missed, the return fire was deadly accurate! The Churchill brewed up in fine style. This had the effect of delaying the advance by several wheeled vehicles on that flank due to the barbed wire.
The Panzer IV takes careful aim at the Churchill...

... Boom!! Scratch one Churchill

Mike had brought his AEC up to support his advancing infantry and it could now draw a bead on the Panzer. One carefully aimed shot later and the Panzer was toast and the Allies heaved a sigh of relief as the problem of “Tiger Fear” was gone. But… just a few dice later and Mike threw his arms up with a shout, realising that he’d got slightly muddled with the stats for the AEC. Being a thorough gentleman he explained his peccadillo; the shot would not have penetrated the Panzer’s armour. So off came the blast marker and back went the turret – along with a groan from the Allies as they realised Tiger Fear was still in effect!

Turn 3 also saw the first line of German defences fall as Orange Dave’s super tough Maori troops effortlessly slaughtered the Grenadiers in the bunker.
The German first line has all but collapsed

Dave had previously deployed his 25lb-er so now set his sights on the restored Panzer… and promptly rolled a six! The weaker top armour of the mighty fighting vehicle was no problem for the shell and the tank was blown to pieces (again). Once again the Allies heaved a sigh of relief.
Now the 25lb-er takes careful aim at the entrenched Panzer IV...

... Boom!! Scratch one Panzer IV

The second line of German defences had a machine gun team in the bunker but they were soon wiped out by some very concentrated fire on the bunkers. The Allied vehicles (which the Maxim couldn’t damage) rolled up to almost point blank range and hammered the bunker. It's worth pointing out here that the bunkers had the special rue "shoddy construction". They were made by forced labour and were not as tough as conventional bunkers; offering -3 cover rather than -4, so at point-blank range and no other modifiers, attackers could hit on a natural 6.
The first line is breached in several places and the Allies pour in!

There was a veteran Grenadier squad in the sandbagged emplacement next to the bunker so they re-deployed in to the bunker to avoid it falling uncontested in to allied hands.
The second line comes under heavy attack

Again Dave sent in his Maori troops – with predictable results. Although my very shonky dice rolls at the point were probably the real issue!
C-h-a-r-g-e-!-!-! (again)

In the shot above you can just see some of the AFVs that had been hammering the bunker prior to Dave's assault.

Over on the other flank Steve was rolling forwards, using his tracked Bren carriers to clear the wire and allow his Jeeps to bring an MMG forward to pour fire on the third line.
Boom!! The minefield takes out a troop transport.

By turn 6 the second line was firmly in Allied hands and they were bringing pressure to bear on the third and final line. I was down to three units by this point so the dice bag had about 25+ Allied dice and just 3 of mine… It was only going to go one way. I had two slightly battered squads of Veteran Grenadiers and one piece of light artillery left.

The Allies rolled inexorably forward, letting rip with just about everything they could. A combo of Steve and Dave took the final bunker with one turn to spare! Victory to the Allies – the Gothic Line had fallen.
Victory in their grasp!

Well, that was an absolute corker!! A splendid game played in fine gentlemanly spirit and providing plenty of entertainment too. A fitting end to what has been a superb campaign. My thanks to Dave for organising the campaign and also my thanks to Steve and Mike for joining in with the finale. Here’s to many more excellent BA campaigns in the future!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Tis the season

It’s that time of year when we as gamers tend to look back at what we’ve achieved and then waffle on about future plans for new armies, grand scenery projects and glorious conquests!!! Well, I’m no exception ;o) so here we go...

What have I achieved this year?
  • Attended my first Bolt Action tournament and had a blast! Competitive? Yes it was, but in a very open and friendly way.
  • Played Kings of War – some superb games especially in Steve’s man-shed and with the Cornish crowd :-D
  • Participated in a superb Bolt Action campaign with Orange Dave (ok, the finale is still to play but the five games we’ve had so far have been awesome!)
  • Completed a number of very enjoyable scenery projects, e.g. the Charlie Foxtrot Brasserie, the CFM Signal Box and a scratch built railway, etc.
  • Took part in several gaming weekends with friends – always great fun!
  • Kept my painting ticking along by completing a WW2 British Para force plus added a few more units to both the Panzergrenadiers and British Regulars.
  • Attended a number of brilliant shows (often posing as Colin’s “glamorous” assistant!) such as Penarth and Bovington.

For 2017...

I’d definitely like to get some more regular gaming in (although Jan and Feb are already looking busy!) with Dave, Steve, Mike, Rob, Paul, Colin, etc. This is going to require quite a bit of careful planning and time management.

Completing Ongoing Projects
Inspired by Steve’s sterling efforts this year in getting projects finished I think I may try to do something similar. I don’t really need to buy much – except maybe some more paint & brushes.
  • EIR – finally complete this army (I only started it in 2007!) but there’s still quite a bit to paint.
  • WW2 Germans – more support weapons and an armoured car.
  • WW2 British Regulars/Paras – some armour!
  • WW1 British LW army – more infantry and some artillery. Maybe align a few games with some of the battle centenaries.
This will be high up on the list too! I have some items to paint for others (I will get them done Paul, honest!). Plus, there are several CFM kits that I plan to add to my collection.

Increase my painting rate (but c’mon we all say that don’t we?) – this ties in nicely with getting projects completed.

A couple of friendly competition/tournament weekends would be ideal!

Go along to Penarth, Plymouth, Legionary (maybe) and Bovington – others too I expect.

And finally...

Merry Christmas!!

Best wishes to you all for a peaceful and joyous Festive Season!!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Building the Brasserie - Part 2

My Charlie Foxtrot Models Brasserie kit is complete! As I mentioned before, my intention was to make a 'tile' with outbuildings, etc. Here it is. The back garden even has a little fruit & veg patch.

I've added some signs to both the café and the outbuilding. I've also placed some of the bits and bobs I posted recently.

The basic idea is that the tile can be placed on a corner or junction.

The tiled area is just good quality printed card with a nice matte finish.

Here are a few shots of some of the extra components. First the large shed or outbuilding.

Pics of my brasserie can be found here. A couple of signs/adverts give a nice French theme.

Add a bit of mould and lichen on the roof!

Every café needs a suitable convenience... an outside w/c.

Here's the tile without the buildings or clutter. The brick piers and gate are from Charlie Foxtrot but pretty much everything else was scratch built. The walls are foam-core with individually carved tiles made from plasticard.

A closer look at the garden. The paths are just old masonry paint given a sandy/gritty paint scheme.

A couple of pics without the scenic clutter.

I've tried to strike a balance between a truly realistic looking model and a good piece of wargaming scenery. I could have added all sorts of extra scenic items and clutter but then I'd have struggled to place my miniatures in the terrain.

I hope you've enjoyed these couple of articles!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Reveille - Show Report

Sunday 27th November saw the LBWS stage the Reveille wargames show in Bristol. Colin of Charlie Foxtrot Models kindly asked me to help out on the stall for the day... So here we are... The "CFM Twins" :-D
Handsome... Dashing... What more can you say? ;o)

The venue and thus the show is a relatively small affair but everything was well organised with plenty of friendly people to help out. The traders included a few bigger names (always good to see!) such as Warlord Games, Magister Militum and Colonel Bill.

Scarab Miniatures were there too (good to catch up with you Rob!) with a demo game of the excellent Zero Hour rules run by Alan and Nigel. Here the Germans have a lightly defended trench with plenty of Stormtroopers waiting off table ready to counter-attack.

The British (with some French help) begin to take the trenches!

More British move up to consolidate the gains made by the first wave

The game concluded with a solid win for the British as the Stormtroopers were smashed by overwhelming British artillery.

Sean from Little Ninja Painting was there too (Hi buddy!). Here's a couple of pics of his superb work!

This table caught my eye in a very nostalgic way... The history of wargaming project showed a game played with 'flats'. The game generated plenty of interest through the day.

All in all a lovely day out catching up with friends, chatting with gamers and generally relaxing at a very friendly local wargames show.