Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kerama Retto 1945

Well, the blog has got a little behind itself, this game was a couple of weeks ago. Myself and the actual Neil played a Pacific game using Battlefield Evolution World @ War. The American force I recently made becoming part of my official collection by being christened in blood.

We tried the Beach landing scenario from the Pacific book. Neil choosing to land his forces in two groups. Due to a lack of suitable models the boats Proxied LVT4's, armed with machine guns.

The Americans swarmed onto the beach in a manner suggesting they expected on light defences. How wrong they were...

Two Japanese machine guns opened up on the beach and cut down around a dozen men, other fire supported a spirited defence. The Americans were forced to run for cover, and as they did so, some fell victim to a Japanese bayonet attack.

The US attack stalled on the beach, taking more and more casualties, only the slow advance of the LVTs and the Sherman tank, along with the arrival of air support, allowed the Americans to clear enemy trenches and risk moving off the beach.

However by this point almost two thirds of their men had been killed, wounded or forced to flee.

Once again the Lunge Mines of the Japanese proved deadly in close terrain, ambushing one LVT to devastating effect; by comparison American attempts to destroy the local Japanese armour proved ineffectual. Anti tank grenades serving only to tear off the track guards they were clumsily placed on!

Numbers of automatic weapons began to swing in favour of the Americans, but nevertheless with only about ten men left in fighting condition out of a landing party of over 40, it was apparent the Americans could not hold the beach unsupported.

By comparison the Japanese were attempting to use their armour and artillery to destroy the remaining advantages of the Americans (unsuccessfully it must be said). In the end though it was clear from the scenario rules that the Americans had failed in their mission and that the Japanese were on this day at least, victorious.

Though one could sense the arrival off shore of a battleship to shore bombard the defenses and clear the way, was not far off...

As a scenario, it is heavily weighted in the defenders favour. The landing craft mean the attacker has a force of effectively 2000 points to the defenders 1500; but the defences given for free seem to more than compensate for this. Be warned, this would be a tough, or lucky win for any prospective attacking player!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Vorvarts to eBayraum

So yet another batch of Germans a ready, and on eBay:


I'll be honest, they are in no way out of the ordinary - for me - but another satisfying finished product.

Entirely typical German infantry section with the usual details:

Support weapons, all the infantry are Valiant:

An excellent Italieri Pak 40 anti tank gun. A great model, full of life and as well detailed as any metal model or traditional 1:72 plastic kit.

Armorfast Panther; which we've seen before...

Well they should add to the pocket money fund; they're up until Sunday if anyone is interested....

Friday, August 20, 2010

First outing of 8th. Death strikes en masse.

I got my first chance to try the new Warhammer 8th edition rules a week or two ago. One of my favourite opponents brought along his copy and a Vampire Counts army to face my Dogs of War.

We played 2500 points; the first thing of not being the way the new army composition rules allowed for a lot more characters in an army. I fielded a total of 2 Lords and 12 heroes! As a result my army was actually quite compact, if well led! Jason's undead by contrast featured a large number of skeletons and ghouls in some substantial blocks.

Battle opened with a controlled advance of my Norse mercenaries, supported by halfling bowmen. Magic is very different to the old rules, at least in terms of power and effect. Power dice generation is more random, and a lot of little wizards may augment it more than one or two big ones.

The spells were very potent, my Fire wizard in particular being a flaming scion of destruction for the undead. However as will be seen later the risks of magic are far more grave than before.

A close up of the Norse from behind; and below their erstwhile foes:

On my far right battle was joined, whilst my light horse did their best to harry and contain the Dire Wolves. The undead were held back by magic and my crossbowmen had time to thin their ranks. At this stage the battle was in my favour.

The only Melee at this stage saw my army general and two other heroes battling the black knights, with initial success.

At about this stage I tried to address the threat of the Dire Wolves to my flank. A unit of pike turned to face and the attached wizard cast a spell to make the Wolves a mere Toughness 1 unit. The spell was cast irresistibly; but that now means a miscast too, and these are now brutal.

The explosion of force killed ten pikemen and was only narrowly away from taking the Paymaster with it too. The Wizard himself disappeared into the warp. Smoky boots time indeed!

The undead finally charged, and managed to get involved after a couple of false starts. Charge distances are now randomised; and I for one, really like this. It is less assured, you can take a chance on catching the enemy off guard with a long range charge, you may fail a sitter at short range (put it down to difficult terrain, or a lick of will in the charging unit).

Competition gamers may hate the lack of predictability, but I think it's great. Therefore I'm sure from now on it will as a rule, bite me on the arse; often!

Once involved, the undead did not have it all their own way, but they gradually ground me down. Importantly, despite losing all his heroes on that flank, Jason's Black Knights had managed to beat my knights in the end, and so were able to roll up my flank.

In the end it fell only to the pikes to hold our honour. Another defeat grasped wholeheartedly by the Dogs of War, who have still only won twice in a bit over two years of games!

And as to the rules; well so far I haven't found a change I don't like; of note has been the 10 wide frontage, second rank supporting attacks and horde unit special features, all of which seem OK so far, but not mandatory for a win. The game rattles along well enough, and is not slower than before - possibly running faster. The rulebook may have enough weight to it to present a crushing hazard to small children, but the core rules are an elegant enough affair.

Overall I'm fairly happy and look forward to another go.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rick Preistley interview

It's late, I shouldn't still be up, but I stumbled upon the unabridged interview primarily with Rick Preistley and ended up reading the whole thing.


An excellent insight into the History of Games Workshop and some of theirs and Rick's other game authoring activities.

Well worth a late night read.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Black Powder - My ACW troop types

For the benefit of those who've asked; these are to the best of my recollection the stats used for the Black Powder ACW game last week. I would consider these suitable generic stats for early period Eastern forces in the war.

The values are in standard order of Hand to Hand, Shooting, Morale, and Stamina. Special rules are mandatory, optional rules may be selected or ignored.

I rudimentarily value a positive special rule as worth about one third of a unit, a negative special rule as reducing a unit value by one third. Certain rules may have less even more effect and others I've not listed above may be used to reflect particular regiments. Hence an elite brigade of Virginians with three regiments was seen as the same value as a brigade of Philladelphians with four regiments of untested men.

command ratings. Superior brigades are rated 9, normal brigades 8 and inferior ones, or isolated detachments 7. I would generally give the Confederates the greater overall command ratings.

Army generals; I would be tempted to allow Confederates to reroll 1's for personality traits, but the second roll must stand. Union generals would have to reroll 6's and accept the second score. (this indicates the tendency for aggressive southern generalship against a more cautious northern approach).

Myself and Martin have another game next week and this time I will produce full army lists for you to look at.

Confederate foot: 6/3/4+/3 Smoothbores in 50% of units otherwise Rifles. Optional rules: Elite 3+/4+ Stubborn or Bloodthirsty

Union foot: 5/3/4+/3 Rifled muskets in at least 66% of units, others may opt for Smoothbores. Optional rules: Untested, Unreliable, Stubborn

Superior Confederate Cavalry: 6/0/4+/3 Sabres, but may dismount to fire. Special rules: Bloodthirsty, Determined Charge, Marauders

Regular Confederate and Union Cavalry: 6/1/4+/3 Rifle Carbines. Special rules: Skirmish, Marauders

Dismounted cavalry: 4/2/4+/2 Rifle Carbines. Special rules: Skirmish, marauders

Light Artillery 1/3-2-1/4/2 Smoothbore light or Rifled light. Optional rules: Horse limbers

Heavy Artillery
1/3-2-1/4/2 Smoothbore Heavy or Rifled Heavy. Optional rules:
Horse limbers

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

From the Vaults of the dammed

A rarity on the blog, an addition to my undead army. They haven't even been on a table in over three years, but a month or two ago on my last trip to the storage home of the rest of my wargaming rubbish (for recent readers I only have about half my collection in my possession at the moment) I retrieved them.

This chap was in amongst them:
He was half done including the basing in the style of the rest of the army (classic Warhammer or hideous, depending on your point of view), so it was a quick job to finish him off. The model is I think from Warmachine or Hordes, but made a nice unusual army battle standard for them. I think my Vampire counts army may get some love under 8th edition, not least repainted bases! But the purchase below is with others in mind:

I made a visit to the new FLGS (more on them in a future post) and found they'd just taken delivery of the Mantic Games ranges. Now I will admit I've been following these with interest, but only one of the three ranges to date has really caught my eye. The elves are too skinny, and I'm sorry but if there's one thing GW can definitively do better than anyone else, it's Dwarves.

However the Mantic undead are great looking models, and I just had to buy a couple of packs. At a basic cost of 80p per figure, a price which goes down as you buy bulk packs, they represent excellent value. The designs are slim but well realised with ruined uniforms and armour. The engineering of the sets are ingenious and allow for mix and match poses.

Even the packaging is designed to hold the finished models!

A fantastic little product, which even laughably can, and will, serve in my Dogs of War army. The Cursed Company shall arise to strike fear into my enemies.

Lord knows the state of Focaccia needs all the help it can get!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Hackett's Junction: 1862

A gentleman by the name of Martin wanted to get some experience with the Black Powder rules, particularly with his collection of American Civil War miniatures. So I obliged and set up a simple scenario with some suitable forces.

The Union army Led by McClellan Featured two brigades of four infantry regiments each, a single regiment of cavalry and a half battery of guns. They deployed in two extended lines, with cavalry on their right flank. Some of the Union were rated as Stubborn (Irish) but most were Untested (Philladelphians). The Union cavalry were only skirmishers.

The Confederates were my command and featured two Brigades of three regiments, some of which were elites; an elite Cavalry regiment and a dismounted cavalry regiment with repeating carbines, and a half Battery of artillery. The Cavalry were rated as Bloodthirsty, whilst one of the brigades were only armed with smoothbore muskets. We deployed our elites in a brigade column of attack, whilst the other brigade was spread thinly. The Hussars were on our right whilst the dismounted cavalry screened the flank of the elite Virginians

The field was a simple one, with some partially boundaried fields around a local junction between a prominent hill and a wide river marking the boundary of the field of battle.

I won first turn and began a hurried advance; my aim was to use my superior fighting quality (Confederate infantry were higher command and rated 6 in melee, compared the the Union regiments 5) to launch assault from the walls. Martins first turn saw what would become characteristic reticence from the Irish, accompanied by a command blunder from the Philladelphians; instead of advancing they closed the lines on the Irish.

This gave me the time to get a second round of advancing in, and allowed my Hussars to run round the flank of the Irish.

The Irish realised their predicament, and rallied to face the Hussars. Their stoicism was enough to hold the charge of the Hussars:

This gave time for a second Regiment of Union troops to join the melee, and this overwhelmed the Hussars, who withdrew in some disorder. On the Union Right, Confederate dismounted cavalry tried to contain the Union horsemen.

Elsewhere the Virginians launched the first of their assaults:

Sadly the first assault faltered under superior fire of the Northerners. The Virginians withdrew in disarray; though the intervention of the Brigadier and the Army general (using the rallying rule to good effect) managed to save the broken regiment from disaster.
On my Right the Hussars were finished by the Irish with musketry, but the Irish then refused any further orders for three successive turns. The rallying Virginians supported by the artillery and the skirmishers had to try and contain the Union centre which supported by Irish musketry was able to wear down the smoothbore equipped Missourians on my right.
Eventually two of the Missourian regiments broke, and the Philladelphians began to attack my centre. It was crisis point for the Confederates.
But on this day God was a southern gentleman! The Union attack faltered at the walls. not quite getting engaged. The Confederate CinC used a follow me command to execute an artillery charge against the stranded Union flank, shattering them with an enfilade of canister.
The Virginians also broke some of the Union line, whilst at the moment when their hand could have told most, the Irish again decided to avoid confrontation.

And so the game ended as a respectable draw; though one where the Union forces performed with historical caution, and squandered every opportunity to win. I think the special rules used reflected the historical characteristics well , and the battle was a great tussle.
Had the Union troops been more enthusiastic (at one point rolling 11 three turns running for a Brigade order - not good) they could easily have wrapped it up in half the time.
Martin seemed to enjoy it greatly, and the rules showed their versatility once again. I look forward to a rematch!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

July's Been and Gone...

Here we go then, it's past due as ever to let you know what I got up to (painting wise) in July.
Well it was good numbers, but we'll get to them in a bit. Firstly some photo's.

Earlier in the month I added a regiment of Spanish Hussars to my Napoleonics collection:

The Maria Luisa Hussars as they appeared around 1808, above, and below as recreated from the Perry plastic Hussar set.

They are a lovely combination of bright blues and reds. Below a close up of the commander and bugler.

Also I knocked out a small US army (Pacific theatre) force with a M4 Sherman painted a few weeks back and a P47-n to make them a 1500 point Battlefield Evolution army...
Straightforward black wash technique I've discussed before. If you look carefully there is a bit of jungle camouflage showing.

We've seen this before, so it doesn't count!

The P47-N; all hand painted (as I lost the decals for this kit years ago!) Somewhat hypothetical...
So what did I manage?

A monthly total of 129, actually. And again all for me (though the 20mm WW2 may go for sale, the Paypal's a bit low!) This ups the total to 667 points painted, versus a target to date of 350 points.

Not too bad.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

8th Boxed on it's way

So it's available to preorder from August 10th and on the shelves in September...

The good news is there is a full set of the rules included in what GW refer to as a 'tournament format' i.e. the beloved fluff-free A5 softback of the most recent boxed sets.

There's a total of 74 mini's included and damn if they don't look good! Though they are two armies I have little or no interest in.
I'm sure there are those who will be better informed on the price, but I'm guessing £60 for now. Probably good value if you want the miniatures or are new to the game (why would you be reading this though, if that were the case?!). Me? I'll be looking to get hold of a rulebook, the mini's are less of an issue...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Painting by Numbers Panther

Not quite a full tutorial, as I didn't plan on doing it, the camera just happened to be handy.

Anyway; I paint a fair bit of 20mm armour, as well as larger and smaller scales, and I have a fairly standard technique for it, I've probably mentioned before. In a nutshell it's all about the layering.

Here I've started with a Hat Armorfast Panther tank.

The Base coat was German Buff darkened with a touch of red brown and then liberally applied. Many wargames modeller's favour a black undercoat and heavy drybrushing techniques; I'm not one of those.

Rather this model is overbrushed with natural German Buff, then drybrushed with a mix of Buff and Beige. A final layer of highlights with more Beige in the mix were limited to the edges and detailing of the model.

Next I did all the fiddly stuff. Here is my patent technique for German camouflage in minutes, get a dense stubby brush (I favour a size 6+ Humbrol Red brush with shortened bristles) and dip into a little of your camouflage colour; dry most of the paint off the brush, so it's just moister than a standard drybrush technique.

Lightly dab the brush repeatedly against the model to build up a layer of tiny speckles of paint. Do not stroke the model! And don't worry about mess What you may see rather critically in detail will vanish after the next stage anyway, or at least at a distance on the table...

Having built up the patterning, light or heavy, as you see fit; it's time for a highlight layer, applied with a smaller stippling brush. Just add a enough of a lighter shade to make it apparent, and don't try to obliterate all the base layer!

Then add your markings. Some gamers skip these, but I like to add basic ones at least; I used to have piles of transfers spare for jobs like this, but with a steady hand it is as easy to do them by hand.

Incidentally always work from the outer layer in with numbers and crosses and so on. It is far easier! (Teaching granny to suck eggs?)

The tracks are a rust-brown base, drybrushed with gun metal and then a little natural steel.

Having got the tank all factory fresh, it's time for the filth. Firstly drybrush, gun metal where scratches and worn paint would build up. Note that tanks are camouflaged with matt paint, and not varnished! Therefore the paint rubs and scratches easily. You may want to opt for a rusty finish, but most of my models go for a summer look, so I stick with shiny metal.

Next, I like to get a good layer of dust on there, and build it up in several layers, just as I would for the base colours.

Here is was a Desert Sand with a touch of red-brown in it to begin with; focusing mainly on the bottom half of the tank. This is overbrushed with that large stippling brush. Next plain Desert Sand is drybrushed over the whole model, making sure that large flat surfaces are covered too, not just raised details. Finally Desert Sand plus increasing amounts of Beige is applied to the upper levels of the model, where dry, sun bleached dust would accumulate.

And that's it. It may sound like a lot of effort, but it's actually pretty quick, drybrushing is the majority of the work and this is a really fast method.

And the results; hopefully speak for themselves.