Saturday, 24 June 2017

15mm Cold War

Not content with just painting tribal types, I have also started painting some of the Cold War collection I have been gathering for the last year or so. Last year I picked up a bargain pile of 2nd hand Soviet kit at Firestorm Games table sale. The box I had was fairly packed with vehicles, so I have been painting green like a mad man.  

The box I bought had a mix of 9 T-80, 3 T-72, 3 BTR-80 and 8 BMP-2s. All except the BMP-2s were base coated in a reasonable base colour, so a quick spray and then washes, several drybrushes and such made it job done on them. I also added some aerials. The BMP-2s are a shocking colour, it looks like bronze green or similar and is way too dark, so they are currently sitting in paint stripper in the vain hope that they will be recoverable. Luckily they are metal so won't be hurt by the paint stripping efforts.

Here are the T-80s, 3 with ERA and 6 without. These were a bit battered and bent but all were repairable and look ok now I think.  I believe that these are QRF models, but don't know for sure.

The 3 T-72 models are Zvezda, a bit lacking in details such as the cupola MG but good enough to make a platoon.

The BTR-80s are also Zvezda models, decent enough for the job of carrying a Soviet MR platoon.

I also had a box of Team Yankee BMPs included, so set about with the modelling cement.

So here we have 5 BMP-1s, the original Soviet IFV. Vastly more capable than the M113s and Fv432s used by most of NATO, these really are nice kits. One nice touch is that each sprue contains both the BMP-1 and BMP-2 hulls and turrets, but only one chassis. So out came the thinking cap and a bit of sneaky chopping and gluing resulted in this

Some chopped up plastic bases from various boxes of figures and a 1 cent Euro coin(the ideal size and magnetic) in the chassis, then a couple of magnets glued onto the underside of the hull resulted in removable BMP hulls.

Here are the BMP-2 versions, better armed than the earlier version with an improved missile and a rapid fire 30mm gun instead of the 73mm smoothbore of the BMP-1.

I went in on the pre-order of T-55s from Plastic Soldier Company. I like the kits they make, really good quality and usually with a range of options.  The T-55 box was just great with options to make T-55, T-55A or T-55AM versions.  I went for the AM version, upgraded with extra armour and a laser rangefinder.
So finally the 5 T-55s finish the current force. I am now sat here looking at a small mountain of 15mm Soviet infantry. I have enough for 2 platoons but need some ATGW teams to complete the force. Hopefully I will get a bit of paint on them this weekend, but family duties are calling. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Death in the Dark Continent/Congo figures

I am back again with more plans and schemes that will remain my focus for about 10 minutes, before something else grabs my attention.

I recently bought the re-released Death in the Dark Continent rules from Northstar.  I went in for it because........well, it looked good and I had no figures for it and I have no will power, at all.  The rules came and caught my interest immediately, so all I needed was some figures.  On our recent trip to Partizan I spent a bit of cash and ended up with a selection of figures from Wargames Foundry, Copplestone Castings and Northstars African Range.  All told I had a mixed bag of over 80 figures by the time I had finished.  I figured that would be plenty, stupid of me I know. I decided to base them on pennies (UK 1 pence coins) as they are magnetic and would also allow me to use the figures for Congo games.  So sabot bases were needed for DitDC, which were easily arranged by emailing Supreme Littleness Designs and asking if he could knock something together for me.  In less than 24 hours he had done so and I had ordered them.  Top service from a nice chap who does exactly what it says on the website.

So, I started slapping paint about in a random manner and eventually ended up with a load of painted(sort of) figures.  So here they are in their glory, sort of.  Well, at least they are painted and none of them have been in my possession for more than a few months!
 Here are 20 warriors, all with wicker shields and spears.
20 more warriors, some with fancy headdresses.
 10 more warriors, 5 musket armed types and some porters.  This lot include the freebie figures that came with the pre-order of the rules book.
 24 Pygmies, because who doesn't like a pygmy!  They are right sneaky little blighters in the rules, very hard to hit if they are in cover.
Finally for now are some disorder bases.  Disorder is the normal unit killer in the rules, it takes a very lucky shot to actually kill a base so they tend to run away rather than get wiped out.

So there they all are.  The planned force is a Cannibal Tribe list coming in at a nice 298 points made up of the following units.
One unit of 4 Elite Warrior bases including the Chief
Two units of 4 Warrior bases
Three units of 4 skirmisher bases armed with spears
Two units of 6 pygmy bases with bows
The Surprise stratagem, so they can all set up in ambush
Some pitfalls to force the enemy into the rough and slow them down
 Here are the figures on the sabot bases.  First up is 2 units of 4 bases of warriors.  I need another 12 warriors including a chief to complete the fighting arm of the force. Also shown here is the baggage base, 3 bearers.
 These are the 3 units of 4 bases of skirmishers.  Only 2 figures per base, so easy to tell apart from the fighting types.
Finally (for now), these are the sneaky pygmies.  These are all the pygmy figures that Wargames Foundry make, so that's all there will be I think.

As I said, I need to get a Chief type and some more warriors, so Northstar will get an order as soon as my finances have recovered. In the future I plan a Naval Landing Party force using the Perry Miniatures Sudan figures.  They can have a gatling gun......

So that's it for Africa for the time being, although I have also painted up some other things for another plan, more on that tomorrow.

Adios for now.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Nathan's Stag Do

It is with a heavy heart that I have to report the forthcoming loss of free will that my mate Nathan, aka Stumpy, is about to undergo. After many years of dodging the bullet he has finally been cornered and is marrying his long time partner Linda. My condolences to her as well, but she must know what she is letting herself in for after 20 odd years with him. 😉

In an attempt to alleviate his fear of the approaching doom it was decided to put on a wargames day for him with a few of his "friends".  Any rumours that they were paid to turn up are false news and should be ignored.  The venue was the party room at his sisters local hedgehog rescue center, Prickly Ball Farm. The room was big enough for a 14'x4' table so there was plenty of room for the 10 invited players.  Sadly one had to cancel as he is away in America seeing the sights. Food and drinks were provided as well, so all we needed was a game to play. 

After our recent trip to Wargames Foundry, reported in Jon's blog, I decided that a multi-player ACW skirmish would work nicely using Sharp Practice. I sorted out briefings and forces for 8 players with yours truly herding cats, I mean running things. Terrain and figures were gathered and I roped Andy and Panjo, two of Nathan's longest suffering friends, to help me set it up the afternoon before.  Nathan knew nothing about, being mislead by his betrothed with a family breakfast at his sister's cafe. 

 Here is the table, set up and ready to go.  Each side had 4 forces of 36 to 38 points, 2 each of cavalry and infantry.  Each had it's own mission to attempt to complete but, as is usual with these things, they seem to have been forgotten as soon as the enemy were spotted. 

As the morning progressed the players all arrived by the allotted time of 10am, with Nathan due at 10.30.  He was so surprised that he was speechless for a few minutes, a rarity as anybody who knows him will attest too.  A quick welcome chat was had and then we went off for a very nice bacon and egg roll in the cafe.  Except for Chas, who is special. He had bacon, egg and avocado because he's a celiac person!  I thought he was just from deepest, darkest North Devon.
 The players then assembled back in the room and chaos ensued.  Andy, Colin, Chas and Steve were Confederates, with Nathan, Vince, Jon and Panjo getting the Union troops. I played about with the camera and took this attempt at a panorama shot. Need more practice I think.
Below are a selection of shots of the game, it seemed to play well and everybody had a good time I think(and hope). Steve is moving Reb cavalry forward in this one. He had to burn the barn, which confused him as there were two of them so he just went for the closest one.

Right flank action as Reb skirmishers engage dismounted Union cavalry.
 Reb infantry advance towards the approaching Union cavalry.

 Confederate cavalry "search" for a Union spy. 
Right flank, with dismouted Reb cavalry being supported by infantry as the Union infantry advance towards them.

Left to right, Nathan, Vince and Jon.  Union command at it's best, ish, sort of....maybe!
 Reb infantry push through the woods, driving Panjo's dismounted cavalry back.
 The other side of the wood, with Jon's Union cavalry trying to retrieve the lost cannon as the Rebs advance on them.
 Chas' engineers move towards the bridge, preparing to destroy it.
Right flank again as the Reb infantry and cavalry are gradually being outflanked by the Union troops.

Reb cavalry in the rear of the Union lines alleviated the pressure somewhat though.

To finish it all off we had a cake made by my daughter, a bit short for a French Napoleonic shako but it looked and tasted good.

A final panorama shot of the room with everybody getting into their slab of cake.

All told it was a cracking day and I would like to thank everybody who was involved. Lin and Juliette for organising the room and food. Andy and Panjo for helping me to set it all up the day before and keeping an eye on me throughout the day. Chas, Jon, Steve and Vince for making it a fun game and finally Nathan for the excuse to get us all together for a days gaming.  We even had a flypast by several aircraft as the Torbay Airshow was on, it was nice to see a Catalina go by. 

Jon will have an update on his blog at somepoint, including a group photo of us all.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Legionary plans and a bit of painting

Tomorrow is Exeter's premier(only) wargames show, Legionary. I am ineptly assissting Nathan with a 28mm ACW game using the Pickett's Charge rules I reviewed recently. The scenario is based loosely on Blochers Knoll during the Battle of Gettysburg.  Hopefully it will work well, hopefully.......

As it clashes with the monthly Devon Wargames meet this year, Jon "JJ" Jones is also putting on a game, using his exquisite 15mm Napoleonic forces. So a decent showing from the club, hopefully enough to drag along some new members.

I have done a bit more painting, although not that much. 
First up is the Renedra/Perry Miniatures ACW house. This came in the Battle in a Box set I bought and I finally decided to get it painted. It goes together easily enough and can be modelled with doors that open, with a bit of care when gluing it anyway. I went for a generic white(ish) structure with grey roofing. Looks ok to my eyes, but I do wear glasses!

 Then I broke away from 28mm for a change. I bought the Landmark building set way back in the distant mists of time, when Battlehonours UK released them. Since then I have gradually based up some of them and decided I needed a church for my expanding 15mm town.

I repainted the church as it was originally a bit too green, so it is now a nice shade of grey, well several shades actually. It was then based on a bit of hardboard and walls were added, also from the Landmark set. A couple of trees were made and stuck onto the base and gravestones were purchased from several places and put onto Flames of War bases so then can be removed if needed. Finally it was all flocked, grassed and tarted up.
 Hopefully it looks ok, it took a bit longer than I expected, primarily because I kept getting distracted, but it should look good on the table.
 At Crusade way back in January I bought a couple of 15mm barns from Original Laser Designs. Quite simple to look at, they went together very easily and painted up quite nicely as well.  At some point they will be based up to add to the town.
 Finally I painted some more ACW. Yes, I know I said I had finished. Yes, I know I have no willpower, but the guns were sat there all forlorn and unpainted. So I painted them.  Two each for the Confederates and Union, each with four crew. So that really is it, until I buy some more tomorrow!
It could be worse, I could have a load of figures to paint still..........


Adios for now and if you are in Exeter tomorrow say hi, I'm the ugly fat bloke helping on the 28nn ACW table. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

I wish I was in the land of cotton.............

Well, not really but it seemed like a good title for this post.  I have finally finished* the Confederate force to face Union troops for Sharp Practice.  The force is identical in composition to the Union force, with six units of 8 infantry, two units of 6 skirmishers, one unit of 8 mounted or 6 dismounted cavalry and assorted leaders etc.  All told it is 77 foot and 11 mounted figures.
 Photo one is 24 infantry with right shoulder arms, along with a skirmisher screen of 6 men.  The infantry are all Perry Miniatures plastics while the skirmishers are a mix of plastics and a few metal Wargames Foundry to mix them up a bit.

Photo two is another 24 infantry charging/advancing, again with 6 skirmishers.  Same composition as above.
 The mounted cavalry are also Perry plastics, with a few conversions to try and match the foot figures.  The foot figures have assorted weapons, 2 each of shotgun, carbine and rifle, so I have tried to replicate that with the mounted figures.  Some cutting and chopping, several moments of gluing my fingers to bits of metal and/or plastic and a few choice words later and the end result is mediocre to say the least.  They will do though.
Finally we have the commanders and "extras".  There are three mounted officers, one based with a standard bearer to make him more commanding.  The state flag of Texas flag has been used to mark the senior officer.  Six foot officers make up the rest of the commanders, supported by a drummer, two standard bearers and a physic/surgeon.  The standards are those of Hamptons Legion as they spent some time in Hood's Texas Brigade and I like the flags.  There is also a sneaky Union type in this picture, I knocked together a surgeon for the Union force from a left over plastic figure.  You can tell they are medical types by their green sashes, the Confederate one even has a cigar of "good southern tobacco".

* When I say finished, that's an obvious wargamers lie.  I still have the artillery to do, then there are the other bits I could add later like snipers, more cavalry etc.  It never ends, despite what I say to my wife.
So that's it again, two posts in two days should be enough for anyone.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Post Op and Pickett's Charge

Well the op is done and I am now free of the tube stuck down my nose.  Instead it comes out of my stomach, so same problems but a lot less obvious.  The op went well and I got an early release the next day for good behaviour.  I think it was good anyway.The bad news is my stomach now has a new hole in it and 3 stiched up holes that are itching like an itchy thing.  Happy days though.

To speed up my recovery Nathan came around last Sunday and we tried out Pickett's Charge, the new American Civil War ruleset from Too Fat Lardies/Reisswitz Press.  Following a bit of a mixup with a review in WSS that was really badly written, we decided to give it a go.  Nathan had played it at the last meeting of the Devon Wargames Group, but I only watched a couple of turns before leaving.  We set up the McPherson's Ridge scenario out of the Summer Storm Gettysburg book and had at it. The scenario had two Confederate Brigades from Heth's Division attacking two Union Brigades from Reynolds 1st Corps.  The Rebs also had a massed battery of 20 guns deploying in support off-table, which would turn out to give the Union troops a fair old slap.  Nathan took the dastardly seccesionist rebel typs and I took the valiant defenders of the Union.

The Union force consisted of the cream of the Army of the Potomac, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 1st COrps, aka The Iron Brigade.  In total there were 45 infantry stands and a 3 gun battery.
1st Division

1st Brigade
BG Meredith
19th Indiana
4 Elite R
24th Michigan
6 Grn R
2nd Wisconsin
4 Elite R
6th Wisconsin
6 Elite R
7th Wisconsin
5 Elite R

2nd Brigade
BG Cutler
76th New York
5 Reg R
84th New York
4 Vet R
95th New York
3 Vet R
147th New York
5 Grn R
56th Pennsylvania
3 Reg R


Battery B, 2nd Maine
3 Grn Rifles

The Confederates only had 37 stands of infantry, but did have support from 5 batteries of guns off table.
Heth's Division

Archers Brigade
BG Archer
13th Alabama
4 Reg R
5th Alabama Bttn
6 Vet R
1st Tennessee
4 Vet R
7th Tennessee
6 Reg R
14th Tennessee
5 Vet R

Davis' Brigade
BG Davis
2nd Mississippi
5 Reg R
42nd Mississippi
4 Grn R
55th North Carolina
3 Grn R

Peagram's Artillery (off table)

Crenshaw's Battery
2 Reg Nap
Fredericksburg Battery
2 Reg Mixed
Letcher Battery
2 Reg Mixed
Pee Dee Battery
2 Reg Rifles
Purcell Battery
2 Reg Nap

 The initial deployment had Davis' Brigade facing off against the 2nd Union Brigade while Archer was massed behind a small wood facing the Iron Brigade. 

First turn saw the Iron Brigade double-quick forward as the Rebs hesitated behind the wood..  Johnny Reb and Billy Yank exchanged fire along the ridge and the Reb massed guns fired counter-battery and hammered the sole Union battery.  Nathan's ability to roll a 4+ on casualty dice was working at 80%, 'cos he's a git.

 The second turn was noticeable for the complete lack of Union ADCs.  Three D6 rolled needing 3+ for an ADC to be available.  Yeah, right.
 By the end of the second turn things had gone a bit awry for the boys in blue.  The Iron Brigade "hesitated", unnerved by the scarey woods apparently.  The Union battery fell back as it was getting pounded, replaced in the line by the green troops of the 147th New York infantry.  Things went from bad to worse at the end of the line however.  Nathan managed an 11 on his artillery fire, causing the 76th New York to take a "See the Elephant" test.  I promptly rolled 3 on 2D6 and they fell back 30cm in a "whipped" state. 
 Not good, not good at all.  I was struggling by this point so we called it a day there and put it on hold until Monday, luckily it was a bank holiday so Nathan was free to come over again.
Day 2, turn three and the Iron Brigade pushed into the woods.  On the ridge the Rebs were now organised and there concentrated fire was causing a few casualties. The Union 2nd Brigade was taking a heavy battering all along the line, although they were hitting back reasonably.

Turn 4 and the fire from the rebs was enough to drive back the 84th New York with yet another "whipped" result, leaving the 220 men of the 95th New York standing alone against over 700 advancing Rebs.  Things were looking grim on the right........
On the left however it was a different story.  The Iron Brigade was advancing and there fire drove back the 1st Tennessee regiment, splitting the Reb line.  The quality of the Iron Brigade was beginning to tell.

I forgot to take any further pictures, but the Iron Brigade swept through the woods like a tsunami, driving all before them and opening the flank of the Reb line up.  The 2nd Brigade managed to Rally, regaining some points it had lost and things were looking grim for the South.  Turn 5 saw both sides roll and get all theiir normal ADC's, plus an extra one each as both rolled two 6's.  It takes three ADC's to rally a Brigade and it can only be done once per game on each Brigade, so it is a rarity.

Pickett's Charge is a good set of rules.  The system is straightforward and doesn't take long to get sorted in your head.  Each turn you, as a divisional commander, get some ADC's to "assist" in commanding your brigades.  They allow re-rolls or special orders to be used.  Each Brigade rolls for command, if it fails it cannot advance but can still fire etc.  If it passes it does whatever you ordered.  Turns are igoUgo, but with a twist.  Each turn there is an initiative roll and the winner decides who goes first.  If you go first the other side can react to your moves, but you get to charge, move and fire first and can inflict casualties before they fire back at you.  It is a simple system but has enough nuances to make it a good system.  Troop quality goes green, regular, veteran, old lag and elite.  Old Lags are good troops who are battle-weary.  Good in their own way but difficult to get to attack. 

All in all I would highly recommend Pickett's Charge to anybody looking for a set of Regimental level rules for American Civil War games.  I ordered them myself after playing, so it has cost me money already.

That's it for today, I am off now to base up some Rebs for Sharp Practice, then it's back to the hospital tomorrow to check my tube.  Keep rolling those dice folks.