Thursday, September 21, 2017

Next options.

As always after a prolonged session of gaming one gets keen again and starts looking for the next armies to build. While Luke was here we went through my Czech collection to sort out what i needed to A) complete the Czechs to his exacting standard and B) add the Poles as well.
I've now found that I've lost the piece of paper somewhere.  I've also been going through the Austrians to sort out bits I'm missing (85mm AT guns bits for HQ's etc) and painting up some bits for the West Germans in the late 960's, as I have a stack of SPZ 12-3APC's that I was going to use as Austrian APC's before H&R released their new range.

I also received a purchase the day after Luke left, a 1960's wheeled recce regiment for my Brits.


Saladins, Saracens and variations on the Ferret ( it did remind me that I should really get a Fox recce regiment for the Brit territorials). This has lead to my main problem which is: what base green did I use for my existing British army when I painted it 15 odd years ago. I expect that others are well organized and have these things written down in their modeling diary's. I on the other hand just tend to grab the paint off the shelf that looks about right, and I do carry a wide selection of greens.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Question time

From the peanut galley refined followers of this blog.

"Great games chaps, what are the octagonal bases in the 1970's game?"

"There identical, but the one on the left is a bit more identical than the one on the right"

 Back when I firsty started playing the Spearhead family of rules I struggled with the Battalion HQ's. despite being forces to ride the command arrow they could be found leading attacks on the flanks, or engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in decidedly odd positions. Adding jeeps and recon afv's to the stands did not improve things. So, I lopped the corners off which has solved the problem for me. The sides are still parallel to the command arrow, but I can spot the stand from anywhere on the table.Even Dr U-S has come to the conclusion that I might have something.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wrapping up

Dr U-S has headed off after a week of gaming. we fitted in four games of MSH, one SH game, two big battle DBA and a couple of day trips as well. Now I'm not the best at summarising battles, and Luke has been doing it on his blog. So I'm  just going to add some photos that I took.

All MSH games werwe set in the 1970's for something a bit different. less ATGW, more RCL's. 
game three was Britsh vs Polish

Ellements of 4RTR battlegroup face off against a Polish attack.
From a different angle featuring some awesome combat dice. An M113 RCL subs in for an FV432 with WOMBAT


Despite the crap dice the Polish battalion failed a moral check and evaporated.

The 4th game was my first attempt to run a Czech army vs a US force from the 3rd infantry division. I should have got some shots of this game as my M551's made their debut.
Lats game featured some West Germans again agaist the Czechs. The West Germans are an expensive list and I managed to get 28 stands on the table.I used Leopard 1A3's as I have some questions about MSH's dates for thermal imaging on tanks (Chieftain Stillbrew for example).

The view from the turret
And theres more where that came from
 The small built up areas represents a small village or farm and counts as woods for cover and spotting purposes. Marder conbat teams in a wood are very hard to shift (Def 7) and so the Czechs were pretty much 6's to suppress.So the attackers decided to get stuck in.

Fly my pretties....
Close enough for you?

I lost the game at this point by only managing to inflict one casualty in two turns across the whole board.

So, overall a good extended gaming session. I've been quite happy with the performance of my terrain boards. They do take a fair bit of work to do. However, it has been commented on by other local players that we as gamers are quite happy to spend a sizable amount of time and money on buying and painting armys, and then play on a collection of tatty felt. I feel that its a good investment. The saving in set up time alone (less than five minutes) is worth it, let alone the improved visual aspect

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Public service announcement

What not to throw when firing with 4 stands at 1 target at +3.


We now return you to your scheduled program.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Time for some gaming.

With Dr U-S's arrival it was time for some gaming. but first some finishing touches. 


The town sectors are the mk 1 version of an idea I've had to make them more "playable". The building roofs are all the same height so that stands sit flat on the top. using smaller scaled buildings means that the town sectors actually look like town and not a lone farmhouse. I'm quite happy with this an so I'll have to make some masters and molds for the mk2 version.

And so it was on to the first game, Russians vs the US in the mid 1970's. The good doctor discovers that setting up to defend is not as easy as it looks. However my tactical and dice skills handed him a victory. He did attempt to steal defeat (his regimental artillery rolled 7 ones for its first 12 dice).

One Us battalion attempts to flank the Russians in the woods, while the second generously provides some target practice for the regimental anti-tank units.
US attack being swamped by the Russian conter attack following it.
 This game was played at the normal MSH groundscale which worked fine for us.

The second game was the debut of my WW2 Russian cavalry division. 100 stands strong under the scenario system. Cracking along at 9" and ignoring terrain, they were into the Germans surprisingly fast
Turn 1
Turn 2. Yee Haaaaa
It was an interesting 1st outing and with some tactical tweaking (you can't tweak the list as you get the whole division at 650 points) should be very hard to face on the table. Simple stuff like "when should one get off his horse?"

The terrain squares worked really well, with the second board setup providing different tactical challenges to the first.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Terrain tiles IX

Further work over the last week and I'm now up to 6 boards.


The last 2 boards in the current batch are behind for a variety of reasons. First up I could not find the rare earth magnets in their last location. After turning that area of the garage over twice, they were located hanging of my bike brake cable. Next I drilled the holes for the magnets, carefully arranged the orientations so that they matched the previously made boards. Failed on this point and have had to re glue 1/2 the magnets in.
I managed to pick up some Coir mats cheap and I've been knocking out more forests.

I think I'm still on target....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Terrain tiles VIII

Its time to start adding the woods. At the moment I'm recycling the forest blocks that I already have. Some of these are decidedly odd shapes but I'm managing to fit them in.


 My plan is to make the gaps where the roads cross the ridge lines wide enough to fit a stand in. while it doesn't look quite right, it is more practical from a playability point of view.


 So, with all the forests added here is where I'm at tonight. Luke had a mix of 3 and 4 roads off the board edges, but I'm going to use 4 on all the boards. I also need to come up with something better than just paint as it looks a bit manky up close.


What I'm currently pondering is how I managed to spin out these forests out over a 6 by 4 board. Obviously not enough terrain used on the boards.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Terrain tiles VII

I find that the hardest bit about any project is the first steps. Mainly because most of my projects involve a sizable portion of 'winging it'. Also its very hard to continue on a project when its not playing out how you envisaged it. Fortunately at the moment I'm liking what I see.


I've done a small amount of preliminary planning for each of the terran squares (while waiting for instrument results. Real life is not like CSI at all), but I tend to go with what I feel would be interesting terrain to fight over. One thing with my system that I feel is a plus is that it gives long ridge lines, which I have not seen before in Spearhead battles.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Terrain tiles VI

One of the problems with living in a provincial city in New Zealand is that sometimes you just don't get the range of stuff that you might get in a larger center. We have just lost one of our 2 model shops (both were good but for different things). So I was after 10mm foam core board but could only find 5mm thick stuff. Its also more expensive than I remember. So a wee bit of a rethink and time for a trial. Using the 5mm foamboard for the underlying topography in 2 layers which I think will work better than 10mm would have done.


I didn't plan too much, as I'm more of a just cut and go guy. I did "plan" the corners. The hills upper cosmetic edges are 15cm from the corner, and the first and second levels are 10cm and 5cm in respectively.


With the hills in place (but not attached as No More Nails does take some time to dry) it does look interesting. I'm going to replace the town sectors with something a bit more "town like" and add more woods etc.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Terrain tiles V

With 4 weeks before Dr U-S arrives I though I would have a bit of a break with tradition and actually get the terrain done before he arrived. Its a good time saving plan, but has the negative in that he's quite good at making interesting bits of terrain.

After a fair bit of research on the central and south eastern bits of Germany and Austria gave me some base ideas. Generaly hills are covered in forrests. Streams run through the valleys and are the only place you find hedgerows. Appartently in the 1970's Germany went to mechanised farming which nesesitated the removal of the hedgerows. Odd but true.
The strat of the first board. I need a fresher pot of paint to make the roads look better. the trees might ned to be darker as well.


The second board is just started.


I was going to do some hills tonight, but don't have the bits that I want, so I'll have to make a detour tomorrow on the way home from work.

I've come up with some thoughts on town sectors taht I'll have to try this weekend.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Going forward

I've been pondering ordering more lead. Now normally this isn't a problem as I'll just add to the SH or MSH armies. And over the last couple of weeks I've been kicking round East German and Hungarian army list, and quite honestly I'm not stoked as they essentially are Russians with different kit. And not flash kit either. Their only bonus would be a much larger army on the table which would require more killing. Dr U-S seems to make this work well with his Czechs (which have the added bonus of the vast number of May Day fireworks projectors or MRL's to the rest of you).

So what else would I do? I've always enjoyed playing Napoleonics using Volley and Bayonet rules. While not having had any experience I'm also interested in the American civil war. Likewise Great War Spearhead.

So, while I continue pondering (and the clock is ticking...) I have taken some photos of one of my other collections. This time round its my early WW2 1:300 air combat collection, mostly Battle of Britain.


 The RAF. Hurricanes, Spitfires, Defiants (who doesn't love a bad idea on the tabletop) and  couple of unpainted Blenheim 1F's


 The Italians. Cr42's, G50's and Br 20's. At the back some FAA Sea Gladiators.


And the Germans. Me109's (and there was one Geschwader that used white noses), Me 100's, Do17's, He 111's, Ju88's and some Stukas. I see that there's also more Ju88's and Stukas unpainted in the bag.

I have previously played using Mustangs and Messerschmitt's rules, but I don't think that these work well for early war. they are also limiting in how many models you can control. Ideally I would like to ba able to control 6-8 planes each. I also want to get hold of a copy of "Battle of Britain " when it is finally released from PSC.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On the workbench

A Skype call with Dr U-S at the weekend indicates that he will be in country in a couple of months. This has lead me to thinking about just how to beat the Czech monster. As all my other plans have been beaten by my appalling dice throwing common sense would suggest I should just surrender to save time. However I appear to be an optimist (or 'simple' as one of my workmates points out frequently) so the quest continues.

Current plans revolve around one of my favorite weapons (and possibly the best tank gun ever invented), the British L7 105mm gun. However to face the hordes one needs a cheap mounting.






Que the second battalion of M48A2GA2. cheap and with enough armour to ignore that pesky Czech artillery.sucks against CED weapons, but its a bridge I can cross when I come to it.


Friday, May 26, 2017

On the Workbench

A while ago I purchased some of the new modern Soviet infantry from H&R.
These ones are in action poses.


 I'm having trouble paint these at the moment. Not because I don't like them, but because I've painted several thousand of the old style figures (all on 10 man strips) and you get into a rhythm. However I think that these are going to be more dynamic on the bases. I'll have to buy some more APC's to use them (possibly BTR-50's).

I also brought some of the SPG-9's which is a 73mm RCL firing rounds similar to the main gun of the BMP-1. This is present in all battalion anti-tank platoons in Warsaw Pact infantry units.

A close up to show off my crap painting

The only way that you could buy these previously get these was in M07 Soviet airborne troops, which was a bit of a pain. I've included a picture of the older model for comparison.


On the table, you couldn't tell the difference.

I now need to buy some Sagger strips. I'm going to mix my AT platoons despite what the MSH lists say.  I still think that there should be a mixed stand with an AT and an ATGW factor.The current system doesn't work at a battalion level.
I also really like what Andy has done with his new releases and being able to buy different strips of support weapons. Its a pain for him, but I guess he can just toss the unused metal back into the melter.

I must look into the new East German figures as its another army (faction I think is the new phrase that I have tolearn) I would like to have. Megolomania knows no bounds....

Saturday, March 11, 2017

On the Workbench

After the latest wargamers care package from H&R, I thought I would post a few pictures of the workbench.


 Austrian APC's and infantry. I had forgotten how much I hate painting infantry.


 Who couldn't resist jeeps with RCL's, For the army's too poor to afford missiles (or for legal reasons)


Ram Kangaroos with infantry added. There is only space for 3 figures even with a trim at the base. I must work out how to fit them into a list.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Terrain Tiles IV. the proof of the pudding....

......Is in the gaming.

I took the terrain squares to the club this afternoon for a game of Spearhead.
First up, they went together OK (well just about) on one table. There was a sizable overlap which meant that there was no leaning on the table. There were no serious accidents.

My opponent Jon asked to be Germans. I knocked up 2 different defend lists and a German list I had prevously used here. This one has Pz Iv's. Keith seems to be the only person I know that likes PzIV's. I brought my Russian Cavalry division as I've never used it on table, and as an afterthought packed my US army if I had to defend (I have yet to think out a defend list for the Russians).

So of course I am defending.

2 infantry battalions with M36 TD's and M15/M16 AA as infantry choppers. A tank battalion at the rear completed the deployment.
Deployment on the right flank. Infantry battalion at right top, with the tank battalion bottom left.


 Left flank with most of the support troops deployed forward.


 Jons list had 4 battalions of ~11 stands. 1 Pz IV H, 1 Pz grenadier and 2 infantry. His plan was a frontal attack across the front. He used the infantry units on the flank and the armoured units in the center.
 As the game developed on the left the german infantry launched an all out assault on the US positions. The US tank battalion attempted to envelope the center thrust at the bottom right.


 On the right the Germans were flanked by the US infantry who eventually prevailed in close combat. With the movement of the US amoured battalion the center was open for the panzer granadiers


  In the center the german armoured attack was flanked by the US armoured battalion. Lead by an M4 Jumbo (US players, don't lead your tank units with anything else) and aided by some bad luck with the dice on the German end the Pz IV's died as usual.


I forgot to record the rest of the game, but the German infantry units were eventually broken by the US infantry. For a change my dice were not abysmal and I didn't manage to slaughter my troops.

Takeway lessons? 4 small German battalions in an attack list doesn't work that well, and Pz IV's are crap.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Terrain Tiles III

I have been slowly assembling the tiles. There have been hick ups along the way, mostly with magnets placed the wrong way round. Always check these things before final assembly. Easy to say, almost impossible to follow.
I now have 4 tiles that fit together. The attachment is 'snug' without being anything to write home about. However I think it will suffice for gaming.


Now to put some stuff on top

Saturday, February 18, 2017

At the painting bench

With my new re-found eye sight, projects have started moving across the bench again.

First up the Russian horde required infantry.  I have had a packet around for a while, and had some SMG troops left from the Cavalry division.
I did some deep thinking about how many figures to put on a base (maybe 10 minutes). This is a balance between what looks good and what I either have lying round, or what my shallow pockets can afford. The number finally arrived at was 7. On the other hand, HMG stands (on the left) always look odd with just one gun team on them, so they have 2 plus an observer. There are also a few of engineer stands and some 82mm mortars to finish up.


 A closer look, though I tend to discourage this.


 Also in the basing stage were some H&R German SPG', in this case a PAK 40 mounted on a French chassis.


The British stuff has been sitting finished for a while and needs to go back into the boxes.

To finish I'd just like to say that I'm now "on" to Andy at H&R's cunning new sales tactic.  Orders can take up to 2 weeks to dispatch, which is quite understandable for a smaller setup with more important demands on the owners time. However this allows the chance to think "oh I forgot to order that", which is something that we have all done.Now we have the chance to add to the latest order, which I now note has doubled in size from 2 weeks ago when I first made it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Terrain Tiles Two

Now, its one thing to have a nice square terrain tile, its another level up to attach them to each other.
There have been many different methods tried over the years with varying degrees of success.
I've had a look at a few of them and for a variety of reasons they just don't suit me. Now that I've backed myself into a self imposed corner so to speak, my solution is magnets. The smaller ones are commonly used to hold models together. I purchased 100 larger 10mm ones for just under NZ$50.

The trick with magnets is that they have 2 poles (lets just call them + and - as it will make me typing this easier). The trick is to have one of each on a side, and keep this consistent throughout the whole lot. I have made a master side with the longer side to the left. and installed 2 magnets in a + - orientation. As long as the rest match this (or mirror image if you stuff it up like I did) then they will all connect together.


 From bottom to top we have the master side, 2 magnets positioned in the right orientation above them (the magnets have a sizable through space interaction to the point that one shattered returning to the stack at high velocity). The magnets are then picked up and placed in the holes. The sides are turned over, placed on a flush flat surface and the magnets forced to sit flat in the hole. Fill the hole up with liquid nails (or similar) and leave till its set.

Assemble the sides round the plastic core and then glue the carpet tiles on top. Job done.


The first 2 completed, and they attach to all edges. The magnets are strong enough for one tile to hang off another but I wouldn't bank my life on it.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Back at the bench

Confession time.

I have not done that much painting in the last 12 months. This has been down to the slow deterioration of my eyesight. Fortunately I'm going towards the longsighted end of the spectrum, so I'm fine functioning in everyday life. the problem arrives when I'm trying to look at things up close....like 6mm figures. Its not too bad painting the AFV's (unless tires are involved) but the men have been a real struggle.
Now I've been trying to avoid accepting this for a while ( I'm Peter Pan dammit!), but last weekend I finally went into the Red Shed optometrist and after a couple of minutes came away with a solution of sorts.


I've been told that they make me look smarter (maybe I should wear them at work).They can be used as bifocals if you push them to the end of your nose, providing hours of hilarity for the lady of the house.

The result is that I finished a battalion of Panzer Grenadiers with supports. For a bit of variety I've modeled the 21st panzer division in 1944. This division was equipped with conversions from captured French chassis. The Half track is the Le SPW 304(f). I've used the H&R GR08 Panzergrenadiers, cutting the standing figures off to fit in the back of the half tracks.



 Well, apart from the BHQ which is a Sd Kfz 251/3 C model. It should be the later simplified D model but this came out of 'Der Box'. The stand still needs another vehicle


The support weapons are also on French chassis. From left to right they are; a baby neblewerfer, a Pak40 on a half track and a 20 SP mm AA unit.


Models are all H&R ex Armstrong models. I still have some other models to finish for the divisional AT units.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Terrain tiles take shape.

For the base of my tiles I decided to use 1" thick extruded polystyrene. This is stiffer and more solid than the expanded version, and far lighter than MDF or plywood. it sells locally for $15 a sheet which will do 2 tiles with one knife cut.


The carpet is then glued on with No More Nails which doesn't seem to interact with the plastic an any way. The carpet tiles themselves also have residual glue from whatever held them down in their last life, which gives a bit of tack round the edges. I will add some rare earth magnets to help things hold together on the table top.