Saturday, March 19, 2011

Second Afghan War era (1878)

Last night we had our monthly game night. There were three excellent games hosted. I played in my friend Ed's second Afghan war era skirmish game. Ed's game uses a set of rules he's fashioned by combining his favorite parts of several rule sets into one set of rules. The majority of the mechanics come from Gaslight with other items thrown in from other rules.

This scenario pitted my friend Robert and I as the Afghans up against our friends Charlie and Ross playing the Imperial (British) forces. This was an interesting scenario where the Afghans had to close across open killing fields against the British defending a hill. In the end the game came down the the bitter end with our Afghan forces barely eeking out a win due to some fortunate ranged fire that allowed us to drive off the British artillery during the mid game. Fun and well run game. Thanks Ed!

Elsewhere at the event was our club President's annual DBA tournament and a huge 25mm Napoleonic game using the venerable 'Column, Line and Square' rules. Teaser photos of both are below, but there are a lot more photos in our club's photo gallery.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This is a "Mixed Panzerspah Platoon" consisting of two patrols. Each patrol has one Sd Kfz 221 (MG) armored car and one Sd Kfz 222 (2cm) armored car it. This platoon can be used with almost any of the early war German TO&E lists in the Blitzkrieg book. Most interesting to me may be the Kradschutzenkompanie (Motorcycle Rifle Company) which can take three armored car platoons: a light platoon consisting of 3 or 6 Sd Kfz 221 (MG) armored cars, a mixed platoon consisting of 1-4 patrols such as these and a heavy platoon consisting of 2,4 or 6 Sd Kfz 231 (6-rad) or (8-rad) armored cars. Pair this up with two platoons of motorcycle infantry and you have an all recon force that should be quite interesting to command on the table top.

The Sd Kfz 222 (2cm) is my favorite early war armored car. Armed with both a 2cm main gun, a turret-mounted coax heavy MG and a self-defense AA MG, these are some very mobile gun platforms. These aren't going to go toe to to with enemy tanks, but they do have enough sting in them to give some light armor trouble in the right situations.
The Sd Kfz 221 (MG) armored cars share a similar chassis with the 222, but mount only the turret-mounted machine gun. The blisters for the 221s also contained the externally-mounted 2cm gun. I painted these up as well as the machine gun turrets instead of just tossing them into my spare parts bin. I think they actually look really fun. Hopefully the upcoming early war Africa campaign book will have this as an option so I can utilize these turrets.

Next up on the painting table is a return to working on my flame thrower infantry stands. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Train Raid

Today at Adler Hobby we play tested Gordon's train raid Flames of War scenario that he'll be putting on at the upcoming Huzzah! convention. This is an interesting scenario where a small raiding force of reconnaissance units attack some strategic points near the railway and then try to escape off the table. The attackers in this scenario are 8 small platoons of German armored cars. The defenders are a Polish armored train with it's accompanying assault infantry and light tanks and two platoons each of Polish cavalry and Polish tankettes.  The trick is to destroy the objectives and escape before the larger defending force destroys you....smash and grab at its finest.

Fellow escalation league participant Matt and I played the role of the convention goers manning the German armored cars. Gordon played the defending Poles. Initially Matt and I were successful in destroying two objectives each as well as putting some early hits on one platoon of Polish cavalry. Subsequent turns proved deadly for me with the loss of one of my platoons from fire from an ambushing platoon of Polish tankettes and losses elsewhere from the armored train's heavy guns. Matt took some losses, but was able to double time most of his attacking platoons to a safe distance and eventually off the board scoring two of the possible five victory points. I continued assaulting the remaining victory point with my light recon platoon while limping towards the exit with my other platoon. Eventually this limping platoon was stopped by a freshly arrived Polish cavalry platoon that succeeded in bailing out the sole surviving armored car with rifle fire! End result was a major loss by the Germans due to a couple of very effective ambushes by arriving Polish reserves. Interesting scenario and lots of fun. The Huzzah attendees should look for this game, particularly those looking to get a taste of Flames of War early war. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Panzerkamphwagen 35(t) Tanks

These are seven Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks. This is enough to transform my German Leichte Pionierkompanie force into a Czech Panzerkompanie by using two of these Panzer 35(t) tanks as the company headquarters and the remaining five as one of the two main combat platoons of tanks. The other combat platoon will consist of the Panzer IIc platoon that I've recently completed.  Weapons platoons will be one Leichte Pioneer platoon and a Kradschützen (motorcycle recon) platoon that I have purchased but not painted yet. Support platoons will be selected from those that I already have which include Stuka air support, a Panzerjager I platoon, a Panzer IVd platoon, some 8.8 cm "88" AA/AT guns, a PaK36 AT gun battery, and a battery of 10.5 cm leFH18 howitzers. More than enough options for me to pick something nice from.

Adding the Panzer 35(t) tanks to my force allows me the option to field my early war Germans as a tank company in addition to the mechanized infantry (pioneer) and foot infantry (pioneer) lists I previously completed. I think that's a pretty good economy of scale for only adding seven new tank hulls. Hopefully I'll get to try these babies out this weekend at our escalation league game day. I'm anxious to see how they'll hold up to French armor and nervous how they'll hold up to British Matildas. For the latter I'm counting on my Stukas, AT and artillery that's for sure!

I looked through my references and scoured the Internet for period photographs of the Panzzer 35(t). From what I found the most common location for national markings seems to be located on the front portion of the hull as shown in the above photo. Although there are many photographs of painted 15mm models with large insignia on the turrets, the only photos of actual tanks (not models) I could find with insignia on the turrets are large all white crosses, which were abandoned quickly because they made for good target locations for enemy AT guns. The other common turret markings were small white tank numbers. In the end I've settled on the above photo as my inspiration for marking location. I've skipped the small tank number plate as it's just too small for me to paint on a 15mm tank model.

 While doing my research I did find that since these were captured Czechoslovakian tanks many of the crews displayed aerial recognition flags on the rear portion of the hull of the tank. With most of the tank looking so plain I decided to try my hand at modeling this on the commander's tanks. This was done by printing out tiny flags on my printer, soaking them in PVA glue and attaching them to the tanks. I'm pleased with the result, although if I do this again I think I'll spray both sides of the flags with matte lacquer and let them dry so the white glue doesn't cause the flags to become transparent in places if too much glue is used. These photos were taken about an hour after applying the flags so there's still hope they will dry out some more. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Viking Dawn Project

 Last night I got together with some of the Thursday night regulars at Adler Hobby to help assemble the store's figures to participate in the Viking Dawn event at the upcoming Huzzah! convention. The Huzzah! staff are opening up participation to 'Clubs' and since Adler hobby is a vendor and supporter of Huzzah! running the Flames of War events there, Gordon thought it would be good for the store regulars to participate as a club in the Viking Dawn event.

With the convention coming up soon, we got together tonight to assemble over 70 viking figures provided by the convention organizers, and their generous sponsoring vendors. In the photos below you can see us working on the figures. My efforts are shown in the photo below with the green background.

The next step will be for Gordon to black prime all of the figures and during another few similar sessions we'll get the bulk of the painting done. Sorry I'm not in any of the photos since I was the photographer.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

German Panzer I Destruction Platoon

This is the last major piece of finishing up my German Leichte Pionierkompanie for Flames of War. It is a platoon of Panzer I tanks for the pioneer 'destruction platoon'. The destruction platoon would use Panzer I tanks with boom rigs on them to drop explosive charges onto defences such as barbed wire, tank traps and pillboxes. My thoughts are they also make a very nice mobile HMG asset to back up the Pioneers and stem the flow of the hordes of Polish infantry and cavalry I'm sure to face. When facing an all armor force these will serve a light recon/flanking role.

Since the models come two to a blister I painted up all six even though only five are needed for the destruction platoon. Elsewhere in the German early war TO&E they can be fielded as a Verlaste (trucked) Panzer I platoon at the full strength of six tanks. Since I also have a platoon of Panzer IIc tanks and plenty of support, I actually now have most of the major portions of a Verlaste Panzer Company if I choose to try using that sometime.

Although I still will be adding some additional platoons to my early war German forces, they will mostly be to transform what I currently have into new companies, starting with a Czech Panzer Company which I'll be working on soon. The only small parts I have to consider the Leichte Pionierkompanie finished are a few more trucks for transportation and a single '88' AA gun, which I may or may not ever use. I'm close enough at this point to consider my first goal for 2011 accomplished.