Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Off on Holiday!

My wife and I are off for a long overdue and well needed holiday in our RV motorhome. We'll be starting off in Carslile, PA by attending the Polecat/Soaring Circuits 2K11 Open Soar sailplane contest.

After that we're heading to Hershey, PA, the sweetest town on earth. While there we'll be visiting Hershey Park, Hershey Chocolate World and the Hershey Gardens with their excellent butterfly aviary.

On the way out of PA we'll also be stopping for a day at Dorney Park. Hershey Park and Dorney Park hold some of the country's classic park ride treasures including between the two of them four carousels (my wife's favorite) and two of the few remaining still operating models of the turn of the century classic ride, "The Whip".  Strangely I only know of four copies of the ride currently operating and they're all in Pennsylvania: Hershey Park, Dorney Park, Knobles Park and Kennywood Park. I'm sure there are others that I don't know about.

We'll be back home around the 4th of July. Until then the blog will most likely go dark.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

North Africa - Light Armoured Squadron (2)

This is the second combat platoon for my British North Africa light armored squadron. It's a platoon of three Crusader II tanks. These are painted up similarly to my first combat platoon in two-color disruptive pattern.

I decided to go with a full platoon of three Crusader II tanks after reading up on various design methodologies for this army list. Most of the posts on the FOW forums indicate that people like to use this list as a swarming light tank list. The Crusader II tanks with their "Tally Ho!" rule, which allows them to fire at full rate of fire on the move, are the workhorse of this tactic. If I'm going to play the list like the 'pros' do I'll at least have to build it like they do. This platoon is the start of that effort. My other platoon with one Crusader II and two Crusader III tanks is still a good asset with the up-gunned Crusader III tanks able to add some punch to an otherwise featherweight hitter. Eventually I may mix the platoons as one Crusader III and two Crusader II tanks per platoon. We'll see how it goes.

Next up on the painting table is a battery of British 25-lb artillery to go with this company.

Monday, June 13, 2011

North Africa Campaign (1)

Saturday I played a Flames of War game with Eric at Adler hobby as part of our continuing North Africa campaign. I brought my British armour and Eric pushed Gordon's Italian armour company. On paper I thought I was in good position to carry extra armour weight against the lightly armoured Italian tanks. No plan survives contact with the enemy as they say. Once we selected our Firestorm units things turned the other way around. I was given an extra unit comprised of all things, Italian M14/41 tanks. Eric drew a unit of three Shermans IIs.

I underestimated how potent the Shermans would be and committed two platoons of Crusaders to counter them: two Crusader III tanks and four Crusader II tanks. In the middle I placed my HQ and Grants to press the objective against Eric's platoon of Italian tanks. On the left my 'captured' Italian tanks faced off against Eric's tanks.

Things went fairly well for me early with me knocking out Eric's AA trucks. Then I shot my Crusader II tanks against the Shermans. A quick look at the table showed me that to my 2-lb main guns the Shermans might as well be King Tigers. I couldn't penetrate them. My two Crusader III tanks with their 6-lb guns had a better chance, but were quickly knocked out before they could be brought to bear on the captured Sherman tanks in Italian service.

In the middle combined fire from the Grants and some Hurricane air support brought Eric's battery close to the breaking point but they passed morale with a single gun left. Similarly Eric's battered tank platoon on his right held tough long enough for his Shermans to knock out my HQ tanks and all three Grants.

Without a company commander my company was forced to withdraw losing 3-4. This was a close-fought game with Eric's three Firestorm Shermans causing all but one of my company's casualties.

I think my force is going to have similar trouble with Panzer IV and Tiger forces as it did with the Shermans. I think I had best figure out a solution for this challenge or I'm going to be in trouble. Good thing for me I have some 25-Lb artillery on the painting table!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ACW Re-basing Project (2)

This is the final instalment of my 15mm ACW re-basing project. I've now fully converted all of my Fire & Fury lead to Volley & Bayonet basing. The Union figures consist of a dozen artillery bases of various types from smooth bore field guns all the way to siege mortars, a brigade of infantry and a regiment of dismounted cavalry. The latter includes a horse holder on the stand and is mounted as a linear infantry stand representing the less dense formation dismounted cavalry adopted compared to infantry brigades.

Below are the confederates. They're comprised of four artillery stands, three infantry brigades and four dismounted cavalry stands.

This completes another of my goals for 2011. In order to motivate myself to get this one done, I put the box containing the last of the un-based figures on my painting table. Each time I wanted to do a different project I had to move this one out of the way. Eventually I got tired of moving the box each time and got the project finished. Next up is another platoon of British Crusader tanks for my WWII British North Africa armoured force. Maybe when I finish that I'll look into working on finishing up my Seleucid FOG army which was goal #3 on my January list.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

British Sherman II

This is a British Sherman II for use in one of my heavy armour platoons. It will be substituted as the command tank with a couple of Grant tanks as the rest of the platoon. I can have whole platoons of Shermans if I like, but honestly I like the Lee's semi-indirect fire rule and multiple guns a lot. Using a single Sherman gives me a little more punch when I have a few extra points to spend.

The cammo scheme is two-color grey over desert sand. I used the grey to simulate scale 'dirty black'. I just can't bring myself to imagine black staying true black in the desert. I found this scheme in the same book that I found my Grant cammo scheme. It looked very striking with the high-contrast stripe on the side of the tank so I thought I'd use it. Since the Shermans were mixed into units as they arrived, having two different cammo schemes within a platoon is fairly historical.

Paint and detailing techniques are the same as I've used on my other British desert tanks. I did leave the ammo tin for the .50 cal in US OD-green under the rationale that they probably wouldn't have re-painted them in dessert sand.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


There aren't a lot of support options for British tanks in the North Africa campaign. With a horde of tanks you really don't need a lot. This is one platoon I couldn't resist. Although 2lb and 6lb portee AT guns were much more prevalent, I couldn't resist the very 'cool' looking models of the Deacons. These armored 6lb AT guns have more armor on their sides and rear than they do on their front! The photo below on the left is the view my opponents will most likely see during a game.

I mounted the gun mechanism with rare-earth magnets allowing them to pivot and also be removed for storage if desired. For color scheme I had two choices: the very bland desert sand color, or the factory-applied 'Mickey Mouse' cammo scheme. I couldn't find any evidence that the more colorful scheme was used in combat, and it's a terrible pain in the buttocks to paint so I opted for the more plain scheme. Desert rats decals were added to the fenders and rear of the vehicles, again without photographic evidence of their use on the Deacons. Without them the would have looked just too plain.

As for use in game, these hit a lot harder than my 2lb-armed Crusader II tanks but are a lot less armored. They do have the 'tip and run' rule allowing them a short move away from the enemy after firing which might help them conceal themselves. At a similar point value to three Crusader II tanks I'll probably reserve the use of these for 1750 point lists and leave them in the box for 850 point games.