Friday, February 24, 2012

EW North Africa Escalation League (7)

Last night was what might be my final game in our soon to be completed early war North Africa Flames of War Escalation League. Before the games some of us had a 'review of the troops' photograph session. The league has prize support for completing two 1500 point armies for the league. To the left you can see me with my two armies: my German Stützpunkt force (also shown in detail below left) and 1500 points of my Australian commonwealth infantry force (below right), which in all total approaches 3500 points worth of troops painted up during the league. There is a more detailed troop review of the entire Australian collection in this previous blog post.

I've had great fun painting up these two armies. I'm most likely going to continue tinkering with the forces a bit. I have a couple more units of Australians that I've purchased and will paint up just to complete the project. The Stützpunkt is a bit more of a work in progress. I still would like to add a couple platoons of armor, preferably Panzer IIc or Panzer III tanks and could also paint up one more platoon of infantry. The addition of the latter would also allow me to field this force as a regular infantry company.

After the photo session was over I played a very enjoyable game with my Australians running them as a Divisional Cavalry squadron, against Gordon's Black Shirt Italian infantry horde. Gordon was aided by Eric for a portion of the game. My honorable opponents are shown in the photo to the left. This game featured several successful assaults by Gordon's infantry, one against my Bren carriers (below right), and another one pushing back my captured Italian tank platoon in a great counter-attack by a lone infantry team. Brave chaps those fearless conscripts are. I guess the Italians knew exactly where the weakness of their own tanks were!

Early on I had some success with my recon moves and was able to catch Gordon's anti-tank platoon while being towed (above left) and also took out one of his heavy artillery guns also while towed. These two early gains secured me an opportunity to press him on my left flank which eventually ended up being an objective I could hold with my tanks on Turn 6 for the win. The win was not without cost. I lost both of my anti-tank platoons and had only a single carrier left from one of my Bren carrier patrols. All in all a fun game where we learned some of the new V3 rules, all of which everyone seemed to feel were significant improvements to the rules.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

German North Africa 10.5 cm Artillery Battery

This is a battery of four German LeFh18 10.5 cm artillery pieces that is a divisional support option for my Stützpunkt defensive infantry company. The platoon includes command, staff and two forward observer teams. Although the bases are a bit less interesting, I think the uniforms and guns are much better looking than the early war battery I painted up earlier. This platoon brings my Stützpunkt up to just over 1500 points using this order of battle. This is significant because completing two 1500 point armies by the end of February is an achievement in our early war league that is compensated by Battlefront with some free product...and who doesn't like free figures?!!

I'm not entirely sure I'll always want to use the mortars, infantry guns and this artillery battery at the same time in a tournament setting, but having them all for historical games is a must. Most likely at some point I'll be wanting to add one or two platoons of Panzer IIc or III tanks to give the force some additional mobility.

I've been substituting two company command stands from my early war continental German army as I forgot to paint up the company commander and 2iC when I painted up my required infantry platoon. I completed these two stands so that I would have proper North Africa theater figures for my company commanders. How embarrassing it was to have the most important stands in my company be the wrong uniforms!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Destroyed Panzer IIc - FOW Objective Marker

This is the second objective marker I've painted up for my German Stutzpunkt defensive force. This is a destroyed Panzer IIc tank and a destroyed infantry AT gun. The gun is a Battlefront model from my spares box, the Panzer IIc is a Zevda model that I didn't think was quite nice enough to use as a gaming piece, but with a little modification makes a nice burning wreck. The terrain base with small hill was scratch build from foam. I've modeled the turret displaced from the initial blast from being hit with flames spurting out of the tank's cabin.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

FOW V3 Roll-Out Party at Adler Hobby

Yesterday I attended the Flames of War version 3 roll-out party at Adler Hobby. It was great to see so many people stop by the store throughout the day including many familiar faces and a bunch of new ones as well. There was much talk about the new rules to be had, which list should take which options in our upcoming late-war league and soda, beer and snacks to be had for all. There was also a raffle for a fully painted British raiding force with beautiful LDRG jeeps and infantry.

During the day two tables had V3 games running while people tried out the rules. A lot of us watched as we all started to familiarize ourselves with the new rules. I was particularly interested on Don's game against Scott. They played 1000 points on a 4'x4' table to hopefully make for a good quick game. Don pushed his Fallschirmjäger infantry supported by PaK 40 AT guns and a couple of Hornise mobile heavy AA SP guns. Scott pushed American infantry with a platoon of Sherman tanks and a platoon of M10 tank destroyers. With both players playing infantry companies with good AT support whomever got the unwelcome task of having to attack was in for a tough haul.

The American infantry drew the short straw and were the attackers. Don's Hornise ambush made short work of the Sherman platoon, allowing me to lend out some of my new wreck markers which look even better on the table then they do on the painting table. The Americans had a tough time on their left flank with the loss of the Sherman tanks. In the middle and on the right side they had better luck but it was still a tough haul. Eventually the remnants of the American left platoon were able to launch a successful assault from the cover of a large rock pile. This was possible due to some of the new V3 changes and seemed like an improvement in the assault phase. Unfortunately the last of the German reserves came in just in time to secure the flank and kill a stand of the small American flank force. They failed morale and the CO tried to convince them to stand firm but he failed to motivate them and he and they left for home. In the same turn the American tank destroyer platoon also failed a morale check forcing the leaderless company to retreat.

This was a fun game to watch and both players played well and had fun. Either infantry force having to attack would have been a tough challenge.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February Game Night 2012

Last night I attend our monthly game night. I played in my friend Ed's late renaissance skirmish game which used his homemade rule set that he's been continuously improving. This game featured Polish with German mercenaries played by my friends Earl (just off camera), Ralph and Byron (shown below right photo). Onlooker Charlie observes the table from behind. I played on the Cossack side with Mike (pictured below left photo) and Dave (not shown).

This was a tough game for the Cossacks. The Poles had a good plan and swift cavalry advances gobbled up many extra 'opportunity points' giving them some extra advantage cards early. When the Polish musketeers and dragoons came within range they surgically picked off our officers with uncanny precision leaving the Cossack units to fight under lesser leadership across the board. Our biggest problem was a solid musketeer line in the center which we never did answer. When the game was called the terrain victory points were evenly split, but it was only a matter of a turn or two before the Cossack army would have been swept from the field.

This game featured beautiful figures, nice terrain and Ed's rule set which is easy to understand. If Ed will forgive my comparing it to other rules, it has a similar 'feel' to the Brother against Brother ACW skirmish rules that many of us in the club like very much. Of course Ed's rules use different mechanics and have Renaissance-specific rules and mechanisms.

There were two other great games run. Phil ran a 15mm Fire & Fury ACW game using the original Fire & Fury rules.

Andre ran his computer-moderated age of sail game using Clear for Action rules.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Carnage & Glory Firing Template

A previous customer of mine asked me to make a version of my wooden firing templates for the computer-moderated wargaming rules Carnage & Glory. This is the result of that request, made according to his requirements. Since I'm already selling Carnage & Glory rulers on my site, I thought customers who purchased those might also like some of these so I've listed them for sale on my Wright Brothers R/C store site. Sorry for the shameless plug, but a fella has to earn his toy soldier money somehow!

As a side note, my streak of posts for twelve continuous days from 1/25/12 through 2/5/12 was definitely a record for the blog. I also set a new record of twenty (20) posts in the month of January which completely shattered the old record of fourteen (14) posts that I had achieved a few times before. It's been a good winter for wargaming this year for sure.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Flames of War Third Edition (2)

Flames of War third edition is here! To the left you can see the new soft cover third edition core rulebook. It's page-for-page identical to the upcoming hardcover version only in a smaller more portable format. Being old with bad eyes I'll probably still be buying a hardcover version, but it's nice to have this one now so I can brush up on the new rule changes (using my reading glasses of course).

The new rule book has a lot more diagrams and on first glance seems to be an improvement even in areas where the rules are identical  to version two. I'll give more feedback once I read the whole thing and play a couple warm-up games using the new rules.

The best part of all is you can get the soft cover rule book for free just by bringing in your hardcover second edition to your local store. They'll put a veteran's sticker in your book and give you the new book for free! Below is a photo of my V2 veterans sticker as well as a photo of the softcover book beside the V2 hardcover so you can compare the size difference between the two.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Black Powder - Freeman's Farm Game (2)

Today was our monthly Black Powder game day at Adler Hobby. After playing a bunch of fun games I felt it was time for me to pay the group back and run a game. I decided to run my Freeman's Farm game which I've run two other times recently. I already had it boxed up and I knew it was fairly balanced. Our normal day for Black Powder is the first Sunday of the month, but with tomorrow being the Super Bowl we opted for a Saturday this month. The four players were Gordon and Eric as the Americans and Newcomer Dan and Myself as the British.

Both sides had quite a bit of difficulty getting their armies to deploy. My wing had considerable trouble thanks to Morgan's light brigade pestering me from some dense woods. Dan's German mercenaries and British regulars had considerable trouble dislodging Poore's brigade from the Freeman farmhouse.

As the battle progressed the Americans deftly silenced two of the British light batteries with small arms fire and then started whittling away at the British and German battalions. After 8 or so turns Dan and I agreed that the Americans had the field well in hand. With our commands significantly weakened and without artillery the British left the field to the Americans. Well played by both Eric and Gordon.

I've now run this game three times with a major British victory, a major American victory and a virtual draw. It's always good when a scenario ends up showing good balance with victories achievable by both sides. Hopefully I can keep this scenario to be available to run again on another day when we have 6 players.

Gordon posted a bunch more photos of the game on his picasa site here (see the last 9 photos in the gallery).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Destroyed Supply Truck - FOW Objective Marker

This is an objective marker I've painted up for my German Stutzpunkt defensive force. The piece was originally designed for what I think was an Italian village scene with cobble stone pavement and a destroyed wall. Since I wanted to use this for my North Africa German army I covered the cobble stones with sand, but kept the wall. I imagine on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa tile roofs aren't all that uncommon, or at least weren't back in 1942.

The scene shows what I believe is a Mercedes truck that was knocked out by a near miss shell burst. Cargo is spilled about and the truck sits pushed up against the broken wall. Other than re-decorating the base the only other things I did was to paint it up and add some Silfor grass tufts on the open areas. I have one more objective to go for this army which will featured a destroyed Panzer IIc tank. The rest of the scene I haven't figured out yet.

In my 2012 painting totals I'm going to count this as a vehicle. I think it's the category that fits the closest.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DBA Rulers

My friend Rich from the Boston Trained Bands is hosting a charity DBA tournament to benefit the Boston Food Bank this weekend. I wanted to participate, but stupidly double booked myself the day of the event. To try to help out I'm donating these DBA rulers which I assume the Bandsmen will be giving away as "thank you" gifts to the tournaments participants. It's a good cause and a great idea. I was glad to help.

If you'd like to contribute or support the cause by participating in the tournament the information is below:

Bellum Obviam Ieiunium -The War Against Hunger
Date: Saturday February 4, 2012
Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Hobby Bunker
What: Fundraiser for Boston Food Bank
When: February 4 2012
Rules: DBA 2.2
Time: 3 or 4 rounds, 1 hour per game timed
Armies: round 1- Historical Match-ups;
Rounds 2 – 4 will be using the “Swiss-System”

If you'd like to get some of these for yourself I sell them on my commercial site, Wright Brothers R/C. The message on the back can be left off, or customized to your own message.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FOW Wrecked Tank Markers

These are twenty wrecked tank markers for use with Flames of War or any other WWII game. They could also be used in other games to mark burning terrain. They're made by Sentinel Miniature Painting and come as unpainted white resin.  With some black primer, a dusting of gray spray paint and several passes of dry-brushing (gray, light gray, yellow, red-orange) they finished up quickly. For half of them I glued on some small steel nuts. These help the markers stick to my tanks that are equipped with magnets to hold the turrets on. Photos below show this and also the markers on a couple of tanks.

These are a good quality product at a reasonable price. The only small complaint I have with them is I wish they was some variation between each. Having them all be essentially the same shape is slightly 'strange' for smoke clouds. In use on the table it is seldomly noticeable.