Thursday, September 11, 2014

15mm WW2 British Platoon

No games to share after the holiday so far so I'll post some progress on the painting queue.
As an addition to our 28mm games we have been thinking lately to scale down to 15mm and or 20mm for our platoon and larger games.
There are many reasons like time to paint, storage, availability of miniatures or cost but my main reason is it just seem to look right for the size of games we play. Or is it just that we are the average wargamer with a constant need to change and add things...   So 20m or 15mm was the big question we needed to address . I will spare you details on how our group came to a verdict but in the end I'm staring at my desk stacked with 15mm as well as 20mm miniatures. How convenient.

Well, I decided to start with a platoon 15's so I could mark those off and be ready to game Chain of Command and, together with Cromwells of the 7th armoured division I painted long ago, we can try the Battlegroup Normandy system for larger games.  One of the obvious advantages of going smaller is the reduced amount of time and this time I was once more surprised that I could finish those in under 2 weeks spending just six evenings or so. Probably four times quicker than 28's.
Next up will be some 20mm AB's, Normandy as well. We just could not resist the stunning AB models and the availability of so many models to spice up the table. So while we mostly reuse 15mm, the 20's provides a great opportunity to paint up some great models. Oh, and some terrain of course...

These miniatures are from the Plastic soldier company with the exception of three or four figs from Forged in Battle I put in just because I had them and wanted to feel the difference between the plastics and metal. Just as in my previous post I liked painting the plastics better. Much, much easier and due to their chunkiness they made me think of them as small versions of Artizan miniatures. So that's the second plastic box I like, one day I might become a fan...
The box itself is quite good. Enough variation in poses and with some head and arm swaps you could even get more. The weakest poses IMO are for the sten armed officers unfortunately. With just two different models I changed some arms to make them look a bit different. Also, the uniforms on some of the figures do not seem 100% correct. I do not claim to be an expert but the equipment seem to be on the wrong side at most of the figures.
Anyway, did not bother me to paint up these nice figures:

Section 1

Section 2

Platoon HQ

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Perry Desert Rats & some terrain

Holiday is over so time to get back to the hobby and see what's everybody been doing recently to get some fresh inspiration.
Unfortunately I did not have many games over the last few months but I managed to get a platoon and some buildings done for our 28mm Chain of Command desert WWII games.

These are from the Perry plastic boxed set with some metals thrown in for a bit of variety. Now I've never been a fan of plastics but I must say these are the first I actually like (and I tried many:). Easy to assemble, good variety and proportions and a joy to paint. This can't be said of the metals though, I really struggled with those. Yes, great poses but the quality is just poor IMO. It takes longer to clean the figure than to build a plastic and you get lesser quality which was a pain to paint. The 2 pdr model was good though and my favourite of the range.

For terrain I ordered some buildings from The Colonial Steamboat company. Great models and they come with a decent basic paintjob so you can use them straight away. I actually painted the bases to match the desert mat and put a few lighter colours on them. After this I went on to experiment with the modelmates products for weathering. I was so impressed with the effects you can achieve with these liquids that I went a bit overboard with the weathering. But no problem here, I have't sealed the effect yet so with some water I can still remove it.

Original building from colonial steamboat company

and a scenery piece from The Last Valley, repainted as well

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gaming with Curt...a Chain of Command AAR

Two weeks ago we had the pleasure of having globetrotter Curt, world famous for his annual painting challenge, and his lovely wife Sarah come visit us for an evening out and of course a good day of gaming. Curt himself did a writeup of his time in Holland here so I'll try to add some more pictures and details of the game. Browsing through the pictures though I realize we did not take phase by phase shots so let's see if I can make something out of it.
In preparation for the game we asked Curt which period he would like to play on the day and it became clear a game of Chain of Command was one of his preferences. Maybe this has something to do with his visit to Sidney and Lard HQ a week earlier? Anyway we were thrilled as CoC has rapidly has become one of our favourite rulesets.
We quickly created a scenario Attaque sur le pont des Pêcheurs which involved 2 German platoons needing to recapture a vital bridge to secure the advance for an armoured division nearby. So all was cool until I laid out terrain the night before and found out the river was too wide and would take too much space to accommodate a game for four platoons. Fortunately CoC has six ready to go scenarios in the book so we decided to pick scenario 6, attack on an objective, and have the Germans attack from two sides effectively creating two separate games. Easy. In a combined effort the Germans had to capture the centre of the village and hold it until the American Paratroopers had to withdraw from the table.
As we had four platoons we used the 'Bigging it up' rules from the book and it worked perfectly fine. I see a lot of discussion and suggestions at the Lardie forums these days but I personally don't see a need to change anything. Might there be an issue, which we did not experience, we just use some common sense (or a dice roll if things start to heat up) as in any other odd situation with whatever rules.

The game itself was divided in 2 sections with Curt playing the Fallschirmjager against Jacco's Paratroopers on the left and Rob playing a regular late war German platoon against my Paratroopers on the right side of the table. And two different games it turned out to be! While Curt cautiously advanced his FJ, set up a base of fire in a barn and slowly moved his observer in a good position Rob on the other end saw an opportunity from the first minute and immediately moved his first German section in the open in an attempt to outflank the Paratroopers. It was a misjudgment with huge consequences. The section was caught in the open by a quick deploying Paratrooper squad and from that point the German Heer platoon had to go all in in order to save the poor men and put pressure on other areas forcing the outnumbered Paratroopers to make choices.

The outflanking manoeuvre. if you take a good look you can see the silhouette  of a Para behind the hedgerow. He carries a .30 LMG :-)

While this may be Rob's specialty it did not work out this time. He was ambushed by deploying Paratroopers once more and when he went in for his final blow he was completely surprised to see another Paratrooper squad deploy shooting up another of his sections. Apparently the platoon was reinforced and more men emerged in the village than expected. Force rating was dropping quickly now (once this starts it tends to go fast) and Rob tried a last assault using the Stormtrooper trait but failed miserably losing another squad and more force morale which was close to zero now. His final attempt was to bring in the big guns when he drove a Panzer IV towards the outskirts of the village. It was too late though, when it arrived on the scene the only thing the crew saw were fleeing Germans. Time for the commander to throw his Panzer into reverse and save what can be saved.

Curt moving his troops forward carefully watched by Rob's rubber duck from the Challenge
I have to say Rob did some very bad dice rolling but with this game a minor mistake can have big consequences and Rob was forced into an attack he was not prepared for. Maybe he should have gotten his scary Panzer to the village sooner. Lucky me.
Meanwhile on the other side of the village the fighting was very close with Curt's FJ making slow progress into the village taking the first two houses while most of the Paratroopers lay down pinned due to a clever mortar barrage. I'm not sure what else exactly happened as I was having fun shooting up Rob's Germans but I remember well Jacco telling me Curt being a very smart player making good use of terrain and available options.  Just when the FJ were about to take the second house on the left side  of the village the regular Germans broke and all that was left of the Platoon fled off the board to safety
Now one platoon from the victorious Paratroopers secured the area while two almost full squads turned to the FJ to help out their friends. That would would be too much for the remaining FJ so we called it a game and opened another bottle or two to celebrate the day.

Third squad Paratroopers deploying behind the roadblock ambushing the advancing Germans
Curt preparing his advance by briefing his men in the barn
Jacco organising his defense
Jacco organising his defense II
A very effective FJ mortar team
FJ advancing into the village
Scary faces at the roadblock? the Panzer IV arrives
and another overview
One more
Last one
Finally the groupshot, taken early to avoid red eyes

Many more pictures of the game van be found on Photobucket

We all had a great day and though I struggle  at times to maintain the blog and to regularly visit others a visit like this makes me happy I started a blog in the first place.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Warmats from Barrage Miniatures

In an ongoing quest to enhance my terrain I'm always on the lookout to see how others do their terrain and I get lots of inspiration from the blogosphere for this. For a while I've been impressed by the look of those teddy bear fur mats but I could not find a good source to get them. Making such a mat myself is not for me, I just lack the skills to do it so I had almost given up until the blogosphere came to the rescue.
Gaming with TooFatlardies, an excellent blog from Benito in Spain which I follow for some years now attended me to a Spanish company called Barrage Miniatures. They make stunning grassy and desert warmats if you ask me so I sent them an email to see what they could make for me.

What happened next is something I don't experience each day. The Barrage team was not only friendly and responsive, they offered to collaborate on the design of the mat so I would get the exact mat I wanted. So we decided on the size, hight of the grass (to be used for different scales) and colours while Alf and Clara from Barrage where sending me almost daily emails with progress. They had checked my blog and even sent me pictures of my minis on the mat using photo editing software. One thing I added during the process was to cut the mat in irregular shapes at one short end and make it a bit longer. That way it could be used to represent the border of a beach for example using the desert mat underneath the fur one.

Initially I decided to go for the fur mat only because their desert mat could only be folded in one direction. When I mentioned this limitation to Alf he promptly redesigned the mat using different materials. When he showed the redesign a week later and explained what he did to tackle this I was sold on the desert mat as well.
The whole process and interaction with Barrage was lots of fun as you can imagine. In just a couple of weeks the mats were made and with every update I received I got more excited. We have now used the fur mat twice and the desert mat will have it's first outing soon. The guys from our gaming group here love the mats as well and the first one already ordered an even larger mat for when we use our largest setup.

Now I need to take the next step and work on my existing terrain to better blend it into the mat and make or buy some templates to break the green and some new WWII houses and streets. Suggestions welcome.

On to the pictures so you can judge for yourself. I'm more than happy with the mats and can only highly recommend Barrage Miniatures. And no, I don't have any shares or involvement in the company :-)

Recent ACW game. These are confederates from Patrick Diedericks who ran a BP game at my place to get us familiar with the system. I recently met him (he found my blog through facebook) and he happens to live 2 minutes from me in the same village.
Rob's Irish Brigade testing the new ground

Recent CoC game. Jacco forgot to bring his Early Brits so we had to improvise: Early Germans vs US Para's. 

WIP, one of the updates from Barrage

The short side to create the beach

On to the desert mat

After the redesign, a flexible desert mat
They even sent a picture of one of my Chevy trucks on the mat using the magic of photoshop. Nice

For scale

Can you make hills? Yes you can

Rolled out the desert map and took couple of pictures of the mat with some LRDG vehicles and our palm trees

Bought a pvc drainpipe for storage, the mat is over 2x3m

The grassy mat as they call it comes with a free storage bag