Tuesday, 24 November 2015

... and back down again for Flames of War.

It's great to able to play both sets of rules as and when I want to. Having completed a run through of BA I set up a small tank battle for FoW. I'm getting a feel for the rules now and really enjoy pushing tank platoons around the tabletop. I tried a few different models to see how different anti tank values and armour saves work and interact. I only realised yesterday that a Sherman V with it's anti tank of 10 cannot penetrate the front armour of a Tiger 1E in this game, quite rightly so, the Tigers front armour of 9 means that even on a save throw of 1 the very worse it can do is to bail it out on a firepower check. Turn that around however and the Tigers anti tank of 13 against the Shermans front armour of 6 means that it can't stop the shot on a D6 roll, it's a straight firepower check, 3up to blow it up , otherwise the crew bail out.  The 17pdr Firefly Sherman is more of a match, but the same armour rating means it remains vulnerable. Evening things up a bit with smaller German Panzers give the Sherman a more even chance. The initial 'to hit' throws are very straightforward, the main factor being the skill rating of the target, Veterans being much harder to hit (4plus) as they have more skill in avoiding fire and using cover etc. but with only half a dozen factors to remember it' very easy to commit to memory. The M10's got a run out, and did destroy a Tiger through it's front armour.

Artillery rules got a first run through, a German battery of 4 howitzers. Rules seemed fair enough if followed through in stages, you have nominate the spotter, then from memory you get three attempts to range in and each failed attempt raise the 'to hit' score by 1. No restriction on how you place the template it seems, and you roll to hit anything under it. The 4 gun battery template is 6" square, but I have seen some HUGE Russian battery templates that appear to be a foot long! Not done a bombardment yet.

'Dug in' markers, only received these yesterday and delighted with them as I had not realised they came ready painted, better than a card token for sure. I'm going to order another pack.

Yet more pics of games in progress, I'm getting there and have a potential opponent lined up so I want to get a good grip of the rules first myself.

I keep meaning to paint the rubber on those spare wheels!

A Firefly lines up for a shot.

The PaK 40 was knocked out by the Typhoon on it's first run, but failed to appear after that.

No not false teeth, dug in markers.
More hedgerow under construction.

For scale 15mm.

My favourite Panzer III's take a photo opportunity, Battlefront models, resin and metal.

Tiger lines up on a bogged down M10 and destroys it.

General view of the table.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Scaling up for 'Bolt Action'.

Having managed finally to get the US infantry finished after the struggle of sticking the damn things together, I thought a run through of Bolt Action would be in order. While I'm fully committed to learning Flames of War, BA has continued to pull me onside, not least because the rules are considerably easier to get a grip of and I have been able to memorise the basics quite easily. I was worried that trying to learn two new sets of rules together might cause confusion, but it's not been the case so far.

I need the terrain to be able to scale up for 28mm so I'll be adding taller trees and raising the hedgerow a bit. The road sections seem to work OK as they are, wide enough for a Sherman to pass. The fields now represent waist high wheatfields. I have invested a fair bit of cash in the Bolt Action project including new 28mm houses, both plastic and MDF. Much remains unpainted at this stage, including a StuG assault gun and Sherman V. The halftrack has had it's basic paint job but needs finishing and weathering. I also have more infantry in the pipeline, sniper teams, anti tank teams etc.

Numerous Bolt Action shots, early stages as I plan to really break up the terrain for this game with lots of cover. You can see I tried doubling up the road sections (deliberate design feature by Tony Barr at ERM!), which does seem to scale the road up better, but I'll need more road sections now. Work in progress. On the Flames of War front I built two Panthers over the weekend ready for painting, they will bring my 15mm tank collection to over 40 models.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Some sad news and more FoW.

We lost a very special person last week, Cath, my Mum in Law of over 30 years  passed away peacefully in her sleep on Thursday. IN a way it's almost a relief after a stressful six months, there remains the funeral to organise so it's a busy time sorting out her affairs etc. She rejoins her beloved husband Dave, who was probably my closest friend for many years as well as my father in law.

Cath and Dave in early days enjoying a drink in a Hastings Pub. Two of the nicest people I have ever met.

As an aside, and an escape from the stress I have been playing more Flames of War solo games in order to become comfortable with the rules. Things have changed on the domestic front as our middle daughter Jess has moved back home with her partner so there has been a lot of organising and sorting out. We have plenty of room here, and like many young couples they have been struggling in a private rented flat, with rents up to £800.00 per month for a tiny 2 bed flat. They both work full time but would have no chance of getting a mortgage, plus Jess will be going to Uni next year, we keep encouraging her, she has the grades, and this takes any financial pressure off of them for a while. Anyway, upshot of this is that Dad has been allowed to keep the smaller 4th bedroom as a 'hobby room' and so I now have a permanent table once again. I also have my painting desk set up there too, I think the family have decided it's best to keep me out of the way while things are being moved around etc, so I'm happy up there and enjoying the freedom to play Flames of War anytime I want. I also have my music up there so it's perfect :)

Some random photos of the table and figures etc.

Painting desk with Bolt Action half track undercoated.

Anti tank troops lie in wait.

HMG sited with a good view down the village street

My Grandaughter helped me to make the sign so I painted her name on it.

British infantry dash for cover.

The little painting area.

M10's in defensive position, concealed at the edge of woods.

Fearless Veteran US airborne on the left flank.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

28mm US infantry progress!

I'm still at it, determined to finish these damned figures! Yesterday I sat down and stuck together the last 10 figures, it took me ages and I uttered a few choice swear words as arms fell off, legs fell off, guns fell off etc and sticky bits rolled on the carpet. After what seemed like a marathon session they were finally done, all 20 US infantry figures stuck together and the first 10 half painted. I was more methodical in my second attempt at assembly, being more careful what pair of arms went which weapon, bit still found the experience frustrating. It's odd painting stuff that you are not enjoying doing, but I'm really keen to play Bolt Action, so I'm regarding it as something of a rite of passage, bit like placing the stickers on the hundreds of Commands & Colours Napoleonics blocks, a right pain to do but worth the effort when you play the game.

A quick peep at the plastic infantry half painted at this stage.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Flames of War 'fair fight' mission.

I had been planning to play a small game of Flames of War in order to see how familiar I am with the rules off the playsheets. Keeping things simple I went with the 'fair fight' mission with both sides deploying onto the table. In accordance with the 'Mission' rules I diced for table edges and attacker/defender, the Germans winning and choosing what side of the table to attack from. I played with just three platoons for the Allies, these being two troops of British Shermans including two of the up gunned Firefly version (all confident trained), plus a platoon of US airborne (fearless veterans). I added the support from the Typhoon (Limited Air support), as I was keen to integrate the air support rules into my game for the first time.

The Germans consisted of four platoons, a fearless veteran panzergrenadier platoon with MG support platoon, an anti tank platoon of two 'PAK 40' anti tank guns, plus a platoon of five StuG III assault guns (confident veterans).

I'm pretty comfortable with the tank and infantry rules on the whole and found no need to consult the full rule book, just a couple of things I kept in mind to double check later.I won't do a full report as I was mostly focused on playing the rules with as few errors as possible, but I took pics at various stages as the main road through the village gradually became blocked with abandoned or blown up tanks of both sides. I really enjoyed the freedom to move where I like after playing hex games for so long, it takes some getting used to! You have to keep thinking a move ahead, given the generous move distances things can suddenly swing around as tanks become vulnerable to flanking shots etc. I got most of the main features in the game, bailed out tanks, start of one move I rolled to remount three bailed StuGs but failed on all three, I think that was the turning point as it enabled the more lightly armoured Shermans to close in and shoot them. The veteran US airborne were hard to hit as intended, and once in concealment and gone to ground almost impossible to dig out. I brought up the German half track (1ic) to try to put some heavy machine gun fire into them, got one hit, but it was saved. All in all a good game for a solo run through, the US airborne moved to take one of the objectives to win the game. The PAK 40's were extremely effective against the British tanks blowing up two of them on the first shots. I brought in an air strike by the Typhoon and despite being deployed on the edge of the woods scored a rocket hit which was ....... saved. All good fun and certainly given me the motivation to keep going with Flames of War.

Pictures not great as I was concentrating on the game. I'm pleased with the overall look of the terrain, as much of it has been built from scratch. The surface is the excellent 'Mat O War' as reviewed here. On the agenda is more hedge/bocage sections and more woods, plus some 'dug in' markers. I also have a couple of Panzer VI's on order.

Fearless veteran panzergrenadiers advance under cover.

Blown up shermans on the road, taken out by the anti tank guns in the woods . The rear sherman bailed out the Stug and then destroyed it.

The Typhoon rocketing the PaK 40's.

Bazooka shot into the StuGs front armour bailed it out. The half track is in position to put some heavy MG fire into the fearless veteran US airborne, but they are bulletproof cover.