Sunday, 1 May 2016

A big day for football fans.

Having been brought up on the terraces at Milwall from aged seven where all the men of the family would meet every home game, (how things have changed), football is sort of in my blood! For the past 30 years though I have been a distant supporter of Manchester United, an armchair supporter I guess you could say, so todays big game against Leicester presents me with something of a dilemma. Like everyone else it seems I want Leicester to win the Premiership title in order to send a message to the 'big boys' that it is NOT all about money. Not sure where I'll watch it yet, I have an invitation to join a couple of friends, but the pub across the road (The City of London) is also showing it and the atmosphere in there can be great on a big match day so might pop over there as it's our local (Free House, so some nice real ales.

I'm halfway through 'Point Defence' hope to finish it later this afternoon or tomorrow. With 24 order dice in the cup the turns are taking time and I'm checking things out as I go along with the rule book to be sure I get it right. This game features preliminary bombardment AND a German air strike (if it arrives!). I'll write the game up in its entirety for the next post, but let's just say that the Soviet tank riders have had an unpleasant experience in turn 2 due to my leaving them exposed to fire from a German vet Grenadier squad armed with assault rifles who caused enough casualties to require a morale check that they failed, having 2 pins. Under the Soviet Special Rules you do get to re throw that failed check, but again it failed, so off they went!

The rules are playing in true Bolt Action style so far, the T34 has survived two separate panzerfaust shots fired from buildings, the first one glanced (phew) and the second missed. I expected those shaped charges to tear through the armour, and one was a side shot! I'm getting the hang of  mortars now especially useful for indirect fire. Had a lucky shot from the German medium mortar team, ranged in on target first attempt (6) and dropped the HE right down onto a German squad who lost five men, failed the morale check for half casualties and were lost.

In order to simplify things a little I'm playing that each house can occupy one infantry squad and not bothering to fight up and down stairs on to different floors as it can become too complicated in my view. So an assault into a building becomes somewhat easier to deal with, especially when playing solo. There is also the option to play 'around' the buildings but let's face it we all like hiding our little men in model buildings don't we?

AAR will follow, but here's a few pics to be going on with to show off my new taller trees from S&A scenics. Simon kindly made them for me in order to life the scale a bit alongside the large buildings. I'll probably buy more in due course.

Trees all by S&A scenics, two sizes. Resin crater not yet painted.

Tank rider squad disembarks.

How did he miss! Panzerfaust is a 'one shot' weapon so once fired that's it. He can of course still fire his rifle.

I like this shot.

PaK40 anti tank gun, can pivot on an 'advance' order or as in this case move up to 6" and redeploy on a 'Run' order. Can't fire until next turn though so that juicy target may slip away, depends who activates first.

The ME262 awaiting orders to make a ground attack run. The dappling effect was a sod to paint!

German High Command inspect the first 'captured' Soviet dice, rather a showy affair! I'm not keen on the red dice either to be honest. 

Overview, I'm pleased with the thinner taller (14") kebab skewer flight stand as it seems to lift the aircraft more into scale

Thursday, 28 April 2016

'Point defence' a Tiger's eye view!

The Tiger is on the table! Lost count of the hours of footage I have watched about this iconic Panzer, from design to construction and on to it's last desperate battles in Normandy, it's good to be finally able to 'play' with one in a game of bolt action. Here it is pitched against a Soviet force that includes a T34 and plenty of cover to break the sight lines up, so I'm more confident of it than my M4 Shermans, but we shall see.

'Point Defence' was the scenario rolled for, so a roll for attack/defence and table sides saw the Germans defending and the Russians attacking, perfect for a try out! Its basically the standard six turn scenario (roll for final seventh on turn six. D6), As it's solo I decided to deploy the Germans at the point of disembarking from the half tracks and rushing to take control of the village, 12" from table edge, and then have the Russians off table to start the game, with all coming straight on in the first wave. There are 3 objectives represented by round bases with ammo/gas etc that have been placed within 6" of the table edge and 24" apart as per the scenario. The Russians can win by taking two of the objectives before the end of the six turns, quite a challenge when facing two MG42 teams and a Tiger!

Took a few eye level pics, as that's what Bolt Action true line of sight is about, not much to see so far from the German perspective, but the observer is well sited to see all along the road and beyond the village, when those Russians come on, he will will see them first. What I love about this game are those wonderful 'cinematic' moments that you can capture, I think these troops have a real sense of movement.

Back with full report soon.

Col. Von Strohm is never far from the action!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Sunday again!

It's unseasonably cold and damp for this time of year, and having been up early to run my daughter to work followed by the usual dog walk on the beach I plan another run through of Bolt Action today.  I'm just sitting catching up last night's Match of The Day (poor old Villa), while sticking another MDF building together for the game, but the table is basically set up ready as seen below. I will go through the standard Bolt Action procedure so dice for scenario, dice for attacker/defender, place objectives, deployment, first wave plus reserves etc. game will be German v Russian and I will write it up in full for the blog.

Tank riders will be used for the first time and I have managed to squeeze five of them onto the deck of my T34/76, including one I made up from plastic bits to create the guy pointing and grasping a panzerfaust. They of course represent an eleven man squad armed to the teeth with SMG's so that's a LOT of firepower combined with mobility. From reading the BA forum it seems TR's will be lucky to get beyond the first move without the riders being forced to dismount, but a run order or movement by road could potentially push them well forward towards an objective. It's a typical BA dilemma, do you push them forward as part of the first wave, or hold them as reserves to exploit a situation that might arise. One bit of advice was to hold them back for a flank attack, but that's risky as they may never actually get on if the dice go against them.  From the German perspective opening up on the tank (you can't target the riders specifically), will force a dismount, but you are then faced with eleven angry riders getting 3 shots a piece for the SMG's. Should be an interesting game.

You would not want to mess with these guys!

Typhoon testing out it's new kebab skewer flight stand!
I love a bit of MDF!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Tiger #2 and Hetzer completed for Tank War.

This is just a quick photo update to show off a few latest pieces which includes a second resin and metal Warlord Tiger 1 plus a lovely little 'Hetzer' with it's amazingly low profile and sloped front armour. The Hetzer is also a Warlord resin kit, went together like a dream in about ten minutes. It came with a fantastic commander metal figure, but I decided to do this one 'buttoned up' hatches closed in order to retain the profile, you can hide it behind almost anything! The figure became the commander of my second Tiger, and once again the fine character face stands out for me.

The US force for Tank War.

Terrain upgrade.
I mentioned previously that I find myself in a position where I am able to spend a bit of extra cash on my hobby for the first time in years, (given the usual domestic demands of mortgage and kids etc), thanks to a transfer out of an early pension scheme. I'm not getting any younger, I'm 58, and having 'lost' a big slice of my fifties to depression from which I am slowly recovering, I'm determined to waste no more time and to start enjoying my life again. I'm mobile again and the freedom of being back behind the wheel of a car is amazing.

Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that I have been able to invest in some better quality terrain and scenery. On order I have new roads, wider roads for towns/villages, some lovely river sections, and some taller trees from Simon at S&A scenics. Simon is making me some bespoke trees in the same style as his 'size 4' in order to raise the scale slightly, they will mix nicely. I also have resin craters and rubble mounds etc to dress things up a bit. I have plans to re texture the entire board surface at some point too.

Pics below from the eBay purchase, they should be with me early this coming week, but I think you can see the quality of the finish on both the roads and rivers, the wooden bridge is also included and all are made to order. I particularly like the roundabout on the crossroads section. I will post a full review once I have them, plus links to the sellers sites.

Manufacturers image showing scale with 28mm vehicles.

Decided I also required more MDF buildings, and after a lot of searching went with those made by 'Daves Wargames' via ebay. They are slightly cheaper than the two huge buildings I currently have and MUCH easier to put together in no time. Of note is the fact that the kits all arrive pre punched from the sheets, that saves an awful lot of time too. I have another three to put together at which stage all will be painted and dressed up a bit with period detail.

And as you can see from the pics above the table is set for a game of Bolt Action, this time German v Russians so I have tried to create a more open board, no hedgerow along the roads, but with smaller pockets of cover to exploit. I was reading a thread re Tank Riders on the BA forum where it was pointed out that as the rules stand a single pistol shot from say a medic's sidearm could force an entire SMG armed TR squad to jump off immediately! Have to get mighty close though, but that's BA for you!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

German anti tank element for Tank War.

As the first of the Imperial Roman sprues are primed up ready to begin I'm now finishing off the final bits of my Bolt Action forces for the time being. No doubt I'll keep adding more figures and vehicles as and when it takes my fancy, but going forward my goal is to simply enjoy playing BA whilst working on Roman and British armies for Hail Caesar. Back to basics for me then, yesterday I watched the first of many youtube videos on the subject of the The Roman Invasion of Britain. This project will be mostly focused upon painting and building up a collection initially.

Today I will be starting on Tiger #2, it's all primed and ready for paint. The two Tigers will form the backbone of my German Tank War force, along with the two half tracks, one towing the Pak40 onto the field, the other carrying the panzershreck team. My intention for Tank War games is to simply play with armour based forces as opposed to the infantry based, standard Bolt Action games. It is of course possible to field combined forces for TW, but all infantry have to move in transports, I just want to play with some tanks again!

Pics below, German High Command inspect the anti tanks gun and crew, they look mighty pleased with things. As usual lovely characterful castings from Warlord Games, it's the faces that keep me buying these figures. I still have the 20 'Last Levy' metal figures in hand for later but they are astonishingly good figures, the youthful build and faces of some being spot on. The Pak40 crew have the splinter pattern smock, I'll probably keep dotting and dashing to try to improve the look.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

ME262 completed.

An extremely rare sight in the skies above Normandy I know, but the ME262 is just such an iconic aircraft that I had to have on.! To say that the paint job was challenging would be an understatement, and it almost went in the bin on more than one occasion as I just could not get it to look right or even 'acceptable'. It took hours of painting and overpainting to get it to this stage at which point I had to stop or I could have gone on for ever! The dappling effect was a complete bu**er to do.

It's just a marker after all for the air strike rules, but does add a nice touch above the table. It can be removed from the flight stand and replaced by another aircraft model. I will be adding a Russian aircraft in due course as I'm quite enjoying these Airfix kits.

Still messing about with twigs and leaf foliage, here's a bit I made for the Tiger, I like it. and once a little more variation is added to the leaf shades it should be even better.

Friday, 15 April 2016

A Russian preview.

The Russian's are just about ready for a first game, I'm just painting the last eight plastic figures that will bring my squads up to strength. There will be three squads of riflemen and a fourth squad of SMG armed tank riders. You may recall that I purchased 40 painted Warlord infantry to kick start this army, but I have since added the various teams, HQ figures, tanks and field gun to round off the force. I'm pleased with the overall look, the charging riflemen with bayonets have a real sense of movement about them and the tank riders look suitably menacing. Tank rider rules seem quite straight forward and sensible, so for example you cannot target tank riders, while on the tank, but if the tank they are riding is shot at they will jump off immediately!

I still plan to revisit those figures I bought in order to add highlights and generally bring them up to house standard, but I'm very happy to play a game with them and plan to do so soon as I get the time.

Bolt Action Soviet platoon with choice of T34's and a field gun.