Tuesday, 23 August 2016

'Moaning Minnie'.

Latest addition to my Bolt Action German forces is this Nebelwerfer, multiple rocket launcher, nicknamed by allied troops 'Moaning Minnie' due to the noise it made when firing. It's a Warlord Games model as are the crew. I'm pleased with the weathering effect, I wanted to capture the blackening around the barrels and a slight rusting here and there. The usual Vallejo 'Middletone' was drybrushed over a black undercoat, and then a touch of golden yellow mixed in for highlights.

In Bolt Action terms the Nebelwerfer is classed as a multiple rocket launcher and counts as a 'heavy mortar' when firing. To reflect the extensive potential blast area any units within 6" of the nominated target (friend and foe) could be hit. You roll to hit the target and then any unit within 6" so it's slightly unpredictable. Certainly the morale impact was devastating as described above.

For my US platoon I have completed a second 30 cal browning MMG team and have a third on order. The US army lists allow up to three such to be taken as a single selection to represent the high numbers assigned to the infantry. Each MMG team has three crew, with the spare loader being based separately.

Another fixed team Browning 30 Cal. MMG, now pumping out 5 shots under BA v2.

An objective marker I knocked up. 'Hande hoch' to quote Corporal Jones!
BA second edition is only a couple of weeks away now and it is revealed that all machine guns will now get an extra dice on the' to hit' roll, so this means a US 30 cal. will now roll 5 dice, while on the German side 'Hitlers Buzzsaw' the MG42 will roll no less than 6 dice when deployed as a fixed team. This additional dice for German MG teams represents the quality of both the weapon and the training of it's crew. Within squads where the MG42 is carried in Light Machine Gun mode, (not deployed on its tripod, often steadied over the shoulder of the loader for example), the two figures now put out 5 shots/dice AND can advance and fire on an 'Advance' order (-1 for moving and firing). This flexibility and firepower is one reason I enjoy playing German and with an MG42 (LMG) being carried in each of my 6 squads, together with a mix of bolt action rifles and assault rifles they are a force to be reckoned with. This together with the initiative training of the German infantryman that allows a fallen squad sergeant to be replaced from the ranks thus avoiding the -1 morale penalty, can seem an overwhelming advantage against my US platoon, but is balanced by the US special rules such as more MMG's and the fact that they do not suffer the 'Move and Fire' penalty so no -1 when firing on an 'Advance' order to reflect the 'Fire and Manoeuvre' training, and of course each squad includes a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), so you can see how nicely Bolt Action balances things up.

Another thing I hear is that dense woods WILL now block LOS, a victory for common sense. If you would like to hear more on the forthcoming 'tweaks' to the BA rules this video is well worth a watch.
(Fast forward 1 minute to avoid the advertising blurb!). It's a game of BA played to the new rules at a good pace by experienced players and the guy from Warlord umpiring and explaining the changes as it goes along.

And finally ..... the hobby room is painted, just need to improve the lighting now and put the blind up and it's ready to play some games.

The TSS boards are stored under the table as our cats use this upstairs window to get in and out overnight onto the pantiled roof below, we're looking into a catflap!
Pride of place, my wife bought me this as a birthday present 20 years ago. I'm pleased with the shade of green I went for.

Monday, 15 August 2016

'Day of Syn' and general progress!

It's that time of the year when dear old Dymchurch is rammed with holiday makers and day trippers and it's almost impossible to walk down the village High Street without getting caught up in a seething mass of bodies, many of them lobster like in colour given the recent high temperatures. Unlike many UK traditional seaside villages Dymchurch retains much of it's charm, there are no empty shops and enough visitors to allow the traders to make a good living during the Summer season. There are several caravan parks on the outskirts of Dymchurch and it remains a popular place for families to bring children. Throughout August we have free childrens entertainment in the form of a Living History Workshop where  kids get to dress up as smugglers, make swords and go 'Treasure hunting' on the beach etc. Fishing boats are towed down to the beach via the central slipway on the incoming tide and return later in the day when the tide turns. The beach is the big draw, miles of soft sand and on a good day the water is full of children swimming and playing.

This August Bank Holiday is the traditional Dymchurch 'Day of Syn' named after the Dr. Syn series of smuggling stories written by Russell Thorndike. It's a weekend of free entertainment including re enactment on the beach, live music and many villagers enjoy dressing up as smugglers. It's advertised as a weekend of 'Smuggling, Wenching & Drinking' and the atmosphere is always great. The preserved Martello tower will be open to visitors and offers a lovely view from the gun platform on the top. It's a very busy weekend and you really have to arrive early to have a chance of getting parked!

Back to Wargaming!
I have painted a few more British redcoats and general Wolfe, all by Front Rank. I have another 30 figures coming back from John the painter, including 10 more British regulars. These, with the additional 4 I have just finished will make up five companies of eight figures including the Grenadier company, leaving just the light company to paint. I'm onto the two artillery pieces for the crews that John has also painted for me (see pics), then I have two mounted generals to do.

Artillery crews and  all figures below by John at 'Kingscolours' Front Rank 28mm.

Rogers Rangers.
Canadian Militia.
More 'Hatmen'
A few bare/bandaged heads for contrast.

I'm also still beavering away at the 15mm tanks for Flames of War, need to finish the basing and decals. There are also a number of T34's unpainted so I'll get them done and add the wonderful tank riders to finish them. I hope next weekend to have a run through of Sharpe Practice.

A few general pictures of what I'm up to at present.

3 platoons of T34's an inspiring sight for any tank enthusiast.

Friday, 12 August 2016

British Grenadiers!

There can be few uniforms as iconic as that of the 18th Century British Grenadier with the tall mitre caps. I recall as a young man visiting Greenwich Maritime Museum, with it's 'Quebec' display (General Wolfe lived in a house within the grounds of Greenwich Park unless my memory let's me down!), and seeing examples of the elaborately embroidered mitres. I'm certain it was one of the big influences that got me into wargaming at that time.

These 8 figures took an awful lot of painting, but I enjoyed doing them. I might still go back and line the cuffs between the buff and the white 'lace' to help it stand out more, and try to tidy up the 'GR' on the mitres. I used a fine brush but wonder if a fine liner pen would give a neater result. I also painted an additional officer alongside them. All are by Front Rank and intended for Sharpe Practice FIW. Just two more 'companies' to complete the battalion of 48 figures. In SP British Regulars are fielded in groups of 8 soldiers.

Next will be 2 field guns (Front Rank), for the artillery crews John is currently painting for me, and then 2 mounted generals (FR). My plan is that John will finish off the rest of the SP figures, I have more due back early next week and end of August John is going to paint a box of Warlord French line plus an additional infantry pack making 3 companies of line to add to the 2 I have painted myself, plus the Last of The Mohicans personalty set. At that point I might well say the project is about done, bearing in mind SP is a 'large skirmish' game. I still have some 20mm plastic priests to paint for CK before I move onto anything else.

I also picked up another squad of Germans for BA via eBay, from John at Kingscolours, just could not resist them! These represent a Waffen SS squad, but I'll put that from my mind, I just liked the painting of the cammo smocks and the MG 42 being fired over the loaders shoulder.

With templates being introduced for HE shots in BA v2 it will become necessary to maintain the maximum permitted 1" spacing between troops, so I just spaced the squad out to see how it looks, not much I can about the LMG - or come to that all of my US, German and Soviet teams which are based on 30mm bases with figures huddled together around the weapon - but I have no intention of rebasing anything, I'll just have to take the hit!

Got the paint for the hobby room, went for a nice flat green, I'll get that done possibly Sunday then I need to move onto the hall and stairs to freshen things up.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Yet more terrain!

The TSS 'Space Saver. boards arrived today, along with the rural road sections and the resin river bridge from Small Terrain Miniature Scenery. I wasted no time in placing the boards on my table to bring it up to a full 6 x 4 wargame table. I'm happy to say that even in the small spare 'box room' there is ample space to move around the table. The room has been cleared of any unwanted stuff - it had been an art room for many years as our girls grew up, and then became a sort of storage room - and is ready for it's coat of paint. I'll just need to move the boards out into the hall while I redecorate, but it's a much  easier task than it would have been. I laid out some of the new  for a couple of photos, but it will need to go back into boxes, everything now stores beneath the table in units for which I bought loads of file boxes that are in the process of being labelled up. I would say that this is something I have wanted for many years, a dedicated wargame room where I can leave games set up with everything neat and tidy - I'm a tidy person.

I'm about done now with 28mm terrain, the rural roads are good for 15mm FoW games too as are the narrower river sections so it gives me flexibilty. I have loads of trees in both scales, the hedge sections make great 'bocage' in 15mm scale and standard hedges in Bolt Action. I only ever intend to fight tank battles with lots of tank models in 15mm.

More French and Indian War figures have gone off to John from Kingscolours, another 10 British Regulars, 7 Rogers Rangers, 6 Canadian Militia plus a French and British artillery crew each of 4 figures. All are front Rank. Intention is to bring the British regulars up to six companies each of 8 figures including a light company and Grenadier company, I'm slowly working on the later now. I'm keeping all the facings the same buff colour so they represent a regiment on the table of 48 figures! In Sharpe Practice these groups can operate individually or collectively, seems daft to have loads of different facings.

Here's the newly organised room with the 6 x 4 table up and a couple of shots of the shelves etc. I'm very gradually getting there.

The new 2 x 2 'Space Saver' terrain boards from TSS. These are just 20mm thick and much tougher than polystyrene.
A fast growing collection thanks to John from KingsColours.

Trees and hedges by Simon at S&A Scenics.

Resin cast bridge over river by Small Terrain Miniature Scenery as are roads and rivers.

And here is my new 'snug' painting desk downstairs in the lounge, much more sociable and comfortable. Researching British Grenadier caps for the figures I'm painting. I still use my trusty 30watt CFL 'daylight' bulb in a desk lamp for painting is it gives a really crisp clean light.