Monday, 13 November 2017

Downsizing, and revisiting an old idea!

As previously mentioned there have been ongoing domestic manoeuvres that have had a knock on effect upon my hobby time and space. It's just temporary until the New Year, but I have been looking back through my blog at early efforts in smaller scales and on smaller tables in order to get back to some kind of wargaming again.

Looking back, I used to enjoy playing Memoir '44 scenarios using 15mm model tanks and figures rather than those supplied with the game. A few years ago I invested in the base game, the terrain pack and the 'Breakthrough' boards, and together they offered endless scenarios and set ups in beach landing, grass, desert and winter theatres. The two Breakthrough boards are deeper than the standard board at 17 hexes deep x 13 wide, printed double sided and supplied with suitable Breakthrough scenarios. The game could be set up quickly, played to a conclusion in reasonable time and then quickly packed away again, that appealed to me then and still does. I simply replaced the supplied plastic figures - 4 to a hex- with a base of 15mm figures and marked off losses with a micro dice on the base. Tanks were a single model rather than the 3 small ones supplied, and again a micro dice recorded hits until such time as the tank was destroyed. I enjoyed myself, and began to slightly expand the rules to introduce HMG bases, anti tank teams, mortar teams etc, but still retaining the simple play of the game. I allowed each side to make two attempts at an Air Strike during the game, which were rolled for, and introduced slightly improved armour rules where a heavy tank hitting a medium tank got to re roll to see if it immediately exploded (as per the  FoW Firepower check). Infantry could only damage tanks if in adjacent hex and designated as having anti tank weapons and indirect firing weapons required a spotting team with line of sight to the target. All very simple and in the spirit of the Memoir 44 rules, but adding a little more variation.

As it was long enough ago to be lost in the mist of past blog posts I thought I would add a few images of some of those games here because with a bit of free time due tomorrow I'm going to have another crack at a scenario.

Memoir 44' boardgame played with 15mm miniatures - April 2015.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Chariots, more Travel Battle French and Typhoons!

A month has passed since I last updated this blog, must be a record! I have been busy on the domestic front and my head has been in a bit of a spin so it's been difficult to find the quiet painting time I enjoy. For reasons I won't go into here our middle daughter and partner have had to move back in with us until the New Year so the house is upside down and as we're in the process of selling up the situation is far from ideal and if I'm honest it's all getting me down a bit. I look forward to more settled times ahead, family is family and you do what what you can for them of course, but it's not always easy, and given that I'll be 60 in January I guess I have turned into something of a grumpy old man!

On with the hobby related stuff, starting with a few pics of the two painted chariots and the first eight 'new' Roman codes. I'm far happier with the latter Legionary codes, they don't have heads the size of giant pumpkins and the shields have a better curve to them and take the transfers  better. The pilums are separately cast and must be glued into the hand but look good.To be honest I have lost interest in the Ancients so will put them aside until enthusiasm returns.

I also painted several more bases of the French infantry from the Travel Battle set, this time trying to give them a more 'campaign dress' look. I don't think they turned out at all bad? I still have a few more bases to do yet, plus more French cavalry. I'm trying to figure out how best to trim down the helmet plumes to create Dragoons, I do have an idea but more in due course.

Flames of War.
I'm still plugging away at FOW and currently have 4 Battlefront US M3 half tracks on the painting table as transports for my infantry and airborne platoons.

I bought a few Tiger 1 E's via eBay, but they turned out to be not such a bargain as I had thought, two of the Tigers were very badly built with the wheels right on the edges of the wide tracks and there was nothing I could do to rescue them so they went in the bin! Two more were better, but had the 'desert' exhaust pipes on the rear deck so not really suitable for Normandy, at least as far as know? The final Tiger however is the Battlefront Wittmann Tiger 007, a hefty resin and metal model, and it has been built with driver and bow gunners hatches open and heads visible, Wittmann also has his head out of the turret, it's a lovely model and came with the staff car and figures. A quick retouching of the cammo pattern and it was ready for action. I still have a couple more plastic Battlefront Tiger kits to build and three Forged in Battle Tigers already in the collection.... needless to say I'm a big fan of the Tiger 1E.

Micheal Wittmann was killed on 8th August 1944 when a shot penetrated the engine compartment of Tiger 007 causing a catastrophic explosion that blew the turret off. The shot was attributed to Gunner Joe Ekins of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry fired from his Sherman Firefly, but recent research has questioned this and attributed the fatal shot to the   Canadian  Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment who were much closer to the target. Whatever the case, most certainly Gunner Ekins bagged at least a couple of Tigers on that day.

The Wittmann Tiger 007 - still in need of a little re touching to crew figures etc.
Wittmann standing in the turret of Tiger 205, 7th June 1944.

Note the desert exhaust pipes on the rear deck of these two models.

I noted the full flight of 3 Typhoon aircraft over on the Mad Tin Hatter blog recently and immediately thought I must do the same! My Flames of War collection is of course Normandy themed, and version 4 rules now features the ability to field actual number of model aircraft in the flight rather than a single model with a flight dice. The Typhoon model in particular is now extremely hard to find on eBay, so when I spotted this box set on auction I was prepared to bid high to obtain it and won it. Still awaiting a paint job, I will use the Typhoon I already have as a guide and then probably put it up for auction as I wont need four of them!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Warband based.

Since my last post I have painted the last two figures for my Warband elements plus four slingers. I have two chariots undercoated ready to start, fine little models one featuring a lovely animated figure of Boudica as we must call her now days, (I grew up knowing her as Boadicea from the statue on the London Embankment). Hinchliffe lists the chariots as EG 46 & EG 47, both feature different designs on the wicker side rails. I will need to add one more to make up the listed three chariot elements.

If I have one slight issue it's that the wire javelins keep falling off if I so much as touch them! I used 'Ultraloc' superglue, it may be that it's not the most efficient product, but Super it isn't! I have to re glue a few of them, which makes a mess of the hands requiring touching up, a bit of a pain in the proverbial.

I often watch/listen to related YouTube videos when painting, mostly documentaries, but found this clip from 'The Eagle' extremely watchable. The film as a whole is not great in my opinion, but this battle scene does represent the wild barbarian charge very well I think, and demonstrates the iron discipline of the Roman soldier, stabbing out from behind the large shield with the Gladius. Worth a quick watch for it's entertainment value.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Back on the Woad again!

Having put the Romans aside for a while following my disappointment at the scale discrepancy (I have ditched AR1, AR2, and AR3 as being too small and replaced with other codes), I decided to have a go at a few more Britons, and having painted the first 16 figures thought a touch of woad on the bare chested chaps was in order. I selected Vallejo Blue Green and set about painting various swirls and squiggles. It was fun and freehand and produced an overall pleasing effect. These 16 figures will make up the first 'Warband' bases under DBA rules, I have more underway, plus 2 bases of slingers classified as 'Psiloi' or dispersed skirmishers, just 2 figures per base. The Ancient British force once completed will consist of the standard 12 elements per army (initially at least!) as follows:

*6 elements of Warbands: each of 3 warriors. These relied upon a single ferocious wild charge rather than a cohesive attack, they COULD break a Roman line, but only if successful in that initial charge.

3 elements of Chariots: These are small fast 2 horse chariots with scythed wheels. In addition to the driver there is also a javelin armed warrior.

2 elements of Light Horse: Mounted skirmishing cavalry.

*1 element of Psiloi: Skirmishing light infantry, in this case armed with slings.

*There is the option of swapping 1 element of Warband infantry for an additional Psiloi element.

Clearly these are going to be small forces, but deliver the kind of small space game I enjoy with lots of tactical challenges. I'm going to do the chariots next, although I need to order one more, then I'll do the Roman infantry.

Travel Battle will be finished shortly, not neglecting it, just ringing the changes :)

Monday, 18 September 2017

'Travel Battle' terrain boards progress.

A quick pictorial update now that I have finally started painting the four 10" square boards from my two sets of Travel Battle. They are not yet finished, more dappling and dry-brushing is needed to complete the look, and I have another six houses to paint, plus two more French figure sprues. As the British army is now done I thought I would lay them all out on the painted boards, and I must say I'm rather pleased at the overall results so far. I will do a run through of the rules once all is completed.

It all fits back into one TB box nicely so it is a real portable game and can be played on a coffee table.

4 Travel boards giving a playing area of just 20" x 20", do I need to just add 2 more?

The British Left flank.

The British right flank.

The flags denote Guard battalions, who get to re roll in combat.

Steady Boys!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Travel Battle - painting the British.

I felt the urge for a bit of a change recently, the Ancients project being stalled somewhat by the scale issue referred to in my last post here. Most of my hobby time has been spent on the ECW's, but I was in the mood for touch of smaller scale painting the other day so got a couple of the TB sprues out I undercoated several months ago. Some may recall that like many others I purchased two sets of the Perry 'Wargame in a box' game and so far have completed the contents of one box, two blue sprues and two red sprues, and have just started a test paint on one terrain square.

I was concerned that my eyesight may not be up to such tiny figures these days, but once focused I found it a pleasure to be picking out the shades again. For the British infantry I started with Valljo Flat Red over black primer as it's a thick paint and covers very well. I used a blue grey for the trousers, again dotting and lining, being careful to leave a black line down the centre. I managed to dot in facings too, the final bit being to carefully paint in the white cross straps. This can be tricky, you want a white that flows well off the brush, but you also want a white that is strong and requires just the one stroke. I went with Vallejo Foundation White after some experimentation, again it's a thick paint that covers well, it's flow properties are not as good as standard Vallejo white, but by picking up the paint on just the very tip of a fine brush it gives a good clean white line. Bit of patience and they turned out rather well, if I say so myself! OK, so such fine detail in such a small scale might seem overkill and unnecessary, but I enjoy the challenge and I like the result.

Cavalry were painted as Household cavalry and generic Hussars, a couple of mounted offices and artillery pieces completed the sprues.

So that's half the French and half the British done so far. I then have the buildings to do before the 4 boards. As Perry are now selling the components individually I may add a couple more sprues to try some conversions (Imperial Guard, Highlanders etc ...... seen it done!), and possibly two more boards which would give a nice 'coffee table' sized game 30" x 20" perfect for when the Son In Laws come round.