Thursday, 30 June 2016

Back to terrain.

As I'm now all painted out on the Bolt Action front I have turned my attention to working on terrain times before I get the table back up for another game. The grass mat had been bothering me for some time as the plastic bases and tank tracks etc keep snagging on the material when trying to move them so it had to go. I decided to go with plain green but adding texture in the form of fine Chinchilla bathing sand to create a more realistic look without overdoing it in order that I can still lay out my road and river sections etc, once I had achieved the texture I wanted I threw a mix of flock and Noch leaf over it and allowed to dry. The result you can see below, I'm happy with it, and as a bonus I also get that satisfying dice roll sound when rolling on it!

I have also done a bit of work on my MDF buildings, getting the first three quickly painted up before adding a few extra details such as wall posters and ivy growing up the sides ( a quick stroke of PVA followed by Noch leaf is ideal for this). As I still have another five assembled but unpainted I did not want to spend too much time on them, but visually they look better to me now.

I hope to lay out a simple rural setting for another solo game before I offer it out to opponents, my river sections have not been of the box since they arrived so I'll get them on the table for this game. Bolt Action does not work well as a solo game for obvious reasons, and while the dice activation system was the thing that got me into it, playing both sides is a little awkward as I always know what my 'opponent' has in mind for his next activation. Also, while small games with 8 to 10 dice per side in the bag is just about workable solo, larger games of say 12 or more dice in the bag per side can get bogged down and the turns take ages to get through, especially where you have tows and transports which all get an order dice in the bag in addition to the troops they might me carrying. So I'm going to play the infantry based core game solo, perhaps with howitzers and a single armour choice per side.

On the subject of BA rules in general, I keep a regular eye on the latest posts in the 'Rules Questions' section of the Warlord BA forum. One thing that has come up is the fact that a German half track for example must be carrying troops in order to fire it's MG, once dismounted it can't be fired by it's crew members, which seems to me a bit off to me and others judging from the thread. I have been using it to support the dismounted infantry as surely it would have been, and this makes more sense to me than the suggestion of 'sticking a cheap team in there, such a medic to fire the MG's'. There are some odd rules in BA, most have developed out of the core rule book, and been superseded by Special Rules and the Q&A Errata, which leads to confusion and is the kind of thing that puts me off a set of rules. Another one that troubles me is LoS through/into woods, apparently woods do not block LoS which to me is patently ridiculous, I'm still following that one to see how it resolves, but that must be wrong surely! Still it's a lively forum and I have learned a lot from it so far, especially around shooting into buildings and the use of High Explosive shots to hit troops inside them so this test game will include these features, and I think I now have my head around the rules relating to fighting inside buildings and assaults up and down between floors so I'll give it a go.

Finally for now, the Sturmovik has made it's test flight up on the flight stand and completes my Soviet force.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Bolt Action German army finished!

I need only finish the basing of the High Command group and the Germans are done. I'll let the images do the talking, but basically it represents a BA 'Reinforced infantry platoon' of six 10 man Grenadier squads plus a Hitler Youth tank hunting squad & Volksturm squad which allows for a varied late war force to be selected according to points value. IN addition the support weapons include 2 deployed MG42 MMG teams, a sniper team, medium mortar team and Panzerschreck anti tank team. The HQ teams include a medic and assistant, observers & of course officer and support.

Transport in the form of half tracks is available for 3 infantry squads, each can carry a full squad into battle, and in addition there is another half track provided to tow the light howitzer onto the table.

There is a choice of armour support, the Tiger being of course my favourite, armed with the deadly 88mm gun it's capable of penetrating any other tank in my collection, but is a fuel guzzler so the risk of running out is a risk you take in fielding it. The foliage can be transferred onto the StuG or Hetzer as required. The armoured car is the German recce vehicle, and the Blitz truck provides anti aircraft fire with it's 20mm flak. Finally the High Command base with it's propaganda camerman filming the Generals as they gather around a map is just a little extra touch, but I'm sure it will look pretty on the table if nothing else!

Everything is genuine Warlord products with the exception of just a few foot figures which I got via ebay as they looked like a good match. It's cost me a small fortune to put together, some individual Warlord characters coming in at a princely £2.50 per figure, for example the camerman, but I have to say I'm immensely proud of the collection.

The Russians and Americans are also now fully finished, I'll get the Russians together next for a group picture, I just finished the Airfix Sturmovik and it's a very impressive looking model size wise.

Next stage is back to terrain while I work on the 15mm stuff. I'm going to completely texture the baseboards this week as the grass mat is snagging on the bases and tracks so it's back to filler and sand followed by flock or static grass to match the bases.

Hope you enjoy the pictures, Russians up next week and then it's time for some games.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Tanks and lot's of them!

I thought I would do a quick photo update to show progress of the Flames of War armour collection. I undercoated a large number of models this morning in the shed at the end of the garden where I do my spraying, and once dry laid them all out for a count up and to see how things look so far. Still a lot of painting to do, especially on the Germans and I might just add a final platoon of 4 Panthers to round them off. The US tanks are about done as they all arrived ready painted, and the Soviets have now been brought up to 3 platoons of six tanks each and just need the 2 command tanks to finish them. With 4 T34/76's and two T34/85's per platoon they should be a force to be reckoned with. I'm basing them around a Soviet regular Tankovy from the FoW 'Hammer and Sickle' lists and equates to about 1000 points. With 40 plus tanks on the table at a time games should be pretty lively and hopefully quite impressive visually.

A few pictures for those who like pushing model tanks around the tabletop as I do! Battlefront, Plastic Soldier Company and Forged in Battle models, all scale up very well together.

A second Sherman platoon sent to me by James, thanks mate.

Forged in Battle Pz IV and VI, the Tigers are really nice models.

T34, Plastic Soldier Company.
StuG awaiting cammo.

Think the StuG's are by Battlefront.
And finally, in 28mm I made a flag for the Soviets.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Blogger problem!

Not sure why but in trying to make a small change to my layout I seem to have lost both my header and a side gadget blog list! It's there in 'layout' mode but does not appear when I click 'save changes'. I'm sure I'll get it sorted, but meantime please bear with me.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Completing the Bolt Action Soviets.

With both the US and German Bolt Armies completed now save for the odd character figure I'm very close to finishing the Soviet force too.

I have now painted the BA 6 armoured car, a fine little resin and metal kit that went together very well. A quick paint job, using a predominantly dry brush to begin with, followed by a highlight and weathering, and the model is ready for battle. It's my recce vehicle, and armed with it's 45mm anti tank gun and two machine guns it should be able to look after itself in this role. IN Bolt Action, recce vehicles always have the option to scarper by using it's special recce move to escape danger, and with a top speed of 40mph, it can certainly get around. Interestingly this vehicle could be fitted with tracks around the rear wheels when conditions demanded it so it's a versatile addition.

Also now based is the anti tank dog team, not something I'm keen on, but it's only Bolt Action after all! The Zis 3 artillery piece is also a versatile piece as it can function as both anti tank gun over open sights OR as a light howitzer to drop indirect HE shells when required to do so against troops in buildings or concealed, subject to LoS via a spotter. You have to think carefully though about where you site your observers as they are always a target for snipers. The final piece will be a GAZ truck, to tow the gun onto the table of course, and that's on it's way from Warlord. I'll get the Sturmovik done next, and that's the lot for the forseeable future.

Spotters/observers & flag bearer awaiting a flag.

The 15mm tank collection will stop at about 60 models, all of which I now have, as my intention is only to indulge myself in tank on tank battles in this scale as an alternative to the infantry platoon based BA games. I still need to do a bit more work yet, especially on the German side, but the US and Russians are mostly done and based now. I'm really impressed with the Forged in Battle models as they require so little assembly and are cast on bases, I'll get some photos up here once I get some paint on them.

Pz IV platoon & Tigers awaiting the paintshop.
That's it for now, I hope to have pictures of the entire Russian force by the weekend once the truck and aircraft are finished. Busy times at home and I have been painting and decorating around the place as well as clearing out the garage and garden shed, the football has also been something of a distraction!