Thursday, January 28, 2016

WW2 8th Army Desert Brits

Well the last of my blizzard building and painting blitz!  These are 8th Army British "Desert Rats" in 15mm.  All are Command Decision minis although some (leadership in particular) are NW Europe British, as opposed to Desert Rats.  Still though, you get the idea.  they couldn't ALL have worn shorts...could they?

Anyways, first platoon just needs flocking and to be sealed.  Second platoon still needs their black ink wash, and flock and sealant, but otherwise I'm happy with them.  Just need to get their tank support and trucks done and I'll have a proper force!

The first platoon has their ink wash.  The second platoon still does not.

non-inked guys.  

inked guys

Non inked but still looking cool.

So here are 2 full platoons, or companies if I'm playing at a bigger scale or different rules.  I'd like to have each of these represent a single squad but they can really represent anything I want them to.  Still need some heavy weapons and command elements on the table, but otherwise the Desert Rats are coming along nicely!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Multi Cam 15mm Proof of Concept

So 2015 was a good year for figuring out how to make some camouflage patterns.  I got down my M81 woodland camo style in 15mm, which will serve me well for all this Cold War stuff going on at the moment.  I also figured out my SS camouflage finally, so my 12th SS HJ guys going up against David's excellent 15mm Canadians will at least look respectable, even as they go down in flames!

Some of my biggest challenges ahead will be the current day modern stuff - ACU and Multi Cam.  (UCP).  While I've got all the colors for each, coming up with a respectable pattern for Multi Cam on a 15mm trooper is not easy, IMHO.

Sound off in the comments and let me know your thoughts.  Colors you liked best?  What should I try?  Bear in mind, I've seen many of the guides out there on the internet for doing these in 28mm and they're great.  But not sure how well they work for 15mm?

Some basic data:
Base color:  GW Deathworld Forest
Swathes: VJ Earth VJ Germ Camo Dk Green
Blobs: Black
Squiggles: vary.  see below.

Also these guys aren't anywhere near done.  I just painted their pants and the riflestocks.

White dots

khaki dots

very light green dots
So what do you guys think?  How does the pattern look?  I'm not happy entirely with it - I feel it could use more brown, or even a brown base like my M81 woodland.  I may give that a try next.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blizzard Building Blitz! Houses, Troops, Tanks!

Well with our record breaking snows here in the Northeast US some of us weren't going anywhere this past weekend, unless our jobs took us there.  My long weekend just happened to fall on this one and since work never called me in, I decided to get some "stuff" done in between bouts of shoveling our driveway out!

That stuff includes finally assembling 2 of my larger 4Ground 15mm buildings, painting some miniatures including some "proof of concept" figs testing out 15mm multi cam camouflage, and putting some 8th Army British desert rat units together, and also assembling some of my Battlefront "Potecknov's Bears"!! The multi-cam test shots and the 8th Army Brits I'll cover in later posts...

4Ground Minis 15mm Townhouses or Shops or whatever.  They look good for a rustic, West European village.

4Ground minis shop.  15mm Soviet Naval Infantry for scale, escaping out the back door after rummaging through the kitchen.  More on him later.

Still have some more buildings to assemble but all in all the village is starting to take shape.

Soviets pouring over the inner German border!
 Okay more on the Soviet Naval figure.  So part of my huge Ponyri project was somehow modeling WW2 Soviet paratroopers.  While they look pretty much like other Soviet soldiers, I still wanted to give them a more distinguished look (even though they didn't get the beret for awhile) so I'm using these Command Decision Soviet Naval Infantry troops for WW2 Soviet airborne, giving them their distinctive blue beret.  Hence the khaki uniform.  I know, I know, heresy, but I don't care!!

My plan is to base a Company, or 12 stands, of these guys for use in Crossfire games or something else, including my Ponyri Station project, where Soviet paras reinforce the defenders in the town at some point in the battle.  In that game, each stand would be a platoon, but I'm ok with that.

 And moving on.  I had found this guy who was supposed to be a British AWI trooper but instead I gave him a brown jacket and cotton pants and am using him as a state line troop who will be individually based, along with a company more of them for "This Very Ground" skirmish games.  There were some nasty AWI fights along the PA/NY border between the loyalists and patriot militia units so I thought it might be fun to have a go at some woodland AWI action this year some time.

I think the blue turnbacks and facings on the brown coat look cool.  Not sure how accurate they are for Pennsylvania militia but they look good anyways.

Now the moment you've all been waiting for - the first platoon assembled of "Potecknov's Bears" who actually look pretty sweet!  These are really amazing models here!

Probably about 10 minutes to assemble each tank.  Not bad at all.  The pieces fit together perfectly, not like those shermans from the Open Fire box!!!!!

TC in the commander's hatch.  

Still need their ditch bar, IR searchlights, fuel barrels, and a few other odds and sods.

The wife's cutting board!  Don't tell her!

  Okay that's all for now.  Still have the Multi Cam proofs and the 8th Army Desert rats to showcase in a few upcoming posts.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 Progress January: AWI, WW2, Cold War

So far this hasn't been a bad year for progress (21 days into it).  Even though the tempo of the year starting off has been maddening, I've still been finding the time (miraculously) to slap some paint on figures from time to time.

Right now I'm trying to clear off the multitude of leftover projects from last year and progress is being made!

I finally finished the remainder of Light Bobs for my "Hubbardton Project" and this will allow me to field a proper Battalion of AWI Lights for use in a Hubbardton Black Powder game, or just about any other AWI game I want.  Ok ok no flock yet but it's coming!  These figs are 15mm Musket Miniatures (the casualty figures are as well).
Consolidated Light Battalion for Black Powder - the Hubbardton Project

Older Painted

Newly Painted
 I also had some leftovers so I individually based them for some AWI Skirmishing using Iron IVan's "This Very Ground" rules but set in the AWI instead of the FIW.

AWI Casualties

AWI Casualties #2

6 British and 3 Continental/French/Prussian/etc Casualties for Black Powder

Unfinished generic blue coated horse and musket casualty stands.  All will have red facings

 Some World War II Progress although they haven't been finished or flocked yet.  2 Soviet Weapons Stands.  Plastic Soldier Company 15mm

Picture is worth a thousand words.
 And finally my Modern 15mm Cold War stuff.  Here is a US Company Team with all the M113s washed just waiting for their detailing and drybrush and sealant.  2 M1s are nearly done also waiting to be dry brushed.  2 "johnny lightning" M1s need finished.

I also have a huge pile of assorted kit to affix to the models to give them that real "US Forces" look to them.  I never saw a vehicle going into combat that wasn't loaded with gear.  My vehicles should capture that look somewhat I think.  GIs take everything but the kitchen sink with them wherever they go.

I never saw my own soldiers so happy as when our Fire Direction Center (M577/M1068) showed up in Kuwait before we all crossed the berm in 2003.  "are you guys happy that you can train now?" I asked them "Hell no, sir. the microwave and coffee pot are in the track!"

So there you have it.  War is hell...

Note all those spare bits in the lower left.  MERDC Madness this past month. Still have the ITV section showing up next.  Since I am using a slick M113 as the FIST track, I'll probably use both platforms as an ITV.  I wonder if I can "kit bash" a spare Battlefront M113 to use as the Vulcan ADA system???  Hmmmm....

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Neil Thomas "W:AI" Modern Tank Fight!

First Battle of 2016!

The Cold War continues to heat up in the blogosphere and here on my blog as my early 80s US troops take on hardcore Soviet Guards in a small dust-up using the Modern Warfare variant (found on the AMW Yahoo Group) of Neil Thomas' excellent World War II Rules from his "Wargaming: An Introduction" book.

The mission for the US troops was to hold this village as part of the Main Line of Resistance (MLR).  The Soviet forces, more of an advanced reconnaissance detachment, were to make contact, bypass through and exit off the board, trying to generally avoid a fight.

Soviet Infantry and armor think they've located the Americans...

3 potential Artillery targets which I rolled for.  The village got the lucky number and was plastered with 122mm SPA.  The team in the building gets nailed and everyone else maintains their saves.

 US Forces in the tree lines radio in that they hear armored vehicles to their front but cannot identify yet.  The Company Commander radios back: THIS IS SIX, ROGER, IVAN'S GOING TO BE SHOOTING THROUGH THIS AREA SOON.  KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED SIX OUT.

Accordingly, an M1 with a 105mm gun zooms past the gasthaus and over to the team's left flank.

The M106 in the town thumps out a quick fire mission that is actually able to KO one of the BMPs advancing and forces Ivan to dismount and proceed on foot!

 I'm not sure if the heavy mortars have a chance at killing a BMP2 but this was not covered in the modern variant to the rules.  I tried it out anyways, allowing an unmodified roll on the armor engagement table on a "6".

The T-80s spot an Abrams emerging from the treeline!
 The gunnery of my M1s was atrocious this game and I think some serious time at the range is required to correct by the way, with only 2 shots the entire game hitting home at all.  To make matters worse, these are the 105mm armed M1s who had a tough time with the Soviet T80s.  Smarter call would have been to break contact and try for a flank shot.

The US tank commander spots T80s advancing at his front!

My MERDC M1s unveiled!  Still dont have their full paint but I really wanted to get a game in with them on the table.

 Meanwhile the Soviets reach the US flank and dismount their infantry to try and push through the woods to their front.  That armor has to get around the town!  Meanwhile, US mortars damage a T80 and get a mobility kill!

Ivan closes the distance with the M1s and continues to trade shots.  

Kill!  Good rolling by the Soviets gets a US M1 knocked out and the US commander starts chewing his nails.
 At this point I also grossly underestimated the ratings for HE fire.  The BMP2 got a whopping 12 HE score and thus 12D6 to fire at teh US infantry in cover.  This pretty much KO'd a fireteam and forced a morale check the next turn.

The Soviet infantry, really only here for mopping up, moved in for the kill afterwards but this game in the modern era is all about managing your platforms and using your infantry wisely - because there's alot out there that will kill them.

US Squad facing off against Ivan.  That BMP would tear this US squad to ribbons.

These brave soldiers would learn the value of cover the hard way...

US mobility kill.  This M1 is now a pillbox!

cool pic from the Soviet side

 Even amidst the screaming for more mortars on the net, the Mortar section chief has to go through his safety procedures.  The tubes are red hot and they can't shoot anymore this round (or..I rolled a "1" on the mortar table and got "0" shots this turn).

Tubes are silent this turn.

Soviet infantry close assault a US fireteam and again due to crappy rolling, KO them.  The US team actually had an excellent chance of hanging in there for the combat but they rolled a "1" and ivan rolled a "6". 

T80s bypass the US positions and race for the rear.  A few errant Dragon shots miss as the Soviet infantry mounts up and prepares for mopping up operations.

The winner / loser concept in the NT book is good for people new to wargaming but probably needs a little refinement when it comes to people wanting to game some more realistic engagements.  I was scratching my head trying to figure out "who won" here and I guess you have to apply the tenets of the mission in order to figure that out.  The Soviet forces were able to bypass with a single tank platoon at 2/3 strength and the US forces did hold the village.  So.... a draw?

By the way, you can read my write up of the World War II rules in an epic World War II fight I had here.

Anyways here are some tactical tips for you if you're inclined to go in, register for this group, and download these modern era rules:

Keep your tanks the hell away from enemy infantry!  A good rule that many rules sets fail to capture.  Neil Thomas' rules allow an enemy infantry unit to close assault a tank with fairly good chances of knocking it out.

ATGW are nasty.  The infantry have missiles now and can reach out to 50cms.  Also the modern variant rates your missiles as a "Super Heavy" gun so on par with a 120mm or 125mm gun.  Not sure I agree with that but I played the rules as-is....for now.

Use your vehicle mounted MGs to attack infantry.  The M113s in this game were able to reach out and kill troops that the small arms had a hard time getting to.  It is nice to play a game where your vehicle mounted MG can play, too.  That's a combat resource that, in real life, you can ill afford to neglect.

Mortars are awesome.  Enough said.

Artillery is awesome.  Enough said.

Even with advanced stabilization, your tanks have a much better chance of getting a kill when they're still.  For now.

Try to attack infantry with mortars, artillery, and MG fire as much as you can to force a morale check.  If he rolls poorly, you knock out an infantry unit for the next 2 turns while they recover morale.  In the modern era, this is good news because of ATGM fire.  Tactically, it also makes by-passing completely do-able now.  Something that you have a hard time managing in other rules.

So bravo if you made it this far.  In these Neil Thomas rules, you actually have a viable method for accomplishing real tactical tasks that occur on a modern battlefield: suppression, by-passing and isolating, combined arms opportunities, and most importantly, infantry have their teeth back.

Anyone who has followed my blog for any amount of time knows that I really enjoy the Neil Thomas rules and this fan-produced modern variant is no exception.