Sunday, October 21, 2012

Progress...Or Lack Thereof!

Well this weekend didn't go off quite as planned - and all I have to show for it are some poorly painted Napoleonic troops, and a bunch of "almost started" games of "A Fistful of TOWS III" in World War II.

The plan was this: Friday would kick off "Rules-A-Palooza" here at the house.  I was to play numerous battles, all with the same force, same scenario, and same support teams, however all with different rules sets.  THEN I was going to rate my favorite rules, submit to The Miniatures Page, and watch the comment traffic pour in.

I have now read and practiced enough of FFT3 that I "think" I can handle a game...  Hopefully my reading comprehension is still there because the rules book is over 400 pages long.  Seriously.  Granted, much of it are the authors' analysis, methodology, and of course, the exquisite data tables - but you need a weekend to learn all of the subtle concepts in the "commercially available" rules such as special ammunition, special armor, and specialist unit capabilities.  Believe it or not, I am thinking I actually prefer the free "Introductory Rules" better.  Much simpler.

So when I wasn't depressing myself by thumbing through those rules, I was slapping paint on Napoleon's brother, the "king" of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte, or as I like to call him "Joe."

I was able to finish about 80% of my KGL Cavalry Brigade for Volley and Bayonet, as well as the beginning stages of a French Dragoon Brigade as well.  I finished my French Artillery crew, and mounted them on pennies with flock.

By the way - This is the perfect solution to the Volley and Bayonet 50% base size problem - Pennies.  They're a virtually inexaustable source of basing material, and are roughly the same approximation to the 50% reduced bases as the 1.5" are to the 3" stands!  So I'm using pennies for Division Commanders, Skirmish Units, and now, Artillery Crewmembers.  I'm thinking of using each crew-member as a strength point for Volley and Bayonet batteries and battalions.  Pretty neat huh?  Lose a strength point? Remove 1 crew member.  No paper.

Okay onto the excuses!  It seemed every time I sat down to fight my FFT3 engagement this weekend, something happened that interrupted me, or kept me from getting through a turn.  I attempted set up about 4 times, only to be stopped through but other, more important things.

So going to try this game sometime during the week and we'll see how it goes.  Next time you read a post, it should be a US Task Force slicing its way through a DAK Battalion somewhere in North Africa.

At least we got in the large, halloween Warmaster game though.  That's one engagement off the list!  Huzzah!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kiestermacher's Triumph: Warmaster 20mm Game AAR

My annual Halloween Warmaster game was played a little early this year.  To avenge the ruinous loss of Rattenkrieg's mighty army last year (see Rattenkrieg's Demise) the Empire dispatched Lord General Maybach Krupp von Kiestermacher to settle "the Orc question in the North" once and for all.

This host included large infantry and missile-troop brigades as well as a battery of cannon, and a squadron of heavily armored knights.

Meanwhile, the Orcs, having had plenty of time to prepare, built an artillery machine of their own, a rock lobber, as well as additional archer regiments, and a "volunteer" goblin regiment to bolster their forces.  There was even an "October surprise" in the Orc force...a gaggle of hideous and huge trolls.

With somewhat similar forces, the Empire men met the Orcs once again in rainy and soggy conditions on a moor north of middenheim.

Orcs set up first.  The opponents diced for sides...


facing down the orc horde

the great cannon

first blood..the Orc Rock lobber destroys the great cannon battery....

trolls in the background

the orc horde!!

eager orcs ready for battle

goblins manning the rock lobber...
So the battle starts out bad for Kiestermacher and the Empire.  The Orcs win initiative and manage to roll lucky and knock out the Great Cannon battery with some lucky shots and some volkswagon sized rocks.  Some of the crew are unfortunately pulped...

The orc horde surges forward.  I forgot about the rule (again!!!) where the General issues orders last.  Well needless to say the gobbos and missile troops on the Orc left flank do nothing.

The Empire plan is simple: Form a wall around the main Orc infantry and pummel them with incessant handgun and arrow fire while the infantry move in.  Meanwhile the Empire knights will attempt to flank the Orc main body and attack them.  The Empire needs every unit, bolt, and arrow it can get as there are hundreds of orcs in front of them.

It just wouldn't be orkish if we werent waving 'r clubsies...

Empire plan unfolding.  Knights on the orc left, infantry in the center and missile troops on the orc right.

Orcs take some casualties and are driven back by the storm of lead balls and arrows!
So my Empire troops are shooting much better than last year up to this point.  The Orc horde is driven back and loses actually a couple stands as their crude armor is no match for the bolts and hot lead....

The trolls meanwhile just continue to get angrier and angrier.  And the goblin and orc archers on the orc left still may not move...
Driven back, the orcs vow to return

The empire line extends up to the edge of the forest

attacking the trolls from behind!!!

finally the goblins and orc archers move forward..

The orcs boxed in...
So a small wildcard unfolded these next few turns.  The Trolls caught a glimpse of the empire knights and broke ranks to attack them.  I have never gamed WM with either Knights or Trolls, so this was a fitting engagement for both of them.
The trolls drove the knights back in a few rounds and lost a few of their own as well.  Eventually the knights couldn't hold on and evaporated.  This bought time for General Kiestermacher to send a regiment of swordsmen to attack the trolls from behind while they were eating the fresh horsemeat and picking the armor out of their teeth.

I was very surprised but the swordsmen cleaned up the trolls and slayed all of them, but not before they were up to their waists in goblins with orc arrows flying everywhere.  This heroic regiment was wiped out by arrow fire but will be remembered in Empire lore for decades to come as "trollslayers"

fierce combat!!!

final dispositions.  When the orc infantry retired, the archers bugged out.
So the Empire egged out a victory but just barely.  Had they had some more infantry on the table, it would have been a sure bet.  What a fun game though.  I am getting the hang of Warmaster and find it to be a very fun system and one that handles ancient styled combat very well.  No wonder WMA is so popular.


I must read last year's battle and see if I really did learn anything this time around.

PROTECT ARTILLERY:  If you can, set up your artillery cleverly so it is facing where you want it to face, but everyone on the battlefield can't see it.  If in doubt, put it behind another unit.  The Empire Artillery was wiped out before ever firing a shot.

CONSERVE STRENGTH:  I thought keeping infantry together in mutually supportive roles was helpful and productive.  The extra numbers you get from supporting stands are very helpful in determining the outcome of close combat.

USE MISSILE TROOPS EVERY TURN:  If you aren't shooting every turn, you're wrong.  The Orc Rock lobber was forgotten about after it crushed the Empire cannon crew, and never fired more than a few rocks the rest of the game...That being said, the Empire handgunners and Crossbowmen really knocked out a bunch of Orc stands over the game's course and were really the heroes of the game in my opinion.

MATCH STRENGTH WITH STRENGTH:  If I didn't have my knights to throw at the Trolls, I am not sure what would have happened.  The Trolls attack with 5 dice per stand, but the Knights save on a 4 or better so they were able to keep up.  I shudder to think of what would have happened if they would have spearheaded the Orc attack...which is a good segway into my next point:

USE YOUR TROLLS TO SPEARHEAD YOUR ORC ATTACKS: They discard odd hits during close combat and attack with 15 attack dice per unit.  They are juggernauts and nothing in the Empire arsenal save for a steam tank can come close.  (i refuse to build the steam tank or purchase one.  Orcs and trolls are about as fantasy as I'd like to get).

Final Thoughts:  Once again, a very fun game with a terrific way of handling combat.  I have actual Warmaster and Kallistra stands I'd like to one day paint up and game with, but to be honest I thnk the look of the 1:72 chaps is nice.  The trolls are D&D miniatures and they look nice on the tabletop as well and how about the PRICE of 1:72 plastics and D&D miniatures?  I can assemble very nice armies all for under 30 bucks a piece, which is hard to beat considering it would cost me 30 dollars jsut to build an Empire infantry brigade (4 units of 3 stands each).

So there was my Halloween battle.  If I'm up to it, I'll paint up some more Orc and Empire units and play another one.  Right now I have a unit of Chaos Infantry on the table for Warmaster 20mm which I think will look really awesome when I'm done with them.

Next up?  Play-testing "A Fistful of TOWS III" in 15mm....  Huzzah!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Matador. Not once, not twice, but thrice.

Wow what a surprise.  Today when I got home, I was surprised to find out that Michtoy finally released one of the Zvezda 1/100 Models I pre-ordered.  The famous workhorse - El Matador!  I heartily recommend pre-orders - especially with the .80cent per model discount.  I bought three of them and will hastily proceed with construction, painting, and fielding!

This only hastens my project timeline and I need to start my Commonwealth Desert troops, as well as my Northwest Europe troops.

Going to paint them in a dark green, with some black camo on them (unless some of my British, Aussie, or Kiwi friends object), I had planned on using the BAOR style of Dark Green with large black stripes, then finish off with a dusty dry brush.

That being said, were the Matadors in the desert painted tan?  Hmmm.  This baby needs to be versatile!  It will have to a proper color to drive in North Africa, Italy, and Normandy...Something to think about. Huzzah!
Nice box art.

Rear Side of the box.  What we've come to expect from Zvezda.
The Meat and Potatoes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

DAK Armor Battalion...FINALLY!

Well I have FINALLY finished the Afrika Korps Tank Battalion I've been striving for ever since this summer.  What a mess - but glad to report they're ready for action along side my DAK Infantry Battalion, which has everything it needs except the weapons company, AT section, and the last of the Engineers...  Cannot wait to get those buggers done - then it will be time for some North Africa action - Tunisian style.

I have a Sherman Battalion ready for dry-brushing and then we actually will be ready for a big showdown....

I plan on playing the same engagement using multiple rules-sets to include Blitzkrieg Commander, GHQ, Spearhead, as well as my own, home-grown rules I used in college, with some modifications.  Cannot wait to see how all of it goes.  I will report on each battle and determine what, if any, are the "best" rules sets.  In BKC terms, this unit is 655 points.

Anyways, here is the Battalion:  1 Command Group which serves as the CO and HQ for BKC, as well as the HQ for GHQ's rules.  Additionally, I have a "heavy" company of Panzer IV's, a Light Company of Panzer II's and a Medium Company of Panzer IIIs.
Battalion Commander

Battalion arrayed for Battle.  

This 223 will serve as an HQ for the Armor Battalion.  Or an FAO - whichever I need.

The heavy company.  A Panzer IV short for infantry, and a Panzer IV long barrel - the long barrel is a battlefront model.

my workhorse company.  4 Panzer IIIs.

4th Platoon!

Light Company Panzer II next to a Wargames Factory 15mm Plastic Trooper for scale...The WGF guys will be part of a new SS Unit I will be constructing for Market Garden!

Light Company.  These Panzer II's will make great vehicles for dashing end-runs around infantry positions, or fodder to draw fire so my longer gunned Panzer IIIs can advance unharmed!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1/100 Panzer III Command Unit

I am slowly but surely building my DAK Armor Battalion for either Blitzkrieg Commander, GHQ, Spearhead, or other rules set.  Luckily, the above mentioned games follow extremely similar lines of organization so I can switch rules without much difficulty.

I'm following Pete Jone's recommendation in the BKC 1st edition rules for a 2500 point Afrika Korps force and will field a brigade consisting of 3 battalions - 1 Armor Battalion, 1 Infantry Battalion, and I'm going to lump my specialist units into a Special Troops Battalion (engineers, AAA, trans, FAC, etc) to be doled out as the battle needs.

For the Armor Battalion HQs, I thought using a 250 halftrack or 222 Radio vehicle might look silly with all those panzers so I am using a Zvezda 1/100 Panzer III.  I have a boatload of them still in the closet and didn't think using one for a command unit would be too bad.
I apologize for the odd lighting...hides the mistakes!

still cant' get over how nice dry-brushing the hard lines looks

Rommel's lightning fast offensives were spearheaded by Panzer IIIs

Decals are from my POC Miniatures box!  What a bargain. This unit is from the 21st Panzer Division!

The Zvezda model is actually pretty nice.  And at under 5 dollars, a bargain.

What a day.  In addition to finishing up this bad boy, I've knocked out another regiment for my Talavera Brits.  Actually a Spanish Regiment to be placed comfortably behind a redoubt on Stationary the entire battle....

Coming Up Next:  The Spanish Estremadura Regiment!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

British Skirmisher Finally Finished! (Volley & Bayonet)

I finally completed a skirmisher unit for the British Army.  Now that I've been pumping out Legere and Voltiguer units for the French, it makes perfect sense to deliver a truly dangerous adversary - a British Rifleman in action.

While I painted this bloke up to serve in vaunted and elite 95th Rifle Regiment, if he had fought at Talavera, he would have likely been in the 60th as I'm not sure the 95th fought at Talavera, and I'm too lazy to go looking into the OOB at this hour.  Bernard Cornwell would have us believe he did, and that's fine with me.


Stalking French light infantry

I screwed up the 95 but you get the idea.  Oh yeah..and I forgot the canteen. Scroll down.

Lightly dry-brushed grey and it worked this time.

Excellent shot!!!!

I like this angle.  Cannon waiting for its basecoat.

Okay canteen painted... Happy now???
It's worth mentioning that I used a British Line Regular for this guy.  I was contemplating purchasing the Riflemen set off of Michtoy but I have so many of these guys it only made sense to use what I have now.  Plus, money saved now will be put into future purchases later!!

Made excellent progress today - basecoated 5 US Halftracks and 4 US M4 Shermans for painting and use in my scenario that I posted yesterday.  The good news is all of the German armor is painted and ready to go.

Also finished a Brigade of Nappy Peninsular Brits today.  Tomorrow I start the Spaniards and more British.  Huzzah!