Monday, February 29, 2016

ACW and AWI At the Double Quick!

Not exactly Cold War this week but here is some ACW progress for you.  This has to be some kind of speed record for me as I was able to slap some paint on 2 whole ACW Regiments this week!  1 complete Union Regiment, 1 complete Confederate Regiment, 1 Union Officer (Brigade Commander) and 1 Union "Battery" of 3" rifles.

Back in January, I sketched out a rough plan for some solo wargaming.  Each month has a particular "theme" to it with March being the American War for Independence and April (of course!) being the American Civil War.  I plan on playing the first portion of the Battle for McPherson's Ridge.  Anyone who followed my epic Gettysburg Day 2 battle for the Peach Orchard last year, then you know I love a good ACW brawl.  I played the Peach orchard using Black Powder rules and I'm going to possibly play McPherson's Ridge using Black Powder or even Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargame Rules (or both!).

Union Commander pondering his next move....slowly.

 The speedy progress is a testament to how quickly Musket Miniatures can be painted.  (truth be told there are some Old Glory as well as Peter Pig mixed in there).

Love the officer figure!  

Yankee Battery  Not flocked or washed but you get the idea.

Rebel Casualties.  I will knock 3 more casualty stands together for my new Union Regiment as well.  3 means you have most likely reached your "shaken" level in Black Powder.
 Okay speaking of progress, here is some progress I've made on more generic "horse and musket" casualty markers.  Many of the blue coats can stand in for French, Prussian, Continental, and Hessian casualties.  I'm all about value!

Continental or State Line casualties.  I cannot wait to paint up a unit with brown coats and blue cuffs and facings!

My as of yet unfinished British.  Oddly enough, I have more AWI British but not nearly enough casualties for them!
 Now moving onto the AWI Hubbardton project!  Finally finished after ALL these long years.  Below are the Hessians, and of course the Green Mountain Boys.  The Hessians are based as a regular unit, and the GMB are based as Light Infantry (for Neil Thomas' rules or to signify that they are a "small" unit in Black Powder).

The dreaded Hessians!  Preparing to give "Lord" Stirling's Division the Cold Steel at Long Island!
 Need to get those colors mounted for the Hessians.

My lovely Green Mountain Boys!  Very pleased with them.  THey will stand in as "generic" militia as well.

Alright that's it for progress at the moment.  My work hours will be changing so I fear not as much progress in the future, but I'll give it my best shot.

Right now I have 2 AH-64 "Apaches" in the queue to stand in as AH-1 Cobras for Team Yankee.  They just need their decals and the Hellfire's painted and they'll be good to go!

Stand by!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Eureka! 15mm Multi Cam Code Cracked (and even if not, I've had it!)

I have gotten my multi cam brushwork to an "acceptable" point for my collection.

"What might that be?" you ask?

Well, my goal was that if one was to look at these guys, you're first thought would be "they are obviously US troops probably serving in a combat zone."  I think each time I painted them, it got a little better but I think I've figured out the secret to getting small soldiers to look like they're wearing multi-cam - bascially layering very, very small khaki squiggles "atop" of the dark brown squiggles.  

While on the actual uniform, the squiggles, both black and light tank, are offset slightly, to get the same effect on 15mm troopers, they have to be layered or the viewer (or fellow gamer) loses the effect.

 So the first batch of pictures you can see the layering of the brighter khaki "squiggles" over the dark brown "squiggles."  The effect is instantly noticeable:

by layering, it also brings out the background colors more

 Here was the second batch.  Not bad.  Colors were good but the khaki wasn't necessarily layered over the dark brown.  They look okay, but it almost looks like DPM on some of them, and not Multi Cam.

The addition of some blobs and dots helps, but no cigar.
 And the original.  This guy has all the legitimate colors, as defined by multiple blogs I was able to glean.  But the colors are not arranged in any way that would make you think you were looking at Multi Cam.  He could be wearing woodland camo for all the gamer knows.

So that's it.  For my Multi Cam I use the following colors:

GW Deathworld Forest as a base.
Folk Art Ivy Green or VJ Luftwaffe Green blobs
AB brown oxide blobs near the green blobs

VJ German Camo dark brown thin squiggles.
AP Khaki thinner squiggles and lines atop the dark brown thin squiggles

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

US Multi Cam / Scorpion OCP Camouflage

Well it's been awhile coming but I was finally able to work a little bit on some 15mm US ultra-modern troops.  These would, of course, be Global War on Terror (GWOT) Soldiers wearing either Multi-Cam or the Army's new "Scorpion" operational camouflage pattern (OCP).  Figures are a mix of Khurasan and Rebel minis 15mm and I am very pleased with how they turned out, especially for 15mm.

hard to see any detail at 15mm, so most of the color variations are small "blobs" and "squiggles"
 The colors I used and the order I used them, turn out to be very important.

Base is GW Death World Forest.  Green blobs are "VJ Luftwaffe Green" and smaller dark squiggles are "VJ German Camo Black Brown".  Then finally, applied either right atop or directly next to the dark squiggles are apple barrel khaki.

"But Steve, why not use vallejo khaki?"  That's a good question.  too dark.  The AB Khaki which is brighter turned out to be perfect for this particular combination.

move out people!  Azimuth One Two Seven degrees!

At 15mm it's hard to get the little spots to look right unless you really use a very small brush.  So I opted for a color combination that looked good enough.  I think these guys are acceptable for wargaming service.

Here's the real thing.  Again, from a distance the khaki just look like more squiggles, and there aren't very many dots, either. 

That's about all for progress now.  Too much stuff to do lately, but at least I'm painting something!  More Cold War stuff coming up - Soviet Hinds, US Apaches, in addition to Soviet infantry that need to be painted up.  Then on to more vehicles.  A box of Soviet T-72s

Sunday, February 21, 2016

TEAM YANKEE: 92 Pt Encounter Battle! [lots of pics]

Ken and I played a fairly large game of Team Yankee on Sunday afternoon with 91/92 points (me/him respectively).  My force consisted of an Armored Combat Team with an additional Mech Platoon, M901 TOW section, M163 VADS ADA section, the FIST team, M109 SP Howitzer platoon, and a flight of 2 x A-10 Warthogs.

Ken's forces consisted of 2 x T-72 Tank companies of 6 tanks each, a BMP motor rifle company of 8 BMP2s, a howitzer platoon of 3 x 2S1 SP Howitzers, a ZSU-23/4 Shilka ADA section of 2 vehicles, and a flight of 2 x SU-25 "Frogfoots."

Brian joined us for a short time and played the US forces with me.  We diced for a random mission and got the "encounter" battle with delayed, scattered reserves.  This scenario could be depicting a large Soviet breakthrough with random US forces being thrown in to stop them.

Needless to say, it was a tense nail biter with the outcome always in question.

The playing area.  US forces coming in from the near side.  Sov's starting on far side.  Reinforcements starting on turn 3 would come in from random portions of respective sides.

US Starting Forces

US delayed reserves.  Mech platoon, Howitzer Platoon, SHORAD. FIST, and Company Commander

US Infantry and ITOWs crossing the LD.  (nice MERDC!)

Ken wisely put his artillery on the table from the start.  I should have done that in hindsight.  First lesson learned for this AAR!

Ken's T-72s moving out!  This company would end up getting into a tank knife-fight with my M1s.

M1s moving up!

M1 platoon of 3 on the far right.  M1 platoon of 4 on the left.  Trying to control gaps in the forests.

No surprise here....

Frogfoots inbound!  
 Ken's first Frogfoot strike KO's both of my ITOWs...what's that rule about the time on the board is commensurate with the quality of the paintjob?  Anyways this M901 unit got wiped out - figures - the guys with the best paintjob!

 Another turn - another FROGFOOT Sortie as Ken's dice don't disappoint!  He moves in for the kill with both his Artillery and his SU-25s targeting my M1s in the center!

 Meanwhile my smaller M1 platoon is sneaking through the woods on the right hoping to get some good shots off.  At first their mission is flank guard.  It then turns into full scale main effort attack.

Ken's tanks moving up!

Frogfoots!!!  Arrgghhh!!

With the following results...

The M1s see an opportunity and go for broke.

Meanwhile the infantry on the left buzz along at their top speed.  I'm hoping to deploy my infantry on that far woodline to threaten that Soviet forward observer as well as his deployed artillery.

Comrade Battalion Commander Ken moves his next echelon of tanks up.  Reinforcements start appearing now.

The sole remaining M1 of the larger 4 vehicle platoon backs off from the line.  Note the Vulcans coming up behind him. 

Soviet tanks take up positions on the hill and trade shots with M1s in cover.

A-10s on station!  Callsign SNOWMAN

The SHORAD moving into the village.  Guys - the target is on the OTHER side of the battlefield!

Sweet shot here as the M1 takes out the BMP observer FO for the Soviet arty.  (actually an MTLB model but oh well).

Infantry dismount but I can't use the Dragons this turn.  

Ken's guns are still pounding the woodline where the infantry are now -resulting in a pin on my troopers!

At this point I have an M1 platoon threatening an objective!  Ken's skillful use of his reserves and his Frogfoots here turn an American victory into a "eh??" as 2 out of 3 M1s are blasted into oblivion and his BMP2s deploy just in time to contest the objective!

They fail their these guys aren't going anywhere.  Break out the MREs fellas!  Snacktime!

Along the "hardball" I've got an M1 and the SHORAD moving up to the next objective.  They're within 4" but it's technically contested due to Ken's 2S1 howitzers in position!

The reserve mech platoon shows up as the battle winds down and the FIST also shows up.  Artillery never misses SP time....

More FROGFOOTs coming in but this time they only bail the M1, which remounts.
 Ken uses his Motor Rifle Company to assault the lone M1 and force them off the right objective.

gratuitous shot of my howitzers.  They wouldn't get to fire the entire game....
Ken's infantry assaulting the lone M1 on the objective

M1 backing off!

So this was a big battle and full of nerve-wracking tension the entire time.  Think my lone M1 on the US left, next to the 2S1s won the day?  Well, not exactly since the BMP's terrain dash was enough to get them into range to contest the objective on the other side as well.  So Ken had his dismounted infantry protecting my first objective, and a boatload of BMPs moving to contest the second objective.  We had to call the game because we ran out of time.  Ken conceded that he might not have been able to reach the US side and his own objective markers, but you never know.  This was going to turn into an infantry fight with only 1 US tank left on the board, and Ken's command tank still slated to arrive!  It's interesting to note that we both had an equal amount of infantry on the table.  So anything was possible!

This was an epic fight and was our second game of TEAM YANKEE. While we had a few more questions this time around, I think we're getting the hang of things.  Additional questions make sense considering we also had additional toys on the field.  The modern battlefield is a deadly place and there were no shortage of knocked out tanks all over this table!  I know this may be considered heresy, but I'd like to play Sabre Squadron or Third Generation Warfare with these exact same vehicles and see how it turns out, but back to Team Yankee...

It's funny how in the game the armor moves towards enemy armor naturally and the infantry take their role in seizing and holding terrain naturally as well and I think that's a great credit to the game itself.  Combined arms is easy to talk about, but difficult to game and I believe Team Yankee gets it right here.

I told Ken I'd like to play a scenario from the book next so I'll have to look that up and see what (if anything) I need to paint next.  From the looks of things we're doing OK in the vehicle department.