Thursday 18 December 2014

Hard Pounding Sir! Napoleonic Naval

Had a lot of fun tonight with a game of 'Signal Close Action' - Fast Play rules. These are from Langtons, and give a pretty good game with simple mechanics. Essentially, anything other than sailing straight ahead (turning, shooting, increasing sail, fire-fighting, assembling boarders) requires you to make a dice roll with three d6, this is modified by crew quality and current damage.

Each ship has a Broadside Value (between 1-15) and a number for defence capability (DC). Check you are in arc and range, make the ability roll, and you knock off a number, either from Hull or Rigging which is a multiple of your Broadside Number, and potentially multiplied again if a 'rake'. 

As an example, a 120 Gun ship might have a Broadside of 13, at close range x 12, and a typical '74' might have a DC of 120. Each single close range broadside would be 156 points of damage, and each DC lost reduces the ability and the broadside value of the 74.

We decided to take a 74 and a frigate each. In my case (French) - I ran the Incroyable, a 36 gun frigate with an average crew, and the Indomptable, a medium sized 74 with a Poor crew.

John ran the Pallas, a 32 gun frigate with a Good crew, and the Swiftsure, a smallish 74 with an average crew.

Early in the game, the French (on the right) try to cross the T of the British ships.. this works but incredibly poor shooting and a misfire results in a hull fire aboard the Incroyable, which was also taking serious damage from the Swiftsure.

On fire following another misfire, the Indomptable tries to blow the Pallas out of the water and misses.

The Incroyable tries for a stern rake on the Swiftsure, and fails - leading to another fire - The Swiftsure tacks and unleashes a broadside that heavily damages the much smaller French frigate. 

With that much damage - and with its crew fire fighting, the Incroyable strikes it's colours and is taken prize by the Pallas.

The Swiftsure and the Indomptable trade broadsides. While the French ship has a slightly heavier broadside, the crew quality should even things out. Surely the untrained Sans-Culottes canot be a match for Jolly Jack Tars of the RN?

But they are... after losing three 'DC' the Swiftsure's broadside is no longer doing the same damage, and somehow the French have managed to keep firing..   eventually, it becomes too much and the Swiftsure strikes its colours.

A really fun game, the British capture a relatively lightly damaged 36 gun frigate - a vessel they desperately need, while the French captain must be reluctant to try and tow the heavily battered Swiftsure..  it will more than likely go down with the prize crew while under tow.

Sunday 30 November 2014

Landwaster DBA

Three games down. Learned some lessons. Don't roll a 1 for pips- after a 1 for the general in combat. And don't bring auxiliaries to a knight fight. 

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Last of the Medievals

The last two days I spent whacking some paint on the Late Medieval archers to add to the previous mounted and foot. This should give me enough for about 450AP in DBMM terms. Tonight was washes and flesh highlights.

The next few days I will get the basing kicked off, this is quite long-winded as a process, with white glue + sand, then a dark wash, followed by three drybrushes, then flock, tufts etc...  so for the whole army, it's at least four days.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Early Christmas Present

An early present to myself from the Ukraine. Not the usual run of the mill Airfix or Italeri. This time a UM Hetzer and a Roden Flak platform. 

Monday 17 November 2014

Painting Late Medievals & PSC Spray

Pretty pleased with myself as I have been painting away for the last couple of days tackling the infantry component of my Eastern European Late Medievals (1460'ish).

The mounted are done and awaiting basing, and the infantry are catching up:


Crossbow skirmishers

Voynuks, armoured axe & polearms



Other than the Horde, which are a mix of Essex, Mirliton and QR, these are all QR miniatures. They look a little bit strange unpainted, as the heads seem quite small, but paint up very nicely.

I deliberately kept these drab, and used both a black wash over metal & 'greys', and a brown-wash over the browns, yellows and reds. I normally go back over them after the wash, and redo the highlights but in this case I decided not to, as I wanted a nice dark finish.

For basing - I will use the Baccus system, then some Leadbear Tufts. Not sure if this lot deserve spring flowers - might give it a try.

And while I am at it, the PSC sprays arrived, and I gave them a try, by coincidence having British, Late War German and Russian armour needing a basecoat. So here's how they look.

Dragon German 8 rad a/c, Hasegawa 'Stummel', and S-Model SU85, T26 and Vickers VIB Light Tank

It's night, so the colours might be a bit off in this shot, but I reckon they look ok. Next, some camo for the Germans - a darker green over the Vickers Light Tank, and then the fun of decals and weathering..

Saturday 15 November 2014

New Medieval Army in 15mm

I am starting to build up a new army in 15mm for the Later Medieval period in DBMM2.  Last week was very productive, with 23 mounted elements completed, and this week, the remaining 41 foot elements are on the painting table.

I am hoping this one will be my Cancon 2015 army, but this year, I am aiming to have it finished in good time, so I can play a couple of games before the convention, unlike just about every other year, where my army still smells of spray varnish on the morning of the tournament.

Here's this week's painting challenge:

Lots of Bow, Artillery, and sundry others...

This one is a general, and the portrait below is a hint...  

Friday 31 October 2014

Terrain Sheets & Flags

So today - in between dealing with painters, carpenters, pool shops, and all the million and one trivia that life imposes, I took advantage of a 30 degree (C) day..

I was collecting the whipper-snipper from the repair shop, went to look for the mixing bottle for 2-stroke, and there in the shed was the 'Tuscan' paint from about 1974...    Being of a curious disposition I of course wondered if it was any good after 40 years..  with an immense tussle I finally overcame the rust and the can..   and with a shake or a hundred.. now - what to use it for?

Of course! - the terrain sheet I worked on several years ago, a simple beige sheet sprayed with 'Brunswick Green' - in a patchy pattern. Tuscan is perfect for dry dusty roads. Some hunting around - and I had a few suitable paint-pots:

Some mixes from the home store - and some cheap artists acrylics...

Pegged out on the grass....   waiting for the paint to dry and dull down a bit... very watery so it is just suggestive, and even better, on the other side is much more 'beige' so much better for dull and dusty climates.

I tried to keep the shapes and sizes neutral enough to work for 6mm & 15mm European theatre. I was aiming for something that looked like an aerial photograph...  it sort of works....

And then I decided to do some Pictish/Pre-Feudal Scot flags. I have a very simple technique, just make up patterns, (or 'borrow' them from elsewhere) - print out to the right size, apply white glue and bend around brass rod or similar into a realistic shape, then paint out major colours and patterns - using the printed version as a guide.. In this case I grabbed the Pictish Horse & Z-Symbol rune, added some colour - Bob's your Auntie's Husband.

So here they are.. printed, glued, crumpled around a brass road, and just awaiting some paint to look the part.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Another Engineering Triumph - Dragon Sdkfz 231

So from the pain of Matchbox, to the engineering of Dragon.

Firstly - this isn't really suitable for wargaming. There are 95 parts that build up into an exquisite wee model, but there are so many fragile external parts such as number-plates, lights, width indicators and so on, that this would break under any normal wargames handling. The only way it might be useable, would be to drill out all the holes for these parts and replace them with superglued soft steel wire. But some of the shapes are complex and would be difficult to recreate.

This is the first kit I have built that has got me seriously wondering about putting bases under these.

The other thing is that some pieces are 'tiny' I mean really tiny. The side-lamps for example are about 1.5mm in diameter. Watch out for the hungry carpet monster.

So here it is. The Dragon Sdkfz 231 heavy reconnaissance car. Ready for paint once I get my order from the Combat Company. I eventually cracked as I was cranking up the airbrush just for base coats, and an aerosol is much more convenient.

Once it gets a base coat, the overall finish will be very soft thin green stripes, followed by a filter. For some reason Dragon decided on decals that allow you to build your own numberplate - waaaay too fiddly for this black duck, so the number-plates WILL be wrong. I hope the rivet counters don't get too hot under the collar.

The Italeri Sdkfz 234/4 is on the pile in the shed, I might just try a sneak peek in the box and see if it looks like it might be fun..

Tuesday 28 October 2014

A Triumph of British Engineering

In exactly the same way that for example, the Austin Allegro was described as a 'Car', or the magnificent electrical systems provided in great British Leyland designs by Lucas the 'Prince of Darkness'...

And what triggered this rant?  Oh.. Matchbox Models. The story so far, I spotted a very cheap Revell M7 Priest + US Paratroopers model kit, for sale, second-hand. Now - Allied Softskins & Support Vehicles such as self-propelled artillery are not common-place in injection moulded plastic kits in 1/72, so I snapped it up.

On investigation - Revell had been a bit naughty. They had bought out the old Matchbox moulds - in this case dating from 1979, which were of course in 1/76 scale (or close enough) - and rebadged them as 1/72.

Ok, so having discovered this, I have been building a heap of kits - mainly Hasegawa, Dragon and the very nice S-Model sets, an ICM (very nice), some Italeri, newer Revell, Pegasus Hobbies and even some Plastic Soldier Company stuff, but I figured I would give the M7 a try. As long as I kept it away from genuine 1/72 Shermans and derivatives, it wouldn't be too noticeable.

The substance of the rant? So the plastic is brittle, and doesn't work well with my favoured Tamiya Limonene Cement, but worse than that; after the taut engineering with superb fit from most of the previous mentioned companies, this thing is like a Friday afternoon build Morris Marina. None of the parts quite fit. The holes in the shell racks aren't large enough to fit the shells provided and need to be drilled out, but you can't drill them out to an adequate size because the rack isn't big enough, the gun barrel looks much too small to fire the shells, everything that is slotted is either too tight, or so sloppy the parts will inevitably become mis-aligned, the trunnion holes for the gun seem to be at different levels so that the gun itself is askew, etc, etc...  Now granted this is a 1979 mould produced in 1997, but this is woefully bad by current standards.

I will soldier on, as I do want a Priest, and hopefully, some care, attention and filler will sort many things, (though not it being 1/76 sadly).

Friday 24 October 2014

Scots-Irish 15mm DBA

With David Lawrence's 'Landwaster' DBA competition on the horizon, I used it as an encouragement to get some of the lead-pile onto the painting table. These are Splintered Light Miniatures Picts, doing duty as Scots Irish. Ultimately, they will become part of a larger DBMM army.  Very nice figures. In the raw they can look a little crude, but paint up nicely, and have a lot of personality.

I use the 'Baccus Basing System' - essentially white glue, sand with some grit mixed in (actually ornamental gravel used for candle bases, bowls and so on), a dark wash, then drybrushing three successively lighter cream colours. I then added some tufts. These come from Leadbear's Tufts in South Australia, and are really nice. They stick well, and look great.

Of course, close up photography has revealed a host of mistakes, and I have just realised I am yet to add a banner.. doh!

Wednesday 22 October 2014

More Tanks Soviets - WIP

Just a quick update of the latest batch of tank kits, these have been rather fun, though still a long way to go. I have been getting more adventurous at replacing cast handles and hooks with wire, especially on those kits that have enough detail to merit it.

This particular batch are an eclectic lot, all basic injection moulded plastic kits -
Back row: L-R.  S-Model Soviet Su85, PSC Soviet T70, S-Model T26
Front row: Hasegawa US M24 Chaffee, Hasegawa Sdkfz251/9 (Stummel), S-Model Vickers VI C light tank.

All of them have their merits. I particularly like the Vickers and the Su 85 though I wish that S-Model had added the photo-etched brass to do the engine grilles on the Su 85.

The one thing I really liked was the track assembly on the Su. It's really very clever. Each track comes with the inside wheel assemblies plus idler and sprocket moulded together with top and bottom pieces of track extending as far as the front and rear roadwheels, (a little bit of care is needed when detaching from the sprue), you then glue that to the axles - add the outside pieces for wheels, sprocket etc. Separate track pieces are then added to join bottom track to sprockets and idler, and two final curved pieces then fit around the sprocket and idler themselves. It is all beautifully engineered and fits perfectly. Far and away the best compromise I have seen between one piece track with moulding limitations, and the pain of 'link and length'.

So, a lick of paint, and these can join the tank park.. 

Friday 10 October 2014

Ready for Barbarossa

Picked up some new tank models a week ago, including a couple that I had been looking to find for a while, they will fit really well with the 'Early War' Germans I am building, and they work well for Barbarossa 1941.

So here they are:

This is the S-Model Panzer II ausf C, a lovely model - including a brass main gun barrel, and photo-etched parts, unfortunately, I lost the right-hand headlight during dry-brushing, with an AB Panzer commander from Eureka Miniatures. Highly recommended - went together beautifully and quickly.

The Hasegawa Pz IV F1. again, the commander is from AB, decal numbers are stolen from the S-Model kits. The rod assembly under the barrel (intended to deflect the aerial when traversing the turret), unfortunately part broke when detaching from the sprue. A very nice kit. The later kits from Hasegawa include their re-modelled wheels, which are much better than the original kit versions.

So now, I just need to finish the T70s, T34s, and KV tanks they will be running into.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Back on my Med (ieval) s

Well, apologies for the bad pun. Been assembling more of the excellent Perry figures. Even splashed a bit of paint around. One thing is obvious though, while I can make the rest work, my 15mm techniques for painting flesh are not going to work.

The colours will eventually be those for Douglas

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Perry Medieval Mounted

The Perry Medieval rollout continues- started to put together some figures from the Mounted Knights box. I have virtually decided these will actually represent the Scots at the siege of Orleans 1428-29 as the armour is virtually unchanged, and I can use the DBA Wars of the Roses list, plus there are some good illustrations here.

The first covers 'Currours' or 'Prickers, and will be two to a base. I tried to find parts combinations that looked less 'knightly'. The gentleman on the left will be a junior knight, accompanied by a sergeant.

The second - much more 'Knightly' - I intend to do this as Douglas, accompanied by Melvill, but I am also tempted to make the mace carrying noble Bishop Carmichael. There is a huge selection of parts here, I have at least 8 heads, 5 lances and 7 or 8 spare arms left over. 

 Nice figures, though looking at the close-up I need to do some filing :-)    Foot Knights and rank and file to follow.

Monday 22 September 2014

Perry Medievals

So we got together, and the War and Peace Games Wars of the Roses special deal looked good. 5 Packs of the Perry Miniatures plastics for $190.

These will end up for me, being used for skirmish games such as 'Lion Rampant' or 'Affray' - and I am also intending to make up a DBA army.

This was the first go at building them up. So far, these are four command figures from the 'Wars of the Roses' infantry, plus a single sprue from the 'Mercenaries' pack. You can make up crossbow, pike command figures and hand-gunners. If I want to put these on the 'standard' 28mm DBA base sizes (60mm frontage) then I won't fit more than three to a base.

From the sprue I managed 6 pikemen (enough for two bases), 3 crossbow (one base), plus 4 handgunners (enough for two bases). For a DBA army, that's five bases from twelve already.

Above, a slightly better lit picture after black undercoat... 

Friday 19 September 2014

Friday 15 August 2014

Bouvines 1214 Refight

So six players from the Canberra Games Society including yours truly got together to fight one of our series of historical refights - this year using battles ending in '14. This time, Bouvines, 1214, with the French taking on the might of the Holy Roman Empire.

The battle was refought using DBMM version 2 from WRG. Still our favourite ancients big battle rules. Six players were available, Dave, Michael, Jon, John and Me. Peter was held up by family commitments, but as one of the Imperial contingents was represented by a 'Delayed Command' (in DBMM a group of elements or bases that is off table when the battle starts, arriving later). In DBMM terms this was a big battle, armies are normally fielded at between 350 - 450 Army Points (AP) - in recreating the historical order of battle, the French fielded just over 500 points, and the Imperials about 600. The troop density meant there was little manoeuvre on an open and flat battlefield.

I took the French left - with my main strikeforce a group of French feudal knights. In DBMM terms these were 'Irregular' Knights graded as 'Superior' (or at least with a real confidence in their own superiority...) supported by a motley bunch of Spearmen, crossbowmen, peasant scum and some sergeants. All the French commands (in DBMM each army is split into 2-4 'commands' that are each under a single general) were broadly similar. Opposing me was John with a slightly larger number of 'Ordinary' Knights supported by a large number of badly equipped and motivated pikemen.

In the centre - Our French Commander in Chief was Dave, opposed by Michael with two commands of Imperials, and on the French left Jon was facing thin air as the last of the Imperial commands had not yet arrived.

So to battle! - in each of the big battle games it has been interesting how you get tunnel vision for your own part of the battlefield, and often the game can be won or lost elsewhere while you are narrowly focused on your own struggle. It's quite revealing of how armies failed to coordinate or missed opportunities. So I apologise in advance for focusing on the French right where I was.

Table viewed from the French right. French are on the left. In the distance - the French left is aiming at thin air.  The French right wing commander (me) has rolled low command dice (1) - and the French knights have advanced through their own infantry.

View from behind the Imperial right, the Imperial centre has echeloned back to prevent being flanked before their right wing command arrives.

The French right. Knights clash, and while my general has been pushed back into his own infantry, the Imperial Knights have lost three of their number, including the general, and are in trouble. Some gallant Heerban horde now stand in the gap in front of the rampant French. Poor French command PIPs prevent me form taking full advantage though, and the French cannot swing round to attack the neighbouring Imperials in the rear.

The hand of God - or Michael - the centre sees another confused knight melee while the infantry trade a few arrows and crossbow bolts, but are largely onlookers. Here again, the French superiority in troop gradings has kicked in, and the 'Ordinary' Imperial knights have come off badly. 

The Imperial CinC is isolated and the casualties are building...

Two Imperial generals, trying to count up whether their losses have now disheartened or broken their commands.

French centre, with the infantry throwing handbags at each other...

The Imperial army breaks in their own bound. For fun we rolled the dice to see what would have happened if the French had one more turn. Unlike his historical counterpart, who fled the field, our little lead Emperor was caught flank and rear by the French and suffered fatal consequences.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Been a While - new WIP & a Score!

For various reasons, I haven't posted in a while. But I have been keeping up my gaming projects. On the workbench at the moment:

- ESCI Matilda II - (the original 1976 release) - this will join my BEF forces, once I figure out what I can use for the infantry. The Zvezda plastics look best for the BEF but so few poses...  might have to look at metals say EWM for this.
- Trumpeter Char 1Bis - very nice model, easy to build, now under-coated and ready for the paint job.
- Trumpeter Stug IIIB - another lovely model, very simple build that went together well, just needs the tracks sorted out, (they are rubber and while they fit beautifully, are currently resisting my attempts to glue them..). This one is set to join my early war and Barbarossa Germans.
- ESCI M12 155mm self propelled artillery - another original ESCI release, gorgeous model, all assembled and waiting paint. No idea what use this would be in Chain of Command other than as an objective but it's a lovely model.
- ESCI Jagdtiger - undercoated but still awaiting some real paint. Looking forward to this one.

I also managed to play a game of DBMM2 down at the club with Peter last week. Great fun as Polybian Roman took on Later Hellenistic Greek - fortified Built up Areas, sneaky flank marches and dleayed commands, Inert generals, flaming pigs, unusual troops stratagem.This one had it all.

Finally, back in the office today - and here's the little bundle of joy to greet me..  including the rare and OOP M-8 Greyhound

The wrapper on top contains Russians...  'Urra'!

Thursday 17 July 2014

Big Cats - King Tiger next to JagdTiger

As I think I said before, I am no panzer groupie, and when I look at what I have been painting I have way more medium and light armour than the heavy stuff (as it should be). But the Chain of Command rules are designed so that most engagements will have at most one AFV.. very occasionally perhaps two lighter ones. I had lots of early and mid-war armour, and decided that as the Revell King Tiger kit was a good one, I should do that. Then Jason had a spare JagdTiger kit, so that went into the stash as well. The upshot..  two big cats.

I intend to do the JagdTiger in a very late war 'Gotterdammerung' style red oxide and hasty camouflage. Should be at least a bit different and interesting.

Monday 14 July 2014

Wintercon Report - Pic Heavy

So at the weekend we played 6 games of DBMM at Wintercon, 240 AP, in a tightly themed Greek and Roman competition, I ran Aquitanian Gauls with Spanish allies, and the ambush strategy - which worked very well. and I took some pictures...

Vs Lawrence, who was running Galatians I believe. In the end, I lost my Spanish ally, but my Warband beat his, and my Chariots sacked his baggage - an 18-7 I think
Vs Lawrence  the flank.

Vs Anton who was running Ancient Spanish. A very tough matchup, and Anton is a formidable opponent. Timed out just as I thought I was slowly gaining the upper hand.

Anton again.

Vs Anton - a good view of the game progresssing

My Spanish vs his. I lost this command. Game timed out, I think a 13-12 in my favour.

Anton vs Lawrence - a huge struggle.
Lawrence vs Karl, another huge struggle

Carthaginian Civil War - Karl vs John

Vs Dave, running Camillan Roman. He was hampered with only two commands, and I was able to compress him to where I could take out his commands in succession. 25-0 to me I think.

Vs Dave again, running round him and angling my big block of warband to his Blades. The Spanish screen massacred his Psiloi giving him a 3 ME penalty even before the main lines clashed.

Vs John Garvey with Later Carthaginian. I hit his Spear with a big block of warband and he rolled very badly - 5 x 1 in 5 combats, while my Spanish mugged his Numidians. - 25-0

Vs John again

Vs Karl with Later Carthaginian I sprang an ambush that basically pinned his elephants and Hannibal, in desperation he had to attack uphill Psiloi in bad going with old One-eye..  not a good outcome. 22-3 I think.

Michael vs Jon