Monday 28 January 2019

Scottish Corridor

No, not the lobby in a closey..  But the'pint-size' campaign from Too Fat Lardies depicting the actions of elements of the 15th Scottish Division in Normandy in June 1944, under counter-attack from Kampfgruppe from both the Leibstandarte and Der Fuhrer Divisions.

So I managed to get a game in on Sunday, and myself and Steve played out the scenario for game 1 in the campaign. Each side had a fresh platoon, with 16 points of support. The Brits took a sniper, a Sherman 75 and a Firefly.

Because I was supplying the troops there weren't any real surprises, and the Germans took a Panther, a medic and a second senior officer. The German troops are graded as 'Regular Elite' so a single 6 on their command dice converts to a 5. This is likely to see them accumulate Chain of Command dice almost twice as fast as the Scots.

Peaceful enough, German troops will be approaching from the right 
A quiet day, somewhere in Normandy, those of you who saw pics of the last game will I hope realise that all the buildings, walls etc have been upgraded. And I have even sourced some of the fabled rubberised horsehair to make my own trees and hedges with...

View from the Scottish end of the table. A jump off point is just visible behind the Chateau.
The patrol phase was fairly unremarkable, but the Scots got slightly the better of it, pushing up towards the buildings.  We actually did it right this time (I think). In previous games, buildings have been a troop magnet, but as we both knew there was going to be high explosive getting flung around, the buildings started to look marginally less attractive.

First deployment
The Scots elected to bring on a single squad, and with a barrage of 1's on the command dice, I also brought on the 2" mortar team (here being proxied as the 2" team didn't return from their last outing, and have disappeared entirely..). the sniper, AND in the Chateau, a PIAT team is anxiously eyeing off the road where the Panzer will doubtless arrive.

What's that.. 4 sixes?
Having then got two Shermans onto the table, I proceeded to roll 4 sixes, triggering a random event, which saw a mortar barrage arrive squarely on my firefly, damaging the optics..   I then got no 3's in the extra phase, and had to watch as the Germans deployed and fired their Panzerschreck, and the Panther, both of which took shots against my Firefly, and fortunately for me, missing..

It says something for the quality of Steve's shooting dice, that throughout the game, the 'Schreck' team returned twice to their jump off point to restock on rockets..  having I think a total of seven shots, and hitting with only one, which someone I managed to shrug off with some engine damage.

Germans having no luck
That pretty much set the pattern for the game, the sniper and mortar did sterling work, whittling down the German squad on the left (above), and with smoke being deployed, the Panther was left with little to shoot at while I pushed the other Sherman down my right flank, supported by infantry moving tactically.  The sniper was in good form, targetting leaders and causing rolls on the 'Bad Things' table, whittling away the German Force Morale.

The Sherman's 6 HE dice causing major pain to Panzergrenadiers behind a hedge.. the Panther is looking to respond.
Unfortunately for Steve, the infantry squad facing my rampaging Sherman was no more successful with their three Panzerfaust than the Schreck team were. (I think it's safe to say that I really rode my luck in this one.)

The British sniper is performing magnificently, and now takes out the second man from the Schreck team, and a Bad Things Happens roll..  German morale is really not good, not helped by wounded squad leaders on both the left and right hand squads.

Peek a Boo
The Sherman ducks back as the Panther starts nosing about, and the PIAT team have squirmed their way forward into the last building in the row, with the Schreck team gone, they can capture a German Jump-Off point, and take out the Panther in a blaze of glory..   needless to say, the PIAT shell is completely ineffective against the Panther, which does however back up, not wishing to tempt fate.

The PIAT team see their chance and charge forward to capture the Jump-Off point, which is defended only by a single German Officer.. who does happen to be armed with a machine pistol, and is better quality and so find themselves rolling four dice to the German fourteen?   Not a problem, we will happily trade a single casualty on the PIAT team, for a German Senior Leader killed, German force morale drops again.

Shhhh..don't tell
So his Panther had to respond..   what's that in the distance, shrugging off the ineffective and inconsequential Panzerfausts of the third German squad? Oh yes, the Firefly, lining up a shot on the flank of the Panther, and meanwhile brassing the place up with the Co-ax.

Scratch one Big Cat

And with that, the Germans lost their last AT capability, and had no answer to the rampaging Sherman shelling them out of the hedges and fields. Steve pulled back what was left of his battered platoon, and it was all over.

In hindsight, I simply couldn't have been luckier with my armour. They were the targets of 9 shots from the Fausts, 7 from the Schreck, and several shots from the Panther till smoke was used to blind the monster. The real clincher was that none of the shots were from close enough.

So we are now waiting for Steve to finish painting up his US infantry, so we can have a crack at some of the other scenarios. I wonder if I can persuade some other club member to do the setup and so on?

Again a cracking game, unfortunately, with all the luck on my side. The German threshing machine never really got going, and we were so focused on the armour that it sucked all the attention away from the rest of the action.  Looking forward to the next one.

Friday 25 January 2019

Pak 38

And here's the Warlord Pak 38. It can be built into a reasonably nice model, but it is not the greatest cast out of the mould. The barrel especially needs to be shaped before assembly. In hindsight I probably should have replaced it using a PSC plastic barrel from the Russian AT kit, and made my own muzzle brake.

Order of build is important. Leave the trails off till just before attaching the lower front shield.
1. Straighten axle assembly, glue on left hand side of mount, make sure the front angle exactly corresponds to the fixed right hand side. If necessary, once glued, use a flat file to get the correct angle.
2. Attach barrel. Check how straight this is on the mount, as the little lip on the underside of the recoil mechanism is not flat out out of the mould.
3. Attach wheels or main shield either will do. If attaching wheels, you may find it easier to make parallel scores in corrugated cardboard or similar as a jig to keep them aligned straight when glued.
4. Attach the bit you didn't do in 3.
5. Bend down slighly the lower part of the pivot assembly on the trails, attach trails (note that the towing eye goes to the inside, as do the handles) and gently squeeze teh pivot hinge back into place. glue from underside.
6 Attach lower shield. You may find (depending on wheel assembly) that you need to file down the edges slightly to make it fit between the wheels. I ran into all sorts of issues and it isn't straight. I am going to file it slightly to make it less obvious.

The result:

And isn't it annoying how in large images you notice stuff you don't with the naked eye? There is flash on the traverse control and a weird bulge in the barrel just forward of the recuperator slide. Ah well. It won't be noticeable when painted. (I hope).

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Warlord Pak 36

Over on Lead Adventure Forum, someone was asking about the Warlord Pak 36 model, so here's some pictures of the assembled model. Not very exciting I know.

Monday 21 January 2019


On the workbench, just keeping things ticking over nicely.

French - a mix of Crusader and Warlord, plus some signs, still early days.
There's a Somua in the background there, which was a fun exercise in airbrushing and now just needs weathering to tone down the garish paint. I also see that Warlord has done a spot of national stereotyping there, I got the command figure with Gauloises and wine bottle.

A mix of officers from Crusader, Warlord and A.N. Other, which I sourced from some FFL figures. Anachronistic? Sure, Lt LeBlanc has always been old-fashioned. The mortar team is Warlord and is more of a colour experiment than anything. 

And here's some more ready for the paintshop after their basic colour, a mix of a tan and a green that I wondered about as it came out the colour of Airfix green plastic, but is actually a very close match for Vallejo Brown Violet.
French Platoon plus some supports.
These will get flesh and equipment colours, then a super shader wash before they get highighted.

A Panhard sits in what will eventually be a minefield, some barbed wire, table clutter, fencing etc.
The Panhard is a relatively cheap support option in Chain of Command, and I suspect will see plenty of game time. I'm also building up some basic bits and pieces like stretches of barbed wire, emplacements, minefields and so on.

Annoyingly, I can't find the packet of barbed wire I bought some time back. I am assuming it will turn up and I can just claim it's very fine wire until I either get to a show and replace it, or it shows up in the many and varied boxes I have in the shed.

All the terrain pieces will get a going over with the grouting mix, some sand and white glue, painting with home paint samples, and a light flocking.

You can't beat a good bunker, leastways, not without a flamethrower, or engineers.. 
Finally - two bunkers, guns sourced from sprue and the spare barrels in the PSC 28mm Russian guns pack, which may no longer be available. Bunkers themselves are expanded polystyrene cut with a bread knife, then grouted and painted. They'll do..

Thursday 17 January 2019

Sample British Airborne

As I noted before, I picked up a bag of British paratroop PIATS (8) in a bag at a Bring & Buy.. it's take some time, but finally tracked down the manufacturer, 'Renegade Miniatures' - who sadly seem to be on hiatus at the moment. I reckon they are the nicest Airborne minis I have seen, but sadly incompatible with the Artizan ones I have.  Here's how they turned out.

I'm really happy with these, but now.. do I sell these and get Artizan PIATS, or do I sell the Artizan, and look  for the OOP Renegade Minis...

Size comparison

L-R - Crusader French, Renegade Para x 2, Artizan Para, Warlord German
As you can see, they are considerably bigger and chunkier than the others.

Thursday 10 January 2019

Bits and Pieces

Someone was asking the other day about beating painting block. My advice was to just try to do something every day, no matter how trivial. I've been trying to stick to that myself.

So far the fruits of my labours have been...

A Panzerjager I awaiting decals and weathering, 3 of the 12 'Pin' markers for Chain of Command (all 12 are done), a converted crewman for the PzJ I, plus 2 of the 4 entrenchments I have made.

And today, I started painting the PIAT teams I have for British Airborne. These guys are 'HUGE'. Not sure of manufacturer but I got a load foo them for next to nix at a Bring & Buy. If they won't fit with the Artizan ones I bought, then they might end up back on a Bring & Buy.

I am using the painting guide from Benito's Blog, 'Wargaming with Too Fat Lardies' with adjustments. He recommends Vallejo Hull Red and Russian Green,neither of which I have, so this is using Vallejo Saddle Brown and Luftwaffe Cam. Green. By the time they are washed and highlighted, they will look quite different.

Friday 4 January 2019

Looking Both Ways - Addendum

Or it could also be titled..  'Oops I did it again..'  - Northstar and Warlord both had their post Christmas sales, I can never resist a bargain.

So now I have the figures for a British Airborne Platoon from Artizan, as well as some Early War supports. I suspect that means I will need to purchase additional Airborne supports as well..  though I did pick up a 6lb AT gun cheap from Warlord, in the recesses of my brain I have in mind the airborne version was quite different.

Ah well.

And with all the planned terrain production, I am going to be grabbing some wire, to add to the rubberised horsehair I bought online, and get building.

Looking Both Ways 2018

2018? Better than 2017.

I started a new job, which keeps me out of mischief, but does allow me access to a University library.. hey ho!

Not that I have made much time for study. In fact I have barely found time for any reading this year. I ploughed through a couple of fairly lightweight WW2 histories, but I spend so much time reading and writing in my job, it's easier to paint or watch a movie when I get home.

So purchases this year, by my standards, have been fairly limited. I have kept my focus to two major projects, Sharp Practice 2 forces for the American War of Independence, and Chain of Command forces for WW2.

I have also managed to set up and run a large multi-player AWI game at the club, using some of my collection of painted figs with contributions from Dale, the club chairman. I have also managed to play a couple of games of Chan of Command at the club, which were very well receive, and even 'What a Tanker'. So it's been a pretty Lardie sort of a year. 

In terms of what I have got painted, I am actually pretty pleased. My AWI collection has moved along a little bit. There are enough forces to run a decent SP2 game, and I have a number of other units nearing completion. For Chain of Command, I finished off the Desert War stuff, and finished platoons for British/Commonwealth & Heer for North West Europe, plus a range of support options.

Pleasingly, I also got my finger out, and actually finished some terrain pieces. So I now have enough AWI buildings, and I am starting on some other pieces. I have also completed a few NWE buildings for WW2, some jump off points and some other pieces like walls, fences, entrenchments and so on.

Finally, the items in store arrived in July. It's great to have my books again, but because of th difficulty in packing and the very short timeframe, I left most of my actual painted stuff with a friend. So far, one army has been sent over, but I got slugged with a massive customs bill to do so. Other ways and means must be found...

So what's in store for 2019? -
Firstly - a folding table top extension for the dining room table to take it up to about 6 x 4 (that's 180 x 120 cm for the decimally minded). That is going to have to wait until the Shed roof is properly resealed. The damp in there will rot MDF left unsealed.

Having purchased the Chain of Command Blitzkrieg book, I have the figures now to do a 1940 French force plus supports, and their German opponents. They look to be both interesting forces. I also dug out my old PSC Plastic Soviets, and they should be relatively quick to put on the table, making good opponents for my later war Germans as well as 'Blitzkrieg' Germans repurposed for Barbarossa. I also ordered a bunch of Warlord resin vehicles while they were having their Christmas 'free postage & 50% off the second resin vehicle sale'.

I also intend to really get stuck into making terrain. At the moment, a mat, buildings and a few feature pieces are about the extent of my terrain efforts. It's good enough for the club where i can borrow club terrain, but I would really like to have a home option. So that means, trees, hedges/fences, walls, roads and so on. I have MDF, a Jigsaw, and plenty PVA glue...

I also would like to paint another ancients army, and get a few more of the AWI units finished.

I took advantage of the Warlord offers during the year and scalped some absolute bargains on their plastic renaissance sets, at one stage, 12 infantry sprues for £1 each, and similar if not quite as stunning bargains on their mounted. I am not to sure what this might be in it's final incarnation, but perhaps something like Swedish. We shall see. That would be a bonus.

Finally, I still have the Lion Rampant Scots to think about. And it would definitely be faster to finish than the Swedes...

Priorities then:
1. WW2 - 1940 French in 28mm
2. WW2 - 1940-41 German in 28mm
3. Attalid Pergamene in 15mm for DBMM
4. WW2 - 1941 Russian in 28mm
5. Scots Medieval (1388) forces for Lion Rampant
6. Additional units for AWI Sharp Practice, Continental Line, Colonial Militia, Loyalists and some mounted. 
=1 - 5 . Terrain (non-period specific, so woods, fields, hedges, stone-walls, dirt roads primarily)

If I get past the first 4, I will be pleased, especially if the terrain making works out...   we shall see.

So all the best with your 2019 projects everyone.

Thursday 3 January 2019

On the Painting table

There are a few other bits and pieces I have been doing, and I thought I would share. Unfortunately, I have run out of spray varnish, so even those that are finished are in hiatus until the supply chains are restored..  (the local hobby shop is closed till tomorrow... and I am unfortunately back at work, so won't get there any time soon).

AWI coach (Warbases), Hessian General and Howitzer (Perry)

Howitzer again, plus some partially completed AWI civilians and Jump Off Points (ok, deployment markers)

Walls (Red Vectors), and painted and inked CoC dashboards (Warbases)

The dashboards from Warbases are terrific, they provide a single neat way of recording Chain of Command points and dice, plus starting and current Force Morale.