02 February 2018

Rommel at the Hobby Bunker

Last Saturday, the gaming club at the local hobby store had a game day. It was a pretty low key event, I think there were 6 games set up. Two of the games called for multiple players, one set in the Sudan and one set in WWI, both being played with a ruleset called Trench Wars. Pretty simple mechanics, but fun enough, I think I finally understand what a beer and pretzels game means! 

There were 4 other games I believe, one them being a Rommel game that I set up with a Tunisian Campaign scenario. I was able to entice 2 players to the game and thus I was able to act as a gamemaster. To the ruleset's credit, this was a very easy task as I had only occasion to refer to the book once in reference to being flanked.

Neither of the players had played Rommel or any Honour games in the past and they picked up the mechanics of the game quite quickly. But what did they think? Well I suspect one player would not play again and the other may play again. They both criticized the combat grid as being a little complicated but I have to say we played around 12 turns in 90 minutes at which time the Axis player declared victory. I find every gamer different in what they want from a game, so it is a bit hard to say much beyond that.

The game did give me confidence though in hosting and game-mastering at club and conference meetings. As I have before lamented though, it is unfortunate that I am having difficulty finding players in the local community who are interested in the same games as I. Keep plugging away I suppose.

Here are a few photos.

General game set up, with the initial Axis advance to the right. The Americans are defending 4  objectives in the mountains as well as to the left. The Axis started at the edge of the terrain on the right.
The rear most US Objective, defended by a Priest!
Most of the action took place at this gap in the mountains, we can see that the Axis have just captured this objective.

31 January 2018

AHPCVIII:Seventh Submission-CinC US Vehicles

Not a whole lot of painting done this week but I did get some more US models done for Rommel. I am hoping to put on a Rommel game this weekend, this will be our first mid-war battle so I needed some US forces. First up in the Tunisian campaign will be an encounter during the battle for the Kasserine Pass. I hate painting infantry so I will substitute in some British for the 9 bases of US motorised infantry I need. Did need some tanks and armoured infantry so here we go. All these models are from PFC CinC and are quite nice.
6 bases of Armoured Infantry in M3 Halftracks
3 bases of M3 tank Hunters equipped with 75mm guns 
A Base of Shermans and one of Stuarts
105mm Howitzer Base

And finally some Italian Tanks
M14/41 Tanks

I think we have 40 Vehicles and 2 guns. I have done well over 100 bases for Rommel now so have built up a bit of a collection. I really need to stop and polyurethane these models and bases. Once this is done I plan to attach some scrub brush to dress up the bases.......well that is the plan anyway!

28 January 2018

Rommel: Operation Battle Ax, Day 3

Last week myself and Adam got to carry on our Operation Battle Ax mini-campaign.  If you will remember from our first game, the Brits successfully captured the Halfaya Pass but had lost Sidi Omar. The Axis lost 10 companies, while the Allies lost 6 companies as you can see below.

Here is the terrain as it was set up for day 3. I actually changed the victory conditions adding that in addition to below the Axis had to re-capture Halfaya Pass to achieve complete victory.

So I think a bit of a challenge for the British, but at the same time the Axis have a significantly diminished force with which to re-capture Halfaya Pass. Otherwise it would be a marginal Axis victory. 
Some early combat

Initial Axis plan was to retake Fort Capuzzo which they lost on day 1 one of the battle.
The 11th Indian Brigade pounded Sollum throughout the game.
British attempting to retake Sidi Omar
British take Sollum
At this point darkness fell and the game was over. The British had been successful in retaking Sidi Omar and holding the Halfaya Pass which the Axis were never able to an attempt a re-capture. The Axis were able to take Fort Capuzzo. So a Marginal Axis Victory. You can see Adam's AR and more photos on his blog.

It was quite a fun game and the scenario worked well. I hope to expand the scenario into a mini-campaign for all 3 days of the battle. It did appear to work well for the ruleset.

26 January 2018

AHPCVIII: Sixth Submission-Alban Miniatures

This was supposed to be what one could call a Vanity project! Maybe best to avoid them, methinks.

I believe the first time I saw an Alban Miniatures were the free Sharpe and Harper figures that I received when I purchased Sharp Practice from TFL some years ago. I was immediately attracted to their anatomic proportions, no awful big heads or hands. I put them away and about a year ago I decided to paint them.......they looked pretty cool, let us get some more. But Alban Miniatures went out of business a couple of years ago. I advertised around and found a nice Dutch chap who had some which he was willing to let go. I finally had some British Rifles and some French Légére Voltiguers. There are British lights and French Ligne out there also but not yet been able to lay my hands on these figures.

But why did I want to do this, I have plenty of British and French 28mm skirmish figures for Sharpe Practice 2, but they were of the big headed variety and this is where the Vanity comes in. I wanted a SP2 Alban Miniatures force, and since they are quite different than any other 28 mm figures, I would need at least 2 sides to play a game.

I do not have a large lead pile, so searching around for something next to paint, I decided to have a go at painting some Alban French Voltiguers. They looked well cast, minimal cleanup required so they were primed and I started to have a go. 

Well, I found that for a middle of the road painter like myself they were quite a challenge. I am sure each figure was about 2-3 hours of painting time. There was just much less sculpting detail to work with than I am accustomed. My usual painting time for a Napoleonic 28 mm figures is probably around 45 minutes. I suppose it would be OK but I am just not that pleased with the result.

Well here they are, they do look good at a distance, so I suppose I will soldier on. I need at least 5-6 groups to have a good SP2 game, so a long way to go. By the way if anyone has any Alban Miniatures to sell, please let me know!

Légére Voltiguer Skirmishers
Status II Leader, Status III Leader, Musician

11 January 2018

AHPCVIII: Fourth Submission-Epic Armageddon

It has been a year since I added any figures to my Epic Armageddon Blood Angels force. I thought to celebrate the dawn of 2018 that it would be nice to paint some. In AHPCVII, I had painted my way to just over 2000 points of a planned 3000 point force. Time to add some, methinks.

I had these 5 vehicles left over from the prize I won in last year's challenge, so they were pulled out yesterday from the lead pile and I rushed to get them done before the New Year. They are certainly much more complicated to do than WWII 6 mm armour. I still do not have it right, but they look a little better than last year's efforts.

Falchion Superheavy Tank Destroyer
A Company of Predator Destructors

10 January 2018

AHPCVIII: Third Submission-Some Linear Terrain

I suspect terrain pieces are a little more boring than figures, but I had quite a bit sitting around so I am happy to get a lot of it painted.

My gaming area is quite a mess, mostly because of the amount of terrain I have accumulated over the years. I am working to thin it out now and this means tossing stuff I will never use and get things painted that I might use. I saw some nice rolling bins at the Container Store the other day that will do well for terrain storage but the stuff is a little pricey so I want to make sure I utilize it to the maximum.

First up are some resin hedges that bought in a Kickstarter a couple of years ago from a company called Small Terrain, which unfortunately went bottoms up. A shame really as their pieces were quite nice. As you can see I bought quite a bit, roughly 18' I believe. Over the last couple of days I painted up the 8" pieces, I still have a number of 4" pieces to paint as well as some 6" corners.

They were primed black; the greenery was then heavily drybrushed with Thalo Green, then Sap Green 1:1 mixed with white followed by a light drybrush of Cadium Yellow. The dirt was heavily dry brushed with Raw Umber, then Raw Sienna followed by Titanium White. The rocks were then picked out with black, and successive lighter greys. As you can guess from the names I use Artist Acrylic Pastes, a little expensive maybe but great for this type of work.
As you can see they are 25mm high as you can just see these 28mm Alban Miniatures.
Maybe a little high for 1/72 but will do as hedges, not really tall enough for bocage .
We have a 140" here, almost 12'
I have done a lot of searching around for stone walls for my 1/72 WWII games and I found that for the price Italeri hard plastics are the best value and quality. Here we have 1 sprue, I have 8 sprues to paint. They very easily form corners and each sprue has a gate and nice end pieces. They are quite stable on gaming mats and do not tip over like some other wall I have used. 

Each Sprue has about 3' of walls
I think about 20mm high

31 December 2017

AHPCVIII: Second Submission-6mm American AFV's

My initial focus for Rommel has been the Western Desert Campaign but I thought I would mark this years Painting Challenge with American forces for the Tunisian campaign, of which I suppose the most famous battle was that of the Kasserine Pass.

Some models arrived from GHQ on Christmas Eve and I got to paint them up on a day off after Christmas. I made a larger order from CinC but they have yet to arrive, so this has given me a chance before I get overwhelmed to get these models on the table.
M3 "Lee" Tank
M7 "Priest" Self Propelled Artillery
Well I suppose that will be it for 2017. 

Happy New Year!

30 December 2017

AHPCVIII: First Submission-Monte Cassino

I have had this piece of terrain now for a couple of years. It is from Monday Knight Productions and it looked like a well detailed piece. I must of primed it when I first got it and than forgot about it until the Challenge.

The first question was how to paint it, I found some old colour photos and clearly it was a sandstone colour rather than a granite. That was not really going to work for me as most of my WWII gaming interest is in Normandy or the Eastern Front. I had painted up numerous pieces for Stalingrad and although this is not really an urban piece, I felt it probably would be more likely used if I did it in granite with red brick. I could not resist however doing some of the larger brick in a yellow colour.

This garnered me 80 points which I thought was a bit much.

27 December 2017

Terrain for 6mm Wargaming: North Africa Towns

The next piece of terrain needed for my Rommel Project was some town bases. I searched about on the internet, it was surprising how expensive 6mm terrain can be, but I eventually found some nice pieces from Monday Knight Productions that were reasonably priced.

Although my playing pieces are all 6mm, 1/285 buildings are way out of scale for Rommel where each 15cm grid is a square kilometre in ground scale. I felt it best to stick with a uniform scale for the games. After some thought I decided 3 kilometres of town was probably OK. I may add one further piece to make a 2 km square large town block but we will see. I used 13cm square bases from Batbases and glued the buildings on them. What follows was the process.
Glued building and then added some wood filler.
Same colours used as bases
I then painted each building a cream colour washed them Vallejo Sepia Wash and then drybrushed them white.
Decided to go with a central street as depicted in the photo above.
The mosque tile
An end piece
I like how they came out.
Well I have some more mountain pieces to do and I will have to figure out a way to represent some Wadis.