Saturday 29 December 2018

The Last Post...of 2018

At last we come to the final post of 2018, and it’s a big one. Later on I’ll take a look back on how I did with my targets for the year and I’ll be setting new gaming resolutions.

But first it’s time for our Christmas big game...and this year we went BIG!

We decided to make full use of Pete’s 8’x4’ table and fill it with a massive game of Bolt Action. To add to the size we broke out our underused 15mm Flames of War armies and play the Tank War variation of Bolt Action in a scenario very loosely based on the Battle of Berlin.

If you are a historian or know a little about tank warfare, please look away now.

Even with mainly tanks, when armies reach almost 10000 points, there ends up it being much space to deploy in. Pete and Wes were the Russians and fielded an army of around 50 armoured vehicles including 20 T-34s. Matt and I met them in battle with a mixed array of units (we had to stretch to meet the points value) but it was centred around 2 Tigers and 11 Panthers, although these were affected by low fuel.

The aim of the game was simply to wipe each other out.

The early parts of each turn were dominated by the rockets of the Katyusha and Stuka Zu Fuss laying own massive barrages that tried to pin and destroy as much as they could. In fact to combination of rocket fire and just sheer volume saw the German lines prevented from firing for some of the early turns of the game.

However, the size of the German guns did cause significant damage when they were able to put a salvo together as we had something in the region of 25 heavy or super-heavy AT guns pointed at a force mainly made up of medium tanks.

The sheer volume of Russian tanks was daunting though, and although they often struggled to penetrate the heavy German armour that the Tiger Fear rule forced them to target, there were several Panthers that were pinned out of the game by weight of fire.

Quantity does indeed have a quality of its own.

Actually, the combined effects of low fuel, Tiger Fear and lots of pins led to a fairly static game, as to a large extent to lines of tanks pounded each other into dust.

The second turn saw Matt and I bickering over who would get to inform the Fuhrer of our defeat, as pins and a series of glancing hits caused many of our tanks to be unable to fire and it looked like were were about to get swamped.

However, a very effective barrage from a Stuka Zu Fuss at the start of Turn 3 almost single-handedly stemmed the Soviet advance on our right flank and bought us some breathing space.

And that’s when our big guns went to work, creating a tank graveyard in the grounds of the ruined church. They were aided and abetted by my favourite unit of the game, an infantry unit that in desperation had fired three of its Panzerfaust to knock out a T-34 on turn two, used its final one to finish off a T-70 on turn 3, and by the end of the game on turn five was advancing through the burning hulks to pepper a Katyusha with rifle fire.

Over on the other flank the Russian tide had been turned back, although we had needed to divert some resources from the centre due to some heavy losses early on, including a Tiger on turn one.

This flank had seen some audacious attacks by Soviet armoured cars trying to get their light AT guns into our weaker side armour. However, this wasn’t enough and the Panther took their toll.

In the centre, there was very little left by the end of the game, however the towed AT guns Matt and I had needed to use to build our points had held the line, including a tiny PaK 36 (by the bridge) which had manfully withstood several T-70s.

By the end of the day it was clear that neither side was going to destroy each other, and so we determined victory with destroyed units. The final tally was 24-18 to the Germans, although we were significantly helped by the same advantage Germans always experience on the Wargames shortage of heavy armour. Our heavy tanks were able to withstand the storm of fire and draw fire away from the lighter, more vulnerable units, and we also had more heavy guns which, when accurate, ripped the lighter Soviet tanks apart.

We were also helped by Pete’s amazing ability to roll a disproportionate amount of ones.

The game was a reminder that, although somewhat overkill, the Tank War variation of Bolt Action works much better in 15mm.

And now it’s time to move on to my review of my wargaming target for the year...

Last Year's Resolutions

1. Finish of old projects - FAIL

Fail. The only old project I’ve finished off has been the Necromunda Orlocks, which involved about four models. Projects like Dropfleet/Dropzone Commander, War of 1812 and Flames of War Americans remain conspicuously unfinished. Partly this is because we don’t play these games often, but mainly it’s due to my propensity to start new projects.

2. Sort out a big table - SUCCESS

I‘m calling this one a win.

3. Pulp gaming - PARTIAL SUCCESS 

I’ve made a little bit of terrain and painted a handful of models for pulp gaming, but I’m still some way off a game. The announcement of 7TV Pulp and a Pulp themed event in the summer may significantly help with my productivity in this regard.

4. Play another multiplayer campaign - FAIL

The closest I’ve come to this has been starting a Descent campaign which tapered out. Pete and I have begun a series of themed games on the Eastern Front and are prepping for the Invasion of Crete, but this is not what I meant. The problem is that everyone need to be in the same gaming mode at the same time for a period of time, and in reality, this is hard to achieve.

5. Increase my blogging rate - SUCCESS 

This is a big fat YES! I’ve not only increased in last year (almost doubled it in fact), but I’ve smashed my previous best by over 20 posts. I’ve learned a few tricks to up the post count over the past year, and so although I can’t promise to keep this rate up, I won’t be slipping back to the woeful performance of last year.

This Year’s Resolutions

1. No New Games

Okay, so this one is big. I’ve learned from the Star Wars: Legion debacle that I just don’t have the energy to paint whole armies from scratch any more without a source of external motivation. Combine with that the fact that I’m increasingly getting the rules for all the different games I play confused, and really it just seems wiser to develop what I have.

2. Finish Old Projects

Yep, that old chestnut. I want to get the projects mentioned above (DFC, DZC, FoW, 1812) to a point where I can leave them be, and maybe add to them in time. Added to those projects are Terminator: Genysis (although there have been recent strides here), The Walking Dead and Batman, all of which have unpainted models clogging up my to do pile. I won’t get all of these done, but I’d like to get two or three cleared.

3. Continue Solo Campaigns

Given the difficulty of corralling others, it seems better to focus on my solo games for The Walking Dead and Super Mission Force and make time for them. I enjoy playing them and making the comic book reports, so I’d like to do more of it.

4. Paint More Than I Acquire 

I’m stealing this target from Matt as I think it really helps with balancing spending. Last year I got a bit profligate with new (miniature heavy) games, Lord of the Rings miniatures and custom made pieces for He-Man. I need more motivation to get things painted, and this should help.

5. Play And Paint More 7TV

Really, it’s a great game and I should play it more. This year I’ve backed two Kickstarter campaigns, been a playtester, been to one event and developed custom rules for He-Man. With unpainted miniatures for a whole bunch of nostalgic projects sitting in my paint queue, two events pencilled in, and 7TV Apocalypse due in March, there is plenty of opportunity for more games.

So, with resolutions all set, all that remains is to wish you all a happy new year, thanks for following and supporting my endeavours and I’ll see you in 2019.

Monday 24 December 2018

“I’ll be back...after Christmas”

Just before signing off for the festive period, I thought I’d show off a few bits and pieces I’ve put together for Terminator: Genysis from Warlord Games.

Warlord, fairly regularly, have sales of stuff that isn’t selling especially well and, quite frankly, nothing fits that description better than their Terminator line.

Therefore, in the summer, a sale popped up and I took the opportunity to buy a few bits and pieces to add to my collection - like those two regular Terminators above.

In the sale was a ‘spider-dog’ mobile gun platform, which came with a choice of three weapons. I went with the rocket launcher as it adds some anti-tank punch for when Matt inevitably builds and paints his Abrams tank.

The presence of a flamethrower opened up the opportunity of a quick conversion of a regular endoskeleton for some close range pest control.

I then used the weapon bits I’d carved off the flamethrower guy to fashion a command upgrade unit to fit to the back of the final endoskeleton. This allows me access to some of the tactical options available to the Resistance, using a commander to concentrate fire or coordinate movement.

My final upgrade to the Machines was an infiltrator, which was easily done by giving a Resistance model an arm replacement. I splattered blood over the arm suggesting that the infiltrator has only just been revealed.

Given that I’d bought a single sprue of Resistance models to make one infiltrator, it only seemed fair to paint the others up to add a couple more commanders (and several plasma rifles) to my force.

None of what I’ve painted is particularly special, this project is the very definition of quick and cheap. However, I am considering revisiting my Terminators with a silver drybrush to brighten them up.

Future plans for this game involve kitbashing some characters for Wargames Factory plastic survivors and terrible Tank I picked up cheaply.

Oh, and Arnie.

On that festive note, have a great Christmas and I’ll be back with our big Christmas game and review of 2018 just before New Year.

Ho ho ho!

Sunday 9 December 2018

Look Who Dropped In

I’ve completed the last few Fallschirmjager I needed to be able to play the first two scenarios of the Crete 1941 campaign. They include an NCO with an SMG, a paratrooper with an FG-42 assault rifle (which will be treated as a regular rifle in the Crete games, and an LMG gunner whose loader was painted last week.

I still have a Mortar Team and spotter to paint, but they don’t feature in the campaign. I also need to make couple of purchases to add another 8 rifle armed paratroopers, a light mortar team and an anti-tank rifle team to be able to play the remaining scenarios.

My total force now boasts an officer, three squads, an MMG team, a sniper and a forward air observer, bringing the total points value to around 700 points, and my additional purchases will push me towards 1000. A completely veteran force really does limit the model count.

As a point of reference, I’ve now painted 30 men for this army, an although I’ve decided to go with metal models for my own reasons, with my Cheaphammer head on I really must point out that you could get similar sized force just from the Warlord Plastic Fallschirmjager box, which you can pick up for around £20 from Outpost Games.

When it comes to expanding the army beyond the Crete campaign, as I’ve been painting my models in their late war garb, I’ll look towards late war additions. Expect to see Panzerfausts, assault rifles and perhaps even a StuG tank destroyer.

Sunday 2 December 2018


Just a quick post today as there’s not much to say other than my hiatus in painting has been arrested by moving to a different project; another squad of Fallschirmjager. 

There’s only one photo today as I had to grab a break in to weather to get it done.

These eight allow me to field the forces required for the first scenario in the Crete 1941 mini campaign published in Wargames Illustrated #371. Pete’s currently building a British force and has only half a dozen to do before we can play.

Admittedly, we’re both actually painting late war armies (Fallschirmjager didn’t wear the the camo smocks in 1941), but we’re not going to allow that to get in the way of the fun.

Just so you’re aware, WI #371, with its focus on campaigns is, for me, probably the best issue for some time.

My burgeoning Fallschirmjager force has many potential uses as they fought throughout the war on the eastern and western fronts, in Italy, and in Normandy - which is where my force will be based on - so there are plenty of gaming opportunities. There’s even a couple of Fallschirmjager specific scenarios in the Operation Sealion campaign book, so I can throw them against my Coastal Defence Platoon should I choose.

I still have another 8 models in my paint queue, including a medium mortar team and an LMG team. I need one more rifleman to becable to play the second scenario, so I’m going to crack on with finishing them off before I buy any more.

Sunday 11 November 2018

“The wolves of Isengard will return...”

Another group of miniatures ‘repossessed’ from my WFB armies, Wargs.

For the past dozen years or so, these five have been masquerading as Dire Wolves in my Vampire Counts army. Since the demise of WFB, they haven’t seen much action, so it was tom to bring them home.

In their former life, these Wargs were simply dark grey all over and then dry brushed with a light grey.

Rather than strip them, I worked up from that simple base, adding the brown on the hairier bits and going back to improve the detail on the mouth and face.

Obviously, there was also a base to do as well.

All in all it’s a job that didn’t take me long and I’m more than happy with the results. 

The only downside is that the models themselves have massive lines on one side where the joins are. I’ve tried to reduce this with green stuff, but they’re still very noticeable. However, it’s not so bad on models that, if things go well, won’t actually get on to the table.

As I’ve said before, cavalry in LotR need a separate dismounted model for the rider. However, in the case of Warg Riders, and one or two other cavalry types, there’s also a chance that the mount will stick around after the rider has gone.

Therefore, these five should be plenty cover for a box of six Warg Riders being dismounted. They can also operate independently if I decide to field an Angmar or Mordor army led by my Ringwraiths.

Unfortunately, Isengard cannot field Wargs on their own, and so I am going to need to get hold of some Warg Riders. I already have a dozen Orcs to use as dismounts that came in one of my eBay bundles, but for the Warg Riders, I shall be picking up a new box from Outpost in the not to distant future. At less than £15 for six cavalry models, I’d be hard pressed to find them cheaper elsewhere.

As ever, if you’re tempted to do the same, follow the link below:

Tuesday 6 November 2018

“The eagles are coming!”

Today I present Tolkein’s deus ex machina and definitely not a metaphor of divine grace swooping in to save souls from the fires of hell, the eagles of the Misty Mountains.

The smaller of the eagles is one of the survivors of the regrettable cull of my LotR collection and was drafted into my Wood Elf army for WFB, where it performed stirling service redirecting, march-blocking and generally annoying my opponents.

In fact, during 7th edition, eagles were so good at frustrating enemy movement and buying time and space to set up devastating flank attacks, that I thought I’d get another.

Although this one has the same pose as the original Gwahir model, it’s not the same size. However, for now I’ll be using this one as the King of the Eagles.

After WFB 8th edition made positional play, terrain and Wood Elves in general totally irrelevant, the Eagles went into hibernation until Kings of War allowed them to take to the skies again under the guise of a unit of Dracon Riders.

Again, they have done excellent work and have functioned effectively as part of my probably somewhat bent army.

However, my return to Middle-Earth has called them home. For the original eagle this has meant the fourth base of its existence and a heavier dry-brush to bring out more detail from the feathers.

‘Gwahir’ was given similar treatment but I’m not overly pleased with the white feathers. However this is mainly due t the fact that I’ve never been happy with them and have retouched them so much that some of the detail has been lost.

In game, the Misty Mountains is a separate army, but I’m not sure if I’ll expand it. Importantly, the eagles can ally with the Fellowship with no penalties, and so I am likely to experiment with putting an eagle or two with Aragon, Legolas and Gimli, justfor research purposes, obviously.

The eagles aren’t the only creatures of the wild that are being recalled to Middle-Earth from other games, however, the others are less than likely to be as noble as Gwahir’s clan.

Sunday 4 November 2018

“Death! Death take us all!”

Well, Let’s not follow Eomer’s pls and all die. To this end, I’ve given the model of Eomer I painted last week a shield.

It seems a wise decision as Eomer is the most expensive model in the Rohan army list, therefore, giving him a bit more protection it a bit of a no brainer.

The shield itself is one I had left over from a long time ago when I did my Saga Vikings. Actually, I had a couple left over, which was fortunate as it allowed me to also give the same shield to the dismounted version of Eomer I’ve just painted.

I followed exactly the same painting process as for the mounted model, but this time it felta lot quicker. I bought the model off eBay and had lost the blade of its sword in the post (it was in the same bundle as the horses whose ankles had snapped).

However, I’m fortunate that the mounted version of Eomer is ten a penny on eBay (due to being an early freebie with the LotR Battle Games magazine) and every Rohan eBay bundle I’ve bought has had at least one mounted Eomer in. Therefore, a hand swap was easy to organise.

That’s it for now. I hit a bit of a painting rut this week because I’d come to the end of a large batch of models and not got anything else underway whilst I was I was doing them. I always find starting a batch from scratch a bit daunting and so it’s easier to get the batch moving whilst I’m finishing off other stuff.

However, Eomer and the 80’s BBC radio play of Lord of the Rings came to my rescue and gave me something to focus on whilst undercoating and base coating all manner of birds, beasts and baddies for the coming weeks.

I’ll forego my usual shameless plug as I believe the character models for Lord of the Rings at currently only available direct from Games Workshop, and are not actually badly priced for the Evil Empire. However, the second hand market should allow you to track down a foot Eomer for significantly less than you’d pay new, and you’ll have a job to not find a mounted Eomer or five going for a song.

Happy hunting!

Tuesday 30 October 2018

“Now for wrath! Now for ruin!”

I’ve been plugging away at a bunch of Rohirrim for some time. I’ve been batch painting, which never goes that well fir me, but I’ve finally finished to batch.

First up is Eomer, one of my favourite characters from the books, who gets the raw end of the deal in terms of having his role reduced in film adaptations, mainly because it saves explaining who Erkenbrand is.

The model is one I’d never liked when I saw it painted by GW, but I think that was because they went for a red that was too bright. Actually I really liked painting this one, and I think the more subtle red not only looks better, but is also more true to the look from the movies.

Next up is a Royal Guard banner bearer which turned up as a nice surprise in a second hand batch of Riders I bought off eBay. The model actually looks better in the flesh, I think I’ve zoomed in too much.

Having this model provides me options, as he can operate as a banner bearer, a regular Royal Guard, a captain or even Gamling (more on that later). I haven’t added a banner yet asi haven’t decided whether I want to add one or shorten the spear to make it a regular throwing spear.

Four more regular riders. These arrived already painted, and I intended to just tidy them up a bit to match my other Riders. 

However, not only did I need to essentially repaint the whole models (hence the time it’s taken), but also several of the horses’ ankles had snapped in transit.

Broken ankles on the horses has actually been a fairly regular occurrence with my purchases of second hand Riders of Rohan. So much so that I’ve become fairly proficient at equine ankle surgery.

In future, I’ll stick to buying them new.

The Rider with the throwing spear also had a fairly mangled shield, and as these are currently in short supply, I needed something to explain the damage and draw focus from the ugly boss.

Therefore, I made use of another arrow and placed it in the crack in the shield. I actually like this enough that I might do more arrows in shields to add a bit of variety to the force.

I’ve also painted a few more foot troops. One of the (many) down sides of cavalry in this game is that you also need dismounted models, adding significantly to the amount of painting that needs doing.

This is also true of characters, and so despite not having a mounted version yet, I’ve painted Eowyn on foot. Despite being a hero, the fact that she was in disguise at the battle of the Pelennor Fields means that there’s nothing particularly interesting about the model. However, I’ve given her a tiny bit of red in her armour to tie her to the colours I used for her brother.

I’ve also painted a foot version of Gamling, which was a really nice model to paint. The sculpt did a lot of the work for me.

I do have a mounted version of Gamling in the paint queue, but until that’s done I can either use this as a dismounted Eomer or use the Royal Guard as Gamling.

So that’s my full contingent of Rohirrim, and I should be able to put together a 300 point force without too much trouble. I have a few more Riders, a mounted Gamling and an Eomer on foot still to do.

If you’re tempted to start your own Eored, I’d avoid the ankle surgery and skip buying second hand horses (seriously, I’ve had more broken horses than complete ones) and get new Riders of Rohan from Outpost. Follow the link below: