Tuesday, 18 December 2018

7TV: Terror of the Autons (sort of)

I haven’t played 7TV since the playtesting we did for 7TV: Apocalypse in the autumn. However, when an outbreak of the plague left Matt and I at a loose end this weekend, we decided to plunge back in. And with Jodie Whittaker leaving our screens last week, it felt only appropriate to keep Doctor Who a continuing feature of Sunday night entertainment.



For this game, I built the casts and Matt chose which one he wanted to use. He chose the Doctor (I suspect because the 11th Doctor is also called Matt).

The Doctor - Unearthly Traveller
Amy Pond - Plucky Assistant
River Song - Angel of Justice
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Military Mind
U.N.I.T. Unit - Army Corporal, 3 Army Privates, Marksman
U.N.I.T. Bazooka - Army Support Weapon

We also gave the Doctor the ‘spy’ special effect to represent the Tardis, and also to counter the fact that the good guys had one less rating point.



Meanwhile, I took control of the minions of the Master (the Roger Delgado version), who looks a bit small here, but that’s more to do with the massive height of the Insidious Industrialist - something that would be relevant later.

The Master - Otherworldly Invader
Rex Farrel - Insidious Industrialist
The Autons - 4 Plastons
Nestene Symbiotes - 2 Spawn
The Janitor - Failed Experiment
R&D Team - 2 Scientists

The scenario was ‘The Escape’, and we decided that it made more sense for the Master be trying to escape the approaching forces of U.N.I.T. after his nefarious plot had been revealed by the Doctor.



Having been informed by the Doctor that the Master and a species called the Nestene Consciousness had infiltrated Farrel Plastics, the Brigadier leads a U.N.I.T. strike team to deal with the extra-terrestrial threat. A whooshing noise heralds the appearance of the Tardis.



Aware that the game is up, a mesmerised Rex Farrel, the CEO of Farrel Plastics, and the results of the Master’s scheme to merge Nestene and Human DNA prepare to resist the approaching soldiers.



Meanwhile, the Master himself seeks a way slip out of the trap.





River Song, never one to shy a way from danger, leads the charge into the factory, whilst Amy looks on.



The Doctor emerges briskly from the Tardis to examine the figure standing motionless in the field.

“I believe that might be an Auton. Although has it been activated?”



“Ah! It appears so.”

The Doctor struggles with the plastic automaton.



More Autons lumber into view, whilst the scientist continues his ‘fieldwork’.



River Song is assailed by the janitor who was mutated by the accident in the lab that served as the cliffhanger of episode two.



The Master continues to sneak away from the encircling soldiers.



Farrel and one of the symiotes are momentarily distracted, destroying the evidence of the company’s misdeeds.

Quite why Farrel believes paperwork is more incriminating than a six foot slime monster is not fully explained in the script.



Amy is suddenly shot from behind by an advancing Auton. Her stripper-stab-vest takes most of the damage, but she’s winded.

The Auton is quickly dealt with by U.N.I.T.



However, River drops her opponent with a handy dose of sleep spray, which is actually a rather repellent perfume bought for her by an admirer on Zebulon IV.



One of the symbiotes is hit by a devastating blast from the bazooka team. However, rather than being destroyed, the foul creature is splattered and reforms as two creatures. The Master’s experiment was a success!



A soldier runs to the aid of the Doctor, who is still grappling with his plastic assailant.



The janitor once again rises to hold back the River. Amy rushes to her aid, but is knocked unconscious by a flailing tentacle.



Despite seeming to be getting the better of the Auton, the Doctor looks in danger when a symbiotic surges towards him.



The Brigadier orders the sniper to target an approaching Auton.



The Master avoids the soldiers hunting him, but develops a sinister plan to deal with them.



In the nick of time, the Doctor slips away from the Auton before the symbiotic can grab him.



Despite a barrage of fire, pre-watershed rules mean that U.N.I.T. fail to inflict much damage beyond the few pyrotechnics that the BBC budget will allow.



Seizing his opportunity, the Master mesmerises one of the soldiers into attacking his comrades.



A quick montage reveals all of our heroes being assailed by pink rubber tentacles. In years to come, these shot will be used as the basis of several inappropriate memes.



Having disposed of the paperwork, Farrel reveals he’s been wearing a cutting edge miniature jet pack and rockets to safety, looking certain to escape.



Meanwhile, the corporal is killed by his hypnotised brother-in-arms, who is also killed in turn.



More pink rubber quivers across the screen, sending children across the land scurrying behind the sofa.



The firefight between the Autons and U.N.I.T. is ended by a well placed bazooka blast, however Farrel is safely behind the hedge and poised to ignite his jet pack again.



However, in a controversial editing decision, the sniper spots the head of the CEO poking up above the hedge and drops him with a head shot.

Mary Whitehouse is livid.



However, the Master successfully escapes, ready to return to menace the population of Earth in a future episode.



River finally deals with the Janitor, and with the Autons destroyed, Farrel Dead and the Master fled, the symbiotes retreat into the factory where they are destroyed by a tank from the stock footage library.

The Brigadier thanks the Doctor for his help, and the Doctor says something pithy regarding plastic. Nobody comments on the fact that Rory is missing and this episode was filmed in 1971 features a Doctor portrayed by an actor who wasn’t born until 1982.

Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...cue credits.

All in all this game was loads of fun, as 7TV always is, and I should try to get more games in. I do have some more Doctor Who stuff to do, and I have a plan to get that done in the New Year, so watch this space.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Schnellboots

A little bit of departure for me this week, as I’ve been distracted from my more usual painting project by something that goes to the very heart of the Cheaphammer ideology.

Free stuff!



These are a pair of German Schnellboots that were free with my monthly subscription to Wargames Illustrated magazine. Each copy of last month’s issue came with either two of these or two British MTBs for use with Warlord’s new naval game, Cruel Seas.



Above is an S-38 E Boat, was a large, yet surprisingly fast, whose primary armaments were torpedoes.

Below is the upgraded S-100 E Boat, which had more armour (especially around the bridge) and additional deck mounted weapons in the middle of the craft.



Both of these boats were quick and fairly easy to paint, although I wasn’t in a rush as I don’t have the rules, any proper terrain (the pictures show a hill on one of my wife’s scarves) or somebody to play against. 

However, something about them caught my imagination. Perhaps it’s because their name includes two of the four words of war-movie-German that I knew: “schnell” and “boot” (the other words being “halt” and “schweinehund”).



As I was putting the finishing touches to the Schnellboots on Friday, imagine my surprise when next month’s issue of Wargames Illustrated popped through the door early (no doubt trying to avoid the Christmas post) with yet more freebies for Cruel Seas, a sprue of sixteen launched torpedo markers.

I had hoped to get the American PT Boats instead, but in retrospect, the torpedoes are perhaps more useful, as it means that if I decide to get into Cruel Seas, I can potentially not buy the starter set and just buy a fleet box and rulebook, as the torpedoes currently only come in the starter.

This should actually save money in the long run, as I’d probably want to get the fleet box anyway. Combined with the discount I would get from picking up Cruel Seas at Outpost Games starting a new game could work out not being as expensive it might appear.

From what I’ve seen, Cruel Seas looks to be a quick and enjoyable game that seems to evoke both Bolt Action and Dropfleet Commander, both games that I enjoy. We shall see whether anything comes of this.

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

Autumnschirmjagers

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, 25 November 2018

Barbarossa Bridgehead

During the rapid advance of Axis forces in the summer of 1941 a series of rivers formed formidable natural obstacles to be overcome. On of the primary objectives for the Panzers lunging deep into Soviet territory was to seize river crossings and hold a bridgehead on both banks until the slower moving infantry forces could catch up. The holding force could find themselves temporarily cut off and under attack from all sides a the Red Army attempted to retake the crossing point, usually in a frantic effort to break out of encirclement.

What follows is one such engagement...



Having not put brush to miniature for over two weeks, the blog still needs feeding, and so it’s time for a battle report. This time it’s Bolt Action, with Pete’s Panzers seeking to take a bridge from my Soviet grasp.

The scenario is taken from Warlord Games’ Ostfront campaign book, which, like pretty much everything else you see in this report, is available from The Outpost at a 20% discount from RRP.

We fought the game at 1250 points and both chose our armies using the Barbarossa army selectors, which put limitations on what was available to us - for example, the Soviets could not use any veteran troops.

In addition, the scenario itself placed further restrictions (which is a feature I like, as it prevents too much repetition). The Soviets has to include a Commissar and an NKVD squad as the bridge security detail, and the Germans could not use artillery and were required to provide transport for their infantry, as this would be the vanguard of a fast moving attack.

The Heroic Defenders of Mother Russia

Senior Officer + 1 Man (Inex)
Commissar (Inex)
Forward Artillery Observer (Reg)
2 x LMG Squad (Inex)
Rifle Squad (Inex)
NKVD Squad with SMGs and Flag (Reg)
2 x Anti-Tank Rifle Team (Reg)
Tank Hunter Squad (Reg)
MMG Team (Reg)
Light Anti-Tank Gun (Reg)
Medium Mortar Team with Spotter (Reg)
T-34/76 Tank (Reg)
BA-6 Armoured Car (Reg)
Truck (Reg)

The Wicked Invaders of the Wehrmacht 

Platoon 1 (all Reg)
Junior Officer + 1 Man
Heer Infantry Squad in Truck
Heer Infantry Squad in Truck
MMG Team in Kubelwagen
Panzer 38(t) Tank
SdKfz 231 Heavy Armoured Car (8 Rad)

Platoon 2 (all Reg)
Junior Officer + 1 Man
Heer Infantry Squad in SdKfz 7 Half-Track
Heer Infantry Squad in SdKfz 251/1 Half-Track
Panzerjager 1 Tank Destroyer

The scenario was due to last 10 turns, and so I’ll spare you a blow by blow account and go for edited highlights. Suffice to say, the winner would be the side that could occupy the bridge and ensure that no enemy units were within 6”. The Germans would attack in two waves and the Soviets deployed half their force dug in and awaited reinforcements to arrive from any of three table edges from turn three onwards.



The initial assault saw the German armour arrive and begin to spray the dug in Soviets with fire. A Heer unit gunned down half of a Rifle squad, the remainder of whom were ‘inspired’ by the Commissar (hiding in the building) into a suicidal assault. The remains of the Heer unit were wiped out by SMG fire from the NKVD in the bridge.



A well timed artillery barrage put pins on the German armour, and a series of failed order rolls saw Pete effectively lose his second turn and a transport FUBAR in front of its own guns.



The second bridge assault was more determined. The NKVD has retired to their fox holes where they subjected to what can only be described as a blitzkrieg attack. Defensive positions and the patriotic sight of the red flag kept them fighting.



The state of play shortly before the German MMG is wiped out by a Soviet mortar strike.



The German armour is outflanked by Soviet reinforcements. In a startling display of accuracy, the T-34 took out the Panzer 38(t), the BA-6 immobilised the 8-Rad and both of them sprayed the Kubelwagen with MG fire (we later worked out that this should have destroyed it, so it appears in a couple more pictures).



The battle in the bridge wore on. The Germans went to ground, protected from incoming fire on all sides by the stone sided bridge and the NKVD in their foxholes.



More Soviet reinforcements begin to pour in from the rear.



The Commissar, regretting his decision to take the comfortable lodgings on the wrong side of the bridge, cowers in the attic.

He was eventually found and murdered by a German officer.



Even though the Panzerjager managed to keep the T-34 out of the fight, engaged in a long range duel, it’s own effectiveness was severely hampered by continuous mortar fire raining down. Ultimately, the T-34 won the duel, but too late to have any more impact on the fight round the bridge.



Things get increasingly sticky for the Germans on the bridge, and the NKVD continue to old their ground.



The deadlock is finally broken when the last of the Germans are killed. Tank Hunters are ordered to the crest of the bridge and spray fire into yet another group of Heer troops heading towards their objective.



The final squad of German soldiers take shelter behind their own vehicles, readying he selves for another push towards the bridge.



However, they cannot shelter from the BA-6, which, free from fear of enemy anti-tank guns, advances rapidly into their rear, spraying the Germans mercilessly with LMG fire.



Only a handful of Germans remain, and, knowing that victory is beyond their grasp, vow to sell their lives dearly to prevent a Soviet victory.

What follows is a vicious display of tit-for-tat murder as assaults, counter assaults and a veritable storm of rifle fire. My inexperienced soldiers broke too easily, and Pete was subjected to a frankly awesome display of shooting as my big guns repeatedly missed the side of a building attempting to kill the officer lurking in there.



I mistakenly assaulted with the remnants of the NKVD when I should have fired a point blank range, and lost the squad in the process, leaving one German standing. Although he was finished off by the last Tank Hunter, the NCO of the last Heer unit was left stood at the foot of the bridge, preventing the Soviets claiming victory.

Despite decimating the German attack, the game ended in a draw.

It was a really enjoyable game. I really like restricted lists and specific objectives as it gives a more meaningful game than a regular ‘kill em all’ set up. 

The artillery barrage was critical to the outcome as it prevented Pete from pressing his advantage at the beginning of the game, and then the surprisingly effective flank attack by my T-34 and BA-6 probably put an end to any realistic chance of Pete winning as pushing my entrenched troops out of their positions with armoured vehicles advancing into their rear was a tough ask.

Our next scenario from Ostfront will see the Germans licking horns with both the Russian army and the Russian winter. Not sure when it will happen, but based on the fun we had with this game, it won’t be long.