Friday, 16 March 2018

8th Army Armour off the bench!

11th Hussars Honeys

The British armour for Rommel is mounted, labelled and off the work-bench. Also some of the scenery items. Last big tasks are the infantry and hills, and then time for a game!

The latest batch - just waiting for the Matildas - Caunter takes longer!

Crusaders of 7th Hussars - fond memories of the Airfix 1/72nd kit!

Grants of 2RTR - far nicer than the Lee!

An oasis - scenery only, and the "budget" palm trees

Supply base - one for each side

Thursday, 15 March 2018

IABSM Test Game - Turns 8 - 12

After about another turns of damage which forced 1 Section of 3 Pl to withdraw under the "loss of bottle" rule (and down to 3 men!) the Platoon Commander finally managed to get the 2" mortar to lay a smoke screen in front of the German position.

At the same time 1 Pl (still on blind) and 2 Pl started to swing right behind 3 Pl ready to launch a right-flanking, bags of smoke assault.

1 Pl in position, 2Pl almost there. The screen is now fully stoked so has 4 turns left, and the German Zug 2 commander has brought up his reserve Gruppe to cover his left flank in expectation of a British assault.

Should be time to test the hand0-to-hand rules next time.

In other news, almost finished all the North Africa armour, and its the West Midlands Military Show this weekend!

Monday, 5 March 2018

IABSM Test Game - Turns 1-7

Going well so far. The effectiveness of the initial (corrected) stonk was blunted somewhat by the first few turns having Tea Break cards after the  Axis Big men (removing Shock - ah, are they allowed to do that to Blinds?) but before the Brits could move! Eventually the Brits got going, using the cover of the corn-field and in two turns were crossing the small hedges into the first orchard. The Germans spotted the far right British blind - but that was revealed to be the dummy (1-3 on D6). The next left British 3 platoon were also spotted by the German blind in the forward house, but spotting back this was revealed to be a dummy - so there were no Germans in the first two buildings. The Company Commander doubled 3 platoon towards the house, and they quickly moved in, spotted the German blind in the next house, and  tried to get off some rounds but not being at full effect caused no damage - interesting how simple the IABSM fire chart is - no modifiers, just 3 range band and 3 target/shot categories - seems very odd! 2 Platoon also pushes forward and into the left hand near house - being spotted as they do so. Spotting working well and love the blinds.

Now that the situation was clear, the German's defending the two rear houses (left and centre) and his forces balanced also to the left it was time for the company commander to sit down and do his appreciation or Tactical 7 Questions. In "normal" wargames mode the Brits might just push on, squaring up against the two German strongpoints, and their two MG42, and probably get wiped out. All the Sandhurst training though says to focus on the right building, leave 3 Platoon as a fire base and then go right flanking with Platoons 1 and 2 with bags of smoke. So our gallant company commander calls for 1 Platoon to swing across to the right, followed by 2 Platoon (do they leave the 2nd house vacant?) to make their way to an FUP and start line. We'll see how it goes.

Situation at end of Turn 3. Only 1 Platoon is left on a blind on the British side. At the 1:1 scale 3 Platoon by the right near house is only just visible.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

First North Africa WW2 Units - German Armour

The first elements of my 1/300th North Africa WW2 project (with Rommel rules, and probably Blitzkrieg Command), have made it out of the workshop.

  • Two Panzer Abteilung, one with PzKfw IIs and IIIs, one with PzKfw IIIs and IVs
  • The 605th PanzerJager Abteilung with PanzerJager 1
  • One Kompanie of Sd Kfz 231 8-Rad
Lots of terrain, British armour, and infantry for both sides to come over the coming weeks.

Friday, 2 March 2018

North of Caen - IABSM Test Game Setup

I've been wanting to try out IASBM for ages, particularly when Chain of Command didn't "float my boat". Knowing how long it would take to set up (and tear down) a 20mm game I decided to go for 6mm instead, using my 8 man section hexes as half-sections, so I've got 16 figure sections but who cares.

One of the nice things about doing in 6mm is that with ~30m = 4cm hexes its almost 1:1 ground to figure scale. Needless t say I'm converting the rules to hex!

The overall layout looks really nice. Both sides start on blinds (like the blinds idea). A weak German platoon is defend the village from an advancing British platoon.

The Brits get 3 12" square ( 3 x 7 hex) stonk at the beginning of the game. But I then discovered that since all the Germans are on blinds then all the Brits can do is reduce German activations for next turn (BUT: see Update below) - which they do for two of the blinds, despite one salvo being so widely off it picks up the next target (like the deviation dice). Doesn't look like the arty rules give any benefit from being entrenched that I could see either (whether on Blinds or not).

Preliminaries out of the way then, on with the fight...

Long shot - Brits at Bottom, Germans in village at top

German blinds in the village

Update: Realised that "stonk" is a specific thing in IASBM - doesn't mention that at the start of the Indirect Fire chapter. Far nastier. Rolled for the damage on the two blinds that got it - one twice. Not revealing to myself which of the two blinds are real troops til I need to (by dice), so (as a German) hoping that the Germans are defending forwards!

Stonk results: red marker = Shock, White Puff = dead

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Alan Martin RIP

Alan studying a losing position in a game of Blucher

My oldest friend and fellow wargamer Alan Martin died this morning after a long, and largely successful, fight against cancer. Alan and I first met at Primary School when we were about 5 years old, met again in Secondary School, started wargaming, and stayed friends ever since. By the time I got back into the hobby Alan was more into the painting of the figures and creating stunning terrain than actually playing games, but we coaxed him back onto the wargames table over the last year or so, and he also loved board-games and even D&D. Alan contributed items on creating wargaming terrain to blogs like Wargames News and Terrain and pictures of his figures graced several commercial rule sets. His greatest joy in his last year though was his Grandson, Harry, not yet a year old. I was glad to be able to say my goodbyes to him in person on Monday, and he'll be sorely missed by family, friends and fellow wargamers.

Alan DM'ing Dungeons & Dragons in Hougoumont

Alan and Nick walking the battlefield at Waterloo last summer

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Casualty Markers and Wash Tests

While waiting for my 1/300th North Africa divisions to arrive I thought I'd paint up some casualty markers using old Airfix figures (you know, those ones that came in every box and were next to no use!) With our SLS rules 9and others)  we mark damage with smoke puffs, which also gives a good sense of where the battle is happening, but once a unit has only 1 damage left it is "spent" and retreats and can't advance until rallied - so you a) have units out of the action surrounded by smoke-puffs and b) have lots of smoke puffs tied up doing nothing really! So in 6mm I have casualty markers that equate to "spent" for units and I thought it would be useful to do the same in 20mm, esp with the Waterloo 60 planning (that's going to need a lot of smoke puffs!)

I'd also promised myself some time at the start of the year to review my painting style. I still don't think I'm up to doing 3-shade approaches. I might try the off highlight, but its the use of better washes where my biggest and quickest improvements can probably be made. I used to use Nuln Oil ink diluted, but GW now sells it as a wash, which I don't think I'd noticed so was still diluting it! On 6mm it still looked OK, but in 20mm it was giving too much of a dullness to everything and not filling cracks. So I decided with these casualties to finish in 4 different ways:

  • No wash at all, just to show the impact that the washes do have
  • My existing 50:50 Nuln Oil wash
  • Neat Nuln Oil wash
  • Army Painter Strong Quickshade applied by brush ( OK I know that Alan and my brother both mix their own from furnisher polish but I haven't the time/confidence in consistency!)
All had a Vallejo Matt varnish, brush applied (after several disasters with spray).

Here are some of the results - I think I have the captions right!

50:50 Nuln Oil Wash and Water

Neat Nuln Oil Wash



50:50 Nuln Oil Wash


So actually neat Nuln Oil and Quick Shade both giver pretty good results, and Nuln Oil dries  a lot faster, doesn't smell, and Quickshade still needs the matt varnish.

So I think my plan is (since I have a £20 tin of Quickshade!):

  • Use QS on the WW2 1/300th armour and figures I'm about to do as it will look good as dirt as well as shading
  • Since my next "batch" is 20mm ECW or WOTR so more forgiving than Napoleonics do a unit in each of neat Nuln Oil Wash and QS and compare the results.
Then I can take stock and make a final decision. Whilst that QS tin looks expensive will be interesting to see how fast I get through neat Nuln Oil at GW prices!

Still won't ever win any painting competitions though!