Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Percheron Paper Dropship - and Onager APC

I'm busy augmenting my Albedo forces with vehicles, and in the absence of a 3D printer or the budget for "proper" 28mm models I've decided to try my hand at some paper/card models. There's a great site at Genet Models which has a great range of 28mm SF kit.

My first attempt was their Onager tracked APC which looks like its come straight out of SHADO or any other Gerry Anderson series.

Next up was the Percheron Dropship, an ideal stand-in for the LARCs in Albedo.

These are early days for me with this type of model, but at a distance they certainly play the part. I'll try and tidy the models, a bit of trimming and colouring at the edges, more tightly sticking the seams so they bare a bit closer scrutiny, but they are certainly doing what I need and any deficiency is certainly in the quality of my build rather than the quality of the print and design, which is superb. Well recommended.

Friday, 24 April 2020

WOTR Billmen, Pikemen and Dismounted MAA

Just finished my latest batch of figures for my War of the Roses armies. Units are:

  • 2 x Billmen (Mowbray-Y and Stanley-Y/L)
  • 1 x Pike/Spearmen (Mowbray-Y)
  • 1 x Dismounted Men-at-Arms (Mowbray/Norfolk-Y, Beaufort/Somerset-L, Fitzalan/Arundel-Y, Stanley-L/Y)
Affinities and quantities reflect those in Kingmaker as I slowly try and build up the force to use Kingmaker as a campaign game.

Pikemen (Mowbray), meant to be spearmen but weapons seem a bit long!

Pikemen (Mowbray)

Dismounted Men-at-Arms (Stanley)

Dismounted Men-at-Arms

Two units of Billmen (Stanley in front, Mowbray behind)

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Platoon Mega Playtest: Part 8 - Iron Cross


32 page glossy softback, of which the core rules are only 13 pages. Decent pics, diagrams and layout. 1 page QRS on back cover and as download PDF.


Operation Martlet Scenario 4 - Striking at St Nicholas. Germans with IG37 infantry support gun as before. The rules have no explicit scale, all long-arm weapons have unlimited range. IAWs have a range of 8"/20cm - so assuming ~100m gives 10cm = 50m, but that then seems too long for the rest of the long-arms. Close (or is that effective) range is 12"/30cm, which if assumed as 300m, gives 10cm = 30m.

How it Played

View from German lines
Same British game plan as before. No.1 and No.2 Section headed off through the wood on the L flank, while No. 3 Section took the open ground on the R flank, with No. 4 Section in reserve. No. 3 Section soon came under concentrated fire from 2. Gruppen (centre) and 3. Gruppen (British R) which wiped it out. No. 1 Section made it to the edge of the wood and was immediately engaged by the IG which wiped out their LMG team. The Cromwell came forward to try and suppress 2. Gruppen to clear the way for No. 4 Section. It was out of Panzerfaust range but the Panzer IV came forward, and it got hit by both the Cromwell and the 6pdr, the 6pdr delivering the final blow which knocked it out. The Cromwell cleared the hedgeline of 2. Gruppen MG34, and 1.Gruppen MG34 in the farm roof, clearing the way for No. 4 Section.

No. 4 Section moving forwards. Note new dead 10mm models!

Unfortunately No. 4 Section still caught fire from the rest of 2. Gruppen and lost their rifle team. The LMG team made it to the hedgeline though.

At the farm No. 2 Section finally made it through the wood unmolested and assaulted 1. Gruppen in the farm. After several rounds of melee 1. Gruppen won and No.2 Section lost is rifle group.

1. Gruppen redeployed to the N of the farm. No. 1 Section in distance.
The Brits were now perilously close to their breakpoint. 3. Gruppen and the IG turned S to engage the UC and Bren team which had snuck up on the far side of the hedge S of the road, and in a brief exchange of fire the Bren team was gone, British breakpoint reached and it was game over - a German victory!

Rules Impression

I'd heard good things about Iron Cross, particularly the activation system. I'm afraid to say it didn't work for me at all, and even seems the most broken of all the ones I've tried so far - mainly because you start min/maxing the game mechanic rather than "playing the period".

Each side gets a bunch of activation tokens, effectively 1 per unit plus 2 for HQ. But those tokens can be allocated to any unit. After allocating the unit actually activates on a 1+/2+/3+ incrementing D6 roll, based on both previous activations and morale/damage hits. So far fine. But 3 things to me then wreck it:

  • There is no penalty for failing the activation (other than loss of token) so you can keep going it if important. Other rules with this system tend to have you lose initiative.
  • Units need 3 (small) or 5 (standard) morale/damage hits to be eliminated. Recovering hits is relatively easy (and not subject the same incremental challenge). So in reality you aim to get all 3/5 IN A SINGLE ACTIVATION.
  • So once you start a unit firing and inflicting damage you keep going. Any infantry unit probably averages 1-2 hits an activation, so in 3 you're probably done. 

As a result I found each turn tended to resolve around the destruction of one particular unit. The defender does get the chance for reactive fire each time - but they are on a 3+/4+ model, and with each hit that becomes harder. Also with almost every firefight becoming two way it seems to break the activating players flow (deliberately?).

Smoke rules are very simple (the 2" landed smoke just right turn after turn, blinding the IG), and there are no indirect fire or spotting rules. No building rules (just cover) and melee is just another firefight - hence it dragging on.


Not for me, although other people say they've got good games out of it. I've got Seven Days to the Rhine to play later, so I might watch a few video playthroughs before that to see if I get anything seriously wrong. But on this experience overall 4/10.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Band of Critters - Night Raid on Chanzori

With my colleagues in  Jasper, Mica and Delta companies having the advantage in the battles for Summit Junction and Bohoni Rd, and my own couple of Lupus platoons facing a superior force including ILR Assault troops I decided to play safe this turn and just commit myself to a nighttime raid to keep the ILR on their toes.

Lt Casputain was given the chance to prove himself again, and managed to roll for probably the easiest raid - just kill 25% of the enemy. Seeing as he only had 8 men and ILR only had 10 (but better rated) he only had to kill 2.

EDF attacking from the top, Section House and Yard bottom right

The ILR was set up with the Assault Section dozing in the Section House, whilst 4 rabbits of the Mech Inf patrolled the area. I decided to use the Nighttime rules from Albedo, but supplement them with the Noise/Guards stealth rules from Osprey's Black Ops which had worked tolerably well last time I used them, and would also enforce a different sort of game.

Just a regular nighttime ILR patrol duty....

Lt Casputain split his hand-picked section (just cats and dogs, no-one with inferior night-vision), into 3 teams, he kept the LMG team with him, the Section 2ic took the grenadier and 2 more riflemen, and the two felines formed a third team. The plan was for the 3 teams to sweep though the settlement roughly in line til contact was made, and then focus on the kill. Nighttime visibility at only 25% (small moons!) meant a 9" visibility limit.

As the game kicked off the ILR patrol guards did their suitably random bit, and all was quiet for 2 turns as the EDF snuck forward. Then a guard on the edge of the board, turned and found himself walking into sightline of the felines hiding behind a wall. Two shots, one wound. The rabbit shouted but was too far away to be heard. Feeling the weight of the Republic on him he went into a Fanatical Charge (ILR speciality), dodged bullets on the way in and then in the melee (more noise) took another wound and staggered back.

ILR Fanatical Charge

On the other side of the board Sgt Saguenay had led his team across the main road and was nearing (unbeknownst to him) the Section House yard. A patrolling rabbit turned about at the wrong moment and two rifles were set to let rip at his back - but both jammed.

Now just don't jam..... aw'shucks!

 The swearing must have been enough to alert another nearby guard who turned into the yard from the other side, fired past his colleague and hit the edge of the wall that one of the EDF troopers was using as cover. The gunshots were enough to alert the third guard, who just happened to be by the section house (the Assault team still snoozing!) and burst in to tell them that they were under attack.

Sgt Saguenay's team takes incoming on the edge of the Yard

Lt Casputain could hear the commotion in the yard, and sent the LMG team across the road to a perfect enfilade shot against the two rabbits still in the hard. But the LMG jammed.

The ILR Assault team came pouring out of the front and side door of the Section House and a frantic firefight started around the yard. The EDF managed to get enough stuns to keep the ILR from causing too much damage, but without getting much damage itself. Things were looking worse for the EDF when Lt Casputain got caught in a graze from some flying brickwork, but luckily he was soon back in action.

The firefight on all 4 sides of the yard

On the other side of the board the two felines managed to subdue the fanatical rabbit, but were a bit too enthusiastic and managed to kill him rather than capture him. With that done they headed off through the back alleys to get to the main fight.

When they arrived they had two rabbits with backs turned in front of them, one guard and the ILR OC. A couple of shots and both were wounded. Then things started going downhill for the ILR. One Morale card had an assault trooper decide to leg it, and then another had the ILR OC bleed out and die! The EDF LMG was still proving ineffective, but Sgt Saguenay's up close and personal fight managed to take out the ILR assault LMG. One of his team was so fed up with a jamming gun that he fixed bayonet and charged the remaining ILR assault troopers, and was lucky to escape (at least temporarily) with his life.

A crazed EDF trooper charges in with his weapon jammed!

With 4 rabbits down, including the ILR OC, it was time to bug-out. Sgt Saguenay pulled back down his alley, waiting to provide cover for his crazy colleague.

Lt Casputain, Sgt Saguenay and their teams made the pullback safely, sprinting to put enough distance between them and the ILR to disappear into the darkness.  The two felines were less successful, a couple of wounded ILR guards spotting them from the cross-roads and charging in, resulting in one EDF dead before the remaining feline slinked away.

Wounded ILR catches a fleeing feline


EDF pulled victory from the jaws of defeat - with all those early misfires it really seemed as though they be cut to pieces by the Assault team, but the flanking move by the felines really turned it around.

The Black Ops Guard/Noise rules worked pretty well, but activating the Commander (8+ then another 8+ I think) is just too hard - and with radio would have thought would be pretty instant. I might tweak for my next game, but certainly worth having in the armoury. The night rules OK, I played 25% not the "declared" 35% so as to use the lowest range (9") which did end up with the action being close in - and given the short lines perhaps not as much as an affect as I'd expected. Both though gave the game a very different feel to the first one - it certainly felt more sneaky rather than a simple encounter battle.

I think the EDF less well on the counter-game so we'll see what the overall result it.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

EDF Dawn Raid on Chanzori - Jika Campaign Battle AAR #1

An ILR trooper on patrol in Chanzori

Most of us in the Jika Campaign had our first battle this week, with various points on the map becoming flashpoints. For Lupus Company it was a fighting patrol into Chanzori which we believed that the ILR may be moving in to. EDF has a Section (8 critters) plus PML team (think Carl Gustav), whilst the ILR had a Section (12 critters) plus PML team plus a fireteam of elite Air Assault troops (these were scaled down from the roughly Company +/- forces on the map campaign).

The EDF commander, Lt Casputain, moved up the ridge overlooking the settlement (a mining hab complex) and laid his plan - the LMG , PML and Grenadier would provide overwatch and the firebase, whilst the rifle group pushed forward to seize the objective - the satcom terminal.

Table layout, a few activations in, EDF at bottom moving towards the top

EDF Commanders viewpoint - all quiet in Chanzori

With the first activations the Lt Casputain took up his position, and the rifle group moved into the 'shroom copse on the L. But the support teams resolutely stayed on the table edge. The ILR commander, Lt Kannahai, alerted to the movement hurried his team from their brief kip out into the rocks and scrub outside the hab units - the habs offering few fire positions. The EDF Grenadier scored first blood wounding one of the ILR as they moved forward.

A pensive EDF critter moves through the 'shroom copse

As the ILR and the rifle group exchanged fire the ILR Assault Squad also moved out, taking up position in the 'shroom copse just in front and below the Lt Casputain and his Grenadier's position. The poured withering fire down, wounding the grenadier and stunning the OC. Whilst the main ILR rifle group was reluctant to move out of the cover of the habs the EDF PML team finally got into position and with its first round scored a direct hit on the Lt Kannahai, pinning the whole of his platoon. With only 2 cards left the "reshuffle" card finally came up and the first turn was over.

Two rifle groups in a firefight. Satcom objective in the background.

Two short turns then followed. The EDF rifle and LMG groups caused more damage to the ILR rifle team, and despite his wounds the grenadier was inflicting hits on the ILR Assault Squad. The ILR 2ic finally managed to call in support from one of the LARC gunships but despite 6 shots against the EDF PML team only managed to inflict one head wound - the critter's helmet reducing it from a kill to a wound. Time and time again the EDF body armour was proving its worth!

Sterling work from the EDF PML team

The weight and accuracy of EDF fire (and lack of ILR protection except for the Assault team) was finally taking its toll. The ILR rifle team was eliminated, PML team down to 1 critter, and the Assault team pulling back. Lt Casputain ordered the advance, and he and his rifle team went left flanking making a bee-line for the Satcom, with the LMG and PML still giving covering fire.

EDF Rifle Group legs it forward

Ad hoc ILR fire from the flanks was ineffective, and the EDF team made it to the satcom.

EDF reaches the Satcom dish, engaging ILR hiding by the habs
A quick D3 roll showed they only had to hold it for 1 turn, so after a brief exchange of fire in the next turn with the ILR rifle team still cowering between the has (and two more ILR casualties), the Reshuffle card marking end of turn came up and it was game over. 10 ILR dead for only 2 EDF wounded (1 and 2 pt), out of 16 ILR and 10 EDF critters.

Lt Casputain sends the Mission Accomplished signal


Within the first couple of activations I was reminded of just how nice a system ACP164 is to play. The multi-function cards make everything so easy, and all the results are believable.  EDF protection certainly made a difference. I nearly lost the EDF commander (and the ILR lost theirs), and given the importance of commander in this game I think next time I might give each of them a runner/radio op, but keep them back, and put the grenadier in with the rifle team. PML's were vicious (and never missed - luck of the cards) more so than the LMG, and there may be a case for giving them a reload action.

The EDF plan actually worked out exactly as intended - must be a first, although the OC almost lost his will so it looked dicey at one point.

The "AI" worked pretty well. The ILR started in Normal stance, but were only in Defensive at the end. Each ILR unit rolled for its action each activation, and at the end of each turn the stance was adjusted based on failures, morale and losses. I may have a few tweaks which I'll suggest in the Forums.

All in all a great game, and we'll see how it impacts the campaign, and how the solo game my ILR opponent played compares to mine!

Read more about the campaign at http://albedopatrol.com/Forum/index.php?board=19.0

My Jika Campaign posts at https://newconverj.blogspot.com/search/label/Jika%20Campaign

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Restored Airfix 54mm Models

Having a bit of a rearrangement of my wargaming cupboards I decided it was finally time to do something with the box of battered 54mm bits. In fact the models were in pretty good shape, the Cuirassier needing mane, arm, sword sheaf and carbine re-affixed, and the Bengal Lancer just needed a new lance. Not bad for ~45yr old models!

Monday, 6 April 2020

Platoon Mega Playtest: Part 7 - No End In Sight


92 page PDF by Nordic Weasel - available on Wargames Vault for $12.99, minimal images but fairly sensible layout. About 1/3rd is campaign rules. No QRS.


Operation Martlet Scenario 4 - Striking at St Nicholas. The Germans have now added an IG37 infantry support gun. The rules have no explicit scale, but all long-arm weapons have unlimited range, so probably more like 10/20m per square than 30m. No close/effective range either. Although designed for the Modern period the rules include bolt-action rifles and Brens, so no conversion needed.

How It Played

No. 3 Section started off, patrolling along the S flank til they got hit by 3. Gruppen on the hedge line. One man down, adverse morale test and scurried back to where they came. Cromwell came forward to support, put some MG and 76mm HE into the hedge-lines, but really only suppressed. The Panzer IV seized its chance, did a quick and long drive into a shooting position and disabled the Cromwell tracks. The 6pdr returned fire and took the Panzer out. A Panzerfaust team in the hedges tried to take the Cromwell but it was front on and the round bounced off.

Meanwhile No. 1 Section was heading across the N flank through the wood, but as they approached the farm came under sustained fire from the MG42 in the attic rooms. Before long the whole Section was suppressed - with the IG pouring fire in from the flank not helping.

The Pl Comd finally called down smoke in the S and No. 4 Section went to help No 3 Section which had still been pinned. No. 4 was slow off the mark though and No. 3 was still not at the enemy by the time the smoke cleared. The static Cromwell hoped shoot them in though and a handful of No. 3 Section finally made contact with a handful of defenders. The Brits won and the Germans pulled back.

Meanwhile No.2 Section had also been advancing through the woods, and with all the fire being directed at No. 1 Section was able to get up to the farm walls without casualty (a short range German shoot missed totally). Grenades were lobbed in, Germans stunned, and No. 2 Section stormed through the openings. The melee wasn't as quick as planned but finally the Germans gave way, and the MG42 team and Zug OK fled the farm.

End game time, No. 2 Section turned its fire S on 2. Gruppen in the central field, with No.4 and No.3 Section also putting in fire from the flank. 2. Gruppen struggled to get people out of pinned, especially those caught in the open, and finally No. 4 Section stormed into melee with them and it was game over.

Rules Impression

No End In Sight has a really cracking command and control system - probably the best yet for giving you a section commander's feel for a Platoon battle. Sides alternate activations, and can activate one commander, who gets D6-Stress action points, each of which can activate upto 3 men (if close) or remove 1 pinned, and a few other things. But each activation gives the NCO one more Stress, and if they role modified 0 or less they are "exhausted" and have to wait the next turn. The next turn only happens when everyone (voluntarily or mandated) is exhausted, and 3 Stress are instantly recovered by NCO.

The next effect is that you tend to focus the battle on one bit of the field at a time, with opposing NCOs fighting it out, and spending an increasingly meagre AP as best they can, removing a pin here, pushing a couple of guys forward there - all within the context of the larger game. Excellent.

The under-fire Morale test was nice - forcing No. 3 Section back with the first shots, and as the rules warn whilst units are often pin soldiers are more rarely killed than in other rules. I did find pinning easy to recover from though - although I suppose since the NCO is using activations up to do that they still can't then do much (can't recover pin and fight in same activation).

There were rules for most situations in there, including lots of building and vehicle ones. However some had less depth so you might be forced to improvise. Nice grenade rules (luckily none of No.3  Section's bounced off the door frame?). The tank combat rules have an annoying "silent" result on a roll of 4 which is meant to keep people guessing and require a reroll next turn, and I just kept rolling 4s!

The core combat system is dice heavy, shock dice per man, +2 for LMG, then half that many dice for Kill (a Nordic Weasel trope), so that's 15 dice for an 8/9 man section, then need to reroll Kills if in cover. Not my ideal, esp with 2 different types.


Whilst the combat mechanic isn't my favourite the activation model made this a really nice game. Very keen to try it as an option for my Bolt Action Reality Check. Overall 8/10, edging a 9.