Monday, November 20, 2017

A Noticeable Improvement

Thanks to those who commented on my last post.

Today at lunch I took the opportunity to cover the straps in white and eliminate the black lining attempt. Here are two of our stalwart soldiers (the other two are not presentable - I slop the white on and then cut in with the tunic color).

Aside from how visible the horrible job i did trying to clean the flash off these figures (i would have been better off leaving it), is in these pictures,  i think the straps and bags look immeasurably better than in the previous post and much closer to what i had in mind.





It took the entirety of my lunch to get them to this state, so I will probably finish tomorrow out with the other two. With some time during the upcoming long Thanksgiving weekend (I'm in the US) and a few lunch hours, I hope to get this unit of 10 figures completed before December arrives.

Oh and I forgot to mention before, but these are Armies in Plastic - but you probably already knew that!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Making Time to Paint

It is an unfortunate fact of reality that things get in the way. Or rather, there isn't enough time to do everything - and in my case that means toy soldiers get pushed aside for other things. 

Except I REALLY miss wargaming when I don't get to play at least monthly. I could field a WW2 or medieval game just about any time, but I am still  hooked on my 1/32 VSF idea.

It occurred to me that at least two days a week, my lunch hour is free (the other days I walk. Trying to stay heart healthy and fit and all that.) So, yesterday, I brought my Highlanders, paint, brushes and jar for the water for brush cleaning (pro tip: don't put this next to your coffee cup, unless you like dipping paint brushes in your coffee. smh)

I'm really rusty on painting and so I'm not at all happy with how these are going, but they aren't done yet. Maybe by the time I am finished they'll look more satisfactory to my eyes. In any case, I'm going for "toy-soldier-with-black lining", so there won't be any shading to speak of.


All Things Considered coffee mug for scale. Not really, I just like it - from an NPR pledge drive many years ago.

Monday, September 4, 2017

German Defense of Pomme de Terre, France, October 1944

In October, 1944,  "Pumpkin Company" (of US 16th Infantry Regiment) with support of elements of 1st Division encountered elements of German Kampfgruppe  Hefeweizen outside the town of Pomme de Terre.

Map showing initial dispositions and movements.
US command had determined hill 736b would be the objective and to that end, the effectiveness of German defenses in the town were minimized. However, German mortars, situated behind the town and relying on spotters based with German platoons in the area, played a significant role in the action that took place in Paulette's Woods.

A single German platoon held the woods gallantly with help from the mortars until the US concentrated the platoons of Pumpkin Company on their position and forced them out of the fight.

Cat is not to scale.
US armor and anti-tank support focused their efforts on hill 736b, weakening the defenders, but they could not withstand the barrage of mortar, rifle, and anti-tank fire received in return.

Press photo.
It was left to the fighting men of Pumpkin Company to clear out the Germans and capture the hill. From their protected position within Paulette's Woods, Pumpkin Company subjected the hill-based defenders to withering fire.

Outgunned, the Germans abandoned the hill and, with that, their position in the town become untenable; the German forces retreated.

***
This action was payed out using Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargame rules with his scenario 14, Static Defence. It was actually the 2nd time playing the same scenario in the same evening.

Given the vagaries of NT's rules - attacking infantry in a town or woods is BAD PLAN. And the 1st effort ended in 7 or so turns. Oh, and mortars in NT's rules are pretty deadly for infantry in the open. As they should be.

For this second attempt, using the same forces, I focused my efforts on the hill, while keeping my own infantry under cover - to much better effect.

It came down to turn 14 before the US platoons stepped foot on the hill and ended the game.

The observation rules in NT's WWII rule set played a role in the victory, as they had moved outside of the mortar's line of sight, and there were no units left within 12" to spot the US platoons on the mortar team's behalf.

I have since played another game, the start of a very simple campaign. We'll see how that goes - campaigns, even simple ones, often falter.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

One of my perpetual 'problems' is finding a suitable tree for my gaming table. As I am after a certain aesthetic, I find that the more realistic looking botanical imitations fail me.

My favorite trees have been made of paper and I may yet return to them, but at the moment I am using plastic pine needle clumps from an artificial Christmas tree made in the late 1960s or very early 1970s (my parents purchased it no later than 1972).

These are acceptable, and, that they make use of the last remnants of the Christmas tree that I used for most of my life, they have a certain nostalgic quality to them.

However, like most wargamers, I am never satisfied with things-as-they-are and for the last year or so, I have been enamored of these and similar trees. While I think Playmobil makes the perfect tree for toy soldier gaming, they are large and require more storage space than I can afford to give them.

These 2.5D trees strike a nice balance.

While on vacation visiting my parents, I took my son to Antique World & Flea Market, located in Clarence, NY (fun fact, I worked there briefly in high school as a janitor). And, as we perused the stalls for used Star Wars toys for him (of which we found plenty), I kept an eye out for toy soldiers and such for myself. As expected I didn't find much, but as you must have now surmised from my topic for this post, I did come across some trees in the 2.5D style.

Lumped in with maybe 100 cowboys, Native Americans, horses, cattle and fencing, I had to make a special request to purchase the trees separately. Of course, the stall's owner was getting lunch, so his assistant had to phone him, and explain what it was I was asking about.

They came back with a price of $3 for the pair - a more than reasonable price, given the links above.

Score!

A Tiger tank leaps out from behind the trees to attack Wonder Woman, who is hardly surprised.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wonder Woman has Arrived and a Comparison Pic

Monday night, I was excited to find a package awaiting me on my return home from a work conference in Chicago.

Inside?

Wonder Woman (plus Batman, Superman, Flash, and Joker).

Here she is, in comparison to some other figures:

My, that Highlander officer is pale.
That she is tall does not bother me - she's an Amazon right?

The French figure and the (in-progress) Highlander are both AiP and that brand that will supply the WWI Germans and British, so that they mix well enough with WW is all I care about. The TSSD German was just for further comparison - those figures tend to be tall compared to Airfix and Matchbox. Compared to my 60mm-ish Saracens, not pictured, she looks a decent height, but vastly underfed.

I'm rather pleased with her appearance overall and may do considerably less modifying of her outfit with green stuff than I originally planned. Here is quarter-sized shield (of paper) for illustration of one possible mod. The shield plays a significant role in the movie, although it's not something I usually think of when I think of Wonder Woman.


I'm traveling again this weekend - this time for fun - so that means no painting or gaming until I get back. Hopefully, a visit to Antiques World & Flea Market turns up some interesting finds though!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wonder Woman in 1/32?

On Father's Day, through an act of cunning, I managed to schedule a trip to the movies to see Wonder Woman .

I have always liked WW, more so, than many other DC characters, and the issues of the comic that I have picked up in recent years have been good.  I'll spare you  an in-depth review.of the movie but  I came away thoroughly enamored of the character (despite some terrible dialog where my eyes quite nearly rolled out of their sockets) :

Wonder Woman is a bad-ass.



Now, you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with wargaming?

The movie is set during the late days of WWI. Every WWI scene cries out 'you can wargame this!', well it does if you're a wargamer - I suspect non-wargamers were not inspired in that way.

 And so, dear reader, that is how I found myself searching the web over the last few days for a suitable Wonder Woman in the appropriate scale.

For the more traditional forces, Armies in Plastic, has a suitable WWI line for one-stop shopping, including the necessary - for this project - WWI Germans in Stahlhelm Helmets, WWI British Army in Steel Helmets, WWI Highlanders (if you want to field that character) and importantly, a German A7V. You can also, if your wallet allows, field W. Britain and other collector-type soldiers.
Our heroine, however, is not so easy to procure.

As I see it there are two possible options: find an actual Wonder Woman figure and work with that or find a toy soldier that can be made to stand in for her.

There was a not-too-surprising lack of suitable toy soldiers in this scale. And no matter the case, a good deal of green stuff would be necessary for her outfit. Seeing as how many of the female figures are topless and wear skimpy outfits (particularly in the Fantasy genre), they do lend themselves to customization. Nude "dollies" for figure sculpting would work as well.

I am not afraid of trying this, but I'm also lazy and cheap frugal.

Instead, let us bring on the actual Wonder Woman figures.

This was more of a struggle than I thought it would be (now, if I wanted a 6" or 12" tall figure I'd have an embarrassment of riches) but I finally found this:


They are described variously as 2.25" and 2.5", and even as 2.75" on one site. They are  DC "figurines", although one site described them as cake toppers. Their intended purpose is of no consequence of course.

The Wonder Woman in this set has the advantage of being clad in an outfit that is close to matching Gal Gidot's (I would repaint the bodice, and use green stuff to add a skirt to the shorts, and dress up the boots a little). Her left arm is in the perfect position to mount a custom made shield, if so desired. And so that is the figure I will start with.

My project forces - using the GASLIGHT rules as a model since they're easily ported to various periods:

The Good Guys:
Wonder Woman (hero - in GASLIGHT i'd give her a couple of special abilities and hit points)

Optional:
1-2 10-figure unit of British (regular)
Small unit, or group of unattached, main characters: Highlander Sniper, the spy, the actor, the scout (holy crap, I just realized they're the A-team!)

The Bad Guys :
1-2 10- figure units of Germans
1 German tank
1 unattached German officer

Optional:
Ares (either metal or one of the cheap 60mm Supreme Greek Hoplites. He's a hero as well and would merit hit points and abilities)


The spear is not traditional for the comic character, but I like the pose.
So while the paint isn't even close to done on my VSF project, I'm starting another one.

That's how you know you're alive right?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Morschauser Modern: American and German forces clash at Hook's Farm!

Both sides descend on Hook's Farm, cottage, and the Firefly Church in equal measure.



American tanks coordinate their firing effectively and manage to bring down one of the German behemoths. 

Meanwhile, across the field of battle, an American tank drives back the opposing German armor. German infantry storms the church unopposed.


The farm is easily taken without a shot fired by a US platoon with a gun in support. So, too, goes the cottage.


German forces continue to hold the church and their armor mounts attacks on the Americans in the cottage, while a German squad(bottom right-ish) rushes to the aid of the HMG team pinned down in some ruins.


Having repelled an American infantry assault on the church in a vicious melee, the Germans focus their efforts on the isolated American tank.

box of dice? no no. it's a monolith.
Under fire from the church and from armor to their front, an American infantry bravely withstands it all from the disintegrating walls of the cottage. With their anti-tank grenades they eliminate a 2nd piece of German armor.


An aerial view shows the disposition of the forces, with most infantry in cover. Note that the tan k on the American right has taken out some of the infantry that had been harassing it. A frantic commander orders the tank crew turn its focus to the church to assist the gun team and infantry squads in clearing out the pesky Germans.


The American left begins to sweep one of its tanks and a gun around to the German right flank. The Germans respond in a desperate attempt to stave off defeat.


Suddenly finding itself in the sites of the German Jagdpanther, the Sherman on the hill retreats for safety.


With the American squads in the cottage and behind the stone wall eliminated, the Germans try to press home their assault on their left - focusing on the isolated tank - in an attempt to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.


Furious shelling from a gun and a Sherman take out the Jagdpanther. It is the deathblow for the German attack force.


Having suffered 50% losses, the German commander orders his troops to fall back.

Total turns: 7

*** Some notes that probably belonged on the last post ***

Initiative was card based - borrowing from a method used in old Two Hour Wargames rules. If the suits match, that side goes first. If the suits don't match, higher card goes first.

The ATG/field howitzers and mortars rained down their terror with impunity.

Melee with the roster system is 'interesting'.

Tanks are Solido and Rocco(?). Guns are CTS and Britains. Figures are Britains, Toy Soldiers of San Diego, Matchbox, 21st Century, and Airfix.