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.


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.


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)

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

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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Morschauser Modern and Battle of Hook's Farm

As mentioned here, I had decided to try my hand at the esteemed Battle of Hook's Farm, set in WW2 rather than the more traditional Horse & Musket period, owing largely to an abundance in my collection of the former, and a dearth of the latter.

Before I get to the game proper, it seems wise to at least mention some of my pre-game decisions.

A map of the battle field from Little Wars:
First, how to convert Wells's tidy "a compact little force of 3 guns, 48 infantry, and 25 horse" to the period?

I opted for the following: treat this as a 1:1 type game and thus 48 infantry is roughly 5 infantry squads/sections in WW2. However, given the very close to 2:1 ratio of infantry to horse, I decided on 6 infantry squads/sections as 1 under-strength company if you will.

Why as 1 under-strength company?

To justify the use of armor in place of 'horse'. Of course, one cannot justify 25 tanks on the battle field, no matter how much fun that would be, when fielding only 48 infantry. A company could well be supported by a limited amount of armor however.

Following the same line of thought for infantry,  I decided 10 horse is roughly 1 vehicle, or 2.5 vehicles total. Rounding up, thanks to the 2:1 infantry to horse ratio, I get 2 sections : 1 vehicle.

Why 'vehicle' and not 'tank'?

While in the original, Hook's Farm is, despite the reports by the blue army commander, a battle between two exactly equal forces, I thought variety, being the spice of life, after all, was a better option. And given the make up of my toy soldier WW2 forces of 3 tanks, 1 jeep/kublewagen, and 1 APC for the US, and 4 for the Germans, some randomization could be entertained.

For the US: Roll 1d6, 1-4: tank, 5: jeep, 6: APC
For the Germans: Roll 1d6: 1-3 tank, 4: kublewagen, 5-6: APC

In the event, each side ended up with 3 tanks

As for 3 guns, I opted to stick with the number but again, randomize the exact conversion of the word 'gun'.

Roll 1d6: 1-3 ATG/Field Howitzer, 4-5: Mortar 6: HMG

The US ended up with 2 ATGs/Field Howitzers and a mortar. While the Germans acquired 1 ATG, 1 mortar, and 1 HMG.

So, to summarize the OOB:
6 infantry squads/sections
3 tanks
2 ATGs/Field Howitzers
1 Mortar

6 infantry squads/sections
3 tanks
1 Mortar

I had some issues translating the map in Little Wars to my table. I had originally planned to play on the floor, which would have allowed some more maneuvering but the presence of company in the living room prevented me from taking it over. As such, 'the country', was a bit cramped.

There were some modifications to be made to the rules: 6" for infantry, 9"for tanks, taken from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames WW2 rules, the 12" sighting rule from the same, and the weapon ranges also borrowed from those rules.

Morschauser's 'roster' option was employed with 4 points per infantry unit, and 2 points for everyone else.

Other situations were dealt with on the fly -occupying buildings is something Little Wars forbids and Morschauser doesn't really seem to address, so I left it to my gut as it occurred.

After setting out the US per the description of the blue army deployment, I mostly randomized the German force layout and started to play.

For a victory condition, I went with the first side to take out  >= 50% of the enemy would win the field, or at the end of 10 turns, I would count roster points remaining.

Next time, for real, the battle report.

Turn 1: The armies begin their advances.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Send in the Cavalry!

As mentioned previously, my war camels aren't needed in my One Hour Wargames Saracen force (I already have 4 bases of "knights") but I thought they, along with the unused foot soldiers would make a good skirmish force, of use in medieval, fantasy, and VSF games.

Unfortunately, the bases on all but 2 of the 12 camels were wonky as all get out - meaning any attempt to stand all but two of them was a failure.

Enter boiling water. A quick dip softened the bases and camel legs enough that I could shape them into upright camels of the finest sort.

Since they will likely be pitted against my pseudo-British force, I thought a picture was in order. It has the added bonuses of showing off my lancers again, as well as indicating the substantial differences between roughly 1/30 scale and nominally 1/32 scale figures (which seem more like 1/35 to my eyes):

"Tally hoooooo cr*p!"

In addition, I managed to put paint to my AIP Highlanders, but they have a way to go yet.

I also managed to play a game on Sunday night: a WW2 Battle of Hook's Farm. A report to follow later in the week as time allows.

"Two armies lay opposite and ready"

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Some Updates from the Administrative Offices

My new Saracens arrived yesterday, but I was on my way out the door to go to rehearsal (I play rhythm guitar in a swing orchestra), and so had little time for more than a cursory examination and sadly, no pictures.

Some quick thoughts about the Supreme Saracen figures:

  • they are BIG. I mean, I knew they were billed as 60mm so I expected some difference. I was thinking it'd be comparable to my Toy Soliders of San Diego Germans vs Airfix Germans, but it's much more noticeable. The new Saracens will have to be on their own sabots. 
  • the silver/red/blue figures are kind of garish, but the gold/red/green figures look the part to my mind.
  • The horseback archers stand just fine as foot archers, and so no conversion necessary - just some blu-tac to hold them to the sabots.
  • A small (3 or so) figures are suitable as levies for Neil Thomas's OHW army lists.
  • The war camels are pretty cool but, fresh from the package, only about half of them could stand on a flat surface without toppling. I have no need for cavalry in my OHW Saracen army, so I expect to put them to use in my VSF game.

Speaking of the VSF project:
  • Armies in Plastic Highlanders have been primed with white gesso. After I primed them, the mold lines seemed omnipresent and, while I ordinarily try to avoid cleaning such things off of figures (I do a horrible job no matter which method I try), I couldn't let them go. I did my best to trim them away and then gave a second coat of gesso. Now if only I could figure out what color their coats are supposed to be!

  • Of course, a day later, the Britain's Seaforth Highlanders over which I drool regularly, were available on ebay for an astoundingly reasonable price, including the shipping. I am fighting with all my will to not make the purchase.
  • I have decided upon the AIP Northwestern Indians from the French & Indian War line to act as yellow martians.
  • Technolog orcs - if I can acquire them priced reasonably - would make nice green martians.

WW2 and Hook's Farm

Although I started wargaming largely because of a chance read through of Wells's Little Wars, I have never tried to play out the Battle of Hook's Farm. So, given the strength of my WW2 collection, I decided to update the period and give it a try.

I made a post about this over on Little Wars Revisited. The short of it is that I will probably randomize forces by letting dice determine what "3 guns" means for WW2 forces.

My son's clone troopers man a very badly damaged PAK-40. The victim of a crushing blow from a giant's foot. These are the hazards of letting children play with your toys.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

VSF Project Begins

The first troops of my Victorian Science Fiction project in 1/32 have arrived!

I split the difference and decided to purchase Britain's set 8806 (from Ebay at a steal of a price) and use AIP Highlanders (although, of course, some 5188 sets have appeared at reasonable prices now).

Yes, the flag thing on the lance is upside down. I was too excited by their arrival to rotate it. The guns are firing Britain's models and are for my WW2 games. Pretend they aren't in the picture.
I don't think I've ever been as excited by any figures as I am by the set of lancers. They feel like proper toy soldiers, if you will - heroes of another age, full of lead and derring-do .

Here we see the first unit of 10 Highlanders mustering for basic training. Uniforms will be doled out as time permits.
The glue is intentionally sloppily applied at this stage. I swear.
I'm am as undecided on the color of their coats as I am the name of these fictitious units and their fictitious country.

Possibilities, unsurprising if you have read any of my WW2 blogs entries, revolve around characters from As Time Goes By, Are You Being Served?, and Keeping Up Appearances. So we have things like the Queens Own Fighting Pargetters, the Hardcastle Highlanders, The Hyacinth Bucket Brigade (pronounced 'bouquet brigade'if you please), etc. running about my brain.

If the Brits or Scots had a suitably named wine, this would be a lot easier (see my Riesling and Sauvingnon-Blanc forces, for example).

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Airfix Battles Scenario #3 and Morschauser

In addition to painting MDF coasters and basing my medieval armies, I re-based my WW2 Germans and Americans on 3" squares of card, painted the same Ceramcoat Green, and mounted 3 figures to a base (inspired by a re-reading of Morschauser). As with all things basing related, it remains to be seen how permanent this is (I used blu-tac, which probably says more about my level of commitment than I'd like it to).

Much to my surprise, the universe aligned and I had time to put toys on the table last night. Since I have an order of Saracens on the way to fill out some of the medieval ranks, the WW2 forces were chosen to break in their new bases. And as I had recently perused the free Airfix Battles Scenarios PDF and was intrigued by the 3rd scenario, with its abundance of armor on the table, it seemed like as good a decision as any.

You can download the PDF and read the scenario set up for yourself. What matters here is that I opted to play what is, from my limited understanding of Airfix Battles, a 1:1 skirmish, using Morschauser's Modern rules. I used 1 base per squad - which arguably looks a little skimpy, but not unlike a typical Neil Thomas OHW set up.

Initial deployment of Allied forces - randomized placement.

Morschauser might not be the obvious choice for such a game, but if using the roster system, its not much different than hit points in RPGs really. Or, at least, that's how I rationalized it. Treating them as abstract measures of combat effectiveness and not casualties helps.

There were some modifications however to make the scenario work.

First, I set the turn limit to 10. I have no idea about Airfix Battles rules, but the four rounds specified would hardly yield a game with Morschauser.

I went with my usual one-die per unit for attacks rather than one per strength point. Mortality is too high in my opinion when you have so few units on the table - this is the reason I have adopted this procedure whenever playing a One Hour Wargames scenario.

The part that required some serious thought was how to handle the fact that the Tiger I needed to be superior to the Shermans (they make a big deal about it in the scenario set up). Fortunately the simplicity of Morschauser's rules means modifications aren't difficult to bolt-on. I opted for three modifications to address this.

1) Instead of giving the Tiger a roster strength of 2, as standard tanks are given. I gave it 4, making it the equivalent of two Shermans.
2) The superior gun on the Tiger could hit on a 2, 4, or 6, the same way MGs do,
3) Any shot at the front armor of the Tiger would only score a hit on a 6.

In this way, the Tiger would be a force to be reckoned with but the Shermans would still have some chance of eliminating it.

In fact, if you look closely below, you'll see the topmost  Sherman managed to score a hit on the Tiger early

The Tiger responded in kind, and thanks to winning the initiative on the next turn, brewed up the Sherman in payback.

The PZ IV and Shermans were equally matched so it wasn't too surprising when the two leftmost Shermans coordinated to take out the PZ in a single turn.

One thing that flummoxed me was how to handle a tank overrunning infantry.  When a stand takes a single hit, it's an easy thing, but what about with the roster? I decided the overrun would have the same effect, but I'm not sure that's the right decision.

I really thought I could get the infantry close enough to use bazookas or AT grenades. SMH,
As the game began to wind down, a showdown took shape.

The German infantry AT weapons were useless against the Sherman to their left (I rolled 1s several times in a row) - leaving the Tiger to deal with both of the Allied tanks.

It took a few rounds but in the end, the Sherman's prevailed:

Anti-personnel MG fire took care of the remaining squad on the 2nd half of turn 10.  The Allied possessed the objective and had destroyed the Tiger for a decisive victory, despite the loss of 1 tank and 2 squads.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Grass is Always Greener

As mentioned in the previous post, MDF coasters were given a coat of Ceramcoat Green and figures were to be attached with blue tac.

The last part is done and here are my current medieval forces, based for Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames.

The Europeans

The Saracens 

Figures are mostly Deetail. You will notice a general lack of archers on both sides, and levies (as NT classifies them) for the Saracens.

To rectify the Saracen situation,  I have placed an order with The Toy Soldier Co. for this package which includes 36 figures, many of whom are usable as levies, and a kneeling archer pose which will give them at least one base of archers, so the armies will be equal.I will also get a few bases of war camels out of the deal, which isn't necessary for OHW but could be useful with other scenarios.

Eventually, possibly later this month, I will make a play for some European archers to fill out the one base I have. Some day, I suppose, I will try to hit two bases of archers each, and thus  'complete' these armies.

Many of my unused medieval figures from this project will ultimately find their way into my imagined VSF game - at least if I go the G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. route, with its individually based figures - or ,perhaps, some skirmish gaming of a sort.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

An Update for the Sake of Updating

In order to keep my posts going at least once a week - here's what I've been up to.


Ok, not entirely true. I finally got around to painting my 4" MDF coasters a lovely shade of Ceramcoat Green.

I take that back, it's not a shade, it's literally just Green.

This picture was gathered from Pinterest. Not a photo of the actual bottle of paint I am using.

None-the-less, it's very toy soldier appropriate, even if it contrasts strongly against the green used on the figure bases - which varies from a dark forest-y green to bright Deetail's green.

I have a few more I can paint before I semi-permanently mount my medieval figures to them with blue-tac.

Not sure what I want to do for my WW2 figures yet - I keep bouncing between the 4" bases, per Tim Gow's lovely Little Cold Wars, and the 3" bases that I used to use (settled upon by a mere doubling of what people typically do for 1/72 figures (not to mention it's what Morschauser did for his 54mm)).

Monday, May 15, 2017

WW2 Small-Unit Skirmish: Capture the Bridge

With all of this thinking about a possible Colonial game, I was itching to get something on the table in the mean time. So, Saturday night, after I put my son to bed, I set up the following.

Scenario: Two British "fire teams" of para-troopers are to capture a lightly held bridge  from the Germans. The Germans at the guard house will call back to the farm house in the even of attack, at which point, German troops from within the house will come to the defense of the bridge. The MG-42 team is stationed in the yard behind a rock wall at the start, with a  clear view across the river, and a line of sight to the bridge. After 10 turns of defense, Germans can blow the bridge by reaching the base of the bridge on the farmhouse side.


Team BBC: Hardcastle (3 HP), Deacon (2 HP), Peacock (2 HP)
Team Backups: 2 British and 1 Polish paratrooper, all 1 HP.

Guard house rifle team: 1 HP each
MG-42 team: 1 HP each
German rifle team: 1d6 rifles (1 HP each) + 1 squad leader with SMG (2 HP)


Improvised / home-brew


The Allies got off to a slow start - held up by the two riflemen in the guard house. Once they were dispatched, Hardcastle stormed the bridge and the rest of Team BBC followed, while Team Backups fired from cover at the Germans across river in the woods.

For a minute, it looks like things might work out just fine for Team BBC.

The MG42 would prove to be devastating for Team BBC, despite the cover the bridge afforded them. Deacon engaging the German left in hand-to-hand at least temporarily silenced the gun.

Not going great, but still, victory is possible.
Team Backup charged across the bridge too late and the whole of the Allied force was mowed down eventually.
So much for that idea. The bodies of Team BBC and their reinforcements pile up at the bridge.

In retrospect, some grenades might have been useful.

Figures are Conte (Brits), King & Country (Brits, Polish), Airfix (Germans) and Matchbox (Germans). 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

News of My Return to Gaming May Have Been Premature

OK, so my other project (I'm a musician) has taken over the lion's share of my free time, and until just recently, I was OK with that. But one can only stay away for so long before the pining for toy soldiers reaches a fevered pitch.

Unfortunately, it returns at a time when money is tight - I unexpectedly had to acquire a new vehicle  just the other day (which I rather like driving, so it's not all bad) - and yet I want to start a new project.

Or rather, revive an old project, but in 54mm: Victorian Science Fiction (VSF)

VSF with its lost worlds, alien invasions, and wild contraptions all in support of adventure and exploration, was my first real wargame's project. It began with French Foreign Legion and lost world lizard men and dinosaurs, and later became the basis for my longest running campaign, the Battle of Helvetica (follow the link and scroll down), between Sauvingnon-Blanc and Riesling, with their lizard men conscripts filling out the respective sides.

That project is a 15mm project and I do not wish to duplicate the set up in a larger scale. Instead I want to take a more British bent to the whole thing, being the Victorian-age after all.

One option is a "lost battalion" type game - where highlanders, hussars (or lancers maybe?) and a gun crew, wander through a lost world as they look for their way home and come face to face with Romans, Greeks, ancient Egyptians, monsters of all kinds, and yes, perhaps one of Riesling's armies

Another option is that the Brits find a "Star Gate" which leads to battles against the same enemies, but on distant planets. It seems almost certain then that they would face off in battle against the green Martians on the red plains of that planet
(AIP Boxers painted green might work for that). Trekking through the thick vegetation of a Venusian jungle, dodging dinosaur-like fauna would surely follow.

Because I prefer to game than paint, ideally, the highlanders would be W. Britain's set 5188 (2 sets even,), and the lancers set 8806 (again 2 perhaps), but reality is that they will be AIP highlanders and hussars. Ditto the gun and crew.

The opponents will mostly be pre-painted plastics, available cheaply on Amazon and elsewhere. This helps minimize my painting efforts.

Rules will be G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. or Portable Wargame, Space: 1889 Soldier's Companion, or quite likely home-brew that blends many of those together, depending on what type of game I decide to play.

With father's day coming up next month, I already know what I'm asking for!

And since walls of text are sort of boring, here's a picture from a very impromptu and improvised skirmish game I played last night.

Team BBC storms the French farmhouse
The scenario was based on the example given in older versions of Nuts! by THW: An MG42 crew is in a farmhouse with a clear shot at the road, making transport hazardous for our troops.Three British paras (Team BBC: Cpl. Hardcastle, Lance Cpl. Deacon, and a young, Pvt. Peacock) are to assault the house and take out the gun and crew.

Figures are Conte (Brits) and Airfix (Germans, which I placed behind the house, though they were, for the game, inside), the wall is from W. Britain I believe (It came with a Waffen SS MG42 team), the house is scratch built (clearly). Rules, as I said, were improvised. They involved card activation, d6s to attack (1 for bolt action rifles and pistols, 2 for SMGs, and 4 for the HMG), saving rolls a la Featherstone, and hit points for Hardcastle (3), Deacon (2), Peacock (2), German Officer (2).

Hardcastle and Deacon both ended the game with 1 HP each, Peacock, who fired from cover most of the game remained unscathed, while the Germans were thrashed soundly and the next transport would make it through unimpeded.