Friday, February 17, 2017

28mm German WWII Motorcycle and MG-42 Team

These are two more teams I've recently finished for my 28mm WWII skirmish army. I'm not 100% positive of the manufacturer of the motorcycle, but I believe it is from Artisan. The MG-42 team is from Warlord. I was afraid that during use the motorcycle and the sidecar would eventually break away from each other so I mounted them on a small base to hopefully increase the piece's durability.

While most of my German armor is in dunkelgelb, I opted for panzer grey for this piece. My thoughts are I may use it as a feldpolizei patrol, a scout or a messenger. Several of those are quite likely to have not re-painted the cycle in dunkelgelb.  The MG-42 team was based among some fairly substantial ground cover as I felt that made the most sense.

Next up on the painting table are some more British WWII weapons teams and infantry. My current push is to finish up my German WWII army which is about 90% done. After that the British, which are about 75% done will be finished. My reward for finishing these two will be starting either my American or Finnish WWII armies. Hopefully with those I'll be smart enough not to try to work on both at the same time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

28mm French Napoleonic Artillery

These are two sections of French Napoleonic artillery. All of the artillerists are Perry Brothers lead figures as are the left two guns. The right guns are Old Glory. All of the gun models are supposed to be 6 pound pieces, but as you can see, there is a noticeable size different in the barrels. My plan to correct this in the future is to purchase another pack of each and duplicate this effort in the future to make two full four-gun batteries each with matching models.

I used my airbrush on the gun carriages before brush painting the metal portions and barrels. I also primed the barrels with a dark brown undercoat followed by a bronze heavy dry brush. I like the effect. These bases are slotted to allow for labeling as needed for Electronic Brigadier as well as Napoleon's Rules of War.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Northern Conspiracy February 2017 Game Night

Last night was our club's February game night. We had 16 attendees and three games run. I ran an Iron Cross 'big game' with my previously tested 'Radar Station' scenario. I only had three people at my table, so I played with Mike on the German side and Bob and Kevin played as the British. Since there was only four of us, we had each side spend one command token at a time and this worked very nicely.

Kevin and Bob scored big hits early knocking out Mike's Stug with some accurate fire from a Sherman I (75mm) brewing it up and scaring the hell out of Mike's nearby infantry on a react move. Bob took out my Panzer IV with his Cromwell from long range with another nice penetration roll. Down our heavy armor, Mike's Pak-40 AT gun had to be all over the table fending off the British medium tanks. Mike didn't score any kills, but he kept the British armor honest and caused them to make several react moves to avoid being taken out.

As the game progressed both sides occupied the villages and started close-range building to building firefights. Mike and I teamed up to knock out Kevin's MG team. On a following turn Mike and I each eliminated a British infantry detachment with our MGs. Bob forced one of my infantry teams to fall back with his MG and infantry team combined fire. When we called time, Each side had the same number of points for village buildings and the Germans had kept the radar station and killed one more British squad. Minor victory for the Germans.

Update! My friend Ed M. from Ed M's Wargames Meanderings blog took these photos of my game that he forwarded me to share here!

Ralph ran a game with his 28mm ACW armies and his rules, Steady Boys!

Phil ran a 15mm Crossfire WWII game, early war French vs Germans.

Sorry for the lack of quantity and quality of photos. My game was a handful to set up and having to GM and play kept me too busy to re-visit the other games during the evening or even take many decent photos of my own game.

Next up on the painting table, more German WWII and a French Napoleonic artillery battery.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

28mm Late-War British Weapons Teams (2)

For my upcoming club WWII Iron Cross game, I wanted to start off with a scenario that featured mirrored armies. This will allow me to scale the game to the number of players I get easily. It will also remove some complexity in the scenario design. I'm new to Iron Cross so I'm not confident enough to make a balanced scenario with different force compositions on each side.  Hopefully soon that will change. In order to match what I have for German weapons teams, I needed to paint up a British mortar team and a 17 pounder AT gun. The latter is the closest in the British TO&E to the German Pak-40. I painted these up Wednesday evening and based them up on Thursday - just in time for Friday's game.

The mortar team is from West Wind's 'Berlin or Bust' line. They describe the pack as 'Medium Mortars'. I believe this means they should be 3" ordinance mortars. Since they're nonspecific I suppose they could also be lend-lease US 81mm? Either way I'm particularly happy that I did my research and painted the mortar bombs with the appropriate colors and striping on the heads. I think it dresses up the stand a touch.

The 17 pounder AT gun is from Warlord Games. I like the looks of this gun and the figures. The seated figure on the gun trail gave me some trouble. He's supposed to sit on the gun's seat to sight the gun. For the life of me I couldn't get him to fit there after assembling the gun. Sitting him on the gun trail seems quite natural for me based on the historic photo below that I found while doing my research on how to assemble and paint this gun.

Friday, February 3, 2017

First Iron Cross 'Big Game'

Last Friday I asked ten of my friends to my home to play test a scenario I plan to run at our club next week. The scenario is 'Capture the Radar Station'. It's a blatant excuse to put my new Freya Limber Radar and Sd.Ah.24 Heavy Generator onto the tabletop.

When my friends Mark and Gordon (shown in this photo, the two at the left) found this rule set, it was everyone's hope that Iron Cross would be simple and 'fast play' enough for large games. All but four of the ten players tonight were new to the rules. Playing this large of a game with mostly new players was probably too ambitious. For the game night I'll be stepping the scenario back to eight players with the hopes of having a larger ratio of experienced players. Having six new players 'trained up' at this game sure will help the chances of that. Shown are the German players. Apologies are due to the British. The photos I took of their team were not usable. Apparently I'm a terrible war correspondent photographer!

To start the game, I had each army march onto the table. My fear was deploying on table with a rule set that has unlimited ranges for most weapons might put units into immediate peril before players learned the flow of the rules. This ended up slowing the game down as it took too long for players to get their troops into the action. For the game day I'll be using a deployment zone with players putting their commands down using blind markers with dummies. After everything is deployed, the dummies will be removed, and troops placed onto the table.

For big games in Iron Cross, each army (company) has a CinC (lieutenant). The rules authors state that this player need not have any troops on the table other than their command squad. I chose to give the CinCs in my game a small command which included a Mortar squad and an APC for their command squad. These assets weren't deemed as very useful by the players. The mortars in Iron Cross seem too ineffective to be worth spending a valuable command token on, and the APCs made the command squads too vulnerable to anti-tank fire. For the club game I'm going to replace the mortar squad with an infantry squad to ride in the APC. This will give each CinC  a mobile reinforcement to use where needed. This will let us test out the transports rule a bit more.

For the game, it was a tight affair. Early on Gordon's Panzer IV got in deep trouble trying to duel with the British Sherman I and Cromwell. Gordon used the 'Fall Back' move in successive turns and eventually saved his nearly-dead tank with a 'full recovery' company morale check. Later in the game Byron took out the Sherman with his Pak-40. This was revenge for Rob's destruction of Ralph's Stug III with the British 17 pounder. As the night got long, the British managed to get more of the village buildings on each side of the battlefield occupied than did the Germans. This allowed them to edge out a 1-point victory in the scenario victory points. My favorite moment of the game was when the radio operators in the radar bunker finally opened up on the approaching British. The surprise was worth the wait. The German players showed good discipline to wait to reveal them to save them undue casualties early in the game.

I'd like to thank everyone who helped me refine the game. First plays of new rules are always rough, and everyone took it with great cooperative spirit. I got a lot of excellent feedback and suggestions on how to make next week's game even better.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Even More 28mm Late WWII German Armor

I'm continuing to clear my work-in-progress queue. This is the balance of the German armor from my previous WIP post. These are the vehicles that needed to wait for crew figures to be painted to be considered finished. This batch also includes two conversions, each of which can serve double duty on the gaming table.

First up is my Flakpanzer 38(t). This is a conversion of a Warlord Hetzer III combined with a Warlord Flak 38 AA gun and a shed load of scratch building. I posted WIP photos of this which show off the scratch built parts better earlier on this blog. That post also contains links to the thread about the project over at the official Warlord forums. This was a very satisfying project.

It didn't seem to make much sense to me to paint up the Flak 38 gun to mount on the Flakpanzer 38(t) above and toss the infantry figures in the dead lead bin. Instead I mounted the gun onto the vehicle with magnets. This allows the gun to swivel on the mount as well as to be removed and attached magnetically to the original ground mount base. With the crew painted up this gives me a Flak38 gun pretty much as it's intended to be used. I had enough spare crew in my dead lead box to provide an extra loader for the gun in the tank's gun compartment as well.

Next up is a Warlord SdKfz 250 half track. This one is built pretty much straight out of the box with the exception that I used magnets to mound the rear-facing MG-42. This allows for it to be removed when not needed as well as keeping it from being broken off the first time the model is used.

Last up is my RSO Pak-40. This was also featured in an earlier WIP post. The vehicle is now completed and weathered. I had to make a slight compromise on the gun's crew member to allow for the gun to be completely removed when converting to the un-armed transport version. I don't think he'll miss his lower legs all that much. If he does, it's off to the Russian Front for him!

This conversion was done mostly because I had the Pak-40 gun barrel left over from the Hetzer I converted to the Flakpanzer 38(t). The armored front cabin, gun mount and gun shield are entirely scratch built. The gun is mounted magnetically so that it can be pivoted like a turret and also completely removed. I'd like to thank Jacob Lotz for his excellent article on how to do this conversion. I followed Jacob's instructions verbatim with the exception that I had to do a lot more scratch building on my gun mount and shield since I was starting with just a barrel and not a whole Pak-40 gun.

Total effort logged for this is three vehicles and seven figures.