Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mayhem at Oosterbeek - 28mm Paras vs. Waffen SS Battle Report

Last Thursday Conscript Greg suggested we roll out a 28mm WW2 battle set around Operation Market Garden. As I have both British Paratroopers and Waffen-SS that haven't been exercised in awhile, I thought this was a splendid idea, and deputised Greg to design a scenario... :-)

He obliged, and came up with a good one - a Waffen-SS armoured column is driving on the Airbourne battalion HQ in Oosterbeek. The British have sent an ambush force to destroy or slow down the Germans.

British forces are three sections of paratroopers, plus two PIAT teams, a six-pounder AT gun, and platoon command section. The Germans have two sections of infantry each in a Sdkfz.251/1, a Marder SP gun, a Panther tank (!) and a nasty Sdkfz. 7/1 tractor with mounted quad flak gun. The German objective was to exit as many vehicles as possible off the opposite short edge (top left in the photo above).

The battlefield showed evidence of previous fighting. We decided to use our home rules - Blitzkrieg! - both for ease of play and speed.

Burning Pzkpfw. Mk.IV and Sdkfz.251/1. The Germans deployed on the short edge at the top of the photo and the Brits got to deploy in "ambush" - basically, on their turn they could decide to appear anywhere on the table in area terrain at least 12" away from a German model, or if not in terrain, at least 18" from a German model, and out of sight.

The German column rolls onto the table. Hugh and I took control of the German forces while Frederick and Keegan rolled with the Paras. Our other Sdkfz.251 moved out to the left, trying to restrict British ambush deployment as much as we could.

Enemy spotted - the Panzergrenadiers jump out of their vehicle and prepare to engage the paratroopers in the wood at top.

 Paratrooper section deployed in the woods.

Meanwhile back in the column, the 7/1 with flakvierling follows up the Marder.

On the other side of the table there appeared the six-pounder which lit up the halftrack. Surviving Panzergrenadiers suffered from British rifle fire from the woods too.

The 7/1 cut around the farmhouse and moved up to engage the paras in the woodline.

SS-Panzergrenadiers prepare to make a suicidal charge against the few remaining paras in the woods.

Meanwhile, on the other flank, another section deployed next to the six-pounder (just out of sight behind the small tree at centre). It also nailed the Marder on the road.

Hugh's Panzergrenadiers suffered heavily from their fire as well.

As the clock ticked down towards the 8-turn time limit the Germans decided that it was time to get moving. The 7/1 and Panther moved at maximum speed towards their objective.

No problems for the Panther, as the only British heavy weapons that could touch it were well out of range (PIATs) or knocked out (six-pounder).

Not so the 7/1... being a softskin vehicle and open-topped it was quite vulnerable to small arms fire.

Caught in enfilade from two British units the crew and passengers (the SS command section) were wiped out by concentrated .303 fire :-(

So the Germans got one vehicle off the board in a tough slog. I really like the Blitzkrieg! rules for pick-up games like this. There's not a ton of planning required and the game rattles along well. The rules are old-skool IGO-UGO, but use a "priority" die roll so the sides can flip over as to who goes first in a turn. This can provide for enjoyable fire-and-movement assaults or conversely, a breather and momentum shift in the battle. I've been planning to clean up the ruleset for self-publication with one of those cool Web-based companies... maybe over the wintertime!

Friday, October 17, 2014

DAK in 15mm - Afrika Korps from Peter Pig

15mm DAK ready for action in the desert!
 Continuing to work on some miniatures and models from the Western Desert/Africa theatre of WW2. Here is a platoon of Afrika Korps troops to go up against the Desert Rats from my last post.  The figures are all Peter Pig, based individually for skirmish games such as Chain of Command, Bolt Action and our own Blitkzkrieg rules.

DAK squad with a pair of MG34 teams

Different base shapes were used as before to denote different ranks.  The hex base marks the platoon commander/senior leader, and the square bases are for NCOs/junior leaders.  I tried to mix up the colours a bit on the figures, with some wearing more faded fatigues than others.  I find that where the 8th Army soldiers have an orderly, button-downed look to them (even blasted in the desert sun), the Afrika Korps have a sort of mixed, almost slack/proto-hipster appearance. 

The NCO is on the square base at the front
This lot is based around a platoon pack from Peter Pig, which I augmented with some firing poses from their early war German line in order to get some fellows wearing helmets into the mix.

You can see a few other goodies in the back of this photo that I will deal with in a later post :)
The platoon pack came with six (!) MG34 teams...although I suppose this would not be unusual for German platoons later in the war, I didn't realize they were handing them out like candy to Rommel's lads in the desert.  I suppose this was a prelude to the situation the overall German army would face in Europe - the extra MGs were needed to make up for the fact that the smaller platoons could be otherwise short of firepower against bulkier/more numerous opponents. (EDIT - see comments below - apparently this number of LMGs was much more common from the outset of the war, at least in mobile units - thanks Arrigo!)

Six LMGs is a lot of firepower...this would certainly be a tough lot to deal with in a Chain of Command game.

Platoon commander, spare NCO (who should probably get a hex base too, as he would be a senior NCO) and AT rifle team

Overall, there are three squads, each with two MG34s, in this unit. There is also an AT rifle team, making 34 troops in all.  As always, the Peter Pig figures are a real joy to paint. There is a ton of detail and character in these castings.  I'm looking forward to a skirmish game set in the desert! Stay tuned for a few more desert-themed goodies up next.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sedition Wars Project - Terrain

After my last post about table top Sedition Wars, I was really hot to complete some of the terrain sub-projects I have in the queue.  Sedition Wars, and other close tactical sci-fi skirmish games like Infinity, need a LOT of terrain. This prevents the game from degenerating into a static war of attrition, as the sides hunker down afraid to expose themselves.

Accordingly, I spent the balance of the summer working on various terrain pieces. Most of the 18 finished models illustrated are laser cut MDF kits from Conscript Byron's company, SG2 Creations.

Possibly my favourite terrain piece to model and paint was a two-story sushi restaurant, seen below (a couple of my Sedition Wars figs are in the shot, for scale).

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The roof and floors come apart, to allow figures to be placed inside.

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The building was painted mostly with Army Painter spray paints, and lightly weathered with Vallejo pigments. See here for the inspiration for this structure.

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Here's an SG2 prototype for a 3-story building.

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Again, the roof and floors come apart. The AC unit makes a useful handle to pull the roof off.

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Like Dallas, I also picked up a set of 6 shipping containers. They're labelled with the brands of various evil corporations from TV and the movies, downloaded from the internet.

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Warning labels were free downloads from Toposolitario.

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A large terrain block is this mall made from 4 separate Modern Strip Mall Sections. Put together they are 2 feet wide. I used warmer colours for the buildings. The various retail signs were brand logos downloaded from the internet. As for the choice of retail establishments, I remember the movie Demolition Man (Sandra Bullock: "...Taco Bell was the only restaurant to survive The Franchise Wars...So, now all restaurants are Taco Bell!"), and I figured that in the future people will still need estheticians, fashion, and booze.

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The two end buildings each have a different side window option.

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The roofs come off; the "supports" are the handles for removal. For now, I plan on keeping the mall furniture-free (except for certain strategic points), for ease of play. However, various companies make futuristic furniture, computers, shelving, etc. in an appropriate scale.

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I used leftover ladders pieces from the shipping containers for roof access. Other small posters and signs were from Toposolitario and the ones Byron used for his 28mm buildings.

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I also finished 6 Quonset huts from FSG's Dust Tactics Airfield Accessory Pack. Dust Tactics is a Weird War II game in 1/48 scale, close enough for my purposes. Zenithal highlighting brings out the curved shape of these structures.

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These are injected-mold plastic models, with some nice details.

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The Sedition Wars Project will be set aside briefly in order for me to paint my Space Station Terrain Project (I finally get to re-create the Death Star Trench run!). However, thereafter I shall return to the Strain and more tabletop terrain. I have also purchased some other kits in foam and  MDF, including a mag-lev train from BP Laser. All of this will go onto a Hawk Wargames Urban Battlefield terrain board.

It's been a year since I started this project. I have been lucky to be able to stay focused on it. There are so many other models to paint!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Desert Rats in 15mm - 8th Army from Peter Pig

8th Army Platoon in 15mm from Peter Pig
Another little random project from the painting table - a platoon of 8th Army "Desert Rats" in 15mm. The figures are from Peter Pig, and are based individually for skirmish gaming in systems such as Chain of Command, Bolt Action or Dallas' "Blitzkrieg" rules. 

Platoon command on the hex-shaped base
I already have a healthy amount of WW2 desert theatre stuff based for Flames of War that I painted several years ago, so I already have a number of vehicles, trucks and tanks etc. to go along with these fellows.

Light mortar team

AT rifle team
Peter Pig 15mm figures are the best ones out there, nice enough sculpts to make individually-based skirmish gaming possible in the scale.  This was a platoon pack from Peter Pig, and you get a large number of figures - enough for three sections of 10 troops complete with Bren teams, and command elements including an AT rifle team and light mortar team.  There are over 40 castings in the pack, which is a nice feature of using 15mm figures for skirmish gaming - it's very economical.

Infantry section led by NCO (on square base)

Another view of the infantry - two man Bren teams are on the oval-shaped bases
The square bases represent NCOs/junior leaders and the hex shaped base is for the platoon commander/senior leader.  The different shapes are used to make it easier to identify what's what on the smaller 15mm figures, inspired by Regina Conscript Curt.

Ready to make their stand at Alamein and elsewhere across the western desert!
Up next are some DAK opponents for these guys.

Monday, September 29, 2014

World Eater Champion and Apothecary

Company Champion from the World Eaters Legion
Here are another couple of Horus Heresy figures for my World Eaters detachment - a company champion and an apothecary (medic). Both of these are plastic figures from the current the current crop of plastic multi-part Space Marine command figures, with an embossed World Eater's shoulder pad from Forge World tossed on to maintain a consistent look with the rest of the force.

Handy Forge World decals dropped on to the shield and fancy shoulder plate
Much like the "current" Space Marine Chapter forces, the Legions have all sorts of functionary, or at least functionary-sounding, roles associated with each large sub-unit (company, chapter, whatever) in the force. These can be added to your command groups to give some extra "oomph" and character to your force on the table.
Lots of extra iconography etc on the backpack - I tried to scrape off the stupid skulls wherever I can but there are still a number on this figure
The Company Champion is presumably some type of bad-ass veteran.  The title sounds almost formal, but in the proto-high-tech-medieval setting of a Space Marine Legion it is, of course, a very scary battlefield opponent.  The armour is all very ornate and fancy, but one can assume the weapons are very deadly, teeming with all sorts of unseen little enhancements that traced their roots to the ominous "dark age of technology".

The embossed shoulder plates are massively addictive...once you use them on one squad, you will want them for every's just so much nicer than even the best decal
In addition to a scary-looking sword (likely preserved in the World Eaters Legion for centuries as a special implement for endangered species beheadings), his shield has a little bolt gun built into it, for those times where you must shoot the Legion's enemies instead of chopping them up. After all, not every enemy of humanity is going to be worth having a sword fight with (i.e. Tyranids). 

Lots of fun, ornate looking features on the figure - fun to paint - I quite like the pseudo-knightly "helm" helmet style as well
In the fluff of the World Eaters Legion, it seems like quite a bit of intramural fighting happened, not just as a means of training, but to settle disputes and determine promotions.  One can assume this guy beat up and probably killed many colleagues in order to "earn" the Company Champion job.  I wonder how much the Company Commander enjoys having him around, wondering when the Champion might suddenly decide he needs another promotion...'re the doctor?
I am very impressed by the great painters out there who manage to paint some sort of eerie-looking glow colour on otherwise normal-looking sword blades to reinforce their power-type-weapon-aura.  This is not a skill I am even close to strong with...I fumbled around with some blues but the result was sort of "meh"...hopefully I will get better results next time.

The red medical symbol says "I care". The chain sword, on the other hand...
The medic in a Space Marine force is always sort of funny...they are more interested in putting the damaged Marines out of their misery and recovering some genetic bits to replace him, than actual care of wounded Marines (who in any event are expected to bear horrifying wounds with grim, silent honour - it's for the Emperor, after all).

Spooky medical bits are nice extra for this figure...that glove looks handy for any battlefield "care" that might be needed during the great crusades
The Apothecaries in the World Eaters apparently dabbled in some extra brain surgery on the side, with an eye to making troops who are even more impatient, aggressive and violent than the usual Space Marine trooper. Sounds totally legit to me. Can't believe the World Eaters ever went off side and joined Horus, right?

Lots of spooky medical stuff on the back pack too - again, very fun to paint
Needless to say, I doubt any Marine would be happy to see this Apothecary show up near their unit on the battlefield...

The Forge World Legion components mix very well with the plastic "current" marines, and I find these combinations work particularly well for roles like medics, champions, senior officers and other such things where the variations from the Mark II, III or IV power armour could be explained in the context of the different roles in the Legion. The Mark IV armour is particularly close in appearance to the "current" Mark VII power armour suits, so the differences are even less apparent.

The plastic bits are also a nice source of conversion/upgrade bits for the Forge World Marine figures, without having to bend over even more for the Legion accessory kits.  Of course, the plastic figures are practically as expensive as the Forge World ones anyway, but if you are a long-term GW nut like me you have a huge pile of plastic bits stashed away you can put to good use.

Up next, some Sons of Horus, and another WW2 diversion...