Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Battle Report - Sudan 28mm using Black Powder

Madhist battle line takes shape - very ominous
Last week the conscripts assembled at Dallas' place to play a Colonial game using the "Black Powder" rules.  I had tried Black Powder for the first time during my recent visit to Regina and was really impressed with the rules. I was hoping for a second successful run through with the group at our home base back in Winnipeg. 
The emir's standard
The scenario was a slight "what-if" type encounter, imagining a bold Madhist emir launching a probing attack against General Graham's force assembling at the port of Suakin in 1884. Irritated and keen to get into action, Graham sends a smaller force into a preliminary battle.
Camelry takes the lead - the beast are in a bad mood...
The table was 6' x 4'.  With the trusty Geo Hex terrain as a base, the setting included the ruins of a small trading station once run by the Egyptian administration in Sudan.  The British had to break the Madhists.  The Madhists had the same goal.  The break points were similar - first side to have half their units broken would lose.

The British had a battalion from the Cameron Highlanders (or the Gordons, depending on your interpretation of my brushwork on the kilts), a battalion from the Yorks & Lancs, a detachment of naval troops, a gatling gun and some lads from the 10th Hussars.

The Madhists had three big warbands of warriors with spears, a unit of cavalry with spears and carbines, a unit of camel scouts with carbines and two groups of skirmishers with captured Remington breech loaders.  They also had a captured Krupp gun crewed by Egyptian "volunteers".
Madhist skirmishers with rifles - likely captured from the Egyptians which had been previously "defeated"
This was only my second game of Black Powder, and the first game with the group here in Winnipeg, so I'm pretty sure I messed up a couple of rules.  But overall it was a great game.  Dallas, Frederick and Dave V. played the British side while Mike F, Kevin H. and Perry played the Madhists.
Another view of the Madhist attack
Black Powder moves very fast.  Because command success can vary, some units can cover quite a bit of distance if you give a bold order and roll well (or with luck - whatever :). The Madhists roared forward into the approaching British lines.  The Brits responded with crashing volleys from their Martini-Henrys and counter charges from the 10th Hussars.
Madhist religious leader at the forefront of the cavalry.  The "WTF?" token was used to indicate disorder.
The Hussars caused some dramatic damage on the Madhists on the British left, but ultimately they took a lot of punishment broke after a couple of turns. On the British right the Highlanders withstood charge after charge, breaking a couple of Madhist warbands but they were ultimately overwhelmed by the combination of cavalry and irritating Madhist skirmishers!
Madhist Krupp gun, with overseer and Egyptian "volunteers"
As the Madhist units wore away, the British tried to stick grimly to their battle lines, hoping to settle the matter with musketry.  But Mike F in particular was hot rolling the morale saves.  The finish was very close - with the Hussars and Highlanders gone, the British were one unit away from breaking.  On the other hand, so were the Madhists!  Who would claim glory in the Sudan?
The 10th Hussars ride to glory - and a break point
As with all such systems, there was heartbreak in the command rolls for both sides.  The Madhists could not quite finish the job, but they came close. Command rolls played a part.  The British firing line won in the end, but just barely.  It was very, very close, a great game by both sides.

Dallas brought out the movement trays for "War of the Ring" and they worked well for the British.  I look forward to getting my own sabot-trays for these figures and playing more Black Powder in the future.

I really enjoy Black Powder.  The rules are very quick, simple and very flexible.  They certainly have a lot of similarities to Warmaster, but they are adjusted very nicely to get this style of game. The guys seemed pretty engaged with them.  As I said above, it was only my second run through so I probably screwed up a few calls but overall I think we had the spirit of the game.

As you can see from the pictures, photos of the British are lacking - I am hoping Dallas will upload some he took when he has a moment.  In the meantime, you can get a look at a similar game from Regina here.

Thanks for posting the report, Greg! I've uploaded the pics I took of the game with some captions...

The Mahdist battle line

Mahdist cameleers

Some of the frothing Madhists

British line formed up with Hussars on the left, Yorks and Lancs in the middle and Highlanders at right

Yorks and Lancs, fitting well in the GW WotR movement tray
Disrupted Mahdist mob
Hussars hit the Mahdist right flank
Mahdist mob about to evaporate; Hussars charge through into camelry at top left...

Hussars slam into the Mahdist camelry, outcome is not so good for the horsemen

Camels roll over the blown Hussars and move to threaten the flank of the Yorks and Lancs...

Camels slam into the infantry - a nice co-ordinated charge by the Mahdists

Mahdists win the combat but the British withdraw in good reasonable order

Highlanders are under pressure on the other flank

Mahdist horsemen charge in...

"Epic fail" for a failed order by the Mahdist boss...

...matched by a British blunder!

Ultimately, British pluck carried the day - huzzah!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Big Guns Never Tire - 15mm Soviet Heavy Artillery

Get ready to blast some fascists
Another submission from the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - 15mm WW2 Soviet heavy artillery from Battlefront.  This was a box set from Battlefront given to me as a Christmas present by my brother a couple of years ago - I hope he is pleased to see I (finally) got around to finishing it!

Ready to fire over open sights

Two 122mms - the 152mm is at the end (near the top right of the photo)
One of the least attractive aspects of the FoW game for me is the insistence on having heavy artillery like this represented on the tabletop.  Insert arguments re: ground scale, etc. here.  It just looks and plays so wrong.  But whatever - I have to hand it to Battlefront, when you get a box set like this, you really do get everything!

152mm gun from the front

Forward observer team
I think the intent of the manufacturer was that you an entire battery of the same guns, but I mixed it up slightly - doing three 122mm guns and a 152mm gun.  I built one of the 122mm models to have a low elevation, imagining perhaps the gunners engaging a German spearhead over open sights.

Every gun gets a unique resin base

Lots of detail on the custom bases
In addition to the guns you get the "staff team", a command base and a forward observer base.  The bases for the guns and the staff team are custom resin (I touched on the staff team previously - they had been painted earlier).  The detail on these custom bases is really, really impressive - ammo boxes, rubble, spent casings, fresh shells - it is all there.  It adds a lot of character. So whatever I think of FoW as a rules set, I have no complaints on the quality from Battlefront.  These models were fun to build and paint.

Gun #1
I am also wanting to use 15mm figures for Spearhead games so there is a little more scope for these to be on the tabletop in that sort of setting, but even then (and in 6mm) the divisional guns like this are typically off table. 

Gun #2
But if anyone is going to use 122mm guns for point-blank work, it is the Soviet army of WW2.  And I like to think painting up gifts is good miniature karma (even if it takes a couple of years).

Gun #3
As for the Painting Challenge, I'm continuing to fade into the pack.  There are some serious painting machines out there, churning out not only large quantity, but great quality too (here is just one example).

Gun #4
After I finished these figures there was a bit of a gap in my painting progress - I needed to get more figures primed, and I was also off to Regina to visit Curt. I noticed that as soon as you stop painting even for a bit, you drop like eight spaces in the Challenge, such is the rate that others are finishing figures.  But I still have time to make a dent in the painting challenge before it wraps up in late March.  Stay tuned for more entries!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Getting Caught Up - 15mm WW2 Germans

More troops for the Painting Challenge
I am absolutely getting trampled in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  I think I am in 15th place or so? But for a brief shining moment (and I emphasize brief) I made it as high as fifth place!  Finishing a bunch of 15mm WW2 stuff helped that brief rally out.  These were painted weeks ago and already posted on Curt's blog, but here are some pics.

Peter Pig castings in the forground
Lots of fun to paint Peter Pig WW2
This post includes two platoons of 15mm WW2 German infantry and a platoon of mortars.  The infantry include both Peter Pig and Plastic Soldier Company figures, while the mortars are from Battlefront.

Peter Pig platoon pack comes with NCOs galore and a 'schreck team

Have to say Peter Pig WW2 are the class of the 15mm figures out there
This was my first time painting WW2 Germans from Peter Pig, and once again I am impressed with the quality of the sculpts.  They are nice, clean and have lots of good detail that is easy to paint even on a 15mm figure. The platoon pack gives you a good mix of bits, including a number of MG teams, command models, NCOs and a Panzerschreck team. 

15mm WW2 German infantry from PSC
This is Peter Pig's mid-to-late war package, so you also get a good mix of guys with Panzerfausts. 

Much softer detail on PSC figures
Check out the weird pose of the grenade-tosser...a bit off
The Plastic Soldier Company models were not even close to the same league.  I am a big fan of the PSC vehicles and I want to encourage their competition in the 15mm product space, but these plastic 15mm infantry are not great, in my opinion.

My first - and last - PSC 15mm infantry
The detail on these figures is very, very soft and little of it survives the first coat of paint.  I was guessing a lot when painting these.  The poses are also odd - very stiff, not lively at all, and a couple seem to be emulating yoga poses.

15mm mortar platoon from Battlefront
81mm mortars - useful for fending off Soviet hordes
These models are so slight they are just short of being flats in my opinion.  I wil continue to recommend the PSC products for vehicles, but will avoid their 15mm infantry.

The mortars from Battlefront are pretty straightforward.  They are nice, relatively clean sculpts.  Yes, the faces are quirky, almost funny looking but there is something fun about the Battlefront infantry models that keeps me coming back.  They are certainly nice (but also much more expensive) than the Plastic Soldier Company stuff. I still think Peter Pig are the nicest of the bunch.

Up next will be some other long-overdue posts on Challenge paint jobs, and a couple more AARs from my recent visit to Regina!