Monday, December 31, 2012

10th Hussars in Sudan - Perry Miniatures

British cavalry for the Sudan!
I have added some cavalry to my Madhist forces for colonial gaming, and it is only fair to add some cavalry to the British side as well.  These models are 28mm from the Perry's incredible Sudan collection, a command group for the 10th Hussars, and represent yet another submission to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

NCO from the 10th Hussars
This pack has a senior officer, an NCO and a musician.  In a very, very rare event for a Perry casting, there was actually a serious flaw on the musician model - a strap was missing from the front of the rider, but it was easily rectified by painting one in.

Senior officer from the 10th Hussars
Musician ready to rally the troops - the white strap on the front is painted on, and is actually missing from the model

The 10th came over to Sudan from India, and kept some elements of their uniform from Asia, including the spike on the helmet and the blue pants. The British cavalry did not have an easy time in the Sudan.  The conditions were obviously very inhospitable, and the Madhists had a tendency to hide amongst the rocks and shrubs of the broken terrain.  This terrain made massed cavalry maneuver very difficult, and made the cavalry vulnerable to ambush from the hidden Madhists, who would use wooden weapons to injure the legs of the horses and dismount the cavalry.  A cavalry charge against the Madhists was very dangerous - for the cavalry!
"Keep your eyes peeled lads!"
The British cavalry used improvised lances in the Sudan to try and get at the hidden Madhists - the rank and file cavalry I have for the 10th are armed with these - watch for them to appear as a future submission in the painting challenge.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gordon Highlanders - 28mm Colonials

Jocks - present arms!
The painting challenge submissions continue.  These are some Gordon Highlanders, a six-pack which had been sitting in my pending pile for a couple of years - since the last time I had painted models for my colonial collection.  As with my other colonial selections, these beautiful figures are from Perry Miniatures.

Painting tartan, sporran, hose etc. makes me mental, but I love having Highlanders on the table in a colonial game.  They are very evocative of the period, and a line of gentlemen in kilts confronting the horde of fanatics is always fun!

I already had about 12 Highlanders painted, so this will round the unit out nicely. I am a little concerned that the colours I used here will not match exactly with the last batch I had painted (those used the now departed GW paints), but it looks close enough.  More fun for the colonial gaming table!

"Steady...don't fire until the last moment..."
If you are painting Highlanders, I recommend this site - I found it essential for trying to make sense of how to even attempt the kilts.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Madhist Gun "Team" - 28mm Sudan

Madhist artillery piece - 28mm from Perry Miniatures
Another submission to the painting challenge.  This is a little vignette from the Perry's outstanding 28mm Sudan collection, a captured Egyptian Krupp gun complete with captured Egyptian crew and a Madhist overseer/volunteer coordinator.

In colonial games it is usually the Imperialists that have all of the artillery.  But when the Madhists overwhelmed Sudan, they captured a lot of Egyptian artillery, and a lot of Egyptians.  The guns were not major factors in the battles of the Sudan campaign as the Madhist crews - "volunteers" or otherwise - were not very accurate with the weapons, and artillery was not really how the Sudanese rolled into battle.

These guys will end up flogged no matter how things turn out...
This piece has sat in my pending pile for several years, so it is great to finally get this painted.  Having some artillery for the Madhists will make for a fun additional to the colonial battle.

The castings are beautiful - the "crew" even have chains on their legs...
And the "overseer" is perfectly positioned to deliver some motivation...
I figure the completely bonkers air support chart from Bolt Action will do in terms of rules for using this gun - who knows where the shells will land? On the British? The Madhists? Both? Nowhere?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Victorian Adventurer - 28mm Wargames Foundry

"Peace be with you"
The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge submissions continue.  This figure is from an old Wargames Foundry pack of "Victorian Adventurers".  I am thinking this is a Perry sculpt, but I don't know for certain.  I painted this fellow up as a preacher - it is hard to see in the photos, but there is a little cross on the book he is holding.

This figure looks to me like the sort of hapless adventuring type that would try and spread the gospel in places like the Sudan, so I think he will make either a good objective model, or just a neat piece of ephemera for the colonial gaming table.

There are several other neat models in that Foundry pack - a steam boat captain, a trader, other fun items.  The group of them would make some entertaining prisoners/useful idiots in a Sudan game.  This challenge is the perfect excuse to get them painted!

More Madhists - 28mm Sudan

28mm Sudanese Madhists from Perry
As part of Curt's painting challenge I decided to get some more Madhists into the ranks. After all, you never really have enough for a good colonial game. I did some test models a couple weeks ago - after not touching a Sudan model for years.  Now I am starting to get them cranked out. One of the great things about these painting challenge things is the little shove of motivation that can encourage you to tackle a dusty project - my unpainted Sudan stuff fits the bill perfectly.

This was my second submission - a group of Madhists, some mounted, some on foot.  The mounted contingent includes a high-level Imam, a religious leader for the Madhists.  I know Frederick will be pleased to see another Imam on the table :)

It has been many years since we have played a Sudan game, but the Conscripts still recall that last game well, and how that one Madhist spear man would just not stay down, thanks to his fervent belief in the cause of the Mahdi and the influence of the Imam.

Adding some cavalry to the Madhists will add a neat flavour to the next colonial game we play.  Stay tuned for more bits - for the Madhists and the Imperialists too...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays - Painting Challenge Underway

28mm Samurai from Perry - another amazing Perry sculpt
Nothing says "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" like a Samurai.  Right?  Actually I painted this figure for a reason - our friend Curt in Regina has kicked off another one of his painting challenges and each of the 47 participants has been asked to send in one painted Samurai (part of a "47 Ronin" project) as a sort of entry fee.  You can see more about the challenge here at this link.

Colours courtesy of a google image search and guesswork
The mandatory stuff is always the least fun, so I thought I would start off the challenge by painting the Samurai first.  This is a model from the Perry Twins' mind-blowing Samurai collection - "Mounted Samurai with Katana drawn".  This figure came from a pack I ordered years ago in a moment of delusion that I would try painting Samurai.  As soon as I got the figure, and as soon as I tried to read about Samurai armour, I was lost.

Samurai all had custom armour and weapons, I think - when you are that cool, you wear whatever colours you want
The "warring states" period of Japan, and Samurai that are part of it, are amazing, but very different for me, and the more I tried to read or learn about it, the less I actually understood.  Dave V even loaned me some wonderful books but the intricate laminate armour is incredibly tricky to paint.  Then try to understand the clouds of clans and sub clans etc. etc. and within moments I knew this was not a period I was going to dive into.  This gathered dust until Curt's challenge gave me an excuse to give it a try.

That speaks to the fun of these painting challenges (the Fawcett Conscripts did one of our own a few years ago) - they are a useful prompt to get painting something you otherwise would not, or would leave to languish.  Getting this darn figure out of my lost project pile is already a win for me.

The challenge has been underway since December 20, and the submissions are coming in fast and furious from all over the world.  I encourage you to check it out on Curt's blog.  I will post photos of my submissions here a while after they go up on Curt's page.  I hope I can crack the top five this year!

There were three Samurai in this package from Perry - I may screw up the courage to try and paint the other two before the challenge ends in a few months.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thanks Luftwaffe!

Last week Greg put on an excellent 15mm Bolt Action game based on an action from the battle of Kursk. Greg described the scenario thusly:

"German column of Mark IIIs and IVs counter attacked by Russian reserves - T-34s, T-70s and KVs.  We can use "platoon style" Bolt Action.  Can also modify to treat each base of infantry as one "guy", so an activation for a whole platoon can cover all of the infantry, and all of the tanks.  We can bodge the crump-related penalties a bit to get things more free-flowing...I can't recall which of the numerous Panzer division was involved, but we could have the drive toward Ponyri in the north, which stalled out close to the town.  The worn down, but still powerful, German column can run into a counter attack by Russian reserves."

The German objective was to exit four AFVs off the table from the Russian edge at right above (major win) or to occupy the high ground at the middle of the table (minor win). They had access to a Tiger as reinforcement but taking it would reduce the "win level" by one. Russian goal was to prevent German victory - simple.

And brilliant! I have to say, that it's not enough to be jealous of Greg's fine brushwork; the man also knows how to design a wargames scenario. While my games are fairly often one-sided affairs, Greg's are pretty much always well-balanced and tense games to the very end. This one was very nearly that way, too - and that this one wasn't was no fault of the scenario...

Anyway, the Russians set up in defensive positions waiting for the German advance.

Here come the fascists! Panzers drive across the summer fields. Greg had implemented an "anti-parking-lot" rule that no AFV could end its turn closer than 4" to a friendly AFV.

Fire rains down on a T-34. Set on fire, crew bailed out, destroyed :-)

A few crumps (pins) landed on the Germans as they advanced. The house rule we now use for BA games with many vehicles can be summarized this way:
  • First Pin on the platoon gives a -1 to Orders
  • After that it's -1 per two Pins (e.g. three Pins = -2; 6 Pins = -3)
  • Pins still subtract from the roll to hit when shooting, but they get divided among all vehicles in the platoon (e.g. three vehicle platoon with 4 Pins - two shoot at -1 and one shoots at -2)
  • Successful Rally action removes Pins as normal but all vehicles but one may take an Advance or Fire action.

"We can also add to the terror with visits from the Luftwaffe and Red Air Force..." Greg wrote me in an email before the game. Here a Sturmovik visits some of the aforementioned terror on the German armour. Hanomags with Panzergrenadiers aboard seen in background.

The Germans begin to envelop the Russian position. Frederick and I (Germans) decided to dash for the table edge with one tank platoon and forego the Tiger, leaving the Pzkpfw. IIIs and infantry to mop up the hilltop.

Things were going "not bad"...

...despite the occasional "pwnage" by the sole surviving T-34...

... then the Luftwaffe showed up. I'm not sure what I did in a previous life (maybe I was a FOO who called down an airstrike on his own troops?) but I swear, whenever I get near a die roll for an airstrike the result is inevitably blue on blue...

In this case "own side pwnage" as the Stuka lit up one of our tank platoons. But don't worry, it gets worse, much worse...

Russian reinforcements start to appear on the far side of the ridge. No problem yet as the Pzkpfw. IVs are in control.

On the ridge itself a close-range battle is raging as the dismounted panzergrenadiers assault the dug-in Russians. We considered each infantry stand to have three "wounds" and a prescribed number of shots in the shooting phase, to save recordkeeping by individual model. It worked well.

Germans at top centre win the assault and begin to consolidate control of the high ground. The Russian infantry is in headlong flight. Achievement of the minor victory condition looks certain when...

We call for air support again! It arrives. I make Frederick roll to see the result. On anything but a "1" Russians will die. And the roll is... a 1. Confused pilot, Russians pick the target. The Germans on the ridge, obviously.

Russians roll for damage on the German infantry platoon. Was it a wound on a 2 or 3+? I forget, but the airstrike had a significant Pen modifier and the die roll you see above was sufficient to wipe out the infantry platoon. Presumably the German pilot survived the war and went on to train the Syrian Air Force in the early 1970s...

Unfortunately for the fascist vipers, that was about it for the breakout. The spearhead of MkIVs blunted against the Russian reinforcements (T-70s, KV-1s and T-34s) and the massive own goal airstrike put paid to any possibility of holding the centre.

I think we've determined that in the Bolt Action rules, the likelihood of demolishing your own side with an airstrike is just too great (1 in 6 times the plane shows up!!!) We'll likely institute a house rule that when "own goal" is indicated, a further die is rolled and on a 2+, the plane is merely shot down, never to return. If this die roll comes up "Scottish", then Hell is unleashed on your own unsuspecting troops. Makes it no less tragic an occurrence but a little rarer at least.

It was a great game nonetheless and a cool scenario. Thanks to Greg for rolling out his gorgeous toys and setting up the game!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Summer of '42 - 15mm WW2

Got T-34 problems? Dial "IV" for fire support...
Another PSC Panzer IV for this post.  This paint job is intended to fit with the summer of 1942 on the Eastern Front.  This is a Mark IV F2/G - similar to the other two I painted earlier but with a paint job for an earlier period of the war.

I put a decal on from Battlefront's Stalingrad decal set on the rear panel...I am always a little wary of Battlefront's statements of history, but apparently the little little yellow I think it is the 24th Panzer Division.  I'm not sure if that is a correct symbol, but overall this tank looks ready to pursue the doomed  operation Blau. (Or was it "Fall Blau"?)

These tanks provided heavy fire support to the blue-collar Panzer IIIs that still carried out the bulk of the front line panzer fighting against increasing numbers of T-34s, KV-1s and other armoured horrors the Red Army threw at the Germans.  I will not need too many of these for a game - compared to Panzer IIIs...which PSC also has available in box sets...

I have one Mark IV F2/G left from my box of PSC Mark IVs.  I am thinking I am going to try and give it a winter paint job, suited for the fighting in the winter of '42-'43 around Karkhov or the desperate attempts to relieve the pocket in Stalingrad.  I have no 15mm figures with winter paint, camo or terrain...but I have to start somewhere, and a PSC panzer would be good to practice on.