Monday, October 28, 2019

Soviet AGS-17s for "Team Yankee"

Soviet AGS-17s for "Team Yankee" - 15mm figures from Battlefront.
One more bit of painting for "Team Yankee" - this is another small project that has been sitting, primed and ready to go, for over a year. While I have been working on the recent bits to reinforce my Canadians, I decided to tackle these at the same time, even though they will be fighting for the other side. These are AGS-17 teams, a heavy weapon team option available to support Soviet motor rifle forces in the "Team Yankee" game.  The models are from Battlefront (although the bases are from the fine people at Warbases).

Some poor casting leads to awkward-looking poses on the gunners...and some awful gaps at the wrists.
The AGS-17 is a type of automatic grenade launcher. It seems like a pretty scary weapon. As if the Soviet Motor Rifles didn't have enough firepower to back them up already! Woe to the NATO troops who linger too long while Warsaw Pact infantry forces set up these things to root them out...

I have no idea why I crowed these figures at the front of the large bases...oh well, at least now they are painted after sitting, primed and ready to go, for over a year!
These castings are metal figures from Battlefront.  The sculpting is good, but as is so often the case, the casting quality was very poor, unfortunately.  A close examination will reveal a gap between the hands of the AGS-17 gunners (which are part of the weapon castings) and the wrists of the gunner - the gunner and the weapons did not match up in many cases.  Fortunately you don't really notice that from an average tabletop distance. 

Some gaps at the wrists on a number of the gunners...
I believe the Soviet player in "Team Yankee" has the option of attaching one of these bases to each motor rifle company in a battalion.  They can also be used to support the airborne/heliborne infantry units. Between all of the BMPs, all of the dismounts and the PKM MG teams,  Soviet assaults in "Team Yankee" won't be lacking firepower...I look forward to trying these fellows out the next time we give "Team Yankee" a spin.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Leopard C1s for Canadians in "Team Yankee"

Leopard C1s in 1/100 scale - models are plastic kits from Battlefront.
Rounding out the recent mini-run of Canadian reinforcements for "Team Yankee" are two Leopard C1s.  Because you can never have enough tanks! The models are plastic kits from Battlefront, and the decals are the usual blend of Armies Army and the 1/87 sheet from European sources.

The Leopard 1 - what beautiful lines on a scary vehicle...
The plastic Leopard C1 kits from Battlefronts are very well done - I fear the plastic cupola MG is not long for the gaming world, but overall you get a number of options that allow you to build Leopard 1s for your Canadians, Dutch, Belgians or Australians - quite a variety of allied flavours to choose from.

Slightly better lighting in this photo...the commander in the hatch, along with the flowered shrub, are used to denote command tanks/bases.
By the time of the fictional conflict that occurs in "Team Yankee" the Leopard C1 is something of an obsolescent vehicle - these tanks will not dominate a gaming table the way other frontline NATO tanks like the M1 Abrams, Chieftains and Leopard IIs will.  But they are still the armoured hitting power for the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, so Canadian players will count on these vehicles to have any hope of halting the Warsaw Pact advance.  Careful deployment of the Leopard C1s can still bring a world of hurt to Soviet tanks and APCs - although the 125mm return fire from T-72 and T-64s will go straight through the armour...yikes...

Ready for forward deployment to the model cabinet in my living room...
While it's time as a premier battlefield tank might have been fading, it still looks cool as hell!  I just love the silhouette of this beast, and the models are a lot of fun to paint.  I have to give credit to Battlefront for an excellent kit.  As I said, I think plastic cupola MGs are a terrible idea in general, but the kit is well done, simple to build, and covers a number of options. You get five of the tanks in a box. With these two finished there are now 14 Leopard C1s available to my 4CMBG battlegroup in games of "Team Yankee".  The other three will be done as a different variant for another NATO nation...something that might start during the next edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

Thanks for visiting, hope everyone is having a great autumn! 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Canadian Lynx Patrol for "Team Yankee"

A patrol of Canadian "Lynx" armoured vehicles.
Some additional Canadian Content for my "Team Yankee" forces.  These are two "Lynx", a variant of the M113 CRV - basically mini-M113s.  The Canadian Forces used them for reconnaissance duties - a squadron of these vehicles were attached to each Canadian armoured regiment, and they also supported the work of the mechanized infantry battalions. These models are from Battlefront. The decals are a mix of Armies Army and a 1/87 Canadian Forces decal sheet I found online.

Rear view on the models - great sculpting work by Battlefront.
In "Team Yankee" the Lynx are deployed in pairs as a "patrol". I had already painted two of these vehicles, so I now have a second "patrol" to use with my Canadian battlegroup. I have to give credit to Battlefront, they did a fine job on these models - they are the more traditional mix of resin and metal components (a declining portion, it seems, of the Battlefront product mix these days).

Practice maneuvers in my kitchen.
In real military operations, vehicles such as the Lynx (and their hardy crew, of course) provide a vital function.  The Lynx would be out ahead and on the flank, watching for enemy movements and providing vital intelligence to the formation commanders.  Any modern military force would be asking for trouble without this kind of support.

But I find that critical nature is very hard to capture in tabletop wargaming.  On our gaming tables, the recon vehicles mostly just serve as early targets for your opponent.  The M113 CRV is a light armoured vehicle.  While the MGs can fight (a bit) against similar enemy vehicles,   In "Team Yankee" they will...mostly blow up very fast.

Commander in the hatch, always a useful way to show a command vehicle for a troop.
I find that many wargame rules struggle with the best way to reflect the value of reconnaissance assets - and I don't really know what the answer is.  "Spearhead" comes the closest - and this makes sense, given the division-level nature of that ruleset. For these more tactical games, you could structure a game where the reconnaissance units have the goal of scouting/spotting something and then escaping/falling back...but as gamers we (or, at least, I) want to have the big tanks blasting away at each other's hard to combine both aspects on one 6'x4' table.

Well, no matter what service they render on the table, my lead/plastic/resin Canadians will welcome the support.  When you are facing the Warsaw Pact hordes, you'll take all the help you can get!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Other Long Weekend Painting Bits - Epic 30k Falchion

An Epic 30k Falchion-class super-heavy tank for the Death Guard.
I meant to follow up Part 1 of my Thanksgiving Weekend painting-fest sooner, but other things got in the way, and in the meantime, Mike and Dallas had some great stuff to share, and I wanted to let their posts stay top shelf for a few days. In particular, it's great to see some of the other folks here tipping over into the new Adeptus Titanitcus...great stuff!

Quad lascannons on the sponsons in addition to the huge friggin' main cannon.
This post doesn't have too much to share - while I was working away at that Canadian mechanized infantry platoon for "Team Yankee", I also pulled this out of the huge "soon-to-be-painted-which-turned-into-months-of-waiting-while-primed" pile I have downstairs - this is an Epic 30k Falchion super-heavy tank.  It is painted in the colours of the XIV Legion, the "Death Guard".  I have not painted an Epic 30k tank in some months, and knocking this off gave my brushes something to do while waiting for the Agrax Earthshade to dry on all of those Canadian models.

"Let's power up for that kill shot..."

I had painted three friends for this guy back during Curt's most recent edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, but for some reason I didn't finish this thank even though it had been prepped and primed at the same time as the other three.  Who knows what distraction caused my squirrel brain to move on.  Whatever the cause, this tank sat primed and based, waiting for paint, since January of this year.

The Falchion is a "super-tank-destroyer" among the ranks of the Space Marine Legions' super-heavy tanks.  It's got a giant super cannon which can knock out opposing super-heavies, and even enemy Titans, in just one shot.  And in keeping with the design-to-overkill tradition of the Space Marine Legions, it also has two batteries of quad-lascannons mounted on sponsons.  I suppose the crew use those for sport in between blasts from the main battery.

Death Guard super-heavies on maneuvers in my kitchen.
So I now have an ominous-looking force of Epic 30k Death Guard - to join Byron's fantastic collection of Epic 30k Death Guard :) If nothing else, we'll be all set for a major confrontation between Space Marine heavy tank companies!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Adeptus Titanicus Knights and Legio Krytos Warhounds

It was really inevitable, wasn't it? One Conscript gets into something and seemingly no matter how strong the will to resist, I will get sucked in... but it's all to the good of course because that's our hobby isn't it!!

Anyway, the familiar story plays out again with the latest edition of Games Workshop's Adeptus Titanicus. Released in 2018, the game plays out the giant-robo mayhem of the Horus Heresy, in particular the epic combat between the god-machines of the Collegia Titanica. Conscript Greg was the early adopter in our group, as he is an arch-enthusiast of GW's Epic game and already maintained a Legion or two of "Epic-scale" Titans - have a look at the hashtags on the right-hand side of this page :-)  I'd sold on my own modest collection of Epic Chaos stuff some time ago so didn't really have any skin in the game... or so I thought...

Nevertheless, the thought of an AT project was always kind of percolating... on our trip to the UK earlier this year we visited Warhammer World (as you do) and the AT stuff was of course prominently displayed in the store. The best looking package was the "Battlegroup" consisting of a Warlord, Reaver, and two Warhounds - a snip at a mere hundred English pounds. At the current f/x that was only about $160CAD - a significant saving on the Canadian retail of $200. OK then...

So that stuff sat for a bit on the shelf, then an ad appeared on a local Facebook group for the "Grandmaster Edition" plus all of the books, at a ridiculous discount. So I was all in.

I started off the Titan-building with the two Warhounds. My chosen Legio is Krytos - I wanted to throw in my lot with the Warmaster this time, and Krytos was associated with the Iron Warriors space marine legion so that's a nice fit too.

I ended up magnetising several elements of the models, including all of the weapons and the torso-to-legs joint.

Painting was pretty straightforward. Leadbelcher for the metal bits; Brass Scorpion for the bronze bits; Rakarth Flesh highlighted with Pallid Wych Flesh for the off-white bits; and Vallejo German Uniform for the field-grey bits. The whole was washed with Agrax Earthshade.

Weathering was pretty simple too, just some dusting up the feet and legs with Rakarth Flesh and sponge chipping with a mix of black and Rhinox Hide. Some rust streaks were applied with neat Agrax. The base was painted with Rhinox Hide and drybrushed with Mournfang Brown, Steel Legion Drab, and lastly Rakarth Flesh.

Here's the spare bunch of weapons. Note the messed up cabling on the Gatling... ugh. It turned out that I assembled another weapon set with the Gatlings' cables and the ones left over didn't quite fit them. So I assembled the best I could and cut off the ends of the cables, as they just slide in under the Warhound cowling anyway :-)

I also painted some Knights!

These are Knights of House Caesarean. Again, this Knight house was associated with Legio Krytos and the Iron Warriors space marine legion during the Horus Heresy.

Assembly of the models was straightforward and I didn't bother magnetising them as the kits don't come with spare or alternate weapons - you get three chainfists and a thermal cannon, battlecannon, and Gatling thing - that's it.

I did use the decals included for House Caesarean from the Legio Krytos sheet. The chequered decals are particularly useful!

Painting was also simple. Leadbelcher, XV-88/Averland Sunset, Brass Scorpion, Mechanicus Standard Grey, Nuln Oil wash.

The "House Caesarean" decals as shown on the shoulder plate came in handy as well.

Top view shows the different shoulder armour treatments off to good effect.

So there we go, that's the start of my Adeptus Titanicus project! I still have the Reaver and Warlord from the Battlegroup, plus another Warlord and all the terrain from the Grandmaster box to do, so I'll be at this for awhile. But I really enjoyed painting the Warhounds and am looking forward to doing the Warlords and Reaver.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Imperial Fist Command Squad

Painting has been slow the last few months for a variety of reasons and I've spent most of my time on side projects that have been gathering dust for years. As such my 30k Legion project has been delayed. With the changing weather I decided to complete the last infantry models I have for the Imperial Fists. I have almost 5000 points painted, but I've lacked a large HQ unit. My terminator Centurion has been in an acting Praetor position for a while now and it's time the force had a proper HQ. The command squad below are the last infantry models I have for the Fists. After this I have some Rhino's, Stormraven and a Fellblade to finish, but I'll be holding off working on those so I can hopefully finish my Adeptus Titanicus maniple.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Long Weekend Painting Frenzy Part 1 - Team Yankee Canadian Mechanized Infantry

Reinforcements for the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in "Team Yankee"
We just finished another unique Thanksgiving weekend here in Winnipeg. I use the word"unique" because our province was hammered by a severe snow storm through Thursday and Friday.  While terrible winter conditions are something most Manitoba residents are used to, Thanksgiving is just a touch early for that sort of thing - when snow does arrive at that time of year, it tends to be the wet, heavy sort which brings down trees and power lines.  As I type this, thousands of residents remain without power, and it could be a week or more before the power is restored.

Mechanized company command stand (and an M113 for the group to ride around in).
For my part, I was very fortunate - while my lights flickered, the power stayed on, we did not lose too many trees on our property, and I was able to spend Thanksgiving with family because our pickup truck can drive through almost any weather conditions. But since there wasn't much else to do, I was also able to paint like a madman through the whole long weekend!  Building on the ADATS from last week, one of the items I finished was a mechanized infantry platoon for my "Team Yankee" Canadians.

I first started painting Canadians for "Team Yankee" back in January of 2018, before any of Battlefront's models or rules had been released. So my initial Leopard C1s were a mix of models from the Plastic Soldier Company and an outfit called "Armies Army" - a niche outfit which had also released an insanely complete collection of infantry, M113s and Lynx vehicles.

The bulk of the infantry platoon, with their M113s in the background. The blue flowers denote the platoon command stand.
The casting quality of Battlefront's metal infantry models continue to be, at best, average, but at least the range is complete and still available.
This was all months before Battlefront had released their Canadians, and I was a keen early adopter. My Canadians have already participated in some fun games of "Team Yankee", but my force is a small one, and I am looking to bulk it up for some bigger games.  Sadly "Armies Army" no longer exists, and its fine products are nowhere to be found...while I do have left-overs from my initial order, they won't be enough to bulk up my tabletop forces very much.  But it's 2019 now, and Battlefront's (very complete) range is now established and available!

Supporting weapons for the platoon...a .30cal MG team (almost straight from WW2) and a 2-man 60mm mortar team. It's old school, but it all helps hold back the Warsaw Pact forces...
The photos in this post show a complete Canadian mechanized infantry platoon and their 4 M113 APCs for transport.  There is also a Canadian infantry command stand, and a separate M113 for the company commander.  The models and figures are all from Battlefront - but the decals are from my "Armies Army" haul and a specialist 1/87 decal provider (I like the over-sized Canadian flags on the vehicles...).

M113s...missing that iconic road wheel on the front (something the Canadian vehicles always seem to have in photos) but hopefully the little over-sized Canadian decals give enough "Canadian content" for the models.
Another view of the M113s...not my favourite Cold War vehicle by a long shot, but you will not find many NATO forces without them...
I always find the M113 to be a bit of a tough slog to paint - they are not inspiring vehicles - but I credit Battlefront for an overall amazing kit in terms of options to build your M113s into a wide assortment of of the variants used by NATO forces.  The Battlefront infantry sculpts are also good, but I do prefer the "Armies Army" ones in terms of quality - the sculpting and casting was just better with "Armies Army".  But full credit to Battlefront, their range is very complete - and you can still order from it, so it's great to see them supporting their range and their game.

With these reinforcements, I can now field multiple elements in my "Team Yankee" Canadian forces - a mechanized infantry company and a Leopard C1 squadron. While my gamer-lizard-brain will always immediately speculate about further expansion (a third mechanized infantry platoon, maybe to represent the combat engineers, would be nice, as would more TOW launchers, and the Leopard C1 squadron could use a couple more tanks) for now we have some additional variety in terms of options for our "Team Yankee" gaming.

Thanks for visiting - and stay tuned for more Long Weekend Painting Frenzy Output

Friday, October 11, 2019

Canadian ADATS for Team Yankee

Canadian ADATS for "Team Yankee" - models from Battlefront
My butterfly-like painting path has wandered back for a time to the 1/100 scale vehicles of Battlefront's "Team Yankee".  I have added some more "Canadian Content" to my collection, additional support for my 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in the form of a pair of "Air Defence Anti Tank Systems" - the ADATS launchers.

Patrolling the skies AND the ground!
What are these funny-looking things? Why, they take out planes, helicopters AND tanks! Mounted atop a modified M113, these systems are supposedly able to provide protection against both enemy aircraft AND enemy armour. That seems...a bit unusual to me? Seems like something the Tau would use in 40k. I did not realize a missile system from the 1980s could take on a dual-role like this.

Leaving aside the technical aspects...would it really have been possible to do both of these things at once in a modern Cold War battlefield? It seems to me that watching the skies and being ready to protect air space is a whole different kettle of fish from watching the ground to the front and preparing to engage enemy armour...

I believe there was a platform attached to the sides of the modified M113 which could be raised so crews could service the launchers.
The important thing is, we didn't need to find out! Yay! Whatever its "realistic" viability, in terms of playing the "Team Yankee" game, the Canadian forces will rely a lot on these odd-looking constructs. The Leopard C1 has a very difficult time of it going toe-to-toe with Warsaw Pact armour, so the big-time AT hitting power of these weapons is a welcome addition to the lineup.  The Canadians' in-house ability to defend against enemy air assets is also extremely limited, so the ability of the ADATS to provide anti-air cover is a huge asset.  If you are playing the Canadian Forces in "Team Yankee", the ADATS is your friend for sure!

Track those targets!
When the "Free Nations" supplement came out for "Team Yankee", I thought the addition of the ADATS was pure fiction, but Conscript member Hugh pointed out that he had seen them in his time serving with the Canadian Forces - so these things really did exist at one point and served in the Canadian Forces. I also chuckled when I saw that the procurement of the ADATS was yet another example of how modern Canada has been utterly unable to execute almost any serious military procurement without either political incompetence, corruption, or other general stupidity (and disgraceful treatment of our service members). Thank goodness Canada's power projection these days is mostly centered around virtue-signalling.

It is Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend - so I hope all of you out there have a great weekend (and if you are in Winnipeg, that you survive the horrible weather).  Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for visiting!