Thursday, October 18, 2018

BA- Free French vs Fallschrimjager

I popped around to Kent's last night for an enjoyable game of Bolt action, enjoyable for me, not so much for Kent thank to some pretty terrible dice rolling with his armoured vehicles.

 I ran
3x shermans
1x M16
1x 2nd lieutenant
2x tough fighter infantry squads
1x 81mm mortar
1x bazooka

Kent fielded:
1x Lieutenant
2x Fallschrimjager squads
1x 105mm recoiless artillery
1x MMG
1x 81mm motar
1x Stug
1x Panzer IV
1x 222 Armoured car

The battlefield- Kent has got some nice new buildings and gaming cloth.

 Turn one the French advance
 The Free French, a mix of Artizan and Warlord Games figures.
 Kent eyeing up my M16 with his panzer IV
 A look down the table on turn 2. Not much to see.
 Stug and panzer IV on the German right flank.
 The Fallschrimjager advance behind the building.

 Mortar observer takes cover in the building.
 Sherman and Free French infantry on my left flank
 Kent is feeling aggressive and throws his infantry forward behind a smoke screen- created whn he failed to register smoke on my Shermaan.
Both Fallschrimjager squads are involved in the counter attack. One is destroyed in the ruined building after defeating my infantry officer when the surviving Germans are counter attacked by my nearby squad. 
 My second squad moves to counter the German thrust- causing several casualties with small arms fire.
 And fomr the gErman perspective.
 The mortar fires despite the stug looming large in the distance.
 Another view down the table, not much to see as the buildings hide the action.
 Kent's very nicely painted LMG team.

 The LMG team is offering covering fire to the rest of the squad- which is currently being decimated.
 Hide n seek around the building on the right flank.
 The Sherman stug slug it out, mostly ineffectively.
 The M16 has moved across to lend a hand on my left flank.
 No so many Germans now.
 The 222 armoured car scores a hit on the Sherman but fails to damage it
 Finally the M16 has a target and decimates the German platoon commander.

Result: A bit of a whitewash, about 5-1. i rolled pretty well but Kent had a pretty disastrous run of dice with his tanks. It was fun to get the dice out again and have a game. I'm back off to Kiribati this weekend so that was my last game until I'm back for good in the new year.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Conqueror Model Dwarves

One of the things I ordered before heading back to Kiribati was a couple of units worth of Conqueror Models dwarves. This range is one I really liked the look of, very norse-esque looking. My  friend Mike is a collector of old school Warhammer metal dwarves and has a sizable collection but personally I can't stand the cartoonish, fat dwarves style of GW's Warhammer ranges, much preferring the more realistic (is that possible with dwarves) proportions of their Lord of the Rings range.

The Conqueror models dwarves are a bit bigger than the LoTR dwarves that makeup the bulk of my fledgling dwarven force but not too much so and so I think will work together just fine. I intend to get a few more command figures and spearmen from Conqueror Models to complete the force.

The miniatures are really nice sculpts, good detail, no flash and paint up really easily. I highly recommend them.

I rebased some LoTR dwarves to ct as the command team- I've decided to make the command stands on circular bases and use them as heroes in Dragon Rampant. I  bought my LoTR dwarves from a friend already painted and so simply rebased them but will probably repaint the commander at some point.

The crossbow dwarves. I've decided, after seeing my friend Ian's basing, to do them on 6cmx 6cm bases so they are a bit more flexible.


Friday, October 12, 2018

I'm back...sort of

Well, briefly anyway. As Kiribati is considered one of the more isolated spots to volunteer we get leave every 3-4 months to get some fresh fruit and vegies! Life isn't too bad out on South Tarawa but after a while you do miss a few trappings of modern life such as plentiful fruit and veggies, hot water etc. You kind of just get into a routine and get on with the job really, There isn't a hell of a lot of excitement out there but it is an interesting place to live. My wife and son came out to visit for 10 days and then we' went to Fiji for a week and I'm  now back home for another 10 days before heading back for my last 3 month stint on South Tarawa.

I had a few boxes of goodies waiting for me when I arrived home- my Dwarven Forge Kickstarter had arrrived, some Conqueror Models dwarven crossbowmen, some GW Ruins of Osligath, GW Galadheim elves etc.Mainly stuff I bought for my Lord of the Rings projects before I headed back to Tarawa.

I have completed one of the Osligath ruins and are working on two units of Conqueror Models dwarves for my Dragon Rampant Dwarf force. I really like the style and size of the Conqueror Dwarves and will adding more to my collection.

I'll base the ruins up properly when I return to New Zealand for good in January but a quick 3 colour drybrush and they were ready for the tabletop. I'm very happy with them, they'll be great for a variety of games.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Abandoned munitions on Tarawa

Well, I'm back in wargaming purgatory, so not much to report on the gaming front. However, I took these pictures back in February. I went with an Aussie friend for a trip over across the lagoon to North Tarawa for a swim. I was surprised to see a rusting WWII shell lying on the beach and then he took me to see a stockpile of rusting shells slowly rusting way on the shoreline. Are any of them live? I have no idea but bloody well hope not. 

Someone as stockpiled them there, my friend said that a few years ago a contractor had put them there and that (I think) they were to be supposed to have been disposed off, but currently they are just lying on an uninhabited atoll across the lagoon, relics of the battle of Tarawa.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Are we experiencing a golden age in 28mm gaming?

I guess I’m getting a bit long on the tooth. I “started” wargaming back in the late 1970s with the ubiquitous Airfix 1:72nd scale HO/OO figures and kits. This was soon followed Matchbox with their 1:76 scale infantry, hanomags, 17pdr and Morris C8 tractor, pak 40 + SDKFZ11, Sherman firefly,  M16 half track, chaffee, wespe to name a few of the kits soon gracing my gaming collection. A year or two and I discovered Esci, which to my pre-teenage brain were light years ahead of both the two English companies in terms of detail on both figures and vehicles, and they became my first choice for infantry. I also liked their vehicles but they were a bit fiddly to put together and weren’t really in scale to Matchbox or Airfix, but that mattered little to my friend Ian and me.   

In those days Airfix kits and figures were readily available and building kits was a rite of passage for many boys. Military figures and kits were widely available in most specialised model railway and hobby shops not to mention more general toy stores here in New Zealand. HO/OO 1:72nd and 1:76th kits were the main scale used by most local wargamers I knew, and being pre internet and not involved in the local clubscene, that wasn’t that many! I guess that’s what in these globally connected days, we would refer to as the local meta. I know that Ian and I both looked with great envy at the beautiful metal figures and vehicles to fill out ranges available in the UK but with the prices in pound, the weak NZ dollar, exorbitant postage not to mention extremely limited gaming budgets they were right out of the question!

Over the years I built up a sizeable collection of 1:76/1:72nd plastic kits. In fact , the bulk of my first fulltime pay packet after leaving school went on buying 8x Hasegawa M3 half tracks to mechanise my US infantry forces!

But, as is often the way, in my later teenage years I put aside gaming for more appropriate pastimes- hanging out with mates, drinking, partying, girlfriends etc but never completely gave up gaming.
It wasn’t until just after I got married and I moved to Japan for three years that I really returned to the hobby. In my first few weeks in Japan I found a local gaming store that had a lot of Fujimi 1:76 scale kits. Pretty much the first Japanese I learned was how to order kits. The shopkeeper thought I was a crazy gaijin who didn’t understand Japanese at all when I ordered 12x T34s. Eventually he figured out yes, I was serious and so ordered them for me. They duly appeared the following week and I biked home (we biked everywhere in Japan) with two bags of models perched on my handlebars- having given the shopowner a second bulk order for the following week. I spent many, many evenings in Japan building 1:76 scale kits and would transport them home on my annual trips back to NZ as well as sending numerous repacked unmade kits back home Ian so we could fill large voids in our collections- especially for Eastern Front armour.

I returned to NZ in 1999 I then moved to Timaru and in time made contact with some other gamers a year or so later. A couple showed interest in WWII gaming and we started dabbling with Rapid Fire in 1:72nd scale. About that time a small company in NZ called Battlefront had their playtest version of the rules available online and were appearing to demonstrate the game of Flames of War: Company Commander at the NZ Wargaming Nationals in Christchurch (2002?). Ian and I had both checked out their website but the pictures of some of the 15mm staff looked pretty average at best so decided we’ better check them out in person. We did so and immediately decided to ditch 20mm/1:72 scale and so sold off all our staff and 15mm gaming became our main gaming scale of the next decade.

The local gamers embraced FoW and we ended up having a sizeable gaming community and many, many evenings of enjoyable games and I ran an annual FoW tournament for a decade. In time we started the Timaru Armchair Generals back up after more than a decade’s hiatus and I’m glad to say it’s still going strong some 15 years later.

I recall about 2010/2011 having a conversation with Kent of Galpy’s 15mm Painting Shed fame discussing 28mm figures. He’d just painted up some Warlord Games (metal) US paras and was sounding keen to get into 28mm gaming but we both concluded that the scale, and price of metal miniatures meant we’d stick to 15mm- so ended up building some 15mm Napoleonic armies instead and he sold his freshly painted armies!

I did have some Gripping Beast 28mm Vikings and Saxons I’d purchased in late 2000 when I briefly toyed with the idea of 28mm DBA but really hated the way the DBA basing for 28mm scale worked, it just didn’t look right so the project languished for a long time as no one I knew did 28mm gaming- it was too damn expensive-  and I wanted bigger armies and more dynamic basing to the DBA standard.  

It wasn’t till a year or two later that Kent and I changed our minds and decided to get into 28mm Napoleonic’s for the 200th anniversary of Borodino project and the rest is as they say history. Metal 28mm figures were a hell of a lot  more expensive than our traditional scale of 15mm but painted up nicely and were a damn sight easier to see than 15mm figures seemed to be becoming to my 40 something year old eyes.

So I guess my foray into 28mm has coincided with a bit of a renaissance in 28mm gaming. In the last six years or so we’ve witnessed a real growth in popularity for 28mm historics, driven in no small part by the ever increasing ranges of plastics out there that are making 28mm gaming cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Companies like Victrix, Warlord Games, Gripping Beast, Perry Miniatures, Fireforge, and for fantasy Games Workshop, Mantic and Oathmark to name a few. In fact the GW Lord of the Rings range were in truth probably the first to start this process with their excellent LoTR releases accompanying  Peter Jackson’s movies. Thy are still some of my favourite figures. 

However, some of the early plastic ranges were a bit hit and miss but the quality of sculpts (and increased use of computer aided design) has continued to improve and has meant some companies are producing really outstanding stuff. I’m still a bit of a metal snob in some eras- preferring metals to plastic in WWII for instance- too many bad experiences with subpar Warlord Games plastics and frustrated that they ditch very nice metals ranges for pretty average plastics ones. But other manufacturers, such as Victrix historics I buy without second thought as the quality is as good as, if not sometimes better, than the higher end metals available.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a deep love for metal figures and there are a number of outstanding companies out there that I buy but the plastics make it easier and cheaper to bulk out armies and get larger forces on table. The more dynamic/individualised metals can be used for special character and to add variety to rank and file units and many of my forces are a mix of both plastics and metals which I’m sure is the same for many gamers. As ranges increase options of mixing and matching and kitbashing new figures by combining parts of different manufacturers kits has also become easier and easier, not to mention ease of customising plastics in general.

I think a number of outstanding blogs- some of which I have links too, have also made 28mm gaming more attractive and there is nothing like the spectacle of a well organised 28mm game on beautiful terrain. My own participation in the Borodino and Gettysburg events in Christchurch a few years back being my first chance to take part in the truly majestic spectacles of massed 28mm figures on table with fellow wargame enthusiasts that I’d only till that point ever really ever seen in UK and US wargaming magazines.

So where is this post heading? I’m not really sure except to say that I think the development of the modern 28mm plastics has lead to a revival of interest in the scale and also in historic gaming in general. Great figures at more affordable prices for creating larger armies, coupled with a range of outstanding blogs,  not to mention a wide range of excellent rules available means that in my opinion we are indeed witnessing a revival, or renaissance of you will in gaming in this scale, long may it prosper.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dragon Rampant- a last hurrah

Well I made it back to South Tarawa, Kiribati in one piece. From 8-12 degree Celsius days, fires at night and -1C degree nights to +31C days. A bit of a shock to the system, though a swim in the Pacific (a balmy 28-29 degrees) soon helped me adjust. Still, I actually enjoy winter and having a fire each night so it was great to be home for a few weeks.

Anyway I headed up to Christchurchon Saturday for my flights to Fiji on Sunday- and Tarawa Molnday. So I had teed up a game vs my old mate Ian. I arrived at his place to find a table already set up and ready to go, good lad. So it was to be the the first outing for my new Black Nunenoreans/ ex army off the dead troops.

Black Numenoreans (32 pts)
·         2x Black Numenorean Infantry- Heavy Foot(1 unit is the general)
·         2x Black Numenorean Archers- Light Missiles
·         1x Troll- Large warbeast
·         1x Warg riders   Light Riders
·         1x Scouts

Since I was using my based units Ian decided to use some of his 100 Year War English force. He painted this force up  close to 20 years ago and unfortunately it has not seen much table time. He has two very, very nicely painted 100 Year War French & English armies that we really must get onto the table a lot more often! The army is made from Old Glory figures and is very, very nice.

Ian threw together a quick force comprising of:
Human Kingdoms (32 points)
·         1x elite rider (Gen)
·         1x heavy cavalry
·         2x infantry- light foot offensive
2x archers 

Black Numenorean deployment

And the (so called) good guys
 The end of turn 1.
 The humans advance.
 I shuffle forward to meet them- and after having decided I was too close to my baseline if things went horribly wrong!
 The warg riders are sent on a scouting/flanking mission.
 While on the other flank, the human light infantry advances toward the woods.
 The vain glorious human commander leads from the front.
 So I send forward the troll to ruin his day.
 Troll and general clash

 Ian moves his archers to support the general, while my own archers and scouts trade missile fire with them.
 Peew-peew noises are always appropriate at moments like this
 As you can see the battle lines are more or less intact.
 General Goody-Goody-Two-Shoes drives the troll back
 Then my troll fails a courage roll and stomps off the table!
  However his rather rash general is now looking a tad...isolated. CHARGE!!!!!
 The two generals clash.
 As he troll had battered the General GGTS (under half strength so only 6 dice to roll) the result was a bit of a formality.
 At this stage I thought things were looking up.
 My other Black Numenorean heavy infantry-Offensive (aka BNHI-O) see off the lighter armed human light infantry-offensive (HLI-O).
 Still the human archers are starting to more than annoy my general
 In the end he too fails a courage test and decides discretion is the better part of valour- after all the battle is all but won...isn't it?
 The final mop up commences

Final Thoughts
My report may look a bit one sided but the game was in the balance right to the end. I got a  bit lucky at times but my plan to use the wargs to try to flank his line kind of worked. I was lucky that Ian wasn’t able to concentrate his missile fire early on. The middle stages were touch and go but in the end I managed to sneak away with a win only losing 2 units though others were badly damaged. 

It was a good fast game- as Dragon Rampant seems to be-no faffing around with unit frontages, ZoCs etc, etc, etc, very old school IMO it harkens back to the days where players and rules writers took things a tad less seriously,  so is right up my alley. 

Having the generals have a reroll once per turn to a unit within 12” worked well and stopped a few superfast turns. Even so you still had to be a bit tactical with which units to activate and when- which I liked. Losing the general was really noticeable from a command and control point of view (lots more failed command rolls) so maybe the lesson learned was just because you CAN charge with your general doesn’t mean you always SHOULD!

We both enjoyed it and are keen to scale it up to bigger games and I think Ian quite liked using unit style bases as opposed to individual figures- though I came away with a new respect for his 6cm x 6cm bases as they give a bit more flexibility. Oh no, not more basing dilemmas!

I look forward to plenty more games of DR when I return home and we are already plotting for a 80 point per side clash…