Monday, March 29, 2010

Terrain- Deciduous Trees

Last night I completed the first 4 of the new temperate deciduous trees using Woodlands Scenics trees. They look good but are fragile.

The bases are made with the same methods as the pine/fir trees.

To ensure they stay put I drill a hole in the bottom and insert a paper clip and snip it off. I then drill a hole in the base of the MDF and superglue the tree in place.

I will probably need at least another dozen of these when I get round to it...


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Terrain- Desert Rock Outcroppings

Once the nationals are out of the way I think it will be time for some desert action. Today I decided to try a little experiment in making rocky outcroppings for my desert forces.

  1. As usual I used a 3mm MDF base.
  2. I placed some large pine barkchips from the woodpile and glued them into position.
  3. Next step was to cover the base in permafilla and waited for it to dry. At this point I also covered the bark in watered down PVA- this shrinks as it dries so provides a seal for the bark and prevents it from chipping or flaking when handled (without this step the bark needs an occasional touch up as it tends to get damaged easily).
  4. I then undercoated the entire base a light tan colour (a colour called Mesa left over from some recent renovations).
  5. Once that was dry I covered the entire base in PVA and sprinkled the base with beach sand.
  6. Once that was dry I highlighted with a lighter yellowy-tan (called Casa from the local paint shop).
I really want to make some scatter terrain wadi's so that infantry have a chance to hide and avoid being run over by tanks. That might be my next project.

Updated 29th March
A photo taken on a sunny day- looks much more deserty in sunlight!

I think I might try the same technique to make wadis


Saturday, March 27, 2010

FoW Tactics- Defence in Depth

Flamethrowers are one of this strange weapon systems in FoW (along with Goliaths) that can be a pain to face- my solution is to deploy in defence in depth- his is often also a good idea vs large infantry forces as well. The key is to have a picket line and have the rest of your force close enough that they aren't drawn into the initial round of the assault (and thereby destroyed if your opponent rolls well) but that they are close enough that you get maximum number of teams in your counter attack to gut the enemy platoon.

Here is a standard defence in depth vs F/T (or anything else for that matter)- let’s assume a 7 stand grenadier platoon.

In this photos the Soviets are attacking from the left. The AT gun HQ and 2iC are probably a bit close- you want them about 3" behind the picket so that if the picket are engaged they could die but the 2iC and AT gun commanders are close enough to become involved in the combat in a counter attack but not targetted as they are not going to be within 2" of actual assault on the first contact. also by having the 2 pickets about 5" apart the flamethrower can not move between them (they both exert of 2" zone of control).

Now even if the 2x pickets are roasted the 2iC and/or AT gun commander will be dragged into the combat and the 3x pak 38s able to fire at full rate of fire (assuming they are not pinned).

Now if you do this defence with 2x interlocked platoons it becomes even harder to crack as one picket will be from each platoon and the flamethrower must target one or other platoons so you only risk losing one team but having a lot more defensive fire capabilities.

Again the 2iC and AT gun commander are a bit close to the pickets in the photo but you get the idea.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Terrain- Winter Trees II

Well I guess I'd better finish them.

To make snow I use a mixture of:
  • watered down PVA
  • Woodlands Scenics Snow
  • Baking Soda

I mix it into a paste and apply with a damp brush. Once positioned I sprinkle another light layer of baking soda and finish off with a heavy sprinkle of Woodlands Scenics snow

It gives a nice effect for deep snow drifts.


Terrain- Winter Trees

And the winter versions.

I will probably add some snow to the bases though.

Again simply an MDF base cut out with a jigswa and some permafiller added for texture. Then covered in beach sand and painted dark brown then highlighted with a light brown. Trees, Woodlands scenics clump foliage and a few sticks from trees in the garden to represent fallen logs.

The forest base is simply some dark green felt cut to an irregular shape and then heavily dry brushed with a dark brown followed by white paint.- simple but does the job.

The stug hides quite nicely in the shadows


Terrain- Trees

My Woodland scenics trees are staring tog et a bit battered. I made these tree bases 5-6 years ago and they have seen a lot of use but over time are starting to show wear and tear (they look good but are are quite fragile). I have taken the battered woodland scenic trees off and replacement the with some pine trees I picked up on Trademe a couple of years ago.

I have to at some point make bases for the woodland scenics ones as well.

I usually put 3-4 clumps of trees with some lichen to denote a forested area.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

FoW: Razvedki vs Aufklarung (Encounter)

Our NATCON play tests continued. This week I decided to try SU 152s and 7x T34s supporting the infantry vs Dale's Aufklarung. No air support for me, time to try 120mm mortars.

  • Aufklarung
  • 5x stugs
  • 3x 221 ACs
  • 3x nebelwerfers
  • Limited HS 129s

We rolled for the mission and got Encounter, which we both don't usually play as we don't really like it. Dale chose sides and deployed his aufklarung + stugs (about 90% of his army's points) and I deployed a Rota platoon and SU 152s (just because I could!)


Here they come!

This looks even mroe intimidating! Dale got the first turn and acouple of my infantry teams died before being able to find suitable cover.

Take that- the SUs move forward a bit and engage the only target they can see and hit a half track which promptly explodes, needing a 6 to hit!)

Turn 3- Dale had just tried to snipe my flamethrower with the stugs but missed and at the end of the turn realised my T34s could come on this turn so stormtroopered to face the potential threat- arrgh!!! As a result my T34s were pinned into the corner- even going through the forest they were about 1/2" out of range of side shots on the stugs. Curses!

SU 152 commander: Well the stugs have got their backs to us and are in the open, it would be rude not to drive onto the hill and have a crack... Alas I missed (I did need a 6 of course so why wasn' I surprised?) 7+ years of FoW and this is the first use of MW SUs in a non scenario game (I now remember why!).
"Anyway", the commander muses, "we'll be safe enough here..."

WRONG! Where the hell did that come from? 3 stugs then finished off the second one, curse front armour 8 (when at long range) when you can only roll "2s" for saves.

The cheeky 2iC trying to remove the flamethrower (the only team in SMG range)

The T34s hug the forest while the stugs use the road to put pressure on the other flank.

The storch is the second objective. My second rota platoon came on and promptly bogged 2x scout cars so only 9x 50 cal dice as I charged the aufkalrung trying desperately to claw back a point. I did kill 3 teams (including the company commander) and force a platoon morale test (which he passed) but the next couple of turns the stugs and half tracks simply blew me off the objective. One stug was sniped by a T34 with a side shot but two others parked on the objective and I was unable to contest. At this point my mortars had finally turned up but failed to range in on the remaining aufklarung. My frst platoon too was now moving through the village but was unable to assault the aufklarung on the last turn.

6-1 to Dale.

A game of missed opportunities. I was always going to have to try and get in and deal with the aufklarung and hope for the best vs the stugs- 5 was simply too many to deal with (as it turns out Dale's points were off and we should have only faced 4 but it made it more challenging this way!). Dale maneuvered them perfectly to counter the flamethrower and T34 threats and I really had no other openings to deal with them after that.

Air support would have been handier for me and it is for scenarios that this that I feel its worth it. I still would only have had 2 platoons on board and 2 in reserve but at least could have rolled each round for some air support to keep the stugs spread out.

I actually liked the SU 152s, fragile as hell but something to be wary of. On a less snowy table the T34s could have tried to use their mobility better (we are playing a bogging test for snow and if passed normal cross country movement but no double timing)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

15mm Hedge lined Fields

I went up to Cavaliers Club in Christchurch the other night and, as always it struck me, how good their terrain is, especially the fields, woods and and hills that one of the locals makes. So it inspired me to make a few more fields for my tables. Here are the first two.

They are made out of 3mm MDF. I put a 5mm high balsa edging to build up a bank and then us permafilla. Once dried (about an hour in the sun) I PVA and cover in beach sand, then once that is dried paint a dark brown and then highlight with a lighter brown (using test pots of British Paints paints I purchase from the local DIY store- usually $5-8 for a 250ml test pot, depending in if they are on special or not).

I then attach woodlands scenics grasses (a mix of green turfs + courser blends) and finally I use Woodland Scenics clump foliage for the hedges (which I attach with F2 glue). To attach the grass I use Cabots neutral water based stain. It dries in minutes and the grass stays stuck for life (unlike my previous experiences with PVA). It also dries a hell of a lot faster than PVA. The ploughed field is simply some corrogated cardboard which is glued down with PVA before the permafilla is added to the base.

Strengthening the Hedges
One of the issues with Woodland Scenics foam foliages is that they compress if something heavy is placed on them (such as can happen in my terrain boxes at times). A solution I discovered on the FoW forums is to coat them with a mix of PVA and water.

Once the hedges have dried I use an old brush and a mix of 50% PVA and 50% water and dab it all over the hedge and allow to dry. This really needs 2 or 3 coats to work well but the glue/water mix is absorbed and strengthens the clump foliage so that it does not go flat if something heavy is placed on it. In my experience you need to ensure that the glue is completely dry before doing a second coat (so I usually leave it in a sunny spot for 24 hours- especially in winter).

Not bad for at most a couple of hours work!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Hasty Assault- FJ vs Rangers

Sorry no pictures, just a brief report. Headed up to Christchurch and had a game vs Chris as we play test ideas of NATCON, he's taking a ranger company and one of my back up ideas is FJ.

He had 5x ranger platoons
1x 105mm artillery
1x canon platoon (75mm guns)
4.2" chemical mortars
limited air support

I took (at the last minute)
3x HQ stummelwerfers
2x FJ platoons
1x tiger
3x pak 38s
3x panzerwerfers
limited HS 129s

We played Hasty attack and I decided to attack- putting my werfers and 2x platoons on tablew (should have been the pak 38s!) and he ambushed with the 75mm guns destroying one 'werfer. Luckily the tiger then came on and chased off the halftracked canon platoon.

I advanced into a wall of fire (Chris can lay down up to 9 templates per turn!) and managed to capture one objective but my FJ was destroyed in the process (both our platoons broke) and on the other flank the tiger eventually go too close to a wood and a ranger bazooka charged out of it, hit with a side shot and then bailed and destroyed the tiger- that'll teach me for forgetting to storm trooper). About this time Chrsis went from defence to attack and counter attacked and destroyed my last FJ platoon to take the game. Our air fdorces were woeful- Chris manage to intercept 3-4 flights of HS 129s and I intercepted 2 of his. The 2 airstrikes of his that eventually arrived missed.

Ended up a 4-3 to Chris as I just didn't have the troops, and hadn't concentrated my forces enough) to deal with 5x ranger platoons- 3 arriving from reserve!

I think though I am getting a handle on the Hasty Assault mission- just not convince the defender getting the first turn + immediate ambush is the right way to play, the attacker simply deploys to negate/minimise the ambush and then start playing. I wonder if attacker going first + a limited ambush might be a better ay to do it.

Rota Razvedki update
Still unsure of which air support (if any) to take- I do like 9x T70s if I can squeeze them in so its either:

8x T70s and sporadic sturmoviks
8x T70s and limited corbras (more dice)
9x T70s and 120mm mortars

Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

FoW- Hasty Attack: Take 2

Dale and I managed a game tonight. His aufklarung is no longer a legal force in East Front so we simply eyeballed the costs and ran it as per normal.

He fielded


1x armoured aufklarung

2x SDKFZ 231s

2x armoured mortars (250/8s)

2x 37mm AA

3x nebelwerfers

2x panthers

Limited HS 129s

I'm sure I'm missing something as he had 7 platoons.

I dropped the SU 85s and a T70 for 4x sU 122s as I wanted to see how they’d fare. Again we tried Hasty Attack and Dale won the die roll and so got to attack.

It really was a see saw battle- I ambushed with T70s as I knew they’d be next to hopeless (he stayed well away from any ambush sites) but wanted to be able to zip round and put him under pressure. Alas the table was a snow one so it was bogging checks to move (and no double moving but otherwise normal cross country movement if you didn't bog) whenever we moved off road- which was a lot!

As normal it was a see saw game, my Cobras missed spotting the panthers early on and managed to drive off a flight of HS 129s. The T70 started annoying Dale so he sent the panthers after them and things came to a head when Dale finally go his air support to arrive and killed one T70 with a panther and another 2 with the HS 129s, bailing a 3rd. 2 more T70s were assaulted and destroyed by the aufklaung and the survivors broke and fled (aargh, it was turn 5 and one more turn Dale’s objective which I was going for was going to be mine!). However, this meant a lone SU122 managed a long range side shot on a panther and killed it!

The second panther then drove along a forest track to support the infantry but an SU 122 drove in and managed a sneaky side shot (again needing a 5 to hit) and destroyed it.

Dale’s infantry then charged in and killed 3 SU 122s but by now they were getting worn down, as were my infantry and they eventually failed a motivation test. Lots of laughs and a lot more action then this brief report suggests and it really could have gone either way. The 50 cals managed to destroy a couple of half tracks- being able to fire and move is so liberating to a Soviet player! However Dale only getting 1x flight of planes all game helped, as did my hit rolls (and his saves) vs the panthers.

Turn 1- The T70s deploy (and thats about it apart from the airstrike that wasn't).

From another angle

Here they come

One of many unsuccessful airstrikes by the Red Airforce.

T70s make a dash for Dale's undefended objective -but the panthers decide enough is enough!

One plucky T70 managed a side shot (and missed)- they are destroyed in Dale's next turn!

Dale lines the T70s up for the kill.

But the SU 122s reply puts us back in the game!

And there goes another one! The SUs gun mantlet was behind the front arc, honest!

Do or die- the final assault goes in. The Soviet survivors pulled back at this point and MGed the pesky German infantry off the board next turn to win the game.

So that's 2 from 2. I do prefer the SU 122s to the 85s, but they do have to be used carefully to be able to get into range- on open tables they won't last long!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

FoW Midwar Panzer Company

Panzer IIIs are my favourite German tanks midwar. They are solid but fragile and take care to sue efectively. For the game vs Poochie this week I thought I'd try a panzer company out of the new East Front book. The panzer IIIs got a bit close to a spray can of undercoat a a year or so ago so the past couple of nights have repainted them so I can use them this week. I typically use panzer III late Js but Cal used these panzer IIILs supported by stugs to good effect at a couple of comps so though they'd make a solid base for a Kursk or Salerno era force.

Not sure on the final supports for them, its either:
a full armoured PG platoon, the 3x wespes of 3x Mk III flamepanzers. The heavier AT support is provided by 3x Panzer IVGs.

This is what I think I'll run vs Poochie.
1x MK IIIN & 1x Mk IIIL 225
4x MK III Ls 460
3x MKIV Gs 435
3x Wespes 270

1x Observer panzer III 5
2x 231 ACs 85
4x Shutzen 20


Wespe Battery

Well, I've been neglecting 28mm in the past couple of weeks or so but hope to get working on some Spanish Scuttari tonight as I start my Carthaginian army.


Fow NATCON Update

The past week or two I've been busy thinking about forces for NATCON which is in Wellington at Easter. Chris and I will be going to represent SMG (Southern Miniature Gamers, or is that maniac gamers?*)

* SMG is a little known wargaming group that won the National Intercub Challenge at Valleycon in Wellington last year. Cal was supposed to be joining us as we try to defend our title but it seems he won't be able to make it. Actually SMG is based on the principles that it has no members and is a loosely aligned group of non committed gamers that refuse to join more structured clubs- that's our story and we are sticking to it.

Anyway, I've far too many forces and narrowing things own has been a pain- I could take my old faithful Guards Strelkovy, or Fallschrimjager- both forces which can withstand a lot of punishment but still win games (and have won comps) but where would the challenge be in that? In the end I decided to run with the Razvedki. I was temtped to take cossacks but they require a bit more care to pack (the Cavalry bases require a lot more room and since I'll be flying space is an issue). I took a Razvedki list to Tempest in Christchurch last year and won, despite Razvedki being overcosted and suffering from hens and chicks. Now they are cheaper and have no hens and chicks on their combat platoons I'm likely to get run over!

I've almost settled on a list so have been repainting things or touching up damaged vehicles.

This is the list I am looking at although was also considering Valentines, SU 122s and heavy mortars as the support options. It's light and fragile but hopefully will do okay.

1 T70s + SU 85s
HQ + Kom 35
5x M3A1s 230
5x M3A1s 230
3x BA 64s (2x ATRs) 75

9x T 70s 325
4x Zis 3 (AT Guns) + Trucks 175
3x SU 85s 300
Limited Cobras 130

The Army assembled.

The command stands and M3A1 Scout cars

2x Razvedki platoons- a mixture of the LW Razvedki and MW scout models.

AT defence- Zis 3s and SU 85s. Not sure on the latter I prefer SU 122s but thought I might need some long range AT support. The role of both will be to fight from range and target artilelry and AT guns first and foremost.

T70s- recently reduced to rate of fire 1 (about time) they are now not such good value for points but even so I alays find them sueful. THey have enough armour to be able to deal with light AT guns and their wide tracks means I don't mind crashing them into woods etc. Being guards means they should be able to survive a few turns, they just don't do much vs any armour!

Recon- BA 64s i find really sueful to lift Gone to ground. And with all my scout cars armed with 50 cals should make it easier to dig out infantry and gun teams. Air support is proovided by 144th scale Yaks that a friend picked up in Japan.

This is what we want to see T70s and Razwedki platoons swarming forward!

And the nearly made its- 16x Valentines (well, I was only going to take 9-10 of them). They were repainted last week as well.

Now all I need is to get a few more playtest games under my belt.