Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finn's Gaming Table

This afternoon, Hana, Finn and finished painting Finn's gaming table. We are pretty happy with it. I may add some flock at some stage but this will do for now.

The boards can be rearranged to give different layouts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Terrain Boards

Over the years I've experimented with many, many different types of terrain boards in my quest for the perfect gaming table- alas so far I have not found perfection.

The other day I was messing round with ideas for improving the edges on my polystyrene boards. Even with masking tape for additional support they tend to get a bit knocked around. I got some pine from the local DIY store and made a frame, it was simple to put together and I think I will experiment with a few more to see if they fit together well. I intend to repaint and flock them and will PVA the edges so that we get a smooth transition form one board to the next.

As you can see its a bit battered and needs some fixing up but I think this methd shows potential. The frame is 40mm thick, the same depth as the polystrene.

Gaming table for Finn
I've promised Finn that I'd make him a gaming table for his Battleground, lego and anything else he wants. As a kid my father made me one and we used to shoot cannons that fired matchsticks to kill the soldiers- that one was a single sheet for wood with terrain modelled on it and which slid under my bed. Ours will be built so that Finn can add various bits of scatter terrain if he wants.

I have a few old 4x2 terrain boards lying round so Finn and I chose a few he liked today and we will work over the holidays on making him a new modular table. The sheets will (could?) fit under his bed and be easily moved around as needed. The boards he chose are from a half finished mountain table I was inspired to try a few years ago but then lost interest in. I think it will fit the bill and with some work we can make him a half decent table.

Here are the three sheets, I am in the process of strengthening the edges on them. Also I'm changing the course of the stream so it will flow across the board.

Once the stream has been carved I'll sprinkle a coat of beach sand on it then undercoat the whole thing black- if I can find any black paint lying round!

And now the next step. The board has been covered in watered down POVA and beach sand sprinkled over it. I'll leave it overnight to dry and then paint the whole thing bblack tomorrow before dry brsuhing browns for the flat land and dark then light grey for the rock facings.

Modular Dungeon

My experiments with modular dungeons for Dungeons and Dragons continues. I hit upon the idea of using real grout to fill in the gaps between the blocks on the field stone blocks but wasn't hppy with the end result. I have since decided n a new method but yet to see it finished. Once the walls are glued together I intend to paint them with PVA glue which should fix most of the holes. Then I'll use the same simple painting scheme (which stands out more).
  • black undercoat
  • dark grey
  • light grey drybrush
While in Christchurch I picked up some casting plaster, its not as good as Ultracal 30 but at only 20% of the price ($18 vs $100) it will do. The main issue is it has a tendency to have the odd small bubble on the mould, but some experimenting and it seems if you pour a wet pour (very runny plaster) this is very negligible. I'm happy enough with the results that I will continue to use this stuff.

I experimented using some roofing silicon as water on my sewer system but was not happy with the result. Luckily the silicon peel straight off so didn't destroy the piece. have discovered a company called Norski that makes resins for crafts and so have ordered some clear resin to cast water- now that will be an experiment. it should be here in the next few days.

I managed to buy a lot of LoTR Goblins on impulse yesterday and will (at some pont) make a Moria army out of them- I might try out the new Kings of War rules with Finn and see if he likes them.

A few pictures of the modular dungeon.

As you can see for stability I decided to go with a double thickness wall. The lighter grey sections are the grouted wall. Also, I decided to only go two rows of blocks high so it is easier to see what is going on. this is especially important so that Nigel, who is in a wheelchair, can see the action without too much hassle. It seems a reasonable compromise.


Friday, September 24, 2010

FoW Motostrelk vs Finnish Armour

After work yesterday I drove up to Christchurch to have a game vs Jason at the Cavs. We had arranged this game a couple of weeks ago but the earthquake meant we had to delay it. I've never faced Finnish armour before so this was going to be interesting- actually it was all my own Soviet armour, press ganged into fearless veteran status and with H&C removed! Hey no fair!

My list was the same one I used on Wednesday night vs Kent.

Jason's list.
  • Co T26 & 2iC t34/85
  • 3x t34/85
  • 4x T28
  • 2x kv1
  • 2x ba10
  • Full 9 stand con vet pioneers
  • 2x pak40 with 1 close defence team
  • 4x con vet 122mm howitzers
  • Limited ju-88s
I love the terrain they have at the Cav's, they have some great stuff for the guys to use. Poochie helped set up a table and we rolled for misison and got a Fighting Withdrawal. With my list this was going to be hard for Jason- or at least I thought so...

I love the paint job that Jason has done. T34s and land battleships (T26) prepare to advance.

On your marks.... get set....go. The infantry double timed into a central wood! WTF? Hmm better watch them.

They were such a juicy target how could I not ambush them? My ambusihing T34s leapt out- only 3x T34/76 were able to hit 3 infantry teams (with 8 dice each) and only caused 1 casulty. My T34/85s meanwhile hit 2x T34s, killing one and bailing the other and one t34/76 bogged going over a hedge to try ot MG the pioneers. Not the world's most effective ambush.

Actually it was one of the silliest ambushes I've done in a long time. My plan was to hose the infantry and go after the soft targets- T26, 122mm artillery and pak 40s- it didn't quite work out that way...

Unlike the Red Airforce the JU 88s knew what they wee doing and KOed a Suka. think the JUs got one and paks or T34/85s got the other. The survivor passed his motivation and then withdrew. The T34s didn't fare so well and were cut down to 3 working tanks and legged it! 122s + Jus + T34/85s+a pak 40 + pioneer flamethrower meant that they were cut to pieces very quickly.

The T36 hid in the woods for most of the game but I am embarassed to a dmit they did manage a side shot which destroyed a T34/76! The one facing the wrong way is bogged.

The Zis 2s managed to kill a T34/85 but the 122s started to range in on the Zis 2s and almost wiped them out with a couple of turns left I withdrew the survivor leaving only 2 infantry near- but not on the objective and my SU 152s across the other side of the table trying to hunt T26s!

Turn 7. Jason had stopped a couple of turns to deal with T34s and then to try and winkle out my infantry. I thought the game was well in hand as I didn't think he had time to advance his tanks far enough to grab the objective. No worries, until those pesky Finnish pioneers raced (double timed out of the woods) and towards the objective. I was down to 2 companies of infantry and some SU 152s- which were trying to keep his tanks away from the obective by threatening his guns- it sort of worked. I think they claimed a T34/85 as well as a T26, but also managed to stop all his tanks concentrating on my infantry.

I have just managed to unpin one company and send teams to contest- the CO was out of range, My kommissar had been killed in a bombardment so I had two 50/50 rolls to unpin a company and not lose!

In his 8th turn Jason killed a few infantry but I passed 2 motivation checks to stay on the board for being under half strength. He then assaulted my company commander drawing in the remains of one company- I had 2 shots on defensive fire and killed the team that contacted my company commander- only eligible target. His remaining team missed my battalion commander who promptly retreated and thus won me the game even though Jason was firmly camped on the objective. Had he made his run at the objective a turn earlier it was all over the other way.

Result 5-2 to the Soviets.

Good game Jas, you were robbed!

It was a great game, played in a fun atmosphere with lots of banter about him handing our tanks back and instructing our crews how to drive without H&C! It was always going to be tough for his force when I could ambush with T34s but my recklessness nearly cost me the game. I think he could have sent one of his less valuable units across to threaten one of the other objectives to put more pressure on but he was worried about the Zis 2s having a nice field of fire. FW is still one of my favourite missions as it almost always goes down to the wire. I think Jason lost track of time around turns 3-5, when I had not much to do except roll for air, and this cost him dearly.

However my silly ambush gamble didn't pay off. I knew where I should have ambushed (eh, Poochie) and that should have destroyed his T34/85s and recon and minismied return fire, but I decided since this is a test of new ideas to try something different- better now that at Conquest.

The Red Airforce turned up once and didn't spot anything and Jason's 122 gunners had a woeful day rolling 3 ones to range in a couple of times, but they did manage to range in with their last roll and cause some damage several times.

I really liked the Finn force- very flavourful and quirky. I may have to look at building one myself :)

I like the balance of this list, and think it can do well attacking or defending. I decided that given so many missions where I start with 1/2 on table that the Sukas are better value than heavy mortars as they can come on and direct fire if needed- and be another manoeuvre element. They are doing okay and were unfairly targetted by JU 88s on turn 1 and then T34/85s! Jason suggested SU 122s and they might be worth considering- it would mean losing a T34/76 but in might be able to squeeze in an HMG as well. I will consider that.

Other changes? I almost always run the 2-2 formation but both companies are only just about the numbers for QoQ and so might try a 3-1 organisation, taking the small company as SMG teams when defending so that the deployed company is a bit stronger.


FoW: LW Motostrelk vs Panzer Company

Wednesday night Kent and I managed a game of FoW.

1750 pts: Motostrelkovy vs SS Panzer Company

FE II- Motostrelkovy (CT)

HQ 30
1x Motostrelkovy Coy (2 pln ) 215
1x Motostrelkovy Coy (2 pln ) 215
4x Zis 2 170
10x T34 incl 5x T34/85 (CT) 490

4x SU 76 150
3x SU 152s 275

Limited Air Support 200

Total 1745

I'm fairly happy with this list- it has a bit of everything, including my beloved SU 76 Sukas.

Kenbt decided to try a Cobra SS company I’d suggested but I forgot my Cobra book and he made a couple of changes- dropping scouts for an extra panzer IV and adding air support (HS 129s) rather than Quad AA- it wasn’t until I got home I realised it wasn’t an option. Oh well, it was fun.

1750pt SS Panzer Company
  • HQ panther (with rapid fire)
  • 3x panthers
  • 5x panzer IVs
  • 2x 250/9s
  • 3x nebelwerfers
  • Sporadic HS 129s
Lots of fearless panzers, oh joy!


Kent had made up an interesting table with lots of buildings, a river running across the centre, several woods etc, so my infantry felt happy that they’d have somewhere to hide. We rolled up a No Retreat so I got to defend. I placed one company quite central and so it was able to move to reinforce either objective. My Zis 2s dug in inside a wood on the front objective so that they were out of LoS (and could only shoot 6”- but it meant that the panzers would have to close to get shots). I ambushed with the SU 152s.

Deployment from the German lines

And from the Soviet lines.

My SU 152s were in ambush,Zis 2s and a motostrelk company on table.

Turn 1: Kent lined up his panzerkeil on the side way from the forward objective and rolled forward, using the recon to keep potential ambushes at bay. The first turn his HS 129s roared in over the battlefield, spotted my Zis 2s and killed one (failed a FP test vs another). Dug in gone to ground, concealed- and still hit on a 2+ Grrrrr!!! I hate HS 129s. The CT guns failed to unpin for the next 3 turns.

Revenge! My turn. I managed to hit both a panther and a panzer IV with my firt airstrike but Kent rolled a 5 and a 6, great one fearless vet panzer IV bailed and of course it promptly passd its motivation test.

Funny looking sturmovik. I borrowed Kent's plane as I'd left mine at home (they tend to get damaged easily so we often don't bother using plane models for friendlies).

The panzers spread out to minimise casualties to airstrikes.

From the German perspective. The objective is on the edge of the woods in the distance. My Zis 2s must have worried Kent as he went nowhere near the forward objective.

A lone panzer IV cautiously advances- two others bog on the far bank of the river. Still no ambush.

My front company took a few casualties to Kent’s tanks- thanks to GtG being removed by the recon). At least they weren’t tanks being slowly blown off the table as each hit from a panther would have destroyed a vehicle.

About turn 4 my next reserves arrived- my Sukas and they started as far away from the action as possible- skirting the far side of the board. But even so they panthers came after them and killed one. The rest snuck round and hid in the woods where the Zis 2s were deployed.

Turn 5 my T34s arrived and fired at the panzer IVs which were now across the river- 10 shorts needing 6s, no hits. I lost 1x T34 to return fire- bailed IIRC but another fell the the nebewerfers which finally started to range in. The panthers were still too far away to interfere. Still no sign of my ambush...

Turn 6: Ambush!

The T34/76s knocked out an armoured car, and the T34/85s hit and killed 3 panzer IVs, a 4th was taken out by the SU 152s but the bailed survivor was out of LoS and so safe to retreat and lick his wounds after passing his check to stay on he board and then remounting.

Curse you fearless!

The 250/9 is the only vehicle over half way. The Sukas are hiding with the Zis 2s.

The motostrelk have assaulted and captured the 250/09 and then try to do the same vs the panther that had to cross the bridge to keep the game alive. They failed their morale test and retreated after causing no hits but losing a team to the panther. Send in the sappers! Sappers? What sappers? We're motostrelkovy!

Kent contemplates his next move.

A sight to warm the heart of all Soviet players. The Zis 2 and Suka both get a flank shot- unfortunately the Suka missed, the Zis 2 didn't though.

The next turn with the game slipping away Kent sent two panthers across the bridge and into town. One was knocked out by another Zis 2 pushed to the edge of the woods- with another side shot- and again my supporting Suka missed! Then my supporting infantry swarmed out of a building to assault and the last panther which failed its save and Kent was unable to keep the game alive his next turn- game to the Russians 6-1.


I like this list, as Poochie said in an e-mail when we were discussing it: “You can’t ignore 10 T34s!” Usually I skimp on T34s, taking 5 or 6 but this battle showed me the value of a full strength company. I liked the 10x T3s but even so at one stage I was down to 5 working due to the odd pot shot from panthers, HS strikes or nebelwerfers (which claimed 2 kills). The T34s skulked about avoiding panthers but in so doing all they could to occupy them at the same time.

The mission as perhaps the worst for Kent to face, the river restricted his mobility (very difficult going) and I made sure I gave his panthers no tanks to shoot at for as long as possible- bringing my T34s on as my last reserves. Maybe they should have been in ambush, but SU 152s are cool! Air power was indecisive for both sides, but the Sturmoviks did force Kent to spread out a lot and some reduce his firepower at the points he wanted it.

Again I didn’t feel like I had enough infantry. I could possibly drop the SU 76s for another platoon and an HMG- or even try to squeeze in some mortars and a platoon (and would have to lose a T34 for that). However, I like my Sukas- they didn’t kill anything but they were something that Kent was aware of at all times, they are one of my favourite units and so I do loath to drop them.

I actually liked Kent’s list and can see it working well. It lacked infantry but the 5x panzer IV platoon was a real pain and it was only when it got away from its panther support I was able to deal with it. Of course it can’t quite all fit into proper Cobra list (no air support) but we may try to tweak it a bit- or even try a similar FEII (CV) version.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More Hirst Arts

My latest 5 molds arrived today
  • 70 -fieldstone walls
  • 75- ruined Fieldstone walls
  • 55- Bell Tower
  • 60- prison tower
  • 42- Gothic architecture

I've been messing around with ideas for a modular sewer. I built 3 or 4 different prototypes ( some with walls some without) and settled on a single row of blocks to show where the walls are and create a little depth for the sewer itself.

I'm not happy with the water, I used s silicon roof sealant I had lying round as I had no resin or other substance- it looks okay but as this is a test batch will look into getting some resin in future.

The idea is that these pieces will be sued when fighting in sewers beneath the cities in D&D games- being a narrow walkway they will create lots of tactical challenges.

I am currently working on a central drainage hub where 4 passages meet.

The standard dungeon tiles have worked out great in the past couple of weeks. I've now put some felt on the bottom of each to stop them scratching each other when being transported. i've also stopped using MDF and am now using cork for the newer tiles.

As you can see by the first one I made a mistake while hurriedly putting them out to take a photo- several are the wrong way round!

They are fast and easy to make once you've settled on the design. I use a cork flooring tile (4.8cm thick) and each length is 6 tiles (15 cm- 6") x 3 tiles wide (the river is 5 cm- 2" in width). So far I've made 9 tiles, which should be plenty for a start.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Linka Moulds Update

I've disccovered a better way to use the Linka moulds- 5 minute epoxy glue! s the name suggests it sets in minutes and peels out of the moulds nicely and is much stronger than plaster. I tried one piece as a test (to make sure I wasn't about to ruin whole mould) and have since cast a few more, but have now run out of epoxy! If I remember correctly the expoxy was only $2.95 at the Warehouse so it looks like I'll be making a trip into town this afternoon to get some more and try to make a complete test building.

I've decided that my basic building will be 3 linka blocks x2 and so should fit 2-3 Flames of War bases. Once I've made a couple of trial buildings I'll start to make some two story ones as well.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Update, Hirst Arts terrain

Not much to report this week. I've finished off the basic house and another ruin for 28mm LoTR/DBA/HoTT gaming.

I took what I'd made down to the club on Wednesday tonight and have orders for a couple of hundred flagstones so I'm busy putting those together- along with 12x pillars. So I now have to cast 20x the flagstone mould to get all I need. I'm about half way there so far.

My experiments with Linka are on hold, the moulds are more fragile than the Hirst Arts ones so I've decided to experiment with them in future using a resin instead of plaster- but have no resin at this stage so that is on the back burner.

Dungeon Floorplans
The dungeon floorplan was a great success at D&D the other night. We had an epic battle with 5x PCs vs 20 skeletons, 15 zombies, a cleric and a wizard. The floorplans were really easy to put together, quicker than drawing it on on the battleboard we use, and then it was straight into the action. They will definitely become a part of our gaming equipment.

I've decided that they need walls to go with them so have ordered another 5x Hirst Arts moulds- 2x fieldstones (walls and ruins, prison tower, the bell tower and dungeon accessories).

I am also trying to track down some Ultracal or similar plaster in Christchruch but so far not much luck.

The roof for the building worked out well- it looks a bit bright in the photos than it actually is. I'm especially happy with the towel, it makes for great thatch/straw.

The next version will be slightly longer and I'll add a lean too woodshed off it. Still, noyt a bad first effort.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

FoW: LW Motostrelk vs Panzer Company

Kent and I had our first game of FoW against each other in several months. Kent's FoW collection has been decimated thanks to him selling off most of his stuff. I continue to mess around with motostrelkovy ideas and turned up to face a panzer company. Kent had set up the terrain and we rolled for mission and got a breakthrough.

Kent's LW Panzer Company
2x HQ Panzer IVs
4x Panzer IVs
4x Panzer IVs
2x tigers
Limited HS 129s

We eye balled points for him as he made up his list on the fly- and press ganged a couple of Panzer IIIs into service as Mk IVs as he didn't have enough.

I had decided to try the Sukas + SU 85 combo supporting my motostrelk- facing lots of veteran tanks the sukas and reconw ere unlikely to do much. Still if my reserves arrive when I want them this could be interesting.

2x 2 platoon companies
6x T34s (incl 5x T34/85s)
4x SU 85
4x SU 76
3x BA 64s
Limited Surmoviks


Kent's objectives are the red squares. As you can see I defended one quarter only- as I tend to do, with a few pickets strung out to annoy the Germans- I find a solid defence like this usually works better for me as defending both quarters results in one part of the force being picked apart. However I really should have defended the river rather than fall back as I had no AT guns (apart from the T34s) to deal with enemy armour. We decided the river was simply difficult going so that the Germans weren't bottled up trying to get the bridge- I think we'll make it very difficult next time though!

Kent made a KG of 3 panzers for his flanking force.

Turn 1- the HS 129s miss the T34s. The front T34 has been knocked out by tigers at long range (re-roll misses was the tiger skill)destroy a T34 and pin my 2nd company- which fails to unpin for 3 turns- even with the CiC being handy!

Panzers advance on the open flank.

The Red Airforce knocks out a tiger!

The German advance continues. The KG has also arrived and has started merrily machine gunning my non dug in infantry!

Turn 4: The Sukas arrive behind the panzer IVs and only manage to hit 1- which is only bailed (6 for his save, grrrrr) and promptly remounts. Uh oh.

This isn't good! Kent's panzer IVs turn round to deal with the Suka threat. And one volley wipes them all out. At the far end of the table my T34s are retreating to tangle with the KG but one falls prey to a tiger shot at extreme range, two others are KOed by the panzer IVs and the survivors leg it!

Meanwhile my infantry continue to move towards the objectives.

The SU 85s arrive and hide amongst the burning wrecks of the Sukas. 4 shots, 1 hit, 1 dead panzer!then in turn 5 massed panzer fire destroys all the SU 85s and my infantry again fail to unpin and so cannot move to contest the objective.

Game to Kent 6-1 at the start of turn 6!

Not a good start for the motostrelkovy. The Red Airforce hit the tigers 3 times but twice were saved or only bailed.

Kent massed his tanks and dealt with the threats as required. I hate panzer IVs when using infantry- stugs you can charge and with a bit of luck not be pinned, the extra MG of the panzer IVs makes this more unlikely. My T34s didn't fare well. More numbers may be needed so they can hang round a bit longer? And I also felt short of infantry- an extra platoon or two could have been handy.

By turn 2 I was wishing I had a strelkovy with a GoW to catch some of those spread out panzers in a BIG template as i lacked the ability to disrupt the panzer IVs- thanks to the sniping tigers! A bit better rolling on my behalf with my SUs and I could have gutted one or other of the panzer platoons though. Finally my failure to defend the river in both quarters was a monumental error in judgement.

Still not convinced the motostrelk are the way to go unless they either have an ATP platoon or two tank companies for mobility. Back to the drawing board I guess, but I've a few more ideas to test out...


Linka moulds

My Linka moulds turned up in this morning's post so it looks like I'll be able to start my next project. I intend to make a 4ft square city fight table for Flames of War. I've some big homemade ruins I made a few years ago which are adequate but I want to make something a bit more impressive.

My idea is to have 4x modular boards, each 2 ft square. The base board will be made out of polystyrene. I intend to make cobblestone roads out of some floor vinyl we have lying around as it has a nice herring bone pattern on the back. I'll glue the vinyl to the polystyrene. I will then cut the built up areas out of 3mm MDF and lay that over the top of the polystyrene- leaving gaps for the roads. I'll cut out a space for each building and then each house or building will have its own base and will simply slot into its position on the base board.

In theory it should work, it will be the practicalities that will be a pain!

Anyway here are the linka moulds or making a brick city- a FoW base for comparison.

They are a bit fiddlier than the Hirst Arts ones as they are much shallower.

Work in Progress

I've been messing round making a small building for my Rohan forces.

This is very much a test to see how it works out- next time I think I'll make it slightly larger. I'm not sure about adding a yard as the footprint may get to big for transporting- I am considering a separate terrain piece for the yard. I am still getting used to the size of 28mm buildings, compared to 15mm (my usual scale) they are huge!

It's not very big- 5" x 4". Next time I think I'll make it about 8" long, and probably also add a lean too/woodshed propped up against the side of the main house.

The thatched roof is an experiment using an old bath towel. My advice ask for permission before commandeering and chopping up bath towels! This is an old lemon one so the colour is fine for thatch. I intend to dry brush it with some brighter yellows and think it should give a reasonable look for straw or thatch. To make it more "thatch like" I'd suggest cutting the towelling into strips and overlaying it, but for the initial prototype I couldn't be arsed!

[I stole this idea from my friend Ian who using towelling for his 28mm buildings].

I do think that towelling is a better material to work with than teddy bear fur that needs a lot of water down PVA applied before it looks right.