Thursday, June 9, 2011

Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IVs

The prize for Southcon was some of the new Plastic Soldier Company 15mm plastic panzer IVs. Andrew at Hobby Hub in Dunedin is importing them and at 5 to a box for just over $40 NZ they work out at less than $9 per model- or about half the price of the equivalent BF model.

Tonight I thought I'd put one together to see how they compare to the BF versions.

The Plastic Soldier Company one is the unpainted one.

The model comes with parts for the Panzer IV F1, F2/G, and with the schutzn for the late G or H! Potentially 4 different marks from one kit- now that is good value. I aren't so much of a rivet counter to tell if certain parts are the same or not on differnt marks of panzer IV and quite frankly I don't care.

The tanks come in about 10 parts and take 20 minutes or so to put together- the parts aren't too fiddly and the vehicles look good when finished. The castings are crisp, scale wise they seem to be similar (almost identical) to the BF panzer IV F2 I located to compare it with and are very nice models.

If I needed to build another panzer IV company (I don't) or need workhorse tanks for any army (they also have T34s and Shermans by my understanding) I can see these kits being a welcome addition for many wargamers. AFAIK BF have some real competition in these models and I'd happily run them on table beside BF kit- they are:
a) decent models
B) half the price

I say go for it.

As an added plus it took me back to my misspent youth and building Airfix & Esci models for my 1/72 scale armies.

My only issue- I've plenty of the various models of panzer IVs already!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Southcon Day 2

Game 4: Fighting Withdrawal vs Jamie

British Armoured Company: 10x Shermans, 3x Stuarts, 3x carriers, limited hurricanes

I got to attack and faced 4x ambushing Shermans. My only Hope I figured was to threatened all objectives and stretched the Shermans, if they could mass their firepower I was dead meat!

I went right with most of my forces and was promptly ambushed by 4x Shermans but only lost 1x F2 and bailed the other- despite re-roll misses for long range. The other F2 failed to get back in and was taken out the next turn. The last (IVF1) dived into a wood and stayed on table. Infantry and 38ts advanced round a wood while the toldis hid waiting to rush out and grab an open objective.

Jamie moved his 2iC up to snipe a marder but missed and return fire KOed the 2iC- meaning he could not sit near an objective and free up the other 3 Shermans. My Marders also took out a Sherman and bailed another. Jamie massed his fire on the marders bailing 2 and an airstrike another but rolled a 1 for fp! The marders remounted and then used the marder shuffle (stormtrooper) to snipe the Shermans, reducing them to a single tank but even when bailed my infantry twice refused to assault and finish off bailed tanks.

We ended up duking it out over the objective. His company commander, stuarts and last Shermans firing for 2-3 turns vs my 38ts, nimrods and marders with supporting infantry. The toldi drew off the last 3 shermans by forcing them to cover the last objective and when I moved over a ridge to draw them even further away I failed to break off and 3 shots hit and blasted the cheeky toldi to smithereens- so much for breaking off too safety.

However, although he was able to removed the objective I’d been contesting since turn 3 the remaining Shermans weren’t able to move back fast enough to contest and my panzer IVf1, marders and 38Gs finished off the company commander and stuarts breaking the company.

5-2 to the Hungarians

Nimrods: killed 1x stuart and bailed another

Very, very lucky. Average FP tests the turn Jamie almost took out the marders was decisive as the removal of the marders meant Jamie would have simply rolled me up with his Shermans for a 6-1. The only mistake was probably that he tried sniping with the 2iC- had he not done so then the 2iC alone would have prevented the toldi taking an objective- due to good lanes of fire- and thus his last three Shermans could have intervened and allowed him to mas his firepower. Good game and the dice falling my way was really the deciding factor and the result did not reflect the closeness of the game. I really thought I would be struggling to get point of him, when attacking, let alone a victory.

(Sorry was a bit busy concentrating to remember ot take photos during the first few turns)

Dave Ds run of 6-1 came unstuck vs Peter Black in the Breakthrough- Dave needing to bail 2 tanks in the last turn to prevent the British winning, his tiger and paks missed and Pete took to victory (6-1), thus dropping Dave back and putting Stephen, Nick, Poochie and me back in the hunt- with only a point or so between us.

Game 5: The bye

Played a short NoSB with a fill in player for n hour or so but he had to leave. The bye gave full points to the player with got it. The games in this round were close and intense s there were still 4 players contest the top Axis position.

Game 6: Free-for-all vs Dylan

Kiwi infantry- 3x sticky bomb armed platoons, HMGs 6 pdrs, 8x 25pdrs, 3x carriers

Going into he last round I was still in the running along with Stephen and Nick. Poochie managed to lose his 5th game by failing to unpin and contest ina brekthough (he lost a single infantry team which happened to be other only one contesting after Noel rolled a 6 with MG fp test- Poochie having only lost 2 teams in the game- his luck definitely deserted him at that point!)

The FFA table was a nightmare- as it was last year- an Ardent able with woods covering 80% of the table, no decent line of sight for anything, and lots of streams too.

Dylan deployed fairly predictably but made one critical mistake. He had the 8x 25 pdrs covering one objective but placed the 6 drs central, leaving the other objective covered by HMGs and 2 (sticky bomb armed) kiwi platoons and the carriers. I went for that one, bogging a number of vehicles. The carriers attacked my toldi and missed and in return were destroyed by 38ts, a F2 and toldi. Dylan launched infantry attack when he could but 2-3 tank platoons stopped each dead in their tracks and whittled him down. The 6 pdrs were pushed through the woods (like my tanks frequently bogging) on their way but were unable to really intervene and eventually I massed Nimrods, infantry and 38Ts to take out the far (AT gun + 25 pdr free) objective.

Result: 6-1.

With an infantry based army he needed a rock solid defence. 6 pdrs on one objective, 25 pdrs on the other would have stopped me cold as my tanks could not have closed vs the AT 9 or AT 10 gone to ground gun lines so I was a bit lucky. I've played for and against enough infantry companies to know exactly how to dismantle this type of defence and unfortunately due to lack of LoS it wasn't that hard to do- and it was the one force with lots of the very infantry my 38Ts were designed to deal with.

Nimrods: 1x infantry team

Marders cover the other objective


Nimrods- cool but not exactly overwhelming successful- they never fired AA once depite there being 3 players with air support vs them! However I think I only ever managed to have 1 bailed and bogged one in the last game! Never lost them though which is a plus!

I felt the force far too fragile. The 38Ts really need another tank to be effective and a lack of infantry in forces meant they were very rarely able to engage- especially in a Sherman heavy environment. They performed well vs Stuarts and even crusaders but struggled to be anything but bait vs the Shermans.

The F2s and marders worked well together and I feel I needed both. The tiger armies were able to shrug off most Sherman shots the IVF1s & 2s were always singled out for special attention so needed the marders to keep those medium tanks more wary and to concentrate my firepower.

Overall through I felt the force was far too fragile and probably had one platoon too many. I would not take it to anpther comp without a major rethink. I think I might drop the recon and add an extra 38G and the extra infantry for when on attack as 3x 38Ts was far too fragile. I wouldn't really mind having 5 platoons- it would be 4 + nimrods really.

Some of the Forces

Phils US Armour- well deserved best painted

Stephen F's Hummel Surprise

Poochie's Grille/Tiger goodness

Nick's Grenadiers- another rock hard force

Pete's Death or Glory Boys

Stephen S' DAK Panzers- another very nicely painted force!

Kent's Panzers

Final Placing

I beat the Panzer III/double Hummel behemoth by a point to take first (thanks to Noel taking a point off Stephen in the final round Fighting Withdrawal) with Nick close behind. The top allied was Pete Black but on overall points he came 8th behind ALL the German players so it was a rough weekend of the allies. Too many tigers vs too many Sherman based forces for them to destroy.

The bye was a bit of a pain as only Nick out of the 4 top axis players missed it and it may have changed the final placing by a place or two. However, the draw was preset (you played 6 of 7 players on ther other side) so it was just luck of the draw who got the bye.

Final comments

Thank once again to Richard of organising another great weekend, I enjoyed all my games and catching up with the players from down South. Great to see 4 Christchurch players as well as Nick (Wellington) and the usual suspects (Noel, Pete, Jamie and Stephen) from Invercargill also making it. Next time I will make sure I am on the other side to Dave D and Stephen F both of whom I was looking forward to facing again but both swapped sides so was unable to do so!

Finally, looks like Poochie and Nick have talked Kent and I into 28mm Lasalle! Another project on the horizon?



Southcon 2011- Day 1

Southcon 2011- TEAM NIMROD Day 1

A great weekend. As is usual with Southcon it was Axis vs Allies with preset tables (one mission per table). 14 players this year but one pulled out on the morning so we were down to 13, meaning that most German players got a bye.

With only 2 hrs per round most players took armoured or mechanised companies, there were only 3 infantry forces present! Another issue was that due to the axis vs allies split two of the stronger allied players were asked to bring Axis forces and this meant that the Axis side had some very, very good players and the allies, as a result, really struggled to get any wins. After three rounds (18 games there were only 4 allied wins!). My only suggestion would be, as I try to do, ensure that both sides have some of the more experienced players too maintain a balance. However, that being said on the way an axis vs allies draw works out the axis players weren’t competing vs the allies they were competing vs each other and all doing their damnest not to drop points. Scoring were standard points with the +2 bonus for a win.

My own force was based round the concept of Nimrods! So how did “TEAM NIMROD” fare?

One of my pre-comp decisions was IIINs vs panzer IVFs (2) + IV F! as my main AT tanks. I am glad I took the F2s as I faced a lot of Shermans are relied on them punching through the front armour 6- the IINs simply would not have cut it. Three of the German players took tigers and they had a field day- except for Nick’s which was the only one to be knocked out during the weekend

So on to the games

Round 1: Cauldron on a very desert like table vs Phil

US Armour: 6x Shermans, 4x Stuarts, Armoured recon, Armoured Rifles, lightings

Phil got to defend. I deployed Apart from the central wadi (Snipe) the table was very, very open. My marders and panzer IVs went to ground behind rises and my pioneers dug in near the US base line. The pioneers were unsupported- due to the random deployment so Phil ambushed and drove 6 tanks straight at them, destroying them all on turn 2! After that the panzer IVs started duking it out with the Shermans but missed and the Shermans were equally as bad at shooting back, eventually I got a decent round of shooting and managed to knock out 3 and eventually took care of the HQ tanks as well. While this random dice fest was happening the Stuarts had appeared and had bailed several marders. Luckily the nimrods and panzer 38ts arrived and in the end my veteran status won out and then it was a matter or rolling up the infantry for 5-2 win.

A really close game where we both had some good dice, and bad. Phils air turned up 6 tursn in a row and managed to miss, or not spot every time (until the last turn were a panzer IV managed to pass an armorur save vs the bombs) and the result didn’t really reflect the closeness of the game- could have very easily swung the other way and probably should have , the turn where his 3-4 Shermans all missed needing 4s being crucial to my survival! Phil is a relative new player but watching his games with interest over the weekend I was really impressed with the way he played in all games, a bit more experience with his Americans and he’ll be very hard to stop!

Nimrod kills: 1x bailed recon M3a1!

Game 2: Roadblock vs Noel Black

US Mech infantry, 2x Armoured rifles, 4x shermans, 4x stuarts, 3x armoured mortars, 3x priests.

Noel ambushed and took out my panzer IVs, my recon was ineffective at stopping the ambush. My marders came on and missed all 4 Shermans (needing 4s)! The Shermans and stuarts (which came on on turn 1) managed to be equally ineffective an only bailed a marder. My return fire hit 3 shermans and managed to fail all firpower tests! That was the end of the marders- the stuarts and shermans ripped them to pieces. Leaving me Nimrods, 38ts, toldi and pioneers to face 4 Shermans and the stuarts! My 38ts however had been busy ripping the Armoured Rifles to pieces (at least 1 VP) and then they ducked round through a wood to the far side of the table to try to take on the priests, and draw the Shermans away. Noel spent a couple of turns shooting at range and then went after the 38Gs as they left the wood, thus taking him away from the objective and on turn 6 found him 20” away from my uncontested objective and thus handing me a very lucky (sneaky) win.

Result: 5-2

Nimrod kills: none- they hid behind an objective.

I made a fundamental tactical error in trying to take out the Shermans with my marders. My infantry and 38ts went for the other objective and I should have use the marder in their intended role to move into overwatch position and force the Shermans to engage on our terms- failure to do so should have resulted in a 6-1 to Noel but he was distracted by the 38Gs and toldis and that cost him an almost certain victory as once he had tanks in range to contest the objective I had nothing available to move them away.

Game 3: Peter Black- No Retreat

Death & Glory: 3x Grants, 2x crusader III platoons, 2x Val platoons, 8x 25 pdrs, limited hurricanes

I got to defend so placed the panzer IVs in ruined buildings (safety from air), marders in ambush and infantry on the front objective. The table was really nasty. It had a ridge running right along the half way line, which meant unless the defender held the front on line they couldn’t fire (at least I couldn’t) until the attacker reached the ridge line- and so got cover. I decided to stay back and wait and see- with front armour 5 as my best I would have been torn apart by massed tank fire had I held the ridge.

My 2iC acted as alone tank picket and managed to kill a 25 pdr transport (but not the towed 25pdr) before dying. The British tanks came over the ridge and ran down a couple of pioneer teams (which failed to counter attack- as they did almost all competition) but my panzer IVs and marders rolled well gutting two platoons. The nimrods and 38Gs came on and I massed my firepower. The 38Ts got a crusader, the marders and IVF2s dealt with the Vals and grants and the Nimrods bagged 2x crusaders. My pioneers refused to take part in an assault on bailed tanks.

It was still a bit touch and for a couple of turns but the last few tanks failed morale checks and Peter was left with the 25 pdrs (with no observers) and no tanks left.

6-1 to the Hungarians

So end of the 1 the Hungarians were 2nd equal (16 pts) with Stephen F (panzer IIIs with 2x hummel batteries, Nick (2x Grenadiers, full pioneers, tiger, KV, 2x pak 40s) and Poochie (2x panzer grenadiers, grilles!!!!!, tiger, 3x marders, nebs) and were all nipping on the heels of Dave D (Dak panzer grenadiers- HQ HMGs, 2x platoons tiger, 3x pak 40s, 4x 25pdrs) with 3x 6-1 wins.

To be continued...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Southcon 2011- Hungarians

I must admit I've been suffering a bit of wargaming burn out of the past week or so and hardly painted anything. However, Southcon starts on Saturday so I've finally decided what to take and so spent a couple of nights hurriedly painting up, and touching up, stuff for the army. After much indecison I finally decided to take Hungarian Armour, a force that I have never fielded, mainly to run with Nimrods. Possibly not the most effective force on the table, and its been a while since I've run tanks so we will see how it fares. Hopefully I can manage a couple of wins with it.
The force is:
  • 2x HQ T38Gs
  • 3x T38Gs
  • 2x Panzer IV F2s anda panzer IV F1
  • 3x Toldi light tanks
  • 2x nimrods
  • 7x pioneers
  • 4x marder IIs (allies)

It lacks smoke as the final call came down to artillery or recon and, sicen I had 4 Toldi waiting to be painted, I decided to settle on recon. The force is very fragile as none of the platoons can afford to take losses, but I feel if I can run it like my armoured panzer grenadiers I might have the odd bit of success- we'll have to wait and see.

A tank to strike fear into the enemy- Panzer T38Gs.

The armoured contingent.

2x Nimrods- the whole reason to take this list! They are very, very cool looking models and even managed to kill a Sherman in my playtest game last night. Behind them are the Toldi.

7x Pioneers (Rifles)

Infantry and marders- I am expecting both to do a lot of work.

My not so secret weapon. My favourite Mid war (and late for that matter) tank hunter- the Marder II. I proably should have given them a dark grey paint to go with the rest of the amry but didn't have any more Marder IIs lying around and didn't want to repaint them just for this comp- I've several other marks in panzer grey so couldn't justify buying more.

It should be a good weekend.