Monday, 22 March 2021

Moving House

 I had planned to expand my use of Platoon Forward! by having a couple of games of A Sergeant's War and seeing if it fits better with those rules. However, we are in the throes of moving house and I have packed all of my hobby stuff. It has been good going through it all, disposing of long-unused junk. I have gotten rid of my pile of packaging materials that were going to see a second life as terrain. I no longer have broken bits of children's toys that looked like it could be a terraforming station.

The deal made with my wife is that I will have a corner of the dining room as my devoted modelling and painting station. So there is that. Although to have a dining room we will have to convert the garage, so I will have to store all of my other junk in the attic, making it less accessible. 

There is the never ending question: do I get rid of my giant collection of WotC Star Wars Miniatures, Wizkids Star Wars Pocketmodels, and Pirates of the Spanish Main. These take up loads of space and haven't been played with in years.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Rapid Fire Reloaded game and review

 Inspired by this blog I decided to give Rapid Fire! Reloaded a go. I ordered it on Monday, it arrived Tuesday and I gave it a read. It seems nice and simple. I also got Platoon Forward! which is designed to add an RPG element to WW2 games. It gives characters with strengths and weaknesses, has a map generator, has a load of generic scenarios, and then events that happen between the games.

I created a platoon and gave the platoon leader and each squad leader a name and characteristics. For the purpose of using Rapid Fire Reloaded, I decided to follow what Shaun did on his blog sort of. Each squad would consist of two bases. each base would count as a base with 2 figures, which required two hits for a base to "be destroyed" or routed or whatever. I also added an individual figure that just represented the leader but served no purpose whatsoever. 

Basically I didn't enjoy the game. I am not going to beat around the bush. I gave up after a bit. I worry that I used bad scenario, had a dreadful map or what have you. But I just don't think I care enough now to give it another try. 

The table was generated using the Platoon Forward! method. Divide the table into 9 sections, roll for results. First roll was to decide if the table would be light, medium or heavy terrain. I got heavy. Then for each area I rolled and got the following:

Light woods/Light woods/Wooded hill
2-4 buildings/Heavy woods/Hill

The scenario is a patrol: 2 squads and an MG team basically go out to cause trouble and meet an enemy patrol. The attackers need to travel through all 9 areas and leave having caused more casualties than they take. I think that the problem might have led here. Not many units on the board made it a little more difficult to cause enough casualties to actually rout a unit. I just really didn't like it.

The US patrol advances, looking for trouble. I had a small map so cut the distances in inches in half. On the left of the map I have two blinds that I move as though they are the enemy patrol. When the Americans manage to spot one, I roll to see which blind is the entire force. Platoon Forward has more options for blinds that seem quite good. 

At the end of each round I roll 1D10. On a roll of 10 a random event happens. Here the squad leader of first squad has a Leadership test and passes. The result is his squad gets a free move that attempts to flank the enemy. At this point the Germans have been found and are forming up on the heavy woodland in the middle. Much of this is from Platoon Forward! The only parts of this from Rapid Fire Reloaded that I have used so far is movement. 

The odd thing here is the turn order. I attempt to spot units before movement and firing. I just feel like you want to move units into place and then attempt to spot and fire? It seems strange. Unless I have misunderstood, but at 16 pages there is little place for fluff and misunderstanding.

You roll 1D6 per 2 figures. I was acting like each stand had two figures. Maybe that was a mistake? I managed to get two hits which knocked out a stand of Germans. And that is it. I got one hit on a couple of other squads, but one hit does nothing. You need two hits in one round.

At this point I called it. I was just bored to be frank. I enjoyed the Platoon Forward elements of the game and think they will marry up nicely with A Sergeant's War, or maybe even Battlegroup. Further experimentation to come, but I doubt it will come along with Rapid Fire Reloaded. 

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Forest stands for the Ardennes - Finished.

 Here is my walkthrough on how to make these stands. 

Back in August 2012 I visited my brother who lives in the USA. The point was to see him and also go to Gencon. While there he got me interested in DnD and Pathfinder, and showed me how he had recently begun vaguely painting miniatures again since neither of us had done it in years. I decided to get painting miniatures again and committed myself to basing up infantry figures to play Crossfire, the WW2 wargame with no measuring. As such, I bought a box full of these MDF squares and rectangles. I based up three squads of 20mm Skytrex British Infantry and that was the end of that journey. I have yet to play those rules, and the infantry have since been removed from the bases. These squares have just sat in a box for nine years, with me occasionally dipping in to base crewed weapons. 

Now is their moment to shine. I drilled holes in, after measuring the width of the drill bit. The trees are all cheap Chinese trees and are pretty awful. I used a proper electric drill as my craft drill is dreadful.

I then glued the trees into the holes. Some of them needed me to chop the trunk a bit as it was pointed and wouldn't have stayed upright.

I then textured the bases with my Vallejo earth texture paste. After this dried I brushed PVA glue onto the trees and dipped them into a tub of their own fallen off leaves. Then they were primed with a green primer, which darkened them, but is a bit shiny. I might have not shaken it up enough. Generic brown craft paint applied to the bases. Also a few trees have been drybrushed with a lighter green. I disliked how uniform they were. They are still kind of uniform, but at a later date I might go over some of them again.

Heavy drybrush of sand colour on the bases, then some static grass and clump foliage and hey presto - I have some finished fir tree stands. I also ordered a pack that was sold as "1.6kg of MDF bases of various shapes and sizes". I will be using this to make more stands on rounder bases. Overall I am happy with how they turned out and will be happier with the future, more circular stands that I will be making. 

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Updates from the bench - forest, ruins and spacecraft

 I managed to overcome painters block and make some progress tonight. I had originally planned a game of Battlegroup but will save that for next weekend. 

This odd flying machine is coming along. The prongs out front are for holding containers. 

These ruins now have more life to them, but still require some scorching and other things.

Low tech transport. Out in the colonies you use whatever help you can get. 

My Ardennes trees looking better. 

Proof of concept - Ardennes forest.

 Today, while the children were watching Disposable Me 2 (by far the best one), I managed to put together a few stands of fir trees. The trees are cheap things from China. The bases are MDF squares from years ago. 2mm I think. They are fine, I guess. I just need to try and attach some more flock then paint them all up.


Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Battlegroup Overlord - US infantry attacking a Wehrmacht defensive line.

 I managed to get a good game in of Battlegroup Overlord last night. It is such a great set of rules. I pitted a US infantry platoon against a Wehrmacht platoon with support to see if I could finally get a German victory in one of my games. I promised I wouldn't fudge any dice rolls.

US Battlegroup:
1x US infantry platoon, upgraded to regular.
1x MMG team. (The platoon itself is the only thing that gets upgraded to regular when you do the upgrade. I have been playing this wrong the whole time)
1x Bazooka team

1x M4 Sherman platoon, with one upgunned to a 76mm.

1x M8 Greyhound - to try and win the scout battle.
1x US Recon patrol (a normal infantry squad and a normal BAR squad, but with the scout rule).

They also have 2x 81mm mortars off board, and a pre-timed 105 barrage.

Wehrmacht Battlegroup:
1x infantry platoon, upgraded to veteran.
1x HMG MG42 team
1x Panzerschrek team
1x Pak 40 with a loader team

1x Puma
1x Panther
1x Jagdpanzer IV

A recon flight shows the lay of the land. US infantry attacking from the north. Germans hold a line in the middle. There are three objectives: the copse on the hill; the farm house in the centre; and the farm complex on the left flank.

As the Americans have more recon units than the Germans, the Germans are forced to already pull a chit towards their Battle Rating. I also think the Americans might have been supposed to pull a chit also as the Germans are sitting on the objectives.

The Puma scout car prowls on the left flank, ready to advance and spot for any other German units. Ahead is an MG42 team along with an infantry squad. They are covering the road and field. A Pak 40 covers the road and open ground on the centre and right flank.

Another MG42 squad hold the centre, while the Jagdpanzer IV lies in wait behind the hedge. Another squad, a Panzerschrek team and another HMG team cover the right flank. The HMG team is atop the hill, in the cover of the copse. The Panzershrek team, however is pinned by a pre-game bombardment.

The advance US forces consist of the recon patrol advancing up the left flank, the M8 Greyhound in the centre there, along with the command squad who are taking cover behind the farm complex. A squad and BAR team advance up the right.

Turn 1

The opening shots ring out as the BAR team hugs the hedge line and opens fire at the German infantry. One unlucky Gefreiter is caught in the open. The GIs advance further behind the cover of the woods. The Jagdpanzer IV lies in ambush.

The Greyhound advances with the recon troops and takes a shot at the Puma, scoring a direct hit! It bursts into flames and will remain there, a funeral pyre for those unfortunate enough to not escape. This is an excellent start for the US attackers.

However, while manoeuvring again, the M8 hits a landmine! Luckily it does no damage, only shakes the crew who take some time to recover their morale.

This was the chit the Germans pulled for the loss of the Puma. This seems to happen quite often.

The BAR team gets caught in a crossfire by the infantry squad and an MG42. The squad is wiped out. 

I forgot the rule where you can retreat from fire. Also, the Panzerschrek team will remain pinned for ages, because I don't want to risk pulling a chit for just one unit who don't even have a job right now. There is no armour for them to kill, apart from the Greyhound.

The Wehrmacht infantry on the left flank attempt to pin the Greyhound but fail.

Turn 2

The US recon squads open fire and wipe out the MG42 team. More success for the US forces. Meanwhile the Greyhound rushes up, past the defending infantry in an attempt to hook around and wreak havoc in the German rear. The command squad take shelter inside a barn to better coordinate the attack.

The US squad on the right flank advances further towards the hill, in order to take the objective, take the hill and try to lay down fire against the flanks of the German defenders.

Worried about their flank, the remaining German squad manages to pin down the US recon infantry! It is an incredible feat!

Worried about the Greyhound, and with no other targets, the Pak 40 crew turn the gun and readjust their position. They then send a shot at said Greyhound...

...blasting it to pieces. The unlucky crew didn't even know what happened. Mearnwhile, the Jagdpanzer IV still lies in wait, waiting for juicy targets.

Turn 3

 The US commander calls in a few rounds from the 81mm mortars. While the spotter round lands way off target, the Pak 40 team and forward infantry squad come under fire. The infantry make it through, but the Pak 40 gets destroyed, many crew are lost with the remaining men running away!

The US infantry on the right flank assault the advancing German squad! It is chaos in the woods, heavy casualties on each side. The Germans are wiped out, while the Americans who are left completely lose the the will to fight, break and run.

On the left flank the recon squads lay down withering fire on the German infantry, killing a few and sending the rest running. Things are not looking good for the Germans, especially with US reinforcements beginning to enter the combat area.

This was making me sad. Another German defeat on the way.

Shermans come onto the battlefield. One advances up the right flank and attempts to use HE to dislodge the MG42 team. However, they were well dug in and avoided taking loses.

A high velocity round pings past an advancing Sherman. They react by trying to drive into cover, but a second round punches through the side of the hull, setting the tank ablaze. His platoon mate, the Sherman 76 advances up past the burning hulk, trying to get into cover also.

I feel like I may have missed a turn here. I struggle to believe the game ended in Turn 3.

The German Panzershrek team, finally unpinned (for a 5 chit!) advances up the side of the hill to engage the Sherman. The team bravely takes aim, fires, and blows the Sherman up. Panzerknacker indeed. 

This now brings the US commander dangerously close to his BR. A loss on either side could pretty much break either side.

The loss comes as the Jagdpanzer IV engages the third Sherman, destroying it with ease. The remaining US forces begin a fighting withdrawal, while the German commander takes breath and appreciates how close his Battlegroup came to having to retreat themselves.

Good game this. I am glad the Germans won. I had fun with my Jagdpanzer IV. Although, it only has six shots! I might need to look into resupply units now. The off board mortars were fun and did a lot of damage. It was also nice to see a Pak 40 in action as I had yet to use one. Now to finish up my 88. 

It was quite straight forward setting this game up and playing, although I was quite slow because I needed to refresh the rules after six months. I want to aim to play a game at least once per month. I liked making army lists, although with my limited miniatures, there isn't loads I can do. And I don't really want to have games larger than a platoon or so. 

I have this ever growing shopping list of miniatures that I want to buy, but that is all on hold for a while. I have to do that scary thing where I, as a miniature painter, I paint the miniatures that I have, and don't buy new, shiny things on a whim. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Junk Build Flying Machine 4.0

 So for a couple of weeks now, my children have had the Lego down in the lounge, and have set up a little town on the all-purpose table. Every evening I decide the effort of moving the Lego is not out-weighed by my desire to paint/build. Last night, however the Lego was gone. So it was hobby o'clock. 

I didn't want to actually paint, and have a collection of junk that I have been eying up as possible spacecraft for a while now, so decided to go for it. 

This is some sort of glasses cleaner with the spongey cleaning pads removed. I had to cut the brush off, which extends out of the rear and stick some greeblies on. There are small paper squares to give it the panelled look, and a few other bits. The fin out of the back was a last minute addition, which I am not sure about. I think it gives this more of an atmospheric flyer look, rather than a space faring craft. The long protuberances are for carrying large, heavy-duty cargo.

This is going to be some sort of landing/unloading bay. My new junk-build fits on it. I again just wanted a rough looking, industrial/frontier looking sort of outpost.