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Monthly Archives: March 2014

FoW: Box Opening of PSC 15mm plastic Stuart tank kit

I recently picked up a box of five Plastic Soldier Company Stuart M5A1 tanks to round out my Flames of War US troops.

The bottom line is they appear to be a good model and easy to build. Each sprue can build an early, mid or late version of the tank. The good news is that there are two sets of tracks and three chassis. You could almost build two tanks. I decided to make a second turretless version of the late-model to use up the parts (I used the third chassis and a craft knife to fill in the gaps at the front and back of the chassis!) Just add a bottle of plastic glue and some paint and you have a good value for money set of tanks. There is also a hedgecutter on each sprue for Normandy based tanks.

The turret is held in place by turning it 90 degrees after inserting it into the chassis. No magnets required!

I have to give this kit a thumbs up, with the only problem I can see being the barrel of the machine gun being a bit flimsy (see the pictures of the constructed early variant – there is no protection for the MG as it sticks out of the side of the turret. If you have spare metal ones try using those with some superglue).

Here are the pictures…

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Amber RPG: Models for Player Characters

For many years I have been a part of a group of RPGers playing a diceless game in Roger Zelazny’s “Amber” multiverse.

A few months ago I decided it was about time to round up some 28mm scale models and paint them up as our group of player characters. After a good look around I found some Reaper miniatures that seemed almost ideal

The game is a mix of science fantasy where anything goes really.

Here are the models I have found so far… but i have a couple more on order….

Epic Space Marine – rounding up the models for painting…

I recently dug out my old Space Marine models for one of the kids to play with. I needed to find them anyway as they need painting up for a future game. While they were on the table I took a few pictures to remember what was there. A chunk of them came from one collection and had been painted yellow with little else done to them.

There are also a number of other mix and match marines, rhinos and land raiders. There are also two old plastic Warlord titans in need of a revamp. The yelloy painted troops include a devastator company.

Another job to do this year…. and pretty much a Chapter of troops here to do it with!

 

Saga: Review of Gripping Beast Irish models.

Here is another review article I wrote for the http://www.sagatapestry.com website.

Link to Irish figure review

Some very nice models and not too expensive. When you buy the 4 point starter warbands you are getting all the weapons and bases and the Warlord figure is effectively free (when compared to buying units seperately)

Flames of War – Early War French Tank Squadron – FiB Somua S-35

I have been so busy for a couple of weeks I haven’t had time to actually blog about the projects I am working on.

That means there is a bit of a backlog about to hit this site!

 

I spent several hours over a weekend building and painting the eight Forged in Battle resin and metal French Somua S35 tanks I got for my birthday. Here are the results from gluing to painting to decals.

The tanks were undercoated with Halfords white primer spray (I really recommend this for undercoating any models, its consistency and application are fantastic).

The paints used were from the Vallejo Game Color range: Metallic for the tracks, Bestial brown, Khaki and Cayman Green for the camouflage and a light drybrush of Khaki for the edges to give more definition. the base was painted with Terra.

Army Painter Dark Tone dip was used as a sealant and to shade the tanks. The grass is Javis spring mix static grass. Once dry I used Army Painter anti-shine Matt spray varnish to take off the gloss effect of the dip.

After that, I used a set of decals (QRF French Roundels) the smallest on the sheets I bought). Two per tank, using images on the internet as a guide for where to place them. I didn’t think it made sense to paint a target on the frontal armour so went with side options for decals!

A few things I noticed: the tanks chassis are made of resin, one of the exhausts had broken off by the time I received it, just at the point where it goes over the back of the tank. With no “netting roll” or whatever it is on the back of one of the models to protect it, the resin had just broken off. A small pice has also come away from the front of another tank since painting. And they haven’t been used in battle yet!

The decals were pretty straightforward, but you really need to get them on a flat surface. Even with a softener, it looks better if they are on a flat surface. A Couple of them don’t seem to sit well on the right side panel. Will have to see if they come off. I did go back and matt varnish over them to help with adhesion!

In close-up I can see a few stray brush hairs and static grass pieces on the tanks, probably stuck to the varnish at some point. Will have to try to check more carefully next time!  One tank has a wonky gun barrel that needs straightening – these guns are a bit flimsy and need removing with care from their castings. One of the eight barrels had also been cast without the end of the barrel and had made it through quality control. I just went with it, but I should really have asked for this and the tank with broken exhaust to be replaced. When you consider these are hand packed into foam you shouldn’t really be getting chipped features or deformed parts. Maybe the resin isn’t as tough as the stuff Battlefront uses? To be fair, I have had a share of issues with Battlefront models but they have always been replaced when going through their customer support. It pays to ask, so don’t put up with problems.

Here they are…

FoW 15mm Somua EW (30) FoW 15mm Somua EW (35)

FoW 15mm Somua EW (28) FoW 15mm Somua EW (31)

FoW 15mm Somua EW (7) FoW 15mm Somua EW (8)

Saga: The Jomsvikings…

Here is my blog post that went up on http://www.sagatapestry.com today all about the Jomsvikings. Enjoy another slice of Dark Age goodness for the 28mm Saga skirmish wargame!Link.

AAR: Flames of War – 1500pt LW – US 2nd Infantry v HG Panzergrenadiers in Hasty Attack

Here’s a quick write-up of a Game I had the last week with Fraser at the NWGC, Stockport. He brought the US 2nd ID list to try out. I bought a variation on my Herman Gorring Panzergrenadiers. IT was to be a classic “Dogs and Devils” battle with all the excitement of the Anzio breakout (!) We rolled for the Hasty Attack mission. With two infantry companies this was going to be a slog! Fraser got to be the Attacker and we set up the objectives. He pretty much covered my objective so that was going to be next to impossible to take. He then took away the objective on my left flank leaving one slightly to left of centre and one to the right.

Forces:

Allies:
HQ, 2 x Rifle platoons, AT platoon (bazookas), AT platoon (3x 57mm), 1 x I&R recon jeep platoon, 1 x M5 AT gun towed, Artillery platoon (4x 105mm), Artillery platoon (4x 155mm), AOP.

Axis:
HQ (2 x SMG), 2 x Panzergrenadier platoons w. ‘scrhecks, 1 x HMG platoon (2 HMG), 2 x Pak40 AT platoons, 2 x mobile AA platoons, 1 x Nebelwerfer, 1 x Tiger platoon (1 tank), lelg18 infantry guns (2 of).

Setup:

I placed one Panzergren platoon to the right and had kept the other Panzergren platoon in immediate ambush and played it down on the objective to the right. With my Nebelwerfers and HMG’s also deployed, I had to wait for the Allies to come to me apart from any artillery I might use.

Fraser had two platoons of Artillery and an AOP (aerial observation post) I had to keep my AA in reserve so his AOP would  be free to roam the field of battle for a while at least.

The Game:

I am only going to mention the “highlights” as this went on for two and a half hours.

Deployment…

AAR (5)AAR (6)

AAR (7) AAR (8) AAR (9) AAR (10)

Fraser deployed a Rifle platoon opposite my right side objective with cover from the hill. I would need to protect this flank from advancing riflemen!

Turn 1:

AAR (13) AAR (17)

Fraser got a Reserve this turn and moved on his Recon jeeps, moving them up the central road and into some cover from building and ruin.

Turn 3:

AAR (27)

Not much happened other than the Recon jeeps moving to try to remove Gone to Ground next turn on the HMG platoon. The HMGs would be a key for the US as they could threaten the US Rifles on the far right Axis flank (the Panzergren MG teams and single HMG on the right could be able to pin a US attack. Fraser seemed to want to hold back his rifles until the HMG platoon and some of the MG teams had been ‘neutralised’. The US artillery didn’t seem to do much. Neither did the Nebelwerfers!

Turn 5:

AAR (34) AAR (35) AAR (36) AAR (37) AAR (38)

US Reserves turn up (AT guns and infantry) and proceed to get into a better position. The US rifles reach the safety of the hill.

Axis PAK40’s turn up (random) and have to go in one place. Having moved they become a target for a massive artillery attack…. A platoon o Axis mobile AA turns up on the left (not ideal) and stay in the wheat fields near the right side objective. The HMG on the left of the hill killed a couple of US Jeeps but is later killed in return (the Recon Jeeps would have taken GtG away anyway so it forced the Axis hand. Recon is good for forcing the enemy to lose GtG one way or the other!

Turn 6:

AAR (40) AAR (42) AAR (44)

The US infantry on the right side hill dig in. They are out of range of the Nebelwerfers (one of the problems of the 15cm Neb – 64 inch range from one side can’t quite reach the other table edge). The PAK platoon on the left is killed to a gun but their elite command team hangs on. The Axis reserves arrive, randomly, with the little lelg18 infantry guns poised on the edge of the left hand hill (yuk) and the Tiger hides in the middle, with smoke from the Nebs on the US owned wheat field in case they deploy their big towed AT guns (AT13!)

Turn 7:

AAR (50) AAR (51)

US Recon jeeps move behind the wood in the middle out of sigth of the Axis. The Axis lelg can’t move so just digs in and hopes for the best….

Turn 9:

AAR (53)

The Tiger moves up the middle to test the mettle of the enemy… The Axis infantry guns lose a stand to artillery.

Turn 11:

AAR (63)

The Axis get tired of waiting and decide to strengthen the objective on the right. They move forward to provoke some kind of reaction. The other Axis HMG has been destroyed on the right of the hill and the platoon broken.

Turn 13:

AAR (66)

The Tiger gets bored as well and gets too close to the US lines.  The Neb’s fail to deliver any smoke this turn – not good!

Turn 14:

AAR (75) AAR (76) AAR (79)

The US big AT gun platoons unlimber in the wheat field and get a lucky shot on the Tiger. Well, the middle is going to stay blocked to the Axis!

The US artillery concentrate on the Axis right to try to shift some MG teams. This carries on for a while as there isn’t much else to do. The Axis just aren’t going to move!

Turn 16:

AAR (83) AAR (84)

US AT guns on the Axis left move forward to try to get in range of the remains of the Nebelwerfers on the hill (I think that is the plan!)

From this point, the US Artillery just tries to pound the heck out of the Axis position on the right side objective. Several turns go by with no real effect other than pinning.

Turn 24:

AAR (92)

US artillery finally gets a good one on the Panzergrens and kill a couple of stands (and some AA if I remember correctly). Somewhere along the way a couple of the Nebelwerfers were killed ending any chance of retaliation from that source.

Turn 25:

AAR (95) AAR (96)

The US infantry see there is only a couple of minutes left before the game runs out of time. It moves over the hill to try to take their objective…

Turn 26:

AAR (98)

The US artillery has tried turn after turn to take out the defenders without complete success. Defenders are elite and don’t like to run!

Turn 27:

AAR(101)

In the end, after two and a half hours and 27 turns, the Axis forces hung on long enough to win the game by default, 4-3 after losing a few platoons each. If it wasn’t for the sound of the artillery shells landing the rest of the forces would have been asleep in their foxholes.

Summary.

Suffice it to say this was not the best mission for us to use. I guess Flames of War is one of those games that needs the Attacker to have armour or mechanised infantry.

With two infantry forces and artillery, one side must risk moving across the field and being pounded to death. The Defender had no compunction to move – their objective is too well guarded. The Attacker needs to pound away at the defender to make it “safe” to go in for an assault on one of the objectives. Fraser and I did nothing “wrong” its just that this mission and the infantry forces used brings out the worst aspects of this game. It can be frustratingly slow to use artillery and then wait for the best time to go in for the kill. If you rise out of your dug in positions, you are going to die horribly to massed fire. Fraser didn’t want to have to engage my HMG ro MG armed grenadiers without whittling them down first and pinning them. I couldn’t really assault without leaving one objective behind and then seeing it taken after my platoon is wiped out.

Happy not to play Hasty Attack for some time to come! At least not with infantry on infantry.

After all this I really enjoy playing Fraser as he can make a good assault as Attacker and put you to the test. At least he didn’t “Tankovy” me this time…