Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Stuff the Turkey - Crack on with the Soviets instead

It's been 9th October since I last posted an update on this project! What with a business trip to Europe, What-Khan, family visiting and GameHoleCon time to get on with painting has been sparse.

I really planned to have the Soviets finished by the end of November so that I could start gaming with them, so, with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching and with it having little cultural significance to me as a Brit in Wisconsin I took the opportunity to get cracking.

A lot of the figures in this update were painted during the lean times described above, just nothing was complete and ready for photographing. For fourteen of the Assault Group Soviets it was just a matter of finishing the bases, for the rest they were done from scratch over the weekend.

In all, this update I added 20 more Assault Group Soviet infantry this update, lovely characterful figures that paint up really well, but I'm having a little buyers regret. I planned to play these games during the Fall Blau operations of 1942 and these Soviets are definitely uniformed for much later in the war. The Germans I have done are definitely for a much earlier period.

I'm seriously considering selling these and replacing with Crusader Miniatures ones, my daughter visited from the UK last month and bought with me a small order from Northstar and I picked up a pack of the Crusader Soviet Infantry to give a test.

I'd already painted one of their Maxim M1910 and the figures are nice to paint and do suit the period I plan to game much better. Here is the pack of Riflemen with Pps-41.

Some of the support weapons are covered in neither the Crusader Miniatures or Assault Group ranges and I needed a 5cm Mortar to make up the platoon. Fortunately Warlord Games do one in a pack with a flame-thrower. Unfortunately they use their bloody awful separate head system that never seems to work. I've painted plenty of the Gripping Beast WWI French with separate heads and they go together nicely, not sure what Warlord do, but they never look that natural.

Also in the order from Northstar was a rather splendid resin 45mm anti-tank gun Nick obligingly supplied a couple of crews so that I could field it with a more appropriately sized five man crew and had another chap spare.

I based on a 2mm plywood base and textured the filler so that the crew can be removed as casualties, I quite like how this came out.

Here are a few more close-ups of those lovely Assault Group Soviets, as mentioned earlier, I have mixed feelings about them and may end up painting another platoon with models more suited for 1942. If you are interested in buying 45 painted late WWII Soviets get in touch and we can discuss a deal.

Having finished off all the Soviets I have it was a good opportunity to get them all out and have a look at the final result, I think they look quite formidable and I'm looking forwards to playing some Chain of Command with them.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Cocking Up Mud & Blood

It's been a good few days since we played this game but a week past Sunday (Remembrance Sunday for my chums in the UK) Drew and Bruce joined me for a game of Chain of Command. We would be using my WWI collection of French & Germans from my earlier games with chum James. These have crossed the Atlantic with me and have languished in the boxes for six months.

I had bought all my terrain but not a cloth so I purchased a 'Partridge Brown' fleece from JoAnns in the Memorial Day sale and gave it a light dusting with some spray paints, it's not such a good match as my old cloth but looks rather better in the flesh than it does in these photos.

Drew arrived first and we had settled down to a beer when Bruce joined us, we rolled for a scenario and would be playing #4 'Attack & Defend' and after a little more randomisation decided Drew would be attacking with the French while Bruce would defend with the Bosche. I would try to ensure the game ran smoothly while keeping up a steady supply of beer and pretzels along with an interlude of tea and biscuits! 

The French would be using the standard 'Full Strength Platoon' but a lack of suitable models with VB launchers gave them another section with 8 riflemen. Drew spent his 15 points of support on a Bombardment with Feurwaltz and Gas, a FT-17 with MG (first time it's been out of the box since being painted), a Hotchkiss M1914 MMG, an Adjutant, two Snipers and two Trench Brooms. 

Monsieur Sniper

Bruce was using a standard Infantry Zug and spent his six points on a Maxim 08 MMG, an Adjutant, an extra Lewis Gun and an Anti-tank Rifle.

Force Morale went very asymmetrical, the French attackers would start on an 8 while the German defenders an 11, Drew would have his work cut out.

I ran the players through the Patrol Phase and both ended up with some good jump-off points, Drew well advanced on the German lines and Bruce ready to deploy his troops to stop them. The Patrol Phase can be difficult for new players but persevering at it and with a little guidance can give a great appetiser before the main course.

Under the cover of the bombardment the French began their advance, the FT-17 pushed up the centre while the main infantry attack comprising the Grenadier-Voltigeur from each Demi-Section advanced cautiously on the left.

The effect of the barrage was telling on the French and for the initial phases of the battle they were only able to counter with the MG-08 which although putting some suppression fire on the Grenadier-Voltigeurs was soon under the cosh itself from the telling shots of the two French snipers.

To preserve the now pinned MMG Bruce had to chance a Rifle Gruppe into that position to avoid losing his supports while Drew pushed on his attack on the left redeploying a jump-off point right behind his troops and within striking distance of the empty German trenches.

Bruce had been slowly collecting his Chain of Command points and now had enough for a Chain of Command dice with it's ability to end the turn, cancel the effects of the barrage and also remove the Tactical markers from the Grenadier-Voltigeurs closing on his position, well, it would be silly not to!

With the barrage lifted it was an easy matter of deploying the Light Machine-gun Gruppe into the position and open up on the advancing French, it was all so damned close and much damage ensued, The French Lieutenant rallied his troops summoned up the extra rifle-men at his disposal and under a flurry of grenades launched one of the Grenadier-Voltigeurs at the enemy position.

An almighty scrap ensued, with heavy casualties on both sides the initial round was a draw so the protagonists set to again, this time it was so bloody both sections were completely wiped out! The French and the Germans both lost four points each of Force Morale, but having only started on eight it was more telling for the Poilu.

Drew was now up against it with only four command dice but he still gamely pressed his attack but was unable to offer much support from the FT-17, Hotchkiss and snipers as all the points were used pressing the attack in the teeth of a stiffened German resistance.

Again the French managed to occupy a trench section before the Germans had scrambled into it and this final combat was to doom the French their Force Morale collapsed to zero and the Germans held on to the field, both sides had suffered enormous casualties!

Bruce, Drew and myself

Sunday 13 November 2016

Battletech at GameHoleCon

A late write-up but I've been away on business in Michigan all week and like a dufus forgot to upload the photos before I went.

Last weekend I attended the local GameHoleCon event at the Alliant Energy Centre, billed as he largest tabletop gaming convention in the upper Midwest.the place was certainly packed out with hundreds of gamers. I attended on the Saturday and as far as I could tell it was about 45% role-playing games, 45% board-games, 8% fantasy games (Warmachine & Warhammer) then a single historical game (a nice looking SCW game in 15mm) and the five of us playing Battletech, so for $35.00 for the day I would have been pretty light on activities if I had not already arranged to spend the day playing in the BattleTech arena.

Drew has built two excellent combat arenas, from a base of computer packaging he has added hi-tech lighting and a mirrored black floor and other accessories to make a fantastic playing area. As you play barricades can be lifted into place to add cover and make channels between the protagonists.

Five of us would be playing in a round-robin over the course of the day and my Dragon saw off all comers apart from one, I'm afraid that I am a new-newbie to BattleTech, having last played in around 1989 I reckon, so I cannot remember all the exact details but suffice to say I had a great day against three great opponents.

With a snub-nosed PPC and LRM launchers my Dragon was set up to engage in a long-range firefight and hopefully the opponents mech would be too battered to be effective when it closed for combat. I played games against Chris, Drew and Joe winning each in turn with my long range fire being particularly ineffective and then having some very lucky rolls when we closed to finish them off. In my last game against Mark the continued poor dice for my long range fire continued and he mashed me up bad at close range. Four great opponents and I'm happy (and shocked) to have gone 3 and 1.

To top it off among the food trucks doing the catering one of my favourites from many days out in and around Madison FIBs was in attendance, time for a great Italian Veggie-Brat and a beer with the chaps.

I polished off my spend for the day with a couple of new 'Mechs' an Arbalest and a Raptor II, I can see me playing a few more games of this.

More pics from the action.