30 December 2015

Saga Crescent and Cross: Merry Christmas and Happy New year. From Dad...to Dad!

Saga Crescent and Cross: 

Merry Christmas and Happy New year.... From Dad...to Dad!

Xmas has come and gone, with yours truly working all the way through. Little time for blogging, less time for gaming, snatching a few moments to paint here and there.

Anyhow it is almost over now, and when others go off back to work, we start to play...
Took the boat trailer for a warrant of fitness this am, dusted off the fishing rods.

Thoughts turn to the joy that Santa brought...an inflatable water "biscuit" to be towed behing the boat; a book on Gallipoli; a close-up lens to fit my phone for better photos of my models...

and a package from Wayland Games. To Dad. From Dad. With Love. 
3 boxes of Gripping Beast Arab minis  to add to my current favourite obsession.
Saga.


I have recently repainted all of my LOTR figures as spanish troops. Yes, I think it worked. No, not Bilbo and Frodo or any other hobbit! Numedoreans, Harradim, Rohorrim, and other last standers.
Amazing what can be done with a suitable colour scheme and imagination.
Bought some Spanish horsemen off Facebook. They just needed basing. Were already well painted.


So Santa's gift under the tree, from me, to me, was 3 boxes of Arab troops: Infantry, light and heavy cavalry. Can do a lot in Crescent and Cross with that mix! And Christian and Muslim dice!

Now just to assemble the figures...




5 December 2015

SAGA rising

Saga and Kings of War: 

After the demise of the Warhammer world


My wargaming has changed irrevocably. I am no longer the prisoner of Games Workshop. 

I have spread my wings and left the Age of the Sigmarines to those who wish to partake. Flames of war trundles along, but I wait for inspiration on that front. My attention and fervour has turned to Saga


.

Started off with swapping some ratmen for 28mm Normans at the Kapiti Wargames Club's open day. Needed the push, did I (?) So off we go...few clicks of the mouse later and we are on Gripping Beast's website, and not long before the my Vikings arrive, and the rulebooks, and Cross and Crescent. Look-Shinitis strikes again. 


Quite happy the way my Viking command turned out

I am now the proud owner of enough Vikings to fill two 16 plus point warbands, same with the Normans and also a Spanish warband. The long unpainted LOTR figures have become quasi-Muslim warriors, or Spanish infantry. And we have enough for a war. 


Viking levy archers


Viking Warriors

First out of the blocks is a Vikings vs Normans 4 pointer against my son. I draw the Vikings, he gets the Normans on roll-off. Civilised that way, we are.
Complete novice agains couple-of games- (ahem) veteran. Great fun.


Luc kicks Dad's a$$ with the Normans. Dex Aie. 

Twice that has happened to my Viking warlords. Starting to hate that ability. Anyhow, loving Saga. Very satisfying models to paint too. Nice to run the History channel's Vikings series as background on the PC. Or Youtube search for Norse music. Lots out there. Stirring stuff.



Ulfhednar Beserkers- the 1st Unit



Ulfhednar 2nd Unit. Taking on the Norse Levy archers


Ulfhednar and Bondi with great axes taking on the Norse cavalry




While the Norse infantry follow behand their warriors, also equipped with the Dane axe.
(Not that it gives any extra benefit to either faction.)


20 October 2015

And so, back to the future...

Happy Back to the Future Day!





Not Photoshopped. I was allowed to sit in the Southward Car Museum's De Lorean.
Its not what you know. It's who you know...



8 June 2015

KWC Open Day: Batrep of the Defense of Niedlingen

Open Day FoW in 20mm Game: Defense of Niedlingen, East Prussia (Winter 1944-45)


The  (fictitious) East Prussian Town of Niedlingen is situated a about 600 hundred kilometers east of Berlin, near Arnswalde.

Historical context:

In early February 1945, the 11th SS Panzer Battalion Nordland was ordered onto the offensive as a part of Operation Sonnenwende, the plan to destroy a Soviet salient and to relieve the troops besieged in the town of Arnswalde.
11. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division „Nordland“.svg

The offensive had been conceived by Generaloberst Heinz Guderian as a massed assault all along the front but had then been reduced by Hitler to the level of a local counter-attack. Initially, Nordland's attack achieved a total tactical surprise and the division soon advanced to the banks of Lake Ihna in all sectors. However, as the Soviet forces realized what was happening, resistance grew stiffer and the advance began to slow. On 17 February, the division reached Arnswalde and relieved the exhausted garrison. Over the next few days the town was secured and the surviving civilians were evacuated.

Soon however, strong Soviet counter-attacks halted the division's advance, and Steiner called off the attack, pulling the III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps back to Stargard and Stettin on the northern Oder River. The 10. SS-Panzer-Division "Frundsberg", led by Brigadef├╝hrer Heinz Harmel, also took part in the operation after being detached from the II SS Panzerkorps in December 1944 (at the time engaged on the Western Front).

Flames of War in 20mm

By 21 February the conclusion was arrived-at that no more useful gains could be made against an increasingly powerful enemy without incurring undue casualties, so Steiner ordered a general withdrawal back to the north bank of the river Ihna.

This is where our battle is set.


Elements of the 11th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg occupy the Town of Niedlingen, East Prussia


General Jaydovich advising Colonel Bruce-chev on the best use of the Soviet Guards Army Tankovy

Russian armour arrive on the banks of the frozen  Ihna River
German pioneers have laid a mine-field on the north bank. A pedestrian bridge (left) and a
single lane metal bridge span the river. The Germans have not had time to dig in, so swift has the Soviet retaliation and pursuit been.


The fuel dump (Soviet Objective 1) is defended by a Pak 40 and MG 42 along with infantry

Turn one:  Colonel Bruce-chev approaches the two bridges, and orders a unit of Cossacks and a unit of Partisans to clear the minefield. As the Don Cossacks had fought on both sides of the war, they are considered expendable, as are the partisans. 
Among their number is a group of nuns, possibly secreting hand-weapons under their habits.


Several groups of partisans succumb to the mine-field. Somehow the nuns survive, and keep moving forward. The Cossacks follow eagerly behind them on horseback.


The second Soviet objective is the town centre of Niedlingen. The only road approach is protected by two stugs and several Pak 40s. The town centre is held by a number of Panther tanks. In the fields beyond  the town is a unit of Nebelwerfers and an artillery battery of 7 LeFH 18 howitzers.

Her Oberst is ably assisted by Herr Leutnant Romlet in his first battle. Fresh out of Panzer schule he is very knowledgable on armour and eager for battle. 


The Soviets attack first, and drive for the bridges


IS-2s clearing a bank on their race for the bridge


Columns of Soviet Armour pouring towards Niedlingen

The German 1st turn sees the lead T34-85 and T34 Obr 1943 destroyed on the bridge. The Soviets are caught in a bottle-neck. They try to cross the frozen river on foot, but the infantry commander falls through the ice on a roll of a 1. (Roll anything but a one, Bruce!)

PTRDs move up to give defensive fire while the heavy IS-2s advance

The Nebelwerfers and LeFH18s take a heavy toll on infantry, mortar units  and 122mm Howitzers, almost all falling prey to the template of mass destruction


Turn 2 degenerates on both sides into an artillery slugfest, with almost all infantry in range being destroyed by artillery fire. Su76s, 85s and IS-2s all unleash a torrent of lead on the German defenders. Pak 40s, mortar units, MG crews, all fall to the murderous fire. 

The  Germans return the favour with all their artillery capable of firing HE and rockets.
The Soviets used foresight, and brought a recovery vehicle with them. The burning T34s are swiftly moved out of the way, and IS2s and ISU 122s start crossing the bridge



Turn Three: CCCP: The Cossacks and Partisans advance through and clear the mine-fields. 
Seems some of the German soldiers are good catholic boys, 
and cannot get themselves to shoot at the nuns. 
They make it to the fuel storage tanks, habits flowing in the mid-winter wind.

The Cossacks cavalry charge the defenders, mowing them down with SMG fire. The last men standing are two artillery observers. They fall to merciless flashing sabres and flailing hooves in the assault phase. The nuns and the cossacks take the objective

Their Turn 3 sees the Germans leave the town centre, in an attempt to outflank the Cossacks attacking the fuel dump.
StugGs, Panthers and Jagdpanthers advance past the church. Reinforcements arrive, but fail to make any impact on the rest of the battle.


German armour rushing towards the Russian advance


Turn 4: The Soviets counter with armour to back up the Cossacks holding the fuel dump.
The T34s make it across the frozen river, but for some reason the assault gun commanders seem to think that their vehicles weigh the same as the medium tanks.

The lead SU 85 plunges to the bottom of the frozen river, with only a small splash and trail of bubbles to mark his passing. The rest stall on the bank.



Desperate to remove the nuns and cossacks from the fuel dump the SS bring up their heavy hitters. 
A King Tiger and Jagd Tiger with an Begleit Panther clank through the narrow streets. The bulk of the factory and station prevent them from drawing a bead on the cavalry troops. They are unable to shoot.


Unfortunately for them, they are now within the range of the tankbusters. 
The Panther is the first to brew up in Turn 5


During their turn 4 the Germans also bring up the balance of their Panthers 
and two tank destroyers of their own


Turn 5: The sole surviving PTRD fires from the farmyard


Hits the flank of the lead StuG who had not thought to wear schurtzen that day. 
This oversight creates a fatal bottle-neck for the German tanks


The assault guns continue to rain destruction, and this time it is the King Tiger that cops it. 
It is hard to stop a barrage of 122 mm shells dropping on your thin top armour


Source of the destruction: ISU 122s and IS-2s en masse, protected by SU 76s and T34-85s


Final moments of the 10. SS Tank Battalion at Niedlingen. 

The tightly packed German armour succumb to a whirlwind of Russian shells. The nuns and Cossacks hold an objective  by the end of the game, and the Germans fail in their attempt to deny the Russians and push them back across the river. 

A resounding victory to Colonel Bruce-chev and his Red Guard Tankovy

Soviet Arms Factory on my Table-top - Getting ready for KWC Open Day

Soviet Arms Factory

We decide to have Late war Soviet Push for Berlin game at the annual open day.

I realised that I had a great deal of unpainted and half-built Armourfast Soviet tanks and tank busters sitting under my work area, so out came the glue and paint:


Pretty soon Su-85s, T34-Obr 1943s and T34-85s were rolling off the production line



A lone halftrack makes a quick getaway, while tigers huddle in their plastic container.


Awaiting tracks, guns fitted


One model had been waiting so long that it somehow lost its gun mantlet. KV1 mantlet and green stuff to the rescue

3 June 2015

Kapiti Wargames Club Open Day 2015

Reminder of our club's open day this Sunday

I will be doing a FoW 20mm Defense of the Reich German Panzer vs Soviet Guards Demo Game


Kapiti Wargames Club to have open day after recent collaboration with Sir Peter Jackson

Table-top strategy games with miniature models have led to a number of Kapiti wargamers and modellers working with Sir Peter Jackson and the Weta Workshop on his World War 1 Battle of Chunuk Bair diorama project. The club has enjoyed local and international media exposure following their involvement with Sir Peter’s Gallipoli project. They offer the public the opportunity to come see for themselves how it is done:

The Kapiti Wargames Club (KWC) have their annual Open Day on Sunday 7 June from 10 am at the Paraparaumu Community Centre (Ngahina Street, Paraparaumu). This annual event (open to the public) showcases the modelling and painting talents of local figure painters and wargamers. The event offers the public an opportunity to try their hand at table-top strategy games.

Demonstration and display games this year will include a Maori Pa Battle Display, World War 2 Eastern Front (Attack on Germany) Tank Battles, Fantasy and Futuristic Science Fiction battle displays.

There will also be a display on the club’s involvement with the WW1 diorama at the Great War Exhibition.

The range of games played include those based on historical fact, fictionalised fact, fantasy and futuristic games. Popular genres currently include Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Flames of War, Lord of the Rings, Warmachine, Firestorm Armada and Star Wars X-Wing. Many other genres feature from time to time. The club also offers strategy based board gaming and card-based strategy games, such as Magic, The Gathering.

The KWC is a youth friendly environment, with supervised introductory gaming activities for younger players from 4pm; and a session for more mature or experienced players from 7pm. Players of all grades, new and experienced alike are welcome to come try their hand.
The Open Day will run from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 7 June 2015. Entry is free.

21 May 2015

Cold Cats: Late War German Armour in the Snow

Cold Cats: Tigers and Panthers in the in the Snow

Some WIP photos (Still a fair wack of work to be done on them):


Following on from my post on the Hinterhalt (Ambush) Camo used in the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle for Germany, my thoughts swung to the conflict on the Eastern Front.

My proctrastination box delivered more Panzers in need of the brush. Tigers and Panthers came out.


The Heavy Tigers with their Begleit zug of Medium Panthers move out. 
The Russians have been sighted!

  

Panthers from 3 different 1/72 plastic model producers, and 3 different models (Ausfuhrungs). 
Italeri (L) and centre, Airfix 2nd from left and unknown manufacturer at centre. The Tigers are all from Italeri

I noted the 3 different exhaust configurations on the models, giving a hint that they were from differen production series. (apart from the driver, gun mantlets and commanders hatch configuration differences)

You may also notice that one Panther is slightly smaller - 1/76 I suspect, Airfix's ongoing cardinal sin, selling 1/76 as 1/72 ! It also happens to be the early (Ausf. D model) as used at Kursk. (2nd from left) The central model is an Ausf. A model, and the rest late war Ausf. G models, equipped with flame dampers for night operations, as in the Battle of the Bulge

Unusual picture of a dual exhaust, as seen in A Ausfuhrung (series), with flame dampers. 
Presumably this Panther A survived to late in the war. The series numbers were designated from Ausf. D to A the G, not alphabetically. 

 photo PantherDZimmeritJackBrackets04.jpg

Early (D) model exhaust configuration


Ausf. A configuration


Ausf G without flame dampers


First production flame damper (Large bore curved)


Final production Ausf. G flame dampers (Cylindrical)
This photograph also shows the crew compartment heater which was installed on the last production models.Some late models also carried infra-red sighting gear for night operations


Crew compartment heater attached to air intake on a knocked out Panther. These were not made in the M.A.N factory, but were assembled elsewhere and fitted in the last stages of production. This modification was evident on Panthers in the Ardennes and Wacht am Rhein.



My infantry are all set on autumn bases, some with a light dusting of snow terrain, so they can be used in late summer, autumn, winter or early spring. For a winter game I would need appropriate armour though.

My attention was drawn to one tank in my collection in particular that was a hand-me-down. It was painted in honey-comb grey pattern, almost reminiscent of WW1 disruptive  camo schemes, but less garish. It was based on the early to mid-war dunkelgrau paint schemes, with the occasional dark blue and green bit thrown in. I decided to give the Panzer force a similar look.


You can almost see the snow flying in this snap.



Weathering dust winterisation of a mottled PzKfw V Panther 

I base coated the Tigers and Panthers in German Grey (Dunkel/Panzer Grau) and applied the honeycomb in Rain Grey freehand. I rather liked the look of the end-result, without filling in any of the honeycomb bits. It looked rather like hand-applied white-wash,  hurriedly brushed on in the field (albeit with a little finesse)


88s swing to meet the enemy...

Next I decided to winterise the tanks. Tried two techniques, one being Humbrol's Winter pigment dusted on with a brush, and the other Spraypaint. The latter gave mixed results, mostly due to a malfunctioning, nozzle, leaving me more that just a bit miffed. That would teach me to be too lazy to clean the airbrush. The paint job was almost completely ruined. So a-weatherising, there we go...



Russian medium Tanks T34s await the attack. Obr 41s, 43s and T34-85s



Supported by some Su-76 tank destroyers


Pzkfw Vs in Battle of the Bulge Hinterhalt for comparison