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Friday, March 29, 2013

Adapting Flames of War

This concludes the series of videos.  I hope you all enjoyed them!

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Warlord Games M24 Chaffee Review

Judson recently got in a batch of stuff to review from Warlord Games.  Since I am doing the Americans, I took a swing at their M24 Chaffee.  Let's dive in!

Box contents.
As usual, the model came in a small box with some really good bubble wrap.  Everything survived the journey to my painting table very well.  The first thing I noticed was that the hull and the turret are VERY well cast.  There is a ton of detail and a small amount of flashing around some of the rear hull.  This turret was extremely smooth and the detail around the cupola is just very well done.  The tracks had some moderate flash inside the tracks and on the bottom, which seemed acceptable to me.

The .50cal was a different story.  It seemed that the mold shifted and caused a fairly big misalignment.  I could have gotten a replacement, but I decided to just shave it down a bit and go with it -- I was 100% sure I would not notice once assembled, painted and in the heat of battle.

In all, I spent about 5 minutes cleaning up the parts.
Tabs do not line up to hull.

The tracks were cast very well, but both tabs did not line up to the hull during assembly.  I just shaved off one of the tabs and glued it together.  I was happy with the end result below.

I did have to apply some pressure to get the tracks to stick to the hull due to some very slight bending - certainly nothing to get the heat out for.

I did notice that the mounted .50cal provided doe not match the image on the box or the historical pictures I researched.  The Chaffee had a metal tripod type mount and that is what is pictured on the box.  The .50cal provided was the same one I got with the M10 I reviewed.  Again, I decided that I did not want to fabricate anything or call Customer Service, so I just got on with it.

I sprayed this with Battlefront's US Armor, then heavily highlighted with Brown Violet.  I like to do two layers of medium-light highlighting in 28mm, so I did some in Green Grey, then finally in Khaki.  I custom mixed the rust colors.

For this model, I did use a fairly heavy wash with a new product from CGR Painters- Magik Mudd Wash.  I found it very easy to use - no unwanted pooling or weirdo change of colors on drying -- good stuff.

Conclusion:  8/10 
This model was easy to assemble and paint. I took off a few points for the incorrect and miscast .50cal and the tracks that do not align to the tabs.  I do not think the end results suffers from these mistakes.  I enjoyed putting this together and painting it and I see no problem dropping the USD$32 for this model.

Model provided by Warlord Games.  Wash provided by CGR Painters.
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

News From the Front Episode 55


The boys are all rested up form Cold Wars and ready to get back in the studio!  On the docket today are various topics like #WWPD4VETS, recent gaming, etc.  The guys talk a lot about Market Garden- upcoming tournaments and fireflies.  Some random overlooked rules like digging in and kampfgruppe, and a whole host of other topics!
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dave's Baggage Train Review

Dave's Baggage Train Review - By Luke Melia

Dave's Baggage Train produces an assortment of storage trays and carrying cases for miniatures.  The basic tray is opened topped and made from plastic and wood.  All trays are 7 3/4" wide and 14" long.  The trays vary in height from 1" to 6" tall.  All of the trays and inserts are sold separately.  You can choose from rubber magnet, rubber steel, foam and felt inserts. He even makes glass-topped and snap top covered trays.  The glass covers are awesome for displaying models and the snap top trays are great, especially when you can fit your army in one or two trays.   All of Dave's inserts are  made to be customized to your individual gaming needs for every tray.
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AAR: Bocage Boogie

(Big thanks to Ron Bigham for another great battle report! - J)
AAR “Bocage Boogie”, 10 July 1944

Our Wednesday Bolt Action game in Mechanicsville was a “Bocage Boogie” fought in Normandy, July 1944. This was the first time we'd played a scenario from the book. It was a modified “Hold until Relieve” scenario. The modification included: Instead of a placed objective the attacker (USA) must choose of 1 of the 3 bocage fields in the center of the battlefield. It had to be cleared of the enemy (no Germans within 3” of the surrounding bocage). The Germans started the game with 1 squad of infantry and had to choose the sandbagged PaK 40 as their 2nd team.

9 July 1944, bocage country Normandy France; a Platoon of Sherman’s are ambushed! The lead tank is destroyed out and two others damaged before they retreat to safety. HQ 3rd Armor Division orders a reinforced platoon of armored infantry to attack and destroy the hidden AT gun. 

On the morning of 10 July the Americans strike into the unknown bocage!

 Bocage terrain rules: Treat as BLDG for shooting. All teams need to “run” to move through bocage and movement is ½. (6” for INF)  AFVs must “run” to cross bocage and take a bog check. Roll 1D6, 4-6 = bogs, Dirt trial in bocage 5-6 bogs, Wooden gate 6 bogs. If AFV bogs it is “immobilized” for the remainder of game it can still fire!  A bogged AFV will take all hits using “top armor” modifiers.

Order of Battle:

USA; Regulars, 9 Teams: HQ (1Lt w/ Asst 2ea SMG), Fwd Obv w/asst, Medic, 2 Inf squads (SMG, Rifle, BAR), Bazooka Tm, MMG tm (2 MMGs) , 81mm Mortar w/ ½ track and spotter,  M8 Greyhound. (Americans decide to attach the 2 30cal MMG’s to an Inf Sqd and Cmd tm. They lose a die/chit and will regret this decision latter in the fight due to lack of move and fire with MMG’s) 

German; Veterans, 10 Teams: Cmd (2Lt 2/ 2 Asst, 2ea SMG and AT grenade) Medic, 2 Inf Sqd ( SMG, rifle, AT grenades), HMG Tm, 120mm HVY Mortar w spotter, Sniper Tm, Panzershreck Tm, Recon AFV 250/9

The Americans (1LT Rob & 1SG Zach) selected to attack and capture the center bocage field and placed all their teams on the field in “hidden” positions. The PaK 40 started dug in behind sandbags overlooking the cemetery; where it fired the night before. The Germans put the 1stthe squad in the field next to the objective filed and 6” away from the bocage.  The rest arrive on turn one or in reserve and arrive staring turn 2.

Turn 1: Germans (Hauptman Malcolm and Felbweld Bing) pull the first chit and move the 1st Sqd to the bocage overlooking the objective field (within 3” of OBJ) Hauptman Malcolm’s plan is to fight for draw and if luck is with them; push for a victory late in the game. The 2ndchit also goes to the Germans and they place the PaK 4 in ambush. The next chit went to the Americans who start the fight with the 81 MM mortar targeting the PaK 40…but the 1st shot misses. The American leave their hidden position and move w/ the 1st Sqd into the woods and CMD Tm into cemetery, leaving the 2nd Sqd to support the M8 The Germans counter by bringing on their HMG, 120MM Mtr and Sniper. Who all take up positions to defend the objective. The last chit drawn was for the M8 and he moves past the wooden gate into the OBJ field and fires HE and MMG into the 1st Sqd…rolling real well w/6s and killing two PzGrenadiers.

Turn 2: The PaK 40 remains in ambush and the 1stchit pulled is USA who roll and hit with the AT gun with 81mm Mtr. 1SG Zach again rolls real well and kills 3 of the 4 gunners and the 4th fails morale and runs away!  The Americans are seen “high-fiving!” The Germans pull the next three chits and roll and rec’d the reserves of the 2nd Sqd, PzSchrek, and medic. The send the 2ndSqd and medic on off board movement to counter attack in the US flank and the PzSchrek moves to defend the cemetery and still be within 3” of the Obj field. The Americans continue to slowly push into the woods on the right flank, supported by the Bzk tm and cemetery on the left flank. The 1nd Sqd set up defensive position in the bocage behind the M8.  They also call in an artillery barrage on the Germans defending the Obj. The sniper takes a shot and kills the SSG commanding the USA 1st Sqd. BIG Thanks to the Americans who reminded me that a sniper selects their targets!

Turn 3: Artillery Barrage arrives first and the American roll and drop a direct hit! OUCH! The barrage hits three German teams; the HMG tm, 1st Sqd and CMD tm. The HMG and CMD get off easy! HMG takes only 1 pin and the CMD tm takes 2 pins. The Inf Sqd was not so lucky and takes a BIG hit killing 2 soldiers and rec’d 3 pins! The Germans answer with the 1st chit and bring on the SdKfz 250/9 to support the troops defending the OBJ. Malcolm then places the HMG on ambush. The Next chit is USA and the Americans move to the edge of the woods in front of the HMG and take a blast rec’d 3 kills. They answer with an 81m Mortar strike on the sniper but misses. The M8 and 30cal in the cemetery both fire at the Germans in the bocage and miss. The last shot of the turn; the 120mm Mortar laid smoke on the Americans 1st Sqd supporting the M8. The sniper fires and misses.

Turn 4: The Germans move first and enter the woods on the American right flank and fire unto the 2nd squad but only kill one GI. The Americans answer and with the 6 surviving squad members assault the Germans 10man squad! They give the Bosche 4 KIA’s to their 1! Sending the Germans in retreat and out of the fight! (The all of nothing assaults really make you think about BA tactics when you only have 2-3 squads?) With the 2nd Sqd gone the German Medic enters the board and runs to safety near the 1st Squad. The Germans decide to hunker down and defend the OBJ and go for a draw. The Americans now excited again and realizing time is running short go on the offensive and advance all their troops. A few more troops are lost on each side…the biggest hit was form the 81mm mortar when it killed 2 of the HMG gunners. (Damm Mortar was ruling the battlefield!) The sniper fires and misses.

Turn 5; The M8 goes first and moves and fires killing the German Recon AFV. The Germans answer with the PzShreck hitting the M8 with a devastating shot! I rolled twice on the damage table and rolled bad! The first damage only immobilized the AFV (flat tire) the 2nd damage “stunned” the crew forcing it to go “down!” and along with the sniper that turn the Germans did give 4 PIN markers to the M8 Greyhound!

The CMD team fires their SMG and 30cal at 120mm spotter killing him! While the 1stSquad moves through the drifting smoke and fires at the sniper giving him a pin marker. The German HMG fires and kills one GI in the 1st Sqd near the M8 and giving the team Pin marker. The last action of the turn was 1SG Zach feeling inspired form the earlier victory orders and an assault on Malcolm’s Inf Sqd. This did not go well as the Americans scored NO hits and the Germans kill 2 GIs sending the 2nd Sqd in a route!  

Turn 6: This may be the last turn? So Americans go all out. If they can force the whittled down Germans off the bocage (3” away) then Victory is theirs! The Sniper pulls the first chit and rolls a CMD check to fire (he had 1 pin marker) he rolls a 12 and “FUBARS!” The coward runs 12’ away. The Germans now only have 2 teams defending the bocage. The next chit goes to the Germans and the PzSchrek fires to finish off the M8. It hits and again rolls bad on the damage table and only starts a fire! The good news was with the fire the crew had to roll a morale check in which they fail! The US then orders and assault by the 1stSqd but do to the lost of their NCO and 1 pin marker fail their CMD roll and go down instead. Now cursing was heard on the American side…! The Germans give most of their remaining troops down markers. Turn 6 ended with the Germans beaten up 1st Sqd and PzSchrek holding the Bocage and within 3” of the OBJ field.

BUT the fight doesn’t end and a turn 7 is rolled for!

Turn 7:  The Americans pull first and with the CMD team assault the PzSchrek. That assault fails and the PzSchrek asst gunner dies along with both the American 1LT and 1SG.  Knowing victory is slipping away 1LT Ron orders the rest of his troops to fire in hopes of shooting the defenders way…his remaining squad the Bazooka and even the Medic with a pistol open fire. They only kill one more PzGrenadiers. The Germans feeling they did well despite the casualties settle for a draw! If at the end of the fight if neither side “controls” the objective this it is a draw!

What a great battle and our best and I think most fun yet…we used a number of new rules such as hidden placement, smoke, off board movement.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sd/Kfz 251/1D and some Grilles

 Sorry this post is a little bit light on content!  Way back at Cold Wars 2012, John Desch hooked me up with a pair of Grilles for Flames of War.  I grabbed a halftrack for the commander and intended to paint it ASAP.  But, you all know how that goes.  Finally out of the blue I saw it sitting in my "to do" pile and decided to knock it out right quick!
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When Painting Becomes Tedious and Boring

A guest post from Anatoli - you've probably seen his excellent work, including this post and many like it, over at his own blog "Anatoli's Game Room". If you don't follow his blog, I strongly recommend you check it out - it's full of awesome content from all scales and eras!

The dreaded moment in miniature painting is when you hit that invisible wall which completely kills the fun in painting - or at least makes it so tedious and energy draining that you get fed up and can't move on.

This has happened to me a couple of times, but thankfully it's a very rare feeling and has been very rare over the past couple of years since I began playing skirmish games where almost every miniature is unique.

The most common event leading up to energy drain in miniature paining in my opinion is when you buy a ton of stuff for a larger army. I have seen many newcomers to the hobby get in way over their head. Painting requires a couple of things, discipline being the most important. Painting is not always fun, so you have to motivate yourself and think about the end result and the goal of all the work you are putting into the miniatures - the games that loom at the end of the tunnel.

You have to be smart about how you plan your work as well. I've seen people buy and assemble a full army of plastic Warhammer miniatures who then shatter their personal morale by just looking at the massed amount of miniatures that need painting, basing, and flocking. The reasonable thing to do is assembling and painting things "unit by unit", this way you don't have to see the 250 15mm soldiers all at once and that also helps to keep you going while painting since you aren't constantly reminded about the rest. Painting things unit by unit allows you to have something finished before you start painting the next thing, it's a great boost in morale and a wonderful feeling to complete a model or unit of figures. The enthusiasm neutralizes the tediousness of doing it all over again several more times.

When I painted my Empire Warhammer Fantasy army, Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard army and my Polish Early War Flames of War army (all of which included a ton of troops), I made sure to assemble, paint and finish each platoon or unit before moving on to the next. If I had focused on painting one color on 250 miniatures, then another color and so on, it would have killed me.

Another important thing, that is probably the most important factor beside strong personal discipline is picking a project, army or faction that you are interested in. If you aren't interested or in some way personally invested in the stuff you paint it becomes a lot more boring and almost unbearable. While painting hordes of miniatures for large scale wargames it may be a good idea to read up on the unit history to get some inspiration so that you can visualize yourself playing with those models within a historical context (or just within the background material of a fantasy universe).

There are some other things that make painting relatively more fun or at least offers variety, and that is actually playing/painting two projects at the same time. Even better if they are different scale of miniatures and different sized wargames. This way you can jump from having painted 60 15mm miniatures for a WW2 platoon to a handful of 28mm character models.

NEVER CUT CORNERS just because you are tired! This for several reasons, you will rarely be happy with the end result and you will have to live with that result until you throw away or sell your miniatures. You also don't evolve as a painter - this is assuming that you actually want to evolve as a painter, otherwise you probably already pay someone else to do your work or just paint miniatures because the guys at the club force you to play with painted stuff (in which case maybe the hobby part of wargaming isn't for you). Cutting corners is tempting when you hit the wall - you may want to just "finish it". The thing is that this very rarely works out to your advantage and you will notice the difference on the table no matter what scale (of course 28mm and larger show traces of sloppy work a lot more). Cutting corners is not the same as speeding up your painting, examples of both:

Speeding up your work: Assembly line paining several (like 5-10 28mm or a couple of bases of smaller scale stuff) miniatures at the same time often saves a lot of time doing this instead of paining one miniature/base at a time.

Cutting corners: Heavy drubrush over a basecoat, skipping several details because you can't be bothered or think "they won't be noticed at an arm’s length anyway" - but they will!

If you start to feel bored, and I have been in the same situation, where continued painting is almost impossible due to how tedious it may be - then it's better to either swap painting project or paint the unit or model in steps over a couple of days. Many of my Dreadfleet ships have been painted over several days, I almost always try to finish a miniature or unit during one painting session/day when I paint. But these models were so cluttered with detail and required a lot of focused painting so that finishing a ship in one sitting would mean a subpar result for me personally. Thus I chopped each ship up in segments so that I painted the basics during day 1, the hull during day 2 and the sails during day 3 and 4.

After all, you have invested a lot of money in a product, why not actually give it your best shot. And yes, if you keep evolving as a painter you will end up with a collection of miniatures that vary in quality over the years. However if you put time and effort into everything you have painted, that will make a big difference. There is a difference between a well painted model that has a basic paintjob, and a miniature that you just drybrushed to death or just rush painted for a game the same evening..

It may suck not to have a ton of stuff painted up within a week (or month), but the end result will be worth all the time you spend on your miniatures.

The pictures in this post are of miniatures painted by me over the years, ranging from stuff that I currently have in my own personal collection, stuff that I have sold off or painted up as commission work.
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