Friday, January 31, 2014

Sharp End - TFL: Campaign Supplement arrives

I was unfortunately awake almost all of last night. In a fit of insomnia I saw that the new TFL campaign supplement for Chain of Command was available and downloaded it. What a joy. Rich has made a simple and straight forward campaign system to use. I am completely jealous that Rich churns out such great work and so quickly. The section on how to adapt it to a historical campaign is perfect. I am thinking of reworking some of my scenarios from In the Name of Roma for this. Definitely worth getting regardless if you use the Chain of Command rules. This is perfect for any skirmish rule set.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

All along the Watchtower

A while ago, I had e-mailed the fine folks at Warbases in the UK and asked if they had a 15mm version of their lovely 28mm watchtower. They quickly replied that they could indeed produce a 15mm version. Money exchanged hands and low and behold a package appeared on my desk this morning. Opening the package I found some very nicely cut pieces of very small wood. This looks like it will prove to be a challenge to assemble. By the look of it, it should produce a rather nice piece of terrain for my Dux Britannarium games. I'll post some pictures as I attempt to assemble this beastie.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Welcomes and Painting Updates

The newest follower is Samuli Salovaara of Engineered Gaming. He has some nice painting of some Finnish troops on his site. Looks interesting. Please let us know if you have a blog or a site and I will gladly post up a link.

Painting Updates
I managed to get some more figures completed. Only one squad left plus command elements.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Shutting Down Atlanta or Snowmagedon 2014

Yep, its snowing outside. Atlanta does not do snow. So all of the bread, milk and beer are now gone from the grocery store shelves. The roads are packed with folks who not only don't know how to drive in wintery conditions but are just plain crazy to boot. This pretty much shuts down my shot at getting a game in this evening at Gigabytes which has me terribly depressed. Oh well. Maybe next week.

But there is some good news to report! The US Postal Service has kept to their pledge and the snow has not daunted them from their appointed rounds. Brookhurst came through and arriving on my desk today is a brand new figurehead for my Viking Longship!

I guess I know what I will be working on tonight. Stay warm out there.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Solo Chain of Command Game plus another game

A warm welcome to Jacques who I think is the newest follower to the blog. I can't find if you have a blog or not. Let me know and I will update this with it.

A Pair of Games
It was an interesting weekend. Saturday night I had the great opportunity to get in a solo game of Chain of Command in. I decided to set up my campaign for the East Front by fielding a German platoon against a Soviet platoon. The idea was that it was to be a small action at the start of Operation Barbarossa. The Germans were supposed to advance and take a crossroads that was "important" to the overall advance. Or so was the thought.

I had Brian choose the Soviet supports earlier in the week and I was ready to begin. Much to my surprise, my five year old was anxious to get involved in Daddy's game. He helped with the patrol phase and was quite pleased with himself.

He caught on quickly and soon we had the patrol phase wrapped up and ready to go. There was an intermission as he was lured away from the table with the temptation of watching a Disney movie so I decided I would play the game out later. Somewhere in there it seems there was a promise to allow him to play. That would haunt me later. Below shows the table with Jump Off Points.

Following my son's bedtime, I began to play out the game. The Germans had a good starting position and it looked like it could be an easy time for them. This would not be the case. The game played out in 14 phases all of the same turn. i could have concluded this in a mere half hour of time had I not needed to refresh myself on several of the rules. The Germans quickly deployed a squad near the bridge on the first phase of the game. They also were joined by the Feldwebel. Getting double sixes, the Germans had the next phase and brought out a Panzer III on the far side of the table. Having no targets, the infantry squad made a dash for the bridge. Only half of the squad was able to get behind the bridge.

The first Soviet turn brought out a Soviet squad that immediately brought the infantry under fire. They were able to nearly shatter the rifle section which was the only exposed team of the squad. They had 4 kills and 3 shock on the team and pinned them. This was not a good start.

Next phase, I brought in another Panzer III on the board to support the crumbling infantry. The tank fired its MG on the Soviets causing a little shock (Germans had dreadful attack rolls the whole game). The Feldwebel removed some shock from the rifle team to unpin it and I managed to deploy the 5cm mortar team at the far end of the table.

The Soviets brought out a second squad along side the first and one of their tanks. The Soviets had two tanks availible. One was a T-26 with twin turrets of the 37mm variety and the other an old T37. Not great equipment. But still, the T-26 fired and scored a hit on the lonely Panzer III's gunsite and shocked it. The newly deployed squad fired on the visible rifle team and wiped it out. This caused the first drop in German morale.

For the next German phase, I deployed two infantry squads to support the lonely tank. Double sixes got me another go and moved one of those squads to the church to try to flank the Soviets and maybe take a jump off point. On the other side of the table, the MMG team was getting nervous and scooted up the bridge to put some fire on the mass of Soviet infantry.

With Phase 8 things began to go horribly wrong for the Germans. The Soviets deployed a platoon leader to the table and used the Uhraah! charge and ran both squads towards the bridge to overrun the small LMG team. With double sixes for the Soviets, it was a good gamble as with two turns of trying, the charge hit home. They managed to destroy the squad leader, the Feldwebel (platoon second in command) and the LMG team. All killed to a man. This cost the Germans five points of morale pushing the Germans to just 4 command dice.

I really should have just pulled out at this point but no. The German response was to open fire on the troops on the bridge with the tank MMG. Which did nothing. The Platoon leader arrived to try to push the infantry squads forward. This did nothing to help. The next Soviet turn saw the T26 fire on the already shocked Panzer III and panic the commander of said tank and add more shock.

In the attempt to pull out, the Panzer III was hit again and forced the crew to bail out. This further dropped force morale for the Germans. The Germans could only try to get away with out completely collapsing. The end result was the loss of a complete infantry squad, a Panzer III tank abandoned and the loss of another squad leader in the course of the retreat. Nine dead compared to three killed on the Soviet side. I was too depressed to take more pictures.

Having reached a successful conclusion to the game I packed everything away for Tuesday night and promptly went to bed. I was woken up by a terrible noise that at 12:45 in the morning I was able to identify eventually as my son sobbing uncontrollably. Rushing to his room to figure out what was going on, I realize that he is crying because we never got to play the game! Promises and reassurances made until he finally fell back to a snuffling sleep. Once the alarm went off in the morning, I had to run downstairs to quickly reset up the game based on the pictures on my cell phone before my son woke up.

All the way to church and back, he begged to play the game. We took my wife out to lunch for her birthday and finally made it back home. He ran to the table and took a seat asking "How do we play?"

This was my dilema. How do I translate Chain of Command to 5 year old? This could go badly. I had explained jump of points the previous day and he remembered. I gave him his command dice and gave him first go (he played the Soviets) and let him begin. He had a good roll. He got the hang of it that 5's advance his Chain of Command dice. I walked him through what he could do on each step of the way.

He deployed a squad to the fenceline almost identically to what I had done the previous night. It was going great. We played through some 5 phases before he started loosing focus. Oddly, the dice failed us both. We could not get a decent movement or shooting roll the whole game. He did inflict more casualties on me than I had on him by the time he picked up the doors to the barn and turned them over to exclaim, "Hey, these look like chocolate!" Only to be followed by "Can my guys throw the doors at your guys?" I ended up deciding that thrown barn doors must shoot with 8 dice and let him. It resulted in two casualties. I then let him finish out. He managed to knock out the same Panzer III that was abandoned in the first game. The big question was did he have fun? Well, he asked this morning if we could play again when he got back from school today. Then when he found out I was getting a game in this Tuesday, he assumed he was going with me to play until my wife and I explained that it was past his bedtime. Chances are, I now have a gaming buddy for a while. At least till girls become a more interesting distraction.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - 2014-01-25

Sofie has opened up her paint table to anyone. So I have jumped in with my poor offering. I am very jealous of many of the painting tables that I have seen linked on her blog thus far. I don't have a permanent painting table. I have a tv tray that I can move from room to room as needed. Currently it is populated with some 15mm British infantry for the desert with a few tanks thrown in. There is also the 15mm Peter Pig Viking longship there.

Sorry for the late post. I managed to get in a solo game of Chain of Command last night and that took up my posting time.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sorting through the Cabinet

My scattered mind was racing about last night. I did not have the patience to paint much but wanted to do something. So I started dragging drawers out of the cabinet and seeing what I had that was ready to go for a game. Much to my frustration, I tend to not finish things that I start on. So lets review what I found.

BEF Force
I started these for first IABSM then for Troops, Weapons and Tactics. I painted these up years ago. But frustratingly I never finished basing the miniatures. I have a full platoon infantry with a spare squad to boot. I have a number of vehicles including six Matilda tanks. Three each of type I and II. There are a number of Mark VI tanks and some incomplete Bren/Universal Carriers. I have no clue on how to tell the difference between the two. There there are a bunch of infantry that are still on painting sticks awaiting attention. I have enough troops to get in a game of Chain of Command at this point. I really need some engineering elements for just about all of the troops that I have.

I made an attempt at labeling the picture. It is not a great one but gives an overview. I have a 2" mortar team and a ATR Team as part of the platoon. I really only need a forward observer figure and some engineers to flesh out the force.

French 1940
These are in much rougher shape than the BEF troops. I found that I actually HAVE VB launcher troops! And they are painted! When did that happen? The bases definitely need work. The armor is largely undone. There are a bunch of them from a variety of manufacturers. The only ones I really can recognize is the FT-17 and Char B1bis tanks. I have one of those Lorraine carrier things, some 45mm ATGs and a single 25mm ATG. I have not taken the time to sort these out yet. That is on the to do list.

German Infantry
For the Germans I have a bunch of miniatures. At least half of these I painted. The other half were picked up here and there. I have vehicles and infantry painted up for a motorized company with one platoon mounted in halftracks. I lack 3 vehicles for one of the platoons to complete it out. I need to grab some from Gaming Models to just be done with it.

For supports, I have to turn to another tray. I have at least two squads of motorcycle troops, a squad mounted on bicycles, some mortar teams, several MMG teams, some loose engineering units, more dead/dying and a horse drawn limber. The motorcycle troops are some of my favorites. The bicycle troops were a nifty find. I think they were an E-Bay find. About two hours worth of work and all of this mess will be ready for the table.

Now in terms of armor, I have a little bit of that for my German troops. I mostly know what everything is but I just got too lazy to label it on the picture.

This gives me enough for both IABSM and Chain of Command sized games.

In each case, this is a picture of the drawer where I store the miniatures in. It is from a discarded sheet music rack that I was given from my church. It has three columns of shelves and each column has 10 or more shelves in it. It is ideal for 15mm and smaller miniatures. I know I can fit 28mm miniatures in the drawers as I own a total of 3 28mm figures. I will sort through the cabinet some more and see what else I find.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More Painting Progress and Pics of my Brookhurst purchases

Painting Progress
Last night was rather productive. I managed to finish off a squad of Desert British troops in 15mm.

I like the basing on these better than the basing attempt on the last Italians I did. The difference is that I used a thicker white glue. Anyway, they turned out pretty good. They are Peter Pig minis. I managed to paint up squad two as well. I will varnish and base those tonight, well maybe.

New Acquisitions
I have taken some pictures. First up is the wonderful longship from Peter Pig. When I unwrapped it, I realized that I goofed and did not get a figurehead. Brookhurst is awesome. A quick e-mail and they said they would mail me one right away. Whoo Hoo!

Then there are the casualty figures. The Italians are unfortunately with the steel helmet instead of the sun helmet.

I forgot to take pictures of the desert trench lines. Those are nice as well.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Visit to Brookhurst

Welcome to Sofie Vandersmissen of Sofie's Paint Blog. She is the inspiration behind folks posting what is on their painting bench every Saturday. Lots of other interesting items to find there as well. Now that I am back from vacation, I will attempt to join in on this.

While on vacation with my family to sunny California, I managed to sneak away to Brookhurst Hobbies. If you are here at Disneyland, you can reach Brookhurst in about 15 minutes. Leaving the family behind (well, except for my five year old son) I ran off to the hobby shop for an hour. Brookhurst reminds me of what the War Room used to be when it was on Indian Trail/Lilburn Road some 10 years ago. They had a fantastic selection of Battlefront and Peter Pig miniatures as well as a bunch of the PSC and Zveda plastics. I ended up using up all of my spending money and probably threw my suitcase over the weight limit.

If there was some Plastic DAK troops, I would have bought them despite my promise to myself to only augment what I already have. So, what did I come home with? I have two packs of infantry: A pack of 8th Army Dead and a pack of Italian Dead. I also picked up a Peter Pig Viking Longship. Then I grabbed up a Galeforce 9 Desert trench set. I should be close to set for desert stuff now. I will post some pictures soon.

Now I have some new items to paint up when I return. Mark is pulling ahead of me in the painting challenge since I have been out of town for a week. Can't have that now. :) Hopefully, I will have some more items to post up by tomorrow.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

More Progress in the Desert

I just completed out the Italian Infantry Platoon with four more infantrymen. These will complete out the LMG teams with the added two riflemen per group. The other two infantrymen round out the MMG Support team. I changed how I was basing these. I used a thicker White Glue called "Tacky Glue" and then dipped in Sharp Sand. No odd holes appeared that needed to be filled. All in all I like these better. These are all Old Glory 15mm castings.

You can see that the British also got a reinforcement in the form of a Scout Car. The scout car was from Terry's collection and got a brand new coat of paint. I think it is a Battlefront/FOW miniature. My British forces now have A Bren Carrier and a Scout Car ready to go. I have my first squad waiting some drybrushing on the base and then they would be complete.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A New Book

I just received my copy of Christopher Shores book "A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1942 Volume 1". It is massive. Before I am too remiss, it was also authored by Giovanni Massimello with help from Russell Guest. It comes in at over 500 pages. This work is his long awaited update to "Fighters Over the Desert" that is long out of print. His previous book was a fantastic reference for either Check Your Six or Bag the Hun. This book promises even more. It is a day by day write up of the actions that took place. What is more, there is a summary of claims and actual losses for each day. I can't wait to read this.

If you are interested in the air war over North Africa, you should take a look at this one.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Chain of Command Armor

I actually managed to finish something today. The last bit of matte varnish went on this morning and it was dry when I went home for lunch. I completed out a Bren Carrier for the British and an M11 and a M13 tank for the Italians.

I did not bother to add any unit identification on these. I may go back and do that later but I am happy with them as they are now. Any other suggestions for these?

I have two more bren carriers to do. I want to make some crew for them that are removable. Next on the painting list are three Mark VI tanks for the British, a A10 cruiser tank and a Matilda II tank. I will probably finish off some more infantry first though.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Statistics from Blogger

2013 was a banner year. I think I more than doubled the number of followers that this blog has. Thanks for joining. Blogger really does not have a good utility to give you info on this that I have found. Would be interesting to see when folks joined. Ad Sense
I signed up for Ad Sense several years back. It was mostly a joke for me as the payout only occurs when you hit the $100 mark. Every now and then I take a look to see how long it would take to get to a pay point. To my surprise I have hit the $19.00 mark. How did that happen? Well, obviously some of you are taking pity on me and clicking some ads. Thanks!

The breakdown is interesting. Back in 2009, I signed up for Ad Sense and earned a whopping $0.04. The next year, 2010, that increased to $1.51. 2011 saw an increase to $3.11 and 2012 jumped up to $4.57. That was all well and good. Last year though, ya'll have really exceeded yourselves and it rocketed up to $10.77! For the first few days of 2014, I have already hit $1.13. I might actually hit that mythical $100 mark before 2016 at this rate.

Anyway, if you are clicking on some of the ads on my blog, thank you. Its not something I am counting on or anything but I do appreciate it. Posts & Comments
So far there are some 790 comments so far. Not too bad. The most popular post was the anouncement of the "The Coming Thunder" post dating back to November 2011. The next closest was an AAR of one of Mark's excellent F&IW campaign. The announcement of "In the Name of Roma" was fourth with 802 page views.

I wish that Blogger had a way to sort your posts better. Would like to know what the post with the most +1s would be or the most comments. Anyway, thank you all for stopping by and taking a look.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chain of Command: British Desert Forces

I can't believe how many new followers that I have picked up lately. The current welcome goes out to Sebastofig and Vladdd309 of the Too Much Free Time blog. They are the latest to sign up for this site. I could not locate Sebastofig's blog but a hearty welcome and glad your here. Let me know if you have a site and I will post a link up for you.

Desert Brits
With nearly finishing the Italians, it is off to the British. I spent some time last night and selected a single squad to paint. These are being painted from the ground up so this is not as easy as doing the Italians who were already painted. The Auburn/FSU game was on the TV and time flew by. I was able to get the painting complete on the first squad and put on the ink wash this morning. I still have to put on a coat of matt varnish before basing these fellows. All in all, they are coming along very nicely. I will post a picture once they are based.

The goal for tonight is to paint the command elements. The officer, the 2" mortar team and the ATR teams are all started but I need to finish them off.

Yes indeed, Tanks. I managed to get some paint slapped on an M13 and an M11 recently. About to add these to my totals for the year. Very happy with this so far. January and I have actually completed something. Need to paint the treads on these and they will be ready to go. Missing Minis
Well, in going through the lead pile, I realized that I am missing some figs that I need in order to finish off some platoons to have them ready for a game. So the question out there for you is do you have any of these in your bits box that you would be willing to part with?

I need:
1) 4 French infantry with vb launchers (15mm) Not picky on the manufacturer with these.
2) 4 British NCO types with rifles rather than SMGs for the desert. (15mm again) Prefer not to have Battlefront as they are a bit bigger than my poor Peter Pig Minis.
Anyone out there with spares they would be willing to trade?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sorting through the shelves

I have three new followers on the blog. Please welcome Sgt.Steiner. Actually, I thought you were a follower Sergeant.

Next up is Gerhardt Vikar and Phil.

I can't seem to find a blog listing for any of you gentlemen so please let me know if I am missing one and I will post a link for you.

Update! I found Phil's blog: I just signed up for this one recently. He had some wonderful animations on pictures of his miniatures for the New Year.

Sorting through the Shelves
The TooFatLardies blog showing their recent North African games has made me sort through the closet looking at my East African collection. I had painted a number of miniatures in 15mm to use for my East African Campaign book "Call this a Ruddy Picnic". I ended up doing all of my play testing in 6mm for the scenario book. What I did have was several Chain of Command sized forces.

The Italians
First up is a platoon of Italian Regular army troops. I had bought the deluxe Old Glory 50 count bags of Italians. Love these figures. They have the sun helmets and just have lots of character. After years of neglect, all of the bayonets were still in place and the paint jobs had held up. I was very happy.

The second platoon to be made will be some Italian Colonial troops. I can't remember the manufacturer of these minis. They are great but limited to 2 poses. I had begun the process of rebasing them several years ago and made it as far as gluing about 18 of them to US Pennies. The rest remain on their bases. I have a standard bearer figure that I think I actually modified from something else and a bugler. I have just enough of these guys to make the rifle sections. What I lack is the LMG. Since I am doing the East African theater, I should only need one LMG for the whole platoon. They were short on automatic weapons, if I am remembering this correctly. I have spare figures from the Italian Regulars to provide the LMG team here. The rifle sections are larger but this will not be a very flexible force.

Next are some Bersaglieri figures. I was given some Bersaglieri from Terry Haney a few years before he died. These are nicely painted and based figures. They are on the FOW bases but they are the plastic ones so not that big of a problem. These will probably be the last to get changed over.

Vehicles for my Italian army are few. I have two Lancia IZM Armored cars. One is painted and the other is not. I have two M13s and three M11s, none of which are painted. Then I have five L3/33s. My absolute favorite tank. I have two versions, the 20mm AT Gun armed one and the dual MG armed one. I have one of each type painted. I only had one staff car in my collection but that went to the Eastern Front and won't see service in Africa.

Then I found the troops that I really liked but had never done anything with. A small Bande of Colonial Cavalry. I have 17 figures in total including a standard bearer, an officer and a trumpeter. These unfortunately are not painted. They are likely to languish in such a state for a while yet. I really want to paint these up though. I think a squad of cavalry would be an interesting support option for a Chain of Command platoon.

The British
Having found such excitement with the bounty of painted Italians, I rushed over to my drawer of British troops only to take a look and think, "Oh yeah. That's right, I never painted these." I have a full company of British Regulars and a company of what was to be some territorial troops such as the Kings African Rifles. None of which are painted. I put together my needs for an infantry platoon and now they are at least undercoated. Among the treasures in this box was a single bagpiper figure that someone had given me from the TooFatLardies Yahoo group. This will definitely get some paint this go round.

Then there are the vehicles. Well, I have a bunch of them. I have five Mark VI tanks, five Daimler Dingos, six Marmon Herrington IIIs, three Humber LRCIIIs and two 2lbr Portees. All of these I received from Terry Haney (minus 2 of the Marmon Harringtons which are still in the unopened package - those are mine). But none of these seem to have a desert paint job. They seem to be too dark. I remembered having some cruiser tanks somewhere as well as the above but I just can't find them. If I remember, they were assembled but unpainted.

Given the forces Great Britain had available in 1940 East Africa, I won't need them. But still I want to find out what I did with them. All in all, much worse shape with more work to do here.

Working through the first batch Breathing new life into figures that never saw a gaming table, I have been busy trying to fix several things that I did not like. One, they were all on FOW biscuit bases and I wanted them on individual bases. I was very lucky in not removing a finger or two in that operation. Using a wide bladed exacto knife, I pried them off of their bases. Fortunately some were on actual FOW plastic bases and those I could bend and get them off. Others were on wooden bases that were slightly thicker. Those took some time to remove.

I am re-basing my Italian Regulars on US Pennies first. The LMG teams will go on a small FOW plastic base with the gunner and ammo carrier. I had more then enough of these for a platoon. I even had a spare LMG team that will be used elsewhere. I opened my package of pumice gel to use to base the figures and the thing had dried completely up. Unsure of what to try next, I grabbed a container of white glue and some sharp sand and mixed them up and covered the bases. It was looking good. Then I let them dry overnight. Well, that did not work as expected. The sand/glue mixture ended up with large holes in it. In many places the sand could barely be seen. I would need to patch this up.

Remembering that once upon a time, I had a milk carton of plaster in the cabinet somewhere I went on a search. Unable to find the plaster, I found some model railroad mountain making stuff. Thinking that had to be kind of like plaster, I went to work. Upon mixing it up, it had the consistency of cottage cheese. I made do and pressed this mess into the holes on the bases and left it to dry. I am dubious as to how well this would work.

As it turns out, not too bad. I definitely am not a huge fan of these bases but they are done. Pardon the photos. I took them quickly with my phone just to prove I did do something.

The Platoon leader:

The First Rifle Section:
The Second Rifle Section:
The Platoon Sergeant and LMG Groups:
Support Items:
These include an MMG Team, a 45mm Mortar team and 3 man Engineer Demolitions team.

The 45mm mortar is scratch built. It is not bad on the table but not the best job in the world. Old Glory did not have a light mortar team in any of the packs that I had purchased so I made this one up. The sharp eyed among you will spot the problem. I am lacking the four riflemen that are to accompany the LMG sections. Not sure how I managed to miss them. Also the MMG team should have two rifle men in support there as well. I will get that sorted out in short order. Hopefully I can get started on them tonight with the unpainted 65m Mountain Gun and 20mm AT Rifle team.