Sunday, 6 May 2018

British AEC Mk III

We tend to play games with relatively little armour (most of the time), however I couldn't resist this marvellous armoured car from Blitzkreig miniatures.

The kit was easy to build, consisting of a chassis, four wheels, a turret, barrel and machine gun. That's it! Oddly the pic in the web store shows a few extra bits like smoke launchers (I think) but they're not supplied? My only real grumble was that Blitzkreig took quite a while to deliver and I had to chase them up. But I do appreciate that like many gaming outfits, it's possibly a "hobby business".

I have yet to sort out the transfers/decals as they're not supplied with the kit, but the painting recipe is:
  • Undercoat with grey primer
  • Base coat of VMC Russian Green
  • Another base coat of 50/50 mix of Foundry Forest Green shade and VMC Russian Green
  • A good wash of GW Agrax Earthshade
  • Highlight with the base colour mix, then VMC Russian Green.
  • Weathering is Foundry Bay Brown mid, VMC Tan Yellow, VMC Dark Sand - I wanted a dusty rather than muddy finish.

Have a look here for more information about the AEC Mk III if you're interested. A superb bit of good old fashioned British engineering!

This little chap (the armoured car, not the bloke with the rifle!) packs quite a punch. That's a QF 75mm gun in the turret, with a co-axial machine gun for good measure! Must have been quite 'cosy' for the four man crew.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Kings of War with Steve

Sunday night is club night for the Bristol Big’Uns so Steve and I recently met up for a game of Kings of War. He very kindly loaned me the use of his splendid Ogre army whilst he fielded his Samurai themed Kingdoms of Men.

Now, I’ve played a few games of ‘Kings’ over the last couple of years (may be half a dozen in total) and generally had quite a lot of fun, so I was looking forward to this game plus it’s always good to catch up with Steve, Rob, Alan, Simon, Dave, Nigel, etc.

We rolled for the scenario and got ‘control’ whereby at the end of the game we would divide the table in to 2 foot squares and work out who had the most troops and thus controlled the area.

Deployment was by alternating unit and was quite funny for me because I had very little idea of what my troops stats and abilities were, so I just deployed them to ‘look good’ :o)

Steve got the first go and began a fairly cautious advance; he had plenty of missile troops so a few turns of bows, arquebus and cannon fire were to be expected. My lads would just have to weather it! Anyway ... the most of the photos I took have blurred quite badly which is very annoying! So rather than give you a turn by turn account I’ll show some “random” pics of what turned out to be a thrilling and highly entertaining game.

Deployed and ready to go!

A closer shot of Steve's smashing Ogres

This mammoth is absolutely splendid (it did well in the game too)

The Ogre line wastes no time and steams across the table

Bang! Steve's cannon blasts a hole in my Siege-breakers

My General, Army Banner and the Seige-breakers deal it out to Steve's elites

At the end of turn 6 we rolled to see if there would be a turn 7, but the dice decreed that was it. Both sides had taken quite a pounding but I had a feeling I might just edge this for a win. Steve totted up the points in each of the areas and to my utter astonishment I had gained control of 5 of them! So it was a very solid victory for the Ogres. Another thoroughly enjoyable game against a fine gentleman, thanks Steve. Now I want my own Ogre army ... perhaps this was Steve’s plan all along?

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Scatter Terrain for Sharp Practice

I like my battlefields to look a little 'lived in' so adding a few items of scatter terrain is nice way to achieve this aim... and these items from Grand Manner are just the ticket! First is a kiln, so my Portuguese farmer is also quite handy as a potter.

The kiln is actually from GM's Ancient Greek range but I reckon that the design of such things was probably fairly similar right around the Mediterranean and also didn't change that much between Greek times and the 1800s. Obviously I am now going to meet someone who has a PhD entitled "Kiln Construction & Pottery Manufacture in the Mediterranean from Antiquity to the Modern Day" :-D

Painting - basically the same as the Church and Grain Store. Light brown spray to prime the resin, then a base of Americana Honey Brown, then highlights of Americana Fawn, VMC Dark Sand and then finally Foundry Boneyard Light. The base is Americana Honey brown followed by highlights of VMC Tan Yellow and VMC Dark Sand. The foliage is Colonel Bill's Winter static grass with tufts, etc.

Next, from the same range, is a wooden table covered in urns and pots. I thought that this would accompany the kiln rather nicely.

Painting - The wood is Foundry Bay shade highlighted with VMC Dark Sand and Foundry Boneyard light. The pots are a base of GW Scorched Brown, highlighted with the Foundry Conker Brown triad. The base is the same as above.

Now we're on to safer ground with a few barrels and a pile of round shot, again from GM. This can either be scatter scenery, an objective marker or perhaps a Sharp Practice deployment point.

Painting - the wood is as above with the additional step of washing the brown with GW Agrax Earthshade to give it a slightly warmer look. The barrel hoops are GW Black, GW Tin Bitz then a highlight of GW Leadbelcher. The shot are just GW Black and GW Leadbelcher.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Partisans for Sharpe Practice

My first full group of painted figures for my Anlgo-Portuguese army! Six Portuguese Partisans armed to the teeth and ready to hunt the French.

They're all from Front Rank's superb partisan/guerrilla range. Movement tray by Charlie Foxtrot.

They're all painted in a range of mainly Foundry colours; the complimentary triads make it far easier than messing about mixing shades.

I've painted each of them with an item (usually a sash around the waist) in Foundry Royal Purple as this is the colour of their partisan band.

The basing is a mix of small stones and grit/sand given a base of Americana Honey Brown then highlighted with VMC 847 Dark Sand then Foundry Boneyard light. Colonel Bill's Winter Grass along with a few arid looking tufts of longer grass and some small pieces of Woodland Scenics clump foliage finish it off nicely.

Next will be their leader, the infamous Açougueiro - "The Butcher" and an irascible little holy man on a donkey!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Bristol War and Conquest Weekend

It's been a while since I last took part in a WaC event (Aug '17 I think!) so I was anticipating an enjoyable day of battling it out in the ancient world with a few good chums. I was especially looking forward to my game with good chum George; the last game was far too long ago! For logistical reasons I could only attend on the Saturday, however this turned out to be the same for a number of other players due to the suddenly inclement weather, the so called mini “beast from the east”.

Game One – Saxon Civil War!

This game was against Steve, a newcomer to WaC and this was to literally be his first game. Thankfully Rob was on hand to help us with the rules as I was decidedly rusty in places :o)
Steve has a lovely Saxon army so I’ve posted a couple of pics here.

I dusted off my own Saxons but, as I hadn't used them for three years, I couldn’t quite find all of the figures so we were limited to 2,000pts a side.
The forces deploy for battle!
My Saxons prepare the Shieldwall as Steve's advance
Battle is joined!

This was all of the pics I took as I was engrossed in the game. It was a good dark age tussle as the lines clashed. I quickly formed shieldwall and used my few missile troops to whittle away at Steve’s formations. Rather than be peppered with slingshot and javelins, he dashed forward – perhaps a little too hastily with his Mounted Thegns who charged a unit of mercenary Vikings! Funnily enough we both managed to achieve our objectives in the final turn of the game - although I edged a win on points ;o) I moved several units off Steve’s side of the table and he got a unit in to my deployment zone. A really fun game played with good humour and gentlemanly spirit.

Game Two – Rome vs Celts!

Ooh I was so looking forward to this! Steve had kindly loaned me his beautiful Celt army so that George could use his Thunderbolts for this classic ancient battle.

My plan was to hit one flank hard with a combination of chariots and elite cavalry supported by light cavalry and skirmishers whilst the rest of the line advanced, paused for a turn or two to allow the skirmishers to thin out the legions a little, then the warbands would get stuck in to overwhelm Rome’s finest with sheer frothing hairy madness. I’d like to point out here that the bulk of my warbands were just “ordinary” Celt warriors with only the one ‘elite’ warband accompanying my Warlord ;o)
Steve's splendid Celts

George’s army (lovely paint-jobs sir!) was, as you might expect, largely composed of heavy infantry. However, I was intrigued by his choice of three “recruit” legionary formations... would they hold the line? Here are a couple of pics of his lovely cohorts.
George's Veteran Legion Cohort
More Legion - love those weathered, dirty shields!

We both agreed to ignore the prescribed deployment for game 2 of the weekend and drew our forces up in two long lines.
A sight to warm any gamer's heart!

2,500pts per side doesn't leave much room for manoeuvre.

The Celts had some success early on; the Lancarii were routed by a hail of slingshot, the chariots swept over a unit of Roman skirmishers and my own skirmishers proved the worth of all their javelin practice. This swiftly encouraged George to form up his precious Legions in Testudo.
Rome's left flank wavers...

... her right flank wobbles ...

... and legs it!

The Roman Auxilliary cavalry head for home

The shooting prowess was not all Celtic. The Auxiliary archers massacred my light cavalry – I had expected a few casualties... but not 11 out of the 12 in the unit!
Ouch! Take that you hairy what-nots

With the Roman flanks trembling I turned my attention to the centre – the warbands faced off the Legionary cohorts. The testudo formations meant standing off and pelting them with sharp sticks would be a waste of time. So the horns brayed loud, a roar went up from the warriors and they pounded forward right across the line.
Fighting all along the line

No quarter asked ... none given!

It's swords & boards all the way!

The Roman line heaved and buckled at the onslaught but all that drill paid off! Centurions fell, shields splintered and men died but, by the narrowest of margins, the line held. What ensued was a vicious struggle that ebbed and flowed right across the battlefield. First Celts would have the upper hand then Rome. Eventually one of my warbands broke but then so did the Roman General’s cohort and the fleeing Romans were chopped to shreds in a welter of blood and gore!
Rome flees!

Alas this victory was short-lived and the battle ground on, gradually swinging further in favour of Rome's finest. My Celts had fought with incredible bravery but that was matched by the fearsome tenacity of George's Cohorts. A hard fought and well deserved win for the Thunderbolts. What a superb game!

Indeed, what a splendid day of gaming. My thanks to my opponents, gentleman both in every regard. My thanks also to Rob and Barbara for a great event. When's the next one Rob? ;o)

Friday, 16 March 2018

Bolt Action with Mike

I cannot quite express just how much fun this game of BA with Mike was. Absolutely thrilling from start to finish. Mike and I met up at Bristol Independent Gaming where James gave us a very warm welcome, plus he kindly provided most of the scenery. It's been a while since I went along to BIG but I shall certainly be back as soon as I can - highly recommended! Anyway, we played the Top Secret mission, so again my trusty wrecked 251 model was the objective. Mike was using his lovely US Paras and I had my Panzergrenadiers.

Turn 1 saw a steady advance of troops with emphasis on the centre, funnily enough. Here I've deployed a squad on the road plus squads in the fields to either side. Mike has deployed his Paras in a broadly similar manner.

The superb light blue building is the Charlie Foxtrot Models Boulangerie. Lovely! ;o)

Turn 2 and the first German squad reaches the 251. Predictably the US MMG in the ruins showered them with lead, killing several and inflicting a pin.

Since this was pretty much the only weapon with a direct LOS I wasn't too worried. I knew his spotter (for the 60mm mortar) could draw LOS but Mike assured me that his dice rolling had been terrible recently... Out came an Allied dice and bang went the mortar... which dropped the shell plum on top of the squad at the 251! So, 2 more pins and another couple of men killed. With 3 pins I knew the battered squad would need all the support it could get next turn, so the German HQ moved up (and shouted encouragement!)

The spotter is in the upper floor of the ruined house (top of pic)

Turn 3 and the tankers are keen to add some weight, but I'm mindful of both the bazooka in the ruins beyond the Boulangerie de Normandie to the right and the 57mm AT in the fields beyond the Church to the left.

On the right here you can see my Grenadier squad sheltering in the cover of the garden wall behind the Boulangerie. There's US squad in the road (just out of shot) and I think they're aiming to draw my troops away from the objective. I had planned for this squad to enter the back of the Boulangerie and then (if needed) dash out to the objective from the cover of the building.

This turn continued with a series of Allied dice coming out of the bag so the US Mortar fires again (remember it hit previously so only needs a 2+) but amazingly Mike rolls a 1... and I heave a sigh of relief. The Germans on the 251 have only 5 men left out of starting 9 and are already on three pins so another mortar round would have seen them off. But the US MMG keeps up the hail of bullets and another pin is accrued. Thankfully the US sniper team took their lead from the mortar and missed too!

Even with their CO shouting orders, the battered Grenadier squad searching the 251 fail to activate (they are on 4 pins!) so go Down instead. Can't really blame them having been hit by both a mortar round and a hail of machine gun bullets.

A US squad enters the central farmhouse with a view to using it as a jump off point for assaulting the objective, but as they do so the carefully sited German MG42 opens up and inflicts casualties.

The tank commander advances to bring his MMGs to bear on the US squad advancing behind the Church. I had considered the 57mm AT as a target but they're well-sited being behind a wall with a gun shield too, plus the infantry were far more of a threat to the objective. It was a risk for the Panzer as it would clearly expose itself to the dreaded 57mm gun but the tankers had to earn their schnapps.

The next dice out of the bag was an Allied dice. Mike rubbed his hands as he picked up the dice and prepared to fire the 57mm... Bang! But it was yet another 1 from the US C-in-C.

In the pic above you can see that the US Paras behind the Church have been whittled away by shooting from the tank and the central Grenadier squad (near the walled field) plus out of shot to the left is another smaller squad with an LMG and the sniper too.

On the right my Grenadiers have crossed the wall whilst under fire from the US Paras in the road but again Mike's chaps couldn't quite find their targets. I want to get the squad in to the Boulangerie ASAP.

Turn 4 and the tank rumbles forward to give the Grenadiers remaining at the objective some cover. This time it puts an HE round in to the ground floor of the farmhouse, battering the US Paras sheltering inside.

The Para's Bazooka team make a mad dash around the wrecked 251 to fire at the Panzer's flank. The shell hits but Mike rolls a 2 to penetrate the armour (he needed a 3). But it is another pin, bringing the total to two.

The pic above shows only the NCO left of the squad at the 251. That's because the Mortar team got their act together and dropped an accurate shot! However, the squad leader (to my surprise) rolls 3 for his morale and passes!

The 57mm fires again and hits, then penetrates but rolls a 1 for damage, the crew are stunned but the turret is fine. However the tank now has 3 pins.

Turn 5 and again Mike gets the early dice out of the bag but his rolling of D6’s is still not so good. The brave bazooka team tries again but Mike (somehow) rolls another 1. Then the 57mm has another go at the tank... and misses again!

The US mortar tries for the squad searching the 251 (or more accurately the NCO 'hiding' in it)… Yet another 1 to hit when there was only the NCO left to kill.

At last a black dice comes out of the bag. Passing his morale test, the NCO wastes no time running as fast as he can for the German lines, yelling to his CO that he has the precious briefcase.

But… the US HQ group are upstairs in the farmhouse, two men fire and miss but the US CO carefully takes aim and brings the German NCO down. What a shot!

So the papers (denoted by the silver token in the road) are still not quite safely back in German hands.

Having been shot to pieces by the Germans in the ground floor of the Boulangerie, the remants of the US Para squad hop over the garden wall in to the fields, but Jerry is waiting behind the nearby hedge where they blaze away with assault rifles and MP40s.

Turn 6 sees more Allied dice come out of the bag first so the crew of the 57mm finally get their eye in. The shell rips in to the Panzer IV setting the beast on fire. The crew (with 5 pins) fail their morale check and bail out. Meanwhile behind the smoking wreck of the tank, the German CO unit and squad head for the briefcase of vital papers that are still clutched in the bloodied hands of the brave Grenadier NCO.

The scenario dice roll decreed that it was now the end of the game, so technically a draw, but Mike and I decided to ignore that and play on. On both flanks the remnants of the US and German squads traded shots but it was the action in the centre that counted.

The battered remains of a German Grenadier squad had the papers at this point but it was possible that some more crazy shooting from Mike might just save the day! And (astonishingly) this began to happen as the US MMG (now brought up alongside the Boulangerie) killed several, then his HQ unit killed a couple more. Finally the US mortar makes another incredible shot to drop a shell plum on the target, wiping out the Grenadier squad. Again the vital (and somewhat battered) briefcase fell to the floor

Now only the German CO and his trusty sidekick have the chance to retrieve the papers and make it off table. At last, on turn 8 a black dice comes out of the bag and the German CO, with the briefcase tucked under his arm, heads for the board edge!

Wow, what a game that was! A proper roller-coaster of a battle. Mike was, as ever, an absolute gentleman to wargame with, my thanks sir! I'm very much looking forward to our next encounter.