Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chain of Command: Arnhem Game 2

The battlefield. The Germans hold the northern (far) end of the table.
We played the second game of our Arnhem campaign on Sunday. Martin played the Paras, and wahj took command of the Germans. The scenario depicted Day 2 of the battle, when the British had to evict the Germans in a cafe overlooking the drop zone for the second wave.

I took the scenario off the internet, and based the placement of the area and linear terrain on Google street view.

With a large open area to cover, Martin deployed one section in the wreckage of the glider and one in the barn. wahj responded by deploying one section in the wooded area at the road junction, and one from the upper floor of the cafe.

Unable to overcome the opposition with small arms fire alone, the British called down a mortar barrage on the German position. The impact area covered both the woods and the cafe, and wahj was unable to lift the barrage as he did not have as many Chain of Command dice as Martin did.

At this point wahj decided to deploy the support pre-selected by me: a section of Panzergrenadiers on an SdKfz 251. The intrepid halftrack barreled towards the Brits sheltering in the glider wreckage...

Then Martin revealed his support: a six-pounder gun. The first shot failed to damage the halftrack, and a hail of small arms fire caused the crew to bail out. But just as they thought themselves safe, the second round from the six-pounder blew the vehicle up, killing most of them.

With the threat on his left eliminated and the opposition in the centre pinned, Martin sent his remaining forces down his right flank, skirting around the impact area.

The British race down the right as the Hanomag burns in the right background.
Eventually the German section in the woods were eliminated, and the British captured the two German Jump-Off Points there even as their flanking force was ready for the final charge. When the barrage lifted, the Germans knew what was coming next, and surrendered (their Force Morale ran out).

The attack was pretty textbook, and showed once again how effective (heavy) mortar can be in the game

The next game will depict a German attack on the Oosterbeek perimeter.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The windmill on Kizhi Island cardboard model

A few weeks ago I was looking to add to my terrain items for our WW2 Eastern Front games, and thought a windmill will be topical. Some searching on ebay found a 1/87 scale windmill - specifically *the* windmill on Kizhi Island. Hoping that the scale difference will not be too obvious, I bought one (plus the model of an Armenian church, but more of that in another future post). Fortunately, the model looks acceptable next to the 20mm AB figures as you can see.

The model is actually quite well-designed and the parts are fully-coloured, embossed on one side, and fit to a rather tight tolerance. It took fg and I about fifteen minutes to put together after a gaming session.

'Oh look, Hans - a cat!'
Rather curiously, there is actually a cat printed onto the back of the windmill. I think this model will certainly add some colour to our next Eastern Front game.

You can easily find the model on ebay, and there are actually many more buildings and in fact trains in the series, including a WW2 armoured train with trees painted on its sides as camouflage!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


No, not the cricket series, but the card game by Plaid Hat Games.

As we were both too lazy to play a miniatures game, fg brought this new card game for a spin.

We played five games in the space of an afternoon - the first four we actually got the rules wrong, but we finally got it right in the fifth game (I hope).

The game is very much like Magic (which I have never actually played) in that you play a sorcerer who can cast spells and summon monsters to fight for you (plus some allies). It also has a SAGA-like mechanic where you roll ten dice per turn to determine which spells you can cast or which monsters/allies you can activate.

Each turn you roll the dice (two sets of five), which will determine which cards you can activate, and then you spend the dice to summon monsters and allies and send them to attack your opponent or his monsters and allies. The aim is to defeat the enemy sorcerer by reducing his/her hit points to zero.

We played using the predetermined decks for the sorcerers (called Phoenixborn). Each sorcerer has a distinct flavour to his or her spells: some utilise a horde strategy, and some a few tough monsters which can be further buffed.

Overall the game is to me in the same vein as the Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers fg and I also played a couple months back, but minus the actual tabletop manoeuvring. As with Planeswalkers, the deck can get predictable after a while, but there are rules for custom deck building.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dragon Panther G Early Version

Today I completed the Dragon Panther G (Early Version) kit that wahj passed me. He had bought the kit many years ago but it remained unbuilt inside his cache of models until he rediscovered it recently. At the same time I had been thinking of building a Panther myself, but had held off based on my plan to keep my collection small - wahj had already built and painted a Panther, and since I don't see us fielding two Panthers in a game of Chain of Command, I didn't think it was justified. So all in all this was a happy coincidence.

The kit is of high quality and features a die-cast metal hull which fit together perfectly. It wasn't an easy build from the painting point of view though. Some parts had to be left off the main model while it was being painted, so some advance planning had to be done. The instructions for the side-skirts seemed to be wrong, and I had to look at photos of actual Panther tanks to figure out which way to glue them on. The accurate but fine anti-aircraft MG snapped towards the end of the build, and I cheated with the tracks as they were under tension and I simply taped them together, reinforced the joints with staples, and hid them behind the side-skirts. I also found it difficult to paint the tyres on the road wheels "inside the lines", and so cheated by smearing "mud" over them.

I did less weathering on the model than with the ISU-152, because the tank looked so good it didn't feel right to make it look too shabby. The decals are from the kit. I left off the decal for the rear turret numbers because I couldn't find a way to make them sit on the contours. Finally, I added some dried plants as foliage camouflage.

I can't wait to kill some Shermans or T34s with this big cat.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Italeri ISU-152

Here is the completed model of the Italeri ISU-152. I decided to build the standard version after I found this excellent tip on how to assemble link-and-length tracks. The basic idea is to make two J-shaped pieces so they can be painted separately and then put together is a fashion similar to the Plastic Soldier Company models. I built the kit pretty much out of the box, but I did apply styrene glue to the angles where the sides of the superstructure met and then scored the softened plastic with the back of my Exacto knife to create the look of welded plates.

I sprayed the model flat white and then Olive Drab, applied the decals that came with the kit (which are probably the most commonly used ones if google image is anything to go by), weathered the whole model heavily (perhaps a bit too heavily) with dabs of green and black followed by touches of silver, and finally a black and then brown wash. I then added the mud to the wheels and tracks and put the whole thing together.

Overall I am pretty happy with the kit. I should perhaps used a after-market metal gun barrel for the model, but I didn't want to wait to complete the kit. In fact, I enjoyed painting Russian armour so much I just ordered a UM SU-76M kit - if anyone knows of any good 20mm scale Soviet tank crew in summer uniform in action pose do let me know.

Here are other views of the model.

Next up will be the Dragon Panther, which I hope to complete this week.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

November Giveaway

For this month I am giving out a copy of Flagship Games' Habet, Hoc Habet, and two sprues of gladiator figures from CastleCraft, a Russian toy company.

The two sprues are identical, and the figures are 25mm from sole to top of the head, or 23mm to the eye. They are shorter than most of the 25mm figures commonly used for gladiator combat, and are not compatible unless you plan to field them as midgets (am I allowed to use that word?).

Let me know if you are interested by leaving a comment, and I will draw a recipient on the 15th of the month so it can possibly reach you by Christmas. This is not a first-come, first-serve offer.

The offer is free; once I let you know you have been drawn, do let me have your email and mailing address and I will mail it off to you. You don't even have to pay for postage. I am doing this not to get some money back, but to give these rules a good home. If you want to pay back somehow, I ask that you make a small donation to a local charity, or consider doing the same thing I am doing and give some rulebooks that you no longer use a chance for a new lease of gaming life.

Good luck.