Friday, 30 January 2009

Loose threads

Not done much gaming activity since finishing the Brits. I've still got to find storage space for them, but I'll maybe do that tomorrow. Went to the club on Wednesday and had a chat and a look around what other people were doing but didn't play anything. Spent some time with people playing a large game of Grand Armee, which has always looked like an interesting game system although a bit fiddly for my tastes.

I've sorted out all the stuff for the Hochwald game next week, just need to check it this weekend and maybe re-read the rules to remind me how Megablitz works. I also discovered in my bag yet another set of Sudan rules I must have been working on before Christmas, Redcoats and Rifles. I'll maybe have a look at those and see if I can work up a scenario. I've been toying with buying some desert Hexon boards, although I suppose I could always use my trusty old gridded brown cloth for now.

Not sure what to do next for painting, I've got 30 odd 15mm Argentinians (MJ), but Tim Gow says he has a bunch of Vietnam era US troops we could use for battalion level Falklands gaming. I've got some new battalion/brigade rules (Hex 300 by Ian Drury) I'd like to try out, and Goose Green is easy enough to do as a game. Probably not much point painting my figs up just for that. Otherwise I've got some odds and ends left from last year, mainly 20mm German stuff either bought at Triples or Partisan or inherited from another gamers game clearout. I've got enough stuff for another Infantry Division and some more Corps level assets. Might be fun, alternatively I could get on with rebasing my 6mm US and British stuff or finally finish rebasing my 6mm Rumanians. Rebasing is never very attractive though. I had a look at some of the new QRF modern Brits though, very nice figs. I'll have to work up an order for Triples and then it is Helmand here we come. So, I can't decide, have to see what the weekend brings.

When I've finished Ian M. Banks 'Matter', it is on to Glantz's 'From the Don to the Dneipr', so I expect I'll end up doing more mid-war Russians and Germans instead....

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Basing the Brits

I've been basing up my Falklands era Brits, I suspect that they will mainly get used for playing AK47 however, so I'm doing them to fit in with my other AK stuff and I'd like to keep the option open to use them on my grassy/muddyhexon terrain as well. As they are 15s I'll put them on my usual basing material of thick artists mounting board. Usual method:

  • Calculate how many bases required of which sizes (I have various templates to test with different sized vehicles).
  • Cut bases out of card.
  • Stick figures onto bases with UHU or Bostik. I leave guns and vehicles off at this stage.
  • Stick bits of magnabase on the rear edge, normally just a single 8mmx8mm or 10mmx10mm square. This allows for use with games which use steel markers etc. I often also write unit IDs on here.
  • Paint base in base colour, in this case a chocolate brown, using a cheap match pot of emulsion from Wickes.
  • Stick vehicles onto the painted base (but not guns).
  • Liberally apply diluted PVA and flock. For these I'll just use Woodland Scenics mixed turf so it matches my other AK stuff, for other figs I'd use sand as a base and work up from there.
  • Once dry, stick guns down. I always do these last.
  • Finish the edges of the bases with black marker pen.
  • Put strips of magnabase on the bottom of the bases.
Once it is all dry they can go in their storage box. Job done.

The trickiest thing is organising the figures, these were a bit of a job lot and as I'm not sure which rules I'll want to use these with, they could be anything from 1:1 skirmish up to 1 base = 1 company type stuff. I went for:

  • normal rifle groups with two figures abreast
  • command stands with one rifleman and one commander type figure (can double up as rifle stands)
  • HQ stands with an officer and a radio op standing diagonally
  • light support weapons (GPMGs, LAW etc) with two figs in column if appropriate poses
  • individually based leader/observer types to use as FOs etc
  • heavy weapons with a couple of crew and one weapon, I usually give MGs and mortars two crew and artillery three
all on 30mm bases. That should be reasonable flexible and looks OK. One problem I did have with these figs was that some of the MJ ones are enormous, more like 20mm, whereas other ones are a more normal size. The QRF figs similarly varied in size but were generally smaller, so mixing them on bases was a bit problematic.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

More game planning

Had a good session at the club on Wednesday. Both sides for the upcoming Hochwald game got their briefings and we spent an hour or so on planning. I think the casting will work OK, a pair of competent players, one of whom has a keen interest in logistics running the Canadians, and for the Germans two very experienced players, but one rather tired who will be ideal to run the shattered and exhausted 116th Panzer Div.

Time is so limited on a Wednesday that having time to think about the games beforehand can be very handy.

I'll maybe have another look at the terrain setup today at home, and take some pics to aid seting the thing up. It is such a tiny battlefield that the placement of each piece is vital. Must remember my camera for the game. I want to write this up for the Megablitz website.

Spot of painting

Fairly quiet couple of days, although I did a bit more work on my Falklands Brits last night. Painting up some vehicles including a Scorpion and a Scimitar (QRF, very nice they are too). Had a look at Chris Foss's AFV recognition guide for some ideas about camo schemes and I probably went a bit light on the black, it is supposed to cover 30% of the area of the vehicle.

I did my usual technique:

  • black undercoat
  • heavy drybrush of the base colour (Humbrol Army Green)
  • inkwash all over (does some shading and stains the colour down a bit)
  • lighter drybrush of the base colour (to raise the highlights)
  • apply camo (black in this case)
  • heavy mud drybrush around the running gear and lower hull
  • very light drybrush all over of white. This catches the highlights and makes them look dusty
I need to think about the tracks (I usually do the tracks and tyres after), I usually do them a rusty mud colour with silver highlights, but as these have so much rubber in them, I might do them black.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Website maintenance

In a fit of enthusiam I've done a bit of maintenance on my website. I've uploaded pdfs of two invaluable documents, John D. Salts collations of WW2 AT weapon stats, plus his collection of WW2 Operations Research notes in weapon effectivness.

I've also uploaded some rules, specifically my large scale nineteenth century wars rules, brigade/divisional WW2 eastern front rules and my corps/army WW2 operational rules.

Might put some scenarios up tomorrow.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Game planning

For some time (well, about six years!) I've been planning a game covering the Canadian attack on the Hochwald in Febuary 1945. In the last couple of months I've managed to work up a Megablitz scenario covering the battle, and last years 20mm painting jag means I've got enough stuff to do the whole thing in 20mm, although I'll have to make divisional substitutions.

It is a bit ambitious for a club night game, (six divisions, six days) so we are doing a planning game this week and actually play the thing in a few weeks time. I've added in a few mods to the rules, partly based on the 1956 British Army Tactical Wargame, and I'm keen to use the logistical rules properly.

Current activities

Played a few games over Christmas and the New Year, notably AK47 and an outing of Tim Gows 'NATO Brigade Commander'. I got to practice my Russian assault tactics once more and crushed the feeble capitalists. We've also played an Operation Bagration mini-campaign using my eastern front variant of Norman MacKenzies excellent KISS Rommel.

I've also been enthused to start painting my Falklands era 15mm Brits (a mix of MJ and QRF) plus assorted support vehicles. They are partly with an eye to Falklands gaming, but also to add to my AK47 collection where they can provide support for my Nigerians. Doing DPM in 15mm has been a bit of a challenge, but I used a technique suggested by John Armatys:

  1. undercoat black
  2. heavy drybrush of tan/sand
  3. paint reddish brown swirls
  4. top off with green swirls
The advantage of doing the green last is that you can control the overall tone, and although the overall effect is exaggerated, it isn't bad.