01 April 2018

SAGA Redux

Its been some time since I opened my Dark Ages collection but the new edition of SAGA has piqued some interest at the club. Sufficiently so for me to get out my Irish Warband and finished them off.  They hit the table at Club night last week - I was frankly overwhelmed by trying to remember the game, understand the new game, and try to use a new warband.  I was also against my old Nemesis Alan who masterfully carved me into small parcels with his Scots without loosing a SAGA dice worth of casualties in return!
Alan's beautifully painted Scots
Alan's beautifully painted Scots repel yet another charge by the Irish!
Then on Good Friday, Slowpainter John treated us to a SAGA Bash at his place where 8 of us pushed lead around and got into the new rules with a "learn together" type approach.  There are lots of reviews on the net but suffice to say that the system is now more granular and I think has added tactical depth without significant complication.  Good stuff.
Pagan Russ arrayed for Battle 
Mounted Hearthguard secure the left flank of Izzie's Welsh battle line
Marty's Anglo-Danes and Aled's Anglo-Saxons clash
Alan's Russ Warlord seeks out a worthy opponent on the field of battle
I played my Irish again, this time against Aled who was using Alan's gorgeous Pagan Russ for the first time and took the mercenary Steppe Horseman too.  With some coaching assistance from the Dux I managed to pull off a win with my Warhounds being best on ground after they mauled the Steppe Nomans and then dragged down the Russ Warlord (reminiscent of Thulsa Doom's village attack in the opening scene of the original Conan the Barbarian!)
The Puppies in action, harrying and mauling the Horse Archers from the Steppe 
The dogs of war were indeed slipped - the enemy warlord was tasty!
I'll post up some pics of my Irish in the coming week.

17 March 2018

AHPC VIII Reflections - Part 1: Facts and Figures

Another Painting Challenge comes to a glorious end this week.  While there are still a few days to run, I've entered my last submission and its time for me to tally up:

AHPC VIII: Target Acheived!
Challenge target: 500 Initial, Stretched to 600
Total Points Achieved: 679 - Stretch Target Achieved!

I knew I would have difficulties this year with significant work travel scheduled for Feb-Mar, but preparations and a sensible total allowed me to crack it in AHPC VIII

Scale: Combination of 28mm and 15mm, with more of the latter.

Bonus Rounds: did them all, and got two Runner Up positions this year, making it a PB.

Genres: I took advantage of the new terrain category this year, with the remaining submissions mostly being WW2 (15mm DAK) with a touch of FiW and Fantasy thrown in.  I had prepared a stack of 28mm Fantasy figs but a last minute club focus to WW2 Western Desert gaming caused a mid challenge switch!

So that completes my fourth AHPC and brings my aggregate total throughout all four to 2817 points of a summed target total of 2350.  Yes, some individuals crack that for each challenge, which astounds me

And yes, I'm already thinking about what I might keep aside for AHPC IX!  :-)

14 March 2018

DAK '88'

My 'Monstrous' themed round for AHPC 8:

For WW2 Allied tank crews in the Western Desert (and beyond) there was nothing more monstrous than a German '88'. This famous FlaK gun with its high velocity and flat trajectory became one of the most feared anti tank weapons of the war.

British accounts include anecdotes of tankers bailing out after watching a near miss 88 round skip past their machines; they knew the next round would not miss and its effects would be catastrophic.  Cyril Joly in his excellent book Take These Men grimly described the impact of an 88mm round on a British tank:

“As I spoke I saw the flame and smoke from the German gun. In the next instant, all was chaos. There was a clang of steel on the turret front and a blast of flame and smoke from the same place, which seemed to spread into the turret, where it was followed by another dull explosion. The shockwave, which followed, swept past me, singed my hands and face and left me breathless and dazed. I looked down into the turret. It was a shambles. The shot had penetrated the front just in front of King, the loader. It had twisted the machine-gun out of its mounting. It, or a jagged piece of the torn turret, had then hit the round that King had been holding ready – had set it on fire. The explosion had wrecked the wireless, tore King’s head and shoulders from the rest of his body and started a fire among the machine-gun boxes stowed on the floor.”

A British tanker taken prisoner in 1941 is reported to have complained to his German captors that "In our opinion it is unfair to use 'flak' guns against tanks".  Just not cricket apparently!

So for the Monstrous round I present an 88, painted up for desert service in the Africa Korps in 1941.  This is a Forged In Battle model and in Battlegroup terms the unit includes the Gun and 4 man crew, an additional 3 man loader team, and the Sd Kfz 7 tractor team.  Unlike my other DAK units I have made this one a less battered and more recent arrival to the theatre.

I estimate this to total 30 points for the tractor (6), gun (4), 7 crew (14), a driver (2) and the limber pieces (which I costed as another gun sized model for 4 points), plus the bonus points. And that should get me over the line for my extended 600 point target!

24 February 2018

AHPC8 Submissions - almost there!

My weekly submission on the heavier elements of my DAK force, and the Childhood Bonus theme round.

DAK Pz IIIs and Transports (82 points)

Building upon my Recon vehicles and light tanks of last week, this week I focused on heavier armour and transports. While there was a number of Pz IVs and long barrelled Pz IV specials, the Pz III was always the most numerous armoured fighting vehicle of the Africa Korps. Here I present two platoons (Battlegroup uses them in 3s): 3 are metal Battlefront and 3 are plastic PSC, which gives some good variation between the hulls.

In 1941 the Panzergrenadier units had not yet formed and the majority of Infantry were truck mounted Shutzen units. And trucks are just handy in general for the desert, so here are 5 of them in an assortment of colours. Resin models by Forged in Battle.

Rounding out today's submission are a pair of Horsch heavy cars, very useful as staff vehicles and for towing light field and AT guns (though I have yet to assemble those). Again these are Forged in Battle resin models.

These 13 vehicles and 2 drivers net me 78 + 4 = 82 


'Childhood' Bonus Round: Two Little Boys

Rolf Harris has been a famous Australian entertainer for many decades (lets just forget about his more recent issues shall we?). While I would not say I am a big fan of his, his song "Two Little Boys" has always appealed to me.

Broadly, its a song about two men who played war together as lads and when they grow up they  look after each other on the battlefield when one of them in wounded. For those with a few minutes, here is the song in full:

When I saw these Downed Luftwaffe crewmen by Wargames foundry six months ago I thought of that song but never got around to painting them, so they seemed perfect for this Bonus round.  Here are my 28mm version of Two Little Boys (or "Zwei Kleine Jungen" I suppose!)

2 x 28mm figs = 10 points + bonus round


Together, these entries push me past my original 500 point goal and almost touch my stretched 600 point line - the next bonus round will take me over nicely! Which is hardly as I'm of to sea tomorrow and likely wont get anything more done before AHPC8 finishes.

20 February 2018

Second 1941 Desert action

Yesterday saw another swirling Battlegroup Tobruk clash between John's and my combined Axis force and Alan's British. The Axis force included some lighter DAK elements and a column of John's lovely Italian M13 tankettes.  We used the Flank Attack scenario and all of these units have been painted in the past fortnight by all 3 players, which is rather remarkable!
Opening moves - Axis advice from the bottom and right hand side against light Allied recon elements
Detachment from 5th Leicht Division lead the advance with motorcycle borne Bersaglieri mortarmen 
...while Armoured cars scout out the right flank
With the setting sun in the enemy eyes, the Axis forces advance!
LRDG lurkers behind the lines (this one was painted by Patch)
First blood to the Germans as a 222's Autocannon finds the range on a Universal Carrier!
Laagered up to capture the objective, but heavier British Armour is threatening!
Italian tankettes arrive and swirling mayhem ensues!

British Humber in defile position opens up...

...but is flamed by a 222 in return!
The Crusaders advance...
...under the careful scrutiny of their Commander!
Looking a little grim for the Germans. The 8rad on the right was particularly resilient against repeated Crusader salvoes to hold the position and the objective
Well sighted and timed British 25 pdrs and mortars find the range,  distrusting the Axis rear and punching through the soft turret armour of the M13s
The LRDG patrol beat a hasty retreat from a menacing and all powerful advance of a Panzer I !
But nothing can escape! One for the history books - a Pz I kill!
At this point (and with playing time running out) I jumped the 222s onto the last objective to claim the "all objectives held" victory. It was a little gamey to be honest but at least it gave our scrap a conclusive ending. Another turn or two and I think Alan's heavier tanks would have rolled us off the table rather conclusively. It did, however, show the utility of light and agile forces flexible employed across a big area and able to reinforce one another.
Alan bows before the might of the Ariete Division's tankettes!
The scenario also showed the flexibility and relative lethality of autocannons in the early war period where much is lightly armoured and tank main guns are modest (typically well under 50mm).

18 February 2018

First Battlegroup Tobruk clash

After much anticipation (and model building), last week saw our first run out of Battlegroup Tobruk with Alan pitting his new 8th Army Armoured force against John's Ariete Division. It was awesome to get the new toys onto the table and fight in a new theatre of operations.
Alan's fantastic Crusader II cruiser tanks

The battle was a swirling melee in which the Italian tankettes performed beyond all expectation (assisted greatly by some appalling British dice results) - predominantly this was by firing to pin and then taking the stationary target under aimed fire.  Penetration was rare but even a glaring shot caused a morale check and Alan's propensity for rolling low saw a number of crews abandon their vehicles.
The Generals prepare for battle!
Of interest was our experiment with rules for direct fire smoke - a common tactic of CS tanks which would fire smoke onto a target to enable friendly forces to advance.  We did this as area fire, the result of which only allows the target to conduct area fire in return.  Quick, uncomplex and worked well.
In the end, the brave little trio of M13s were dispatched by Alan's last (!) pair of Crusaders cunningly using a reaction move over a hill crest and then taking under fire at close range. At this stage the game was called as the infantry heavy Italians had no residual AT capability and were forced to withdraw from their defensive position.

It was a fun first foray into the Western Desert and very inspiring for m to get my DAK in a playable position, which I have done and am off this afternoon for their first tabletop appearance!

15 February 2018

Painting Challenge - DAK Light Forces and and Orc Drummer

Its been a busy few weeks with work travel etc so my pace of AHPC8 submissions has slowed.  Nice to get a few in this week after a bit of a dry spell.  Here they are:

15mm DAK

Last week Alan unveiled the start of his 8th Army project for Battlegroup Tobruk with some fantastic Crusader II tanks - some of his best work in 15mm IMHO (and I've seen most of it at some point).  This week I present the start of my corresponding DAK project:

Appropriately leading this modelling push are the Recon and Light elements of the Army.  While my full army is a mix of manufacturers, these are all Battlefront models and I've enjoyed personalising each of them.  Unfortunately, I also painted them like I would 28mm vehicles with a silly number of washes and layers.  Accordingly, they took way too long to finish but I do love their veteran, desert worn look.

Leading this week's submission is a quartet of iconic Sd Kfz 222s, and I have done some alternate turrets for them as well to enable all the force options.

For heavier Recon tasks is this pair of 8 rads:

My Light Panzer element is a reinforced platoon of four Pz IIs and a Pz I (so cute!):
Forgot to do the Platoon Commander figure! One for next week's batch

And finally, a cracking little PzJg I which adds some modest AT firepower to this screening force.  Not a monster killer but it will keep Alan's Daimler Dingos and Universal Carriers pause for thought.

My next DAK focus will heavier Pz IIIs but for now that's twelve 15mm vehicles (and a couple of extra turrets) for 72 points. 

Challenge entry is here: From Paul OG: Africa Korps Recon and Light Panzers (72 points)

'Music/Musician' Bonus Round

My entry went through a range of challenges from missing models to me mucking up an order and not getting the figure I wanted  Then Marty from the club gave me this...

This Orc War drummer was produced by a small Australian company called Inquisition miniatures in the mid 80s.  In those pre-internet days they didn't get out of the Aussie market much and once GW found out about their imitative sculpting style the IP alarms went off. Inquisition no longer trades and hasn't done for a long time.

Anyway, I bought this figure as a young teenager and half painted it. It was then one of those minis I would seem to find everywhere, feel guilty about not finishing and then loose it again only to be haunted by it again a week or two later. This continued until it was lost to antiquity when I moved out of home several years later.  My gaming club mate Marty was offloading some old figs recently and gave me this, which I immediately recognised.  So here, a couple of decades late, is my completed Inquisition Miniatures Orc Drummer!

See the entry here: 


We are now well past the half way mark of AHPC 8 and these entries take me almost to my target of point 500 target.  I have more work travel coming but will stretch my goal to 600.