Monday, January 22, 2018

AHPC Submission Six - More Bundeswehr Armour (plus "Flight")

More Bundeswehr armour in 15mm to reinforce the NATO lines!
My 15mm Cold War armour efforts continue to have a lot of momentum. Once I started to tackle my unpainted collection of Bundeswehr armour in 1/100 scale from Battlefront, I felt more and more that I didn't want to stop until I got through almost all of the lot I had accumulated over the prior 18 months. And so, here is yet more Bundeswehr armour in 15mm.  The models are nearly all from Battlefront, with one exception, which you will see more on below.

As before, these are painted in my best approximation of the West German three-colour camouflage scheme.  Templates were used to apply the paint to these vehicles in depots, and so I tried my best to have the camouflage pattern on each vehicle to be generally similar. Let's take a look at some of the different AFVs in this batch.

Luchs wheeled armoured recon vehicles - 1/100 models from Battlefront

Up first are the Spähpanzer Luchs, 8-wheeled armoured reconvehicles.  As you can imagine, they are engineered for speed, moving rapidly about to keep an eye on the various movements of their Warsaw Pact opponents.

Certainly looks like a sporty ride...
In the event of a tussle with the enemy they carry a turret-mounted 20mm cannon, sufficient to deal with opposing recon elements they might encounter.  The vehicles are lightly armoured, however (as you might expect) and so will not last long against any direct fire from enemy tanks or missiles.

Well-executed mixed resin and metal kits from Battlefront

Many rules try to give players reasons to use recon-themed elements like this in their games, and "Team Yankee" is no exception, but I find the games we really like to play are ones where a battle develops, and given that the players have a birds' eye view of the forces on the table, it is very hard to make recon elements as important to wargamers as they are to actual commanders in the real battlefield. In a real conflict, vehicles like the Luchs would be providing essential information to panzer and panzer grenadier
commanders - info they would be very vulnerable without.  


On a wargame table, you hope light vehicles like these knock out something useful before they are hit by a 125mm tank round fired in anger by Soviet players who were unable to successfully target anything larger on the NATO side...

Despite these issues, I like how cool these models look, and it's fun to try and put together different kinds of forces to give some variety to the gaming scenarios we can set up.

A zug of Leopard 1 tanks - models from Battlefront
Up next we have some West German MBTs – these Leopard 1s.  By the time of the (thankfully) fictional battles envisioned by the game “Team Yankee”, the Leopard 1s had moved out of main frontline service, replaced by the heavier Leopard 2s. The Leopard 1s moved in heavy-support role for the scouting elements of the panzer and panzer grenadier formations instead (and I expect still equipped some reserve panzer battalions). 

Love the look of these German tanks! The Leopard 1 is another classic Cold War vehicle
The kits from Battlefront are a treat to work with - phew!
The Leopard 1 tanks are fast (you know, for tanks), and with a well-designed 105mm main gun, they can certainly dish out severe punishment to Warsaw Pact armour.  Plus, they just LOOK so cool – the main battle tank answer to a fine-looking German sports car! But their armour cannot be counted on to absorb the 125mm return fire of the Soviet side. The commanders and crews of these vehicles need to keep moving and be very careful when and how they engage the enemy.


So often NATO players are content to see their small number of scary tanks blast away, but they will need to be a little more clever when using vehicles like the Leopard 1.

A 15mm Leopard 1 from the Plastic Soldier Company - an excellent kit! Note, however, the crew are still from Battlefront, just to maintain consistency with the other West German vehicles

One of these models – to be used as a command vehicle - is from the new 15mm Leopard 1 box offered by the fine folks at Plastic Soldier Company.  There was a hiccup with the initial release of these models as the first wave of kits did not include a hatch for the driver (oops!). But they sorted all of that out in short order, and I can readily recommend you purchase them if this tank is something that interests you!

The other three are mixed resin and metal kits from Battlefront.  I’m pleased to say the quality here was very good.

While the Leopard 1 was no longer on the Bundeswehr frontlines, it was still a very common tank among NATO allies, where it continued to serve in a frontline role, including Canada! This is something I hope to have more about in later Challenge submissions…

Two more modern-day "big cats" - Leopard 2s on the prowl for Warsaw Pact targets

A commander popped out of the hatch to help make it easier to find the command tank on the table
And finally here are two more of the Leopard 2s…Battlefront sells these in packs of five models, so I thought I would finish these to join the other three I had painted for last week. As before, these are very, very fine plastic models from Battlefront…my only quibble is the very vulnerable connection for the cupola MG…hopefully they will last for a while…



Ready for gaming action in "Team Yankee"!
So that submission was another 10 vehicles in 15mm, which should hopefully net me
another 60 points toward my goal. 


I also completed a submission to the "flight" bonus round - recurring bi-weekly features of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  While my submission was not even close to being as cool as Byron's (which won the most votes - rightfully bloody so!), it's still helpful in terms of chipping away at the unpainted lead! It was a quad 20mm AA gun and crew from Battlefront.
Quad 20mm gun and crew in 15mm - models by Battlefront
Useful against the Red Air Force, or, increasingly as things got desperate in the East, against the Red Army as well...

This little crew will have some fun in WW2 games at some point soon, when the WW2 bug bites again...

That's it for now from the AHPC.  Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Byron's 7th Post and Flight theme week entry

7th Entry

For a 7th post last week I painted up more Greeks and 30k Mechanicum.  First up this week are 4 more Castellax Battle-Automata, these ones armed with the much more basic mauler bolt cannon.
The gun is essentially an upgraded heavy bolter, so not great, but not bad either.

Also painted last week was another unit of 16 Greek hoplites.  Once again these are the very poor Warlord (Immortal) figures, but I have been forcing myself to work through the pile of these before going onto the better Victrix and Foundry figures that have been arriving from various orders, as I don't think I could force myself to come back to these things after working on better figures.
This batch I painted up in white and blue in various patterns and am picturing them as an Athenian unit.  I realize that most units would be more mixed with colours and styles historically, but am choosing to simplify at least a few units so that they look like units and are easy to keep straight on the battle field.  I know, not very historical, but I play more for the look and tactics than any real historical recreation reason, I don't have a burning need or desire to be 100% accurate.
 


Theme Round - Flight 


For the first theme round this year I picked something that I have wanted to paint since I got it almost a year ago, but kept delaying as I was not sure I could do it justice until I had some more practice with my super fine Harder & Steenbeck airbrush.



 

Well, I've had some practice the last few months with the airbrush so, may I present my take on the Dropfleet Commander UCM Beijing Battleship.  Now, it's not the normal version, this is the kickstarter exclusive all resin 2-up version.  Meaning it is not playable in game, and is bloody huge, measuring a whopping 11"+ long, 5" across, and 4"+ tall!



Once the base colours were setup, I went in with a 0.15mm H&S airbrush and worked each upper hull panel up to a lighter grey in the center, careful to leave the edge of each panel dark.  This took a while as I put the lighter colour on as a glaze of probably 1 part paint 4 parts glaze medium and then thinned down and applied with very low pressure. Once all the panels were highlighted, I masked off the ones to be white and gave them a few coats of flat white.

With the airbrush work all done, I went to the bottom of the hull and used a brush to glaze highlights onto each little bump and part.  I didn't want a chalky drybrush look so had to do it this way which was time consuming but simple.  I then clear coated the model for handling and the next step.



With that done I used thinned down black oil paint to create a pin wash.  I did it this way for two reasons.  Firstly, a thinned oil paint wash wicks through the cracks and details 100x better than any wash I have ever used.  Secondly, Greg showed me a great product that is essentially a hardened q-tip used by Japanese mecha modelers, that you dip into thinner after the wash is done and then wipe it over the model.  It cleans up anything that comes out of the details instantly and completely (assuming you clear coated first).  This has made doing models like this far less stressful than using a normal wash.  I don't know that Greg has ever actually used the product himself, but I LOVE it and have used them MANY times to great effect.

After the wash I clear coated again so that the oil paint was sealed away and then went to more detail work.  I added some sparse metal work areas (mainly pipes and pistons) and then painted a few hundred (at least is seems like it) blue lights all over the model.  These were done with a simplified gem pattern of only 4 colours (dark blue, med blue, light blue, white) due to being so damn small.  Of course that hardly shows in the images, so it was not really worth the effort, but oh well.


 

So there you go, a huge spaceship that is not even usable in a game, all done just for fun.  That said, I bloody LOVE the scale and wished they had done more than just the UCM and a PHR ship in this scale.  Surely it isn't just me that thinks that it would be amazing to do a fleet battle on a gym floor with ships like this!

Oh, and just for comparison, the small ship in the last picture is a normal DFC ship that is 4" long on a 50mm base.



All the work was well worth it on this model, as I ended up winning the Theme week with the most votes!  A pretty damn good way to start the theme challenges off!



Fifth Painting Challenge Submission - Bundeswehr Armour in 15mm

Bundeswehr vehicles in 15mm from Battlefront, ready for "Team Yankee"

In the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge it was time to switch painting gears! After several submissions focused on my Franco-Prussian War project, the animal spirits which drive my brushwork were keen for something different, a familiar subject which I had not touched for some time.  I dug into my pile of shame (the large amount of figures and models which are assembled and primed but have not seen a paint brush for a year, or more!) and came across these vehicles.  As you will see in this blog, I love tanks, and I love gaming the "Cold-War-Gone-Hot", so here is an assortment of West German armour for the Bundeswehr in 15mm! The models are all 1/100 scale kits from Battlefront.


We play quite a bit of Battlefront's "Team Yankee".  The rules certainly have  warts, and playing this particular period in 15mm has issues, but man, is it FUN, with burning equipment all over the table by the end of the second turn.  Thank goodness these encounters are fictional!

I have large collection of Soviet models in this period and scale, and a much, much smaller NATO collection.  I wanted to do up NATO forces, but Dallas has already painted up a very nice collection of West German armour (see here, here, and here).  I also had a unique opportunity to score a few vehicles painted by the absolutely amazing Tacobat.  Furthermore you don't actually need many NATO tanks for a game of "Team Yankee".  So I settled for painting up the infantry only at the time, finished in late 2016, just prior to the start of AHPC VII.  I thought I would paint the armour to accompany them during the last edition of Curt's Challenge, but instead focused on other interests (mostly 30k) as we didn't really "need" the models in the group in order to "Team Yankee". My only nod to the Cold War in the last Challenge amounted to a single IFV painted in a theme round.


A further delay was a block in my mind that I would use an airbrush to paint these. Byron had helped me use an airbrush to prime them, and I told myself these would be the vehicles where I would finally overcome my airbrush issues and use it to paint them...but I still haven't cracked open my new airbrush.  I will someday but...that's another topic.  The point for this post is that these models have been sitting for over a year! Shame! Time to get them painted...and here you are:

Marder infantry carriers - three vehicles per panzer grenadier platoon
Leaving aside my airbrush issues, I stuck to my plain old paintbrush-brushes to apply my best approximation of the three-colour scheme used by the West Geman forces, and dove into painting up some tanks, my first ones in over a year! I dislike modern camouflage - the worst part is that use of templates would mean it should look broadly similar pattern-wise on each vehicle...tricky to do while painting freehand, but in the end, it turned out OK.


Very nice plastic kits from Battlefront - I hate plastic, and STILL like these very much!
This angle shows a bit more of the access for the grenadiers - ramp on the back and hatches on the top

Up first are the Marder infantry fighting vehicles, the troop carriers for my panzer grenadiers. Sleek and sci-fi-looking, the Marders are great (where the M113 is soooooo lame), and the plastic kits from Battlefront are a real treat - this from someone who absolutely despises plastic kits! That 20mm turret is super-menacing...there are enough Marders here to mount two platoons, plus a separate one for the company commander - so the core of my Bundeswehr panzer grenadier company is ready to roll.


The captain's ride...I left the flaps/bazooka skirts off this one to help make ID on the table easier - also popped a commander out of the hatch, something I like to do to help command vehicles stand out

Up next are Jaguar AT missile carriers.  The Jaguar is the final evolution of the tank-destroyer (don't those silhouettes look a little familiar to us WW2 gamers?), the big gun and associated systems are all gone, replaced with some more amour and the techo-arcana of a 1980s guided anti-tank missile system.  These vehicles provide a relatively armoured and stable, mobile platform for specialized AT purposes in support the panzer grenadiers.

Armoured missiles carriers for the Bundeswehr - Jaguars

Firing spooky missiles in a somewhat-safer armoured environment...you can see some of the gaps on the models caused by crummy quality control from Battlefront...

These models show that Battlefront still has many production weaknesses - these were mixed metal and resin, and the fit was very, very poor - some pretty big seams in spots, but hopefully paint and distance obscure them.  You will also see I used the wrong front plate (there was a slight variant between Jaguar 1 or 2) - this is thanks to an error in the instructions Battlefront includes with the kits - that's on me, though, they are always f***ing that stuff up, I should have double-checked online before I got out the glue...oh well.


Essential protection for any West German forces...the iconic Gepard flakpanzer
Continuing along there are two Gepard flakpanzers.  These are iconic Cold War weapon platforms, and in "Team Yankee" they play a key role in keeping the deadly Soviet helicopters and aircraft away from the panzer grenadiers. Dallas had suggested one night that I check out the firing sequence in this video...yikes!  I would think of somewhere else to fly too...they are incredibly effective in the 'Team Yankee' game, pretty much guaranteeing a kill on any air attackers, barring some terrible luck on the dice.


Big seam on the track with this model, but overall the quality on these was much better than the Jaguars
These are mixed resin and metal kits from Battlefront, but fortunately the quality was much higher than on the Jaguars.  The only tricky part was getting the gun barrels to attach in a straight way so they align with the base of the cannons, which are cast in resin on the turret - I didn't totally manage it, but didn't totally screw it up either...this is a standard I pretty much consistently strive for when it comes to model assembly :)

Keep watching the skies!

And of course, as a wargamer, I am always wanting to use these against ground targets.  Not many motor rifle companies will stand a chance against these guns...

And last, but not least, a platoon of deadly Leopard 2 tanks.  The penultimate main battle tank design, the Leopard 2 is an incredible machine, an ideal combination of every aspect of the modern battle tank.  Great mobility, armour and incredible firepower, these things can rip out the guts of a Soviet armoured manoeuvre in just one volley!  And they do that pretty consistently in our "Team Yankee" games - when I play at the Soviet side, it's a feeling of tremendous triumph when you knock one of these things out...

These beasts will be the mobile, hard-hitting fist of the panzer grenadier company.


A zug of deadly Leopard 2 panzers....
These tanks are also plastic models from Battlefront, and while the quality is excellent, the MG mount on the cupola is hilariously weak and they will break off before long.  As a nod to this, you get two MGs on the sprue, but still...wish Battlefront had through that through a little more...but overall, still a really, really great kit.


Once more a commander in the cupola is used to mark out the platoon command tank on the table
Very nice kits, although the MGs on the cupolas are a bit stupidly fiddly...

Love the deadly silhouette of this vehicle...

All that firepower!! As I said, thank goodness this conflict is just fictional...

And I can't resist some propaganda photos! Here are the vehicles together with the infantry painted in 2016.


The full panzer grenadier company, ready for action!
Now that they have  ride to take to battle, they really are "panzer" grenadiers
Infantry AA missile teams go along with the Gepards
These vehicles  added another 84 points to my tally. In terms of our Fawcett Avenue gaming, it was not so useful, as there are now a lot more West Germans on hand than we'll ever need for a game, but from a collection point of view it has been a lot of fun and I've loved painting up groups of 15mm AFVs again. Let's see how long this little Cold-War-Tank-Painting jag will last...

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Year's Game - Horus Heresy Siege of Terra!

We usually host a lunch and big game on New Year's Day each year. However, this year the schedules didn't quite work out for January 1, so we postponed the game until January 7.

Many of the Conscripts and their significant others were able to make it out for the lunch, a delicious roast pork loin with vegetables and salad prepared by the amazing Pam (in apron). After stuffing ourselves silly with food, we (eventually) retired downstairs to Conscript HQ where the terrain had been laid out for the game - a Horus Heresy extravaganza using the 40K 8th edition rules and the excellent codex material from the forums at http://heresy30k.invisionzone.com/login/


I further amortized the trench terrain by laying out an 8'x4' table for the Loyalists to defend. The board was 30K'd up a bit with slurm tanks, billboards, statuary, a comms mast, and some Gothic looking ruins, not to mention a bit of Conscript trademark scatter terrain...






Terra would be defended by Conscript Mike's excellent looking Imperial Fists...

...supported by Conscript Greg's superb Solar Auxilia.



"God Box 2.0" makes an appearance, along with the Solar Auxilia commander "Marshall Facecane".

Nasty Imperial Fists Terminator squad "supporting the front line" behind a slurm tanks :-)

First wave of Iron Warriors and World Eaters attackers roll on. The Traitor objectives were the tanks at centre left, the comms mast on the ridge, and the statue column at centre top.




There's not a ton that you might consider "broken" in 30K but if anything comes close, it's the Iron Warriors Siege Tyrants at top left...

Racks spit out two krak missiles (or 2d6 frag missiles!!) PER MODEL per shooting phase... that's a ton of hurt heading downrange.


Defending Terra all day really works up a thirst! Fortunately there are ample tanks around to feed the Slurm machine.

Iron Warriors reinforcements arrive, in the form of a large tactical squad and Leviathan Siege Dreadnought (ooooh yeah!)

Massive traitor firepower facing off against the newly arrived Imperial Fists Land Raider Armoured Proteus (top right).

Warriors hop out of their Rhinos ready to assault the trenches.

But then... oh crap... Imperial Knight arrives.

It's great fun to take off the top of the ridge and play in the tunnels underneath. Infil-traitors under the bunkers!

Loyalist Sicaran is taking fire as a Traitor Rhino moves to block off the tunnel entrance.

A good view of Mike's Contemptor and Land Raider.
 
Iron Warriors approaching the trenches. Solar Auxilia are tougher than they look, especially when overcharging their lasrifles.

Siege Tyrants look right at home, don't they?






Iron Warriors have taken the frontline trench!


Terminators scramble to interdict the Traitor Marines in the tunnels. Sadly they would fail their charge roll with a double 1 - not the only charge that was failed that afternoon either!

Sadly for the Traitors their assault just stalled as time was called. It has to be admitted that we seldom actually finish one of these huge game, but they sure are cool to look at! Lots of stuff blew up, and I think the game pointed out to both Mike and me what we need to do with our respective forces. Mike came out with a bit over 100 power levels and I think he realized that he needs more BIG GUNZ :-)

The Iron Warriors, on the other hand, can muster close to 200 power levels and lots of big guns, but I think I need to paint some more boots. Most of my points are tied up in the 10-man Siege Tyrant squad (44 power levels by itself!) and the Typhon represents 26 or 27 as well.

Anyway I think we all had a fun time having lunch with friends, and playing with some amazing toys on some beautiful terrain, and isn't that what this hobby is all about! So thanks to everybody for coming out, to Greg and Mike for bringing their toys, and to Conscript Frederick for taking some great pictures!