Wednesday, October 22, 2014

40K Battle Report - First Foray into Heresy

Well, as every reader of the blog well knows, Horus Heresy fever has bit us hard for the last year or so. Byron and Greg have been madly accumulating and painting Forge World resin Space Marines of various antique specifications, and I kid myself that my vintage all-metal Howling Griffons more-or-less qualify as combatants of the 30th millennium of man. They have MKII Rhinos for Pete's sake!

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to wheel out some of these models for a game. Greg came up with the backstory:

"A group of World Eaters, with a few Sons of Horus and Death Guard, are part of a small Crusade stub force that was re-assembling and re-fitting on Toxo IV. They were waiting for new heavy equipment to be delivered - all the other fully assembled units had gone off to Istvaan already - when word of the “developments” on Istvaan arrives.

They move to seize control of the planet.

These “traitors” lack much heavy equipment, so one of their first objectives is a raid on a Planetary Defence Force armoury to steal some tanks. With the support of a lone Sicarian tank, they assault the PDF armoury - their goal will be to activate various tanks and armoured vehicles found there and get them off the table in one piece. A reaction force of Ultramarines also stationed on Toxo IV (the Howling Griffons company) arrives to block their plan."

We set up the opposing forces diagonally in deployment areas 24" apart. I chose a list from the new Forge World "Crusade" army book; two squads of 10 Marines in Rhinos, heavy weapon squad of 5 with lascannons, squad of 5 Terminators, a 7 or 8 man Destroyer squad with jump packs, and a Land Raider Armoured Proteus.

Greg and Byron lined up several giant squads of Space Marines with ridiculously broken weapon combos :-) plus a Legion Sicaran battle tank, a squad of Marines with multimeltas, some guys with Volkite Calivers (nasty), etc...

Byron did a very nice job on the Sicaran tank. Unfortunately its weaponry wasn't quite strong enough to damage the Land Raider, but that turned out not to be a huge problem...

Melta-dudes...

I advanced my line of troops (upper left) trying to refuse a flank and block the melta-goons from getting shots at my Raider. At the same time I dropped the Destroyer squad and Terminators into the backfield to try to hose off the melta guys.

This is about half of what I was facing to my front - pretty strong stuff!

I had some success against the green guys, nearly wiping out the squad, but my own forces were suffering heavily. It was a straight kill-points game so I needed to kill squads, but was falling behind...

Destroyers and Terminators were wiped out. 2 more VPs for Greg and Byron...

Greg's command squad rolled up another of my Marine squads - +1 more VP for the bad/good guys.

But a clash of Titans was imminent as my command squad disembarked from the Raider...


In the middle the two opposing commanders clashed. Artificer armour with 2+ save and the new power weapon rules (AP3) meant the combat was loooong and drawn out. My boss eventually killed Greg's, salvaging a VP for me as a warlord kill. I think they both got so tired that Greg's boss just gave up.

Gilles doing his impression of Greg's traitor warlord
In the end the Griffons got trounced, about 7VPs to 3. Volkite Calivers are nasty but the special SM Legion bolter rule (double shots) and 20-man squads are even nastier. Obviously, escalation in the form of Reaver Titans is in order...
 
Thanks to Conscripts Greg and Byron for bringing out their cool new toys and to Greg for the scenario. The fun factor of 40K is almost entirely dependent on your opponents and the spirit in which the game is played, and we are lucky to all be of similar minds on that!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DAK 20mm Flak Gun in 15mm

Afrika Korps 2cm Flak from Battlefront - 15mm figures
 A scary little support weapon for my 15mm DAK troops - a 2cm flak gun with four crew.  The model and figures are from Battlefront. 

Not as nice as Peter Pig, but they still look the business
Of course AA weapons are pretty silly for a skirmish game, but if you are like me, you immediately see these things and imagine their sinister application to the poor ground troops.  Firing a heavy shell at a high rate of fire, weapons that do bad things to aircraft do terrible things to the ground pounders.

I did half of the crew on separate bases so they could be removed as casualties, and also so the gun itself could fit into modeled defensive positions on the table
The quality of the Battlefront castings are nowhere near the quality of the Peter Pig sculpts.  But the Battlefront castings have a quirky character all their own - they seem kind of lanky, and low on long-term hope. It looks right for the setting, even if they are not as nice at the Peter Pig figures.

Watching the skies...but likely to open fire on infantry too

The 2cm gun itself is a fine model. This sucker will make a fine objective for skirmish games, as well as a fairly horrifying participant in the ground skirmishes for rules like Chain of Command, Bolt Action, and Dallas' home-grown Blitzkrieg rules. Heads up, Desert Rats...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mayhem at Oosterbeek - 28mm Paras vs. Waffen SS Battle Report

Last Thursday Conscript Greg suggested we roll out a 28mm WW2 battle set around Operation Market Garden. As I have both British Paratroopers and Waffen-SS that haven't been exercised in awhile, I thought this was a splendid idea, and deputised Greg to design a scenario... :-)

He obliged, and came up with a good one - a Waffen-SS armoured column is driving on the Airbourne battalion HQ in Oosterbeek. The British have sent an ambush force to destroy or slow down the Germans.

British forces are three sections of paratroopers, plus two PIAT teams, a six-pounder AT gun, and platoon command section. The Germans have two sections of infantry each in a Sdkfz.251/1, a Marder SP gun, a Panther tank (!) and a nasty Sdkfz. 7/1 tractor with mounted quad flak gun. The German objective was to exit as many vehicles as possible off the opposite short edge (top left in the photo above).

The battlefield showed evidence of previous fighting. We decided to use our home rules - Blitzkrieg! - both for ease of play and speed.

Burning Pzkpfw. Mk.IV and Sdkfz.251/1. The Germans deployed on the short edge at the top of the photo and the Brits got to deploy in "ambush" - basically, on their turn they could decide to appear anywhere on the table in area terrain at least 12" away from a German model, or if not in terrain, at least 18" from a German model, and out of sight.

The German column rolls onto the table. Hugh and I took control of the German forces while Frederick and Keegan rolled with the Paras. Our other Sdkfz.251 moved out to the left, trying to restrict British ambush deployment as much as we could.

Enemy spotted - the Panzergrenadiers jump out of their vehicle and prepare to engage the paratroopers in the wood at top.


 Paratrooper section deployed in the woods.

Meanwhile back in the column, the 7/1 with flakvierling follows up the Marder.

On the other side of the table there appeared the six-pounder which lit up the halftrack. Surviving Panzergrenadiers suffered from British rifle fire from the woods too.

The 7/1 cut around the farmhouse and moved up to engage the paras in the woodline.

SS-Panzergrenadiers prepare to make a suicidal charge against the few remaining paras in the woods.

Meanwhile, on the other flank, another section deployed next to the six-pounder (just out of sight behind the small tree at centre). It also nailed the Marder on the road.

Hugh's Panzergrenadiers suffered heavily from their fire as well.

As the clock ticked down towards the 8-turn time limit the Germans decided that it was time to get moving. The 7/1 and Panther moved at maximum speed towards their objective.

No problems for the Panther, as the only British heavy weapons that could touch it were well out of range (PIATs) or knocked out (six-pounder).

Not so the 7/1... being a softskin vehicle and open-topped it was quite vulnerable to small arms fire.

Caught in enfilade from two British units the crew and passengers (the SS command section) were wiped out by concentrated .303 fire :-(

So the Germans got one vehicle off the board in a tough slog. I really like the Blitzkrieg! rules for pick-up games like this. There's not a ton of planning required and the game rattles along well. The rules are old-skool IGO-UGO, but use a "priority" die roll so the sides can flip over as to who goes first in a turn. This can provide for enjoyable fire-and-movement assaults or conversely, a breather and momentum shift in the battle. I've been planning to clean up the ruleset for self-publication with one of those cool Web-based companies... maybe over the wintertime!

Friday, October 17, 2014

DAK in 15mm - Afrika Korps from Peter Pig

15mm DAK ready for action in the desert!
 Continuing to work on some miniatures and models from the Western Desert/Africa theatre of WW2. Here is a platoon of Afrika Korps troops to go up against the Desert Rats from my last post.  The figures are all Peter Pig, based individually for skirmish games such as Chain of Command, Bolt Action and our own Blitkzkrieg rules.

DAK squad with a pair of MG34 teams

Different base shapes were used as before to denote different ranks.  The hex base marks the platoon commander/senior leader, and the square bases are for NCOs/junior leaders.  I tried to mix up the colours a bit on the figures, with some wearing more faded fatigues than others.  I find that where the 8th Army soldiers have an orderly, button-downed look to them (even blasted in the desert sun), the Afrika Korps have a sort of mixed, almost slack/proto-hipster appearance. 

The NCO is on the square base at the front
This lot is based around a platoon pack from Peter Pig, which I augmented with some firing poses from their early war German line in order to get some fellows wearing helmets into the mix.

You can see a few other goodies in the back of this photo that I will deal with in a later post :)
The platoon pack came with six (!) MG34 teams...although I suppose this would not be unusual for German platoons later in the war, I didn't realize they were handing them out like candy to Rommel's lads in the desert.  I suppose this was a prelude to the situation the overall German army would face in Europe - the extra MGs were needed to make up for the fact that the smaller platoons could be otherwise short of firepower against bulkier/more numerous opponents. (EDIT - see comments below - apparently this number of LMGs was much more common from the outset of the war, at least in mobile units - thanks Arrigo!)

Six LMGs is a lot of firepower...this would certainly be a tough lot to deal with in a Chain of Command game.

Platoon commander, spare NCO (who should probably get a hex base too, as he would be a senior NCO) and AT rifle team

Overall, there are three squads, each with two MG34s, in this unit. There is also an AT rifle team, making 34 troops in all.  As always, the Peter Pig figures are a real joy to paint. There is a ton of detail and character in these castings.  I'm looking forward to a skirmish game set in the desert! Stay tuned for a few more desert-themed goodies up next.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sedition Wars Project - Terrain

After my last post about table top Sedition Wars, I was really hot to complete some of the terrain sub-projects I have in the queue.  Sedition Wars, and other close tactical sci-fi skirmish games like Infinity, need a LOT of terrain. This prevents the game from degenerating into a static war of attrition, as the sides hunker down afraid to expose themselves.

Accordingly, I spent the balance of the summer working on various terrain pieces. Most of the 18 finished models illustrated are laser cut MDF kits from Conscript Byron's company, SG2 Creations.

Possibly my favourite terrain piece to model and paint was a two-story sushi restaurant, seen below (a couple of my Sedition Wars figs are in the shot, for scale).

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The roof and floors come apart, to allow figures to be placed inside.

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The building was painted mostly with Army Painter spray paints, and lightly weathered with Vallejo pigments. See here for the inspiration for this structure.

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Here's an SG2 prototype for a 3-story building.

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Again, the roof and floors come apart. The AC unit makes a useful handle to pull the roof off.

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Like Dallas, I also picked up a set of 6 shipping containers. They're labelled with the brands of various evil corporations from TV and the movies, downloaded from the internet.

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Warning labels were free downloads from Toposolitario.

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A large terrain block is this mall made from 4 separate Modern Strip Mall Sections. Put together they are 2 feet wide. I used warmer colours for the buildings. The various retail signs were brand logos downloaded from the internet. As for the choice of retail establishments, I remember the movie Demolition Man (Sandra Bullock: "...Taco Bell was the only restaurant to survive The Franchise Wars...So, now all restaurants are Taco Bell!"), and I figured that in the future people will still need estheticians, fashion, and booze.

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The two end buildings each have a different side window option.

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The roofs come off; the "supports" are the handles for removal. For now, I plan on keeping the mall furniture-free (except for certain strategic points), for ease of play. However, various companies make futuristic furniture, computers, shelving, etc. in an appropriate scale.

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I used leftover ladders pieces from the shipping containers for roof access. Other small posters and signs were from Toposolitario and the ones Byron used for his 28mm buildings.

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I also finished 6 Quonset huts from FSG's Dust Tactics Airfield Accessory Pack. Dust Tactics is a Weird War II game in 1/48 scale, close enough for my purposes. Zenithal highlighting brings out the curved shape of these structures.

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These are injected-mold plastic models, with some nice details.

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The Sedition Wars Project will be set aside briefly in order for me to paint my Space Station Terrain Project (I finally get to re-create the Death Star Trench run!). However, thereafter I shall return to the Strain and more tabletop terrain. I have also purchased some other kits in foam and  MDF, including a mag-lev train from BP Laser. All of this will go onto a Hawk Wargames Urban Battlefield terrain board.

It's been a year since I started this project. I have been lucky to be able to stay focused on it. There are so many other models to paint!