Wednesday, November 29, 2017

More lead

Well, its probably not cast in lead any more (health and safety and all that) but I'm an old school kind of guy who's still alive despite the crap I have worked with over the years.

Arriving this week fresh from Reading some new releases to the range.
First up, for the Austrians, some M47's. These tanks served in many theatres in World War 2 in the German army (if Hollywood is to be believed...) and in the 1950's were a main tank for NATO, serving with a few armies. The lasted into the 1980's with Austria and Spain.
So onto the photographs. The HMG is a separate part which is crisply cast and fits easily into its mounting hole.
 And a shot of the model painted (in Khaki drab rather than Olive drab as it seemed to look more correct for Austrians)
  I am being awfully cruel blowing it up this large. For me it has captured the M47 quite nicely

Better news is that the Old centurion model has been replaced with a new sculpt as well, and again a great leap in detail.this is  mk5/2 I think, as the Centurion marks were all rather confusing (and the British defence industry seemed to making things up on the fly on the production lines)

 There is also another version with an updated turret with all the 1980's mod cons (searchlights etc)

And with some paint on, it looks much better.

I've been considering how to do a 1980's army with Centurions. Its a toss up between the Dutch (AMX 13's in the AT coys and the YP408) and the Danes (with a similar paint job to the British army).
The Danes would also be an opponent for a Polish amphibious 'defence' division.
last, but possibly the most useful, a wheeled 120mm mortar hot off the press (I'm not even sure what the code is). Many modern armies used towed 120mm mortars and they really all look the same.

Again a nice wee model with crew, and something I shall buy more of to replace my current Warpac 120mm mortars.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Here comes the cavalry

For some odd reason I've collected a few reconnaissance battalions from several nations. I guess its because you get a bit of TOE and equipment variety in the MSH lists that's missing from the largely vanilla main units.

Tonight I thought I would run through my US cavalry units. the TOE for these changed quite a bit between the early 1970's and mid 1980's. Models are Heriocs and Ros (of some vintage)
In the mid 1970's the US cavalry units were stuck with 2 relatively useless vehicles in the M114 scout and the M551 light tank. In 1975ish they finally ditched theM114 and replaced it with more M551's (which at least had a decent gun, even if it threw out the optics and electronics when it was fired). This brought up the M551 numbers in a platoon from 3 to 6. Each troop had 18 M551, 3 M113 scouts and 3 M106 mortars.My chosen unit for this is 1st/4th Cavalry(known by the nickname "quarter horse") which was the divisional cavalry squadron for the 1st Infantry division, VII corps. It was also the last unit in USAEUR to trade in its M551's in the middle of 1979.
3 troops and I have not added in a SHQ yet. I also need to do some work on the bases

When the M551's were turned in they were replaced with 12 either M60A3's (V corps) or M60A1's (VII corps). 3 M150's (or later M901's again in V corps) were added. The chosen unit for this incarnation is the 3rd/12th Cavalry ( no idea what the nickname for this unit is) which was the divisional cavalry for the 3rd Armoured division (for which I have the 1st brigade as well). For this unit I have also added the 4th squadron which was equipped with helicopters from the late 1970's. 8 AH-1's, 8 OH-58C and 4 UH-1's with an infantry platoon. No idea what use you might find for this on the table.

I've also made an error model wise by using the M113 ACAV (models from GHQ) version for my scouts. it was invented for use in Vietnam, but was never issued to units in Europe (if you think I'm wrong, please provide photographic evidence).

In mid 1983 the M60 was replaced by the M1 (105mm version) starting with the 11thArmoured cavalry regiment. I've modeled the 1st squadron ("Ironhorse)". Again I need to replace the M113ACAV stands with plain M113's.

The 2nd and 11 Armoured Cavalry regiment squadrons had a 4th troop which was a tank company. they also got a battalion of artillery in M109's.The M1's were delivered to Europe in US forest green paint only (despite what another wargaming company might have you believe), and did not receive any camouflage painting until the NATO 3 colour scheme was introduced in 1987 (what was the same for the M2/M3). The M1's are by Scotia (as I don't think Heroics and Ros make an original  M1, just the M1A1)

Friday, October 13, 2017

West German late 1960's

As I have purchased some SPZ12-3 for another project for which they were replaced, it seems a waste not to do something with them.
From my copy of Bruce Rea-Taylors army lisst for the 1950's and 60's I can create the following.

1968 Panzer grenadier brigade. This is only good to the early 1970's when the Marder was introduced.

Brigade HQ

2 Battalions BHQ SPZ12-3 ICT
1 SPZ 52-3 120mm SP mortar
3 coy 4 SPZ12-3 ICT

1 Battalion BHQ 1 MBT
4 coy 4 MBT
MBT may be either Leopard 1 or M48A3

1 battalion 1 AOP
4 M109G (plain M109)

At Coy
2 JPZ Rackette
4 JPZ Kannone

Recce coy
2 SPZ 11-2

Engineer coy
1 AVLB (M48 or Leopard)

The reserve units are possibly more interesting, though I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to run a battalion of what are essentially STUG's in MSH. this list is good to the late 1970's

Brigade HQ Inf/Truck

3 Battlions BHQ in SPZ 12-3
1 120mm Mortar/truck
1 coy 3 SPZ 12-3 ICT (may swap for M113)
2 coy 3 inf/truck

1 Battalion BHQ SPZ 12-3
1coy 2JPZ rakette
3 coy 4 JPZ Kanone

1 battalion 1 AOP
4 105mm or 15mm 5 M114

Just for completeness I'll include the Panzer or Pz Gr divisional recon battalion.

2 Coy
5 SPZ 11-2

1 Coy
2 SPZ 11-2 ICT
1 SPZ 11-2 81mm Mortar

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

On the trail

There has been a meme running round the wargaming blogs sphere of late about how we should all get better at project management, to avoid project creep and ensure that we don't wind up with piles of lead that we will take to our graves (creating a stack of mini toxic waste dumps in the process).
personally I think its a nice idea, but fat chance of it happening as wargamers as a breed are restrained and sensible creatures when confronted with the latest models.

This was going to be a discussion on what I should buy next army wise, but rethinking it this is a bit boring really. Instead I will go through a bit of research I've been putting together in the last couple of days.

I've been interested in the Austrian army fixed fortifications for a while now. One of my sources of information was this document, a PDF for the fire and fury rule set. Now, while the lists are possibly the worst format I've ever seen (and I've created lists from the DBM medieval German army list), there are some gems buried in there. On page 10 under the panzer battalion notes it suggests that there was still a battalion of M47 tanks in the early 1980's. Initially I was very skeptical of this, as I knew that the Austrian army had brought the M60 in the mid 1960's. However it seems that they only purchased 120 tanks, which is only enough for 2 battalions plus some spares and training tanks. given that there were 3 brigades in the only regular division it seems possible that the 3rd tank battalion was indeed still M47's. good enough form me to buy a battalions worth.

Its hard not to be tempted by the fortification units as well. while the Centurion and M47 turrets make sense,  the Charioteer turrets with a 20 prd gun are just too tempting.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Next options.

As always after a prolonged session of gaming one gets keen again and starts looking for the next armies to build. While Luke was here we went through my Czech collection to sort out what i needed to A) complete the Czechs to his exacting standard and B) add the Poles as well.
I've now found that I've lost the piece of paper somewhere.  I've also been going through the Austrians to sort out bits I'm missing (85mm AT guns bits for HQ's etc) and painting up some bits for the West Germans in the late 960's, as I have a stack of SPZ 12-3APC's that I was going to use as Austrian APC's before H&R released their new range.

I also received a purchase the day after Luke left, a 1960's wheeled recce regiment for my Brits.

Saladins, Saracens and variations on the Ferret ( it did remind me that I should really get a Fox recce regiment for the Brit territorials). This has lead to my main problem which is: what base green did I use for my existing British army when I painted it 15 odd years ago. I expect that others are well organized and have these things written down in their modeling diary's. I on the other hand just tend to grab the paint off the shelf that looks about right, and I do carry a wide selection of greens.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Question time

From the peanut galley refined followers of this blog.

"Great games chaps, what are the octagonal bases in the 1970's game?"

"There identical, but the one on the left is a bit more identical than the one on the right"

 Back when I firsty started playing the Spearhead family of rules I struggled with the Battalion HQ's. despite being forces to ride the command arrow they could be found leading attacks on the flanks, or engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in decidedly odd positions. Adding jeeps and recon afv's to the stands did not improve things. So, I lopped the corners off which has solved the problem for me. The sides are still parallel to the command arrow, but I can spot the stand from anywhere on the table.Even Dr U-S has come to the conclusion that I might have something.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wrapping up

Dr U-S has headed off after a week of gaming. we fitted in four games of MSH, one SH game, two big battle DBA and a couple of day trips as well. Now I'm not the best at summarising battles, and Luke has been doing it on his blog. So I'm  just going to add some photos that I took.

All MSH games werwe set in the 1970's for something a bit different. less ATGW, more RCL's. 
game three was Britsh vs Polish

Ellements of 4RTR battlegroup face off against a Polish attack.
From a different angle featuring some awesome combat dice. An M113 RCL subs in for an FV432 with WOMBAT

Despite the crap dice the Polish battalion failed a moral check and evaporated.

The 4th game was my first attempt to run a Czech army vs a US force from the 3rd infantry division. I should have got some shots of this game as my M551's made their debut.
Lats game featured some West Germans again agaist the Czechs. The West Germans are an expensive list and I managed to get 28 stands on the table.I used Leopard 1A3's as I have some questions about MSH's dates for thermal imaging on tanks (Chieftain Stillbrew for example).

The view from the turret
And theres more where that came from
 The small built up areas represents a small village or farm and counts as woods for cover and spotting purposes. Marder conbat teams in a wood are very hard to shift (Def 7) and so the Czechs were pretty much 6's to suppress.So the attackers decided to get stuck in.

Fly my pretties....
Close enough for you?

I lost the game at this point by only managing to inflict one casualty in two turns across the whole board.

So, overall a good extended gaming session. I've been quite happy with the performance of my terrain boards. They do take a fair bit of work to do. However, it has been commented on by other local players that we as gamers are quite happy to spend a sizable amount of time and money on buying and painting armys, and then play on a collection of tatty felt. I feel that its a good investment. The saving in set up time alone (less than five minutes) is worth it, let alone the improved visual aspect

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Public service announcement

What not to throw when firing with 4 stands at 1 target at +3.

We now return you to your scheduled program.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Time for some gaming.

With Dr U-S's arrival it was time for some gaming. but first some finishing touches. 

The town sectors are the mk 1 version of an idea I've had to make them more "playable". The building roofs are all the same height so that stands sit flat on the top. using smaller scaled buildings means that the town sectors actually look like town and not a lone farmhouse. I'm quite happy with this an so I'll have to make some masters and molds for the mk2 version.

And so it was on to the first game, Russians vs the US in the mid 1970's. The good doctor discovers that setting up to defend is not as easy as it looks. However my tactical and dice skills handed him a victory. He did attempt to steal defeat (his regimental artillery rolled 7 ones for its first 12 dice).

One Us battalion attempts to flank the Russians in the woods, while the second generously provides some target practice for the regimental anti-tank units.
US attack being swamped by the Russian conter attack following it.
 This game was played at the normal MSH groundscale which worked fine for us.

The second game was the debut of my WW2 Russian cavalry division. 100 stands strong under the scenario system. Cracking along at 9" and ignoring terrain, they were into the Germans surprisingly fast
Turn 1
Turn 2. Yee Haaaaa
It was an interesting 1st outing and with some tactical tweaking (you can't tweak the list as you get the whole division at 650 points) should be very hard to face on the table. Simple stuff like "when should one get off his horse?"

The terrain squares worked really well, with the second board setup providing different tactical challenges to the first.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Terrain tiles IX

Further work over the last week and I'm now up to 6 boards.

The last 2 boards in the current batch are behind for a variety of reasons. First up I could not find the rare earth magnets in their last location. After turning that area of the garage over twice, they were located hanging of my bike brake cable. Next I drilled the holes for the magnets, carefully arranged the orientations so that they matched the previously made boards. Failed on this point and have had to re glue 1/2 the magnets in.
I managed to pick up some Coir mats cheap and I've been knocking out more forests.

I think I'm still on target....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Terrain tiles VIII

Its time to start adding the woods. At the moment I'm recycling the forest blocks that I already have. Some of these are decidedly odd shapes but I'm managing to fit them in.

 My plan is to make the gaps where the roads cross the ridge lines wide enough to fit a stand in. while it doesn't look quite right, it is more practical from a playability point of view.

 So, with all the forests added here is where I'm at tonight. Luke had a mix of 3 and 4 roads off the board edges, but I'm going to use 4 on all the boards. I also need to come up with something better than just paint as it looks a bit manky up close.

What I'm currently pondering is how I managed to spin out these forests out over a 6 by 4 board. Obviously not enough terrain used on the boards.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Terrain tiles VII

I find that the hardest bit about any project is the first steps. Mainly because most of my projects involve a sizable portion of 'winging it'. Also its very hard to continue on a project when its not playing out how you envisaged it. Fortunately at the moment I'm liking what I see.

I've done a small amount of preliminary planning for each of the terran squares (while waiting for instrument results. Real life is not like CSI at all), but I tend to go with what I feel would be interesting terrain to fight over. One thing with my system that I feel is a plus is that it gives long ridge lines, which I have not seen before in Spearhead battles.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Terrain tiles VI

One of the problems with living in a provincial city in New Zealand is that sometimes you just don't get the range of stuff that you might get in a larger center. We have just lost one of our 2 model shops (both were good but for different things). So I was after 10mm foam core board but could only find 5mm thick stuff. Its also more expensive than I remember. So a wee bit of a rethink and time for a trial. Using the 5mm foamboard for the underlying topography in 2 layers which I think will work better than 10mm would have done.

I didn't plan too much, as I'm more of a just cut and go guy. I did "plan" the corners. The hills upper cosmetic edges are 15cm from the corner, and the first and second levels are 10cm and 5cm in respectively.

With the hills in place (but not attached as No More Nails does take some time to dry) it does look interesting. I'm going to replace the town sectors with something a bit more "town like" and add more woods etc.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Terrain tiles V

With 4 weeks before Dr U-S arrives I though I would have a bit of a break with tradition and actually get the terrain done before he arrived. Its a good time saving plan, but has the negative in that he's quite good at making interesting bits of terrain.

After a fair bit of research on the central and south eastern bits of Germany and Austria gave me some base ideas. Generaly hills are covered in forrests. Streams run through the valleys and are the only place you find hedgerows. Appartently in the 1970's Germany went to mechanised farming which nesesitated the removal of the hedgerows. Odd but true.
The strat of the first board. I need a fresher pot of paint to make the roads look better. the trees might ned to be darker as well.

The second board is just started.

I was going to do some hills tonight, but don't have the bits that I want, so I'll have to make a detour tomorrow on the way home from work.

I've come up with some thoughts on town sectors taht I'll have to try this weekend.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Going forward

I've been pondering ordering more lead. Now normally this isn't a problem as I'll just add to the SH or MSH armies. And over the last couple of weeks I've been kicking round East German and Hungarian army list, and quite honestly I'm not stoked as they essentially are Russians with different kit. And not flash kit either. Their only bonus would be a much larger army on the table which would require more killing. Dr U-S seems to make this work well with his Czechs (which have the added bonus of the vast number of May Day fireworks projectors or MRL's to the rest of you).

So what else would I do? I've always enjoyed playing Napoleonics using Volley and Bayonet rules. While not having had any experience I'm also interested in the American civil war. Likewise Great War Spearhead.

So, while I continue pondering (and the clock is ticking...) I have taken some photos of one of my other collections. This time round its my early WW2 1:300 air combat collection, mostly Battle of Britain.

 The RAF. Hurricanes, Spitfires, Defiants (who doesn't love a bad idea on the tabletop) and  couple of unpainted Blenheim 1F's

 The Italians. Cr42's, G50's and Br 20's. At the back some FAA Sea Gladiators.

And the Germans. Me109's (and there was one Geschwader that used white noses), Me 100's, Do17's, He 111's, Ju88's and some Stukas. I see that there's also more Ju88's and Stukas unpainted in the bag.

I have previously played using Mustangs and Messerschmitt's rules, but I don't think that these work well for early war. they are also limiting in how many models you can control. Ideally I would like to ba able to control 6-8 planes each. I also want to get hold of a copy of "Battle of Britain " when it is finally released from PSC.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On the workbench

A Skype call with Dr U-S at the weekend indicates that he will be in country in a couple of months. This has lead me to thinking about just how to beat the Czech monster. As all my other plans have been beaten by my appalling dice throwing common sense would suggest I should just surrender to save time. However I appear to be an optimist (or 'simple' as one of my workmates points out frequently) so the quest continues.

Current plans revolve around one of my favorite weapons (and possibly the best tank gun ever invented), the British L7 105mm gun. However to face the hordes one needs a cheap mounting.

Que the second battalion of M48A2GA2. cheap and with enough armour to ignore that pesky Czech against CED weapons, but its a bridge I can cross when I come to it.

Friday, May 26, 2017

On the Workbench

A while ago I purchased some of the new modern Soviet infantry from H&R.
These ones are in action poses.

 I'm having trouble paint these at the moment. Not because I don't like them, but because I've painted several thousand of the old style figures (all on 10 man strips) and you get into a rhythm. However I think that these are going to be more dynamic on the bases. I'll have to buy some more APC's to use them (possibly BTR-50's).

I also brought some of the SPG-9's which is a 73mm RCL firing rounds similar to the main gun of the BMP-1. This is present in all battalion anti-tank platoons in Warsaw Pact infantry units.

A close up to show off my crap painting

The only way that you could buy these previously get these was in M07 Soviet airborne troops, which was a bit of a pain. I've included a picture of the older model for comparison.

On the table, you couldn't tell the difference.

I now need to buy some Sagger strips. I'm going to mix my AT platoons despite what the MSH lists say.  I still think that there should be a mixed stand with an AT and an ATGW factor.The current system doesn't work at a battalion level.
I also really like what Andy has done with his new releases and being able to buy different strips of support weapons. Its a pain for him, but I guess he can just toss the unused metal back into the melter.

I must look into the new East German figures as its another army (faction I think is the new phrase that I have tolearn) I would like to have. Megolomania knows no bounds....

Saturday, March 11, 2017

On the Workbench

After the latest wargamers care package from H&R, I thought I would post a few pictures of the workbench.

 Austrian APC's and infantry. I had forgotten how much I hate painting infantry.

 Who couldn't resist jeeps with RCL's, For the army's too poor to afford missiles (or for legal reasons)

Ram Kangaroos with infantry added. There is only space for 3 figures even with a trim at the base. I must work out how to fit them into a list.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Terrain Tiles IV. the proof of the pudding....

......Is in the gaming.

I took the terrain squares to the club this afternoon for a game of Spearhead.
First up, they went together OK (well just about) on one table. There was a sizable overlap which meant that there was no leaning on the table. There were no serious accidents.

My opponent Jon asked to be Germans. I knocked up 2 different defend lists and a German list I had prevously used here. This one has Pz Iv's. Keith seems to be the only person I know that likes PzIV's. I brought my Russian Cavalry division as I've never used it on table, and as an afterthought packed my US army if I had to defend (I have yet to think out a defend list for the Russians).

So of course I am defending.

2 infantry battalions with M36 TD's and M15/M16 AA as infantry choppers. A tank battalion at the rear completed the deployment.
Deployment on the right flank. Infantry battalion at right top, with the tank battalion bottom left.

 Left flank with most of the support troops deployed forward.

 Jons list had 4 battalions of ~11 stands. 1 Pz IV H, 1 Pz grenadier and 2 infantry. His plan was a frontal attack across the front. He used the infantry units on the flank and the armoured units in the center.
 As the game developed on the left the german infantry launched an all out assault on the US positions. The US tank battalion attempted to envelope the center thrust at the bottom right.

 On the right the Germans were flanked by the US infantry who eventually prevailed in close combat. With the movement of the US amoured battalion the center was open for the panzer granadiers

  In the center the german armoured attack was flanked by the US armoured battalion. Lead by an M4 Jumbo (US players, don't lead your tank units with anything else) and aided by some bad luck with the dice on the German end the Pz IV's died as usual.

I forgot to record the rest of the game, but the German infantry units were eventually broken by the US infantry. For a change my dice were not abysmal and I didn't manage to slaughter my troops.

Takeway lessons? 4 small German battalions in an attack list doesn't work that well, and Pz IV's are crap.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Terrain Tiles III

I have been slowly assembling the tiles. There have been hick ups along the way, mostly with magnets placed the wrong way round. Always check these things before final assembly. Easy to say, almost impossible to follow.
I now have 4 tiles that fit together. The attachment is 'snug' without being anything to write home about. However I think it will suffice for gaming.

Now to put some stuff on top

Saturday, February 18, 2017

At the painting bench

With my new re-found eye sight, projects have started moving across the bench again.

First up the Russian horde required infantry.  I have had a packet around for a while, and had some SMG troops left from the Cavalry division.
I did some deep thinking about how many figures to put on a base (maybe 10 minutes). This is a balance between what looks good and what I either have lying round, or what my shallow pockets can afford. The number finally arrived at was 7. On the other hand, HMG stands (on the left) always look odd with just one gun team on them, so they have 2 plus an observer. There are also a few of engineer stands and some 82mm mortars to finish up.

 A closer look, though I tend to discourage this.

 Also in the basing stage were some H&R German SPG', in this case a PAK 40 mounted on a French chassis.

The British stuff has been sitting finished for a while and needs to go back into the boxes.

To finish I'd just like to say that I'm now "on" to Andy at H&R's cunning new sales tactic.  Orders can take up to 2 weeks to dispatch, which is quite understandable for a smaller setup with more important demands on the owners time. However this allows the chance to think "oh I forgot to order that", which is something that we have all done.Now we have the chance to add to the latest order, which I now note has doubled in size from 2 weeks ago when I first made it.