Sunday, 29 September 2013

With Our Backs to the Wall

Since the start of August I have been unable to play any games as I was finishing off my MA dissertation. It's all changed now and I am able to get back to playing, so Ninjasaurus Rex came over for our first game in ages. I decided I wanted to try out Square Bashing 2nd Edition again, even after a disappointing first game of it back in April, but I'd also finished the casualty half bases and wanted to try them out to see if they improved the game any. I had been encouraged on TMP to stick with the game and as I'd put a lot of work into it already, I took this opportunity. Ninjasaurus and I had also discussed various ways to mark out the board and came upon an idea of using sewing thread to make the 6 inch squares. It looks a lot better than using the counters I used before:

It's easily done, insert map pins in the side of the board and thread the cotton across the top of the table using the pins to hold it in place. I had marked the edges of the board at 6 inch points to make it easier to line up the squares.

Anyway, His Nibs arrived and we set up. It was a quick game set up, meaning the British attacker (me) had 620 points against the German defender (him) with 450 points. We were playing a 1918 game, probably during the 100 days campaign where the Allies had the Germans on the run. The OOBs were as follows:

10 x Regular Battalions
2 x Professional Battalions
2 x Heavy Tanks
1 x Light Tank
3 x Field Gun
1 x Higher Command

6 x Regular Battalions
6 x Machine Guns
6 x Field Guns
1 x Higher Command

I set up with the idea of a heavy central advance against the crossroads and mansion objectives (indicated by the white counters) and a lesser flanking move against the hill and woods objectives (on the left hand side and right hand side respectively). Ninjasaurus set up with a thin screen of mutually supporting units in most of the scenery.

First moves went well, my central units moved up to the broken ground whilst the Germans on the crossroads readied themselves for the attack.

The British line moved forward as one, and assaults went in against the woods (bottom of the picture) and the crossroads.

On the crossroads a single German battalion faced my Professional Indian battalion, another regular battalion and a heavy tank:

To the left two battalions (the other professional one indicated by the red base) assaulted two machine guns emplaced in the ruined buildings. Some of my units got caught up in the central rough ground and only the Whippet and a supporting battalion was able to make a move against the mansion objective.

Fortunate dice rolling meant that I damaged one machine gun and forced them both out of the buildings with no damage to my two units.

A similar story occurred at the crossroads, I lost half a base in the assault but forced the German defenders back to their own lines and captured the objective!

The mansion fell very quickly as well, it seemed I was on a roll!

A roll that ended very quickly in the assault on the right hand wood objective. I took heavy casualties and was unable to gain a foothold in the trees.

The Germans didn't take any of these losses lying down and quickly gathered for a counter attack on the mansion, but British pluck held them off, although they managed to damage the Whippet (red marker).

The story was different at the crossroads, a concerted assault saw the objective back in German hands and the Indians and the regulars driven back.

However, a heavy tank evened the score as it trundled up the road to face the Germans.

On the left side of the board the British soldiers and supporting tank had finally reached the German lines and assaulted the hill objective.

The crossroads was back in British hands with the support of the heavy tank.

Meanwhile, back at the hill, the British attack was desultory and gained me nothing except casualties when a German assault from down the hill pushed my battalions back.

Hard fighting at the crossroads dealt out more casualties to the Germans.

The situation about half way through the game was that I had massive gains in the centre, but desultory results on the flanks.

The German defenders in the centre were on the back foot and I kept up the hammer blows which pushed them further back to their start lines.

The German centre collapsed completely, even the Higher Command had been forced from the table. It was pretty secure here now for me.

If only things had been similar on the flanks, the British were pushing against the German defence but gaining nothing.

And the casualties mounted in front of the woods from dug in machine guns and a tenacious German defence. My morale collapsed and the two battalions fled from the field in a rout.

The German point of view of the central collapse. British units were running amuck in the German supply lines.

The defence line around the crossroads was shattered and could offer very little resistance to the British battalions.

Yet the Germans still held their own in front of the hill objective.

However, because of the German central collapse, help was on its way through the woods and buildings in the form of a Whippet and four battalions.

The story was the same on the other flank, the wood was attacked from the flank.

But time was ticking down... The game timer ended the game before I could make an impression on either flank and it was all over.

Final situation photos:

I had captured two of the objectives in the centre, but the German flanks had held on.

The German casualties are gathered in the bottom right of the picture, below the rear table edge line. They had lost thee full battalions, three guns and three machine guns.

So, we managed to finish the game this time around and I also found that the game is excellent. My opinion on Square Bashing 2nd Edition has totally changed, we played for nearly five hours and it flew by. We both said that we were totally immersed in the game which proves Peter Pig is doing something right. The game-play flowed really well and we had a definite outcome, although some of that might have had to do with not being massively hungover whilst playing...

After totting up the victory points I had 85 to his 44, meaning a difference of 41 or a Breakthrough Victory, just like the British army did during the 100 Day Campaign in 1918.

I'm already looking forward to my next game of Square Bashing!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Roland CII Wip Pt.2

This model Roland CII is progressing at a nice rate and is a pleasurable build, but that may be something to do with not having the nagging feeling of not writing enough about chemical warfare hanging over me any more...

To get up to speed, have a look at part one of this build HERE, meanwhile back on the work bench, the rest of the bits in the cockpits went together pretty easily even with the amount of tiny pieces that are in them. Here is the left hand side of the fuselage showing the tiny handles and what I believe to be the camera.

However, the right hand side is a whole lot busier! The amount of detail in this kit is excellent and it really was worth every penny, demonstrated here, where you can see the engine, pilot's cockpit, observer's cockpit and all the other little bits and pieces packed in there!

A couple of close ups of the detailed interior.

I particularly like the photo-etched seatbelts, they really add a lovely level of detail.

Well, most of that detail will not be seen when the fuselage is joined together, but it was enjoyable to add it all the interior. Plus I would have had a nagging feeling if I'd missed anything out... So I glued the two halves of the fuselage together and wrapped her up like a Mummy, all ready for bed.

I had a bit of trouble with the amount of stuff in the interior stopping the two sides going together flush, but a few cuts with the knife on some of the parts and it went together nice and snug. After leaving it overnight to dry the next step was to add the top part of the engine and glue the wings in place.

It may be the simplicity of the design of the Roland, but all the wings went together really well and there is now very little left to actually build of this kit. This is point I reached before having had a few busy evenings, but I will do some work on this kit over the weekend.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Take a Dip

I've read a lot in the past few years about the so-called 'Miracle Dip' technique. I have always baulked at the price of the Army Painter dip when it is really just wood varnish with a different label. But I was in town and shopping in Wilkinson the other day when I thought I'd have a go at the old miracle dip technique and picked up a this for less than a fiver:

It was the darkest shade in the shop and at the same time I bought a load of cheap brushes to paint the stuff with rather than dipping the figure, it seemed to be less messy. I decided I'd use a Japanese HMG, one of several I have kicking about and I painted him in a white undercoat so that the colours would be bright and then painted him in basic block colours:

Then came the moment of truth. With brush in trembling hand I splurged the varnish all over the little fella.

I'd read reports that people have left the figures overnight to dry, but within an hour or so he was dry enough to touch, so I spray varnished him to try to reduce the gloss of the varnish:

It could probably do with a few more sprays before it looks matt though. So, am I pleased with the results? Yes I am, it shows how quick an army can be painted up and look reasonably decent. I did notice that the varnish congeals in places, like some of the deeper recesses, but that may be fixed with painting later. I'm not sure how it would work with my current technique of basing the figures first then painting, as the varnish may bleed onto the finished base. But that is something to experiment with as well. I am kicking myself that I didn't do this with my Malaya campaign figures earlier...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Roland CII WIP

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, the very next day you gave me a 1/48th scale Roland CII by Eduard.

It's taken me nine months to make a start on this kit, but I have grabbed a few moments here and there recently to get it moving along. Like my Eduard Pfalz DIII it's a lovely kit, it comes with plenty of pre-painted photo-etched metal parts which make it an interesting build. Here is the engine pre-weathered:

The two dials on this control panel are from the photo-etched parts, showing how detailed they are (even though they will never be seen...). This just needs a couple of extra bits adding to finish it off:

Also, the cockpit interior is a long way off finishing, but I've made a start. The kit provides masks for the clear plastic parts to make painting easier, you can see them on the windows. Plus it will protect them when I varnish the interior, as clear plastic always mists up when the varnish dries.

Here is the cockpit with the rear observer's cockpit in place (but not fully painted...):

The dashboard is a great example of the photo-etched parts in this kit. This is not fully complete and has a few dials and handles to add. I am leaving them off for the moment as I don't want to damage them until the dashboard is ready to be put into the cockpit.

As I have now submitted my MA dissertation I am able to crack on with this build, so check back for updates soon. Speaking of which, I shall also be celebrating finishing a two year course on the First World War by reading something about the Second World War:

I was advised to buy this book as I am putting together some figures for a Singapore/Malaya campaign in Rapid Fire. I'm looking forward to starting it! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

100th post and some Russian Zis3 A/T Guns

Welcome to my 100th blog post, wow, how time flies! Anyhow, I told a lie in a recent post, saying that the KV-2s were the last of my Triples Stash, it turns out I was wrong and I still had these 15mm Plastic Soldier Company ZiS-3 A/T guns to finish off! So, I did. Here they are on the workbench:

And in a defensive position guarding a road:

As with all PSC products they were a pleasure to build and paint, my only gripe being the that the figures are a bit flat and typical in their poses.

There always seems to be a commander pointing with field glasses...

But overall, they are a great set, I wanted to build the A/T gun version, but the box allows for the ZiS-2 field gun version as well, I'll probably pick up another set in the future for that purpose.

I hope you like them and thanks for looking!
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