Thursday, 16 August 2012

BKC - with photos!

I managed another game of BKC tonight, down at CLWC with Jesse. I found myself defending again, but gave myself a disadvantage by making it a counterattack rather than a scenario where I could take field defences. No full AAR to offer you, but I did remember to take some photos!

The Germans outnumbered me still, and I had a fright when nine Panzers IVs appeared on flank deployment. My motley four tanks cowered behind a strategically placed wood (itself full of infantry). To top it off, twenty stands of German infantry swarmed on the opposite table edge. My loose plan - pin the infantry with artillery and hunker my infantry down in cover until I could bring combined firepower to bear on the Panzers.

Mid game, our armour spent much of the time hiding from each other behind the aforementioned wood. Especially after my reaction fire took out a handful of Panzers which poked their noses out. Very good rolling to blame there.

Game end, I did bring some armour round to pin the Panzers down, with limited success. By now, my artillery observer (by the red building) had used consistent and accurate gunnery to flatten a lot of German infantry, while his German counterparts spectacularly failed to do much at all. Note my small flanking force in the top right, it never really got into the game. Fear of my big guns led to the Germans hunkering down much as I had, allowing me to nibble away and take a victory - 12 units destroyed by me and the Germans at break point. Somehow, I lost just one AT gun.

While I stuck with a plan and took the victory, I must confess I had some blinding luck, so can't take too much credit for my strategy. Jesse took my artillery firepower with good grace, even when I flattened 30% of his infantry in one artillery barrage.

-three batteries of 25pdrs firing on infantry in the open is just impolite.
-placing troops on the wing can take them out of the game entirely.
-hiding precious tanks behind woods isn't bold, but gives them a chance of influence and surviving the game!

Next time, we agreed to try bringing the game to 1943 to move away from the 'big guns' and I might attack some dug-in Germans. I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Tiny Worlds Stone Walls: Painting part 2

Continuing from my last post, the walls needed some foliage, of course. First up, static grass in two colours. Spring green and some 'African Grass' which has a nice scorched grass colour. Notice the hedgerow now ncludes bushes - two small lumps I had spare from the AoW hedgerows set.

Finally, of course I had to add a scattering of Mininatur Tufts - early fall and late fall. These make an appearance on most things these days, i tried to drop them into the crevices where i imagine bushes and weeds will grow from. And with that, I declare them finished!

Here's a shot of the hedgerow connector. Not bad except the flocks are slightly different since I did the hedgerows.

And to finish off, some Perry plastic Redcoats making use of the cover, to show them in action and the scale.

And there you have it - I hope you I enjoyed my first two-part review and tutorial!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Tiny Worlds Stone Walls: Review and Painting part 1

I spent ages towards the start of the year looking for some decent stone walling in 28mm scale. Everything I found was either a ghastly pile of kitty litter, or way over the price I was happy to pay. The nicest I found was from Architects of War, while I really like their hedgerows set, I couldn't quite justify the cost - the walls cost the same as the hedgerows but seem worse value for money to me - no foliage and only 34" of wall, as opposed to 40" of hedge.

Eventually, eBay came up trumps: these resin casts from eBay store'Tiny Worlds'. I bought two sets a four and a six pack. I think together they a bargain price of £16 including postage.

So they score highly on value for money as there is over 45 inches of wall here. The arrived well packed and surprisingly nicely sculpted, including good variation - two sculpts of the long 6" lengths, as well as a ruined section. Then there are two sculpts of a shorter section of 3" and a ruined one of that length, plus two end-pieces. I like the mix of lengths, should be able to snake them around the board a bit more naturally.

I've two relatively minor gripes:
-the casts had a lot of small air bubbles and needed quite a bit of tidying with a knife. I had to do a fair bit of work filling the bubbles - you am be able to make out the darker spots above, where I'd green-stuffed them. And of course I haven't caught them all.
- they are perhaps a little bit low - 20-22mm including the base. I did consider mounting each piece on 3mm board to add a little height, but decided it was far too much faff. I'll post a shot with some 28mm minis in my next post.

Other than that, I'm really happy with them for the price. Overall a solid 8/10.

I dint normally post painting tutorials, mostly as I wouldn't presume to have that many original techniques to share, especially with terrain. I think my style is too clean to lend itself well to making decent terrain. But I remembered to take photos at each stage for once, so I will use them.

After the prep and a burst of white undercoat, I thought I'd save on using modelling acrylics for the a decorating by buying some decent emulsion - Little Greene Stone Dark Warm seemed a nice start. This is how they looked after two coats.

Next up, some washes, on the earth banks rather than the walls: two washes of Watered Vallejo 'Earth'. Then, a wash of watered Vallejo 'Charred Brown'. Finally, some sparing use of precious Devlan Mud, in the very deepest recesses. Each stage was quick, but all these layers meant they took the most part of a week of evenings to paint as I'd have to wait for each stage to dry. But doing them between other projects meant this wasn't much of a problem.

You may note one end has no wall and was sprayed black. This is to make a piece which merges into the AoW hedgerows I mentioned earlier. I knocked this up by mounting a short piece onto Foamed PVC (great stuff!), building it up with wood filler then some sand for texture. It'll get foliage later.

Next up: drybrushing of course! Vallejo Earth plus some GW Bleached bone, highlighted to bleached bone on the earth. The wall being lighter, I started with bleached bone and did a couple of highlights with white. And here we are, looking pretty good, but not quite finished...

Friday, 10 August 2012


I'll admit that I'm increasingly become a gamer who is happy to buy something rather than make it myself. I do some of my own terrain, especially bits which are easier to make (no water effects for me!), but more often than not I'll check first what I can buy for a good price. Perhaps because I've currently a fair disposable income to finance my hobbies. One of the things I've noticed is the increasing market in wargaming accessories, from companies like Litko and Gale Force Nine.

But this isn't a post about my recent shopping (though I have just put a few bits on order). No, it is something I built, with the outlay so far of £1.63. That being some small 12mm counters (like 'tiddlywinks') - they come in a choice of eight different colours too! A few minutes cutting up the wool that Perry Miniatures used to put in their metal packs and voila:

Yup, we've black, billowing smoke to signify vehicle markers on the right, and some more 'useful' smoke on the left. These are small (see with 10mm armour below) and were made for BKC, where you can lay down vast field of smoke, but I think I can use these to mark the edges, or use them in in other games.

I know a lot of people use cotton wool - it is cheap and does the job. But I find the Perry packaging wool has a better colour and less fluffy texture. You need to carefully pull the two sheets apart and ease out some loose strands. These were from just one sheet, the blacker ones from half a sheet dipped in black ink.

Rejoice - you need imagine no longer. This is what the British armour looked like by the end of Monday night.

Nothing earth-shattering here, but thought I'd share my latest distraction. I've also been doing some terrain, I was in the mood for it. I need to focus now though - Gharak is coming to visit in three weeks, and the secret project will need to be done then. Back to work for me!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Blitzkrieg Commander AAR (lots of oops)

So, I got a great game of Blitzkrieg Commander with Madaxeman at CLWC last night. My late War Brits getting their first outing with BKC against those dastardly Germans. Tim used his 50% bonus points for being the attacker to field an eclectic force of big tanks (in fact, a veritable zoo including one each of Tiger, Elefant, Bison, Jagd-something and others). I spent my 2000 points unwisely, including buying the worlds most incompetent commander, pitiful artillery support, the world's squishiest AT guns and and pointless transports. Oops.

I even remembered to take my camera. Sadly, I forgot to actually take and pictures until we'd set up the board and terrain, played 8 turns each and tidied everything away. Oops.

But whats that to stop me, I'll soldier on with an AAR! My plucky Tommies were deployed closely surrounding the German objective: a large hill commanding view of a (presumably) strategically important crossroads. The Germans surged on, three formations with plenty of infantry on foot and in transports and half a dozen terrifyingly large vehicles.

Imagine this is a hill with a town on the right, all crammed with Tommies in trenches, wire in the distance and a 6-pdr AT in a concrete bunker covering the left flank.

By turn three the Germans burst though the woods, engineers clipping my bargain-basement wire and bombardment from three German batteries disrupting my dug in infantry. Later, the same the German Forward Artillery Observer would earn his transfer to the Eastern front by repeatedly failing to call in targets. Alarmingly, the British AT on the hill was quickly neutralised by the German Armour. Not good.

Mid-game, the German, a Sdkfz 251/6 (probably - it had a flamethrower) caused havoc on my entrenched troops, while the bunker AT failed turn after turn to accept its orders to knock it out. The my CO blundered, commanding his infantry out of their trenches and onto the hill. Oops.

Using your powers of imagination, summon an image of stupid, suicidal Tommies fleeing their trenches, with German infantry and armour swarming in front some woods in the background.

With a dozen German infantry units rushing over open ground to the hill, it looked real bad. But my FAO put in a man of the match performance, landing every barrage of 25-pdr shells. As the Germans staggered onto the hill, sweeping aside my reserve units in their expensively pointless half tracks (why?), he called out 'Danger Close' fire to slow the advance and give my ragged troops a chance to knock more infantry stands out. Out of nowhere an engineer Stug launched its little Goliath, a bomb on tracks. The first attempt failed. The second couldn't reach it's target with infantry in the way. The third was picked off by a precise shell from the 6-pdr - the only thing the damn thing managed to do all game. The fourth (or perhaps it was the worlds most effective Sdkfz-whatever?), managed to knock out the last hunkered-down AT. Darn.

I've not mentioned my right flank. All too painful, see. After a lethargic start, the two German tank-hunters trundled on and spent turn after turn pounding my half dozen-strong Sherman formation. They were kept pinned and steadily hammered down by some fantastic CMD rolling. Not good - most of my tanks weren't even in range. Oops.

In your mind's eye, focus on a bleak landscape, liberally scattered with smoking wrecks, which you can just make out through the smoke were the distinctive shape of Sherman tanks.

Despite it looking like a hammering, time trundled on (helped by too-frequent blunders curtailing our grand strategies) and my single artillery battery and some careful use of my limited troops thinned out the German infantry to four stands. Three would need to stand on the hill, and survive, to win. The carnage among the Shermans was all a sideshow. I knew I should have 'done a Wellington' and parked them behind the hill.

By turn 8, I'd managed to knock out one stand. One more, and I could claim a technical victory. But the German armour swept my last troops aside, and with my 2000 points down to three command stands, one Vickers platoon, one M3 half track and my off-able guns, I conceded. A major victory to the Germans - 9 turns to take the hill with losses among the Brits unacceptably high.

All in all, a great game. I really like BKC, the mechanics feel right for the era, it encourages tactics from the time and has good 'fog of war' with the command rolls and blunder tables. I feel I've also learned some valuable lessons:
-don't bother with CMD 7 leaders
-as Brits, buy more off-table artillery. Lots and lots more artillery.
-Then use it to smash the German advance far more effectively than the infantry or armour ever will.
-two German big tanks will crush Shermans which are carelessly left in open ground. Hide British armour. Or bring Churchills - damn tough they are.
-only buy transports if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Procrastination and Sightseeing

Morning all. I've not much to share this weekend, my free time has been sapped by renewed enthusiasm in Company of Heroes. I completed the campaign last night so am back at the paintingarable this morning. Starting with tidying up a few more bits for my WWII Brits. I've a game of Blitzkrieg Commander arranged for tomorrow evening at CLWC - I will try to take some pics and post an AAR.

Here's a snap I took a few weeks ago on my phone. I was sightseeing and visited St Paul's cathedral in the City of London. Down in the crypt there is this massive tomb for Wellington; he given a full state funeral and buried at St Paul's. The flags hanging over it represent the allies at the Battle of Waterloo (Britain, Hannover, Brunswick, Netherlands amd Nassau). Note there are five flags hanging above it, yet six flag-holders.

The missing flag is of course Prussia, their flag was taken down during WWI and never reinstated.