27 June 2018

Sons of Death unit for SAGA

I've been away with work a bit of late, so not much productivity from my own brush to report. However, All round good guy and top bloke Alan painted up a Sons of Death unit for me to complete my Irish SAGA Warband. And a lovely job he did with them too.  All shields hand painted, naturally.

In the meantime I was busy doing this, which was also fun but after 7 weeks of it I'm still not sure how many SAGA dice the Task Group generated per turn...

10 May 2018

More SAGA with a new Romano British Army

Been a busy few weeks with work travel but I have managed to complete the final touches on my Irish Warband for SAGA.  I am also about to be deployed for 3 months so not much looming on the hobby front unfortunately. I also moved house, just to up life's degree of difficulty a touch more.
My new mounted Hearthguard
I also had an impulse purchase the other day when a painted Romano-British warband popped up for sale. I've wanted a force for SAGA's Aetius & Arthur period for some time and this faction I quite like.  With no modelling time my focus is shifting to playing only so this was a good time to strike!  It was expressed posted to me, I picked it up at the Post Office on the way to the club, unpacked it onto the gaming table and put them directly into action! I was facing my SAGA Nemesis Alan, whom I have never beaten in the game in 5 years.  He pulled out a Saxon Army (beautifully painted like all his war bands) which he hadn't used for SAGA before either - the game was afoot!
2 Units of Warriors
My wily opponent with 3 other SAGA games in progress
What followed was probably one of the best night's gaming I've had in about a year, wth 4 games of SAGA in play at the same time.  Our game was very competitive in a really fun atmosphere as we both learned our armies, which were really well matched. I focused on a wide left sweep to isolate and kill Alan's Warlord.  He advanced on a broad front to catch and engage my supporting units.  I let him and after a massive all out effort I managed to dispatch his warlord...only to find out that the new SAGA v2 scenario isn't a Kill the Warlord for Victory game!  A tense last turn followed and in the end I mustered 21 slaughter points to Alan's 18: a pyrrhic victory by the slimmest of margins but a Victory nonetheless!
My mounted Hearthguard catch Alan's Levy Bowmen!
To inject a final bit of hobby happiness to the night, Slowpainter John brought us goodies from the latest shipments, including the new SAGA Age of Crusades book and Battlegroup Torch-  just in time to stock up my hobby reading materials before I ship off. Huzzah!
Now thats a good days' Hobby haul!

22 April 2018

AHPC VIII Reflections - Part 2: the Pics

I've been all at sea lately (quite literally) but I've finally gotten to photographing my AHPC VIII totality.  Like many I suspect, it seems more when under the brush than when tallied, but regardless it is a satisfying chunk of hobby happiness.
 As you can see I embraced the new terrain category, finishing off a 15mm Russian village, a 6mm ECW castle and a 28mm bridge.  I got a good portion of my new DAK Army finished and managed to complete entries for all bonus rounds.  I started with a 500 point goal, extended it to 600 and finished up with 679pts - which I was very happy with noting that I was travelling for about 4 weeks of the challenge.

Last year I was thrilled to get a Bonus Round Runner Up spot - this year I managed to jag two!  The first was this really wonderfully sculpted One Man Dirigible which I had sitting around for about 4 years and which I entered for the Flight Round

My Second Runner Up placement was for my FIW Royal Artillery Piece in the BFG Round.  I really enjoyed building this small vignette for the FIW Army I built last year during AHPC VII.

Perhaps my favourite piece to work on this challenge was my Friekorps PanzerAuto (Armoured Car), which I did in January:
The Challenge was, once again, a tonne of fun for a LOT of fun amongst wonderfully productive and encouraging hobbyists. 
I hope to be back for AHPC IX!


01 April 2018

SAGA Redux

Its been some time since I opened my Dark Ages collection but the new edition of SAGA has piqued some interest at the club. Sufficiently so for me to get out my Irish Warband and finished them off.  They hit the table at Club night last week - I was frankly overwhelmed by trying to remember the game, understand the new game, and try to use a new warband.  I was also against my old Nemesis Alan who masterfully carved me into small parcels with his Scots without loosing a SAGA dice worth of casualties in return!
Alan's beautifully painted Scots
Alan's beautifully painted Scots repel yet another charge by the Irish!
Then on Good Friday, Slowpainter John treated us to a SAGA Bash at his place where 8 of us pushed lead around and got into the new rules with a "learn together" type approach.  There are lots of reviews on the net but suffice to say that the system is now more granular and I think has added tactical depth without significant complication.  Good stuff.
Pagan Russ arrayed for Battle 
Mounted Hearthguard secure the left flank of Izzie's Welsh battle line
Marty's Anglo-Danes and Aled's Anglo-Saxons clash
Alan's Russ Warlord seeks out a worthy opponent on the field of battle
I played my Irish again, this time against Aled who was using Alan's gorgeous Pagan Russ for the first time and took the mercenary Steppe Horseman too.  With some coaching assistance from the Dux I managed to pull off a win with my Warhounds being best on ground after they mauled the Steppe Nomans and then dragged down the Russ Warlord (reminiscent of Thulsa Doom's village attack in the opening scene of the original Conan the Barbarian!)
The Puppies in action, harrying and mauling the Horse Archers from the Steppe 
The dogs of war were indeed slipped - the enemy warlord was tasty!
I'll post up some pics of my Irish separately.

17 March 2018

AHPC VIII Reflections - Part 1: Facts and Figures

Another Painting Challenge comes to a glorious end this week.  While there are still a few days to run, I've entered my last submission and its time for me to tally up:

AHPC VIII: Target Acheived!
Challenge target: 500 Initial, Stretched to 600
Total Points Achieved: 679 - Stretch Target Achieved!

I knew I would have difficulties this year with significant work travel scheduled for Feb-Mar, but preparations and a sensible total allowed me to crack it in AHPC VIII

Scale: Combination of 28mm and 15mm, with more of the latter.

Bonus Rounds: did them all, and got two Runner Up positions this year, making it a PB.

Genres: I took advantage of the new terrain category this year, with the remaining submissions mostly being WW2 (15mm DAK) with a touch of FiW and Fantasy thrown in.  I had prepared a stack of 28mm Fantasy figs but a last minute club focus to WW2 Western Desert gaming caused a mid challenge switch!

So that completes my fourth AHPC and brings my aggregate total throughout all four to 2817 points of a summed target total of 2350.  Yes, some individuals crack that for each challenge, which astounds me

And yes, I'm already thinking about what I might keep aside for AHPC IX!  :-)

14 March 2018

DAK '88'

My 'Monstrous' themed round for AHPC 8:

For WW2 Allied tank crews in the Western Desert (and beyond) there was nothing more monstrous than a German '88'. This famous FlaK gun with its high velocity and flat trajectory became one of the most feared anti tank weapons of the war.

British accounts include anecdotes of tankers bailing out after watching a near miss 88 round skip past their machines; they knew the next round would not miss and its effects would be catastrophic.  Cyril Joly in his excellent book Take These Men grimly described the impact of an 88mm round on a British tank:

“As I spoke I saw the flame and smoke from the German gun. In the next instant, all was chaos. There was a clang of steel on the turret front and a blast of flame and smoke from the same place, which seemed to spread into the turret, where it was followed by another dull explosion. The shockwave, which followed, swept past me, singed my hands and face and left me breathless and dazed. I looked down into the turret. It was a shambles. The shot had penetrated the front just in front of King, the loader. It had twisted the machine-gun out of its mounting. It, or a jagged piece of the torn turret, had then hit the round that King had been holding ready – had set it on fire. The explosion had wrecked the wireless, tore King’s head and shoulders from the rest of his body and started a fire among the machine-gun boxes stowed on the floor.”

A British tanker taken prisoner in 1941 is reported to have complained to his German captors that "In our opinion it is unfair to use 'flak' guns against tanks".  Just not cricket apparently!

So for the Monstrous round I present an 88, painted up for desert service in the Africa Korps in 1941.  This is a Forged In Battle model and in Battlegroup terms the unit includes the Gun and 4 man crew, an additional 3 man loader team, and the Sd Kfz 7 tractor team.  Unlike my other DAK units I have made this one a less battered and more recent arrival to the theatre.

I estimate this to total 30 points for the tractor (6), gun (4), 7 crew (14), a driver (2) and the limber pieces (which I costed as another gun sized model for 4 points), plus the bonus points. And that should get me over the line for my extended 600 point target!

24 February 2018

AHPC8 Submissions - almost there!

My weekly submission on the heavier elements of my DAK force, and the Childhood Bonus theme round.

DAK Pz IIIs and Transports (82 points)

Building upon my Recon vehicles and light tanks of last week, this week I focused on heavier armour and transports. While there was a number of Pz IVs and long barrelled Pz IV specials, the Pz III was always the most numerous armoured fighting vehicle of the Africa Korps. Here I present two platoons (Battlegroup uses them in 3s): 3 are metal Battlefront and 3 are plastic PSC, which gives some good variation between the hulls.

In 1941 the Panzergrenadier units had not yet formed and the majority of Infantry were truck mounted Shutzen units. And trucks are just handy in general for the desert, so here are 5 of them in an assortment of colours. Resin models by Forged in Battle.

Rounding out today's submission are a pair of Horsch heavy cars, very useful as staff vehicles and for towing light field and AT guns (though I have yet to assemble those). Again these are Forged in Battle resin models.

These 13 vehicles and 2 drivers net me 78 + 4 = 82 


'Childhood' Bonus Round: Two Little Boys

Rolf Harris has been a famous Australian entertainer for many decades (lets just forget about his more recent issues shall we?). While I would not say I am a big fan of his, his song "Two Little Boys" has always appealed to me.

Broadly, its a song about two men who played war together as lads and when they grow up they  look after each other on the battlefield when one of them in wounded. For those with a few minutes, here is the song in full:

When I saw these Downed Luftwaffe crewmen by Wargames foundry six months ago I thought of that song but never got around to painting them, so they seemed perfect for this Bonus round.  Here are my 28mm version of Two Little Boys (or "Zwei Kleine Jungen" I suppose!)

2 x 28mm figs = 10 points + bonus round


Together, these entries push me past my original 500 point goal and almost touch my stretched 600 point line - the next bonus round will take me over nicely! Which is hardly as I'm of to sea tomorrow and likely wont get anything more done before AHPC8 finishes.

20 February 2018

Second 1941 Desert action

Yesterday saw another swirling Battlegroup Tobruk clash between John's and my combined Axis force and Alan's British. The Axis force included some lighter DAK elements and a column of John's lovely Italian M13 tankettes.  We used the Flank Attack scenario and all of these units have been painted in the past fortnight by all 3 players, which is rather remarkable!
Opening moves - Axis advice from the bottom and right hand side against light Allied recon elements
Detachment from 5th Leicht Division lead the advance with motorcycle borne Bersaglieri mortarmen 
...while Armoured cars scout out the right flank
With the setting sun in the enemy eyes, the Axis forces advance!
LRDG lurkers behind the lines (this one was painted by Patch)
First blood to the Germans as a 222's Autocannon finds the range on a Universal Carrier!
Laagered up to capture the objective, but heavier British Armour is threatening!
Italian tankettes arrive and swirling mayhem ensues!

British Humber in defile position opens up...

...but is flamed by a 222 in return!
The Crusaders advance...
...under the careful scrutiny of their Commander!
Looking a little grim for the Germans. The 8rad on the right was particularly resilient against repeated Crusader salvoes to hold the position and the objective
Well sighted and timed British 25 pdrs and mortars find the range,  distrusting the Axis rear and punching through the soft turret armour of the M13s
The LRDG patrol beat a hasty retreat from a menacing and all powerful advance of a Panzer I !
But nothing can escape! One for the history books - a Pz I kill!
At this point (and with playing time running out) I jumped the 222s onto the last objective to claim the "all objectives held" victory. It was a little gamey to be honest but at least it gave our scrap a conclusive ending. Another turn or two and I think Alan's heavier tanks would have rolled us off the table rather conclusively. It did, however, show the utility of light and agile forces flexible employed across a big area and able to reinforce one another.
Alan bows before the might of the Ariete Division's tankettes!
The scenario also showed the flexibility and relative lethality of autocannons in the early war period where much is lightly armoured and tank main guns are modest (typically well under 50mm).