20 May 2019

Hamburger Hill - 50 years on

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Hamburger Hill, 20 May 1969.

Over 10 days men of the 101st Airborne assaulted the heavily fortified Hill 937, Dong Ap Bia, The Mountain of the Crouching Beast.  The NVA fiercely resisted, with the attacking paratrooper companies sustaining 50-75% casualties, including 72 KIA and 370 WIA, before they took the hill on 20th May.  This casualty rate earned the Hill its nickname, echoing Pork Chop Hill from the Korean War.

The action was made particularly controversial because the US quickly abandoned the position after the engagement, generating public outcry in America of what was seen to be a senseless battle in an increasingly unpopular conflict.

26 April 2019

Outremer - first game and thoughts

My small Military Order warband (using Steve's lovely GB models).
A mounted Knight, mounted Sgt, Foot Sergeant and a Crossbowman
Outremer: Faith and Blood is a skirmish  game that was released by Osprey as part of their "blue book" series a year or so ago, though it seems to have generated less fanfare than some of their other titles.


Players can select from Crusader/Frank, Military Order or Saracen forces. In additional to the tactical rules, it is an RPG lite style progressive campaign system, set in the early Crusader era - not unlike Necromunda, Frostgrave or Mordheim. Figures progress along a range of skill trees, accumulating loot, equipment, wounds and traits along the way.

This week we sat down at the club for a quick 2 v 2 game to try out some of the mechanics, with two Military Orders facing off against two Saracen warbands.

My warband moves up to observe the approaching Saracens
Mechanics wise, the game uses a full range of dice types from d4 upwards, which is a system I inherently like though it really only suits smaller games like this.  Outremer also uses a card mechanic to randomly activate individual figures.

We quickly added in an end of turn card (aka Tiffen card from Too Fat Lardies Games) which added another element of friction and which worked well.
This didn't end well for Saracen foot slogger...
The game plays straightforwardly, though a QRS is needed as we found some of the target rolls are a little buried in the rules.  Combat uses an opposed die roll mechanism which keeps both sides engaged is rather decisive once joined, and while good armour and strong faith (aka Morale) can tilt the odds in your favour, nobody is immune to injury.  Long range crossbow fire and compound bows can also really ruin your day (and leave you quickly without your beloved warhorse).

My crossbowman was taken down by this cheeky Saracen, though he got his comeuppance in the following turn
I'm know we didn't get everything right but the system was broadly intuitive after a few turns - a fun game that we will be returning to as I think the real value is in progressing your characters across multiple battles.

If you are interested in this game check the author Jamie Gordon's Outremer blog here:  http://outremerfaithandblood.blogspot.com

And the game's Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/162855534382686/

22 April 2019

A couple of Fields for the tabletop

I invested a bit of Easter Hobby time to build a couple of additions to my terrain collection: a corn field and a vegetable patch. A bit of fun with Slowpainter John on a sunny Autumn afternoon trying some new techniques and then a few days to finish them off.
I spaced the rows so I can fit a 28mm figure in between them - a small compromise between realism and playability

Both are mounted on mdf coasters using DAS clay to build up the plant beds. Stone wall and fencing are Renedra products (actually the small stones are leftovers from this project here), and all the plants are commercial products.

They are deliberately period agnostic so as to be useful for all sorts of gaming, but our FIW collection in particular.

17 April 2019

DAK Army "completed"

Over the past two years (and two Analogue Hobby Painting Challenges) I have been building a 15mm Afrika Korps force, principally for use with Battlegroup Tobruk and Battlegroup Torch.  Well its finally finished so I thought it was high time for some group shots of the force.

Its been a fun slow grow project (though it wasn't intended to be quite so slow grow) and I particularly enjoyed finding and using all the early war vehicles and their variants which saw such great use in the desert.
Recon ACs, Pz I, II, III, IV and IV Specials

I'm really pleased with how the battered yet cohesive colours give this the look of a worn, veteran force.  Models are a thorough mix of Forged in Battle, Battlefront and PSC.
Big Guns!
The only thing yet to come is a certain captured Matilda tank, which continues to elude capture (doesn't it Alan!)

DAK Infantry with Truck, Hanomag and Motorcycle options

What Army is complete without a storage solution?
Though what army is really complete... ever!

07 April 2019

Battle of Troy

Battle before the Walls of Troy - Greeks attacking on the left, Trojans sally forth on the right
Awesome day at club mate Gav's this weekend (the day of Salute in fact) with a big 3 v 3 game on the plains before the gates of Troy.  We used his fantastic array of Bronze Age minis with some a home made adjustments to Lion Rampant, and much thematic mayhem was added through Homeric heroes, each with their own Missions - Achilles was after Hector, Menelaus was after Paris etc. 
Whom do you favour this day oh Mighty Apollo?

My forces arrayed on the Trojan left flank
Each player had about a 50 point warband so that was a lot of figures on the table - an impressive array of Redoubt, Foundry, Black Tree Design and Eureka Miniatures.
Mayhem and Glory in the centre around the Temple of Apollo and the sacred grove
And the game was played under the imposing wall of Troy itself (all resin), with the strange, large wooden Horse making an appearance also...
Gorgeously painted Myrmidons move up to attack the Temple of Apollo

King Menelaus of Sparta vanquishes Prince Paris
In the end the Greeks carried the day overall, with Menaleus punishing Paris for stealing his wife, and Achilles vanishing Hector for slaying Patroclus, and thus the Trojans retired to their city defences. But what was that large wooden Horse left upon the field???...
In the centre of the field Achilles slays Hector, after which the fight went out of the Trojan Army.
A fantastic game - lots of fun and cheering throughout (especially during the Achilles-Hector duelling). Thanks for the great camaraderie and hospitality chaps! It also got my juices flowing for my upcoming Mortal Gods project...

31 March 2019

AHPC IX Reflections - Part 2: Submission Summary

A last review of my AHPC 9 productivity to close out the month and move on.  Naturally, some of the figs I planned to paint never moved forward while others dropped into the production line along the way.  Regardless, I'm quite pleased with my output, finishing a large project (15mm DAK), a medium one (Romanised Orcs) and putting the finishing touches to another (SAGA Irish)

The Orci Invicti - minus the ones I did before the Challenge
It was fun to paint up my Nautilus from Nemo's War - sadly it was my only contribution to the naval side challenge though!

A party of figures for use with Congo:

I was also pleased to complete all the Bonus Rounds, as well as get an entry for Sarah's choice and complete my Curtgeld.

My Jeanne d'Arc submission for Sarah's choice received an Honourable mention
This would have to be my most amusing entry:

And so au revoir AHPC - Season IX was as good as ever. Thanks again to all the challengers for making it such fun, and of course Snowlord Curt and Lady Sarah for putting this wonderful event on for us all.  Looking forward to seeing what Season X brings!

22 March 2019

AHPC IX Reflections - Part 1: Facts and Figures

Time's up - Brushes down!
Another Painting Challenge comes to an end and its time for me to tally up:

Challenge target: 1000

Total Points Achieved: 1305 - Target Achieved, a new PB (previous best was 1228 in AHPC VII). That placed me 21st out of 85 challengers (just 5 behind Dux!)

Submission rate - after the ramp up period and despite a few trips away, I averaged 100 points or so per week, which I'm pleased with.

Other Highlights 
- Participated in all the Bonus Rounds and got two Runner Up positions  (same as last year)
- Posted a submission on day one of the Challenge
- Made my first ever submission for Sarah's choice

- only posted a grand total of 2 points towards my Naval side duel. Still, that was two more than last year :-)

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

Genres: At just over 600 points, WW2 was the biggest slice of the pie being my 15mm DAK project, followed by Fantasy (representing my Romanised Orc project).   It was great to achieve my goals of finishing both these projects during Season IX.

So that completes my fifth AHPC and brings my 'aggregate career total points' to just over 4100 points.  Yes, some individuals crack that in a single challenge.  I was also pleased to able to assist the Snowlord in running the activity as his 'Duels Wallah'.
(No, we don't talk about AHPC VI around here much...)

Next Up - Part 2: Submission summaries

18 March 2019

AHPC 9: Lupi Feroces

My last AHPC 9 submission is a final addition to my Orci Invicti army aka Romanised Orcs.  Roman Legions predominantly used Auxilia to deliver scouting and cavalry forces.  I have chose to deliver these effects to my army not through mounted forces but trained wolves: the Lupi Feroces.
The 11 wolves are directed by a Beast Master (Orc not scored for this submission)

These are Northstar figures from their Frostgrave range. I have based them in the same frozen ash style as the rest of my Romanised Orc army, using the 3-2-1 method for Dragon Rampant.  I intend to use them as a lesser warbeast unit.
The Lupi Feroces are indeed 'hungry like the wolf'!

I enjoyed doing different colours to make them all unique, giving the pack a motley look
Eleven 28mm figs totals 55 points - which takes me just over a grand total of 1300 points for AHPC IX.  A new PB to finish up on and another major project completed.


16 March 2019

AHPC9: (Anti) Fellowship Bonus Round

I thought I would address this bonus round from the opposite side of the theme, while also completing my Season IX Curtgeld.

This is Lurtz, Saruman's first Uruk-Hai Commander - destroyer of the Fellowship of the Ring.  Leading a small warparty of Uruks, Lurtz tracked and attacked the Fellowship in the ruins of Amon Hen.  While he was defeated in this encounter, its outcomes saw the Gondorian hero Boromir slain and the Fellowship broken.

This is a 28mm GW fig in their smaller (and nicer IMO) LOTR proportions.  I have used Vallejo Mahogany Brown as the base for the skin to fit with his dark tone in the movie.  As a Curtgeld figure I have refrained from the basing so that it can match the rest of the horde when it arrives.

Points wise that is 5 points for 28mm fig, plus 20 points for Curtgeld an adding the bonus round 50 points - that's a high yield 75 points for a single figure! :-)


12 March 2019

AHPC9: DAK Infantry, Command and vehicles

Presenting the final submission for my DAK Army - Panzergrenadiers!

Infantry (with each 3 squads each separated into their rifle and LMG groups) a Platoon HQ squad, both light and medium mortars in support, and a flammenwerfer trooper in case I want to field the platoon as Sappers.  Forged in Battle (FiB) figures.

For early desert war encounters I will mount them in trucks as Shutzen but in later engagement during the Tunisia/Torch era they will be Gepanzerte Grenadiers riding fancy new SdKfz 251 halftracks (PSC Hanomags, FiB Command variant)

Here is the Kampfgruppe Kommander and his Command halftrack (FiB figures)

To keep the boys in fighting shape, the medical support team: a medic, stretcher bearers and a SdKfz 251 ambulance variant. Taking these in Battlegroup increases the resilience of your force, so they have a real, on table effect.  I haven't really in this capability before and am looking forward to trying them out. Combination of Peter Pig and FiB figures, Ambulance by FiB.

And to keep those Allied Jabos off their backs, an SdKfz 10/5 with a 2cm FlaK mount (Battlefront model)

I also finished off some minor terrain pieces - 5 haystacks for the 15mm Russian village I did back in AHPC 8 (and then misplaced before I could paint them), and a small area of rough desert terrain.

Thats a total of 56 Infantry and weapons crews (2 points each), a mortar (4 points), 7 vehicles (8 points each) and the terrain for a submission total of 180 points - 182 awarded with a couple of bonuses.


That is the last of my DAK submissions, which have been spread across both AHPCs 8 and 9.  While I am sure that there will be future additions that is the last currently planned. I'm pleased with their veteran but cohesive look, and all the early war vehicle diversity it incorporates.  I am looking forward to taking some Army pics of them all together soon.

And as if that wasn't enough, this submission not only a new AHPC Personal Best it takes me over 4,000 points totalled during my five AHPC seasons (yes, I know some people do that in a single season...).  Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments and words of encouragement along the way.

This is exactly how I feel having finished this army! :-)