17 February 2019

AHPC 9: DAK Panzers and Tank Killers

This week sees more DAK Panzers joining my Panzer IV Specials from earlier in the Challenge.
First up - a platoon of Pz IV F1s:
Panzer Marsch!
Their short barrels limited their effective range but the 75mm guns were capable of ripping the heart out of any Allied tank in the early desert war.  Mercifully for the 8th Army, they were always in short supply throughout and thus saw heavy and constant action.

As befits their operational usage, I have painted them up as well worn desert veterans. These models are PSC plastic kits.

As Battlegroup Torch takes the Desert War to Tunisia I can now field the Tiger tank, which was in operational use there from Dec 42.  The thick armour and brutal 88mm gun were a lethal combination which, while far from unbeatable, established the concept of "Tiger Fear" amongst Western Allied tank crews.
I'm really thrilled with how crisp I managed to get the Tiger's finish
As a newcomer to the theatre, I have done this Tiger as looking new and an unbattered example.  This model is from the recent Battlefront release in plastic.

My final offering this week is a Pak 38 5cm Anti Tank gun battery.  I have also modelled additional crewing options (allowing it to stay operational after taking some personnel casualties), and with both SdKfz 10 tow tractors for mobile operations, and dug-in 'nest' positions for flexibility.

The guns, crews and tows are by Forged in Battle. The PaK nests are resin by Battlefront.


13 February 2019

AHPC 9: Barbarian Auxilia

This week sees me adding to my Orci Invicti army with something a bit different. Later Roman armies were known for incorporating warriors from conquered lands and using them as Auxilia troops to increase the Force's fielded strength.  I have always liked Bellicose Foot units in Dragon Rampant, so this seemed like a perfect excuse to get some into my army.

This unit of fur clad Shield Breakers is from a Hill Tribe that was recently (and violently) incorporated into the growing Orc Empire. Now they fight for something greater than their loose collection of villages.

They are old Grenadier Orc "Big Uns" from the 90s - and big beefy chaps they are too weighing in at a hefty 40mm. I picked them up at a Bring & Buy at MOAB last year and really likebthe old, characterful sculpts.
The Bigs Uns showing their size next to my Sattagarian Goblins from earlier in this challenge

I have been asked what my skin recipe is.  My intent was to go for a olive yellow tinged skin, rather than the more modern GW Green.  This is what I ended up with (though I do drift about a little they are Orcs, after all!):
Black Undercoat
Rough Drybrush with British Uniform Khaki, leaving key recesses black for shading/outline effect
Liberal wash with Army Painter Strong Tone (the brownish, middle one)
Highlight with Vallejo Green-Brown
Fine Highlight with Green-Brown lightened with some Bone

That submission was six 40mm figs at 7 points each for a total of 42.  Yes - the answer is indeed 42!!!

08 February 2019

AHPC 9: Mercenary Bonus Round

During the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese propaganda derided the collective Free World Military Forces (including US, Australian, New Zealand, Phillipines, South Korea and Thailand) as "Mercenaries" in the pay of the "illegitimate cronies" of the Republic of South Vietnam. In this vein, I have used this bonus round in homage to one of my favourite screen characters: Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore - callsign "Big Duke 6" - Commander of 1st/9th Air Cavalry, in Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now.

Kilgore is fantastically portrayed by Robert Duvall and delivers some of the most memorable parts of the movie including: distributing Death Cards, the 'Charlie Don't Surf!' beach BBQ scene, the Helicopter Assault playing Ride of the Valkyries and the iconic 'I love the smell of Napalm in the morning' monologue.

I have endeavoured to faithfully reproduce Kilgore's uniform from the film, though trying to get his flat jungle greens looking a bit more exciting was a challenge.
"You either surf, or you fight soldier!"
From start to finish I loved painting this figure and attending to detail like shiny spit polished boots, the orangy tint of the Vietnam soil, making the death card in front of him, and of course the pearl grips of his M1911A1 Colt sidearm.
"Big Duke 6" watches his boys in action
In addition to this Bonus round submission, I guess that I have now started a Bolt Action Vietnam force. Maybe just a few of those nice Company B grunts to watch his back in the jungle...  :-)

The sculpt is from Wargames Illustrated's "Giants in Miniature" range

04 February 2019

AHPC9: Irish Slingers for SAGA

This week my submission finished off a long standing project with a unit of slingers for my Irish SAGA warband, which was quite satisfying.
My new Irish slingers defend their village (terrain not part of this submission)
Great figures by Footsore miniatures, with nice variations to make every figure of the 12 man unit different. However, I did find the plain jerkins with an appropriate lack of adornment hard to paint, given that I wanted to keep them poor and peasant like.  I have based as per the rest of the force I put together earlier this year.  This submission yielded 60 points for the Challenge and I am well over half way to my target now.

This is my completed SAGA Irish Warband in totality:
Yes Dux, the shields are indeed all hand painted...
In SAGA terms this is a 5 point warband:  2 hearth guard units, a unit of spear armed Warriors, a warhound pack, and a sling armed levy. The Warlord has both foot and mounted options, with accompanying Curaidh champions (which Dux kindly painted for me - thanks mate). Nice diversity which will be challenging to harness as a cohesive force - sounds fun!


And this is the 2000th post here at the Man Cave - Huzzah!

01 February 2019

January Gaming + CanCon

Good times with friends
Looking back on my January hobby month I was struck by the variety of games I have played, many of which were new to me, and all of which were big, multiplayer games. And also that I kept getting invited too :-)

General d'Armee (2 x 2) French vs Anglo-Spanish
My first foray with these rules, hosted by Aled and his dad, which I really enjoyed.  Slowpainter John and I ended up facing off on an action packed flank and it came right down to the wire.

Slaughterloo (3 x 3)
This fun game is a tongue in cheek Napoleonic big battle in a fantasy setting - good fun but also very god rules which would work equally well for historical games. All sorts of mixups and mayhem, and we converged on Slowpainter John's Orc Guarde with a singular purpose - and tough buggers they were too!

The Battle lines are Drawn!

The Advance to contact!

The last stand of John's Orc Guarde - sandwiched between my Flank attack and Marty's Cavalry charge

Dragon Rampant (4 x 4 with a twist!)
A return to our Foulwarren fantasy campaign when I hosted the guys at mine for a big 4 v 4 player Battle Royale on a 12 x 5 table.  But one of them was a traitor, and just didn't know it yet...  I'll write up and post the scenario later but it was an awesome 'toys on the table' mega game

Three Quarters of the table (and players!)- I had to take this pic through the window from outside
The wearing of Hawaiian shirts and a fez earned players additional army build points!
Kaiser's Pirates
We played this GMT game at the club a few times actually.  The theme is really well executed and the resource management is quite dynamic. With 3 or 4 players this really hits a sweet spot.  Now to find my own copy (its OOP).

I enjoy Studio Tomahawk games and their innovative mechanics but hadn't tried this before Mac shared his lovely terrain and figs with me for an introductory game one club night and I really enjoyed it (and not just because my Tribesmen War Party cleaned up his cursed Zanibari Slavers!).  I really liked the multi-layered resource management that the game uses bu without slowing play pace, and most of all it felt like an adventure not a scenario.  A game I am definitely interested in playing more, and maybe making a warband for.

And then to top it off, a bunch of us did a road trip to CANCON and had a cracking hobby day out. Good times indeed!

The fourth Annual catch-up: thanks for organising Barks!
So thanks indeed to all the club lads and lassies for their companionship, time, and sharing their wonderful toys.  A most memorable summer of fun gaming.  It comes at expense of AHPC painting time, but I'll choose my gaming friends over a brush any day :-)

30 January 2019

AHPC9 - Panzer IV Specials

A challenging week but I was determined to submit something - anything really - to keep the mojo engaged and the run rate ticking.  So here are a couple of long barrelled Pz IV F2/G models.

Pz IV 'Specials' after the battle of El Alamein
Dubbed Pz IV 'Specials' by the Allies, the high velocity L/43 gun with muzzle break significantly increased its anti-tank capabilities and made a big impact in the desert war.  As a result, any long barrelled enemy tanks became priority targets for Allied crewmen. However, the German supply lines could never muster them in large numbers, though some were present at El Alamein.

These are from the PSC Pz IV boxed set, and crewed with Battlefront tank commander figures -  I really like the casual pose on the commander of Panzer Hull #3. Painted up using my habitual 'way too many layers and washes that you can't even see' method :-)


28 January 2019

AHPC 9: 'Sport' Bonus Round

Studio Tomahawk's Jugula is a game that I quite enjoy, though it is quite a different style of Gladiator game. It has excellent resource mechanics and its building tempo feels like an escalating spectacle entertaining the Arena's mob crowd. I have also historically (and uncharacteristically) won more often against Dux than not with my Ludus Caeruleus (or Blue School) which helps a fair bit too...

So my Sports Bonus round entry is a minor addition to my gladiator barracks with a bow armed Sagittarius, who as a missile armed fighter will add a new dimension to the early stages of the combat before the Gladiators get to melee distances. Can't recall where I originally got the figure from, apologies.

As all Sports need an audience to jeer and cheer, I have also painted up a characterful spectator figure by Crusader Miniatures. I will use him as my marker for Vox Populi, which in Jugula is a measure of the crowd supporting your Ludus in its endeavours (which adds to your gladiators' performance).
Any likeness to Dux himself sans beard is surely accidental...

...or is it? :-)
2 x 28mm Figs for this Bonus round, totalling 60 points


And I was thrilled to get another Honourable mention in the voting- that 2 for AHPC 9, my equal best with AHPC 8!

22 January 2019

CANCON meet up this weekend

2019 Aussie Bloggers CanCon Catch-up this coming weekend - now in its fourth iteration!

If you run a wargaming blog then come along and say g'day, meet old friends and new, tell us what you've bought and lament your dice rolls.

Sunday 27th January 2019
Coorong Pavilion (Top Hall) by the Bolt Action tournament

See you there!

16 January 2019

AHPC9: DAK Specialist Vehicles

My second submission this week was a grab bag of DAK specialist and support vehicles that I have enjoyed researching and collecting.  I am building options for force lists and these help me both in the early years in the desert as well as and expanding into Tunisia and the Operation Torch era.

SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen - modified from a Pz I Ausf A, this was a Command Tank variant with dedicated radio transmission equipment and operator.  Here it is accompanied by a SdKfz 250 Halftrack, for use as the Luftwaffe Air Liaison Officer to control Air support (this has a tabletop control function in Battlegroup rules)

SdKfz 254 - Produced as an artillery tractor by the Austrian Army between the Wars and prior to Anschluss, it has a  unique and adjustable system of tracks and wheels. The Wehrmacht used it as a Forward Observer vehicle. Its such a cool and distinctive vehicle that I had to have one. This Battlefront model has the options to model with the wheels either engaged or retracted (I have done the latter for resilience)

SdKfz 250/10 - A classic 250 Halftrack, fitted with a 37mm AT gun and frequently utilised as the Recon Platoon Commander's vehicle. In the 41-42 period in the Desert, the 37mm gun is very useful against an array of light armour and Armoured Cars.

Schwimmwagens - who doesn't love the mighty Schwimmwagen? My dream car is not a Ferrari, Porsche or Audi, its a Schwimmwagen! No, the irony of fielding amphibious vehicles in the Sahara Desert is not lost on me.  I promise that if there is an oasis on the table, they will always try to schwimm across it, regardless of the tactical value of such a move. Unless I'm playing Dux of course.

Lorraine Schleppers - converted from captured French Lorraine 37L tanks, this motorised 150mm Artillery gun platform provided highly mobile fire support in the desert in support of the fluid nature of combat in North Afrika.

Marder III (SdKfz 139) - Classic early-mid war German Tank Destroyer made by fusing a Pz38t body with a captured Russian 76mm AT gun.  It is accompanied here by a captured British Truck to act as its ammo hauler across the desert.

StuG III Ausf D - Who doesn't love a StuG? I needed one, though only a very small number served in Afrika, the rest being sunk in their transports en route. Due to their later arrival in theatre, I have presented it as newer and less weatherbeaten #stuglife

SdKfz 11 - Medium halftrack prime mover which saw widespread use throughout the war with over 9000 produced and its chassis was used as the basis for the SdKfz 251 Halftrack. I will be using these to move towed guns which are on the painting desk

Models are predominantly a mix of Battlefront and Forged in Battle, the British Truck is a metal model by Peter Pig and the Marder and SdKfz 250s are by PSC.  In aggregation, this is 13 x 15mm vehicles and 10 crew figures.  

Overall, I am well on track for my challenge goal:

13 January 2019

AHPC9: Orc Legionaries and Goblin Sagittarii

After the very positive comments about my Romanised Orcs and Goblin Auxiliaries submission a few weeks ago, I decided to advance the timetable for this army and produce two new units.
First up is the mainstay of the Army - the Orc Legionaries, deployed here in a double line wall of spears type of formation. I have done them on two bases so I can denote when the formation to gets to half strength (which halves your attack dice in Dragon Rampant).  Figs are Oathmark Goblins fitted with Warlord Roman Shields

Second is a Goblin Sagittarii unit to support the main Orc foot troops.  To be honest I haven't found Bow units to be very effective in Dragon Rampant but this is how Roman Legio were built so I am following suit.  Figs are GW LOTR Moria Goblins.

In total that is 24 x 28mm figures ready and arrayed for battle Prefect!

These AHPC submissions are posted here:

My Orci Invicti Army thus far:

I'll probably add another unit of Legionaries, some Equites and maybe a unit of Praetorians to finish it off.