23 February 2017

AHPC VII 'West' Bonus Round: Centurion Alanus

Presenting Centurion Alanus, Defender of Western Civilisation, Britannia, 1st Century AD.

This is a special edition Warlord model which was came with the pre-order of Hail Caesar, back in July 2011.  I traded the rulebook long ago, but kept the model because I think its a great sculpt- I just didn't have an Army for him to lead!  

I am really happy with how he came out, and think the skin tones and colour contrasts look much better in real life.

A little present for the Dux, complete with his initials emblazoned on the shield: enjoy mate :-) 

You can see this entry at the AHPC blog here:

20 February 2017

Painting Challenge Week 9 Submissions

This week saw me complete another dozen Woodland Indians for our FIW campaign.  Alan routinely fields two dozen of these bloodthirsty braves in our Sharp Practice games and seeing them bear down on my loyal Colonials gives them the heebie jeebies - hopefully my having a reciprocal amount will give his French equal pause!
These are really lovely sculpts by Bob Murch from the Flint and Feather range, aimed at early contact/pre-contact period, thus the myriad of traditional weapons.  Again I spent a bit of time on authentic warpaint as I think it really makes them look savage!
To command my 2 units of Native Allies I have added a Sachem leader and I really like his commanding pose.  This is another figure from the Flint and Feather range. 

Next up, this beast is the M8 Grizzly Assault Walker from Warlord's Konflikt 47 range.  As this Allied walker is fielded by both US and British forces, I have pained it in the colours and insignia of a British Armoured Division and added a British tank crewman; so now it can support my British paratroopers when I want to weird them up a bit!  I really like this sculpt and had a lot of fun painting it, but putting it together was rather a pain and it required a lot of cleaning up and some parts needed work to bend them back into shape.  Regardless, I'm happy with the overall outcome.

The Grizzly is quite a sizeable beast and dominates the tabletop. Accordingly, I wanted something imposing for the base and agonised over that for awhile.  I've tried to convey it smashing through a small forest and crushing everything in its path, both natural and manmade obstacles with the barbed wire.
A panzergrenadier's view - rather imposing!
Added to my Russian Spider Mechs from the Armour Bonus Round, this makes three Weird War walkers I’ve completed during this challenge – time to order some more!

This entry is at the AHPC blog here: https://thepaintingchallenge.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/from-paulog-even-more-indians-and.html

These submissions netted me 85 points, pushing me almost to the 800 point mark with a pleasingly consistent productivity line:

And just because Miles hasn't done this spreadsheet analysis yet (actually he probably has but just hasn't advertised it), here is what my average points per week look like over AHPC.  Soon to dip as some work travel takes a bite out of my time:

And so I have now officially upped my AHPC VII target to 1000 points - this will be a personal best for me and I will an attempt to avoid "abject failure in all aspects of life" as infamously decreed by the Dux last year before the challenge started...

Click here if you missed it...

18 February 2017

Bolt Action vs Chain of Command

My posts last year about moving on from 1st edition Bolt Action (BA) brought forth some interesting commentary about different rules sets.  I thought I'd indulge myself with a post to answer them.

Disclaimer: Everyone has their own opinion, and none are more valid than any other.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so whatever you play just have Fun! There is no "one rules system to rule them all"

Bolt Action: for me this is a fun and cinematic, Hollywood-esque style of game.  If you want to play Commando/Battle Comics (with appropriate quotes such as "Gott und Himmel, these Englanders fight like madmen!") then you'll have a lot of fun with these.  Chances are that you can easily find an opponent and there are lots of tourney opportunities if thats your thing.  The new(ish) 2nd edition rules iron out a few of the loopholes which were exploitable and introduce the ability of officers to activate more than one subordinate unit in a coordinated fashion - that can quite change game play and makes Officers far more valuable (and thus juicy sniper targets too!).

Pros: Large community, tight rules sets, relatively quick play, easy to learn (Reilly beat me in his first game!), and quite expandable (we have played 3 v 3 and 2 v 2 games with minimal changes)

Cons: Several abstractions (to make the game quick and tourney friendly) which can be frustrating, lots of extra rulebooks to buy (not that you need them), no historical organisations mandated (you can use them, like I do, but that wont be optimising you effectiveness)

Personal Note: BA allows player to build units from scratch to their hearts desire, regardless of historical ORBATs.  Personally, I like to use historical section/squad organisation to retain the right feel.

Chain of Command: I also very much like these rules from Too Fat Lardies.  They are in my opinion a much better tactical game, and sometimes just trying to overcome your situation is the most satisfying challenge to overcome.  It also has a great scouting phase at the start of the game to establish the front line and deployment areas, which is really interesting.  C2 really impacts the game in a really interesting way and delivers lots of flavour.  However, as a result I think they suffer from less balance (which is, ultimately, historical right?!)

Pros: more depth/historical feel, historical organisation (well, its a pro for me anyway), good campaign system, lots of nice cheap Campaign supplements available.

Cons: less balance, smaller community, longer play time, rulebook less well laid out and difficult to read/comprehend IMHO

I quite like Anatoli's detailed review here: http://anatolisgameroom.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/chain-of-command-rules-review.html

Conclusion: There are many other rules sets out there at the WW2 Platoon level, and each has their champion player or gaming group.  Please see my disclaimer at the start; as long as you and your friends are having fun then all power to you!

For me both BA and CoC are good games for different reasons - I recommend both and will keep playing them both.  However, I find that BA is a much easier game to pickup again quickly after an absence, while CoC is more difficult to do that with.

14 February 2017

Painting Challenge Week 8 Submissions

Two small entries this week - as always I got caught up in all the lovely detail on the models.  Most satisfying from a Hobby perspective but not so much for points efficiency.

Back in AHPC IV I did a Churchill tank to support the Paras that I focused upon during that challenge.  While that beast is indeed well armoured -  yet to be destroyed on the table in fact - it doesn't provide a good anti tank capability (though it has taken out Comrade Jame's Pz IV on one lucky occasion, hasn't it mate? :-)  To give my Red Devils a stronger punch I considered adding an Achilles, but in the end went with a classic Sherman VC Firefly:

I lament Warlord's move away from appropriately weighty resin models.  However, I will admit that their replacement plastic kit is wonderfully detailed.  I really enjoy weathering vehicles, so I tried something new with the AK Dried Mud effects - easy to use and I like the outcome, but I think I prefer a wetter mud look rather than the sandy finish.  This was also my first use of decals for some time, given Alan's zealous shaming bullying training program.  I think the icons and tactical markings add a lot to 28mm armour.

So no more sneering at PIATs and 6 pounders Comrade James, your Panzers now have something to fear!
...and so do mine! Odin "helps" me snap some pics, prior to a taste testing...
Also this week, "Feeling a bit poorly" is a generic marker to show when a unit is battered in Dragon Rampant .  I enjoyed making this small diorama and all the little details like the bloody hand smear on the rock and blood spatter on the flowers depict a rather macabre story. 

Hopefully I get to lend this to my opponents more than I need it myself :-)  I'm sure I have some more of these casualty figs somewhere to make more but cant find them at the moment.  

These entries (which can be seen at the AHPV bog here) added to the Home Terrain Bonus Round this week, get me peeking past the 700 point mark and comfortably on track for 1k:

13 February 2017

CanCon - Part 2: The Confession

The CanCon pile of shame - but in fairness it mostly came from the second hand stall and in any case I'm buying for two right? right!
A boy and his loot

Given our current foray into FIW using Sharp Practice 2 - I got some nice tokens and this mdf set by Battlefield miniatures to track Force morale and display the Command cards as they are drawn (Yes Alan, I got a set for you too!)

Various bits for Dragon Rampant.  I wasn't planning to get a new goblin army but fate intervened, as it does...

Gorgeous, but not worth painting points so these will have to wait until AHPC VII is over!
A new modular river system was on my to get list (I'm still using a temporary one I scratch built 20 odd years ago on cardboard and the years have not been so kind) so I felt comfortable in splashing out to get this set.  With some flock, tufts and a little bit of extra detailing, these can look fantastic.

I also got a few nice Weird WW2 goodies - some Konflikt 47 Armoured Infantry and a trio of these great MG toting Soviet Gorillas from Eureka Miniatures.

Didn't find anyone selling nice gaming mats (which was strange) so I'll have to go elsewhere to update my veteran and now dying one.  Strangely, there was a lack of diversity in the trade stalls I thought.  I did pick up a half dozen pluck foam trays though, so that will help protect all this figures I am painting in the Challenge.

Well those are the highlights, though there was lots of other hobby detritus in the bags(s).  Enough to tide us over for a bit :-)

08 February 2017

AHPC VII: 'Home Terrain' Bonus Round: Hearth and Home on the Ohio River

Presenting a frontier log cabin and its defenders for our French Indian War campaign:  
Protecting Hearth and Home against a War Party

The Ohio River valley is rugged place where settlers carve out their lives the hard way.  It's a tough existence and every cabin needs protection from raiders, thieves and worse.  So in addition to the homestead, there are six stout defenders (figs by Galloping Major: pack FIW AAC 3 "Settlers Defending 3: Command and Characters).  Even the Parson needs to take up arms to defend his flock, but my favourite is the balding shopkeeper with the blunderbuss (Indian figures are not part of this round and were previously submitted).

I initially painted this Old Gory resin cabin with a grey, weathered look and while that was realistic it was a bit boring.  I have also been trying to put more colour on my tabletop lately; too many of my figures are drab greys, browns and greens.  So I stripped and repainted it as a more recently built cabin with freshly split shingles and newly hewn logs.  I’m glad I did and like the brighter overall look.  I also added a few sacks, barrels and to homewares from my bits box to give it a lived in feel.
The cabin has a removable roof and the interior has simple but nice detail which I have done in a worn, used style.  I have some furniture but left them out to make it more useable for gaming.  There is only the single door but each side has 1 or more windows from which to present defensive musketry.

Overall a fun and satisfying project to add some needed FIW terrain to our table, and added an Armed Civilians unit to my Sharp Practice 2 force. Thanks to Alan for the donation of those figures (they only took 5 months to paint up mate!)
"To Arms! To Arms!"

This entry can be found at the AHPC bonus rounds blog here:

06 February 2017

Painting Challenge Week 7 Submission

Presenting the last unit of my Riders of Doom themed army for Dragon Rampant.  This is a 12 figure light foot unit using plastic GW Chaos Marauders (quite nice figures once you cull all the silly over the top components).   I experimented with some speed painting techniques, keeping the purple colour theme from the other units of the army.   They aren't perfect but I'm pretty happy with the overall result, finishing them just in time to have a submission this week.

I'm also chuffed to have started and now completed a full force during this challenge, albeit the unit sizes are much smaller when compared to most massed Fantasy battle games.  I'll have to take a picture of the force all together soon.

This AHPC entry is here:

These chaps add 60 points to my total to get my toes just over the 600 point mark.  I've added a new line to my progress bar (Miles will be proud of this additional spreadsheet complexity!) which aims for a 1k total - its an average of 66 points per week from where I currently sit; achievable if I continue my momentum and make all the bonus rounds (as planned).  Thanks for all the encouragement so far!