Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Some What A Tanker! action

Last Sunday we had one of our occasional all-day sessions at the club. Although I had something planned for the afternoon, my diary was empty for the morning. Therefore, I grabbed my WaT folder and a few tanks and bunged them in the car.

The tanks I chose were Western Desert 8th Army and DAK ones. I took the four DAK tanks I painted up some time ago, as seen here and here, plus some British ones that I bought ready-painted at our Tabletop Sale in 2018. 

Doing this turned out to be a good idea, as Matt, a recent new member needed a game, so we played some WaT. Given the option, Matt chose the Desert Rats, picking a Matilda II and a Crusader II, both with the QF 2pdr gun. I decided on two PzKfw III tanks, an Ausf. H with the shorter 5cm Kwk 38 gun and a Ausf. L with the longer 5cm KwK 39 gun.

The scenario was pretty simple, an encounter in and around a small oasis.

I decided that I'd get the PzKfw IIIL into cover, where its superior firepower might give me the edge.

I then sent the PzKfw IIIH around the other side of the oasis.

Things were quite cagey at first, bit I did inflict a bit of damage on the Crusader which decided to go to ground in some partial cover.

I was horrified when the Matilda managed to brew-up my main strike tank, the IIIL pretty soon after it had sustained damaged gun optics from an earlier shot of mine.

The rest of the game was all about my remaining tank dodging the two British ones, while taking potshots whenever possible, nibbling away at their effectiveness and eventually knocking out the Crusader in a tense exchange of fire across the limpid waters of the oasis.

Eventually, I also managed to take the Matilda out, despite my tank having taken damage to both gun optics and running gear.

All in all, a fun game, which reminded me of what excellent rules these are. Once again, well done the Lardies!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Some treasure scatter pieces from Bad Squiddo.

I bought these a couple of years ago but somehow managed to mislay them until about six weeks ago. I know that I had them with other scenic pieces to be painted and then, POUF! they were gone, as though some evil wizard had spirited them away. Somehow, they ended up in a box full of non-gaming stuff and I only found them while looking for something else.

You can find them on the Bad Squiddo website under the Bad Squiddo Terrain menu. Annie notes that;
"These sculpts were originally part of Ristul's Extraordinary Market and purchased by Bad Squiddo in 2018. We still work with Ristul to add new goodness to the range.". 
They were still Ristul items when I bought them, and I have to say that they are the best resin pieces that I have ever bought in terms of crisp detail, casting and general cleanliness. I have no reason to doubt that they are still of this first-rate quality.

First up are some treasure chests, in varying sizes and styles, all perfect for Frostgrave and pretty much anywhere else you might needs a chest or two.

Next are some lovely piles of treasure, just like you would expect to find in a dragon's horde or in a previously-undisturbed treasure chamber in Felstad or pretty much anywhere else you might stumble over skeletons in armour, heaps of gold coins, enchanted weapons and arcane artefacts.

These were a lot of fun to paint and so easy. I undercoated them in Halford's Matt Black spray paint, which covers perfectly and then built up the colours by dry-brushing, picking out details with a smaller brush.

I really need to show you the reverse view of the seated figure, because it is a beautiful piece of work;

Isn't that absolutely fantastic sculpting and casting? A real joy to paint. Mind you, with casts this good, the painting becomes so easy.


Thornbury IPMS show 2019

Last Sunday (4th August) saw the annual IPMS Show at Thornbury Leisure Centre near Bristol. The Lincombe Barn Wargames Society has been helping run parts of the show for a long time and this year was no exception.

As well as running the popular Bring and Buy table, the club also has a display stand, showing some of the games we play and we run a participation game. This year, our chosen game was Congo by Studio Tomahawk. Despite having not played the game for a while, we managed to get three games completed on the day, and I think that everyone enjoyed themselves. Below are a selection of photos from the games. All figures were supplied by Clive (the Forest Tribes) or me (the European Explorers). We played the same simple scenario in all the games, Raiders of the Lost Mask from the Last Queen of Aksoum bulletin sheet.

In addition, some of us submitted entries for the Wargaming Class of the IPMS Painting Competition. The first picture shows the winning entry. I think that is an Age of Sigmar thing, but I have no idea what they are, apart from being some kind of animated trees. Anyway, it was a nice paint job.

This Ork vehicle battlegroup (below) was an impressive entry, but was unplaced.

I submitted a few different entries from stuff already painted which I use for gaming (rather than specifically-painted competition pieces), both in the hope of getting a top three spot, but also to ensure that there were enough wargames entries to the competition. My entries were a mixed bunch, featuring figures from Bad Squiddo, North Star, Pulp Figures, Copplestone, Reaper Miniatures and Perry. I had high hopes of getting some recognition for my Freyja's Wrath entry, but it was not to be (insert sad face here).

Below are all my entries together, plus one from someone else at the bottom right.

"How did I fare?", you might ask. Well, I didn't win, but I did grab second place with my Perry 28mm plastic Condottieri foot men-at-arms figures at the top left of the picture above.

Next year I really Must Try Harder.

Friday, 2 August 2019

More 15mm sci fi stuff

I am slowly working through the 15mm science fiction lead pile. It is something that isn't top of the To Do list but every now and then I feel the need to do something about figures and models that have been lying around for maybe a year or, in some cases even longer.

First up are two combat mechs for my Alien Squad Far Eastern Leader Corporate Mercenary army, which I have found to be severely under-gunned whenever I've played with it. These are from GZG, where they are sold as Police/Security Mecha. I decided that they had a sufficiently Far Eastern look to be perfect as Daemon Class Oni Mecha as listed in the relevant ASQL army list, but I wasn't happy with the batons the standard models have in their left hands. In any case, I wanted the guns in the left hands and something a bit more impressive as the required Laser Katanas. Luckily I had some odds and ends from a box of GW Space Marines (don't ask) that would do the job.

So, here are the two latest additions to an army that I really need to use more often.

In the second picture, I have added a standard trooper as a size comparison.

Next, I have six rather evil looking big droids with powered claws and big serious-looking shooters. These are from Alternative Armies Ion Age range where they are sold as Shia Khanate Psycoborgs. I've had these for a fair while too. I have had several plans for these, but now I think that I will use them as Robotic Servants (heavy droids) in an Alien Grey army.

Here they are as a group.

And now in two groups of three;

Finally, here they are with a standard 15mm trooper for scale purposes. As you can see, these are smaller than the big battle mechs, but still look pretty impressive.

Of course, I might be able to use these in other armies too, once I've given it some thought.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Back from holiday and another Big SP playtest battle

OK, so the holidays are over now and it is back to reality. 

This game was planned before I went on holiday at the beginning of July. It is another playtest of my modifications for Sharp Practice so I can play big battles using my Lurkio 15mm late 17th century armies. This time, I was playing against another club member, Dick, who has an interest in finding some good Pike & Shot rules. We played out a simple encounter battle with Dick commanding the French and me in charge of the Anglo-Dutch and Danish army.

The battle was, as often seem the case a relatively inconclusive one, but the French definitely came out with the upper hand, with Anglo-Dutch morale plummeting due to losing a pretty monumental cavalry encounter near the centre of the table. I  am not going to give a blow by blow account, but there were some interesting points that emerged.

Anyway, the French arrived first, but the Anglo-Dutch managed to get most of their army on the table before any more French arrived.

The Anglo-Dutch centre-right seemed perfect for Horse.

Elsewhere the two Danish regiments of Foot slowly advanced. These troops do not have pikes, so need to rely on their plug bayonets to defend in melee.

The Anglo-Dutch cavalry began to advance strongly.

An English Dragoon regiment used their moveable deployment point to ambush a French Horse regiment. Rules for moveable deployment points are one of the things I want to change in the next iteration of these rule mods. I am thinking that only the unit that has the characteristic should be able to use them.

This Dutch Horse regiment braced itself for a volley that never came.

Elsewhere, the inevitable bottlenecks caused by moving past buildings hit the Anglo-Dutch.

The scene was set for the big cavalry battle that would decide the outcome of the game. Fisticuffs is the main area where I have issues with my modifications, particularly involving cavalry (including the use of pistols when charging or receiving a charge and the inability of Horse to counter charge).

The cavalry action initially favoured the Anglo-Dutch.

However, before long, the elite Régiment du Roi imposed itself upon proceedings.

The Anglo-Dutch left became a stalemate.

This was the crunch! The elite French Horse charged at the gallop, giving them a big advantage and defeated Woods' Horse (green facings) in a flank charge, causing them to withdraw with heavy losses and then took on Lumley's Horse (yellow facings) who were forced to withdraw, which put them within close range of concentrated French musketry. 

So, what did Dick think? Overall, he had positive words but also raised some valid questions about cavalry close combat. I have much thinking to do in this area, mainly to reflect on how mounted units can respond to being the subject of of a charge which doesn't totally disadvantage them but which still gives the attacker the bonus one would expect from the impetus of the charge.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Another CoC AAR

A few weeks ago, the club had an all day session. In the morning I played Saga: AoM, as reported here. In the afternoon, I played a game of CoC, using my Peter Pig troops and PSC vehicles against Nigel. I wrote a scenario in advance and here are the briefings for the two sides;
British briefing

The British are pushing forwards from the town of Lambeek along the road toward the important rail junction at the town of Grolschbeek, some 5km distant. The countryside is flat and wooded with no buildings, except for a bombed sugar beet factory complex. The factory is in the centre of the table. Until now, resistance has been slight but aerial photographs have revealed a build-up of German forces in this area. The make-up of the German troop concentration is not known, so patrols are being sent forwards to test the defences.

As the British wish to push an armoured force along this road to capture the Grolschbeek junction, it is essential that better intelligence about the enemy defences is gathered. To this end, a platoon of Rifles has been sent to probe the ruined factory. Supporting the infantry is a recce section of three carriers and one M5 light tank, accompanied by an Intelligence Corps officer in a carrier

The force is;

Rifle platoon (dismounted from trucks which are off table) as described in the rulebook, i.e. HQ plus 3 sections

Recce section: 3 Universal carriers, 2 Bren teams, 1 2” mortar team, 1 junior leader

1 M5 Stuart light tank, 1 junior leader
Intelligence Corps observer (in a carrier). This officer activates as a junior leader on a 3 on a command dice. He must enter the factory area and remain there.

The British will have four patrol markers and may place three JOPs.


Advance as far as the factory and neutralise any opposition. You are escorting an Intelligence Corps officer in a fourth carrier. He should be protected and allowed investigate the region. To simulate this, his carrier must enter the factory complex and remain there until the end of the game.

German briefing

Since being pushed out of Lambeek by British forces, Intelligence reports suspect that the next move will be to assault and capture the Grolschbeek railway junction. As reinforcements have been delayed by Allied air attacks, it is essential that British patrols do not discover that the town is currently only lightly-defended. Therefore, a number of forward defensive locations have been identified. One of these is the ruined sugarbeet processing factory on the Grolschbeek to Lambeek road. An augmented Zug of Grenadiers, supported by a machine gun section has been sent to occupy and hold the factory. The troops are carried in trucks but have dismounted short of the objective.

The force is;

Grenadier Zug as listed in the rulebook, except that each section leader has two Panzerfausts

One extra Grenadier section, led by a junior leader without any Panzerfausts

MMG section: two tripod-mounted MG42 MMGs (each carried in one unarmed SDKfz 251 halftrack) with a junior leader. This must deploy from the German table edge.

The Germans will have three patrol markers and may place three JOPs.


Occupy and hold the sugar beet factory and prevent British patrols from advancing towards Grolschbeek.  

We rolled dice to see who would play which side. Nigel chose the British and I played as the Germans. Here is the table before the Patrol Phase. The Germans would enter from the far edge and the British from the nearer one.

A good Patrol Phase saw the Germans establishing a JOP just behind the bombed factory, from where troops were soon advancing to seize control if the buildings. 

More Germans deployed in the fields behind the factory. For me, getting boots on the ground quickly was essential to achieving my objective. 

However, the British were soon advancing tactically behind a 2" mortar smoke screen. 

I was worried about the speedy Carrier Recce Section and soon got my Panzerschreck team peppering it to good effect. The last thing I wanted were trigger-happy Bren teams driving around.

I got more troops into the factory complex, including my most important assets, the two tripod-mounted MG42s. They were my one big hope for keeping the British at bay.

However, the Brittish squaddies were getting close. I  used a CoC dice to end the turn and lift the smoke. Would this be enough to stop them getting any closer?

My section across the road continued to fire at the British in the big field surrounded by hedges, causing both shock and casualties, including the section leader. 

The British infantry in the smaller building were getting too close. Time to unleash the firepower.

First, I brewed up another carrier with my Panzerschreck.

Then I got the MG section targeting the infantry. I was gaining the upper hand. The British advanced into hand-to-hand combat, with predictable results. 

The remnants of the British section fled, leaving a dead section leader behind. British Force Morale was falling dangerously low. The Stuart light tank wasn't contributing anything. I decided to ignore it until it came closer.

Further exchanges of fire saw more British casualties, as I tightened my grip on the factory buildings. When British FM fell to 1, we called it a day. It was a win for the Germans.

I think that this could have gone either way, but a good patrol phase, plus a few double phases gave the Germans an early advantage from which they never really faltered. 

I think that I'd like to do a follow-up scenario, with the factory at one end of the table, with a similar German forces dug-in (without the extra rifle section (to account for casualties in this game) and defending, possibly with an anti-tank gun of some kind, and with the British attacking with some useful supports, probably a couple of decent tanks and maybe a Vickers MMG attached to the platoon HQ. I will have to work on this a bit. Victory conditions might be driving German FM down to zero, getting them out of the buildings or getting a tank off the table at the defending end.