Sunday, 10 December 2017

613 - It's the Final Cromwell!

[sings] "Doodle-oo-do... Doodle-oo-do-do..."

Yup - to continue the recent flurry of completion, I've finished the third of my Cromwells - this is "Hothead" to accompany "Havoc" from the same squadron (group pic of all three of my Cromwells to follow soon).

No blurb here needed, really; just pics. Enjoy!
Thanks for swinging by - there'll be a couple of very different bat-reps coming up soon, I promise...


- Drax.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

612 - Bolt Action Jeep Conversion

Here's something else I've finally got around to: buying a cheap toy jeep and converting it for tabletop use. Having picked up seven bashed-up old toy jeeps for £3.50 from ebay, I went to work. Some Debris of War stowage, a scrounged steering wheel and a handmade covered windscreen later, this is my new jeep:

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

611 - Sherman Patrol in 28mm...At Last!

Hullo All,

Yes, I've finished them. Those three Shermans I got for only about £15 a while ago have finally been painted up. 

Unusually for me - but entirely deliberately - I decided to do these as a batch, so they're quite samey. They're not really the ideal version, as they lack the bolted bits on the chin of the hull (I've no idea what any tank bits are called, by the way)... BUT just as with my infantry, they're supposed to be the 28mm version of my 15mm force, and they do at least match the three US Shermans I have in 15mm (link here)! I suppose they've been brought up from the rear as battlefield replacements...
They're not as shiny as they look...

Oh, and just for shits and giggles, they have consecutive serial numbers too!

For once, I've added some stowage (I'm trying to work towards retro-fitting more of this to my existing vehicles in the long run) - in this case, it's the VERY nicely sculpted generic set from Debris of War. 

The commander hasn't photographed very well, but he is decently enough painted in his black overalls and beret, I promise! I actually feel he's rather too small: I often hang out next to a Sherman and they're bloody tiny...but then, I suppose I'm a big fellow, and tankies weren't renowned for being the beefiest of chaps...

Well, TTFN.

- Drax.

PS: Here's an old pic of their smaller-scale brethren in action:

Monday, 13 November 2017

610 - The Chaplain

Hullo, All.

Just a quickie today - aptly enough, just after Remembrance Sunday - I've made a chaplain to look after the spiritual needs of 4KSLI.

Having read surprisingly often about the astonishing everyday bravery of the chaplains who went into war, I was pretty keen one day to have a model in their honour, and since finding new rules for them earlier this year with the release of the 'Battle of the Bulge' campaign book, I knew I had to make one.
(He now has sleeve insignia)

Rather obviously he's made from a plastic British Tommy with a twisted wrist, a paper dog-collar and a paper sacramental scarf-thing. I'm pleased with this one.

Essentially (rules-wise) he can remove a pin each turn from a nearby unit on a lucky roll...but I've given him a medical kit too, so if all else fails he can be a more characterful medic!

Stay safe; We Will Remember Them.

- D.

Monday, 6 November 2017

609 - PER ARDUA! Start of the Rock Apes

Hullo, All.

This is the start - at last - of a project that I've been considering for a while: my RAF Regiment platoon for Bolt Action. 
The idea of these guys is two-fold: 
(1) I wanted the reinforcements for expanding my 4KSLI infantry to be something different yet compatible (mostly so that their half-arsed presence was more explainable!), and 
(2) I wanted troops who could feasibly be in either the Italian campaign or in NW Europe. 
In Italy, the plan was to have them fighting alongside my brave Sikh boys, but I've realised that not only are the figure proportions a little too different; they also have differently sized and textured bases. I couldn't handle that, so the plan is that alongside my formidable Churchill I, I'd also be able to field the Boys in Blue, above, and maybe a small box-set platoon of US Buffalo Soldiers too. But shhh! - don't tell my wife!

The plan for this lot will be a force (Flight) of about 500pts, comprising a Pilot Officer, two sections, a PIAT, a medium mortar [they seemed to use these a lot!], a forward air observer, a Marmon-Herrington armoured car, and a selection of small transports. I don't yet have the armoured car, but otherwise I'm good to go!
In addition to scouting, securing and patrolling forward air bases, these boys were also used extensively from late '44 onwards as general line infantry: equipped and used in the same way as their Army brethren. And there were thousands of them!
In terms of what I've done, it's nothing super exciting. A couple of RAF berets, the regimental shoulder flashes in sky blue on navy, and the NCO's rank chevrons in the same style. A fellow in the other squad will be wearing the popular RAF forage cap/side cap...or at any rate, a slightly altered version of the equivalent Heer headgear! 

Right then. Back to work.


- Drax.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

608 - More Bolt Action: Germans Vs Commandos and US

Hullo, All,
The best bit!
Not many pics in this post, as
So many models were unpainted.
Much as the title says, I managed to squeeze in another game last week - probably my last game in Portsmouth's 'Fistful of Dice' FLGS, sadly, as I no longer have the need to visit home regularly. A shame, on all fronts.

Still, as a final farewell, I got the chance to play Steve's Commandos again, as well as his friend Phil's US Army. Phil's an experienced gamer but new to Bolt Action, so we played a fairly open hand all game. 
The board. I'm advancing from the left.
I had 1500pts of my Germans supplemented by 500pts of Steve's - mine were my Heer Grenadier Veterans with their Hanomags and my new Panzer IV, along with a squad of Luftwaffe Field Division and (for its first outing) my Nebelwerfer! Steve's German contingent was all regular and mostly comprised two LMG squads, a second medium mortar, an MMG and a PaK40.

Arrayed against us were a very 'vanilla' US Army force of 1000pts (2 BAR squads, Sherman, Greyhound, mortar, 57mm AT, bazooka and an air observer) allied to Steve's 1000pt Commando force (modelled after Rattenbury's force if a few posts ago, but with an AEC III in lieu of the Cromwell. Four well supported squads all grouped around a Captain's squad: very fighty and near impossible to break!).

The game.

It took us a while, but we actually played all 6 turns of a meeting engagement! 

Early Game: 

Things started well for me. My sniper dispatched Steve's artillery FOO, which was vital as with 2000pts arriving over a 72"x12" belt, my units were too tightly packed for comfort. Phil had chosen to place his air observer behind terrain, so I didn't have to worry about an air strike being ordered until at least turn 2. 

My MMG was wiped out by (I think) Phil's Greyhound, but revenge was taken in the surprise form of my Sd.Kfz 251/10 trundling on and brewing up the US Sherman with its PaK36 "doorknocker!" Phil was not impressed.

The mortars and Nebelwerfer did nothing turn 1, but it was a stark realisation, I think, for Steve at one of the few weaknesses of the Commando Captain's powerful command bubble: everyone has to stay close!


Now things started to stall for the Germans - the Panzer IV had failed its order test and reversed back behind behind the buildings in the centre of my line, and I just wasn't able to destroy enough of the Allied units. To make matters worse, one of my mortars AND the PaK40 had both been zeroed-in on and wouldn't stick around much longer. 
Things start to hurt in my left flank...
On the plus side, I'd killed and pinned a few models with the mortar/Nebelwerfer combo, and my sniper had managed to bag the air observer - the bad news was that just before he copped it he'd managed to call in a fire mission on the centre of my line. Luckily, it was delayed at the start of turn 3; unluckily it came in with a roar at the start of turn 4...

...but I'd not been idle. Trying to make up my points from 1465 to 1500 had been a cinch when I realised that giving each of my three Hanomags a rear pintle MMG would do it perfectly, and although I figured I'd never use them, as it happened, I now knew that an airstrike would (on a 4+) be striking the centre of my line, so I fanned the three half-tracks out in a loose triangle with their backsides covering the centre of my lines - exactly where the plane was placed! Eighteen MG42 shots later, and the 'Jabo' called off its attack - hurrah!

The tables turned on me again, though: I lost both of the 251s in quick succession, and then on both flanks my infantry started to get whittled away and a bazooka was threatening my tank. Meanwhile, I still hadn't dealt with the blasted Greyhound or AEC in the centre, not to mention the AT gun or the mass of Commandos advancing on my left...

My centre squad of Heer Vets got brave and launched three Panzerfausts at the two vehicles facing them - no luck and they were left exposed.

End Game:

In turn five, with my back to the wall, the gods finally decided to roll with the Germans. A brave charge from the Luftwaffe Field Division finally took-down the Commando Captain and his last man, and at this point I really realised that I probably should've sniped his sorry backside earlier: he really is the lynchpin of that Commando formation! Ho-hum. 

On the other flank, I finally lost my PaK40 and my regulars were withdrawing, but success at last! The command 251/10, still basking in the reflected glory of its Sherman kill, finally brought its doorknocker to bear on the pesky Greyhound, and blew it sky-high around the same time as the bazooka team were dispatched.

This in turn cleared the opportunity for my Panzer IV to sneak out in the middle and put an AP round straight through the side armour of the AEC III wheeled tank. Thank god! 
The Heer finally dig in on the right...
...and the vehicles break out!
It was late in the day, but this was the real turning point: the Allies just couldn't come back from the loss of their vehicles and the Command HQ. Victory was agreed for the German Heer. 

It was a fun slog, and I was grateful to Steve and Phil for their engagement and good humour. Lessons learnt? Well, probably these:
-- don't forget that I can pin the crud out of open-topped vehicles!
-- don't put too much faith in the costly Panzerschrek: it hit nothing;
-- the Nebelwerfer was every bit as fun and threatening as I thought it would be...and just as ultimately useless!
-- snipe any Commando Captains;
-- don't block in your own Panzer IV!

All in all, it was a fun game and a great chance to try out a larger German force. Thanks again to my hosts, and I wish them success in their various hobbying endeavours.

Until next time then, 

- Drax.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

607 - The Battle of Hamburg, April '45 - Part III

Hullo, All. 

Six months ago(!) I played one of the best and most photogenic games of my life [link here]- a nod to the Battle of Hamburg against the entirely excellent Jon. 

What I never got around for was the third installment: when Jon and I played the scenario from a few days later in April '45 as the Germans tried a desperate, last-ditch attempt to retake the city against a hasty British defence.

Obviously after half a year I won't remember the details, but it was a cracking match and I always fully intended to post the pretty pictures at least, so here goes!
A gorgeous table again, as before. This time it was the
Brits who had the completely hidden (mapped) setup in
the town's outskirts - the Germans were attacking from
the green belt on the right of this pic.
My opening gambit: put a unit on 'Ambush'.
Jon's Opening gambit: send the Puma into the town...
...but we'd rolled to see whether the Puma had seen that
6pdr barrel sticking out of a window, and it hadn't...
..."Puma in open - 100 yards. Down safety...FIRE!"
The Puma was immobilised, and an understandably frustrated Jon
moved all of his troops into a solid thrust toward the town. 
Sadly, my artillery FOO had called in some defensive fire,
and at the start of turn two, a barrage pinned 'em all!

MEANWHILE, in the middle...
....the Hetzer had moved up to very close range. Now,
this wasn't a concern for me - until I realised that it was
a sodding Flammpanzer! 
"AAAaaaargh!" - fwoooOOOOSH!
The view from my back row (6pdr in that building, left)
Luckily for me, my PIAT survived the conflagration.
Unluckily for me, they only immobilised and pinned it. 
Not wanting to just sit and shoot, I scooted some Toms
out to bring the fight to the Germans...
...sadly, neither flank could destroy the Hetzer, and
both were left quite vulnerable.
Jon realised this, and his centre - having rallied well - surged
forward to invest both the building and the ruin. Damn.
Luckily, my brave boys were able to fight their way in to
the building and put pressure on the enemy in the open.
Higher ground!
To add insult to injury, and having finished off the Puma,
my 6pdr popped off a long-odds shot at the retreating
halftrack and blew it sky-high too.
Endgame. We had to call it: with no vehicles left, no
officer and mostly only inexperienced Volkssturm left,
Jon's attack had fatally stalled. A British victory.
The game was great, and poor Jon was superbly resilient, given his daunting task and terrible luck.

These games really were amazing: proof (if t'were needed!) of just how very awesome home-brew narrative scenarios can really be!

...and I love those pics of the 6pdr lurking in the house - love 'em! 
- Drax