Tuesday 31 July 2012

More Malifaux New Releases

Wyrd have released pictures of some more of the new miniatures that will be available at GenCon. This time it's some Arcanist figures & crews. They have also confirmed that these new releases are plastic injection molded miniatures, not 'bendy' plastic or finecast.

Rail Crew Box Set - $35.00 

Metal Gamin (3 pack) - $21.00

Rail Golem - $35.00 

Willie the Demolitionist - $16.00

I don't know whether it's their new approach or not but these figures look a cut above their usual designs. I particularly like the Mei Feng model, although I'll be interested to see how it fits together. It also looks like it might be a pain to transport but I can still see me investing heavily in these new releases when they come out.

Monday 30 July 2012

Malifaux: Witchling Stalkers & Death Marshals

Looking at yesterday's post got me thinking about Malifaux again. I haven't played in a while and I've had some half finished figures on my desk for ages. So I decided it was about time I finished them off.

The first pair are Death Marshals. I did my usual base coat of spray white and then used washes on most of the model. I'm fairly happy with them except for the 'flames' (or whatever it's supposed to be coming out of the coffin) I wanted a more two tone effect but the yellow highlights didn't show up as much as I wanted.

Next are some Witchling Stalkers. These were pretty simple to do and I'm happy with how they came out. I think the proportions on the sword and guns are a little off though but there's not much I can do about the sculpts.

I'm looking forward to the Gencon releases and I can see me investing in a few new crews. Particularly the Ten Thunders and Dark Debts sets.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Wyrd Miniatures Goes Plastic

Wyrd has traditionally done all of it's models the old fashion way, sculpt, mold, cast and done. Like many figure manufacturers rising metal costs and other issues have caused them to look at alternatives.

They've moved from traditional sculpting to digital sculpting and from metal to high detail hard plastic. Below we've got a couple of shots to show you the progress from art to finished plastic product.

They say they're not raising their prices to do so, unlike GW. They claim to offer better quality, more model options (heads, arms, weapons) at a better price. I'll be interested to see how these turn out.

WYR4056 - Dark Debts Box Set - $40.00

WYR4057 - Mr. Graves - $11.00

WYR4058 - Mr. Tannen - $11.00

WYR4059 - The Depleted (3 pack) - $21.00

WYR5072 - Lazarus - $18.00

WYR4060 - Beckoners (2 pack) - $16.00

Apparently these are just a few of the things that'll be making their way to Gencon next month. There's some interesting looking models in there. The new Dark Debts box set looks like something i may have to pick up.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Computer Problems

I'm having problems with my computer so no post today. Hopefully I can get it fixed quickly and resume normal service tomorrow.

Friday 27 July 2012

Dropzone Commander Launches

Dropzone Commander pre-orders are now shipping so I expect to see some reviews over the next few days. It appears that all the products are now available to buy on their website as well. The main thing that's been added though is the rulebook. We've seen very little about this and it's going to be the key determinant as to whether the system is going to be a success or not.

The rules are a reasonable £15 for a 152 page A4 full colour rulebook but I think you will also need a card deck for £5 but I'm not sure about that. According to the website the rulebook's contents include:

Core Rules: All the rules you need to play.

Rich and detailed setting for the DzC game universe, as well as in depth background for all four races and their units. You'll be in no doubt as to where you're fighting, why you're fighting and who you're fighting with!

Army Lists:
The full stats, lists and special rules for all four races.

A wide selection of scenarios to keep your games fresh!

Colour Schemes:
A wide selection of colour schemes and camouflage patterns are showcased for each race, giving you plenty of inspiration when painting your armies! Further hobby tips, articles and information will be made available from our downloads section in the coming weeks.

Guest Painters Pages: 
Some inspiring work by keen gamers and painters unaffiliated with Hawk Wargames.

As I've said before the models look beautiful but, for me, they're just too expensive. Although some of the army deals are better value you'll still be buying addons at full price.

Thursday 26 July 2012

New Releases From The Plastic Soldier Company

PSC have just announced some new releases one of which I'm particularly interested in, the SdKfz 222. It's a new Zvezda kit so not strictly a PSC release but that's where I buy my Zvezda kits.

The SdKfz 222 is a great little armoured car that you can use in loads of armies. It's stats are shown below:

Sd Kfz 222 (2cm)Wheeled 1 0 0 Co-ax MG.
2cm KwK38 gun16"/40cm 3 5 5+ Self-defence anti-aircraft.

I've been thinking about getting some of these for a while so I may have to take the plunge now.

PSC have also announced their 15mm SdKfz 251/D Halftrack conversion kit. The kit has 24 crew figures and parts to build 16 halftrack variants: 251/10 Platoon Commander with Pak 36, 251/8 Mortar, 251/9 Stummel and 251/16 Flamm  for £16.50. You will still need to buy the standard 251/D halftracks but you do get lots of nice options for about £1 each which is a pretty good deal.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

First Game of Cry Havoc in Years

Monday night saw me dig out Cry Havoc for a game. I had a quick look through the rules before the game and they were just as simple as I remembered. A couple of minutes explaining the rules to Chaz and we were ready to go.

We decided to play Scenario 1 first to get the hang of the game as it only used a few characters. The scenario was a fight between two bands of local thugs, each vying for the position of top dog in the village. Then we hit the first minor problem, sorting out the counters. There are two counters for each character (four for mounted knights) showing the different states they can have, so it took a while to go through all the counters picking out the ones we needed. Once we got that sorted out the game went pretty quickly. A few checks of the rules later and we started to get the hang of the tactics, ganging up on opponents, steering clear of archers and using the terrain to advantage. I lost my bowman early on and never recovered, with Chaz gaining an easy win.

Having got the hang of things we moved on to a more complex scenario played on the same map, shown below.

This time a few knights with a mix of archers & billmen were protecting the Lady Edith after her town had fallen to a seige. They were hiding out in a poorer quarter of the town hoping to survive till reinforcements arrived to rescue them. I played the dastardly attackers.

Again it took us ages to sort through the counters, I'll have to get a tray for the counters or label some bags to help sort them out. I outnumbered Chaz but he had more crossbows and archers. Having suffered at the hands of Chaz's archers last game I took great pains to avoid them and they were a lot less effective this time. As the game progressed I managed to use my superior numbers to wear down Chaz's forces and it soon became clear that the Lady Edith was in for a rough night so we called the game as a win for me.

Having played a couple of games now we could see how things could have been done better by both of us. For a simple set of rules there are some complex tactics in play. But it was an enjoyable night and I look forward to playing Cry Havoc again soon.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

28mm Saxons

In one of my many manic phases I bought a load of 28mm plastic Vikings, Saxons and Normans to use for Impetus and Saga. Normally I like to fight ahistorical battles, Egyptians vs HYW etc. but most people I play prefer match ups. So my current plan is to build Saxon and Norman armies for Impetus to use as a historical pairing.

As I'm not really a painter I always look to do things as simply as possible. I started with some foot and sprayed them with Army Painter's Plate Mail primer. Next I painted anything that wasn't mail or metal in an appropriate colour. They were then finished off with a coat of Army Painter Dark Tone dip.

I was pleased with how they came out. They were fairly quick to paint and the dip picked out the detail nicely. The shields were a pain though. I did these separately and used transfers for the shield designs. I had to paint some of the shield fronts white to give them a decent background colour for the decals. I've always found white to be a difficult colour to paint and I never get a smooth finish. But I've bought one of the new white GW Base paints now so I'll give that a try as they claim it can cover black in one coat.

Although these are fairly easy to paint I haven't played ancients in months so they are now low on my list of painting priorities.

Monday 23 July 2012

FoG Ancients V2.0 Going Digital Only

On the 12th July Slitherine announced the upcoming release of Version 2 of their popular ancients rules Field of Glory. No real surprise here, we've been expecting the V2 rules for sometime now. The surprise was the announcement that they will be a digital only release in the form of an iPad, PC and MAC app.

As you might expect this has been the source of much debate around the 'net. As I've moved on to using Impetus for ancient wargaming this doesn't really bother me. But as a trend it does. I have to say that I think going digital only is a really bad idea for various reasons.

First it's a basic business principle that you don't make it harder for your customers to use your product. Yes most people these days have smart phones but not all of us. While I would read a book on a decent sized tablet I would never try to read one on a smart phone, the screen is much too small. You also have to realise that people use paper rulebooks differently than they use ebooks. For instance it's quite common for me to keep a finger on one page and quickly flick back and forth to another page to cross check things. Although you can bookmark pages in ebooks it's just not the same.

Next there's the cost. The current rulebook has a list price of £25 for a full colour hardback book. This seems to be about the norm for price when comparing it to other rulebooks. After all full colour printing is very expensive and then you have the distribution and storage costs to add on to this. So will the new digital version be considerably cheaper, I doubt it. I'm sure they'll justify the cost by saying it's expensive to develop the app or you're getting free rule updates and errata etc.

Lastly I just don't see people using a smart phone as a rule book. Adding a laptop to all the stuff you already cart down to the wargames club just isn't on, even if you did there's no guarantee you can find a power socket. Plus trailing power cables will just be a recipe for disaster. You can use the battery but what happens when it runs out mid game, you know it's bound to happen.

While I'm all for innovation I just don't think this has been thought through very well. Having to spend £200 - £300 pounds on a device just so you can read a set of wargame rules just isn't a runner for most people. Will they sell less copies of their rules? Yes. Will they lose money? Maybe not, it will depend on the pricing and the production costs. Will they lose market position as the main Ancients rules? Yes I think they will, there's lots of good options out there.

Of course your opinion may vary which is fine. Also I may well end up like the following 'experts':

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

"I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."
Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, 1995

"Television won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
Darryl Zanuck, executive at 20th Century Fox, 1946

"Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years."
Alex Lewyt, president of Lewyt vacuum company, 1955

Sunday 22 July 2012

Battlefront's New Plastic Pz IV's

Battlefront have announced the arrival of the first of their new plastic models the Pz IV ausf J platoon box set.

The set includes the parts to make five Panzer IV J Medium tanks. It comprises ten plastic part sprues, two Stowage sprues, two Tank Commander sprues, five sets of metal Sch├╝rzen, ten Rare-earth magnets & one Decal sheet. That's just about everything you could want in a box set, no word yet on the price so I'll be interested to see how it stacks up against the Plastic Soldier Company offerings.

Here's a couple of shots of the contents.

I like the idea of the one piece track sections and the detail looks fine, but I'll reserve judgement until I see the rest of the sprues. For me the key thing will be price. If I can buy a set like this for about £20 inc discount I can see me buying them, if they're £25 or more I think I'll stick with PSC as I'm not that bothered about the decals and magnets.

Saturday 21 July 2012

More MDF Buildings

I've finally finished off the first of my MDF buildings from Commission Figurines. It too a lot longer then I expected as there's so much detail to paint. As well as the doors, shell damage and exposed brick work there's over fifty windows to paint.

I'm not that happy with how it's turned out as the colours I chose don't really work, plus the dip just ended up making the building look dirty rather than picking out the detail as I'd hoped. Although it does look ok on the exposed brickwork. It's not too bad from a distance and it will be surrounded by other buildings so it will do for now.

On my other building I'm not going to bother with the dip, hopefully my colour choices will be better and it will look ok.

Friday 20 July 2012

Quick Review: 4Ground 15mm MDF Church

Having successfully assembled the 4Ground Terraced Houses I moved on to building their Church yesterday. The kit comes pre-cut on nine pieces of MDF some of which have been painted. The pre-painted version costs £30 while the unpainted kit costs £20. 

As with the Terraced Houses kit it's essential to follow the instructions carefully, only pressing out the pieces you need for each stage. Dry fitting the pieces together helps, as does checking back with the photos to make sure you have things the right way round.

The first stages are easy. You assemble the carcass and then add the exterior cladding as shown below. They recommend PVA glue but I used a clear glue and had no problems.

After the ground floor of the church is assembled you move on to the tower. The tower comes in four sections, each of which are assembled separately. The ground floor of the tower was straightforward but the subsequent levels are assembled differently. Here you glue the exterior walls first and then add in the interior supports. This can get tricky as it's not always obvious which way round the various pieces go, I had to take apart a couple of pieces and redo them to get it right. 

After the tower is completed its time to move on to the two porches and the roof. These were no problem, although I did find them a little fiddly in places. I'd had problems with the roofs on the Terraced House kit but these went together smoothly. The last job is to insert the cills on the windows. Again a bit fiddly but easy to do. The completed model looks good and would grace any wargames table. 

The finished Church with a US 105mm Cannon for scale

The church roof comes off easily so your troops can occupy it to hold off the enemy. The tower comes apart as well and you can place a small base on each level, so it's ideal for artillery spotters or snipers.

The disassembled model

I give this kit a 9/10. As with both kits I think the instructions could be more detailed for certain steps but this is a minor niggle. I will probably buy more kits from 4Ground and have no hesitation in recommending them to other wargamers

Thursday 19 July 2012

What To Do Next?

Now that Operation Sea Lion has finished I've got a bit of breathing space where I don't have anything I have to get painted for a game. So I need to sort out what I'm going to do next. Things are complicated by the fact that I'm getting a load of work done on the house at the moment so there's lots of noise and interruptions which makes painting etc a bit tricky. I have far too many bits and pieces all over the place at the moment as well, some are waiting assembly, some half painted and far too many unpainted models & figures. I think I'm going to have to buy more boxes to store everything safely until I get round to them and have a general clean up so I can see what's what.

Probably the first thing I'll do is assemble the 4Ground church I bought a couple of weeks ago. It's pre-painted so once it's assembled it's done. That should only take me a couple of hours to do.

Next I should probably finish assembling my three boxes of PSC tanks (Pz III's & IV's) for my DaK force and then get them painted. I also have have to add the detail to the 3 Sd Kfz 10/5's in my AA Section. Once that's done my DaK force is finished.

I should also finish painting my MDF buildings from Commission Figurines. I've decided that using Army Painter dip on them is fine for the exposed brickwork but doesn't work on the rendered areas. So I'm going to try using Devlan Mud just on the bricks and leave the rendered areas in a base colour. These are taking me a while to paint not only because I'm having difficulty deciding how to paint them but also because of the amount of detail there is on the models. It's just not obvious how detailed they are until you start painting them. They certainly are a great product.

Once that's done I have a load of primed FoW infantry to finish or I could start on my 10mm WSS figures for Maurice or my 10mm Napoleonics for Lasalle or finish off my 28mm Norman and Saxon armies for Impetus or make a start on my 28mm Imperial Romans also for Impetus or my 28mm ECW figures etc. etc. It's a good job I'm retired or there's no way I'd ever get all these projects finished!

Ohh, in case you were wondering I sucumbed and bought the Union and Confederate army packs from Pendraken. So when they arrive that's something else to add to the list.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

The American Civil War Is Calling Me.

One of the many periods I used to play before I quit gaming was the American Civil War. Lately I've been thinking about getting back into it but it wasn't a priority. Mainly because I still have all my War of Spanish Succession stuff to paint up for 'Maurice'. But a few weeks ago I picked up a cheap copy of the 'Johnny Reb III' rules on eBay. I was just going to leave it on the shelf until I got round to buying some ACW figures but then Pendraken announced a revised range of ACW figures.

They look great as you can see from the photos below. I was still going to wait but Pendraken announced their prices were going up on the 1st of August from £3.50 for a pack of 30 figures to £4.00 a pack. Now I'm thinking I should buy them before the price goes up even though they're probably going to sit in a box for months before I get round to painting them. If it was only a few figures I'd probably wait, but as usual I'm going to have to buy two armies as no one plays ACW locally. Buying now will probably only save me about £8.00 but being tight-fisted I prefer to buy things as cheaply as I can.

So it's going to be a battle between being sensible and not adding to the massive pile of stuff still awaiting paint and being unable to pass up a good deal and it's not looking good for common sense right now!

Anyway on with the pictures.

Sunday 15 July 2012

FoW: Operation Sea Lion - Free for All

I'm posting this Sunday night instead of the usual Monday morning so I can submit this batrep before the Operation Sea Lion deadline ends.

Friday saw my final battle for WWPD's Operation Sea Lion campaign, this one was between my Guards Tank regiment a German Panzer company. We both had 1750 points and my force was as follows:

Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk (Guards)
Guards Heavy Tank Regiment
Soviet Late-War
Platoon Qty Unit Points
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk HQ p.45
1 KV-85 110
Combat Companies
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Company p.46
5 KV-85 555
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Company p.46
5 KV-85 555
Corps Support Companies
Strelkovy Company (Guards) p.26
Cmd Rifle/MG team
Rifle/MG team
Artillery Battalion (Guards) p.138
Cmd Rifle team
Staff team
Observer Rifle team
122mm obr 1938 howitzer
Air Support p.141
5 Limited Air Support Il-2 Shturmovik 200
Company Points: 1750

While the German forces were as shown below:

Tank Company
German Late-War
Platoon Qty Unit Points
Panzerkompanie HQ p.73
2 Panzer IV H 180
Combat Platoons
Panzer Platoon p.73
5 Panzer IV H 450
Panzer Platoon p.73
4 StuG G 380
Weapons Platoons
Panzer Anti-aircraft Gun Platoon p.75
3 Sd Kfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm) 120
Divisional Support
Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon p.77
Cmd Panzerfaust SMG team
Sd Kfz 251/1
MG team
Rocket Launcher Battery p.169
Cmd SMG team
Observer Rifle team
15cm NW41
Heavy Anti-aircraft Gun Platoon p.171
Cmd SMG team
Kfz 15 field car
8.8cm FlaK36 gun (8 crew)
Sd Kfz 7
Air Support p.172
3 Sporadic Air Support Ju 87G Stuka 100
Company Points: 1750

The mission was 'Free for All' with the Soviets defending. The terrain layout can be seen below. I put one unit of KV's on each flank with the artilley in the centre and the Strelkovy on my left ready to enter the buldings. The Germans mirrored my deployment with Stugs on their right with the Grenadiers and AA, the Pz IV's were on their left flank. The centre was held by 88's and nebelwerfers plus the HQ.

The view from the German right flank

The view from the German centre

The view from the German leftflank

The view from the Soviet centre

The view from the Soviet right flank

The Germans went first and, thankfully, as the mission used the Meeting Engagement rule they were denied artillery bombardments and air support. They moved up the AA trucks hoping to catch my infantry in the open but had forgotten that they only got the 8" extra range against aircraft so were out of range. The grenadiers moved round their right flank heading towards the ruined buildings. On their left they moved the Pz IV's into firing positions. Everyone else stayed put and shot but could only manage to bail one of my left flank KV's.

My air support arrived but was shot down by combined fire from the 88's and AA trucks. I moved my infantry into the building with the aim of threatening the objective on that flank. I moved up a couple of the far left KV's up to the small wood to get them into cover. Unfortunately my fire was worse than the Germans and I did no damage but I did range in on one of the 88's.

The German right flank at the end of turn 1

The Soviet left flank at the end of turn 1

The German left flank at the end of turn 1

Turn 2 saw the Germans continue to move round my left flank with their half tracks and AA trucks. All their tanks also moved forward to get into short range where possible. Their aim was to Stormtrooper back out after shooting leaving me to shoot at long range. Luckily for me the KV's armour proved too much for the German 75mm guns. But they did manage to pin my infantry with the nebelwerfers. They also got air support and the Stukas dove in on my left flank KV's hitting two but failing the firepower tests. Successful Stormtrooper rolls saw all his tanks pull back to long range except on their left flank.

My air support arrived and again was shot down by German AA. I also failed to unpin my infantry. I was pretty happy with my positions so I stayed put and shot. My right flank KV's managed to knock out one of the PZ IV's and my artillery knocked out one of the 88's.

The Germans continue their outflanking manoeuvre 

The tank duel continues

As it also does on the other flank.

Turn 3 saw the Germans fail in their request for air support. The tanks maintained position to maximise fire. While the grenadiers dismounted and moved forward to get into position to assault my pinned Strelkovy. Fire from the Grenadiers combined with support from the half tracks killed two bases. Things were not looking good for my infantry. But the German 75mm guns again proved ineffective only managing to bail one KV. But the Grenadier assault went in and after some bitter fighting managed to push back the Strelkovy inflicting heavy casualties.

I managed to call in air support again and targeted the pinned 88. I failed to remount my KV and couldn't unpin my Strelkovy. But my right flank KV's knocked out two more Pz IV's forcing a check which they failed. I also managed to knock out one of the Stugs. The Sturmi's dove in on the 88 hit and the 88 failed it's save so now the German left flank was completely open.

The tough armour on the KV's means only one bailed out tank

The German left flank objective is wide open now

The Grenadiers have the beating of the Strelkovy

Turn 4 saw the Germans get their air support and his Stukas targeted my left flank KV's hoping to stop them contesting my left flank objective near the building. His only hope now was to finish off my infantry and hope to claim the objective before I could take his unguarded left flank objective. Worried about more losses he pulled back his stugs into cover except for one which bogged. He also pulled back his HQ tanks hoping to protect his left flank objective. His infantry and AA trucks opened up on my Strelkovy and some excellent dice rolling saw him wipe them all out. His plan to take my left hand objective was working. Sadly for him despite his Stukas hitting two KV's he again failed his firepower rolls.

My air support failed to arrive this turn although I did remount my bailed out tank. My right flank KV's moved up but their progress was hindered by bad going and their slow speed. I repositioned my left flank KV's so that they were better positioned in case his Grenadiers decided to try and assault me to clear the objective. What fire I had did no damage.

The German's pull back

My KV's prepare to be assaulted by the Grenadiers

My right flank KV's look to grab his unguarded objective.

Turn 5 and no air support for the Germans. Their HQ tanks move into cover so they can contest the left flank objective. The AA trucks move forward hoping to get a lucky flank shot on the KV's. While the Grenadiers consolidate to get ready for an assault. His bogged Stug remounts and moves forward hoping for a lucky hit on a KV. But again all the German shells bounce off my armour. The nebelwerfers drop smoke on on of the KV's to protect his Stugs.

I call in my air support and target his CIC near the objective. I double move the right flank KV's, one more turn and the objective will be mine. My CiC's KV shoots at the German 2iC knocking him out. My other fire does nothing but my Sturmi hits, the CiC fails his armour save and I make the firepower roll knocking his Pz IV. At this point the Germans concede. He has nothing close to contest the objective and can't clear out my KV's contesting the other one.

The final positions on my left

The unguarded objective with the knocked out HQ section

An interesting game, the Pz IV's and Stugs were no match for my KV's and the 88's proved to be much less of a threat than I thought. But those grenadiers were nasty with all their machine guns. So my final battle for Operation Sea Lion and a win for the Allies 5-2. Lets just hope we've hung on to London.

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