Friday, 28 December 2018

2018 roundup!

Hi folks,

I wanted to do a little review of the years work, as much because I've felt that I wasn't as productive this year as I have been previously. I had two lengthy breaks from painting, both following holidays away from home. I also struggled a little with my motivation at times, and as such I thought getting they full years finished pictures all together in one place would help.

I started the year pretty strongly, between the start of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge in late December 2017 and March 2018, I managed to exceed my target for the challenge and get a lot done artillery and FlaK wise for my Germans, as well as getting some 3mm stuff finished:

I carried on with the German theme following the challenge, trying to get a chunk of my 12th SS and supporting German armour painted by July. I overshot this target by a few months (mainly due to being sick of painting Germans... it was November before it was all done), but in that time also managed to build and paint an LCT...

I also finished off my 10mm ACW collection:

And managed to paint some 3mm Sci-Fi, 6mm Modern and 15mm Terrain stuff:

3mm Prototype Skinners

Quantity wise, I don't think I did too badly and I'm pretty happy with the quality of the German armour. I'm pretty proud of the LCT as well. The 6mm stuff was definitely given less time and effort, and could do with revisiting at some point, although for the size of it, it's very much 'good enough'.

From a productivity standpoint, I think there are about 30 individual 'groups' of mini's that I would have taken between one and two weeks with, plus a few small add ons. I guess I can be pleased with that - my logic is generally that I should be finishing a platoon every two weeks (which is an internal measure of how likely I am to ever finish what's in the lead pile).

I also spent time building plastic kits when I was not painting, organising and planning as well as  taking stock of what I have to paint - all of which is productive time even if it didn't end up with models being painted.

I've also one last unit I am working on currently I hope to get done in December, but it is looking like it might be the start of the year before it's finally done.

Show wise, I managed to get to quite a few, including some new ones thanks to Dave D and Martin. Museum wise, I got back to the Tank Museum and spent the day in the archives, as well as getting to quite a few air museums all over the country. The collection continues to grow both in painted and unpainted models, and I've branched out into D-Day. I've not played as many games with the collection as I would have liked, but am trying to rectify that in 2019 by hiring a local hall regularly to get some big games in with the lads (for both mine and their collections). Blog post's have been slightly down this year on previous years for some reason, but I think that is because I've cut down on WiP posts (using Facebook instead for this), and only posted to the Blog when I have finished things to show.

In 2019 I am planning to step things up a notch and try to learn how to use my airbrush. I've too many vehicles in the painting queue (and an ungodly number of them are halftracks) and I need to speed up how I do these. Other than that, play more, paint more...!

As ever, Cheers to the guys on the Miniature Modelling Mayhem Paint and Chats for helping me stay motivated and chatting while painting. I have been doing these for a few years now, and while they are not for everyone they really are a good way of getting stuff done while exchanging small talk, talking about the hobby and really just being a good bunch of people to talk to. Thanks also to those people who comment on the blog, which also helps me stay motivated! And to Dave D and Martin, who's enthusiasm and participation in my 15mm madness has really helped me stay on track, and who have been willing guinea pigs as we continue to develop an interesting style of play!

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas 2018 loot

Hi folks,

Working hard on my first AHPC entry of the season - no pics yet as still work in progress!

In the mean time, I wanted to do the traditional 'what I got for Christmas' post, which is both heavily linked to what I am painting now and to my big scratch build project from earlier this year:

I've figured since myself, Dave and Martin have a bit of a D-Day theme going and I'm planning on doing some Canadian's for my Op. Totalize project, I would focus on the Canadian landings. There were a lot of interesting battles post landing as well, which will be good to cover through our games. The details of the Canadian landings are really interesting (and in some places, pretty grim) - not quite on the same scale as Omaha, but the initial waves took a beating.

Martin also recently found some family history loosely linked to Juno beach as well. These books are a fair old addition to my existing books on the Canadians in Normandy, and I'm looking forward to getting into them. The benefits of providing a list of wanted items to my wife ;)

Necromunda is still a project i want to get onto, and hopefully the AHPC challenge will see me making some progress!

I also got a ticket to go see Warhorse in Sunderland in February, which I have always fancied going to see.

Hope everyone else had a good day!

Monday, 17 December 2018

AAR: Escape the Pocket! 15mm v4 FoW

Hi folks,

Those of you who also follow Dave will have spotted his photo's today of yesterdays WW2 game, but I've a few of my own to post so thought I would share my perspective.

As usual, we were playing Flames of War v4. Unusually, we played this game without any significant alterations (so no random events). The scenario was thrown together last minute and is only roughly based on recent reading about American advances post Operation Cobra.

This also fit with Dave's current American FoW force, which is pretty light on infantry currently while he gets stuff painted up. We laid out a table with a 'main road' up the centre - representing the American main axis of advance for one of the Armoured Divisions Combat Commands.

The Germans would be played by yours truly and would be attempting to cross the width of the table. The German models were a mix of mine, Ian's and a single Panther of Dave's. In the picture above, the Germans would be travelling from right to left. The American forces were strung out all along the road, with the objective of stopping the German escaping.

American forces were whatever Dave decided made sense to put on the table, while the Germans were randomly selected from the v4 late war German unit cards, with D3 units arriving a turn, each at a random point along one table edge (allocated via a D6 roll).

Dave and Ian decided to keep the roleplay aspect by moving their columns up the road, while we initially used skill checks for units spotting each other to determine whether they did and realised they were enemy units. The pocket was, after all, 'sealed'.

Early turns saw some StuG's attempting to use the railway line as an escape route - they ran into the tail end of the M10's and were all brewed up. 

Meanwhile, on the other end of the table a American Recce Patrol passed some Flakpanzer 38t's, much to the surprise of both parties. The fire from the Flakpanzers bailed one Greyhound, while return fire knocked out both German vehicles. 

The StuG's trundle on - both sides still failing skills tests to spot the other. 

Some Stummels and Halftracks meanwhile try to get through the convoys, but get stuck up on the hedge, hit with artillery fire then caught in the open by Shermans. A single one survived for a few turns before also being brewed up. 

In the centre, a couple of German A/C's duelled with a pair of M8's and some M18's - both survived till the end of the game, before being surrounded and surrendering. They accounted for an M8 and an M18, and forced the other M8 to flee. 
The game moved on, with the American's starting to react and trying to pinch off the entry points.

Another view of the crossroads - the American Company CP was int he farm at the top of the picture. 

The American tank platoon that had been moving off table sorts themselves out, alerted by the sound of nearby firing. A unit of Wespe's got a kicking from these tanks and the Recce unit. 

View from the top of the hill! Zoomed in a bit, but still looks cool! You can see one of the small lego tiles Dave uses for markers - green with a small printed 'bailed' sticker on it, yellow for 'pinned'. 

Burning StuG's - they managed to bail one M10... the return fire was pretty devastating!

More German motorised and mechanised infantry arrive, as well as some Panzer IV's - who become the target of the M18's while the Puma's get out of dodge. 
The American's were consistently able to bring weight of fire on the German's - those M10's and M18's packed a punch - we weren't sure about the historical accuracy of using the M18's, but they were nice models...

Finally, some big cat's arrived, in the form of some Panthers. One plucky Stuart bailed one of them, while it's comrades went and hid....

Return fire bails a Stuart... must have passed straight through (I failed the firepower roll). 

The American M18's decide to apply 'tactics' and re-deploy, aiming to get flank shots once the Panthers advanced. The M3 guns are actually 57mm guns. 

Elsewhere, the American's advance while German vehicles burn!

German infantry hunkers down, taking out some US infantry that were hanging around in the woods, but being subjected to artillery fire in return. 

Another group of Germans arrive, some Panzer IV's and mortar half tracks. Some German foot infantry also dash across the table, trying to make it to safety. 

However, the Panzer IV's advance was met by a wall of American armour, and again failed to inflict casualties (another bail on an M10)

The Panthers push forward to the crossroads, while Ian tries to get behind them with his Shermans, running into some Panzerfaust fire from German infantry in the buildings - no Shermans lost though!

Another nice shot from up on the 'hill' caused by a higher table!

The battle at the crossroads gets fierce. Bazooka teams let fly, and infantry assault but fail to harm anything. A Panther is lost to flanking fire from a 76mm Sherman. 

The Germans get one Panzer IV, a Panther and a couple of Infantry squads over the table, killing a few Shermans in the process. 
Things wrapping up...

Surrounded German units start to give up. 

Turret eye view from the M18's

Against all expectations, the Stuarts and Greyhounds survived, and even got in some kills. 
All in all, the scenario worked ok - though in future I would award victory points for every German unit making it across and every American unit move off to support the advance. Some unarmoured convoys would be nice as well, for the Americans and Germans. More hedges are also required!

On the other side of the hall, the rest of the lads were involved in some 'spear chucking' - playing Hail Caesar. Lovely looking models, but the terrain needs some work!

No idea what was going on, but they seemed to enjoy it and it kept them off the street and out of the community for a few hours!

My own care in the community efforts have been to prep for the AHPC which starts later this month. This has included assembling some 40mm SP Bofors... which is not a painful experience, honest!

Hopefully, I'll get some more gaming in when the club next meets on the 30th. I've also (hopefully) secured a more local hall to use next year to try and get some monthly big games in! We just need to get a few folding tables in the new year.

Hope everyone gets what they are after for xmas, and that everyone has a great new year. Just remember as well, there is a community of people out there that shares the same interest, and while the time of year can be tough for many, there is always someone out there to talk to! Have a good one,