Games night 30th march

John has gone to India for work for three weeks, so before he went we quickly organised a game at his place. It turned out to be only myself, John and Terry in the end, with 3000 points a side on an 8′ x 4′ table.  the plan was to have Chris there as well, and everyone would bring a 1500 point force – John and Chris would provide the allies and Terry and I the Germans. Then we would randomly draw for which army we played with. But Chris had the flu, so we ended up with John and I taking the allies against Terry with all of the Germans.

The scenario saw a British armoured regiment coming to the relief of a Para company, and was the first time I have ever played bocage. If I had known at the start of the game what I know now, I would have deployed a lot differently.

Lines up in the bocage – I should have massed the armour nearer to the camera if I had known that there would be no way to fire from one hedge to the next…

I had two platoons in the centre of the table – John’s paras are in the town.

The Paras deployed with the German assault massing on the far side of the river.

The German Panthers advance –

– and set about wiping out the Shermans in the centre.

Terry attempts to get his forces across the bridge, but only succeeds in getting his trucks set alight (along with most of their passengers)

While John blows up his support on the far side of the river.

My tanks resemble the parking lot that so many purists insist Flames of War becomes. But it is because of the Mexican stand-off at the bocage (were the Mexicans in World War Two?). Who will blink first?

Me of course! After all, I have numerical superiority – I should be able to get at least half my tanks across and that will be enough… D’OH!

John’s paras launch  counterattack and whack the remaining Germans pretty convincingly.

With nothing left to lose (actually, pretty much just nothing left) I launch a desperate infantry attack on the advancing Panthers. My infantry didn’t even manage to make a decent speed bump. Sigh. This is Terry’s revenge for the walloping my Russians have given him the last couple of times. Set me up in the bocage and watch me flounder around!

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing I’d designed a pretty solid 1500 point army list…

This was the situation before my infantry did their death or glory charge. It was a very short trip to the objective for the Panthers once they were disposed of.

So, a lot of fun (especially for Terry), but it was quite a slow game without Chris there as well, as terry had to effectively fight two opponents. Next games night we might try this switcheroo again.



US tank company support

I haven’t had a chance to post anything over the last month, due to a hectic work schedule and, of course, the new baby routines. I’ve managed to sneak a little painting, but haven’t been able to get into the shed to do any photos. So the holidays are here and it is time to catch up, starting with the support options for my US tank company. I’ve also finished the 76mm Shermans for 1944, but have no decals for them so will leave the tanks themselves until they are totally complete.

The artillery staff team (Command Decision artillery crew with leftover Battlefront Italian staff team table)

6 Priests (all Command Decision)

A tank destroyer platoon with 2 x M10 (Battlefront)

Armoured mortar platoon (Command Decision)

Armoured rifle platoon (Battlefront)


Irregular games last Friday

On Friday night I was able to head out to John’s for games night, and was joined by Chris, Terry, Paul and Jordan. That was good because it meant that we had even numbers to play with. We paired off with Terry and Chris playing Afrika Korps vs Kiwis and Paul and Jordan playing Afrika Korps vs British armour. John and I decided to have a game of Napoleonics using Black Powder, as we hadn’t played either of these things in several months.

The Battlefield looking down towards the French ourtflanking movement after Turn One – John has already turned his line to face the threat. Grrr!

John set his British up on a ridge in Spain somewhere, preparing for a French attack. I decided that it was folly to simply assault the ridge head on, and brought the French on in two wings. I would contest the church with the infantry and try to bust through the British cavalry and loop around behind the British infantry. Meanwhile I would take my other infantry brigade down the extreme flank to try and cross the river and upset his balance. It was a fine plan on paper, but was fouled up in the first turn when John rolled three moves for the brigade on his left and simply turned his line to face the river.

It was now not going to be a single head on fight anymore, but two separate head-on fights. Hoo-bloody-ray.

The British Line patiently waits while the French deploy to cross the river.

The attacks went slowly after that. John occupied the church before I could get there and the cavalry just eyed each other for far too long. I tried to bombard the Church to soften up the defenders prior to assault, but my attacking troops kept getting shot up. In the end the British came down off the ridge and drove the French infantry off. At the same time my cavalry finally wiped out the British cavalry, but it was too little too late.

Artillery pounds the church but little softening up is happening. After their first clash the cavalry rallies and prepares for the next round. 

On the other side of the table the French and British went tit for tat as John’s general suffered paralysis of command while the French crossed the river (we house ruled the river would take three turns to cross unless by bridge). In the end, though, the French Brigade simply lost too many battalions and broke before the Brits did. The French army was broken and the battle ended with the Brits victorious.

The French cross the stream slowly – but the British just sit and wait.

I have to say I had rotten luck with the dice, failing the break tests at the end of the game quite spectacularly with aq series of 3s and 4s. And John getting three moves with his left hand Brigade in the first turn was also a rotten piece of luck, but then ’twas ever thus in the Peninsula.

The motivation for this battle was to see what sort of game I will get when I have painted my Peninsular War armies – 8 battalions and 2 cavalry a side. I may have to work towards 12 battalions for each, as I felt that there just wasn’t really enough to play with in the end. I also think that the scenario would probably have benefited from some late arriving reserves.

On the other table battle raged in the North African Desert. The final verdict was a triumph for the Afrika Korps, but it was hard work. The British armour under Jordan fought literally to the last tank, and Chris was giving as good as he was getting for large parts of the game.

Chris’ Kiwis, already burning up.

Terry’s Afrika Korps. He hasn’t quite got around to putting together desert PaKs. The Infantry are a commission I did for him, using Command Decision figures. Their Afrika Korps are very nice and I enjoyed painting them.

Stukas say hello to some Portees. The objective is, of course, the only piece of grass in the Desert..

Above is an example of Paul’s resin dug-in markers. He sculpted the originals and then cast them in resin. They are perfect for Flames of War and can meet up to form a trench system if you want. If anyone would like to purchase some, just let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Lastly, nothing whatsoever to do with games night. I thought I’d paint up some of my Wargames Factory Romans (this is pre-baby) and construct a light box to try photographing them.  The result – fail. I may not be using enough light for my box or maybe the paper is too thick. Back to the drawing board.

I’ve hit painter’s block at the moment, as happens every year. This year I think it is a combination of starting back at school and having a new baby at the same time. I’m hoping I’ll feel a little more settled in a couple of weeks and get back to the brushes.


Desert Terrain

I completed my desert boards a couple of weeks back.

I borrowed some paint off John because I am colour blind and have had real issues trying to come up with decent desert colours. I bought a sheet to spray paint but it was way too green by the time I got it on the table. I bought some paint but it was too light. I don’t know what colour this is, but it works perfectly.

Desert terrain is important this year as I build my WW2 Desert Italians and aim to playtest some army lists for the Yom Kippur War using Flames of War 3rd Edition. I’m now waiting on the Battlefront big desert building and some Pegasus palm trees to complete the set.



Goums for Chris

This is a ‘commission’ that I did for my mate Chris. He has bought Goums for our impending Cassino campaign, but the nerves in his hands mean that it is very hard for him to hold steady to paint stripes. No problem, I said, I’ll paint them for you. Chris has been fantastically generous to me in the past and I owe all of my Soviet infantry and my copy of the Cassino rulebook to him, so I was more than happy to do some painting. After all, how hard could it be?

I didn’t realise that there were 9 teams to a platoon, nor that I would have to paint 2 platoons and the HQ! The stripey little buggers seemed to take ages, but I’ve knocked out 1 platoon and the HQ with heavy weapons. One platoon to go, and I’m not looking forward to them, but I will make it a priority.

Close up shot of the first Goum rifle platoon.

Part of the HQ platoon.


Burning Stukas with Burning Empires

As promised here is a brief report on the two Flames of War games played by the Irregulars last Friday.

First up are John and Terry with two scenarios taken from the Hellfire and Back and Burning Empires books.  The first saw Terry’s Afrika Korps defending a fortified position in a Witch’s Cauldron. Despite the odds appearing to be in John’s favour several times, Terry defended the objectives well.  I didn’t see too much of this game as I was setting up the 28mm table at this stage, but there was much laughter coming from that direction:

Above: the end of the game with John’s tanks contesting the objective – but not claiming it!

The Maori advance over the hill

Afrika Korps infantry run back to their fortifications, effectively stopping the British from claiming the objective.

After this game they decided to play out a raid scenario from Burning Empires.  John’s SAS were mounting a night-time raid on a German airfield. They had to burn the Stukas and Ammo dump and successfully escape before Terry’s reserves could arrive and stop him.

Terry managed to get teams on in every turn and they effectively arrived in the pefect position to block John’s withdrawal.  Not that the dice were doing him any favours as his teams failed to blow up a single objective in his first series of rolls.

Time was runing out and John’s trucks were not as resilient as he would have liked. He finally managed to blow up all of the objectives, but there was little left that could escape. Laughing maniacally Terry wiped out the last of the SAS and LRDG teams. Two wins to Terry – well it was about time he started winning again.

Over on the other table an Eastern Front battle was brewing. I spent even less time over here and didn’t manage to take many photos either unfortunately. This was a 2200 point stoush between Paul and Jordan playing Germans on one side and Dylan playing a large Soviet Tankovy force that John and I provided on the other. The result was a German win, but as it was the first time that Dylan had run Soviets he did fairly well. The Sturmoviks were the heroes of this battle, included in the army list because Paul loves his big German tanks so much.  I wanted to see the look on his face when they had rockets in their behinds!

Dylan’s artillery behind a corn-field. T-34/85s heading into hull-down positions.

T-34/85s on the left flank dealing with two Tigers – a job they performed admirably well.

So an enjoyable night and we look forward to the next games evening. Chris says he will be there this time, so I’m hoping to get a good battle in.



Zvezda are stars

I have mid-war Strelkovy and and Late War Tankovy forces for Flames of War, but really wanted a mid-war Tankovy force, not to mention enough models to have a decent army for Barbarossa when it comes out.  However, this was going to be a costly exercise – especially if I bought the number of T-26s I wanted.  Then Zvezda released their 1/100 Art of War models.  Just after Christmas I ordered five KV-1s from the Plastic Soldier Company. These were very simple to put together, a good size, relatively well detailed and easy to paint.

So I took the plunge and ordered 10 T-26s, 4 Katyushas, and 4 Panzer IIs from Caliver Books who now stock them and are post free – a huge consideration when you live on the other side of the world!

The T-26 and Pz II kits come on a single sprue and are dead simple to put together. About three minutes per kit. The Katyushas were much more involved with two sprues and quite a bit more fiddly stuff. They took about 15 minutes each.  The results?

Panzer IIs are missing from the picture but are very nice anyway.

So that comes to just under NZ$100 to put together a Mixed Tankovy army for mid war (adding in the T-34s and infantry I already had). Am I impressed? Very. Having put the T-26s and Katyushas together yesterday they are already sprayed with Russian Armour spray and have a black magic wash over them. The detail is fine, the cost is great, the building is easy – perfect.  Negatives? It would take a bit of work to put a tank commander in them as the hatches are molded on, but it wouldn’t be impossible with a bit of work.

Tomorrow I’ll post on the Flames of War games that we played a week ago.


Rounding off the year

2011 draws to a close and I realise that it has been a month since my last post. It hasn’t been time idly spent. Advances have been made with Flames of War and Dystopian Wars, so I’ll put up a few pictures and describe where I am at, give a brief rundown on last night’s game and look forward to 2012.

First up, Dan paid a surprise visit last week (he was over for his Nan’s funeral) and it was fantastic to catch up.  I told him that I had decided to have a go at Blood Bowl, but all that I had was a Dwarf team and a downloaded rulebook. He said that he still had a human team in Oz and that he wasn’t going to use it so he would send it over.  We then spent time in he shed constructing a Blood Bowl board. Just like old times!  here it is with the dug-outs added, but not totally finished.  I want to incorporate some spectators and signage yet:

and a close-up of the how the squares were done with the dug-out beside it:

I mentioned to Dan that I wasn’t sure that Dystopian Wars would actually get off the ground and did he want to take the Britannians and Prussians with him back to Oz where he an a few mates are getting into it. He said no, and I decided that what the heck, I’ll paint them up and game solo if I have to! So I painted up the Britannian fleet – the starter box plus an aircraft carrier – and here are the photos of the fleet in regatta:

I’ve decided that it will be the South Pacific squadron. The pride of the fleet is HMS Cassandra, the aircraft carrier:

Aboard the Cassandra can be seen Rose Squadron and Royal Squadron, ready to take to the air. Below is the Battleship HMS Semisure:

The 3 Cruisers are HMS Meticulous, HMS Miraculous and HMS Mediocre:

Last are the frigates – 9 of them: HMS Aardvark, HMS Armadillo, HMS Anteater, HMS Anxious, HMS Apologetic, HMS Apoplectic, HMS Avarice , HMS Annexation and HMS Assimilate.

I’m aware that boats are supposed to have the same first letter as their class, but I’m not particularly perturbed – these are supposed to be fantasy after all.  So I’ll be tackling the Prussians next month – I want them complete by the time that school starts up again (and the new baby arrives).

Then there have been the Flames of War projects.  With the Soviet and German Late War forces complete I decided that it was time to look at mid war.  This means US and Italians. Although it was the undercoat-only Italians that I took to games night last night I have started the US tank company. I decided to get all of the Shermans out of the way at once:

These are a mixture of Battlefront and Plastic Soldier Company. The PSC tanks are a little smaller but when in separate units this is pretty much un-noticeable. In the background are two 76mm M4s, and I plan to get a box or two of PSC 76s to be able to morph this army for late war. Here is a close up of the company commander:

The armoured infantry are based for Tunisia, although the tank markings were left a bit more generic so that they could morph to Late War a bit easier:

A close-up of the command team:

I was really pleased with how these guys turned out, having used the army painter dip on them. I’m going to finish off the armoured platoon next and then onto the halftracks and mortar platoon. I painted these guys at the same time as painting John’s 28m US infantry. It was a good idea in terms of moving both projects along.  The last of John’s figures are on the painting table with the rest of the armoured infantry platoon.

Not simply happy with mid and late war armies, I went through the Blitzkrieg and Hellfire and Back books trying to work out what a Panzerkompanie for Barbarossa might look like. As the rumours are that Barbarossa will be this year – possibly August as this is the same month that Blitzkrieg and Hellfire and Back were released in the previous two years – then I want to have armies ready to go.  So I have been putting together a Czech Panzerkompanie with PZ 38ts.  I already had some of these little beauties that I inherited with my Italian army but have repainted them as they were very poorly done in the first place. Most are missing their co-axial MGs and I haven’t tried to scratch build replacements.  It doesn’t bother me too much:

Speaking of scratch building, I also inherited 5 Pz IVGs. Being a frugal kind of person, I decided to convert them into Pz IVF1s for Barbarossa. So I chopped down the barrels and produced the following monstrosities:

There are three of them, and I think that they do the job adequately.  This will never be a tournament army so I am happy with a bit of ‘make do’ here and there.  To round out the company I have artillery:

And plan to order 5 Zvezda Panzer IIs and 3 Stukas.

So there we have it, a busy couple of weeks since school finished, especially if you add in painting for John, three Tigers for Terry and an objective marker each for John, Chris and Terry as Christmas presents.  Actually, I didn’t take photos of those – I probably should, they came out quite nice.


Last night was games night and I took an Italian Carri company. I was playing John’s British Heavy Armoured company and got snotted. M14/41s vs Shermans is a pretty cruel trick of nature. It was the first time I had taken Italians, so there were a few lessons.  I was less than impressed that John’s Royal Horse Artillery Battery took out my Lancia da 90/53s with a bombardment before they really got the chance to do much.  I keep telling Dan he needs 25pdrs in his army.  I find that artillery bombardments usually account for quite a bit of damage in the game.  They also wreak havoc on unarmoured vehicles. It was almost unbelievable how easy it was for John to kill off my best guns, and how easily I took out his 6 pdr portees.

We finished early and played a couple of games of Romans vs Gauls in DBA.  John couldn’t remember the rules much so his Romans lost one and drew one. On the other half of the table Chris’ US tank coy was defeated by Terry’s Panzerkompanie, so it was pretty historical for the desert all round.


What are the plans for 2012?  Well the first thing is to try to paint up stuff that I already have rather than getting into different periods and games.  With this in mind this is how I see next year panning out:

  • Finish US tank company (Flames of War)
  • Finish Italian Carri/Bersaglieri Early/Mid war armies (Flames of War)
  • Complete German Early War (Barbarossa) Panzerkompanie (Flames of War)
  • Add KV-1s, T-34s, T-26s, T-28s and Katyushas to Soviet army so that it can be Early and Mid Tankovy (Flames of War)
  • Paint up Prussian fleet (Dystopian Wars)
  • Paint up two Blood Bowl teams and finish arena.
  • Expand Punic Wars DBA armies.  Unsure whether to go with Big Battle DBA or to aim for 15mm Hail Caesar armies.
  • French Revolutionary Wars 15mm (Black Powder) French and Austrians.  I have nearly everything I need for this to get underway.  I do want to add some Lancashire games French infantry in Tarletons and Austrian Grenadiers.  I also need a bit more cavalry for both sides.

Right, that must be a month’s worth of catching up so, see you later 2011, and roll on 2012.




The Accidental Armies

If you had asked me four years ago what would be the most likely thing in my collection that I would sell, I would have pointed without hesitation to the German Flames of War army.  Today it is not only the sole survivor of that original collection, it is one of my main focuses in my wargaming hobby.  It is also joined by a large Soviet army and US and Itlain armies in the process of building.  How did this happen?

The whole of my German army.

Initially I bought some Germans off Paul because Dan had moved up here and he already had a British army for Flames of War.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of it – I wanted to game ancients, Marlburians, Napoleonics – pretty much anything that wasn’t WW2.  The Germans were repainted and then sat there until last year.  Then we started playing Flames of War in the group.  We played it a lot.  I got some Russians.  I enjoyed it more.  It is now my ‘go-to’ game.  Who would have thought?

The whole of the Soviet army.

I finished the Soviets in the weekend, although I do plan to get some more T-34s for a mid-war Tankovy army.  The Germans will be joined by some Late War Fallshirmjager very soon, and I want to get half a dozen Panzer IIIs for mid war as well.  So below is a gallery of these armies, which I have not really showcased at all.  As always, click on the photos for a clearer image.

The Soviet command and objectives.

The Soviet armour.

Soviet Scouts

Soviet Infantry and big guns.  I love these old long barreled 122mm guns.  They are original Battlefront models, from back when they were called Crusader miniatures.  They have the presence demanded by the Red’ God of War’.

Onto the Germans and the objective markers in the centre.

The beginnings of an early/mid war army – Pz-38ts.

The big cats surrounded with their friends.

Now on with the US and Italians.


July’s Irregulars game night

Once more the Rotorua Irregulars set themselves up for a night of gaming.  It was the usual suspects – John, Terry, Chris and myself, and we were joined by Shane and Richard who run the Rotorua Wargames Club.  The Irregulars used to frequent the Rotorua club once a month (in fact I helped found it), but unfortunately life has got in the way of any sort of regular participation on a Saturday.  Hence we put ourselves together at John’s place where we can game in the evening after the kids have gone to bed.  So we weren’t intended to be a schismatic creation, and it was great that Shane and Richard could make it out.  They are both contemplating getting into Flames of War (they’ve already started buying bits here and there), but are very committed to finishing Games Workshop armies.

So we had organised to play mid war Flames of War with four 1750 point armies.  Chris took Russian Tankovy and I had Russian Strelkovy.  Opposing us were John with an Italian army and Terry with a Luftwaffe infantry army.  John extended one of his 8′ x 4′ tables out an extra 4 feet and a river down the middle marked the two battlefields.  We both finished deployment at about the same time:

This is the view looking down the line from where Terry and I deployed.  Richard took control of some of Terry’s troops and Shane took over some of Chris’ Russians.

Here’s the deployment viewed from the other end.  By the time I had taken this photo the Russian first move had already happened.

It was another one of those games where I was so caught up in the game I forgot to take photos every turn.  Not that it really mattered on my end, because it would have simply shown a remorseless advance by a mass of infantry…

Here are the Italians sitting on a hill awaiting the Russian onslaught.

The Russian God of war – my 12 gun artillery battery.  The 122mm are Battlefront models – or rather Crusader miniatures from before they changed their name.  I love the big-ass barrels on them.  My apologies that there are unpainted figures on the table – I am currently working my way through the Strelkovy, but as anyone who has been there would tell you, it is a long process.

The artillery was the thing I was looking forward to using the most, with its double template and rerolls for misses.  The fact that it stretched the length of the table edge gave it a psychological edge over my opponents as well.  This came in handy as they spent a lot of their firepower targeting the artillery rather than the infantry.  The fact that the guns were pinned in turn 2 and stayed that way for the rest of the game could be seen as a disappointment, but they soaked up a lot of fire that could have been going elsewhere!

Terry’s left most deployment – Marders and an infantry group with 88s sitting on the hill.  I think the decisive moment in this battle was when my infantry burst from the woods and the flamethrowers smashed 4 teams of infantry.  The surviving Germans failed their morale (funny that) and the T-34s were free to turn their guns on the Marders.  By the end of turn 2 the writing was on the wall for this flank.

So the moral of the story for me was that flamethrowers are worth the price and that artillery is a great distraction for enemy fire.   The final moments came when my infantry overran an objective on the right flank and Chris’s Cossacks did the same on the far left.  It was like a giant pincer attack in the end.

Cossacks head for the Italian-held objective.

Strelkovy liberate comrade Bumitch, once again caught behind enemy lines.

Not the best battle report ever, I’m afraid, but that is what happens when I forget to take photos as the game progresses.

I’m loving Flames of War at the moment.