Late October Games Night

It has been a few weeks since these games were played but things are still pretty hectic and blogging has taken a definite back-seat to everything else that is going on.

There were two games played with Paul, Terry, Shane and Jeremy playing a Flames of War Desert Encounter and John and I playing a Contemptible Little Armies World War One game.

The Great War battle was a trenchline slog with the Brits assaulting the German lines. It had been a while since we had played CLA, and it was some time into the game before we found our rhythm. The game is very simple, but for the sake of  ease of play we didn’t include any off-table barrages. That was a bit of a mistake for the poor old Brits.

The first part of the British assault was a failure, but the German counterattacks were just as bad, and in the end with the body count mounting we decided to call it a draw. This game reinforced all the stereotypes associated with the First World War, mostly because we weren’t using the key weapon – artillery. I’ll make sure that for the next game we take the time to plan the use of the barrage rules.

Anyway, some pictures of the battle:




The German line


The British Line


The advance on the left flank


The advance on the right flank to capture the town


Going over the top can be a hazardous business


trying to storm the trenches from the town proved too difficult


The German counterattack was no more successful


The Germans were slowly being whittled down, but there were not enough Brits to exploit the gaps in the line.

Having seen off the RFC the red baron took to strafing the PBI.

The other table saw the Afrika Korps take a bit of a hammering as the Brits stubbornly held onto their objectives:

No commentary on this battle I’m afraid, it was still going when I headed home. Not too sure who won, but the Brits were looking pretty comfortable.






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.


Leaving it too long

It’s three weeks since the last entry and I have heaps of stuff to blog about – especially as I seem to be doing a lot of painting and some playing. That means one enormous blog or do a few installments over the next couple of days and hope that I manage to get to the computer. Well, I’ll go the minimalist way because I want to leave and get some painting done tonight.

So first off the block, last Friday was games night for the Rotorua Irregulars. I had planned to have a 28mm World War Two game with John, but Chris didn’t turn up to play Terry, so John played him instead. The ulterior motive for the 28mm game was to show off a few photos of the finished US and German troops that I’ve painted in action, so I set them up anyway and simultaneously answered any questions that people had regarding the Flames of War rules – not that I’m an expert – just more expert than some others.

So here are the pictures of the American troops devoid of battle report as their was no actual fighting – just a photo shoot:


The US troops are painted using the Army Painter dip. I really like the effect this has had on them.  John quickly painted the Sherman for the photos, so it hasn’t been finished properly.

The last minis I painted for the US army were the Anti-tank gun and crew.

The Germans were holding the town opposite the US deployments.

The next post will have a description of John and Terry’s desert  games and the Eastern Front game played by Paul, Dylan and Jordan.  Then I’ll review what I’ve been doing at the painting table, and the revised plans for this year.


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.


Army Painter saves my sanity

I don’t know whether I’m getting lazier or just more impatient, but whichever it is, the saving grace has been the use of the Army Painter dipping system.

I fancy that at my best I am a pretty good figure painter.  Not in the Kevin Dallimore or El Mercenario league, but certainly not a hack with the brush.  Trouble is, my best was probably a year or so ago.  Since then I have been finding more and more ways to paint fast to a good gaming standard that I am happy with.  This has seen me experiment with black lining technique letting black undercoat show through, and with spraying my tanks with Tamiya colours and using dip or home-brewed magic wash to shade them.  This has worked and I have churned out my FoW modern Egyptians and Israelis, piles of WW2 Germans and Soviets and now I’m starting the Italians.

The question has always been whether I would be irritated when I was finished that the troops I have painted are not my best possible work.  However, I just finished my second squad of 28mm US troops today using Army Painter dip, and thought I’d put up a photo comparing identical figures with one of the totally hand-painted figures that I have done.

The figure on the right was painted with a base coat followed by washes then highlights.  It involved drybrushing and paint mixing, followed by a satin varnish and then a matt varnish.  The figure on the left had base colours painted on, followed by a brushing of Army Painter Strong Tone.  It then had a spray of Matt varnish followed by the eyes being painted in.  There is a visible difference in the figures.  The ‘dipped’ figure has deeper shading, the highlighted figure is more subtle.  I haven’t painted in the 5 o’clock shadow yet, but this will take 5 minutes for the whole squad.  To be honest, there isn’t that much between them as far as I’m concerned.  But here is the key thing: The ‘dipped’ figure took a third of the time to paint as it did to paint the figure on the right.

It might be cheating for some, it may be lazier, it may be settling for second best.  But it means that I have a show of getting way more figures painted up for gaming.  That has to be a good thing.  Let me know if you think that I’m fooling myself and that ‘dipped’ figures are really a horrible abomination in the gaming world.


Irregulars battle night

Another games night on Friday and two games of Flames of War were happening – a late War stoush between a British Armoured company and a German Panzerkompanie, and an Early War melee between the French and the Germans.

There were five of us due to an unforeseen cancellation of three players, so I decided that I would umpire the two games and offer tactical advice here and there.  John and Jordan are really still learning the rules, so I was mostly there to help them out.

The Late War game saw John run his mostly Sherman  British army (which he had never used before) against Jordan’s Panzerkompanie which had artillery, Panzer grenadiers and PzIVs.  Jordan rolled for a scenario, and a ‘1’ meant a free fro all (the first of many 1s that Jordan would roll that night).  The deployment was relatively straight forward with John putting heavy emphasis on his left flank – he put his Sextons and M10s there alongside a rifle platoon and a platoon of Shermans.  Jordan spread himself out across the board, making sure that his pioneer platoon was dug-in on at least one of the objectives.

Jordan’s first turn saw him move a unit of his Panzer IVs into position.

The start of the game was really just a feeling out of each other, but by the end of turn two I had to ask John what his plan was.  I then suggested using the strength he had on the left flank to try and capture an objective.  In turn three he duly moved his left flank elements forward.

John’s deployment on the left.  His M10s sat in the wood for 2 turns, and his Shermans are hidden behind the village.

His stationary M10s with full rate of fire had managed to take out one Panzer IV on Jordan’s right flank.

In turn three the British began there advance.  Immediately one Sherman failed its bogging test and got stuck on a hedge in the centre.  At the top of the picture you can see the M10s and the Shermans breaking cover.

Jordan’s Panzers were rolling terribly – and burning excellently!  At the bottom of this photo (of British turn 4) you can see the Panzer IV that was bailed out in turn one and neer remounted for the rest of the game – but was also never killed.  Slightly frustrating…  Also note that the British Shermans are about to claim the objective.

The end of the game (turn 6). The Shermans so close to the objective in the previous photo were wiped out by a combination of a lone Panzer IV, 15cm howitzers and poor morale rolling.  So the right hand Sherman platoon reversed onto the objective, MGed the last defending stands and won the game.  Well done the Brits (and John…)

On the other table Chris and Terry battled out a ‘Fighting Withdrawal’ scenario with the French on the defensive.  Terry had virtually no cover and his rushed attack was pounded mercilessly by Chris.

A view down the battle line.  In the distance you can see Terry’s Recce units burning.

Chris’ Somuas preparing to inflict damage.  The end result was a predictable win for the French.  Don’t feel too bad for Terry, though – they did win this war!

And just because we could, here are the players in John’s helmet collection, wearing the noggin protectors of their respective armies:


Finished StuG

I finally completed my 1/48 Tamiya StuG for my WWII Rules of Engagement Germans.

Not that there is any hurry.  Finishing the 28mm WWII is on the painting schedule for the end of this year.  Still lots of 15mm Soviets with no paint at the moment.