Sunday, 17 June 2018

649 - 3,7 cm PaK 36 auf Selbstfahrlafette Bren(e)

Wotcha.

I finally finished this beauty last night: very happy with it, too!
It's a 3,7 cm PaK 36 auf Selbstfahrlafette Bren(e) - a German conversion of a captured Bren Carrier, and - rather pleasingly - it's made from (further converted from!) a complete conversion kit that Warlord Games actually sells!

Yay! More Brens!

- Drax.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

648 - The Tools of My Trade

Jesus wept!

- Some of these are over twenty years old!

Oh, and I just caught the Handsome Cat drinking my sodding paint water:

Furry little git.

- Drax

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

647 - Classic Bolt Action: Britain Vs Germany

Hullo, All - I hope you're well.
Last week I got the chance to play a kind-of 'intro' game for a player new to BA, and this put me in the rather fun position of fielding two of my own forces against each other - I'm not usually very competitive, but this time I really really didn't care which side won!
My opponent, 'C' [the same fellow as in my previous post: link here], set up a cracking table at the club which lent itself perfectly to the attacker/defender scenario with table quarters, and so we set up (with no reserves - for simplicity) in our opposing corners and called in our preliminary bombardments. 
German 'village' is bottom-left; British quarter is top-right.
Here I shall pause to briefly show the lists, as I suspect 'C' might want a gander. Both were standing 1000pt lists of mine pulled quickly from the excellent easyarmy.com:

British LW - regular; ~1000pts:
  • 2Lt 
  • 3x 10-man Infantry Sections, each w/ 1x SMG and 1x LMG
  • Free Artillery Observer
  • 2" (light) Mortar
  • PIAT 
  • Sniper
  • Staghound Armoured Car
  • Cromwell CS Tank
  • 3x 3-Ton Lorries

German LW - regular; ~1000pts
  • 2Lt
  • 3x 9-man Infantry Squads, each   w/ 1x AR, 1x LMG and 2x Panzerfaust
  • Medium Mortar + Spotter
  • Panzerschreck
  • Sniper
  • Nebelwerfer 41
  • Panzer IV Ausf.H
  • Sd.Kfz.251/1 
Rather pleasingly, both of these platoons had a fairly solid air of 'historical plausibility' about them...and they looked great facing off!

Opening Stages:

For both sides, the preliminary bombardment took its toll: my Brits suffered first, losing the Staghound (destroyed) and quite a number of pins spread around - particularly amongst lorry passengers; the sniper lost his mate too. The Germans took more pins overall, and although they didn't lose any really significant hardware, they did lose their sniper team and the medium mortar spotter as well as a rifleman. However, 'C' had been canny and sensibly placed his mortar crew where they had both cover and a good line of sight, so they were okay.
Ready to roar out on my left flank!
Oh, drat. Bye-bye, Staghound.
'C' shrewdly spent most of turn one 'rallying' his units to recover their pins, whereas the lorried Brits were uncharacteristically keen to get stuck in to their foes, and whilst some managed it, the lorry driver on my right flank decided against it (by the second turn of this, his troops had de-bussed and were pegging-it up instead). To his credit, the British sniper managed to eliminate the Panzerschreck team, but elsewhere - without the mobile support from the Staghound - the British attack was really in danger of faltering.
On his left (my right), the Heer advance.
Whilst on my right, the transport lorry grinds to a halt and - failing its
order test, reversed the few inches it could. It didn't do any better in
turn two either!
Cromwell CS takes an indirect shot at the Panzer. Miss. 
Finally, the Toms de-bus on the right, and get moving.
And then the artillery observer's guns spoke. And they spoke well. 
And when the dust cleared, the Nebelwerfer would be werfing Nebel no more. 
Phew.  

Middle Bit:

On my left flank there was a flurry of musketry as two of our infantry units started exchanging leaden gifts, but shooting first and having a slight advantage in numbers was enough to help the Toms whittle Fritz down to nothing, and the remaining troops headed toward 'C's deployment area in the village whilst the PIAT team crept along a treeline on a Panzer hunt...
After this it seemed as if the battle would swing more my way, but alas! Sneaky 'C' had sneakily snuck a squad of Heer Grenadiers forward in their Hanomag, right into the middle of the table and into my home quarter. Booo! Hiss!
With my troops all moving forward, I had nothing left to challenge their presence except my Cromwell and the platoon commander - sadly for me, the Germans realised this too, and took full advantage by not only gunning-down the startled subaltern but also destroying (through resulting proximity) the lorry which had struggled so much on my right flank. Double-booo! Double-hiss! 
Note the dead lorry on the right. Boo.
End Game:

With fewer dice left, things started moving more quickly now: with an early-drawn dice, 'C' made the superb call to try a 5-up ranging shot on my stupidly stationary 2" mortar team - it hit on a six and killed them stone dead. 
My 2" Mortar, shortly before they got viciously out-mortared.
In revenge, 3 Section [played here by the boys from the RAF Regiment after a model-picking error] charged and destroyed his mortar team. 
"Rock-Apes...CHARGE!"
Here they come...
...and the mortar boys won't last long.
This was great in terms of winning dice and getting units into his deployment area (their lorry accompanied them) but terrible in terms of the Pz.IV that'd changed direction, moved away from the ineffectual PIAT and driven back into the village with both MGs blazing.
The RAF boys are whittled down on the way in.

Meanwhile, the Germans on my doorstep tried a couple of sneaky Panzerfaust shots at the Cromwell. Unluckily for 'C', although one hit, all it did was give them a bit of a headache; in return it started to whittle them down, but not fast enough. They were still in my quarter, as was their transport, and there was nothing I could swiftly do to change this!

'Fausted.
The final act was hilarious, and beautifully cinematic:

When the Pz.IV couldn't quite winkle the RAF boys out from their position in the ruins of a village house, and with no-one else left to help, the Leutnant took action. Steeling himself and cocking his trusty Luger, he flung himself at the Rock Apes and took the fight to them. Unsurprisingly, he perished, but in doing so (with his 'Tough Fighters' rule that the pistol grants) he actually killed two Brits. They'd only caused one wound, so it seemed only fair(!) to interpret this* as he had 'won the fight' and the Brits melted away. 
To rub the comedic salt even further into the wound, this now left the Pz.IV as the closest vehicle to the lorry, meaning that it too was lost: that Leutnant's brave and suicidal  charge had lost me two order dice and six - SIX! - victory points!
In the final reckoning, we'd both killed the same number of order dice, but the Brits, through their flanking units, had secured enough VPs to secure a win. 

And what a hard-fought battle that was, too!

TTFN,

- Drax.

*NB: I suspect there's actually an appropriate caveat in the rules for such a scenario...

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

646 - 'What A Tanker!'

Alright, Dudes?
A couple of weeks ago, I got to try out the new game by Too Fat Lardies, 'What A Tanker!' at the club in Torbay, With Guy, Sam and C. Led by Guy, and played in 28mm, this made for a very cool and very involving game.
The sides were split 3-ways over the four players as follows:

Sam playing [Russian lend-lease??] Brits with a Wolverine, a Cromwell and a Churchill Mk VII (I'll call these the Russians)
     --VERSUS--
Guy playing Germans with a Panther and two Pz.IVs
     --VERSUS--
Me and young C with a 3RTR tank squadron of a Firefly and three 75mm Shermans. He took the VC and one 75; I took a brace of 75s.
NB: This was the first time I've ever fielded any of my Shermans, so it was a particular thrill to be able to field them all at once, even if I did have to cede control of half of them! 
The game has a very very very clever system for controlling and operating individual tanks involving a 'dashboard' and command dice - it's sort of like the over-indulged lovechild of 'Saga' and 'Chain of Command' - and once you're used to the system it works beautifully well. One per player would be ideal, but given how swiftly the likes of Shermans can meet their demise, this isn't ideal, so that's why we went for a couple each.
Makeshift dashboard. Proper dashboards are available...
I won't take you through the battle itself, as turns are usually super-brief, and there were simply too many to track. 
In essence, the opening turns saw the Brits and the Russians exchanging fire (3RTR came off worse, with C's normal Sherman taking three points of temporary damage which took him an absolute age to shake), the Germans and Russians engaging along their shared table edge (phew!) and the Brits drawing first blood by blowing up one of the Pz.IVs! Huzzah!
Target acquired! 
Kaboom!
After this, the battle flowed in a very pleasing way, with the 'dashboard/command dice' mechanic resulting in a pleasing display of tanks nervously nudging through cover or choosing instead to dash along to get into a better position: lovely!
The game was great, but we weren't playing any particular scenario, so it dragged out a little toward the end with tanks limping round, trying to grind each other down. This was a pity, as it let to what seemed to be more of an anticlimax. I hope that this is not always the case, but given that tanks don't tend to take objectives and there are only tanks in the game, I don't really know how else the game could end. 
NB: In addition to the Shermies, this was also the first time that my
Panther has been fielded, and it looked super-mean prowling
about along the far edge of the board - it counts as 'fast' too, in this game!
The only other thing I was unsure of was how ridiculously difficult the Churchill was to damage - seriously impervious to almost everything (it didn't help that C's dice rolling with the Firefly's 17pdr was comically bad)!
Well, it did kill a couple...but not enough!
Other than that though, What a Tanker is a smashing little game - very clever in its relative simplicity, and (given that it comes from the stable that gave us the super-duper-gotta-play-the-history-or-your-toys-will-all-die-horribly game, Chain of Command) it's oddly abstracted: there are absolutely no units which aren't AFVs...and only AFVs with some sort of A/T asset, too! Weird.
So that's it: a great game and very very worth a go!

TTFN,

- Drax.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

645 - Aaargh! Too...Damned...Busy!

Work is absolutely batshit-busy at the moment, so here's some pics of just *some* of the hobby stuff I've been up to of late...
...I promise that some proper write-ups will follow soon...honest!

Fly Casual,

- Drax.