Sunday, 5 February 2023

German Halftracks

 I had great fun using Universal Carriers to support my Canadians in a couple of my Op Husky games, so I'm certain that the Germans could benefit from getting their own iconic halftracks.

Wargamers seem to love complicated names for these vehicles.  There seems to be a requirement to know complicated terms like Sd.Kfz 251/1 or 250 or whatever, and to keep up with whether something is a 251/1 or a 251/10.  For me, I'll focus on them being halftracks (or possibly Schützenpanzerwagen if I absolutely a German name).

These two halftracks are from Die Waffenkamer (aka JTFM) in German Grey for 1940, and from Warlord Games in dunkelgelb for Sicily in 1943.

For both vehicles, the passengers may be removed, in case I need to show that the squad has dismounted.  I couldn't get a good photo, but each vehicle also has a driver hidden inside.

So here they are, ready to dash around the tabletop battelfield!

Arctic/Antarctic Explorers

 I originally bought these figures more than 15 years ago, and they have moved around the painting queue ever since.  These are originally from the Honourable Lead Boiler Suit, but I think they've been sold on to Tiger Miniatures.

I figured out the reason why it has taken me this long to get around to them:  drilling holes in the mittens for the ski poles took hours, and I ended up breaking one of my drill bits!  Anyway, finally got them ready for painting.

I took painting inspiration from Captain Robert Scott's Antarctic expedition.

So here is the result.  No idea if I will ever find a role for them in a game, but am happy that I finally got them finished!


Flies and Spiders

On Friday, Arthur and I hosted a Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game, the Flies and Spiders scenario from chapter 8 of the Hobbit.  The scenario provided by GW is inspired by the Peter Jackson film, where a group of elves from the Woodland Realm led by Legolas and Tauriel come along to rescue the dwarves.  We decided we weren't interested in any of that nonsense, so for our game, we simply had the dwarves resist wave after wave of Mirkwood spiders.  Victory for the dwarves simply depended on surviving 12 turns.  Any dead spiders were replaced at the start of the next turn.

Photos were from my phone - they are what they are!

Here is the initial set up.  Dwarves are in a clearing in the woods, shown by the brown felt.

13 dwarves and one hobbit!  For the scenario, we divided Thorin's company between four players.  We tried to keep them in family groups as much as possible.  Arthur took Thorin and his nephews Fili and Kili.  Kevin had Bifur, Bofur and Bombur.  We had two other players, Lorenzo and his mate, who took Ori, Dori and Nori, Oin and Gloin, Balin and Dwalin, and Bilbo.

Here are the spiders, played by me.  I only used 10 of the big ones, the smaller ones were just there for show.

Here is how the game started.  As this was a new game for most of the participants, I kept it simple to start with, and simply had the spiders attack from all sides at once.  As the dwarves were generally much better fighters than the spiders, this gave the players a chance to figure out the rules mechanics before taking any real damage.

Most models had two wounds, so we made good use of my red cross wound markers to track damage.

In addition to their venomous bite attack, the spiders could also shoot webs.  We used the 'victims' from the spider set to mark any dwarf that got webbed.  Any dwarf that was trapped in a web could free himself by rolling a 6 at the end of the turn.  We made a house rule mid-game that another figure could cut a victim free of webs by spending one full turn next to the trapped figure, and take no other action that turn.

After spending most of the game in a repetitive fight-die-fight again mode, as each spider ended up fighting 2 or more dwarves and getting crunched each time, I switched things up for the last couple of turns.  The spiders took advantage of being much faster than the dwarves to gang up on Thorin, Fili and Kili.  They managed to kill Fili, then piled on and killed Thorin as well.  So at the end, the dwarves won the game as they outlasted the spiders, but at the cost of their leader, Thorin.  Will they rally around Kili as the last survivor of the line of Thrain?

Or maybe seek the help of the Elvenking, and see if his elves have the skill, or even the desire, to resuscitate Thorin.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Waltzing Matilda

 My collection of armour for 1940 continues to expand, and now the BEF is getting some support in the form of an A.12 Matilda II infantry tank.  The Matilda II turned out to be one of the most effective tanks in the Battle of France.  While it was not enough to turn the tide of that campaign, it really found its opportunity to shine in the North Africa campaign, as well as in the Australian army in the Pacific.

This is a plastic model is from Warlord Games.  I was a bit frustrated that the part numbers were not stamped on the sprues, as one usually finds.  I also replaced the tank commander figure with a metal TC figure from Perry Miniatures.  

Decals are the ones that come with the kit, including the white rectangle BEF recognition marks.  These were apparently known sarcastically as 'aiming points' for enemy AT guns!

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Thorin's Company

Here is Thorin's Company, based on Peter Jackson's interpretation of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit.  The book doesn't provide detailed descriptions of each individual dwarf, so the Weta team developed their own versions.  Each dwarf was given a distinct look and character, much more than simply different coloured hoods.

I'm a bit unsatisfied with the photos, I'll redo them and hopefully get better results.

Here is Thorin Oakenshield and his nephews Fili and Kili (apologies to the Tolkien purists, but I won't be mucking about with the correct accents on dwarf names). 

Brothers Dwalin and Balin

Bifur, Bofu and Bombur.  The Weta team determined that these were non-noble dwarfs, to set them apart from about half of the other dwarves, who were of Durin's line.  Bombur is one of the few dwarves to be given any distinguishing characteristics; unfortunately that characteristic is that he is the 'fat one'.  

Oin and Gloin.  Gloin's chief characteristic is that he is the father of Gimli, and as a result, he also seems to be most 'dwarf-like' of the dwarves.

Ori, Dori and Nori, another group of non-noble dwarves.

And of course, Bilbo and Gandalf.

Monday, 2 January 2023

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Renault R35 and some markers

 Happy New Year, everyone!

Today's offering is the Renault R35 from AGNM.  This little tank was one of the replacements for the WWI-era Renault FT. It is similar to its predecessor, also having a 2-man crew, but is better armoured, faster and with a more powerful gun.  It looks a bit out of place compared the the tanks fielded by the Germans, Soviets or British, but it's worth noting that tank development was still ongoing, and following on the success of the FT probably seemed sensible at the time.  The R35 was the most numerous tank in the French Army in 1940.

I used leftover decals from the Italeri Char B1 bis, but ended up painting the national roundel by hand.  I didn't follow any particular standard for the tank name or insignia, I just went with whatever felt right!  I like the 'playing card' symbols on French tanks, as well as the curves and camo patterns, in comparison with the more angular and blocky German tanks.

The tank commander is cast in place.  In reality, he would need to move inside the tank to operate the gun, but I'll just have to ask the other players to indulge me.

You can see how small this tank is when it's next to another. Here are a couple of comparison shots with the Char B1.

Andy from AGNM included some nice bonus pieces, including a small sandbag wall and a selection of tokens.  I can always find uses for items like this (far better than coloured buttons!).