Saturday, 31 March 2012

Nasty Norris the Torturer from Heresy

This nice chap comes from Heresy, and he seems to be discontinued. Andy Foster is Heresy, and he makes some excellent miniatures, I especially like his monsters. His humans are… well, maybe not the best there is. As you can see Nasty Norris is an OK sculpt, but a bit static. 
Anyway, I liked him enough to buy him a couple of years back, I needed some nasty figures to handle prisoners in all the dungeons...
He has waited to get his hands pinned and some green stuff to fill the resultant gaps. That done he was painted in an evening. Essentially some block painting and the usual Army Painter Strong Tone painted on, followed by matte varnish.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

More pictures from "You shall not pass!"

Some more pictures from our last game, on request. As always you'll get a bigger picture by clicking on these pics.
The windmill, with the deadly Panzerschreck.
The board, from the Russian side
SU-76:s got rotten armour....
The tank graveyard
Fall back!
Hetzer and Königs Tiger
Ok, next attack in one hour.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Otyugh from Reaper

Otyugh is a classic D&D monster and in this incarnation from Reaper’s Dark Heaven Legends series it is called 2737 “Bilgetracle, Dung Monster” sculpted by Jason Wiebe.
It is made of four parts and needed a heavy dose of green stuff, as there were some really severe cracks between the parts. I think I got the sculpting down quite well, as the gaps are more or less un-noticeable.
Paints used:
Mouth – Citadel Scab Red
Teeth and claws – Vallejo Game Colour Bone White
Skin – Vallejo 886 Green Grey
Skin, underside – Vallejo 971 Green Grey
Eyes got a wash of Citadel Baal Red wash to get that blood-shot look.
Pink and a red wash on the mouths on the tentacles.
Army Painter Strong Tone painted all over and a coat of Vallejo matte varnish over everything except the mouth and eyes that should look wet and slimy.

I wouldn’t like to meet this ugly critter at the compost heap…

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Trolls from Otherworld

I have bought a lot of stuff from Otherworld, the maker of those classic 28mm AD&D-monsters miniatures. Great company to do business with and gorgeous miniatures.
Anyway this is their DM4b – Troll II model, actually I got two of these, and they got different heads. I had to use some green stuff to hide the small gaps between body and arms.
Painted with Vallejo 870 Green Brown and the warts were painted with Vallejo 882 Middle Stone. Eyes black, mouth Citadel Red Gore and teeth Bone White.
The hair got a black wash, and everything was coated with Army Painter Strong Coat.
As a comparison another troll, this time DM4a – Troll I, that I painted 2008. I haven’t got an idea on paints used unfortunately. I actually think this one is the better of the three.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Battle report - You shall not pass! or The Road to Berlin April 45

A couple of weeks ago we, the Scandinavian Lardies, had another battle. This time it was it was set on the road to Berlin, in the last days of the Third Reich. Daniel was umpire this time, and he had prepared a very interesting scenario.
It is based on an actual battle, and he had visited the battle-site on a vacation, walked the terrain and even spoken to some people who had seen the aftermath (like where most Soviet knocked-out tanks where). That is a dedicated umpire! 
Daniel had prepared aerial photographs, and a map of the battlefield, and informed all involved on what was about to come and a bit about the troops they had several days in advance.
Daniel came to my place the day before our game, and we spent the evening setting up the battlefield, mainly using Daniels stuff. My family was away on a skiing holiday (and I’m totally worthless on skis) so the house was empty. Unfortunately my camera was in Norway skiing, but I have permission to use Daniel’s photos.

The combatants arrived on the morning of Saturday the 3:rd, and was given more information on troops and the situation.
The German side comprised of:
Kampfgruppe Jochen commanded by me, remnants of 11. SS-Panzergrenadierdivision Nordland, and I had a HQ, a StuG IIIG, a StuH 42 and some panzer grenadiers coming in as reinforcements to play with. I also had some artillery, essentially one round of HE.
Kampfgruppe Friedrich – the heavy hitters. s.SS-Pz.Abt 503 comprising of three King Tigers, a Wirbelwind and a maintainance unit with a heavy SdKfz 9 FAMO halftrack
Kampfgruppe Michael – remnants of 9. Fallschirmjägerdivision made up off mostly infantry (with panzerfaust), panzershreck-units, an odd AT-gun and a Hetzer. They had to set up dispersed, with at least on unit in every quarter of the forward three quarters of the gaming board. 

Our situation was confused. We were under strict orders not to communicate with each other before the battle, as our troops essentially deployed just before or during the battle, each force not knowing what the others were doing, and not knowing of each other’s plans and victory conditions.
The three commanders trying to sort out the mess.
As supreme commander of the SS-troops I had a limited opportunity to make some ad-hoc plans with Kampfgruppe Friedrich. To make things more confused we found both Hitler Jugend and Volkssturm soldiers already deployed here and there, but not under our control, but we saw only those in close proximity to our own units – in I Aint Been Shot Mum, IABSM, hidden deployment is used. As the battle unfolded, and we started to have contact with each other, and saw that one side of our lines were essentially undefended, but on the other flank, in the southern village there was units from all our Kampfgruppen and also Volkssturm. It was crowded.

The Russian side comprised of one supreme commander and three sub-commanders, and they had a lot of tanks and troops and were also somewhat confused, as their maps didn’t fully agree with reality.

We user Daniels gorgeous models, bolstered by infantry and some vehicles from Laffe and Thomas. Everything is in 20mm scale.

It started with some BA-64 recce cars trying to get a hang of things. They immediately fell into trouble, as we really didn’t want them to start doing their job and spotting our hidden units. After that came the hordes, and they were met by the first line of defence, panzerfausts and –schrecks. It was not a good day for the Russians after that.

Some highlights (from a German perspective):
Set-up – it helps to have a real panzer grenadier in your team, even if he was hung-over and promised he would never drink beer again (I vividly remember the same man with the same affliction and the same promise the last time we gamed)
Stategy and tactics – the few Fallshirmjäger in the village in the first quarter of the board held a lot of enemy troops. The commies mistake was that they didn’t commit a smaller troop to mop up that village and let their main force attack our main lines. As it were the Soviet units attacked our lines a few at a time and became locked in long-range fire-fights. Locked and knocked out.
Panzerfausts – deadly even in the hands of Hitler Jugend
Panzershrecks – killed a lot of armour. The team in the wind-mill was unshakable.
Anti-tank gun – We thought it would knock out a tank or two and then be obliterated, but it held out and was a constant pain in the lower back for the Reds.
Russians assaulting said AT-gun – they thought it would be a walk-over. Hidden deployment is unforgiving, especially if you charge into a unit of crack Fallshirmjäger when you thought it would only be a measly crew. Hehehe…
Hetzer – the shells just bounced off it
StuG IIIG – it was surprised by a T-34/85 coming in from the flank (actually appearing on our board from the unseen battles at the side of us. Let’s just say that they were probably more successful) at point blank range. The StuG was temporarily immobilized pointing in the wrong direction, and I thought my little tank was gone. Against all odds it survived several hits. Even knocked out the T-34. Hooray! (See below on dice-rolling)
Königs Tiger – They are brutal, and Daniel’s models just amazing.
Wirbelwind – deadly against infantry. Just when they thought they had reached the safety of the woods. Poor sods.
Artillery – my one and only salvo hit right where it was supposed to.
Hitler Jugend – they stayed in their trenches when the crack Fallshirmjäger retreated. Unfortunately the kids decided to retreat and leave their trenches just moments before the Russian artillery landed over them… Ouch…
Russian tanks – 15 were left smoking at the battlefield.
German losses – a handful of men and a truck
Our random events list – hilarious when we rolled 57 a third time, and another poor veteran had an old wound opening and had to seek medical help.
FAMO halftrack – our mechanics hauled the damaged Hetzer out of harm’s way and made hasty field-repairs to let the panzerjäger come back into action.
“Nope” – the answer the Russian supreme leader got from the artillery division who he thought was going to support him, when he requested artillery strikes. Thomas looked really pissed when he exclaimed “What!!!?” I won’t go into detail on what he said after that, this being a more or less family friendly site, but my ears shrivelled… The shells came later, though.
88! – we were all surprised when the umpire told the Russian side that they had spotted a dread 88mm AT/AA gun. Some furious fire commenced, on what turned out to be an already knocked out gun. I believe the Reds used up all their good rolls. And a lot of bad language...
Dice rolling – we saw some of the most abyssal dice rolling at the Russian side and at the same time the most amazing German rolls. The dice were jinxed that day, for sure. (That is the Russian take of it, we said it was our superior motivation and especially leadership that made the day)

The game started about noon, and we played through the day, into the evening and well into the night. We called it a day at 01:30, when the last persons went home or borrowed beds and slept over.
At that time the battlefield was littered with burning Russian armour and dead troops. The German side had even started a counter-attack, and The Russian supreme commander had ordered a general retreat (which one sub-commander ignored, his troops paid for his mistake (see Wirbelwind and Königs Tiger above)).

All in all I had had a blast, even if my units didn’t see that much action.

The morning after we dismantled the battle-field and put everything away. It was really nice not having to do that alone!
Lessons learned:
The confused deployment was great fun and gave a very realistic feeling of fog of war. Not even knowing what your compatriots were up to and what troops they had and where, gave an extra dimension to the battle.
Set-up takes far too long time, the poor attackers sat idle for too long.
The unit sheets that Daniel supplied us with could have speeded up deployment, if we had known how to use them. A learning curve I guess, we’ll be better next time.
We’re getting better at the rules (IABSM v3) but still have to be more comfortable with them. I guess everyone has to get their copies and read up (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
In a game of this size we would ideally need two full-time umpires, as there are so many hidden troops, rules to interpret and stuff to remember.
We have to think hard about weapons with back-blast, and how to limit them in buildings and enclosed spaces.
More Russian artillery, they said… We were rather comfortable with the amount landing on our heads.
IABSM is such good rules, I can’t recommend them enough.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Book Review - Desert Raiders

Desert Raiders: Axis and Allied Special Forces 1940-43, Andrea Molinari, Osprey Battle Orders no 23, 96 pages.
I continue to read more on LRDG and British Special Forces, and this book covers the raiding forces of both sides of the desert war.
On the British side there is quite a lot on LRDG, and the most interesting for me was the information on unit organization. Tables on vehicles, crews and armament of different patrols at different times. Very useful information
There is also organization data on Free French forces similar to LRDG, Italian Sahariana and other forces and a couple of German special units.
Some info on doctrine and training and a big chunk on tactics, especially of some LRDG raids. A couple of pages on command, control, communications and intelligence, the same on weapons and equipment . The book end with a couple of pages on lessons learned, a nice chronology and a useful bibliography.
All in all a very useful book and a very good companion to the Osprey Long Range Desert Group Patrolman. I fully recommend it and give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Gentleman spy in 28mm

The last figure from Mark Copplestone’s GN9 “Sleuths (and a dog)” pack.
Real gentlemen are undercoated white with a black wash, and so is this guy. The coat is painted black with drybrush of Vallejo 869 Basalt Grey. Shirt and vest is just white carefully painted over the undercoat and wash, leaving some of the black wash showing in recesses. 
Head and hand got a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone varnish, and then everything but the shoes was coated with matte varnish. Being a gentleman, his manservant had polished his shoes to a god shine, meaning I coated them with gloss varnish.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Long Range Desert Group 30cwt Ford in 20mm

Another metal-vehicle from Skytrex range of 20mm, or 1/76 scale, vehicles, 20/149 “L.R.D.G. 30cwt Truck + 20mm cannon & crew".
This truck comes armed with a Breda 20mm auto-cannon. It will be the heavy arm of the LRDG-group.
As with the jeep this comes with a driver with integral steering wheel, so we’ll have to wait for the crew until it can be steered. I painted the Ford in the same way as the jeep, that is, with Vallejo 916 Sand Yellow, a wash of Devlan Mud and another coat of Sand Yellow leaving darkness in all crevices.
The stowage was in one piece, and I painted it with a variety of colours, and gave it a coating of Army Painter Strong Tone varnish, followed with a matte varnish. I added a piece of chain, to hide the rather bad fit of the stowage, and also a box on the floor.
A nice little kit, easy to assemble and with reasonable details. It also had three crew-members that are on the painting table now.

Two 28mm detectives

Two more figures from Mark Copplestone’s GN9 Sleuths (and a dog) pack. These hard-boiled detectives, or they might just as well be baddies, will probably be used in my upcoming 7TV-game.
Trousers – Vallejo 983 Flat Earth
Coat – Probably 869 Basalt Grey
Vest – 989 Sky Grey
Shoes – 940 Saddle Brown
Hat – Black with a drybrush of 869 Basalt Grey
Coat – Vallejo 983 Flat Earth
Trousers – 991 Dark Sea Grey
Both figures got a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone varnish on everything except the hats, followed by a matte varnish.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Young detective and his dog

A long time since the last post. I’ve been in the middle of a few projects, and haven’t had as much time as I would have liked for modelling and painting.
Anyway, I’m working on a few models from Mark Copplestone’s Gangsters series, from the GN9 Sleuths (and a dog) pack. The first is a young detective/adventurer with his snow-white dog.

I looked at a pic from the Tintin-movie to get inspiration for painting.
Basecoat of white with with a black wash.
Sweater - Citadel Ice Blue with a wash of Citadel Asurmen Blue.
Trousers - Vallejo 875 Beige Brown
Socks – 869 Basalt Grey
Shoes – 872 Chocolate Brown
Hair – 819 Iraqui Sand
Everything but the sweater got a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone varnish, followed by Vallejo matte varnish.

I don’t know if I’m ever going to use this figure in a game, it would feel sad to lose him to an evil overlord.