Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012...

It is fair to say most of us in the office at work suffer from Mike Envy, that is we are all amazed by the quantity and quality of models Mike paints over the course of a year. Sitting down tonight to a very quiet New Years Eve with my son I thought I would look back at what I have achieved through the year...

January/February - EW French. A full infantry company in time for Battlecry 2012. Waiting for the next EW tournament so that I can paint up my Somuas and Lorraine Carriers. Not looking too good with only one BF GT though...
EW French Infantry Company
March - Circle Warpwolf Stalker. A pretty quiet month on the painting front with focus being more in the direction of planning for coming events.
pKaya goes out with half the cast of Twilight?

April - Khador Iron Fang Uhlans. Another NZ Nationals has come and gone - I took my usual position of "tournament bunny".
May - Iron Painter and Circle Wolds. I do love our Iron Painter events (24 hours of straight painting) even though I am a bit of a softy and end up sleeping for the last few hours. Whilst the rest of the guys were knocking out forces for Blood, Guts and Glory I was working on my Mid War (and techically EW) Soviets. I also spent a week working on my Circle Wolds in preparation for NiCon and the WarmaHordes teams tournament.
Soviets with camo?
Got Wood for Stone?

June - Tournaments. June was all about the last months furious painting efforts, so not much interest on the brush front. Both tournaments worked out well though with Baldur putting in a solid effort for me, whilst my T-26 horde managed Best Army - June was a good month!

July - Dystopian Wars. Love this game! Managed to finish off some Dystopian Wars terrain that I had been sitting on for a while. Easy to paint and looks great when finished. Guess that means I really should finish those last two islands!

We are sailing...
August -  New Miniature added! Not much to say other than that the early comments about him being a laid back little fella that enjoys sleep, food and daddy time have continued, much to my enjoyment!
Leave me alone, sleeping!
September - IKRPG. Got distracted this month by the new Iron Kingdoms RPG. Victor is going to run a game in the New Year, once the rest of us sort out our characters...
Hey Sean, so about that book?
October/November - Late War GT and 1956 Israelis? Back to the brushes to work on my LW GT army - I thought I would take something different and use Blood, Guts and Glory to field a 1956 Operation Kadesh Israeli Tank Company. It was a heck of a fun army and is definitely going to come out at another event. I just need to finish painting the "missing" platoons that I did not get a chance to do. I also found myself distracted (a lot) by the new X-Wing game by Fantasy Flight...
Flames Of War gamer in the making!

December - More X-Wing.  Pre-painted miniatures... fast game system... that was me distracted for the rest of the year!

2012 Wrap-up
3 Flames Of War armies
1 Hordes "army"
2 Warmachine/Hordes expansion packs (new things painted to add on to an existing force).
A pile of Dystopian Wars terrain.

Not a bad effort, I think I give myself a A- on the effort front. Feels like I slacked off during the second half of the year, although given the arrival of my son I think I will forgive myself. Over the next couple of days I will sit down with my wife and plan out the 2013 tournament season and from there start thinking about the painting requirements.

Have a good New Years everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kessel Run!

Over the weekend I headed down to my FLGS (King of Cards) for a X-Wing Kessel Run event. Kessel Run was a special preview event created by Fantasy Flight as part of their X-Wing Miniatures Game due to shipping delays for their 2nd wave of ships. The goal was to head along, play some games and have a chance to win a pre-release Millennium Falcon, Slave I, A-Wing or TIE Interceptor. You also got the chance to have a close up look at the new ships (and cards).

On the day I had a momentary case of brain fade forgetting that my fourth X-Wing was sitting at home, rather than at work with the rest of my X-Wing gear after some after-hours gaming. Arriving at work I quickly modified my list and ended up with Wedge, 2x Rookie X-Wing pilots and 1x Gold Squadron Pilot (in his Y-Wing) with an Ion Cannon.

However I did remember to grab the pre-production GF9 Space Mats so we could play on those as it would look nicer than some plain black table-cloths and hopefully add to the fun of the day. Turning up it seemed that Rebels were definitely out numbered with only three Rebel players and an abundance of 8 TIE fighter squadrons.

Whilst my final standings were not enough to get into the finals pool (and therefore compete for one of the new ships) I did have a great day, and managed to take a few nice photos of the games. The other thing I found very interesting was that whilst many of the competitors were like me (i.e. only played a handful of games) there were many veterans of Wings of War and they definitely seemed to have a leg up on the rest of us. Made me keen to pick up some WoW planes, but the X-Wing addiction might be enough for now...

Games in process

Couple of TIE Fighters lurking away from combat!

Red-on-Red match-up

Furball forming

Wedge and friends go round the outside!

Round 3 - Wedge vs Wedge

Millennium Falcon and A-Wings

A-Wing close-up

Millennium Falcon close-up

Slave 1 and TIE Interceptors

TIE Interceptor close-up

Slave 1 close-up

Final match-up in process

Slave 1 on the tail of the Millennium Falcon 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

FlamesCon 2012 - The Wrap Up

FlamesCon was a few weeks ago but between work (and Steve from WWPD visit) and a busy home life I managed to fall a little behind on the updates...

I took my 1956 Israeli Tank Company, using the Blood, Guts and Glory tank company as my template. It was a little sub-optimal as I did not have the time or inclination to paint all the support units that I really needed to fill out the army, but running 11 Confident Vet Shermans (especially when 8 were 76mm versions) was a lot of fun, and despite underestimating the extra 2" of move that my 75's had (thanks to Detroits finest) during play testing, I saw just how great that was in battle where opponents had to constantly plan for those extra 2" of speed.

Arriving early on the day I helped Mark and Surf get the tables out and start setting up the terrain. It is one of those things that takes longer than you would think, luckily there are always a few early birds amongst the tournament attendees to help move it along.

Round 1 was vs Greg (FT Fallschirmjagers, playing Cauldron. My artillery ended up on the far right (just out of the shot, with the Shermans over on the left. I pushed up aggressively only to have a couple of Jagdpanthers drive in behind my lines. Stuck in between 88s and the new arrivals I sent a platoon of Shermans (and some 105mm howitzer rounds) back to clean up my deployment area whilst keeping the pressure on an objective. Once the Jagdpanthers were dealt with I moved up to take out the 88s (that seemed to pass a lot of saves!) Greg realised that if he assaulted my artillery and knocked out a couple of tanks he would win the game as my force would break before I could clear him off the objective. His plan worked better than mine and I ended up losing. During our post match discussion we came to the agreement that neither of us played this game particularly well (especially me since I ended up losing by pushing a platoon too close to infantry and was then subsequently Panzerfausted to death in the assault), but it was a good learning game for both of us.

Round 2 vs Phil (CT King Tigers and friends, playing Hold the Line). Sadly this game was largely over in 30 minutes. I held back, letting Phil advance up the table, once his big cats got far enough up I ambushed a platoon of Shermans, drove them round the flanks and knocked out a King Tiger and an Wirblewind. He subsequently bogged a 2nd King Tiger(which I killed) and was then forced to move his 3rd one up the table whilst 105mm rounds landed on top of it.

This was just one of those games where it was an unfortunate match up for Phil, on the wrong table, with the wrong mission.

This was also the first of two games vs the KG Peiper list from Devil's Charge that I played over the weekend. I am a huge fan of this list due to the history and playing against it a couple of times I realised where both opponents were making a key error with list selection - neither of them took Panzer IVJs. Now these are pretty fragile in Late War with their low armour, but given their cost and that their gun is more than capable of dealing with medium armour (and tank destroyers), plus they have a Spearhead move, they make a great punch unit whilst a small unit of Panthers or a lone King Tiger takes field position and draws fire. I have a few IVJs kicking around my desk at work so I might assemble them up for a few test games and see what happens.

During this round my son also popped by for a visit - first wargaming tournament... seemed pretty excited!
Round 3 vs Paul (CT Panthers and friends, playing Dust Up). Paul deployed in one corner, with a strong front line of Panthers, my Sherman platoon went head to head with it with both sides taking casualties.

My reserves started arriving and tipped the fight back in my favour forcing them to retreat, before they swung around the far end of the table to hit his King Tiger and artillery. Paul's reserves consisted of recon, AA and infantry. They largely drove on and tried to stay out of the way as they were easy platoon kills.

My end run worked out well, although by the time the dust settled only Paul had troops alive in that corner, but I had knocked out enough to force company motivation tests, which he eventually failed.

Paul was an exceptionally tough opponent and got my vote for best sportsman as we had a number of 50/50 calls that were were able to discuss and resolve.

A hall full of gamers!

Round 4 vs Kit (CV Grenadiers, playing Fighting Withdrawal). Somehow I managed to not get any photos of this game, not sure how? Kit is a very good player and was packing a force with 9 platoons. Combine his platoon round (and the fact that he ignores one of the casualties for VP purposes) with the mission requirement to withdraw platoons (effectively giving him the ability to remove weakened platoons before I finish them) and it was a tough fight! I tried to cluster my troops together to put the maximum amount of dice in one area to finish platoons off completely and Kit just did a great job of countering me at every step. I think when we finished I had a couple of guns left on the table and that was it for me. Kit had lost a heck of a lot of troops but I only managed to "finish off" 2 or 3.

Round 5 vs Lee (CV Grenadiers with Panthers), playing Hasty Attack). In this game all the action happened in a 2ftx2ft area on the far side of the table with my Shermans rushing round to get close range shots on this Panthers before settling into a gun duel, before his Hornisse and 7.5cm infantry guns managed to pop on the exact spot they needed too, knocking out half my Shermans before I could exact revenge.

Player of the match for Lee would have been his surviving Panther as it managed to bounce 76mm round after 76mm round, whilst avoiding 6 turns of 105 fire! Given that after my initial alpha strike I thought that the game was largely wrapped up, I was stunned at how quickly it went downhill...

Once again Lee was a top bloke to play and despite the fact I lost there was very little I would change with how I played the game.

So with two wins and three losses I closed out the weekend, somewhat exhausted (I was shocked at my lack of tournament fitness these days...) and definitely ready for a good nights sleep. My list was definitely not optimal and it is my intent to paint up some armoured infantry, SP mortars and some AA, as well as some more Shermans so I can run the force as Confident Trained (which I feel would be a more accurate reflection of the Israeli armour of the day). I might even co-opt Sean into making a web briefing for me if I can come with some decent National Special Rules for the Israelis - Mission Tactics and Spearhead Move (for Combat Platoons) is where my head is at right now.

The most surprising part of the weekend was the Phil took out top honors with British Motor Company - who would have thought that he would have shaken off his bridesmaid title to finally take out the whole weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grudge match: Luke vs Vader!

Popped out to TCOW again as it is rapidly becoming my X-Wing gaming venue of choice! I went head to head with Rob again, this time taking the Rebels - I wanted to test out a squadron with Luke, Wedge and Horton (with an Ion Cannon, R2-D2 and 2 Proton Torpedoes). The plan was that he would fire off a couple of long range salvos, then Ion Cannon targets for the X-Wings whilst R2 repaired his shields.

Rob had a plan of his own though taking three TIE Advanced (with Vader and Maarek Stele), matching my elite fighters with some of his own!

(Forgive the really bad photoshop explosions, not my best effort.....)

Both sides close on each other...
The TIEs break right trying to throw off the Rebels aim
Vader and Wedge pull of Koiogran turns and a TIE takes fire from all three Rebel ships (and explodes)
Maarek Stele gets caught in a cross fire and is destroyed
Vader pulls in behind Horton whilst Luke and Wedge flip around to save him
Horton hits Vader with the Ion Canon and breaks right, meanwhile Wedge pulls the "Hazell Maneuver"*
Vader shakes off the hit and swings around to finish off Horton...
But cannot shake off the X Wings, with Luke getting the final
The X-Wings managed to pull off the win, but there a few rough patches - I think I need to move the 2nd set of Proton Torpedoes to one of the X-Wings (thinking Wedge at the moment, although Luke should be pretty handy with them too....). Also not convinced by Horton Salm, I might have to go back and read up on the other Y-Wing pilots. Last of all it might be worth moving R2 over to Wedge as well (I hear he is broken-good when used together) as Luke has inbuilt defensive skills, the Y-Wings have shields and hull points to take a few hits, where-as Wedge found himself pretty badly beaten up by the end of the encounter.

More thinking required, especially if our local store is going to try to run a Kessel Run event (hopefully the NZ distributor of Fantasy Flight product is getting these promo packs in!).

*The "Hazell Maneuver" is where you plan on turning one direction, but accidently find yourself turning the other direction. Confusing to both friend and foe alike it can sometimes be useful, but is generally met with much laughter. Named after an occasional TCOW visitor....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Road to the FlamesCon 2012 - Israeli Sherman Company (1956)

With FlamesCon less than 1 week away I am starting to look a little dire on the painting front. I have all my tanks basically finished and it just a case of working on the details, my artillery (25pdrs) are painted, but the crew are not.

St Andrews Cross "masks"
With regards to the tanks I have been having a bit of a whinge about the fact I cannot get hold of the St Andrews Crosses which are used as Air Recognition symbols, or the Israeli tank number decals. In stepped a couple of friends... Victor whipped up a "cut file" in photoshop that could go into one of our lasers at work and Jeff finished the job, getting a sheet of masking tape "masks" cut for me.

With a little bit of fiddling about they worked a treat (thanks guys), so now I have one tank with the cross added, and need to get the rest done tomorrow night.

Mask added to the tank and painted blue
Interior cross mask put on the tank
And the gap painted white
Masks removed leaving a nice blue and white cross (best of all they are meant to be slightly off angle making it easier to do!)
After a quick tidy up, ready for a quick drybrush to make it look dusty and then varnish, unless....
Now despite the fact I have not finished my artillery battery, I am thinking about having a go at adding three more pieces details:

  1. Aerials - not too hard, just requires some careful drilling
  2. Bridge weights - just need to see if Blake's holepunch is about the right size and I can punch some masks out so I get nice circles to paint blue
  3. Vehicle numbers - as I have mentioned before Israeli tanks have unique identification numbers painted on (later they actually welded on so that if the tank is destroyed they can more easily determine the number of it).
The numbering I am talking about is the little black bit on the side of the hull with the barely visible white writing

I've picked up a white pen from an art shop and might have a go at painting the small rectangle and then adding tiny numbers tomorrow, meanwhile I should probably focus on the artillery crew and finishing the Shermans before I do anything to crazy.....