Monday, November 25, 2013

Going Digital with Dropzone Commander

Recently one of my friends (Jeff over at Adeptus Malaysia put up this post) showing off  a really nice Dropzone Commander test model he had airbrushed up using a series of home made "hexocam" masks. My DZC stuff has been sitting in a box as I had consistently failed to come up with a camo scheme I really liked. I have two models sitting in Simple Green at home from failed experiments already.

Jeff was kind enough to send me down a set of his masks to have a play with and they are fantastic (although Jeff did make it sound way easier than it was). I undercoated the tank Black, then progressively sprayed Dark Grey (which I will swap out for a Dark Geen), Light Grey and Buff over the vehicle, adding more masks as I went in an effort to duplicate the current US Universal Camo Pattern. My intent once the masks were removed was to varnish it, pin wash it, paint the details and done.... 

In reality, once I removed the masks I found that some of the tape managed to pull away all the paint, right down to the resin. So this tank has joined its platoon mates in the Simple Green!

I am going to try something a little different next time around and wash the resin more throughly (I normally dont bother but I think it may be worth it in this case), do a couple of undercoats with plenty of curing time, and then give the tank a light gloss varnish to try to seal everything in. I also need to put twice the number of masks on as even though I thought I was putting a lot on, once I removed them I realised I need many many more.

However I am pleased with the result and need to try the Universal Camo 2.0 test so I can make these a fun Christmas project..

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

FlamesCon - Day Two

Day one had gone better than I expected and having knocked of Daniel in the last round I felt like I was in good shape. I knew today I would be coming up again Rob and his very Canadian Recon list so I spent a little time the night before thinking about how to play the game, little did I know he would be my first opponent and the game would set the tone for the rest of the day...

Round 4 vs Rob (Canadian Armoured Recce Squadron from Market Garden) and Hold The Line
Rob won the dice off to defend and picked the large cornfields for his Cautious Movement Canadians to hide in. I put one tank platoon on the right flank and rushed the rest up the left behind the forest.
My artillery managed to range in a couple of times but did nothing and Rob was able to move from the templates without giving his position away, so I chose to burst out before his artillery came on from reserve and knocked out mine. Lots of shots.... no hits... my trained tanks in the open...
Return fire...
Recon scrambles to keep me in the game for one more turn (to try to break a platoon) but the dice abandon me..
The game against was really disappointing for two reasons: 1, I went down 1-6 and pretty much ended my chances of a good result, and 2, I played the game really poorly! I should have pushed a single tank out to close range and started shooting him, forcing him to fire and me and give away his gone to ground advantage. It would have cost me my 2iC but I could have then pushed up and tried to knock out his tanks more effectively....
Round 5 vs Aussie Rob (British Assault Company from Overlord) and Free For All

Rob deployed over a broad frontage with his tanks in the middle, infantry on either side interspersed with 6pdrs,recon,  with some AA the middle and a Cruiser off-table to provide support. I decided to hold the left with a token force, push the middle with a single tank platoon and try to roll up the right and then along his line.
We skirmished on the left and centre, Rob loosing a couple of platoons whilst NFGS (Naval Gunfire Support) rained down on my middle tanks.
He retreated his tanks behind the hedges and we stopped to duel for a few turns. Eventually I knocked them out but a stray 6"round from the HMS Glasgow knocked out my camera and I failed to take any more pictures. I managed to roll up and get my 3 points but by then the damage was done and it was all over.

Round 6 vs BF Wayne (Hungarian Zrinyi Company) and Hasty Attack
I setup with tanks on both sides, with the artillery in the middle, Wayne spread his Zrinyi platoons, Panthers on his right flank and Nebelwerfers at the back
Wayne advanced his Panthers shooting a couple of Shermans, my Shermans on my right advanced to get flank shots on the Panthers (missing) and then died to his Zrinyi platoon. My artillery hit ranged in on two Panthers (missing them) and his Company Commander (which I bailed). The Shermans achieved nothing.
And three died (triple 1s on the dice) to the Nebelwerfers....!
Before the rest were finished off by the Panthers....
At a rough calculation I threw around 20 dice in the game, 2 or 3 of which rolled a four or more and the game took around 10-15 minutes to set up and 5-10 minutes to play.... on the good side my easy capitulation catapulted Wayne up the table to take out third place (so a good result for team BF!).

15 points on day one.... 5 points on day two. Not a great finish but at least I had a lot of fun and managed to get my 1956 Israeli tank company much further down the path to being almost painted! Although I think I'll take a break from Olive Drab for a while and do a little Dunklegelb for a change.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

FlamesCon - Day One

Into the gaming!

Round 1 vs Heloise (German Panzers from Devils Charge) and Dust Up
I put all my tanks on the table, Heloise opted for Panzers and Nebelwerfers, putting more Panzers and King Tiger in reserve
My Spearhead Move put me in the middle of the table, Heloise moved up and missed with everything (and bogged her captured Firefly down in the woods). My shooting was considerably more accurate.
I weathered some more inaccurate fire, moved up and mopped up the majority of the Panzers.

A Panzer platoon came on from reserve knocking out a couple of tanks but I had swamped the objective, winning 6-1
Round 2 vs Patrick(Kampfgruppe Swoboda - yes 12 88's!) and Surrounded.
Patrick concentrated most of his force in the centre deployed 2 of his batteries of 88's (1 in ambush) covering most of the table. I opted to put one tank platoon hidden at the far end of the table, and the rest behind a tree line where I could take out an 88 platoon and 2cm platoon.
I overran the 88's and 2cm quite quickly with only a few losses and then moved up to the tree line. Keeping my spare Sherman platoon behind a ridge awaiting Pat's ambush.
88's come out of hiding in the vineyard and knock out some Shermans, I move up and work over the CT Tiger platoon and 88s.
We trade some more shots, my spare Sherman platoon moves up and.....
Dies heroically! By now my recon is moving around the flank to threaten the objective but I know I need to break his company or loose the game.
A final round of accurate shooting by the last of the Shermans breaks Pat's army, but the losses were heavy! 4-3 to me.
Round 2 vs Daniel(21st Panzer) and Breakthrough
Sadly I did not take many pictures of this game - Dan is a long time gamer that I almost never get to play in tournaments despite playing in many FOW and Warhammer tournaments over the past 15 years. He also plays a lot more than me these days so I put my game face on and forgot to grab the camera...
Dan put an infantry screen across half the table, with 88's and 3.7cm guns covering the cornfield. Despite a convenient tree line that I knew his 15cm SP artillery and 2 units of Beute Stugs I knew I had to push through their gun line.
In the end I broke through but only had a handful of tanks left, however my recon came on from reserve and captured the objective whilst the remaining Shermans formed a screen to stop any counterattacks. A tough 5-2 win.
End of day one and I am feeling good, sitting in second or third and having knocked off a tough opponent to finish the day. Thinking about day two I knew I was going to be in for some tough match ups.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

FlamesCon - The Event

I've been struggling to find the time to write up a bit of an event report from FlamesCon. After the weekend I was completely shattered and since then I only time I have spent on the computer at home as been doing work.... So I thought I would break the event down into bite sized chunks, and stick to primarily pictures (I've been learning from the graphics guys!).

First up - some general shots from the event:
Setting up the venue - Mike had it all mapped out and planned down to the square metre
Just add gamers, terrain and armies!
Evan hard at work
John-Paul with a large bag of confectionery
Phil showing his WW2 plane game that he has been working on
Flames of Tanks with Sean and Andrew
My List for the weekend..
I didn't get my 1956 Israeli Tank Company list finished before the weekend so instead I reverted back to Blood, Guts & Glory as an easy standby.
Creighton Abrams in a M4A1 76mm Sherman - although over the weekend his tank was an M50 Sherman (early)
Company Commander in a M4A1 76mm Sherman

Combat Platoons:
2 M4A1 76mm Shermans with 1 M4A3 (late) Sherman
2 M4A1 76mm Shermans with 1 M4A3 (late) Sherman

2 M4A1 76mm Shermans with 1 M4A3 (late) Sherman

Weapons Platoons:
3 M4 81mm Mortar Carriers with 1 M3 Halftrack
Cavalry Platoon with two jeeps and one M8 (played by a Staghound since the Israelis had a small number of them)

Divisional Support:
4 105mm Howitzers with HQ (played by a battery of 25pdrs since this is what the Israelis had)

Without wanting to go into specifics about how the army went and spoil the surprise... it was a really fun list. Abrams gave the list a few surprises that people really did not expect and whilst Trained is my least favourite skill level, it is appropriate for the Israelis in '56 even though I found it hard work in places. The list was definitely missing "something" though and my plan is to finish off a few little bits and pieces here and there (most notably the 25pdrs since I had to borrow some from work), and then play around with some options like SP AA and Limited Air Support (Mustangs with Napalm anyone...).

Next up, Day One!