Three projects from the back of the shelves.

I’ve been going through my tubs of minis and clearing half finished projects off of shelves. I’m really not interested in moving minis with half a paint job on them, I finished a bunch of my planned painting early this week so I wanted to knock out some quick progress.

I started finishing off a whole bunch of painted 15mm sci fi minis whose’s bases were never painted. I’ve looked into a rules systems called Mech Attack which uses hex basing and infantry on movement bases which lead me to take some 15mm mechs I had put on washers and take them off for rebasing. Unfortunately in the process some paint was stripped off of the feet and needed to be retouched. These Khurasan 15mm mech walkers will be used as infantry support mechs, the smallest mechs I’ll be fielding and probably designed as vehicles in the rules. Mech Attack doesn’t have rules for anything this small so I’ll have to figure something out. I also pulled out two un-built models, so I’ll be doing a video when I assemble and paint them. These are simple walkers with two twin autocannons and a 2 shot anti-tank missile launcher. They’re small and squat and serve as lower tech walkers in my Tomorrows War forces. Khurasan sells these as the Python Power Armour under their Nova Respublik line

Khurasan’s Python Power Armour promo photos.

I learned about Mech Attack from the Chicago Skirmish Wargames blog where they’ve done several write ups of club and convention games they’ve used the rules set for playing in 28mm with some awesome terrain and mechs! Check out their archives here: Chicago Skirmish Wargames

I also pulled out two Combat Wombat grav scout armored cars from the same box. One was finished, but the second had it’s commander bust loose before it could be finished being painted. The vehicle commanders are Brigade Models vaguely Russian troops. I’ve used them as DPRG in Tomorrows War where these scout vehicles are higher tech than their usual equipment and provided by their Earth based sponsors. I’ll be basing them on a hex base and giving it a floating appearance with some brass rod, which has to wait for Litko to open back up. Combat Wombat has unfortunately been out of business for years with the fellow who bought the line refusing to even answer questions about it any more, which is a shame because their turned brass barrels were awesome and a unique product in the 15mm sci-fi scene.

Combat Womabt’s Fennec grav scout car sample photo.

The third project I finished off this week was a set of Warlord Games Higgins Boat gunners. I go these well over a year ago for our D-Day in July game and didn’t get them finished in time for the 2019 game so they sat on the shelf. I don’t know if we’ll be doing a D-Day game this year with the pandemic but I wanted to get them finished and moved off the shelf of shame. I also have a third Higgins Boat to finish painting. It’s tough finding color photos of the drivers and gunners but the ones I found had the life jackets painted in some ‘Army Green’ colors, which is boring. So I went with the yellow life jackets, might not be historical but it does give them some more character and they stand out now.

As far as my 2020 painting goals go I only get to count the 28mm gunners, the others are just retouching so they don’t really count towards my 350, but I have 25 or so GZG 25mm ESU figures based and prime and I’ll start knocking them out next week, so April looks like it’ll be a good month.

I talk about my effort to clear out stalled projects in the my contribution to the Wargaming Recon blog here: Stalled projects, or Oh Shiny! The road to 350.

The week of April 26th, wrapping up a good month!

April wound up being a good month overall, with significant progress! I finished the equivalent of 44 more 28mm figures towards my goal of 350. I’m also 2 figures away from completing the commission of a German WWII army for a friend!

This week I worked on a couple of test color schemes for 25mm Ground Zero Games figures. I wasn’t happy with the last time I attempted an urban camo pattern, so I took another shot at it I’m fairly pleased with this first batch of figures, the only change I made on the next batch was painting the guns darker which helps them stand out against the grey armor plates.

Ground Zero Games ESU naval figures and a Proxie Models pre-fab building.
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Meager progress for the week of April 19th.

After a couple weeks of good progress I slowed down on chipping away at the lead pile. I finished one single piece that had no paint on it when the week started from my own collection, and a fist full of figures that were half finished and sitting around for two years.

What I did do was almost complete a commission of Germans from a friend. I am a slow commission painter, which is why I only take commissions from friends. This one was a large German army with over 60 figures and half a dozen vehicles and had several pieces added mid commission, but it still took me about 6 months to finish. Clearly not the kind of speed to satisfy a customer I don’t know. I was down to 20 guys when the month started, and I’ve been banging out 6ish a week. The last NCOs are half done right now with just a MMG team left to build and paint and Chris will have a full force to march in front of my Americans.

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Dollar Store Finds.

Our local Dollar Tree had a couple of toys that I grabbed probably too many of and turned into wargame stuff. I’ve been hunting for a couple more things to use for scratch building some spaceships I’ll probably never actually play with, but this whole lockdown is cramping my style.

I normally don’t have much luck at dollar stores or thrift stores. I see something posted online and go search 14 dollar stores and find nothing. But these two have been consistantly in stock around me and I was able to pick up about a dozen boats and six or eight of the tanks.

The Mecca of cheap wargamers!
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Sound of the Guns. Nuts! Blood on the Risers Solo mission.

As my ragtag platoon advances towards Saint Mere Eglise it comes upon a cluster of houses that is clearly being used to garrison some Jerry’s. We need to clear out these houses so we’re not leaving enemies to our rear when we get to Saint Mere Eglise. As we ready our assault we run into a lieutenant an eight more paratroopers. We split into three squads and advance to secure what will be our Northern flank.

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Thunder and Flash! Nuts! Solo campaign.

One of the reasons I wanted to learn Two Hour Wargames’ system of rules was to play co-op games with my friend Murph. The stars aligned and Murph came down to play a game and catch up, so I picked up the Nuts! campaign Blood on the Risers campaign so we would have something a little more structured than the random learning games I’ve been playing solo. We played through the first scenario and I replayed it again at night.

The campaign begins with my lone lieutenant parachuting into Normandy in the middle of the night on D-Day. A AAA battery and three PEFs are deployed to the table. As my character searches the fields for some equipment bundles the PEFs move on up towards me.

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Nuts! Round 2. Solo Wargaming

Game number 2 has my platoon of US Airborne defending a farmhouse from an impending attack by the Germans. I set up my forces, generated the PEFs and started the game.

Not wanting to leave the cover of my stone walls and ruined buildings I waited for the Germans to advance, only shifting one .30 cal team to my right since two PEFs appeared in the woods. As the closest PEF moves into view it resolves into three armored vehicles! Since I have only one platoon with one bazooka I decide that they will appear as three half-tracks, sent in support of the advancing troops. It doesn’t make any sense that they would appear in the middle of the board, so I have them enter the board at the roads to my north.

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Studio Miniatures Die Verdammten (Nazi Zombies)

One of my 2019 projects was to paint up a bunch of Nazi Zombies for our yearly Weird War II game at Council of Five Nations. I picked up a couple boxes of Studio Miniatures Die Verdammten, plastic Nazi Zombies. At the time they had a bundle that included two twenty zombie boxes, some alternate metal heads and a metal Nazi officer mini. I was excited to have cheap ‘multi-pose’ plastic miniatures so I could fill the table without breaking the bank.

While they’re technically multi-pose there is only two bodies, one alternate head and three sets of arms per sprue, so the actual range of poses is limited. I used the alternate heads and left over bits from my Warlord figures to increase the variety. The Warlord figure were also very usefully for using up the left over arm and head bits from the Zombie sprues, leaving little waste and ‘fleshing’ out the horde.

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CoC: Homerun at Osmanville

We’ve been playing through the 29, Lets Go! campaign for Chain of Command casually since the beginning of the year. We weren’t interested in fighting back and forth through the scenarios and replaying until the Americans won, so we just played each scenario once and moved on. Dan and I wrapped it up with scenario 5 last night. We’ve learned a bunch of lessons over the course of the campaign. One of the first was that this game tends to take longer than 2 hours to play. I’ve had a number of people tell me that they get through the average game in just about 2 hours, our experience is that with two players each game should take about 3 hours to fight to a conclusion. At the 2.5 hour mark we’re usually able to tell how its going to go, but we wouldn’t actually reach the objectives for at least another half an hour. Considering our time restraints (it’s an hour drive for me to get to the store) we generally call it right around 10-10:15 so I can make it home by midnight.

The building on the far left is the objective, the Americans have to either reduce my force morale to 0 or take the building and end the turn to win. Our Patrol Phase wound up with us deploying our jump off points about 3/4 of the way up the board, one either side of the second house and hedges there. Dan’s tank would, of course, have to deploy down one of the roads.

Dan chose his mandatory Sherman, plus a .50 cal and a .30 machine gun and the extra BAR for each squad. The .50 cal would go on to be the American VIP I believe, the reduction in cover being a major factor and one of the things that makes it almost mandatory for us now.

 

I chose a PAK38, an MG42, an adjutant and two pieces of barbed wire. With the Americans having TWO senior leaders and the Germans only having one I felt I needed to get mine on the board early. Rolling multiple 4’s would be an ongoing theme for BOTH sides during this game. I unfortunately left the barbed wire stands at home, so had to make do with a roadblock on the upper road. I think the barbed wire would have been a lot better, letting me deny the spot that the Americans used to great effect.

The game started off with a good American deployment at the house. .50 cal, one full squad and the platoon Sargent, I answered with two squads, one in the upper right of this photo and another just to the left with a clear line of sight down the wall in front of the house. I also deployed the MG42 in the second floor of the house. I fired on the .50 cal to no effect.

Dan opens up with his .50 cal dealing 4 kills to a German squad, it’s cover reduced to nothing do to the heavy weapon. My Germans respond with a double activation, deploying the Pak38 on the only road the Sherman can come down and firing on Dan’s mortar, doing only a single shock.

 

Dan responds with a double activation of his own, Firing the .50 cal on the same German squad up in the corner, causing them to break as the casualties and shock stack up. They will never recover from this and spend the rest of the game cowering behind several hedges.

Dan uses the Marching Fire ability to hop a wall and put some fire down on the squad I had deployed across from the house. The only thing that saved me was having gone tactical at the end of my last activation in fear of the .50 cal. Dan followed this up on his second activation with 2 kills and 3 shock! His mortar landed a round on the Pak38, adding one shock and a kill. I continued this throughout the game, using my senior leader on this squad to remove shock and have them go tactical, the only thing that saved them.

I used my activation to shoot on Dan’s advancing squad with both of my squads and throw some hand grenades to minimal effect, 1 kill and 1 shock.

Dan decided to bring on his Sherman at this point, unfortunately I didn’t have a full CoC die to fire on it with the Pak38! His main gun causes only shock on the anti-tank gun.

Thankfully I rolled another double activation! Firing with my squads and then following up with a Handgranaten attack I almost wipe out Dan’s squad at the stone wall, they break and Dan simply removes the 2 survivors from the table. I fall back behind the hedge I came from and go tactical again. There’s not much left of this squad but they would survive right up until the end of the game, falling back far enough that the senior leader could start commanding the MG42 to fire.

My Pak38 saw it’s short useless life ended as the Sherman hits it again, causing two kills and breaking the unit. The two survivors run for their lives with five shock on two men. (use I’m using a 105 howitzer as the PAK38)

I roll four 4’s, only activating my MG42 to fire at the .50 cal. Dan one ups me by rolling five 5’s and quickly ending his phase.

The MG42 FINALLY kills the .50 cal in the next turn, it had been hiding behind a stone wall for so long!

At this point Dan has not managed to cross the road. His men are concentrated around this house, with one squad inside, one advancing to take the position I had assaulted at then retreated from. That’s a .30 cal team behind the house taking shots at my squad after routing the Pak38 team. Outside of this photo is a mortar team and a Sherman right down the road on the left. It’s not looking good for the Germans, but the Americans haven’t taken the house yet. I’m down to one squad that you can barely see on the left of the photo above, one MG42 in the house and the remnants of a squad in front of my house. If I could hold them here I can win at this point.

Dan advances his Sherman down the road, FINALY having a full Chain of Command die I ambush with my Panzerschreck team. A long range shot immobilizes the tank and adds two pins! Dan pours fire into my last full squad for a second round as causes them to break, abandoning their position. I begin to run my leader over to try and remove the shock.

As I activate next to follow up Dan does the same to me, killing the Panzerschreck team before it gets off it’s shot. And of course I fail to get a photo of the tank at any point in the game! It’s a Sherman, you’ve seen tons of them.

At this point we call the game. It’s after 10 and I have one squad reduced to an LMG team, one squad breaking, whats left of the first squad I deployed never going to recover from it’s broken status and an MG42. Dan has a full chain of command die and I have a force morale of 5. Dan can easily use his CoC die to end the turn and remove the two broken squads. He has an immobilized tank that has a line of sight to the objective building with the MG42 in it and two full squads along with two senior leaders on this board. We forgo the 30 minutes of Americans mopping up at their leisure and call it an American win.

This is our fifth game of the year so far. We’ve both started using our nations abilities to good effect. Dan was using Marching Fire to pin down one squad while hoping between stone walls, I used Hangranaten to effectively wipe out a squad that was causing me problems. Dan’s gets his money’s worth out of the .50 cal, reducing my cover along with the mortar he took for the same reason. I’ve been using my leaders to have squads go tactical, and now I need to start using covering fire and overwatch more often. I think the Germans are hampered from not being able to take another squad in this campaign. They can take a squad of green conscripts once in the whole campaign, and I’m not convinced it would be worth it. I would have loved to have a fourth infantry squad, it would have allowed me to be much more flexible in my coverage of the approach to the house. All in all it was a great game.