Monday, November 28, 2011

American Civil War - Confederate Battalion

I have finally finished that box of 36 Perry ACW 28mm figures, started oh so long ago! They have stared at me rather mournfully ever since I got started on that journey into Piracy ;-) I finally felt they deserved to be finished.
When I started the project they were just going to be for Black Powder gaming, but then I realised there may be some skirmish gaming opportunities for them also.

So I am pleased to present to you, a Confederate Battalion with Battle honours of Seven Pines & Manassas, upon their flags.

Firing Line
 Here above seen in all their glory in full firing line.

Skirmishers deployed
 Here above seen with skirmishers deployed. Having checked the Black Powder rules on such a Mixed order formation, it seems about a third of the unit should be deployed as skirmishers in this fashion, so thats 12 figures out of the full 36 figure set.

Full Skirmish Order
And here above in full skirmish order.

All the figures are based on nominally 20mm (but actually19mm) zinc plated steel washers. Being steel they are attracted to magnets, and so I made sabot bases from 3mm mdf sheet cut 40mm x 40mm. This was then covered with a layer magnetic paper, painted brown, and flocked to match the figures. As the figures are light weight plastic, the strength of the magnet works well, the base can be fully inverted and the figures don't fall off.
Mounted on magnetised sabot base

4 figures on a 40mm x 40mm sabot base.

Magnestised sabot base
The sabot base itself, flocked just enough to allow the washers contact with the magnetic layer.

The figures themselves I must admit, I took several short cuts in their painting, realising that with 'gerzillions' of figures for multiple periods still to paint, I had to try and get quicker.
So, I black undercoated, and then base coated all figures in their required 'mid tone'.
I then washed the entire figure in a 50/50 mix of Vallejo Dark Brown and Black wash.
I then worked back up the colours using the original mid tone colours.
I didn't do the eyes, just left them as a dark brown line in the eye socket recess.
Being plastic figures I only gave them one coat on Vallejo acrylic matt brush on varnish. I didnt bother with the polyurethane gloss, reasoning that the gloss was only really required for metal figures to resist chipping from the metal surface. Plastic figures don't require this.
The base was flocked with GW sand and this was just given a wash of Vallejo Dark brown wash. Normally I'd then drybrush lighter browns and cream colour to the sand, but didn't this time, content just to add the static grass.

I think the figures still look fine, and a lot of time and effort was saved. I am happy with the result.

So I can use my figures as originally planned for Black Powder as ACW troops.

I can also use them in full skirmish order for Rules with No Name, on Joe Harrison's Leadwood.

And finally, again as skirmishers, I can use them for some GASLIGHT gaming, whether as ACW themed troops, or perhaps as a Colonial force; the '1st FusilierAbteilung of Neu-Bavaria', to go alongside my planned Prussian themed VSF army.

So several uses out of one box of figures. More bang for your buck I say!

Second thoughts too: Using the washers also means I am no longer defacing Her Majestys currency, by using NZ10cent coins for bases, though oddly enough, the washers I bought are exactly the same size as the 10cent coin, yet have a hole in the middle (therefore less physical metal than the coin) and cost 21 cents each to buy... not sure what that says about the state of our economy? I wonder if  I might get any odd looks if I tried to pay for my lunchtime sarnie down at the cafe with a handful of washers....  'honest, they're worth more than the coins in your till !"  ;-)


I have just discovered this website, and with its current catalogue of over 400 war related documentaries, there's bound to be something there for you as a historical wargamer. I am currently enjoying the Battlefield series again, free to watch on demand. Brilliant.
It's got me itching to play another Flames of War game, can't wait.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flames of War - Battle Report - newbies!

Well as promised in the prior blogpost, I offer you a Flames of War Battle report. Brett Mudgway and myself managed a trial learning game tonight, using forces of approx. 800 points each. Please bear in mind, we are both newbies and possibly using older books/sourcebooks which may not be 'correct' by current standards, but we got a feel for the rules, both enjoyed it, and look forward to more games :-)

Since I don't have many 15mm buildings suitable we had planned to play a Sicily type game using Brett's 15mm African adobe buildings, but these had been packed away somewhere in Brett's 'gaming bunker', and could not be quickly located so we made do with a few left over Warmaster buildings I had from many moons ago.

And thus a Normandy style landscape appeared before us...

I took a force themed on KampGruppe Meyer; 352 Inf Div, 916 Grenadier regiment, Fusilier Abteilung. This force was made up from veterans of the Eastern front and as such are rated 'Confident Veteran'.

I had:
  • HQ upgraded to PanzerKnacker + PanzerShrek Team + 2 x 8cm G42 stummelwerfer mortars
  • (Grenadier platoon (3 squads) + Command SMG Panzerknacker) x 2
  • StuG G platoon of 3 assault guns
Brett took a force that was a bit of mix, he'd taken an Armoured Rifle Company initially taken from an older version of the Desert sourcebook, which I looked at and compared to a similar list I had in the Cobra sourcebook. So it emerged as a bit of a midwar/latewar mixture... Consequently were rated 'Confident Trained'.

He took (roughly)
  • HQ, with towed gun
  • Two full Combat platoons
  • a platoon of 3 GMC halftracks fitted with a 75mm gun (this was from the Desert Midwar list )
  • a platoon of 4 Stuart light tanks
We rolled up scenario and Breakthrough resulted. Since I was an Infantry company facing a mechanised Infantry company, I was the defender, which was as we would have thought, and played it anyway.

Checking through the rules for scenario; Delayed reserves, Prepared positions, Defensive battle, Mobile reserves, I deployed my troops roughly in a diagonal line through centre of board. Grenadier squads to either side with HQ and StuGs on central small hill.

German deployment

Brett came on with HQ + Stuarts behind small wood to left, and combat platoon and 75mms to right. One combat platoon in reserve waiting to come on behind my lines! Grrr!

American deployment

Brett as the attacker got first turn and swung his Stuarts round the woods to his left trying to out flank my grenadiers on my right. His combat platoon opened up on my concealed troops and after a hail of lead, killed one team. He then failed to range in his 75mm Artillery.

In my turn, I decided to keep my grenadiers heads down, hoping they would stay alive longer doing so rather than firing back. My StuGs however fired on the combat platoon as one of its halftracks was clearly visible on the road. The halftrack exploded in a ball of flame, as Brett realised his frontal armour of 1, didn't stand a lot of chance of stopping the 75mm round from the StuGs StuK40 gun. I also managed to call in an artillery strike from my command HQ Stummelwerfers and while not doing any damage, did pin the combat platoon.

Combat platoon mounts up as halftrack burns in background

In the second turn, Brett unpinned the combat platoon and decided to mount them up and try to drive through the woods. The Stuarts continued their end around run, getting right on the flank of the grenadiers this time.

Stuarts outflank grenadiers
The air filled with machine gun fire from the Stuarts but amazingly the grenadiers all survived in their foxholes. This time the 75mm artillery did range in but failed to kill any troops but did pin down the platoon.

In my turn I looked hungrily at the Stuarts, down the barrels of my StuG platoon and measuring the range, found them just within. A groan from Brett... I need to move slightly to get all tanks in firing position, (hull mounted main gun) . I also realised I needed something else over that side of the battlefield and advanced my Panzershrek toward to the right flank.

Needing a 4+ to kill the Stuarts with my StuGs from 3 shots I rolled; 3,3,1. Arrgh! Where's a re-roll when you want one?

In frustration my grenadier platoon on my left fired a couple of teams at the unmounted remains of the combat platoon but the firing pinged off the stone wall they were sheltering behind.

Turn three and Brett asked; what was that rule about about bringing on reserves again? Ok, he got one dice and need a 5 to bring on his reserve platoon. And he rolled... a 5. Damn! His Stuarts raced past the grenadiers in their foxholes heading towards the objectives to my right. The mounted combat platoon edged into the woods, with the last half track bogging down in the difficult terrain. I could see what he was trying to do; get my StuGs to turn to fire one way and present their weaker sides to his other troops. But there was not much I could do about it as my only platoon doing anything was my StuGs... all the others were cowering in their foxholes.

In true John Wayne fashion the American reserve combat platoon roared onto the field of battle and took the objective marker on the hill to my right flank. But they would have to still be holding it at the beginning of their next turn to win.

The Stuarts had seen the Panzershrek team scampering about earlier, and let rip with their machine guns on my command HQ, getting 5 hits and pinning the platoon. The only team that failed his infantry save was the Panzershrek team! Bloody typical! Cue; finger of doom -  'Its YOOOOOOOUUU'!

Panzershrek team gets nailed by the MG fire from the Stuarts
My turn 3, what to do. Time was pressing also... I thought about using my grenadier platoon on my right flank to close assault the Stuarts from the behind, with my trusty panzerknacker, but they failed to unpin from the previous turns 75mm arty fire. The American combat platoon in the woods was going to take forever to emerge, so I pondered moving my grenadiers from the left over to assault the Stuarts from the front but that I was sure would have been suicide, so they put the kettle on and dug out the frankfurters and mustard instead.

It all came down this turn, to my StuGs. Could they redeem themselves from the previous turns complete miss (Ostfront veterans my foot!) Again hull mounted main guns meant they had to turn to engage the 2nd American combat platoon on the hill objective, reducing their firing. Checking the hill , I had to kill 3 halftracks that were on or within 4" of the objective marker, from 3 shots... Drum roll please, build the tension...; a 5,5 and 4. Boom! 3 half tracks brew up nicely!

StuGs take out the halftracks on the hill objective
Checking Morale, that would appear to have broken that combat platoon. So it would now on turn 4 but up to the Stuarts to race forward and claim the objective, but once again they would have then been sitting under the gaze of the StuGs...

As it happened Brett had to call time, as he had to get away.

So we ended the game there. I think technically that would have been a win to me, as Brett's combat platoon was the only one to quit the field.

However, it should be noted that, Brett could have simply come onto the battlefield with his reserve platoon, and just parked on the rear slope of the hill and I would not have been able to see them to fire my StuGs and he would have claimed the objective.

However in true Yankie fashion  he roared on, full of gusto, with plenty of fuel, ammo and chocolate on board ;-)

Good on yer Brett!

So the main thing to come out of this was a very enjoyable game for us both. The rules were got to grips with quite well, though we didn't get to try out the assault phase...
We are both more than happy to play more games.
And since Brett has a huge American force ready painted to go, looks like I'll be putting painting priority to my Germans to try and defend Festung Europa against his invasion!

Early Santa, and the dilemma of unpainted plastic !

Early Santa for me :-) I was pleasantly pleased to see a couple more boxes of goodies waiting on my doorstep when I arrived home yesterday, that I had ordered a little while ago.

First up was a box of Flames of War Typhoons to add to my commando force. These came courtesy of Wayland Games.

I must admit, the recent Remembrance day on 11th November got me thinking about all things WWII again, and I started flicking through my FoW rulebook and supplements again. I have never fully got to grips with the rules having only had a handful of games, widely spaced apart. My last one was probably over a year ago when Simon McBeth offered to show me the ropes over at the Hutt club. So yep I've probably forgotten whatever I learnt back then...

Not wanting my German forces to feel left out [and to give my typhoons something to fire at ;-)], I got some goodies for them too, from Mealstromgames; SdKfz 251/D and Panzer IV's from the Plastic Soldier Company. I've read good reviews of these new plastic kits and they are great value for money I think compared to the Resin/Metal style of figures.

I decided to add the half-tracks to my German forces to convert my Festungskompanie to Panzergrenadiers, giving me a bit more bang for your buck, with the troops I already have painted up. I also ordered the Panzergrenadier command pack and a bunch of Panzerfausts and Panzershreks to effect this change. Again from Wayland games, just awaiting delivery.

You just never can have enough Panzer support! ;-)

I have also managed to find a local player, or at least someone who has a force ready (bought second hand but as yet untried) who's willing to learn the rules with me, so it will be the blind leading the blind no doubt! Brett is bringing his Yanks over tonight, and I will be holding them off as best I can with my plucky German defenders. The only 15mm buildings we currently have are Bretts African style adobe buildings, so we figured we will use them in a Sicily type scenario... I'll try and take a few pics and write a report afterwards.

Along with the Maelstromgames order also came 3 boxes of WargamesFactory WSS cavalry.

I now have enough WSS troops to create an army for Black Powder with 6 units of 24 infantry, and 3 units of cavalry, so three brigades of 3 units. I'll try and add some infantry guns too and that will complete the set up.

Now of course all this plastic WSS is going to take me an age to assemble and paint before its ready for use, at my glacial painting rate.

So what I thought, and troubled me a little as it is most definitely NOT in the finest traditions of the Kapiti Fusiliers, is to simply assemble and temporarily (blu-tac) base it all, and at least then I can get a game with it, and paint it up as and when I get a chance to do a unit.

The same goes for my back log of Perry ACW and Perry Napoleonic Brits, all destined for Black Powder gaming.

It would mean any Battle Report pictures are liable to full of drab unpainted grey plastic, so I apologise in advance if this occurs.

But at least I'll get to get some games in :-)

So what's your thoughts, do you mind playing with unpainted figures? Is it OK generally, or complete anathema!? Or somewhere in between? ;-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hail Caesar Army Lists - Biblical and Classical

I have just received my copy of the Hail Caesar army lists book. I have only really had a quick glance through, but did have a good look at the Early Germans list, as I will now hopefully be able to blow the dust off my Foundry Ancient Germans I painted up oh so long ago for WAB.

My only slight angst is that, whilst this army was certainly a good and sizeable force for WAB, I now find myself realizing the dilemma that in Hail Caesar, for the Early Germans, a division is a minimum of 4 units, and looking at what I have, I have about one to one and half divisions, so if I am going to get these troops back on the table I am going to have to add to them or ally them up with some other troops.

But there again, that is perhaps one of the strengths of Hail Caesar, its ability to draw several players together for an all mighty shin-dig!

I am also looking forward to redoing their bases, and getting rid of the WAB style movement trays of single figures, onto multiple bases. Though I'll probably keep the skirmishers on singles, as this will also allow the chance to do some seperate skirmish style gaming with these troops if that ever comes up...

So who do I choose to ally them with? Well I do still have a bunch of Foundry EIR Romans I got off ebay many years ago that have never seen a lick of paint. Also a pile of Foundry Celts, that I was going to trademe off a little while back that didn't sell, maybe thats why they didnt sell, fate has something else in store for them...

Another use of this book may be to help get a handle on army list development for the Hail Sauron group, converting War of the Rings army lists across to Hail Caesar format, though I may well have to wait for a further supplement that more closely deals with dark-age and medieval troops...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Moria Rocky outcrops

More pictures rescued from the depths of the PC photos folder!

I made these Rocky out-croppings a couple of years back.

They were made from the white polystyrene packaging material you get from TVs fridges etc etc.

This was cut up into chunks and glued together onto an MDF sheet base. This was then covered in chunks of Bark chip mulch from the garden. The gaps between were then filled with a flexible filler from a mastic gun.
Then this was covered in sand textured paint, leaving the bark texture showing through.

The whole thing was then painted black and then worked up through various shades of dry or 'overbrushed' grey to finish.

Heres some WIP shots:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Helms Deep - revisited

A couple of years back now it must be, I played a game with a mate of the second Helms Deep scenario from the Two Towers sourcebook. I was going to write it in a snazzy Battlereport. Sadly it never happened at the time, and over time I forgot the play by play and mislaid my notes... but I stumbled across some of the pics I had taken, whilst cleaning up PC photos folder:

Here's a few pictures for your enjoyment:

The scenario starts off after the bomb has blown down the wall. All on the wall are lain down except Gimli. Aragorn waits ready to charge forward into the breach. Other Rohan warriors are waiting to rush in.
I played the evil side and chose to lead with the berserkers.

It was a hard fought battle, and a tough one for the evil side to bring the greater numbers to bear.

The good guys heroes plugged the gaps and I never really managed to get my troll into the fight until the end when it was too late.

Here's a link to earlier Battle Report, in pdf form:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ent spotted at Mount Victoria Wellington!

I took these pictures a wee while ago, yet came across them again today and thought they'd be a fun little blog interlude.

Look about halfway down the trunk, but above the foliage, I am sure there's a pair of eyes, closed as if sleeping..., perhaps a nose below those, and a large v shaped mouth... its all in the eye of the beholder I guess.

A closer view:

You make up your own mind.

They're real I tell you!

Friday, November 18, 2011

WIP - ACW & Zulus

A work in progress from the painting table for you. I don't normally do this kind of blog post, but perhaps it shows I am still working away and wets your appetite to see the final finished unit...?

I apologise for the poor colour quality of shots. Whilst my angle poise lamp gives plenty of light for me to paint by at night, it has rather poor lighting for photography work. But hopefully you get the gist...

Plastic Zulus from Wargames Factory. 28mm. These are the first sprue of figures done. Painting is complete, just need basing and varnishing.

Perry ACW. 28mm. These figures have finally been fully base coated, as shown in the picture. I have since washed all figures in a 50/50 mix of Vallejo Dark Brown and Black washes. I am now about half through working the highlights back up. Then basing and varnishing. I didn't do the eyes though. Eek! perhaps I have turned a page in my painting technique. At least for the bulk troops of units. I have to say it was a lot quicker and the Perry sculpts have such fine features (small say compared to Foundry), that I think I would have struggled to achieve a good looking result. So I have left the eye orbits as a horizontal dark brown line from the wash... I hope the painting gods forgive me!?

I'm getting there! Slowly but surely...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Paint Grasshopper!

Paint Grasshopper…

Nope not him...

As a youngster, my dad often called me “grasshopper-minded”, as I would jump from one thing to the next that caught my interest and attention.

I now find that this commonly occurs while I am painting.

No matter what I sit down to paint, once I get started on it, I immediately start thinking about painting something completely different, which makes sticking on subject rather tricky.

I think its partly down to wargaming having so many periods and scales that can be played, and I want an army for ‘all of them’…

I also think, whilst painting is a leisure past-time, in reality its also a bit of a chore, its quite hard lengthy work (far easier to play with the figures than paint them after all!) to do a good job and satisfy yourself you’ve done as best as you could. So whenever I get to a tricky or fiddly bit in painting something, I immediately start thinking of something else that I perceive would be ‘easier’ to paint.

A ‘wee while’ ago I started painting up some Perry ACW figures, thinking they would be easy to do (compared to Napoleonics) – just shades of grey and brown for the ‘feds. Then I got inspired and distracted by all the pirate malarkey, which has been a fun interlude, and there’s more stuff there I like to add.

So having completed the current batch of ‘piratey’ stuff, I thought I’d better clear the painting table and complete the ACW figs which have been staring at me for months. Well I have pressed on admirably and blocked in all the base colours, and then came to painting in the fiddly straps and belts, and immediately I started thinking about painting Flames of War tanks…! (Just ordered some Plastic Soldier SdKfz 251’s and Panzer IV's, and some Battlefront Typhoons) They always seem easy. Heck, they're just 2 colours; the tank itself and the tracks. And the tank can be spray base coated…

Reality is they are just as time consuming and fiddly, when you have paint the commander and crews, the camo pattern, the stowage and then get the decals on right…

And I still have Black Powder armies for ACW, Napoleonics, and WSS (cavalry from WF on their way from Maelstrom) to finish & start! Oh and there’s still the WF Zulus to finish (first 5 test figures done – just got base them and varnish) and their Colonial Brit adversaries. Then the 6 Cowboys for 'Rules with No Name', and a whole pile of Prussians for my VSF project…

…and I’m not even going to mention the bunker that is the Lord of the Rings pile, that may well get some attention again if the Hail Sauron group kicks off, and I need to start building big ‘Hail-Caesar-style’ armies for LOTR (I’ve ordered the armies book for Hail Caesar too from Maelstrom – may give some ideas for the conversion work for Hail Sauron).

So a painting, period and scale grasshopper? Yep that’s me!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Technology saves my Painting space.

I have always enjoyed listening to music while I paint. Usually through headphones connected to my mini-portable cd-player thingy perched on the edge of my painting table or on a side table.

However I recently caught up with technology (in some ways I am a bit of a technophobe). I bought an Ipod Shuffle. Wow, how things have changed!

For $60NZ I have gone from something the size of a couple of housebricks that plays one CD at a time, to something not much bigger than a large postage stamp that holds about 20 CD albums and will randomly play tracks from all the albums endlessly without stopping or me have to change discs or anything.


And it takes up a fraction of the space as before, so my side table can hold refreshments or other modelling paraphernalia!

Plus I got a set of Skull Ink’d canal-phones. These fit in the ear canal, so effectively block out background sound, like an ear plug, and obviously plays your tunes too. The nice bit is it stays quiet between songs and I don’t get intrusions of SWMBO’s ‘pap*-TV’ breaking through. They're also more comfy than the standard earphones that come with the ipod. Bliss!

I’ve dug out all my old 80’s & 90s rock albums and uploaded them. A trip down musical memory lane indeed.

The only problem now is getting a thick ear from SWMBO when I can’t help break into song at the best bits, as I listen along. ;-)

Oh and it works equally well under my ear defenders when I’m doing the garden – riding lawntractor or using weed-eater (strimmer for you UK types).

So for any of you technophobe-grognards like me out there, go get yourself an Ipod shuffle – it's the ‘Sony-Walkman’ you always wanted ;-)

*pap: “pathetic and puerile!” ;-)

Update 13/11/11

I just went and bought some new ear phones, after getting a recommendation on kiwibiker forum:
Sennheiser 30mmi

I got them from Dick Smiths for $110. Ok thats more than I paid for the Ipod, but these ear phones are smaller fitting, yet better sound quality than the Skull ink'd ones I'd got, and they fit comfortably inside my tight fitting Shoei helmet, so my bike riding has become blissful. I can now ride for hours without stopping, because my ears are sore, or the disc needs changing... just fuel stops and toliet breaks ;-)
I've waited years to be able to enjoy this music and biking combination properly.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Hail Sauron (now renamed Hail Caesar Fantasy)

Having become somewhat disillusioned with GW's War of the Rings rules, and having a great appreciation for Warlord Games Black Powder and Hail Caesar rules, I have set up a yahoo group called Hail Sauron as a place for discussion to convert WOTR army lists to Hail Caesar format, and to discuss their required special rules and magic etc etc.

We're also going to try and handle 'generic fantasy' and other realms like Narnia and Warhammer as they crop up or people show an interest.

Feel free to pop along and join up if you are interested.


PS Subsequent to this post, with possible recriminations due to IP infringement, it has been suggested to rename this group - it is now called Hail Caesar Fantasy.

The groups new address is
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