Game Report: Cold War action in 6mm.

One of the (many) facebook groups I’m on posted a link to a you tube video… it was an old British Army of the Rhine instructional video of how to defend against a Soviet attack in the early 1980s. I’m a sucker for that doctrine/ training type of thing so gave it a watch. It did give me an idea for a 5core: Brigade Commander scenario and, mindful of the current climate, decided to run it for Evan and Bill.

Bailey has inspected the terrain set up and approves.

The video shows the escalating attacks of a Russian division as it contacts a BAOR defensive line. The video ends with the Soviets forming up for a bigger attack in regimental strength. For the scenario I swapped Brits for West Germans (all provided by Evan) and let the Soviets (from the collection of Bill) deploy after the West Germans had set up. Bill picked two points of Evan defensive line and deployed a company, followed by a battalion 6″ back and the rest of the regiment another 6″ behind that at each point selected. If you watch the video you’ll see where I was coming from with this deployment. The objective for the game was the crossroads.

The crossroads were the key terrain of the game.
The Soviets deploy in depth from their chosen routes of attack.
Leopard 1s further back in reserve.
The Soviets push forwards

As usual we used the Brigade Commander rules from Nordic Weasel. We three are big fans of the system and have built up considerable forces between us. We use a 50mm square base to represent a company and a smaller base for a platoon sized attached asset.

The dug in positions protected the vulnerable Leopard 1s from the worst of the fire, but they were slowly forced back.

With anti air support the BMPs push towards the crossroads.
The West German defenders in the BUA.
Airstrike: unfortunately the SU24 was driven of by the Gepard SPAA.
In return the West Germans send in their Alpha jet with impressive results.
The lone mechanised infantry company makes an attack against the German held BUA.

The game swung backwards and forwards with the crossroads changing hands a few times. In the end, although casualties were very light on both sides, Bill had pushed Evan back from the area around the crossroads and had disrupted Evan’s armour so I decided it was a winning draw to Bill’s Soviets.

I may do a urban skirmish game based on the final, defeated assault of Bill’s mechanised infantry company. Something for later on….

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: Modern and near Future Russians.

As I’m sure that you have noticed I’ve been really getting into the Zona Alfa game recently and I had the idea of getting some of the Empress Miniatures modern Russians with gas mask heads to add to me collection. However, I wanted to practice the camo they’d be in first so I dug out these modern Russians from Elhiem to try.

The new digital flora pattern (as seen onthe little green men of Crimean infamy) took a lot of layers to get that mottled effect but was fairly quick to do in the end. Whilst I was at it I decided to paint up the Near Future Russians I had laying around in the same scheme. These are the companion/ opposition figures to the near future US figures I painted some time back.

I also , as they were lurking in the same box, got these modern Russian special forces figures finished off. Clad in a copy of multicam they are based on the operatives that have been present in Syria and again finish off stuff I have painted earlier. They add a selection of LMGs, sniper rifles and RPGs.

Elhiem has expanded the ranges of both the near future Russian anmd US forces- extra support weapons, snipers and leadera to expand upon the original assault rifles and LMGs I’ll be interested to get them as these new figures are digital sculpted, printed in resin then cast in metal as opposed to the original figures being sculpted in the traditional manner in putty. Comparing the two styles will be a pointer to the future of the industry as 3d design processes will become more and more common.

I have thought about getting a full platoon of the modern Russians in the digital flora camo but the current tension in the Ukraine makes this less appealing somehow (here is hoping it doesn’t develop into a major shooting match). I’ll have to think on….

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: Even more Stalkers for Zona Alfa.

I wanted to paint up some Stalkers in a specific camo pattern, namely the Russian ‘Partizan’ scheme… that was all the excuse I needed to get a set from Pig Iron Productions that I had been coverting.

Here they are again in threes. I went for a sniper rifle a light machine gun and three AK style assault rifle, the dog is so I can try out some of the optional rules I got from facebook.

I also had a few more Cold War figures from Under Fire Miniatures that I converted- again using Pig Iron parts.

You may have noticed that I didn’t take these pictures outside on my backdoor step… I got a light box for xmas and this has made taking the photos much easier, especially in these wetter and darker months. I did print out a stone texture picture from google to use as a backdrop which I think works quite well.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: Eureka NBC Soviets.

Following on from my recent Zona Alfa interest I’ve finished up a small batch of the Eureka Miniatures NBC Soviets. They are great figures, only slightly smaller than the Under Fire ones I’ve been using, they are a good fit with the Copplestone ones though.

I went for the tank crew and a few individual soldiers as a sample of the range.
The tank crew in NBC masks look great- rather heavily armed too really.
Three riflemen in the pea green rubber oversuit.

I’ll be getting enough later on for at least a full squad and possibly the AAHMG too as it looks a good set. Eureka Miniatures can be bought in the UK from here.

Cheers,

Pete.

Zona Alfa: From the Shed to the table.

I tend to work better to a deadline so was more than happy to run a game of Zona Alfa for friends with a week’s notice, even though I still had nearly 30 models to paint in that time. Firstly I needed to finish off the various zone hostiles that I had collected, these are the various monster/ fauna that inhabit the zone and make life difficult for the players. I had a mix of zombies from Mantic, Copplestone and Pig Iron. All were painted in a similar muted palette and complement each other. The Mantic and Copplestone ones go well together as they look like the reanimated corpses of previous expiditions to the zone….

The horde of zombies.
Pig Iron Production zombies
Mantic zombies
Copplestone zombie troopers.

I also had a small selection of Reaper Bones models to represent the mutants, both large and standard size, that can also appear in the game. Nicola very kindly painted these three for me.

Reaper Bones used as mutants.

I also wanted to round out my collection of military types witha few more figures. I got some of the Under Fire Miniatures cold war camo suited Soviets and added Pig Iron Productions gas mask heads and backpacks to give them more of a STALKER vibe. Whilst the hardness of the metal that both companies used made drilling them tough on the fingers I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

The converted Under Fire miniatures Soviets.

For the game at the club I wrote a brief intro to the game (which I can post if people want) and made up four forces for the players to use: two military, one scientist and one bandit. After a quick run through of the rules they teams set off to revover the protyped weapon left cached by a previous expedition into the zone. I purposely ignored the Allies and Enemies rules for this game, mainly as it was a one off zero sum mission it would added more combat to get the players better used to the rules.

My Zona Alfa collection in it storage box.

Set in a level one zone I placed the two hot spots so that the players would be able to interact with at least one lot of zone hostiles each.

The game table, the objective was in the cached ammo crate, the skulls are hotspots. Most of the terrain was from my 3D printer.

In the end the Scientist and the Military player ended up trading shots and finding out how bloody the combat syestem can be whilst the Bandits crept forward clearining a hotspot and then cunningly used electric juice to speed forward to snatch the mission objective, after the Military team had dispatched the rats it had spawned the previous turn. The scientist cleared the hotspot closesst to them, again hiding a rat swarm before finding an anomily there and getting a rare artifact. At the point the Bandits were attracting a lot of attention so began to take a lot of fire as the other two teams attempted to snatch the weapon for themselves… at the expense of most of their team they did manage to get it off the table. However, I did point out to the players that in a campaign game they’d need to watch their casualties more and that finding a rare artifact could mean that whilst you don’t win the game the money it earns your team may be more beneficial in the long run.

The Bandits emerge from the edge of the woods.

The Military team pinned down behind the ruins.

The game went down really well and there are a couple more players who wish to try it so hopefully there will be enough interest to get a campaign going. I’m sure I did some of the rules wrong but it has been a long time since I ran the game, pre COVID19 infact. As always I enjoy running the game and seeing how the players interact as much as I do playing.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: 3d printed houses

Some of the last things I managed to get printed before my 3d printer glitched* were these houses from 18Charlie of Wargaming3D. I liked the modular approach he has taken to his designs so bought a log cabin, a tin roof and the fortified brick building.

From the set of files I’ve got three nice buildings. They did take a while to print but the cost of them is really quite low.I’m particularly keen on the fortified and sandbagged one. The good thing about this sort of thing is that the files were designed for 15mm, I up scaled them again to 20mm and may well print them out a bit bigger still for my 28mm Zona Alfa games. Either way they make a nice bit of terrain for any games set in Eastern Europe.

Cheers,

Pete.

*I’ve got the part to repair it I’ve just not had the time to do it yet.

A topical scenario from Jim Webster.

Over on Facebook Jim Webster was asking for pictures of ‘technicals’ for inspiration for a scenario. I dug through my harddrive and found some for him. He produced this game: https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/2021/08/30/afghan-september/ Go have a look- it ties into the re-release of his skirmish game Hell and Uncivil Disorder that looks at the low intensity end of 20th/ 21st Century combat with some interesting mechanics. It is available from Wargames Vault and I recommend it too.

If it is not happening currently it will be happening very soon imo.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: A Couple of quick tank barriers.

I’ve just finished this book on the war in the Ukraine. An interesting little read for the ‘other side’ as it were.

These tank traps come from that conflict and were printed by me. The snow is a mixture of white tectured paint and 1mm white static grass. The figure amongst them is a 20mm US infantryman from Elhiem. Some tufts were added to which the static grass was glued.

Cheers,

Pete

EDITED TO ADD LINK TO THE ACTUAL BOOK

From the Shed: Zuk vans and scatter terrain.

I previously posted a couple of examples of the Zuk van that I printed out in 20mm, this time I simply rescalled the 3D model file and reprinted them to match my 28mm models. As you have probably guessed these are heading into my Zone Alpha terrain collection.

I did one van a military green colour whilst the other is more beat up with different coloured doors and more rust.

The bit of scatter terrain is also 3D printed and should make a nice bit of setting for a bandit camp.

Cheers,

Pete.

VCOW- Virtual Conference of Wargamers.

This last weekend I attended the Virtual Conference of Wargamers, organised by Wargames Developments. The usual format is a 3 day/ 2 night residential that has obviously been cancelled due to COVID-19. Although I’ve been a member of WD variously over the years I’ve never, for logistical and financial reasons mainly, managed to attend their yearly get together. But this years I could attend some sessions remotely.

 

I couldn’t make any of the Friday sessions so sadly missed the plenary lecture by Peter Perla but Saturday morning saw me participate in a virtual TEWT, Tactical Exercise Without Troops, based on the English Civil War Battle of Crepedy, run by John Curry from the UIniversity of Bath. It was very interesting to see the ground from eye level to plan a battle rather than the usual bird’s eye view of the table top. Gave me lots to think about for my own games.

I also listened to a couple of lectures, one deliverd by Professor Gary Sheffield from my old alma mater University of Wolverhampton, on the links between history and wargaming in his own career. This was followed by Graham Longley-Brown on his work on Defence and Recreational Gaming, including an overview of his work as a professional wargamer. Both were very interest and thought provoking, with my academic hat on however, I would have quibbled a couple of the points….

In the evening I got the chance to take part in a stripped down professional game that has been run for various US govt. agencies exploring US/Japan/China  naval confrontation in the imminent future. A fascinating glimpse of how things are done, I like think of myself as fairly up to date on military tech matters but I realise I do have a bit of a hole when it comes to naval systems.

On Sunday morning John Curry presented again, this time it was looking at his experimental archaelogy in storming a castle. This research forms part of his upcoming book on medieval history and wargaming. Very interesting and the experiments, sadly undocumented, sounded great fun, seemingly done some years ago before health ands safety got too onerous.

Sunday afternoon continued with accounts of lockdown gaming activities before being finished off with WD’s AGM.

 

All in all it was great fun and makes me really keen to attend the actual event next year when it resumes.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.