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.

From the Shed: Polish Home Army for Warsaw Uprising 1944 (Battlefield Miniatures).

The Wargamers Forum is running a month long ‘nostalgia’ build – members are invited to paint up something from pre 2000 (and possibly also out of production).

I dug about in the shed and found these 20+ year old Battlefield Miniatures figures, that are OOP*, for the tragic 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Wearing a mixture of looted SS smocks and civilian clothing with armbands in the Polish national colours they’ll make a nice addition to my WW2 skirmish forces (something I’ve not games in an age). I may tempoarily attach some to bigger bases to play Brian Train’s Civil Power as there is a 1944 scenario in that.

Whilst they weren’t on my projects list they were a pleasant project for this week’s hobbying.

Cheers,

Pete.

* some might be more recent ‘Blitz’ figures….

Game Report: Blitzkrieg Story- 1940, Megagame, Sheffield.

Last weekend I was in Sheffield city centre bright and early to play my first face to face megagame since pre- COVID 2019.  The game was one run by Paul of Story Living Games that was meant to run last year but, for obvious reasons, did not. Paul’s idea was to run a game a year based on the events of 80 years previously, see here and here. For the 1940 game what could be more iconic than the invasion of western Europe?

The game started the mid- week prior to the actual face to face game with both sides being able to spend points to attempt to alter the starting conditions of the game. By using the probability matrix that was designed for the game players would assign changes they wanted to make by impact and likelihood of happening. This was a nice way to get rid of the hindsight problem that can affect many historical scenarios when they are replayed with the same exact starting conditions (I’m predicating this on the fact that the losing side historical can be played differently to correct the mistakes made at the time and thus have an advantage). The only downside was extra work for Paul and his brother Phil running the game as they had only a couple of days to make the adjustments to the scenario. The German team, I can only speak for the side I was on here as I’ve not seen any of the British options or decisions, chose to reinforce our core concepts rather than try to do anything too outlandish. So, we improved our staff work, deployment, air to ground co-operation and river crossings, hopefully things that would be all needed to try and get to Paris.

I was on the high command team and was given the job of running the air war sub game. Split into a northern and southern half we had a game played a turn in advance that would determine close air support, interdiction, transport flights and such like in each half of the map. It is a nice little game that rewards careful husbanding of one’s assets rather than trying to get everything in the air at once. I was familiar with the game from doing the same job at the Czechmate ’38 game. The only downside with the game was that in the Northern sector the mix of allied aircraft was completely overmatched in both quantity and quality by the Luftwaffe my opposite number never really got much of a look in. Most days we never had less than total control of the air and always had air superiority. Given the number of aircraft involved, at least on my side, I did wonder if the upper limit of the game engine had been found.

On the map the German attack in the north quickly bogged down into the Dutch and Belgian defensive line, The BEF setting up quite far back in French territory. In the South the advance through the Ardennes was equally slow but due to the difficulties of the terrain rather than anything else. Gradually the superiority of the German war machine made headway. The Belgians being quite tenacious in the defence, in the south a brief sally on to German territory from the Maginot Line was quickly dealt with. Oddly the mass of the French units, mostly infantry to be fair but still a lot of them, did very little and adopted a very passive posture on their own soil. As a player quipped at the time: they seemed happy to defend to the last Belgian.

The Dutch were proving quite stubborn and rather than going down the route of terror bombing their cities to bring about their capitulation, the sorties were far better spent on interdiction missions, a coup de main mission was planned and launched by a fellow high command player. This proved to be a success, mostly, with the Dutch royal family entering German protective custody but with the regrettable death of the Princess. This action brough the Dutch team to the negotiating table and ultimately out of the war. Retreating north of the Waal, this let our forces have a full run south of it. At this time the Belgian were trying to do a complicated withdrawal and replacement of their units with the advance BEF which mostly succeeded bringing them into the fight. Although the French were still mostly passive. In the south the breakthrough we were looking through happened, and the armoured units drove hard through the French aimed straight at Paris, aided by the tactical paradrop of the Fallschrimjager. One wonders what could have been done on that front had they been given more armour….

Sadly, there was one player missing on the day. John P passed away during lockdown after a short illness, his presence at every game was guaranteed with his usual enthusiasm and great sportsmanship. A thoroughly decent bloke he will be greatly missed going forward. A toast was raised with a glass of his Port to his memory at the end of the game and an award for best sportsmanship during the game given out.

It was great to be back doing a face-to-face megagame again. Given the UK’s vaccine rollout and the space available to us in the church hall we used it felt perfectly fine and the right time to be doing a game. It was great to see people that I had not seen before the first lockdown. I hope this is the start of more games being run in person, they best way to experience them.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: Late War Brits.

One of my 20mm projects was to do a platoon of late war Brits. To be a bit different I’ve gone for a platoon’s worth of figures in the Windproof 2 piece camo suit (mostly beccause my gaming friends have standard Brits….)

I’ve just finished up a test section of figures to get my colours down.

The figures are all from AB bought here.

Right now I’ve got those done I can work on getting the full lot done.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: More Finns.

I got the 2nd half of my WinterWar Finnish Platoon painted.

They have a pretty undergunned platoon compared to a lot of comparable WW2 countries organisations: only 2 LMGs and 2 SMGs with the balance being rifles. Still what the Finns lacked in firepower and equipment they made up for with tactical nounce.

The miniatures are all from 1/72 Scale Miniatures and are lovely characterful sculpts.

I also got a copy of the Skirmish Campaigns book on the Winter War.

I’ve gone through the book and worked out what else I need to get hold of to finish the project off… not that much really. I’ll look forward to playing the games using the old Arc of Fire system. Some bits are a bit clunky and their isn’t enough focus on the role of NCOs but it is still one of the better WW2 rulesets out there imo.

Next job for this project is to paint what Russains I do have as opposition and then to start playing some games.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: German bases for Crossfire/ Megablitz.

Crossfire uses a base of troops to represent a squad (usually 3 figures) and Megablitz uses 2 on a 40mm base to represent a battalion. I thought I would base for Megablitz but then convert the Crossfire rules to use 40mm base widths rather than the imperial size suggested. As long as I adjust the artillery template in game I should be fine. The good thing about Crossfire, or at least its USP is it has no ranges and no fixed turns. I did these as a bit of a tester for my idea.

The single figures are platoon commanders for Crossfire.

Megablitz is a great but underrated system, had one game of it. Feels like playing a freeform board game in a way as it is concerned with high level battles. Each player usually commands a division so you can play some of the major actions of WW2 rather than just slices of them.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: Winter War Finns.

The first batch for my Winter War project has been finished (no pun intended).

after the Soviet invasion in 1939 the Finns fought a desperate rearguard action against massive odds and did inflict some quite severe reverses on the Soviets… ultimately the Soviets proved to numerous and too implacable, resulting in a negotiated peace that saw the Finns lose some territory.

On to the figures though. These are a mix of the old Wargames Foundry 20mms and the more recent Euerka miniatures from Australia. The former are a nice but limited in poses. The Euerka stuff covers a lot more ground so to speak, including a nice redition of the Finnish Lahti-Saloranta M/26 light machine gun but I would say, if I was being a bit nit picking that the gun barrels look a little fragile.

Cheers,

Pete.

Game and Painting Projects for the next few months…

During lockdown I’ve had a bit of a think about what I want to work on as I’ve got loads of half- finished projects lying around. So I wrote a list…

… and found it was a bit longer than anticipated. Still it should keep me focussed and get the backlog of unpainted bits cleared quicker than I have been doing. This is what I either have on order or have in the shed in varying levels of pre paint preparation. One of my new drives is to get forces in both 6mm and 20mm so I can do a campaign where games can be run at different levels, I started doing this with printing out the two different sized watch towers. I’ll start with my Cold War forces first before moving back to Vietnam then World War Two and before.

6mm:

Helicopters and Rules: During a bout of insomnia I wrote some helicopter rules for gunships versus tanks in the cold war. I’ve a few helicopters and suitable ground targets to paint up so I can begin testing the rules.

Cold War US: Got enough to do several 5core: Brigade Commander battalions of Cold War Americans with M60 tanks and M113 APCs.

Early Cold War Brits and Soviets: As I have these in 20mm I’ve got a few useful bits spare that I can make a start with in 6mm.

African: This will be based around the later 80s battles with the SADF 61 Mechanized Battalion.

Afghanistan: So much of my Soviet stuff will cross over here that it should be fairly easy to pull some extra Taliban stuff together. Will look at basing for both 5core: Company Commander and Hind and Seek as the 6mm infantry is so cheap. Vehicles will be good for both.

Riverine stuff: Based on a magazine article I read and my interest in Colombian military history from playing Andean Abyss I’m considering getting a few bits for 1990s South American brown Water Navy games.

20mm:

Winter Brits: I’ve wanted some Brits for ages and as several of my gaming friends already have Summer infantry, I went for a platoon’s worth in the winter issue windproofs for the very end of the war. I may even do some in all white too. Some Brit vehicles in winter whitewash could look good too. I’ll also do some Bren Carriers for them as they always strike me as a quintessential British WW2 vehicle.

Winter War Finns and Soviets: I’ve had some bits of winter Finns lying about the shed for ages, but I finally ordered enough for a game and some Soviets to oppose them. There is a Skirmish Campaigns scenario book available, so I’ll concentrate on building forces to play through those games.

Crossfire/ Megablitz based WW2: Having played a bit of Crossfire at the historicals club I decided that it was time I got my own suitable based forces for the game. To keep things flexible, I’ll arrange things so that I’ll be able to use them in other games such as Megablitz. I dug out some old plastic figures and made up a Soviet and Hungarian force- they just need painting now.

Boer War: A random buy of a box of rather nice plastic figures started this project. I think I’ve got some Boers in the shed too that I can add in.

Cold War US: I’ve already got the vehicles done so I’ve got a platoon of infantry based and undercoated to go with by two scale Cold War project.

IDF vehicles: I’ve got the infantry done and I’ve found some nice 3d files so this will be a job for the printer. Be a big cost saving printing these out given the price of Israeli Army vehicles these days.

28mm:

Necromunda: Apart from the lovely new Van Saar models that have been released that I’ll be getting for my main gang I’ll just concentrate on getting the Goliath, Delaque and extras I’ve had in the shed for ages painted.

40k: Finish Death Guard Army, continue Chaos Space Marines (I have some Alpha Legion on the painting tray at the moment), Start Ad Mech force I need some opposition, right? Will start with a Kill Team sized force then expand out from there.

Cyberpunk: As a child of the later 80s/ early 90s Cyberpunk was my favourite science fiction sub- genre and now the new TTRPG is out I’ll revisit this. Also, there are some nice new skirmish games out there for table- top battles. Any scenery needed will be 3d- printed, I think.

Zone Alpha: I’ve been really quite taken with this little ruleset. It is the sort of narrative driven skirmish wargaming that I enjoy so much as well as having a great aesthetic too. I’ve got a few bits for this in both 28mm as well as lots suitable in 20mm. The Copplestone Future War partisans are next on the painting table so watch out for those soon.

My small-scale air war and naval haven’t made this list as they are all pretty much done. So really this represents less what I’ll be playing and more what I’ll be painting. Given that games are relatively few and far between painting is what I tend to do most of at the moment. As much as I’ll try to keep to this list there will doubtless be something shiny to distract me- which these days is mostly finding an interesting file to print….

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: German Tobruk Bunker

Using a free sample stl file from Digital Taxidermy I’ve knocked out this little bunker.

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Based on a spare CD I’ve built up the sides with scraps of foam and sculptamold. Then followed with my usual basing techniques, textured, paint, static grass then finally tufts. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and will pick up more of the files in due course.

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Although none of my Grandparent’s generation are alive at the moment and none of them were Normandy veterans (variously Far East, India, North Africa then Italy and Arnhem) I can’t help but think of them all today, the 76th anniversary of D Day, they were the greatest generation. My affinity with the campaign is perhaps strengthened by the road trip I took there with my father a few years back.

Cheers,

 

Pete.