Monday 24 December 2012

Eagle Games: Napoleon in Europe

Last Monday night I went around to play a very relaxed social game with an old friend. We normally play various games in the Axis and Allies series, but the last couple of times we have played games from the Eagle Games 'big box of stuff' series. It's a fairly relaxed affair that follows the same general format - The game gets brought out and set on the lounge floor, while the first movie is watched, and the pressing issues of the day are discussed. Then once the second movie is started, the box is opened, and the game is set up. Once the second movie is over, the game is started. While this may seem to take a fair amount of time, it is nothing compared to the time once spent on playing Axis and Allies 2nd edition through to the bitter end.

It's a very big board - All figures are 1/72 scale.
 As there was only the two of us playing we took turns in choosing nations out of the seven powers - I was the Russo-Franco-Ottoman Alliance, while my friend was the Anglo-Austrian Spanish Alliance. Prussia was neutral in this contest of titans. We played the basic game which plays quickly. The game has three versions (and for more info click here)

France loses territory to  Anglo-Spanish Forces!
 While the evening was fun - the dice were not in favour of the Russo-Franco-Ottoman Alliance. Indeed, after losing Paris and Moscow, I conceded the game. I am currently planning to run another game with more players using the more advanced rules.

Double sixes abounded - but only when rolled by the Anglo Austrian Spanish  Alliance!
 I will also add in some more dice to the game as it only has four in the box - nowhere near enough for the masses of dice that are required for a battle in this game!

The battle board - France's last stand!
I have more stuff to post after Christmas, but it can wait! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Friday 14 December 2012

Haradi Agitprop

"From the late 1950s, right through to the last days of the empire, the Imperial Ministry of Information produced material, such as short films, designed to portray the Imperial government in the best light to both foreign and domestic audiences. Not all of this material was subtle, and indeed some of it belonged firmly in the realms of fiction." - P.K. Brewer, A Short History of Harad, London, 2007.

I have been playing around with making movies again. This time I used pictures taken during a game with Frank to create a nice piece of propaganda. Friday is my last day of work for 2012, the next week will be taken up with frantically completing job applications, but after that I should have a few days before Christmas to spend on gaming projects! After all, it's that, or deal to the jungle that is the lawn!

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Twilight 2000 Figures

I've been meaning to post these for a couple of weeks now - recently Steve gave me some Twilight 2000 figures, so I thought I would post a couple of pictures of them before they hit the Simple Green vats outside!

In the eighties it was mandatory to have the pig gunner bare chested.
 These figures are all on the small side of the 20mm range making them closer to 1/76 scale rather than 1/72 scale. The Twilight 2000 range of figures were made by Grenadier, and I can remember seeing some for sale in Christchurch in the early 1990s. I kick myself for not getting them at the time.

Multipart 20mm metal figures - clever but fiddly- note that for five  figures I have only four weapons. Something will have to be produced from the depths of my bits box.......

The Twilight 2000 range featured neat figures like Polish AK-47 armed cavalry, and cool stuff like US and Soviet support weapons. I believe these figures to be a mix of the US Infantry pack and the US Assault pack (click here for more info on the range)

Close up on the weapons - a broader mix than you would expect from 1980s US Troops.
I am quite looking forward to painting these figures up and putting them on a table sometime in the near future!

Tuesday 4 December 2012

X-Wing, or yet another defeat....

The rules: Simple and Elegant.

After Steve and I had played our game of Harpoon, we then moved on to the next event of the day - X-Wing - a rather nice game of Space Fighter combat set in the Star Wars universe and using mechanics very similar to the popular Wings of Glory system.

Five Tie Fighters, the ultimate min/max combo in a 60pt X-Wing game?

We each had 60 points to spend on our forces. Steve played the Galactic Empire, and took five Tie Fighters with pilots fresh out of the Academy. The rebels lack a cheap fighter option, so I gambled that quality, rather than quantity, would win the day. As such I took two fully optioned Y-Wings, and hoped for the best.

Behold my fully tooled up pair  of Y-Wings!

Card and Token bling. Blue tokens are strength points for the Y-Wing shields.

Taking the fully optioned Y-Wings meant that I had lots of cards to add to my basic stat card for each fighter.

Movement is simple, just use the stick that matches the maneuver  you chose.

Photon Torpedoes away!

And another 5 points down the drain!

Photon torpedoes are a quite an expensive item of equipment, which frankly didn't seem to be worth their points cost.
First blood! A Tie Fighter at 12pts is damaged by a 5pt Photon Torpedo.
 After the first few turns it became rapidly clear that quantity had a quality all of its own, and that the Tie Fighter was quite the dog fighter, and that five of them made for quite the challenge.

Note that only one Y-Wing still has any shields...

Tie Fighters closing for the kill.

And again on the other flank.

One Tie Fighter down, but the Y-Wings are taking heavy damage...

And then the first Y-Wing is lost - and soon the other will join it...
Overall X-Wing was a very enjoyable game, but playing my first game against a proven min/maxed points combo was a brutal learning curve. It is a game I would play again, but not using the points system (although I have been told that at 100pts a side the Rebels are able to better match the numbers that the Empire fields).

Harpoon and other things

I have been meaning to post a number of things here, but I have had a number of real life issues interrupt my gaming. Still, part of the reason why I make models and play games (and occasionally blog about said activities) is to provide myself with a pleasant distraction from tedious everyday matters. I also note that Gowan of Gowan's 1/72 scale models, has given me a blog award that is going the rounds currently. It was very kind of Gowan to do so, and I encourage those who are not familiar with his blogs to check them out, Gowan does very interesting work.

Harpoon is one of those games that I have always wanted to play, but never quite found the time to do so. So when my friend Steve suggested that we give it a go, I leapt at the opportunity. We used Harpoon 3.2, which seems to be the last edition produced by GDW.

GDW: maker of great games.

While Harpoon appears at first look to be an overly complex game, it is actually very similar to CD, in that it boils down to having a great number of sub systems within the rules to handle various possible interactions within the game. The rules suggest that you play the first scenario as an introduction to the game, so Steve and I did exactly that.

Faded black cloth - usable for sea and space games!
 The first scenario is set in the Gulf of Sidra, and pits a US Spruance class destroyer DD- 970 USS Caron, against two Libyan Osa II class PTMs - the Al O'Wakh, and the Al Katum. Play balance in this otherwise unbalanced scenario is given by the quite strict US rules of engagement, the US player can only fire once fired upon, otherwise the scenario is very one sided.

USS Caron - Model is from a set of plastic model ships purchased from the Warehouse. Photo effects have been added using GIMP.
The game began at 0400Hrs Bravo. The first turn was an intermediate one, in which both sides managed to get within detection range and even managed to detect each other, and each other's radar. This resulted in the play dropping into tactical turns of 30 seconds each, and movement becoming frustrating slow. On the second turn the Al Katum and the Al O'Wakh changed course in order to begin their missle run. This prompted the USS Caron to issue a warning - "Turn Away, Turn Away, or you will be fired upon!" on all frequencies. Naturally this warning was ignored.

The Al Katum, and the Al O'Wakh. Ship counters from the Harpoon box set. Photo effects  created in Gimp.
The third turn saw the Libyans not just keep to their heading, but increase speed. At this point Steve threw his rules of engagement out the window and fired two Harpoon SSMs. He also continued broadcasting the warning. The Libyans detected the Harpoons, and decided to press the attack anyway as they were as good as dead anyway.

USS Caron launches the first pair of Harpoons.
 The game is now one of seeing if the Libyans can get in range to fire their SSMs before the Harpoons strike, and failing that can they survive the incoming Harpoons? Sadly, a few rapid calculations show that the Harpoons will arrive well before the USS Caron is range of the Libyan SSMs, and that the odds of the Libyans shooting down the incoming Harpoons is extremely minimal, as is the chance of the Harpoons missing - but still the chance exists!

Six Harpoons head toward the Al Katum and Al O'Wakh.
 Steve decides to deal to this by launching more Harpoons - The USS Caron will launch eight Harpoons at the Libyans by the end of the game - enough to sink each one four times over! It should be noted that throughout the engagement the USS Caron is repeating its warning message. This seems odd to the Libyans as they had already detected incoming waves of Harpoon SSMs.

The first four Harpoons find their mark. 
The remaining turns of the game are spend plotting the incoming missiles, moving the Libyans as they continue to head desperately towards the USS Caron, and hoping for freakishly good dice with the Osa's autocannon against the incoming Harpoons. Alas, my hopes were dashed when on turn 11 the Al O'Warkh was hit by two Harpoons, and then on turn 12 the Al Katum met the same fate. In game time this meant that the actual engagement from first detection to final sinking was only six minutes!

After the game I teased Steve about what his defense would be at his court martial for sinking two radar contacts without any visual conformation of identity, nor proof of hostile intent. Still, I enjoyed the game, and I will just have to make sure that I play scenarios with balanced forces when I play my more trigger happy friends.

Saturday 3 November 2012

New Gāmūs APCs for Imperial Army WIP

A couple of months back I obtained a few more Airfix Attack force vehicles from Glenn. Amongst them were two of the Troop Carriers that are modeled after British FV430 series of APCs, but are larger than 1/76 or 1/72 scale. Most likely they were made to a box scale in order to make them roughly the same size as the tanks releases by Airfix as part of the same series.

Oversized guns removed and plastic card hatches glued on.
 I have already added one of these vehicles into my Haradi forces as a mortar carrier, (details here), and courtesy of Don M of Brazos Evil Empire I obtained the name for this class of APC - the Gāmūs - which is Haradi for Buffalo. Now that I have three of these APCs I am tempted to use them as command or support vehicles for the 155mm SPG units.

Plastic card added to create bottom front plate.

A better view of the hatches.

Grey undercoat primer added.

A coat of Vallejo Iraqi Sand is then brushed on.
I also finally finished work on another vehicle for my Haradi forces, a 37mm autocannon mounted on a light truck. The truck is a c heap plastic toy that used to be included in sets of Army Men (an earlier post about these trucks is here), while the autocannon is made up of parts from a Hasegawa German 37mm AA gun, an Airfix 75mm Gun from their armoured car kit, and the gunner is from the Airfix Opel Blitz.

Basically it's another technical.
A very simple and basic addition to my collection of technicals  this AA truck is lacking in a number of details, but looks the part. I hope to add some more technicals and armoured cars to my Haradi forces in the next couple of weeks
A closer view of the gun.
I might even play a game and post it on the blog!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

An Experiment.

I have been playing around making  short clips using photos of various wargames. Here is one I made earlier tonight. It will be interesting to see if it uploads successfully....

The music used is called "Chase Pulse Faster" and is Public Domain (Available from here) I find it to be quite pleasant, but tastes in music can vary widely. Making the movie was simple enough - Windows Live Movie Maker seems very user friendly. Potential wargaming use for short clips produced this way seems to be limited to either tutorials or propaganda reels - which does seem to promise a certain amount of fun. 

More trucks for Harad.

A collection of playworn diecast toys.

Recently I acquired a number of diecast vehicles that had seen much better days. The collection did include a   Matchbox Battle Kings Tank Transporter, which was the main reason for me acquiring the collection. I rather like the Battle Kings Tank Transporter, and I have already repainted one for service in Harad (details here), so I thought I would do the same with this one.

This is one of the later production battle kings as it is a more military green, and the  plastic parts are a more muted  colours such as black and grey.

The rerar wheels of the tractor unit are buckled and one of the exhausts has snapped off. Fortunately I still have the piece. 

The cab (and upper trailer deck) have been repainted a darker green. Nothing Simple Green can't solve.

This truck as been used by Matchbox as part of a freight set (with forklift) and as  an armoured car carrier.

Size comparison shot.
 The normal process of drilling out the rivets to seperate out the vehicle parts and give them a good clean, and soak in simple green (if required) was followed. but I didn't take any photos! I used pliers to straighten out the wire on the tractor rear wheels to unbuckle it, which was quite a simple operation.

The parts were sprayed primer grey, then painted over with Iraqi sand, and the reassembled and given a brown wash.

Both Tank Transporters side by side.

So I now have a heavy truck and another tank transporter to use in CD games set in Harad. I plan to recycle a few more vehicles from this diecast collection,then I will sell or trade the rest.

Lucky Products AWI Mohawks

I have painted and washed the first three V&B Mohawk skirmisher stands. I still have to finish the basing, but I am quite happy with the way the first nine figures have painted up. I have only done a very basic paint job on these figures as I wanted to see what a group of them would look like painted (as opposed to the horrible red and blue plastic they were cast in - pictures here)

In V&B terms each of these stands represents a sizable force of Indian Warriors. 
Unfortunately, in my haste to paint these fellow up I didn't remove all the flash. Some of the flash was useful in helping to suggest the scalp lock at the top of each figures head. Evidently int was considered good form to maintain a hairstyle that would produce a good trophy to whomever finally ended a warrior's life.

I am considering painting on extra detail for the muskets.

I only added  basic warpaint to the faces of two figures. 
 I also quickly finished up the first of my three 'contoured' V&B stands. I decided to see how the autumn leaves flock would look on this base with the fallen logs, and I am not unhappy with the result. The paint jobs on the militia figures were quite rushed as I really wanted to quickly finish the stand off.  The figures on this stand are all from the Imex/Revell AWI Americans set.

Front view. in V&B AWI militia stands are considered permanently disordered..

Side view. I really like the pose of the red coated figure.

And a rear view.  

And together with their Mohawk friends.
I also started work on painting the first of the Lucky Products British artillery. The MDF base is a standard V&B artillery base (3" x 1.5") so as you can tell, the gun is quite large, so only having two figures on the base works well. At the moment all I have done is undercoat in black and block in some basic colours. Doing this lets me see how much detail is actually on the figure, and how much needs to be painted on.

Very much a WIP. 
Early on I was worried that the gunners and drummers from the Lucky Products set were wearing the wrong headgear - they are wearing tricorns, rather than their correct headgear - but it appears that tricorns were often worn in the field as they were more practical on campaign.

 The current plan is to build up both the British and American forces needed for the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, with additional units - such as Mohawks - for use in other campaigns.