Monday, July 31, 2017

Polybian Romans part 3

The latest stage of my concentrated effort to paint up a whole box of Victrix Republican Romans has resulted in these, nearly complete, Triarii.

There are shields to come.  I'm planning on yellow at present.

These eight figures will form the single triarii element in my first Roman legion (in this scale).  Im planning on standardising on 8cm x 6cm bases for Small units in To The Strongest!  They get me to half way through the box of sixty.  Not bad for a month's painting.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sikorski S55

I've finally painted the helicopter that came with my Revell USS Burton Island kit.

The model comes with open spaces where the windows should be so I had to sculpt some in with Green Stuff.

The colour scheme is a 1960s US Navy one.  Stands out nicely doesn't it?

I did consider painting it up as an RAF Wessex but I think it improves the look of the Burton Island so significantly that it's best used in this role.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Polybian Romans part 2

A further progress shot on those Victrix Romans...

As usual with my camera's harsh flash, they don't look as good as they do in real life.

A few things still need completing. I've done the signifier's headdress as if it were a wolf but then realised it's supposed to be a lion.  Secondly I'm not happy with the feather plumes on the helmets.  I think I'll redo them in black and purple.  And finally, I obviously need to complete the shields.

Monday, July 17, 2017

On the Workbench: Polybian Romans

I've decided to have a go at running a game of 28mm To The Strongest at Christmas.  I'm planning Carthaginians vs Romans.

My Roman legion is going to be made out of Victrix plastics.  I'd like to get some Agema plastics and Aventine metals too but the Victrix guys are quite big so I won't be mixing them in the same units.

So far I have these guys at various stages of incompletion...

I started off planning on using eight guys in mail with pila as Hastati but as time's gone on I've given it further consideration.

The Victrix box contains 60 figures of which 18 are unarmoured velites.  I only need twelve for my planned three four-figure units so I'm going to use some of the velites, with legionary shields, helmets and pila, as poorer hastati.  I think I'll also give the hastati a larger proportion of men wielding gladii.  My thinking is the the hastati are the first into action so should have thrown their pila earlier than the principes.  

Principes will be distinguished by all having pila (apart from officer and standard bearer) and full armour whilst the single unit of triari will get long spears and the fancier helmets.  I also want to see if I can get a general element out of this box to represent the legate in charge of the legion.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Joy of Six 2017

I had a most enjoyable day today.  I nearly said, "A most enjoyable day's gaming" but to be honest, we spent so much time chatting to each other and to visitors that I don't think the Cold War Commanders got through more than about five game turns all day!

The scenario was entitled LANDJUT 1989 and was a based on the fighting so far in our campaign covering a Warsaw Pact invasion of Denmark.

Soviet and Polish forces were attempting to take the Kiel Canal.  

Phil Gray and I commanded a US airborne brigade and managed to spend the whole game arriving by helicopter and then moving to occupy the large forest in the photo above.

As always the terrain, mostly provided by the Grimsby club and by Richard Phillips, looked great!

We already have a plan for next year's game, of which more anon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

(Very) Ancient Gauls

At last, after many weeks of painting checks and plaid, the 25mm Gauls are finished!

They are a mixture of 1980s figures; Lamming I bought at the time, and Lamming and Hinchliffes I've bought in recent years from eBay.

I didn't want the same poses duplicated over and over so I've done some head and arm transplants and used shields from a variety of sources.

I've now got the hang of painting "arm's length style" for 25mm and 28mm figures.  That's to say they should look OK from two feet away.  If you want to examine them through a hand lens and make disappointed noises you can sod right off.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Last Week's Purchases

Gauntlet isn't much of a shopping trip; it's more of a gaming event but I did manage to come home from the weekend with some new toys.  The bring and buy got me these two bags:

On the right is a collection of bits of white metal junk that was free to a good home.  I've already identified a severed head that will probably find a use as a battle trophy for my Gauls.

The other bag was a fiver from Paul at the Deeside club and contained these Arthurian /Late Roman types.  Foundry I think and Ideal for my Bacaudae project.

Finally, these chaps came courtesy of a diversion to the War Game Store in Brimstage on the way home. My diversion into the second century BCE in 28mm scale continues.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Operation Archery

On Saturday morning I rose early and headed across the Pennines to North Wales and the Deeside Defenders' Gauntlet show.  A group of mostly SOTCW members were putting on a recreation of the Christmas 1941 commando raid on the Norwegian island of Vaagso using Chain of Command rules.

Will McNally had done a brilliant job on the terrain; an expansion on the work he'd done for last year's Korsun Pocket game.

We had two tables, one representing the island of Maaloy (the -oy bit means island so I guess "Island of Maaloy" is a bit like saying "island of Isle of Man") with its German gun battery:

... and the other representing the main island and Maaloy town (erroneously referred to as Vaagso town in contemporary British accounts).

On the Saturday I played the commando troop landing on Maaloy to destroy the gun battery.  Gary played the opposing Germans.

We couldn't find the organisation of a 1941 Commando Troop so we used standard British infantry platoons instead.  To help make them superior to the Germans we gave the British some smoke and a pregame bombardment, gave them a completed Chain of Command die to start with, and rated them Aggressive in melee.  Apparently Will and Andy on the other table played them as Veteran rather than Aggressive and I think this was more significant.

We used landing craft as the British jump off points and houses and barrack blocks as the German. The coastal guns were initially unmanned because of the bombardment.  The game developed into a race to reach them first.

I managed to reach two of the gun positions and destroyed the arriving German squad and crews in melee. Unfortunately I lost too many troops doing this and soon had nothing left to hold off German counter attacks. Clearly we'd not balanced the scenario correctly.

Having reached a bloody conclusion before lunch we decided to reset and have another go on Saturday afternoon.  We left the remaining Germans in position but reset their Force Morale and removed their accumulated Chain of Command Dice.  I played a second wave of commandos with the same (lack of) supporting elements as before.

I launched two sections on a right hook manoeuvre away from the line of guns before trying to throw my third section into a piercing attack on my left. Unfortunately, while we were making about the game number of rolls for loss of Force Morale, I was rolling badly and although Gary's rolls were only average, it was enough to see me defeated for a second time.

On Sunday we decided the Commandos needed more support (Andy's lads had failed to make much progress against Will's Germans in the town).  We agreed formally to up the Commandos to Veteran and gave them much higher levels of support.

At this point I was hoist by my own petard. Having done the maths to estimate what I thought the command support "should be" if this were a standard Chain of Command game, I now found myself playing the Germans!

This time we stuck to the big table...

The fighting was fierce and this time the Commandos successfully fought their way into the town.  My defenders held the Ulvesund Hotel almost to the last man whilst Gary's reinforcements just failed to get through to us due to the crippling effect of a Command mortar barrage.

My only problem with the game was that for the last hour or so I had no opportunity to manoeuvre, merely rolling a few dice to fire and making decisions about how to divide command initiative between rallying off shock and directing fire.

On thing I did learn was that it's more efficient (in CoC rules terms) to have a section split over two floors so both teams can fire out of the same face of the building rather than on the same floor but firing at different targets.

It was a very enjoyable weekend despite my getting thumped three times.  I got rid of some stuff on the bring and buy (I'd priced it to go) and bought a few new toys, of which more anon.