11 October 2018

Cheap Terrain Pickups

I found a couple of goodies in the WalMart Christmas section recently that you may also be able to pick up given the time of the year.

The first was this snazzy gazebo that's perfectly sized for 28 - 35mm gaming.

I took mine off the base and am going to repaint it so it'll be a bit less seasonal, but it was a great pickup for $7.00.

The other was this snowman-themed water tower, just perfect for 15mm.

It came off the base really easily and the ladder also detached without effort. I Dremeled Frosty's face down (it's resin) and repainted it to make it fit in a bit better with my Stardust Ground stuff.

With some 15mm army dudes
Easy work and another great, inexpensive pickup to add a bit of character to the tabletop.

07 October 2018

This Week's Painting

Painted up another Malifaux crew this week.Yeah, yeah, I know I still haven't played the game but the minis are gorgeous and I really just like painting them. One of these days I'll try it as a game. This is the Guild "The Torch and The Blade" box.

As ever with their minis - beautiful and interesting multi-part plastic models that go together very easily.

30 September 2018

Marines Marines Marines: Modern Spearhead AAR

Ziggy and I put on a game of Modern Spearhead after a long hiatus Saturday evening. Because my Naval Assault regiment hadn't gotten any playtime yet, it was a perfect excuse for a USMC versus Soviet Naval Infantry bash. We we back at the southern shore of the Baltic in the mid-1980s.

The battlefield. Loads of woods, two towns. The stars indicate objective locations. Ruskies enter from the left, Yanks from the right.
Turn 1. Two battalions roll up the roads. The mechanized infantry in BTR50s on the southern road (to the left) and a T-72 battalion with a couple of attached BMP-2 platoons on the right.

I was expecting the fighting around the large central town to be intense and sent the "heavier" battalion that direction. The Marines on the left were one side of a developing sandwich on that side of the battlefield.

Turn 2. The tank battalion reaches the town and begins setting up shop having gotten to the end of their arrow. A recon and AA platoon get lodged in at the turnip farm. On the other side, the infantry has nearly made it to the intersection - the end of their arrow.

Here comes trouble.  M60s with some Amtracks in support. They were exactly on the wrong side - I needed these guys to be on the coastal road!
Turn three. Some badly needed help shows up in the form of two Mi-24s! Say hello to my little friends, nasty Yankee tankers! I was surprised by the arrival of ground-pounders marching in on my left through the woods. My mechanized battalion was in deep.

M60s, with nothing better to do smash the front end of my formation. The Hinds kills one and Suppress another. In retrospect, we goofed this up - the helos should have fired before the tanks, reducing my casualties by two.
The Marines make their way through the woods, while mine dive into the woods for cover from those damn tanks.

The Harrier shows up and takes a run at a ZSU and a Recon platoon. The Shilka forces it to abort!
Tracers and rockets fly back and forth across the clearing for the rest of the battle!

My aerial assault battalion arrives to capture the bridge! MANPADS streak out from some Marine positions but none connect.

Feeling good about myself.

The T-72 battalion receives a change of orders and advances to the next town on the coastal road.

I forgot to take pictures of their arrival, but I had some T-55s arrive via flank back on turn 5. They bagged the bridge and proceeded to cause havoc among the Marine tanks. In retrospect, I wish I'd have had them camp on the bridge, holding it.
The Marine Battalion Commander in the town gets the attention of the Harriers again which swoop down and take out a BMP platoon. If you had not noticed - I did manage to knock out the TOW teams in the outskirts and was daring Ziggy to roll a couple of M60s out to duel with me.

After nine turns. This was the intersection of DOOM.

We were both tired and Ziggy was especially tired of rolling ones. I had two bridges and the small town, while Ziggy only firmly held the large town. The intersection was contested (to say the least).

We were a bit rusty on some things - particularly timing of firing, but by midgame it was all coming back. Ziggy's dice really were atrocious and had a lot to do any success I had. My flanking arrival and airborne insertion were a lot of fun and went a long way towards keeping Zig off his game. More MSH before the end of the year for sure!

23 September 2018

Infinity Minis and Scenery

As mentioned in the previous post, I've been painting Infinity minis recently and also cranked out some "Tiny Terrain" bits this weekend. Tiny Terrain is a resin terrain line sold by Miniature Market; it's remarkably inexpensive and a good value.

On with the pics.

The lot 

Zouave and Para Command behind a Jersey barrier 

A Metro with HMG, Moblot and Metro along with two very nice computer terminals 


Metros with data displays

So the Jersey barriers, 55 gallon drums, computer terminals and data displays we all nice pickups and useful for Infinity, Batman and other games. The clear components are a bit bendy and were warped when I received them. I probably could have flattened them out by boiling them but decided it wasn't worth the trouble at the time. Aside from that, the pieces are great and the miniatures were great to paint.

Infinity - The Do-Overing

So a month and a half ago Ziggy and I got to talking about Infinity. We'd given it a try years ago but it didn't stick for whatever reason and I hawked my collection. With my recent Batman minis pickups and scenery enhancements, combined with my need to buy and paint toy soldiers we decided that Infinity should make it's way back on to the table. Deciding on a team was a multi-evening affair as a waffled between Nomads and Ariadna Frenchies. I decided on the Ariadna force and picked up a starter box and some other goodies to bulk up the numbers a bit. I had a few weeks to get the assembled and painted while Ziggy was galavanting about Europe with the Air Force. Saturday evening, we put Infinity back into the rotation.

Ziggy's force being smaller than mine was the points benchmark so I matched him. We set up a battlefield with enough clutter to be useful and played a straightforward shoot-em-up to re-familiarize ourselves with game mechanics.

Metros, a Zouave and a Para-Commando (the guy with the machinegun)

Briscards - a sniper, medic and trooper

And the boss lady.

The battlefield. The goal was to find shot opportunities and keep the Pan Oceania forces on their heels.

Things heat up on the rooftops.

We heard something... better watch the alley.

The pud with the Spitfire was causing too much trouble so Souffle was sent up to silence it. A rocket  streaked across the street and the gunner was taken out! He then got to work on a rifleman with a quick accurate burst from his assault pistol.

I had sent my Moblot out to the left to flank the two Knights who'd made it across the street. She blasted both with her shotgun, but didn't fell either. One of the two ran towards her and in short order my Lieutenant had been knocked out.

Ziggy attempted the same trick again but the Briscard's aim was true and the Knight fell with a crash.

Souffle was sent to put out the remaining fire - the Knight who'd cut do the Lieutenant. A quick hustle around the corner and another remarkable burst from his trusty assault pistol and the Knight was taken out.

We called the game there - we'd each taken five casualties and it'd been a couple hours or so. The game was slow going with lots of referring back to the rules about this that and the other. Regardless, it was a damn fine way to kill an evening. I rather enjoyed having to go to extremes to silence the Spitfire gunner - it was one of those fun memorable moments - swatting the fly with a sledgehammer. It did get the job done though - the medic was never going to get ol' Humpty Dumpty back together after that!

I think that during my previous experience with Infinity, I had the wrong idea of what it was supposed to be. I expected a quick and tidy skirmish - maybe something between Song of Blades and Necromunda. Batman and to a lesser extent X-Wing kind of opened my eyes to these skirmish games. It's not supposed to be a quick-play skirmish, even though each player only has a few models. It's supposed to be a full-featured 2-hour game with loads of detail. It's the opposite of Dystopian Wars or MSH which have tons of models and little for each detail. Both take a similar amount of time to play but focus on different things. I'm glad I've given it another chance.

I'll do a photo spread on the troops one of these days. I just picked up three more to round out a 300-point force.

16 September 2018

Psychoholic Slag: Star Fleet Battles AAR

The Space Cadets reconvened in Brunswick on Saturday afternoon for a bit of the old Star Fleet Battles. The list of attendees changed at the 11th hour, so the choice of scenarios was a bit unusual for us - this month we played the "Planet Crusher" monster scenario with the three of us players combining our wits and fortune against a massive 430-point planet-eating monstrosity. I selected the three ships of the WYN Auxillary - a captured Lyran Destroyer (David), a captured Kzinti Frigate (Mike) and a fresh off the lot "Klingon" KF4 (yours truly).

Here we are early on, charging hard into battle! The circle token indicate "danger areas" such as the 6-hex-radius around the planet we were trying to save and where we expected the monster to go and his 6-hex bubble. FWIW, the monster can only detect targets within six hexes and can only be fired at by ships within six hexes.

My first encounter with the beast. I was quite fortunate and only took 10 damage out of a max of 35. Both Mike and David took 35-point blasts from the Unhappy Sock of Doom straight away.

A little later ... we've started marking the 6-hex danger zone around the crusher permanently now.

Later still, I think perhaps turn 5. Dave and the Kzinti set up a Planet Crusher sammich. The Klingon was secretly hoping for the ESG bubble to inadvertently thump the Kzinti. Alas, it was not to happen, though Mike and Dave did put some big hurtin' on the doomsday creature.

Yeah.... they got away with it...

To start turn 6 we were in great shape.Mik,e and David had just thumped the crud out of the monster and my KF4 was recharged and ready to make a third run.

And old stinky only had 35 hits left, still a long way from the planet.

Again fortune smiled upon me, only taking 10 damage to the front shield on my way in. I then gave him three disruptor shots at range 1 for 15 damage and four phaser-1 shots at range 0 with these dice rolls.

For the benefit of those of you who aren't terribly familiar with SFB, see the detailed explanation above.

Scratch one bad neighbor. Property values in this sector remain up for another year.

We made it look easy. In reality, Mike's ship had been pretty well canoed by the worm and David's was pretty beaten up as well. The three hits I took were 10-25-10 for a total of five internals. "Big whoop" I hear you say. The other two each took two 35-point hits each as well as third less nasty but not insignificant hits. We did spend a considerable amount of time planning and discussing between turns - not doing so would have almost certainly resulted in a least one ship destroyed, if not a worse result. Post-game analysis revealed that we had a bit of an advantage with our three ships in that we had triple the opportunities to slow the monster's progress and our three ships were able to dump out a prodigious amount of firepower.

"The Planet Crusher" is a damn fine scenario and made for a great afternoon of gaming. It is quite unusual that the three of us are on the same side of any game so this was a very enjoyable change of pace.

09 September 2018

Sinai '73 - Cold War Commander AAR

David and I finally put the 3mm lovelies on the table last Monday (Labor day here in the US and a day off for many folks). The game was Cold War Commander - Mike has played a bit of Blitzkrieg Commander in the last 12 months and we've gotten roped into playing a few times.

Being a first time, there were one or two mistakes and we switched the order of play to an alternating-unit activation instead of the very GW IGOUGO. We also left unit damage on the units between turns.

The forces were quite tank-heavy. David's Israelis had two units of M48s and some halftrack infantry. I had two units of T-62s and one of BMP infantry.

To keep it simple, we played a straightforward "encounter" scenario - just a shoot 'em up to learn the mechanics.

David, channeling Garfield the cat.

Early into the proceedings, David pushes his infantry into the village (and its cover). We treated the village as area terrain.

My first activation is a blunder, causing the unit to advance in the wrong dadgum direction. :/  David blundered twice during his first turn. It was really pretty awesome.

The tank battalion that didn't dork it up moved forward then opened up on the M113 TOW team covering the road. The fire was accurate enough to kill off the dangerous ATGM.

A turn in, the BMPs have swung out right on a flanking mission while tanks in the center take up positions overlooking the center of battlefield.

My tanks in the center started taking fire from the Pattons opposite. They wouldn't last long left in that spot!

Further complicating things, the other group of Israeli tanks popped up around the rise creating a nasty killing zone. I was quite fortunate that after they moved, they failed their subsequent command test to order fire!

The BMPs get into firing positions and log a few shells downrange. One stand of Zionist mechanized infantry is eliminated.

Fortune continued to rain down upon the brave sons of the Pharaohs, I won the initiative on the next turn and activated the tanks in the crossfire, successfully moving them twice and out of harm's way.

My tanks on the hill really got to kick it up a notch and began picking off exposed Israeli tanks. We also got to learn how nasty ATGMs are, although I'd like to have had more than one Sagger stand to work with!

The Israelis began falling back, out of the range of the 115mm guns that were causing such misery for David. He realized too late that his tanks had a huge 40mm range advantage on me.

Seizing the momentum, I rolled out towards the tanks on my left in a effort to cause enough damage to rout the Israelis. BOOM BOOM! In minutes, there was only black smoke and orange flame left. The Israelis had enough and quit the field. A stunning Egyptian victory.

A fun way to spend a day off work. CWC is a fine beer-and-pretzels wargame but there's a bit too much of the GW gaminess for my taste, particularly the absence of simultaneous firing. The base mechanics are OK, so I'd like to try it with MSH's turn sequence (losing the command rolls as well) to see how it works. I expect I'll like it a lot better.