Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Incoming - Heavy Mortar Platoon

Fresh off the painting table, a platoon of 4.2" Heavy Mortars complete with command observers and PIAT   team. At this stage I feel like I am getting the hang of painting infantry as I painted these all up ready to base in an afternoon. For my next batch of infantry I must try picking out pouches and webbing in a different colour and getting insignia patches on shoulders.

I must work out a way to capture better detail in the face

The motivation behind the mortars was smoke. However I have now used them twice and yet to fire smoke with them. In terms on offensive power they are not really able to recoup their cost having only take out one 8-Rad. That said the forces they have been fielded against have been fully armored, they should be more effective against infantry and half tracks. In the long run if it turns out that all they do is drop smoke from time to time I will switch them out for their smaller 3" brethren whom cost quite a bit less.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fighting the Monday Knights

In an effort to get some practice in with my British I have been hunting around for a club with regular Flames of War players. After a little searching I found the Monday Knights Gaming Club with their Melbourne group  not to far from where I live. After organising a game on their forums a couple of weeks ago I went along last night to one of their regular meetings.

Straight off the bat I was very impressed with the friendly and jovial atmosphere. The majority of the club was planing the big final battle of their tank ace campaign but they still took the time to introduce themselves and make me feel welcome. Over the course of the night I managed to get in two games.

The first game was against a German Armored company which included about nine or ten Panzers, a small unit of infantry and limited air support. Despite destroying the majority of Panzers the result was a 4-3 loss as I wasn't fast enough moving on the rear objective and he easily captured it. There was a brief moment where I could have won by breaking his company but I am happy with the massive destruction or German armor.

Sherman tanks surround the Panzers

The second game was also against Germans, this time an Armored SS company including two Panthers, eight Stugs, two 8-Rads and recon infantry. The missing was dust up and my fortune here was that the first turn assault into my infantry by four Stugs resulted in one bogging on the way in, bailing two in the combat and then the last breaking (despite the re-roll for a near by company commander). From there with some fortune and helpful assistance of a my Typhoon I was able to take out the Panthers and just hang onto my objective long enough for the Churchills and Shermans to clean up the battle field. The end result was a 6-1 victory by breaking the German Company.

As closing thoughts I am reconsidering what I include in a list, the heavy mortars while able to provide smoke, spent all their time dropping rounds onto tanks with low success only managing to take out one 8-Rad. Additionally the infantry had a hard time dealing with tanks, the were pretty safe from the shooting but generally unable to effectively return fire. If my purpose for the mortars is only to provide smoke then I may be better off taking the 3" man packed version for 30 points less. Either way I need to invest into some Better Anti-tank defenses perhaps a small unit of 6 pounders.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

./' The wheels on the 8-Rads go round and round... ./'

Completed now are the four 8-rads I started working on Tuesday. I'm very pleased with how they came out-- and even got to use the a bit today in my first full 1750 points game with the rest of my Feldhernhalle Panzerkampfe Gruppe.

Overall? Not too bad. I only lost 1 the whole time, and only because I got too cocky with my recce moves.

Blazing fast on roads/cross-country. Worthless in other terrain. 

Worthless in any sort of terrain, but blazing fast on cross-country or roads.

I've started work now on the Wirbelwinds-- having completed the turreted portion of each. I hope to have these three ready by the end of the week as well. From there it's just 7 more tanks and an infantry platoon I hope to finish to be ready for Gencon.

No aircraft? No problem. These are points not gone to waste. 

Loving these guys. Totally worth the points.

The Wirbelwinds were especially painful. When allowed full rate of fire and the hull machine gun, it's a mess of MG dice that was doing a decent job at taking infantry out of their defenses. Keeping an 8-rad group nearby when there isn't air cover over head means robbing your opponent of his gone-to-ground and hitting even easier.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Slow Grind of Progress

Distractions are at an all time high in the summer, but I've still managed to make some progress on the force I still plan (and hope) to have fully painted in time for Gencon.

The King Tiger of yester-post has been completed and remains one of my favorite tanks I've painted to date. In addition I've also completed a half-battery of Nebelwerfers and started on a rather ambitious camo scheme for some 8-rads.

Nebelwerfers should be standard for any Late War German Army. These "Fog Throwers"
are the cheapest option available for smoke barrage and infantry in the open. Also a steal
at just over 100 points. 
I dislike using the airbrush so I prefer hard-line camouflage where possible. I'm
very pleased with how the King Tiger turned out. 
I used pigments to created the scorched effect around the rockets. Nothing fancy.
Black pigment is one of the few that will remain with a "diffused" look after
a matte varnish is applied. 
A sneak peak at the progress on my 8-rads. Unfortunately this camo pattern
takes me about 1 hour per armored car. 
It occurred to me while painting that in most cases the recon attachments to a company were, in fact, from a different company themselves. Compared to the rest of the armored units I have painted I decided that I'd start to branch out and use different camouflage schemes where it made sense that a different "attached" company wouldn't look identical to the rest. The end result might be a little discordant on the board, but I think it will liven things up a bit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Churchills - Now with more mud!

Three Churchill heavy tanks ready for battle!
After my last post on the Churchill tanks I went back to the remaining two and implemented what I had learnt from the first one. I added more highlights, number decals on the turrets, used a fixative on the weathering powder for 3D mud effects and increased the volume of weathering.

Once the second and third were finished I had to go back to number one and bring it up to standard with the other. End result, three battle tested Churchill heavy tanks to provide strong fire support for my Infantry. Now I just have four more tanks, three universal carriers, a heavy mortar platoon and some objectives and I am ready to run.

Heavy mud weathering effects on the tracks.

Unit markings on turret left side.

Yes that number is a decal, thanks to the wonders of "Microsol" you can barely see the edges.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Post Vacation Painting

I've made it back and settled in from my 2-3 week furlong in Germany and finally settled in to some painting. While in Berlin I took the liberty of looking up a few friendly local gaming stores (FLGS) to see what our German counterparts are up to across the pond. What I found wasn't wholly different from what we have in the States'-- though I could argue this was probably one of the best gaming stores I've ever been too (though I would and have come to expect the same out of Chicago or New York for similar). 

The King Tiger. He's slow, but he hurts. 

Anyway, dice karma would dictate that a K√∂nigstiger purchased in Germany should roll nothing but 5's and 6's, so I picked one up. I've never had any serious aspirations to run a King Tiger in a competitive list, but there are a few playful lists I've always wanted to add one too. It's certifiably artillery and air support bait in any match-- but if someone tries to duke it out over long range it's definitely a fight I'm going to win. 

Either way, the King Tiger proved a fun distraction to ease myself back into painting. I've be itching to get back to the brush but just couldn't manage to decide on a place to start. Once the King here is done I plan on refocusing my efforts on a half-sized Nebelwerfer battery (smoke machine), and then hopefully wrapping up 7x Panzer IV/70 V's before Gencon to run a fully-painted Feldherrnhalle list (of which the King Tiger can definitely join.) 

I've only got about 1 more shortish' sitting with the King Tiger left. I've only to finish the tracks, dirty it up, clean up a few lines and seal before I'm calling it done. I've also gone with a completely different scheme of camo from the rest of my tanks just so I didn't have to break out the airbrush. I could be a little happier with the paint job, but it came out well. Even at a distance it sort of breaks up the pattern of the vehicle and makes it difficult to really see-- which is its purpose I suppose. 

345 points of the most expensive bait you can buy in Flames of War.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Churchill Tank

In the era of Churchill tank British tank doctrine called for three types of armored fighting vehicles. Fast light recon tanks, heaver cruiser tanks and heavily armored and slow Infantry Tanks. The Churchill fit into the third category and as such was one of the heaviest allied tanks. As an Infantry tank it's role was to provide mobile support for advancing infantry just as the earliest tanks back in World War 1 had. It featured wide tracks and a high number of wheels within the tracks, as a result it was able to cross quite treacherous terrain.

 The Churchill saw service across multiple theaters and was adapted to suit multiple alternative roles. These included recovery vehicles, mobile bridges and a platform for a 290mm mortar designed to level fortifications.

Churchill VI Showing Turret Markings

The Models
Several variants of the Churchill tank are available in the Flames of War range. My force will include three Churchill VI. I have chosen a desert colour scheme and included unit markings as well as turret stripes. The turret marks are not historically accurate but the plain turret looked too boring. The colour pattern of red white red is actually the colours for the Royal Armored Corps. When I am able to get some transfers I intend to add more unit markings as well as vehicle names.

Churchill VI Showing Unit Markings and Weathering

I also tried out weathering powders on this model around the tracks as well as around the exhaust vents. You can see some of this in the images however the overall effect is a bit better in person.