Monday, December 30, 2013

Epic Dark Angels complete

Here's the latest units to my Epic Armageddon Dark Angels army. I still have some ideas to expand them with some Razorbacks and AA tanks, but now I have the requisite 3000 points for a "standard" sized game.

Fist I'll show off a formation of four Whirlwind tanks I converted. Getting the models you want for Epic is beginning to cost a bit on Ebay, and I was feeling cheap so I decided to make do with a conversion. The Whirlwind tank is based on the hull of a Rhino APC (which I have piles of). You just have to mount a believable rocket launcher pod on top. I looked at some pictures of real life missile launcher tanks and converted these using bits of sprue and some plasticard. These will do nicely for me, even though I'm not very happy about the missile ports. I should get a tiny drill to do them properly.

Next up is a formation of Vindicator tanks. I didn't have enough of these either, but I took this as an opportunity to practice mold casting and made one copy from resin cast into a silicone mold.

Finally, there's the old school Thunderhawk gunship. It looks boxy and ugly compared to modern models, but the decals I got from a friend really improve the look.

So there you go. The army really was quick and easy to paint, I probably spent as much effort on it as I'd usually spend on a 28mm skirmish warband. Maybe I'll do Chaos at some point but I think I have other projects that need my attention. It also wraps up my painting for this year along with some 1/72 Germans I also finished today. I'll do a separate post on them later. See you then! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Epic 40K: Dark Angels versus Tyranids

I played a 3000 point game of Epic Armageddon today. The same opponent I played my first game against came over to school me a bit. Unlike last time, he didn't pull his punches. At least I hope he didn't pull his punches, I lost THAT bad. The pictures came out shitty due to the poor lighting and some dirt on my lens, so I decided to embed commentary in the pics themselves. See if that clears up any of the action and let me know if this is a direction to pursue in future reports.

My Dark Angels army consisted of a core of infantry backed by armor (2x tactical, devastator, land raiders, vindicators, whirlwinds) with some Ravenwing units on my right flank (land speeders and bikes). In reserve, I had some Deathwing Terminators waiting to teleport and a Thunderhawk gunship carrying a group of assault marines.

My opponent based his army on Gaunt groups supported by Carnifexes. He also had a Dominatrix, some heavy artillery support (I don't remember the name of the unit), some burrowing Trygons and a flying.. something.

Here's how it went down. The victory locations are marked with stars.

So, that was a clear beating I took, but it's fine. I think I learned a bit on how I should play this game. I tried a "hold the line" attitude with the marines, which worked out poorly against the superior numbers of the Gaunts. I lost my fast attack units to reckless manouevering and neglected to support my armor on the left with infantry so I guess I got what I deserved. The Thunderhawk did a good job in the match, but this was pretty much due to the complete lack of enemy AA. I heard the Tyranids don't really have any effective anti air units, so I feel a bit bad for fielding something my opponent can't counter.

I like Epic Armageddon. A lot of movement, a lot of things decisivel happening and you definitely win or lose battles by manoeuvering. Much, much better than vanilla 40k. It also plays out real quick which is a bonus.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Some old Marauder/Citadel orcs

I have a soft spot for the late 80's / early 90's era Orcs and Goblins that Marauder miniatures and later on Citadel used to make. Those were the days when orcs were still having fun on the battlefield and were sporting wide grins instead of being all grim this and dark that. Those models are fun and full of character. I've been slowly collecting them over the years after selling away my original O&G army. I've been painting up a fresh bunch of them since June or something, giving them a lick of paint every now and them in between more pressing projects. I have plenty more to paint but here's a skirmish warband's worth:

I'm trying to empty my painting table of half-painted stuff to start on those Winter War models, so expect a couple of updates in the near future :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Epic 40k Deathwing and Ravenwing units

I broke 40 000 hits on my blog just now so I thought it appropriate to celebrate with some content of the grim and dark variety. I completed some more units for my Epic Dark Angels army and here's the results:

I've liked Deathwing Terminators ever since I played the Amiga version of Space Hulk back in the day so naturally my Dark Angel Terminators would be in Deathwing colours. I also added a couple of Dreadnoughts to fill out a Thunderhawk I'm working on. Sadly this is all the Terminator models I have for Epic, but they suffice for one unit choice and a HQ option. I like how they turned out.

These are some Land Speeders and Bikes for the Dark Angels. Naturally the fast attack units had to be in Ravenwing colours then. Too bad the paint job ended up sucking. I just can't paint highlighted black and make it look like anything. Oh, well.

Anyway, I now have nearly 3000 points for my army painted up. I have a Thunderhawk in the works and some Vindicators to paint up. I'm also considering on converting some Whirlwinds from Rhinos as I definitely like the idea of having indirect barrage fire options. Also, I have three Predator tanks but they're not enough for a full choice. There are multiple versions of the Epic Space Marine Predator around and I'm hesitant to start bidding on e-bay for just one model. If someone has one of these in his collection and symphatizes, drop me a line :)

Wanted: One more of these.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Winter War Kickstarter miniatures arrive!

A small English miniatures manufacturer, Baker Company, put up a Kickstarter this autumn to make a line of miniatures for the Winter War. Being a Finn, I felt obliged to join in what was my first Kickstarter pledge. I had my reservations putting my money down as the company owner promised a lot of stretch goal rewards for a 60 pound pledge. I mean, this is a lot of white metal models for the sum:

The Kickstarter well exceeded it's funding goals and I'm sure Gavin Tyler, the company's owner, has had his hands full. Today however he posted a message telling us that his casting machine had broken down. That'll definitely slow down the process of making all those thousands of models for the hundreds of backers, but I was happily surprised to find my Finnish platoon in the mailbox today! This is the first delivery I'm getting and consists a platoon of infantry, a LMG and I think there was an AT rifle there somewhere. Here's some pictures:

The models have a lot of flash and a couple of aggressive mould lines, but that's reasonable considering the amount of orders mr. Tyler has to fill. The models seem all to be intact without any defects, but I'll have to clean them up to be sure. The poses which are leaning forward look like they need to be bent back a bit, but otherwise they all look ok.

I don't have much experience in 28mm historicals, but the proportions on these look ok to me. I'm not sure how the proportions compare to say.. Warlord Games' models though. I think Warlord's Bolt Action models look "thicker". Alas, I don't have any for a side by side comparison.

Here's a link to fho's blog with a size comparison between Baker and Warlord. Looks like a good match:

I can do a side by side comparison with a Bretonnian bowman if it helps!

I'm happy to get these and I'll have to get some of my unfinished models painted up so I can get room for my Finns on the painting table. Until next time!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My own gaming weekend

Now that I live in a house of our own, it would be a shame to let that space go to waste. To avoid that, I hosted a weekend of gaming at my house. PaukarlahtiCon I called it. Perhaps calling the event a convention is a bit much but I had 15 people over, many of whom stayed throughout the weekend and I was happy I could accommodate them.

The main event was a 6 player game of Battlegroup Kursk. A few familiar faces and a couple of my regular opponents have been collecting WW2 in 1:72 scale for a while and they can pool together large battles now. I've been doing a little bit of 1:72, but contributed only a couple of terrain features, a  Stug assault gun and an Opel Blitz truck into this game. It was nice to attend a game which other people have worked hard on to realise for a change.

The scenario was set during the first soviet attack on Prokhorovka during the battle of Kursk. Our game organizer said the model ratio on the field was something around one model equals three tanks, so the scale was quite appropriate. Here's some pictures of the action with comments.

The table was 6 feet deep and 12 feet long. Three "standard" 6x4 tables side by side. On the bottom left you see the main Soviet tank assault. On the top left, you can see my portion of the forces. ordered to take the farm on the top right. Along the right table edge are German defenders. Infantry and guns fot the top half, mostly tanks on the bottom half. There is a German detachment in the farm in the center of the table.

German assault guns wait for Soviet attackers.

The Soviet T-34's with tank riders.
My forces (Some tank riders included, as well as a bunch of tanks in reserve)

Some German defenders facing my tanks.

The Soviet attack begins! The T-34's ride fast straight towards the German defenders and deploy infantry.

My Soviet forces advance similarly and lose a couple of tanks to enemy fire (German Marder II's in defense).

My tank riders bail out and swarm the enemy entrenchments.

At "the bottom", several Soviet tanks are destroyed and create an obstacle in the narrow pass between the farm and the table edge.

Lots of losses are taken but my forces reach the farm. It is not given without a fight though.

The advance is costly but the trench is taken as well.

In the center, Soviet reinforcements test the German lines but are destroyed by AT gun fire.

The situation at game end. The attack at the bottom of the field has halted at the center farm. On the top, my forces have cleared the farmstead and are poised to flank the German line. The Soviet losses have been unacceptaby high however, and the scenario is a clear win for the Germans.
Battlegroup Kursk seemed like a fun set of rules to play WW2 on this scale with. The rules for movement, firing and morale are easy to grasp and quick to play out. They reminded me a bit of Epic Armageddon actually. The rules for close assault felt a bit odd, however. Groups initiate and continue their close combats by spending order points, which is voluntary. This can lead to groups getting locked down in close combat for a long time if neither player spends points to continue it. Morale checks to enter close combat weren't modified by strenght ratio either, so 10 men assaulting a position held by one man would have the same chance of losing their nerve as against 20. I suppose it's just fog of war then, but it can lead to the player getting frustrated.

Also, I think tank battles feel a bit claustrophobic in 1/72 as the tanks start out what would be very close indeed for real world tanks. 

The "main hall" on saturday night.
Wings of Glory

I also got the chance to play a game of Battletech Quickstrike. I didn't break out the alphastrike rules as I hadn't print out the unit cards for it yet. The game was a straightforward take and hold affair and ended up in a clear defeat for my side. We agreed that the jump pack rules require some tweaking as light jump mechs are super fast enabling them to easily get behind enemy mechs. They are also difficult to hit because their to hit modifiers are affected by their maximum speed, not by how much they actually move.

The city looks a bit green. I think I'll have to get some grey or brown basing for city blocks.

The mechs engage in a close range firefight.

All in all, the weekend was a great success. I'll definitly host another one when I'll get the opportunity

Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Toy

After the first snow fell, the skies have finally cleared and I got the opportunity to try out my new toy, a Meade LXD-75 152mm telescope. So far I've been using a Russian 110mm TAL-1 telescope which is completely hand operated and a neat cold war era design meant to last. The sturdy scope is excellent for the moon and the planets, but I've had lots of trouble getting anything that is invisible to the naked eye in my view.

I spotted General Meade on a Finnish online marketplace and quickly struck a bargain. The model is made in China and prone to manufacturing flaws if online reviews are correct. As the previous owner said her family had only tried to use it once, I managed to haggle the price down to a sum for which I would agree to buy a potentially faulty scope with no warranty. As it happens the scope works just fine, so I made a very good deal indeed.

It's a motorized and computer controlled telescope so I can just choose my target on a hand console and the telescope will automatically point to the target and track it. Pretty accurate too. I haven't been able to get Uranus in my view before and now it was easy. The planet is visible only as a greenish dot, but when you think that you're viewing a gas giant 2 870 972 200 kilometers away from the sun, it is pretty cool.

There was just one downside to the scope I've spotted so far. The grease in the focuser gears went hard in the mere -4 degrees Celsius tonight and made focusing the telescope difficult. I just wonder how it will be when I go out there in a -25 celsius weather. The TAL-1 had it's problems but the Siberians who built her can definitely make a tool that can handle cold weather!

Anyway, I just thought I'd share what I've been using all this extra space and countryside darkness for. Fear not, most of the winter nights are cloudy so there'll be plenty enough time for wargames!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

6mm Black Powder ACW

Hi all,

Here's a report of the regimental level ACW game I hosted at Warcon using my 6mm collection. I'll also give you info on the scaling and the setup of things as I gather from the Google search traffic I'm getting on Hail Caesar that a lot of people are wondering on how to apply the Warlord Games rulesets to 6mm.


Black Powder is a 28mm game and meant to be played on a huge table. The recommended depth of the table is something like five or six feet. The amount of figures needed in 28mm is something from 16-20 models per unit upwards and an army required by most of the sample scenarios would take hundreds of 28mm models. For someone with limited space and painting time this can be a dealbreaker.

As it happens, the game scales quite nicely to 6mm models when you simply halve all ranges. All the ranges used in the game are even numbers so there are no awkward half-inches to deal with. The effect on table space is not quite as drastic as with substituting inches with centimeters (as I've done with Hail Caesar). This makes the standard 6x4 foot wargames table the equivalent of a 12x8 foot table. Lots of elbow room.

The standard frontage of an infantry unit in unmodified scale is about 240mm to 300mm. In half scale the same range is 120mm to 150mm. My ACW infantry is based on 25mm wide (Fire and Fury) stands, and five of them gives me a nice looking unit 125mm wide and 50 models. For small units I use three stands just to keep the unit symmetric with the command stand in the middle. My artillery is based on 25mm stands too and I used two of them side by side for a battery of guns. Open order formations are simply represented by placing the stands one inch apart.

A Union brigade of  one standard unit, two small units and a leader.

The Scenario

I was determined not to return to Gettysburg for a while, but I spotted a nice and easy scenario in Wargames Illustrated 245. I needed a simple and straightforward scenario with simple terrain I could easily build in a convention 300 kilometers from my home. In WI245 there is a regimental Wheatfield scenario written by a David Brown for the Guns at Gettysburg rules (an ACW variant of General De Brigade). I adjusted the OOB to Black Powder and used the scenario map and the map from Maps of Gettysburg to do my version. The reinforcement schedule worked quite well as it was without tinkering with which turn the units would arrive.

In the scenario, three Union brigades defend the wheatfield and the adjacent hill against an attack by three larger, veteran Confederate brigades. The Union forces will receive plenty of reinforcements but will they arrive too late to keep the Wheatfield in Union hands?

The Game

We had four players participating in the game. Two had read the rules but no-one had played the game before. I had played Hail Caesar, which is quite similar, but this experience worked to my detriment a couple of times as a rule or a modifier would be subtly different and I would try and play the rule the wrong way. All the players had some experience from miniature wargames (and one was a fresh convert from the grim, dark future with no prior experience with historicals). I think we were pretty much at home with the ruleset by turn three so points to Black Powder for clarity and ease of learning!

One Union brigade was deployed on the Wheatfield in the center, one was protecting it's right flank on the hill and one was on Wheatfield lane ready to support the ones in the front. Two Union artillery batteries were also on the road.

The Confederates kicked off the game by marching on the table from the woods south of the Wheatfield. They had the veteran status but the Union forces facing them had a stone wall to take cover behind.

The reserve Union brigade saw an opportunity to threaten the Confederate left flank and marched on with great speed.

This forced the Confederates to deploy their reserve brigade to counter, and with a similarly good activation roll they now deployed into line withing musketry range of the Union brigade still in field column. Uh oh..

The volley of musketry caused some casualties in the Union column, and they hastily started to form line. One regiment was too disordered to comply, and had to remain in column. (Red markers are casualties, yellow markers are disorder)

At the Wheatfield the Confederates took their sweet time to reach the Union defenders (two consecutive failures in command checks, I think). When they charged, the Union forces protected by the stone wall had no trouble repulsing the attacker. On the Confederate right the skirmishers were pushed back but this was not enough to remedy the obvious blunder of charging headlong into a stone wall.

The hill objective received a charge as well. Freshly Raised troops versus Reliable veterans, so the result was clear? Nope, the Confederates were repulsed again.

To make things worse the Union forces took their opportunity to cut the Confederate line in two and capture their artillery while they were at it! The desperate Confederates on the right flank assumed a defensive posture.

On the Confederate left both parties were pretty beat up but the Confederates had failed to gain a breakthrough.

 Even on the far Confederate right the regiment had trouble brushing aside the skirmishers in front. The noose was tightening on the right flank as three isolated Confederate regiments were slowly being encircled.

As all of the Confederate attacks had failed and Union reinforcements were flooding to the field we decided to call the game. The utter failure of the attacks owed a bit to hasty scenario conversion and to my own tactical blunders. Design-wise, I think there wasn't an appreciable difference between veteran troops and the green troops they were facing. The "drama" of the scenario would have had the initial Union defenders running and the real fight would have been fought between the reinforcements and the worn out Confederates. To make this the probable outcome I'll need to tinker with the stats a bit. I think as far as tactics go, I shouldn't have attacked that wall head on but rather flank the position as I had room and time to do so.

The Black Powder rules felt nice and light. The troops were easy to maneuver and there were just a few modifiers to learn. I think the ruleset works best for a carefree saturday evening game where you don't want to stress out on the minutiae and just want to have a lot happen on the table with not much effort. I think I have to look at the skirmisher rules again though as one small skirmisher unit held a full close order regiment in melee for three turns I think. Was that just good luck for the boys in blue?

Anyway, it was a great evening and I had the pleasure to play with three gentlemen I haven't played with before, one of whom will hopefully be a new convert to historical wargames!