Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Liebster thing

Author and son.
I've seen the "Liebster award" making rounds on my blog list and now I was nominated by Engineered Gaming. Thanks! The award definitely is a chain letter and I dug up some info on it and saw that it's been around for years. Earlier iterations threaten people who break the chain which is something I really dislike, but this iteration of the award seems like innocent fun so I'll play ball.

So, I'm supposed to answer a set of questions and then pass on the list to bloggers with less than 200 followers to give them visibility. You know.. I don't follow that many blogs regularly and those I do either have way more than 200 followers or have already had their Liebster moment, so I'll break the rules by listing some of my favourites and not tap them. The Gentleman Gamers of Kaisaniemi. I got to know these people when I attended their Russo-Swedish war (1808-1809) battles during the 200th year anniversary at Ropecon. That particular conflict is a favourite of mine and their games were the first I've played on a historically accurate purpose-built layout. Excellent and inspiring stuff. A Swedish blog concentrating on wargaming Swedish history. Again the blog hits a soft spot as Finland was part of Sweden from 1155 someting to 1809. Our countries share a lot of common history even is this guys' spectacular games take place in the other side of the kingdom. An Aussie blog with simply stunning terrain and models. Their offerings make my jaw drop. A Finnish blog from Helsinki chronicling the games of their club. Very nice stuff, especially the Force on Force games. The blog only recently changed their language from finnish to english.

Also, honorable mentions go to Dartfrog, Itinerant Hobbyist, The monkey that walks and Sound officers call!


And here's my answers:

1. Why did you start blogging?

I wanted to log and share my miniature gaming and had found myself posting the same things to several different discussion forums on the net. I decided to put in in a blog instead so I only need to share a link instead of rewriting the same thing over and over. Also, throrough tagging on my blog means it's easy to find that archived post or old picture I'm looking for.

2. If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?

The Finnish wargame scene is small and concentrated on GW games. I'd like a big boom on historicals here.

3. What is best in life?

A cold drink on my porch after sauna, looking at the birds chase insects over the fields. The sun is setting and I know I have a loving family and a steady home to base my life on.

4. Do you want to live forever?

Nope. I doubt immortality would be much fun.

5. Fame or fortune?

Fortune of course, but in moderation.

6. What miniatures are you most proud of having painted?

It's hard to pick a favourite project. I'm quite fond of my 6mm ACW collection and my 28mm Orcs & Goblins army. If I'd have to name a single model, I'd pick my 1/700 Titanic model as it's my first naval model and I spent quite a long time on it.

7. How do you deal with burnout?

I interpet this as project burnout in wargaming. I solve this by having several projects going at once and not put myself under unrealistic deadlines. When I tire of painting one project, I swap it for something on a different to keep things fresh.

8. Why is a raven like a writing desk? 

I could Google this for the reference but that would be cheating!

9. Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars. I like how Trek has that sense of wonder and discovery, but the world is also too clean shaven for me. I like my spaceships darkly lit with steam hissing from rusting valves, like in Alien.  Star Wars is a set of three excellent adventure movies for me, with some of the most powerful cinematic moments in the history of the art form. The final battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader still sends shivers down my spine every time I see it.

10. If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?

Impossible! No company offers the ranges I want to play in all the scales I want to play them on. I suppose Baccus would do as 6mm is my favourite scale, but I'de still be missing out on a lot.

11. What is your favourite takeaway?    

Kebab with rice.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

28mm Winter War Finnish infantry platoon

Ok, I finished the Kickstarter Winter War infantry platoon from Baker Company. It wasn't terribly time consuming and I'm happy with the results. They turned out difficult to take photos of, but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.

The whole platoon at paper strength plus optional SMG's

Going into war in 1939, a Finnish infantry platoon at paper strength was composed of the following elements:

A Platoon HQ with a lieutenant, his second in command and two riflemen used as messengers:

The platoon commander sends off his runners to give messages to his squads. The clothing on the commander is too fancy for a real platoon leader. The model is more appropriate for a company commander or even higher up, but I suppose it's just to make him stand out easier.
A rifleman carrying the M27 infantry rifle, a variant of the 1891 Mosin Nagant

Two infantry squads of ten men each. One sergeant and nine riflemen:

The ideal rifle squad also had one submachinegunner with a model Suomi submachinegun, but these were scarce and an average platoon would be lucky to have even one.

I opted for a dirty look on the uniforms so that the models look like they've seen some action. You wouldn't be able to keep that snow camo pristine white in an artillery barrage!
For some contrast, I made the snow on the bases pure while, like it was freshly fallen.
I have enough models at this point to have the platoon without a single SMG, but here they are.

Two light machine gun squads with a sergeant, a machine gunner carrying the Lahti-Saloranta Pikakivääri and five riflemen doubling as gunner's assistants and ammo carriers:

This LMG was in my previous Winter War post, but I've happily mixed up which ones I've shown you already and which not.
The set included some prone models which was nice. I mounted the prone ones on plasticard.
Another shot of the prone guys. I tried to give the snow some depth to make it look like they're not just hovering over it.

There you have them. The Kickstarter included all those wonderful extras and by the looks of it, I should receive the second shipment sometime soon. I'm quite happy I finished these before getting them, as the pile of unpainted lead will look less daunting now!

To get me in the mood for painting, I bought some period reading from an online bookshop:

The book is called "The rifle and LMG squad in combat - a battle guide for the squal leader" and it was printed in 1935. The book is a bit dirty but interestingly it has been in the possession of an army Major prior to the Winter War:  

The book is signed by a Major.. someone. I haven't been able to decipher the name. Arvo Leppänen, perhaps? The stamp says "Headquarters, 2nd JR", which could point to the second infantry or Jäger regiment. Can some knowledgeable Finn help me track down the owner? Should be interesting.

Anyway, the book sheds some light on platoon level infantry tactics prior to the second world war. The book emphasises aggressive movement by rifle squads supported by machine guns. No proper information on tanks, as you might suspect of a 1935 book. The goal of the rifleman is to get close fast and to drive the enemy away from his position in close combat. Not exactly cutting edge stuff, but who knows how many commanders learned their craft from books like these? A small piece of my country's history, it is.

The book contains some nice maps and illustrations on formations, overlapping fire lanes and such. Heavily influenced by German Jäger tactics, which the Finns learned from the Germans.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My first Warmaster game

I finally got a chance to play Warmaster for the first time. We played a line-em-up battle using the half-painted orcs I bought recently and my opponents' Empire army.

You can definitely see the resemblance between Warmaster and Hail Caesar. Both game share a lot of elements, but are still quite different in some ways. I sometimes hear people say that HC makes Warmaster obsolete and you should just stick to Hail Caesar like it's a newer version of the same game but this really isn't the case. I like the way figure stands handle in this game and the way you can move with them without much hassle. Tinkering with formations is fun and there's no pain of paying wheeling costs etc.

Oddities in the rules include units that can make big, sweeping manoeuvers just by rolling good for their activation and combats being fought to the bitter end in one go, but apparently Warmaster Ancients again deals with these issues differently. Also, Warmaster feels less related to Warhammer Fantasy than Hail Caesar is, which is a bit funny considering the fluff.

Here are some crappy pics of the game. Commentary embedded in the images.

I tried retouching a strip of boar boyz to see if I can improve the paint job quickly. The models on the right took me about 4 minutes. Worth the effort?