Friday, 8 December 2017

Rommel 2mm - Reinforcements

Whoopee....reinforcements have arrived from Irregular Miniatures!
Oodles of 2mm goodness.......
I've ordered a "Town/Suburb" and "Riverside town" terrain pieces to make two new BUA terrain tiles (each 60x60mm) which you can see to the right, top corner of the picture. These come in at a whopping £2.40 each, but make the production of the tiles simplicity itself. All I need to do is smooth around the edges with a bit of acrylic modelling paste, to blend the castings in, and they'll be ready to paint.
A mixture of Sherman, M10 Tank Destroyer & M7 Priest models ready for priming
I've also ordered sufficient miniatures from Irregular's range to build my Rommel forces up to Divisional strength. I will now be able to field a 1944 British Armoured Division with either Sherman or Cromwell as their main AFV (modeled on the Guards & 7th Armoured Divisions) and a 1944 Panzer Division (modeled on Panzer Lehr & 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjungend)
I've been knocking together some organisation tables to help me remember who is in which element using colour coding that I'll then apply to the base tags. This is an early draft, but you'll get the drift.

I'd better get on with painting these little beauties up.....

Monday, 4 December 2017

Rommel 2mm - AAR Encounter Battle part one.

Time to try the rules out in anger for the first time….solo.

I opted to go for Scenario 3 in the book – Encounter. 
 This is a simple battle, length ways (narrow edge to narrow edge) across the table. Both sides have two objectives each and to win must control at least 3 objectives by the end of the 12th turn.

Before beginning, both forces are divided in half and one half deploys in the first three rows whilst the other is held in reserve. The reserves get to come on when a combined score on 2D6 rolled at the end of a turn, is less that the number turn you are on.

I used what forces I have – so probably smaller armies than the scenario required. The British force was 52 points and the German 62 points. This exercise was more about trying out the rule mechanisms and learning how the game plays, than replaying a historically accurate event.

I diced for the terrain and laid it out in as balanced a way as I could, either side of a centrally placed river with 6 crossing points.
Once the terrain was set I deployed the two armies and I was ready to go. Starting positions were as per the photograph below.
TURN 1: The Brits won the dice-off for for first move and opted for a swift right flanking move with a small battlegroup (top right corner) intending to take out the nearest German held objective (top left corner).

Two Ops bought me a road movement of 6 squares, crossing the bridge along the way. To delay any attack on the British objective (bottom right corner), the armoured unit supporting the holding infantry company, advanced two squares to the bocage area to their front.
TURN 2: The Germans also spent 2 Ops and advanced via road movement to cross the river just to the front of the defending British armoured unit. Here they waited (tipped)  for infantry support to catch up.
TURN 3: Saw the British right flank advance come to fruition with a successful flanking assault on the German dug-in Company at Objective 1. I'd found the mechanisms for combat to be simple to learn and the QRS contains just about all you need to play. I do find it helpful to have a pen and paper handy to work out the opposing combat factors though!
TURN 4: The German Panzergruppe was now ready to pounce. They moved into the attack against the British Armour and although they were tipped and at a disadvantage they succeeded in causing enough hits to  destroy them. This was largely at the cost of spending a large number of Ops on a 2nd round of tactics and then paying for shifts in the number of hits to ensure success.
TURN 5: Having left an Infantry Company behind to hold Objective 1, the British armoured units advanced across the table (Behind enemy lines but not isolated) and prepared to assault the second German Objective.
Once again the objective fell reasonably easily even though the armoured units were tipped. The flanking attack + out-numbering made all the difference! As you can see from the picture, the German artiller was still tipped from supporting the previous turn's attack, so couldn't support the objective.

So at the end of turn 5 the British forces held all 4 objectives, but the Germans were closing in on the 1st British position.
Things were looking Ok for the German forces until the British rolled an 1 and a 3 at the end of turn 5....allowing their reinforcements to deploy in the first row of the British table edge.........

I'm sure I'd probably missed some things in those first few moves, but the rules are very straight forward. The use of Ops to buy events and tactics gives you plenty to think about along the way. Do you just keep buying and taking your 6 (hopefully) new Ops each turn? or do you take a chance and reset the Command Post to free up the most useful Ops again but risk not having enough Ops to pay for them....what a conundrum! Loving it it!!

To be continued.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

Nearly there! Almost finished all the terrain pieces I think I need to get started.
So far I've finished the following;-

  • 12 x Hills/Mountains
  • 12 x Bocage tiles
  • 12 x Wood/Forest Tiles
  • 10 x Swamp/soft going tiles
  • 1 x Built Up Area (BUA) tile with a small town (scratch built)
  • 1 x BUA tile with Irregular Small Village + Bocage
From a distance the BUA tile looks OK, but took a lot of fiddling to complete. The buildings are a mixture of 5mm Foamex Board and square section Plastruct together with artists modelling paste, sand and PVA. I think I need at least two more of these so I've ordered a couple of town terrain pieces from Irregular Miniatures to speed things up.
I thought I might get away with their village terrain piece as a BUA, but you can see from the above that its hard to tell the standard Bocage tiles and the village tile apart.
You'll see that I've also finished the river sections I spoke of. These have come out quite well, though I say so myself! 

Simply fine sand glued with PVA to create the two banks. Then sprayed Leather Brown before a rough dry brush of Vallejo Game Colour Camouflage Green. When dry, a light dry brush with yellow before painting the river in a Citadel Turquoise Blue. When dry this is given a coat of Army Painter Blue Wash before spray varnishing.

In total there are;-
  • 12 x 100mm lengths
  • 5 x 90mm lengths
  • 5 x 80mm lengths
  • 6 x bends on 20x20mm bases
  • 6 bridges on 20x20mm bases
The latter were scratch built using self-adhesive craft foam from Hobbycraft.
Finally I've finished 7 x Coastal Defence prepared positions.
These are all on 80x20mm bases so they can fit in a grid square along with any of my terrain features. These are also scratch built using self-adhesive craft foam from Hobbycraft, 5mm foamex board and artist modelling paste. Finished with some PVA and fine sand before priming with Army Painter Leather Brown.

I'm finally ready to try out a solo scenario to get to learn the rules. More on this soon.....

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

What to do about hills/mountains for my Rommel set-up?

Following the same thought process as I have with my other terrain features, I decided that these would be symbolic terrain markers, rather than large terrain features.

My first thought had been to buy Hexon single hex mountains or pulverised ground, but these are 100mm across and would completely fill my grid squares. To boot they would look enormous against my 2mm miniatures. So it looked like I would have to come up with a home produced alternative.
What I’ve settled upon are 60mm diameter hills that can be placed in a 100mm (4”) grid square to indicate high ground is present, but still allow bases of miniatures to be placed on or around them.

Step 1: Attach a rough circle of 5mm foam board to a laser cut 60mm mdf base.

Step 2 & 3: Having carefully trimmed the edge of the foam board with a scalpel to produce an incline, smooth over the edges and texture the top of the hill with artist’s acrylic paste. Then, when dry, coat with PVA and scatter sand over the entire hill.

Step 4: Once fully dry, spray hill with Army Painter Leather Brown

Step 5: Roughly dry brush hill with Vallejo Game Colour -Camouflage Green. Followed by a light dry-brushing of Yellow. Finally, a couple of coats of varnish to seal the surface.

These should suffice for my needs and won’t take up too much room to store either.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

I’ve also completed painting & basing the Allied forces I have so far.

These also equate to roughly a brigade of Infantry & Armour with artillery support. In this case the armour consists of 5 bases of Cromwells and 2 of Shermans.

I’ve been thinking about the outstanding terrain features required. That is the hills/mountains and rivers.

For the rivers I plan to construct a series of 80, 90 & 100 mm by 20mm wide mdf strips to use as the long river runs along the 100mm (4”) grid squares with 20x20mm mdf squares with bends to allow the river to change direction. This is an 80x20mm example.

Perhaps the drawing will better explain the concept!
Long term I fancy recreating amphibious assaults like the Juno Scenario available on the Honour website.

To this end I’ve mocked up some simple 100mm beach squares I produced using PowerPoint.
I’ve also scratch built a prepared defence terrain tile (on 80x20mm mdf) to represent the Atlantic Wall defences the assaulting troops might face.

For Hills/Mountains I firstly considered buying Hexon individual hex Hills & Mountains, but they are quite large and would better suit a 150mm (6”) grid. So back to the drawing board.

I’m currently making a prototype 60mm diameter hill and we’ll see how that looks on the table.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

I've completed my German starter army and thought I'd share the picture.
I have (loosely) two Kamfgruppen, one infantry and one armoured.

The armoured Kamfgruppe comprises 4 x MkIV Panzer bases, 2 x Panther bases with 1 x Tiger II base in support.

The infantry Kampfgruppe consists of 9 infantry bases (3 of which are mechanised) and a Jadgpanther base in support.

Finally I've 1 artillery base to support both groups.

Not a text book organisation I'd be the first to admit, but should enable a try out of the game before committing myself to further investment.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

Having bought Sam Mustafa’s latest work last month I have decided to give this a go in 2mm scale.

I did contemplate using 10mm (1/200th) as I’ve a sizeable collection of Skytrex Action 200 miniatures I used for BKC. However having seen some games on-line using this scale I decided against it as it looked too abstract for my tastes and the cost of additional items (mainly artillery & infantry figures) would be too high.

Whilst 2mm will still be abstract, it will look more believable and will be relatively low cost.

I’ve opted to start with items from the Irregular Miniatures 2mm as I’m familiar with their Pike & Shot/Horse & Musket ranges in this scale and already own some useable terrain pieces (i.e. built up areas)

As I am going to use 2mm miniatures I’ve decided to go with a 4” (100mm) grid. Against character I opted to purchase a pre-printed Deep Cut Studio 4x3’ mat to use as my base terrain.

Whilst on this subject can I share with you the experience I had with these mats. I initially chose the MEADOW design and ordered it from BIGREDBAT, but was very disappointed when it arrived as it looks nothing like the on-line photos from their website. It was a much darker green (too dark) and very pixilated – nothing like the finely printed grassy image on the website. It was graciously exchanged for the PLAINS design, which is much better for my purposes (lighter green) but still lacks the detail the website infers you will receive. Altogether I’m OK with the finished article for my purposes but I think you need to be aware that the photos promoting the mats do not really match the finished article.

Since getting my mat, I’ve been busy scratch building some terrain tiles for the game and examples are shown in the photo below.

See text below for explanation
  1. Is a Bocage tile (the hedges are thin strips of self-adhesive craft foam from Hobbycraft, with sand PVA’d to the upper surface. Crops are indicated with sand & PVA)
  2. Is Swampy Ground (shapes painted in PVA with sand scattered to create "pools" then painted and finally foam scatter material added for bushes)
  3. Is a Wooded area (Simply clump foliage glued to a textured base)
  4. Is another wooded area as above
  5. A Built Up Area -BUA - (similar to the Bocage tile, but with an Irregular Small Village at it’s centre)
  6. An example playing piece
  7. The Deep Cut Studio mat - PLAINS finish
These are all on 60x60mm mdf bases. My reasoning for this was twofold.
  1. By not filling the 4” grid it should be easier to position up to 3 40x30mm bases in their too.
  2. If I want rivers, these have to run along the grid lines and will therefore encroach on the 4” grid squares. If I’d based on 100x100mm mdf this would not be possible.
To start me off I purchased a WW2 Battlepack from Irregular which consisted of two balanced armies – one German and one British – for the late war period. These came with their own Mechanised Warfare rules which are a simple set based upon some published many moons ago in WI and also available from FreeWargameRules on the web.

In Rommel terms there were enough pieces included to construct a couple of battalions of infantry for each side plus 2 armoured regiments with some artillery in support.

To match the 4” grids I’ve opted to go for 40x30mm mdf laser cut bases for the miniatures. I’ve been experimenting too, with artist’s acrylic paste for base texture. This can be pre-mixed with acrylic paint to colour it and applied with brush or palette knife. I sets quickly without shrinking and provides a very good base texture to build upon. In this scale PVA and sand doesn’t work – it looks too much like the ground is a boulder field! (Works OK for crops in fields though!!)
Textured tiles (60x60mm) before painting
Infantry bases have 1.5 Irregular mini’s figure bases + a weapons team/AT Gun/HQ base. Where necessary I’ve added a half-track for mechanised troops. The tanks are generally based 3 to a base but with Tiger IIs and Jagdpanthers I’ve gone for just two so they stand out.
Example bases - AFV and Infantry
At first I considered using a roster for recording hits etc. but have since re-thought this and I’m going to go for the attached data strip idea.

My first attempt is shown as no.6 in the photo above.

I firstly purchased some off-cut self-adhesive ferrous paper from Magnetic Supplies and attached this to the underside of the base.

Then I printed off labels created in PowerPoint and gloss laminated them. This should allow water based white board pens to be used.

Then these were stuck to 40x40mm magnetic sheet (surplus promotional fridge magnets I rescued from a bin) with double sided sellotape and then the sheet fits onto the base with the data strip showing.

I’ve a bit more work to do before I’m ready to try out a game, so I’ll keep you informed how I get on.