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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

What a Tanker – First Game AAR (Part One)

I’d laid out the terrain on my Deepcut Studio’s 4’x3’ mat. I’d pretty well used all the suitable terrain pieces I have to try and give a “realistic” Normandy feel to the table.

I’d decided to keep things simple for my first solo game, and had chosen the Sherman Firefly & Cromwell for the Allies and a Tiger I & Panther for the Axis sides. Now I know there is an in balance in points here (something like 28pts. vs. 40pts. in favour of the Germans!) but it was just an exercise to become familiar with the mechanics.

The Allies were playing left to right and obviously the Germans in the other direction. As I’m using ‘N’ scale (1/150) AFVs I opted to go with centimetres in place of inches – more of which later.

Moves One & Two. The Firefly advanced over the slight rise and headed for the hedgerow cover beyond. The Cromwell advanced alongside the Firefly. Finally, the Panther and Tiger moved forwards onto the road, very cautiously.

End of move 2
 The dice rolls at this point had really only allowed for movement or re-loading (even with Wild Dice!) so when the Cromwell managed a couple of acquisition dice I checked to see what could be seen.
you've been lasered!
Using my newly purchased (J) laser pointer I could easily check what cover appeared along the line of sight. This showed there were 4 minor obstacles along the way so no way could I spot my intended target (L).

Move Three. Saw the Firefly move forwards again, only a short distance (it’s rated slow in the rules so maximum 2 move dice). However it rolled 3 acquisition dice which allowed it to acquire the Tiger.
The Cromwell continued to advance using the hedge for cover and the Tiger took up position against the low wall ready to try for a shot.

The Panther (fast) seized the opportunity to “race” to the crossroads where shots against the Cromwell and/or Firefly would be a distinct possibility next move.

End of Move 3
Then I had to stop as dinner was ready!

Thoughts so far (three moves into first game)? 
  • Playing solo the lack of correct dice types to carry out actions is very frustrating – slowing the game down to a crawl. If however this was a multi-player game I think that hoping and praying for the correct dice mix could be exciting!
  •  Adopting cm over inches I think has proved an error. I will play the remaining moves using inches to try and speed up the tanks getting into combat.

Milestone - 200,000 views

Wow...... 200,000 views!

I never for one moment thought that anyone else would be that interested in my hobby activities.

Thanks to everyone who has viewed my pages and here's to the next 100,000 views!!

Monday, 21 May 2018

Lincombe Barn - Table Sale 2018

Well, what a fortnight I've had!

Being allowed to attend TWO table sales!! This time down to Bristol and the Lincombe Barn Table Sale.

And once again I think I've done well with my bargain hunting.

Starting from left to right;-

  • A Corgi Diecast Chieftain (for my Grandson) - £1.50
  • Osprey British Infantry Equipment 1808-1908 - £5
  • Wargaming on a budget - Iain Dickie - 50p
  • Blanfords Army Uniforms of WW1 - £3
  • Dreadfleet NIB - £30
  • Sharp Practice (Old Version) - £2
  • WW2 Battlefront (including data card expansions) - £5
  • Force on Force, Cold War Gone Hot - £3
  • Bag the Hun (New Version) - £3
  • 5 x Prince August 25mm Napoleonic moulds - £5
  • Saga (Original Version) + Battle Boards - £2
Not a bad haul for £60. Just got to find the time to read them all.....

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Hott - Newish Armies

I was tidying my wargames cupboard last night and realised that I have three new HOTT armies that I have never shared with you.

These were completed just before we moved to South Wales and therefore had been packed away without taking any pictures.

These armies are.....
10mm Orc Army using Pendraken's ready made HOTT army pack

15mm Napoleonic Themed army using some very old Tabletop Games figures 

15mm Sci-Fi Army using primarily Irregular Miniatures figures.
The Orcs will share a Stronghold with my Barbarian army, so I have not included it here.  THe army pack from Pendraken is excellent value for money (£16 I think) and the figures paint up a treat.

These are the only additions, a Kallistra Ballista and in the distance, Kallistra Giants

The Napoleonic army was a bit of fun and a good use for some random figures I'd had lying around for decades. The Ballon was made from a polystyrene Ball bought at Hobbycraft, with a Coke bottle top for a basket!

The Stronghold is an old Bellona (!) ridge tent with some accessories from the old Airfix 1/72 Outpost set.

Old "Bony" the General & The Iron Duke is the Wizard!

The Sci-Fi army, once again, came about from a handful of Irregular figures I'd had lying around for years. To boost this number I purchased another lot of Irregular figures I found on e-bay for £2.

Then I added an old GW Space Marine figure acting as a Giant together with a Matchbox Toy Tank as a Behemoth.

Their Stronghold uses half a left over polystyrene ball and a milk container cap. These are joined to the next building (another Coke bottle cap) by a plastic straw "pipe".

Many of the figures have a "Pirate" theme...

The Space Marine has an added multiple Rocket Launcher pod (H&R left over piece)

As ever great fun to create, even more fun to use and won't break the bank either...

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

3D Printed 1:200 German 1940 Army for Rommel

Completed these yesterday. Whilst they are visually OK (passing the two foot rule easily) the quality of some of these prints was not as good as the French Vehicles.

I printed all the AFVs standing on their tracks and then went through the ball ache of removing all the support material afterwards. This was very time consuming and actually damaged much of the track detail on tthe smaller vehicles.

Particularly affected were the Sdkfz 251/Bs and anything on a Pzkfw I chassis. Both these models were 1/100 designs reduced to 1/200 so were trying to cram in detail that wasn't really needed i.e. he sides of the halftracks were undercut leaving them very thin and fragile.

Having said that, a good clean-up, sympathetic paint job and static grass help hide a multitude of sins! I may redo these, when time permits, this time printed on their sides.

One big success was the "Generic" infantry figure I use. This time I printed them out as single figures on indiviual bases. These worked really well and needed very little cleaning up.

Anyhow, I've ended up with a supported Panzer Division.

  1. Light Battalion 1 - 3 x Pzkfw I 
  2. Light Battalion 2 - 3 x Pzkfw II
  3. Medium Battalion  - 2 x Pzkfw IVD
  4. Armoured Infantry Brigade - 2 battalions each 3 x Sdkfz251/B + Infantry
  5. Motorised Infantry Brigade - 2 battalions each 3 x Opel Blitz + Infantry
  6. Light Howitzer Battery - 1 x 75mm + Kubelwagon*
  7. Anti-Tank Support Battalion - 3 x PanzerJager I
  8. Assault Support Battalion - 3 x Stug III 
*I will add some medium artillery when I find a suitable file to print

Now all I need is the time to try them out against their French opposition.....

Monday, 14 May 2018

Firestorm Games most recent Bring & Buy event.

Initial trading was brisk as there were at least a couple of hundred prospective buyers hovering around the 20 or so stalls.

All was well organised, but could have done with a little more room between the stalls?

The usual Sci-Fi/Fantasty bias, but amongst all this there were historical wargames bargains to be had.

As an observation, I do wish more sellers would pre-price their goods. It saves all those embaressing questions about "how much do they want for so-and-so."

Anyhow, I came away with the following;-
  • The Kingdom is Ours ECW Rules (£5)
  • Living on the Front Line-Winter of ’79 Rules (£5)
  • DBA 3.0 hardbacked rules (£5)
  • GW WH40K First Strike starter set (£5)
  • Panzer Leader Board Game (£2)
  • Bag of 20xD6 (£1)

Bargains….! Oh and my pre-ordered copy of Great Escape Game’s new 1914 Rules @ £13.50.

A productive morning out. Can’t wait for next weekend’s B&B at Lincombe Barn, Bristol!

Friday, 11 May 2018

What a Tanker! - Ready for first try out

So I'm ready to give it a go.

"A Firefly cautiously advances towards the village...."
All my 1/150th 3D Printed tanks are painted, markings added (from old Dragon kits) and varnished.

  • Tiger I
  • Panther
  • 2 x Sherman M4 (Firefly or 75mm turrets)
  • Comet
  • Challenger

I've set up a 4x3' play area with a good selection of terrain pieces to break up line of sight. Whether this will work or not remains to be seen.

I'll let you know how I get on....

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Normandy Tour 2018 – 13 Para

On the first full day we took a tour around the scenes of 6th Airborne Division's actions post D-Day. This was of particular interest as my Great Uncle died during this advance in the summer of 1944.

This is his story. (Source:-https://paradata.org.uk/people/david-mckirdy)

Sergeant David McKirdy, born in Glasgow, was the son of David Vincent and Jean McKirdy. He later moved to Bridlington, Yorkshire and married Emily (My Grannie’s Sister).
An early picture in Green Howards Beret and Lance Corporal stripes
He enlisted into the Green Howards, a Yorkshire based regiment. He was taken as a Prisoner of War while fighting in North Africa with the Green Howards and held in a POW camp in Italy, escaping during the Italian armistice. He was awarded a Mention in Despatches for his actions and the award appeared in the London Gazette on 27 April 1944.
David McKirdy (on the left) following his escape from an Italian POW camp.
Shortly after repatriation, he volunteered for airborne forces and attended Parachute Training Course 109 which ran at RAF Ringway from 27 March to 7 April 1944. This was a standard course of 8 descents including two descents from a balloon, 3 descents from a Whitley, one night descent from a balloon and 2 descents from a Dakota (including one with kitbag). The course instructor notes record that David was an “above average parachutist and efficient NCO”.

On qualifying as a military parachutist he was initially posted to the Airborne Forces Holding Unit and then transferred to the 13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion.

David jumped with the battalion, forming part of 5th Parachute Brigade, onto Drop Zone N, north of Ranville near Caen for the Normandy landings on 6th June 1944.

All tasks allotted to the battalion were completed according to schedule and the battalion established defensive positions around Ranville. There was considerable shelling of the battalion positions and a major attack against the battalion on 10 June was repelled with heavy losses to the enemy. On 17 June, the battalion moved forward to Le Mesnil to relieve 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, and from there on 25 June, in to a rest area near Benouville bridges for a much-needed rest.

In July, David carried out a long spell of duty, with the battalion, in the line at Le Mesnil and the rest of the month was spent at rest or training areas.
In the village Car Park at Putot-en-Auge there is this highly informative
map board detailling the attack on the Hill 13 by 12 & 13 Para 18-19/08/44 and 48 Commando 19-20/08/44
In the first half of August, David moved with the battalion to attack the German positions at Salanelles and later in the month (18-19 August) advanced to secure the village of Putot-en-Auge.
As a result of this assault alone, 70 men from the battalion were killed wounded or missing. Many of whom are now buried in the village cemetery.
Looking up Hill 13 from 13 Para's start line. The Germans were dug in on the reverse
 slope and hit the Paras hard as they crossed the skyline.
The battalion was then ordered to take Pont L’Eveque, which was stubbornly defended by the Germans. As a result of two days of fierce fighting much of the town centre was set on fire and destroyed. It was during the assault to capture Pont L’Eveque that David McKirdy was killed.

Pont L'Eveque today
l'Eglise Saint-Michel in 1944 - the row of buildings to its front completely destroyed by fire.
Now restored to its former glory.
British Paras crossing the girder bridge by the church, in Pont L'Eveque August 1944. It was during the fighting in this area that David McKirdy was likely to have been killed in action.
The view today. The girder bridge would have crossed the river around the point where the first white van is parked (centre)
Sgt David McKirdy died on 23 August 1944, aged 37 years, and is now buried at Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France.

What a Tanker!

Well just like so many of us Wargaming Sheep, I followed the calling and bought myself the new TFL Rules Set “What a Tanker!

I was drawn in by the launch offer of hard copy, pdf copy and all the tokens for £24 – how could I refuse?

As ever the order arrived promptly and having had a quick flick through, look to be produced to similar standards to CoC and IABSM. I love the Commando Comic references in the artwork …..needless to say I was raised on these stories and it’s probably where my interest in WW2 stems from in the first place.

I’ve always liked the idea of a tank skirmish battle that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I tried GF9’s “Tanks” but was somewhat disappointed with them. Some of the manouvres allowed by the rules were just wrong and of course there was nothing to stop any megalomaniac opponent fielding the world’s supply of Tiger tanks!

I’m therefore hoping the TFL offering will better meet with what I was looking for.

Now I’m not planning to write a review – plenty of other people can do this far better than I – but I do plan to post my preparations for trying them out and perhaps an AAR.

First decision -  I’d rather try the rules using a smaller playing area – my 4’x3’ Deepcut Mat. So I looked at using my existing 1/200 AFVs.

Second decision - I’ve decided that my eyes are perhaps too old for this, so I’m going to try them out using 1/144 (n scale) AFVs instead – using cm instead of inches.

Much of my existing 10mm scale terrain works well with either scale,  so I’m good to go there. I also have a few Dragon 1/144 models in my display cabinet, but decided to leave these be and to create some new playing pieces with my 3D printer.

You can see from the pictures that I’ve tried a few new printing techniques to reduce the amount of cleaning up of support material they require. The Sherman, Panther & Tiger I models were all Marco Bergman files printed “disassembled” after having been revised by Chanson836 (Found on Thingiverse).

After cleaning up the models were straightened using the hot/cold water technique, before supergluing them together and filling any gaps. This, believe it or not, takes much less time to complete that cleaning up a solid model (like the Cromwell, Challenger & Comet that took about an hour to rid them of their support material) so has proven to be a great success.

Whilst the level of detail on these miniatures will never match a Dragon model, they easily pass the “Two Foot Rule” i.e. they look great from 2 feet away! Plus, as they have been created from proper scale drawings they are also correctly proportioned – something not all our current n scale manufacturers are able to claim!

Once completed the models were all given a light undercoat of white primer before finishing in their national colours.

More to follow…..!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Normandy Tour 2018 - The Tanks!

German 15cm SFH 18 Field Howitzer - Maisy Battery Museum (One of several!)

Selection of Panther tank components (Main Gun, Mantlet, Track & Road Wheel) - Museum D-Day Omaha

Close-up of Panther Roadwheel and track section. Inside the museum there was also an engine cover plate tucked away.

German 88mm Flak36 dual purpose gun at Museum D-Day Omaha

Goliath remote controlled tank as used at WN62 Omaha beach - Museum D-Day Omaha

M4A2 Sherman with 76mm Gun  at Overlord Museum Omaha

Sexton 25pdr Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) at Overlord Museum Omaha

M32B1 Armored Recovery Vehicle  (ARV)  on a section of Bailey Bridge - Overlord Museum Omaha 

M10 Tank Destroyer - Overlord Museum Omaha

Royal Marine Centaur Close Support Tank (95mm) - Pegasus Bridge Museum

!7 Pounder A/T Gun - Pegasus Bridge Museum 

M16 Halftrack with seperate Maxon Quad 0.50" Turret -  Pegasus Bridge Museum

LVT 2 - Utah Beach Museum

M4A3E8 Sherman at Utah Beach Museum
Churchill AVRE at Courselles-sur-Mer - an actual D-Day veteran

DD Sherman at Courselles-sur-Mer - an actual D-Day veteran