I realised during a game of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist last year (last year being the year ended last night, 2010 – Happy New Year 2011 to regular readers!) that when I deploy my beefy 120mm Mortar Platoon, I’m meant to have a Fire Control base accompanying it. I decided to get rid of some loose figures by making up the required base, plus use up some of those Italeri German motorcycles by making up bases of FAOs on motorbikes.

They were all finished yesterday – the 40 degree celsius heatwave we had here drying out the last paintwork extremely quickly. Here are some photos of all three bases together – front:  and now rear:  .

Close-ups of the Fire Control base – front:  and rear:  .

Motorcycle-riding FAOs – front:  and rear:  .

Glad to finish them…they’ve been sitting around taking up space and effort.

The figures are a mix – Italeri, Revell and Pegasus Hobbies.

The logs that the binocular-wielding FAOs are propping themselves against are worth mentioning. Regular readers would know that I choose real sticks & twigs from nature, paintstakingly saw them using a tiny sawblade and then use them unpainted in my bases and terrain. This time I decided that I couldn’t use twigs from nature as I didn’t have anything suitable in my hobby room and aren’t sure at the moment where to look for fresh supplies. Also, if I did find real twigs they were going to have to fit under the height of the raised leg of the FAO figure – even harder to ensure. I wondered if the two plastic logs supplied with the Hasegawa kit MT30 ( 31130 – GERMAN INFANTRY ATTACK GROUP) would suffice…

I dug them out of a spares box and found that the middle of the big log from that kit would be suitable! I cut the big log into two, filed its bottom so it would sit nicely on the bases and then added the rest of the features. Painting the log to make it look realistic was going to be a real challenge…wood that’s fallen is different in colour to living wood – so I used both a fresh wood base colour, then an aged wood greyish-brown and finally a drybrushing of plain grey. Then I glued some bright green flock onto one side to represent moss (you can’t see it very clearly in the photos above, unfortunately).

They turned out really well and look great in real life.

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I’m over halfway done with those Matchbox 1/76 Wespes I won on Ebay last November, plus some railway buildings I’ve tinkered with over the months. The decals for the Wespes went on an hour ago and then it’s cammo time. Next come the final fiddly details, then weathering, Dullcoting and at last they’ll be ready for war.

The IG-18s that I have been working on whilst doing the caulk rivers are old RAFM pewter 20mm WWII blister packs. The guns themselves were in 5 or 6 pieces – the two wheels, the gun itself, the mid-section of the shield, the carriage of the gun and then I think the rest of the shield…or maybe the carriage and the rest of the shield were all one part…

They were cleaned up, glued together with thick Flash Cyanoacrylate and undercoated quite some time ago and have sat around causing small guilt trips whenever I faced the spare hobby table where they were sitting and waiting, along with lots of figures from whom the corresponding gun crews would be chosen from.

Once painted, they fitted nicely onto 40mm x 40mm bases. The Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist rules (page 11) stipulate that, as Light Guns, the IG-18 only needs two figures on its base to represent its crew. So, here they are, six based guns: and here is some of the detail:

The crews are figures from Pegasus Hobbies’ Granatwerfer kit, Italeri’s 251/1 kit, Airfix’s sd. Kfz. 234 kit and Italeri’s German Infantry.

The guns were done in my homemade Panzer Grey, with varying amounts of dust coating them.

I’ve begun assembly of 7 Panzerkampfwagen V “Panther” (Sd.Kfz. 171), known by their nickname of Panthers. These are the Revell kits, #03107 however most were bought as the combi-sets with accompanying figures (those of Fallschirmjäger). I’m only in the early stages, glueing road wheels onto the chassis and partially assembling the turrets.

My main tank kit assembly order nowadays is as follows:

  1. Lower chassis
  2. Wheels onto lower chassis
  3. tracks
  4. Paint lower chassis and tracks
  5. Join lower and upper chassis
  6. Turret
  7. Remaining mandatory chassis details as well as any crew figures or wire aerials
  8. Any kitbashed field modifications (me using bits of other kits to add on stowage etc.)
  9. Painting

The detail on this kit is pretty good. I’m going to assemble them as A types and have selected an acknowledged and photographed Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland camouflage for them, of green mottling over Dark Yellow. To see the black and white photographic evidence (and then a colour illustration of how it would look), get a copy of Panzer Colors III: Markings of the German Army Panzer Forces 1939-45 by Bruce Culver (and look Ma, I’m using LibraryThing again!!!).

I’m assembling 7 so that I have a platoon on 5 plus an HQ of 2. Panzerfaust: Armored Fist is written with German ad-hoc companies in mind…my recommendation is to always buy a platoon of a major vehicle and then the requisite number of HQ vehicles of the same type, in case you want them to be the HQ too.

Still 4 weeks of Spring left, but today is the second day of over 30 degrees…in fact, looking at the MelbinYewni real time temperature graph, today got to just over 34! This means it’s time to think about doing lots of wargames terrain / wargames scenery, as there will be the heat to cure and dry everything thoroughly and promptly.

I’ve made a start: the three telegraph posts from an old ESCI Diorama Accessories set have been assembled, based and given some lumpy earth around their bases…ready now for painting.

I finished off a platoon of PaK 36 anti-tank guns with crews, plus that ICM Krupp truck, so that they wouldn’t bother me and so that “Operation Barbarossa” next year will be a reality. The PaK 36s are from Fujimi, the crews are the one worthwhile figure from the Fujimi set the gun comes in, a chap from the  Revell  Fallschirmjägers and one of the two ESCI / Italeri Sd. Kfz. 251/1 crew. Photos: PaK 36 teams & truck PaK 36 gun & truck .

Some more comments about the ICM Krupp L2H143 Kfz 70 kit…it turns out pretty well and looks great painted. I opted to have the MG 34 on a pintle mount in the rear tray option, to fit in with the Kubelwagen Type 82 which also had pintle-mounted MG34. I don’t like the decals that ICM provided for this kit, though. There is too much excess clear decal surrounding the rear number plate, and even drybrushing with Kommando Khaki as a coat of dust didn’t help…in fact it made it worse and drew attention to the excess. There was also far too much excess on the front number plate – which is meant to wrap around a front bumper bar which is probably only a milimetre wide. Stupid! It wrapped but wouldn’t glue. I know some modellers add a special glue under any decal they apply, but I don’t have that glue and don’t think it should be necessary. The front number plate decal’s glue didn’t hold and so the whole thing popped off during drybrushing. A shame. Sorry ICM, sorry Roden, but I’m not having much luck with your decals.

Now, Fujimi’s product is meant to be 1/76 scale, but it isn’t. Let me clarify…the house probably is, but the figures and PaK gun supplied with it are definitely 1/72 scale or even larger…possibly even 1/70 scale! Anyway, only one figure from that product is worth using with the anti-tank gun because the others are even worsely sculpted and moulded than the figures Hasegawa provide with their WWII AFVs. Hence why each PaK 36 base I’ve done has figures from other manufacturers to make up the two-man crews that Panzerfaust: Armored Fist requires.

Lastly – a couple of Battlefield Accessories wall sections (enough to make two simple houses) have been assembled and are being painted, along with a Faller German, Austrian or Swiss log cabin that I bought at a model railroad shop.

Oh, and there’s a Wespe and that other Kubelwagen still in Tankoberg…but I’m feeling the time is nigh to make a caulk creek / stream following the laws laid down by Nikolas Lloyd.

 

 

The first two of what will end up being a platoon of six Pumas are done. I even numbered them ‘1″ and “2”:

Puma #1 Puma #2

As you can see, I went for both a dust coat but also a bit of dirty water and some mud splashed around on them. #2 has some rather unusual stowage on its rear deck – a case of 120mm mortar shells plus two boxes of  81mm mortar shells (left over from my Pegasus Hobbies mortars). I chose a while ago to give my AFVs plenty of interesting and unusual stowage courtesy of Scott Nicholas, whose own collection of 1/72 & 1/76 WWII Germans for Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist set extremely high standards for me in terms of painting, detail and stowage.

Now here they are together: Pumas 1 Pumas 2

Do please note the rear jerrycans with the white painted crosses on them – I felt that if these guys were doing deep recon, they may well want to take plenty of drinking water with them.

I’ve really enjoyed putting these Hasegawa kits together. Yes, they involve lots of parts and lots of stages but the final product is trouble-free and looks very accurate. Even the wheels, which I thought I might do incorrectly, came out perfectly. I know some people don’t like the tyres on these kits, but as a wagamer I’m not fussed by them.  Looking at those photos from Sd Kfz 234/2 by Francisco Javier Cabeza & Carlos Martín and then comparing them to Hasegawa – certainly, they don’t have the newest and deepest tread on them, but why should they? Why not have them well-worn?

I’m putting the finishing touches to a crewman for their 234/3 kit which should be finished by next weekend. It’s taken more time because of the detail for the crewman and the fiddliness of the gun – but it too has turned out well. It’ll get more paint and extras than these Pumas – you’ll have to wait to see exactly what more and what extra!

Two fridays back Peter and I had our second game for the year. Last year so many events worked against us playing – we only had three games for the year…and so far it’s been a game a month (effectively). Yay!

Since we had an armoured slugfest last time, we decided to revisit the infantry-vs-infantry style of game that we had enjoyed last year.  In fact, it even ended up being infantry and artillery only – no armour or SPGs at all (although if fellow club members could’ve loaned me six Wespes, I woulda gone for some mobile artillery too). I had a few vehicles – some Opel Blitzes and two 251/1Cs, but none were meant to be used in the attack. It was just going to be my Infantry company with some Offboard Artillery against whatever Peter had points for.

Let me detail the agreements made pre-game. This was to be a Quality German Attack – so whatever Point Value (PV) total I had, Peter would have half that for his forces. We agreed on No Vehicles (meaning no tanks or SPGs that were also tank destroyers). We agreed on each having Offboard Artillery. I ended up with approximately 2200 PV, so Peter had to take half that. In Panzerfaust: Iron Fist, German forces are expensive because most troops have good experience and Morale by default. Peter may have had only 1100 points to build his army with, but I knew he would end up with at least an Infantry Company plus some Offboard Artillery because Soviet troops are so cheap. Whatever else he was able to afford would prove interesting and challenging.

Here’s the map/board for the night: map-for-april-2009

The idea was for the terrain to represent a village or hamlet in a valley. Thusly I placed as many hills and elevated ground around the edges of the board as I could. The village was just four buildings, with a pond in between two of them…it represented a clean source of drinking water (maybe a large well or natural spring). Some good-sized fields of crops and an obligatory apple orchard on the edge of town…apples were a popular crop back in Russia and the Eastern Front in general…and it’s easier to buy the pre-made trees or components to make apple trees than to try and do something more exotic like cherry trees (and not Japanese cherry trees, or poor old Anton Chekhov would really be rolling in his grave). Some copses of trees on the town outskirts and some trees on the hills too.

Preparation: a Light, Westerly wind was rolled. My troops were coming in from the Western side of the board. The Objective that I had to reach in 10 turns was the road in between the four buildings.

Turn One – my forces came on board safely, in the Northwest, travelling Southeast. My 150mm Offboard Artillery was aimed at the nearest edge of the nearest house to my forces. Before I began rolling, Peter said he had deployed badly – but when he heard I had 150mm artillery, he said it would be a quick game! (He even suggested post-game that if I had selected only 105mm artillery, then I would’ve had much more trouble breaking his troops’ Morale).

I had two pairs of 15omm guns. I rolled two hits and two misses – killing a Soviet platoon HQ base and squad straight off. A good opening for me!

Turn Two:  Now I could see some of the defenders, russians-now-in-sight right in the outer edges of the fields, closest to me. Peter had opted for an aggressive defence and deployed accordingly.  He had mortars – they rained down fire on my Company HQ as it was moving down to its intended position. The Russians opened up on my infantry with MMGs, LMGs and rifles russian-mmg-lmg-fire for a fierce 46 Fire Factors at 25cm range. He rolled a 6 to get +1, but then suffered -2 for being Conscript troops. So, in conclusion he was -1 at 40cm…I lost 7 bases, which I spread out amongst the squads. I had to test Morale for 4 squads…the overall platoon was fine but some squads were Shaken, so they hit the deck and were just going to fire back.

My 3rd Platoon also came under heavy fire, losing the Platoon HQ. I rolled a 6…-5 left me with a final result of 1…that platoon was Shaken. They also were going to stay still and just shoot back, too.

My Artillery now came down. Even though I rolled shockingly, I still wiped out all the troops concealed inside the building, forcing Peter to test Morale.

The Germans returned rifle & LMG fire, killing a Russian MMG and some grunts. The killing of the MMG was due to Peter determining that my German LMGs could target the MMG, with leftover factors carrying over onto the surrounding bases as “splash damage”. This is an unofficial decision that worked well and will need codifying somewhere…stay tuned.

The nearest platoon of Russians have had enough and began to Retreat – the first time I’ve ever got Peter to retreat! Still, the Russian Company as a whole rolls 3 Morale, so they are OK…just.

The Russian mortars come down again on my Company HQ and softskins – killing my Company HQ. For once, I roll well in testing the Company Morale in a crisis – and get 8, leading to a final result of 1. We are Shaken for a turn but still in the game.

Turn Three – No more advancing for me – I’m Shaken so can only stay still and fire back. I disembark the four 120mm Battalian Support mortars out of the surving Opel Blitzes – they can fire on Turn Five. The 251/1C in front of the Opel Blitzes that I was using to make a FAO mobile  kills off some Russians with its LMG, so the other Russian bases near it surrender to me.

One of Peter’s platoons continued its retreat fleeing-russians but sadly for them they ran into my 150mm Artillery Barrage and were all killed.

Turn Four – I can move again! I had set up my company 81mm support mortars last turn and they could now fire. They missed. His mortars killed off a LMG base attached to my Company HQ teams.

Turn Five – I decided to change my Offboard Artillery fire from Pre-determined as I wanted to silence his mortars and so I had to roll to Call Down my Artillery onto a new target. I succeeded and silenced one of the Russian mortars, but his Mortars hit my 120mm Mortars whom are forced to flee off the table (they were right next to it).

I roll my Company Morale again – a 3 – leading to a Retreat. Game Over. I was so close this time to forcing him into a Retreat and winning…arghhhhh.

Here’s a photo of the FAO in the 251/1C directly fighting Russian infantry: fao-and-softskins-advancing

This time I had remembered everything.  Smokescreens, the lot.  It was him hitting my Company HQ so early on that prevented me winning…I must place them somewhere safer, not on a wing, and certainly not let them start high on a hill where they can be seen and mortared!

First game for 2009

April 11, 2009

A fortnight back, Peter and I went to NWA for a game of Panzerfaust: Iron Fist. Here’s what happened:

First thing was to set up a map for an Encounter scenario. The map agreed upon was thus: map-for-march-2009

Just a road with some hills, copses, a burnt-out forest (impassible terrain for vehicles – see earlier posts for its construction) some thickets and good grassland. A roll of the dice resulted in there being No Wind for the duration of the game. I asked that we play lengthways, rather than the traditional widthways. Since I was fielding Jagdpanthers, Peter agreed to this…even so, there was some concern that it might take too many rounds before enough tanks were in effective range to decide the outcome of the game.

I was playing with 5345 Points Value (much higher than normal) – 4 Jagdpanthers, 6 Tiger Is, 4 StuGs – that comprised one ad-hoc company. Peter had three tank companies.

TURN ONE: The objective was to reach the exact centre of the board.

Peter reckons he’s stumped about deployment, but I’m not. Any plan is better than no plan! My Tigers will take the left flank, the Jagdpanthers the copse on the right flank, and the StuGs will hold the middle (but just hold it…they can’t expect to kill much).

The StuGs and Jagdpanthers advanced to or through woods, depending on their proximity to same  jagdpanthers-using-terrain-1. The Tigers stayed in the woods and opened fire on the IS-2s that appeared opposite them. There was one hit but it bounced off an IS-2 hull.

TURN TWO: I continued to cautiously move the StuGs and Jagdpanthers forward. Another Tiger scored a hit but to no effect. The Russians moved the bulk of their threatened IS-2s to hull-down positions while three returned fire, knocking out Tiger #22. death-of-a-tiger-2 I tested Morale – all OK.

TURN THREE: Now I aggressively pushed my StuGs and Jagdpanthers forward, trying to get them into optimum firing positions. stug-platoon-moving-to-position-2 The Tigers moved cautiously. A company of T-34-85s now made their presence known, emerging from behind a wood. The IS-2s hit a second Tiger, is2s-early-taking-apart-the-tigers destroying its main gun (the mighty 88mm). To protect his comrades, that Tiger laid down a smokescreen with his smoke launchers.

TURN FOUR: The Jagdpanthers finally reached their firing position, jagdpanthers-in-position-and-commencing-firing from where they could gain a little concealment and kill the ISU-152s opposite them. The StuGs knew they had to fire a smokescreen to block the LOS (line of sight) of the ISU-152s, so they swivelled and loaded smoke shells. The Tigers moved to a better position to try to deal with the superior IS-2s. An ISU-152 killed a StuG, but the remaining StuGs successfully laid down a smokescreen stugs-lay-a-smokescreen .

TURN FIVE: Battle was now truly joined. Both sides manouvered extensively, jockeying for position.

The ISU-152s and Jagdpanthers opened up on eachother, with one Jagdpanther lost for two knocked-out ISU-152s. A second Jagdpanther was tracked. isu152s-1 The Russian Morale Check was passed OK.

The StuG platoon command vehicle was immobilised. This was bad, but there was no need for me to test the whole platoon’s Morale, just that of the command vehicle itself.

TURN SIX: The Jagdpanthers swivelled to shoot up IS-2s and T-34-85s jagdpanthers-killing-isu152s. StuGs that could advance did so and the Tigers stayed obscured by trees while they advanced.

The Jagdpanthers then experienced a savage exchange – two more were lost, including the platoon command vehicle. I checked the survivors’ Morale – Shaken. I tested the whole Company – OK.

TURN SEVEN: With more IS-2s killed, the Tigers came back into the action. My lone Jagdpanther was Shaken – so he simply held his position and fired, since he was not being forced to flee or surrender. He killed a T-34-85 platoon command vehicle t34s-mid-war-taking-fire, and that platoon became Shaken. Trying to get revenge, the T-34-85s returned fire and hit the Jagdpanther, but to no effect.

The Stalins killed another Tiger, but I rolled a strong Morale check of 11 – Fine! I was still in the game!

TURN EIGHT: Where the T-34-85s failed in killing that lone operational Jagdpanther, the ISU-152s succeeded. russians-grinding-on-to-victory I tested my whole Company – a 9 – Fine. Then the IS-2s killed my Company Command Tiger – and that was the end of the game.

RESULTS Not only did the Russians put a lot of my vehicles out of action, they got closer to the objective than I did. I got to see the killing power of IS-2s, ISU-152s and Jagdpanthers in action…those Jagdpanthers are deadly, even at long range.

I was disappointed by my Tigers vs. those IS-2s…but this was a historical outcome, the Tiger was outclassed and outgunned by the IS-2, even the early IS-2s.

Tip for the game? Use my smokescreens earlier!

All photos are over at my Flickr account.

Italeri should soon be releasing 1/72 scale WW2 German motorcyclists (kit #6121).  I’ve been toying (pardon the pun) with getting some recon cycles for a while. The wonderful Plastic Soldier Review has a comprehensive review of this new product, which you can read here. If you’ve never heard of Plastic Soldier Review, then get over there and start reading now – they cover all 1:72 scale figures, from all periods – prehistory to today.

I’m particularly happy that “…these are very much better models than the Armourfast equivalents…” (you can read the reviews of Armourfast’s offerings here and here), because that was my only option if I wanted to do up a recon platoon or even company for Panzerfaust!

The birthday presents are complete, Dullcoted and ready for a game. They are quick to assemble and come out looking great. Judge for yourself:

So, thanks Fujimi, you make some nice, cheap but great-looking terrain pieces. I know that you aren’t the scale I’ve chosen, but for these, I’ll make an exception. Each house almost holds two bases of Panzerfaust: Iron Fist infantry!

As well as some some straight Citadel colours, there was some blending going on, with a number of bricks individually picked out and also careful drybrushing. I have not glued the roofs on – that way they came be quickly removed and infantry bases placed there instead.

It’s been a productive weekend, because the Opel Maultiers were Dullcoted and put away at the same time as the houses. Having purchased some reference material, I’ve been kitbashing and modding the Italeri StuG IIIG that has been sitting alongside the houses. Just a couple of hours ago, the Revell Tigers began construction. Tankoberg, go!

Well, Second World War miniature wargaming using the 1/72 scale.

The rules that cause me to adopt certain conventions for my efforts is Panzerfaust – Armoured Fist (4th edition, revised). You can now get those rules for free! Follow the link above, scroll down past the Statistics section and there, in Files, you’ll find the PDF. As a bonus, Peter even adds:

“This is the pdf for the rules. I give permission for anyone to download this pdf. Feel free to share with friends.”