Now it’s time to seal the hills. If these were troops or vehicles, I’d be sealing them (to protect the paintwork) with Testors Dullcote. I seal hills with Woodland Scenics spray-on/brush-on Scenic Cement as it glues the flock from the top side, meaning that at the end of the process it’s glued from below and above and will only come off under physical duress.

I prepare the spraying area. In the past, I put newspaper on the floor and walls of a corner of a room and sprayed. Now I’m doing it in the garden shed. I get my cardboard box shield and it’s removable cardboard floor: and place newspaper on the removable floor to absorb any overspray or runoff: then put the fllor into place and place the hills in position: . I use a cheap garden sprayer/mister with 500ml reservoir as they are available in hardware shops and supermarkets – either I pour the Scenic Cement into the reservoir (usually when the Scenic Cement bottle level is low) or put the sprayer mechanism directly onto the Scenic Cement bottle (when the level is high, as is here -a brand-new, unopened bottle).Spray from the front, the sides and very lightly from the top: then take out the cardboard floor, rotate it 180 degrees, put it in place and spray from the front. Then leave the hills to dry (I always wait 24 hours). Be sure to carefully wash out your sprayer/mister, otherwise the glue will harden and interfere with the mechanism. I rinse it out and spray clean water through it twice. Even so, glue will still ruin it in time (over a few years of annual use, so hence the need to buy cheap sprayers/misters.

Next day, have a look at your finished products! . I’m very happy with how the SeeNiks Earth Blend flock turned out – it looks like this: . I think it looks fantastic, far better than the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend which contrasts too much with green flock. This SeeNiks flock also is a bit grittier…there are cut fibres and large flakes of sawdust in there, that make it look more like broken ground that’s dry than the “polished mud” appearance of Woodland Scenics’ product.

Your hills are now complete. Remove all the posterboard pins from underneath and store your hills or get a game on with them. Here are some photos of the hills with my Tiger Is:    . Just a quick check that the hills are taller than the tanks, thus completely blocking LOS when everyone’s at ground level : – they sure are.

 

I decided during last year that the hills I made back in 2009 don’t really cut the mustard when used in a game. I had collected some polystyrene foam used for house insulation a few years ago…it’s about 3 inches thick, allowing for quite tall hills – my other polstyrene is less than an inch thick which doesn’t allow for hills that completely block LOS. I had done the initial shaping of the foam some time ago. I refined the two hills I’m going to make this summer during last week, by doing finer cuts and thin shaves of the foam until I had realistic hill shapes.

I’m doing it all in the shed, not the Hobby Room. First thing to do is put down some cardboard to stop any drips/mess going onto the table underneath:  and then some newspaper on top of it:  . Here are the hills as plain foam shapes: – one has a flat summit, the other a natural/curved summit. I wanted a flat summit for one so I could put at least one of my based trees on it (to further block LOS, but also because hills often do have trees growing on them!).

Open and stir the paint, making sure you’ve got some water to rinse out the brush with:  . Begin painting with your base/earth colour:  – I’m using Haymes’ ‘Kayak Brown’ as my earth colour. Cover until you only have the bit left where you are holding it: – as my polystyrene foam was rescued from a rubbish skip, I’m turning them over and putting a light coat on the bottom to cover some of the dirt they got on them when shoved into the skip: . When you’ve done all the hills you have, then stop and let them dry: . I’ll do the remaining white when they are dry (probably early tomorrow morning, we’ve been having hot days and warm nights lately).

Begin to think about what flock, talus, underbrush etc. you are going to glue on when all this painting is finished. I like to do two coats on the exposed surface of the hill, so these won’t be ready for any glue tomorrow or the day after…

 

 

 

 

 

This game was a little unusual in that there were four platoons per side. This was because when we were going to play this game back in January, it was going to be two players per side. On the night it was just Peter and me with a lot of vehicles and a lot of firepower on the table. Peter was playing the Americans for a change; I was playing Germans.

The scenario was a second trial of a reconnaissance encounter. A medium-sized village somewhere near Germany in the late Autumn of 1944. A gale-force wind was blowing. Both forces are trying to see if the train station and railyard are clear…since that is where most cover for armour would be. Here are some photos of the table:   and here are three close-ups, going from right side to left:    . As you can see, there was plenty of terrain to block LOS and provide hiding spots as well as slow up any gallant cavalry charges.

So to the game! Turn One was plain movement. Each player moved one platoon and then their opponent moved a platoon until all platoons had been ordered to do something. \Such is the way of resolving movement with an Encounter scenario in Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist. Here you can see some M8s coming on board:  .

Turn 2: more movement. Peter’s M8s and a platoon of Chaffees are making the most of no hostile fire:  .

Turn 3: I choose to move full and get some of my men into optimal positions. Sadly, as they do so they sight enemy armour –  – they see Chaffees trying to conceal themselves by sticking as close as possible to a small brick house past the railyards  . Now, as I’d moved full movement that turn, I couldn’t shoot. However, Peter could and did. His Chaffees open up on a 234/3 and knock it out. They also try to hit a 234/2 but miss – it had only just come into view and they hadn’t properly trained their guns on it. I have to make a Morale Test for my 234/3s – I roll a 10 – they are fine.

Turn 4 is when it got hot. Both forces are fully aware of each other. I have to make a desperate gamble to save my Panzer II Lynxes from the very powerful guns of a second platoon of Chaffees. I bring around my platoon of 251/9 Stummels to do so. It is at this juncture that Peter asks me if I have purchased HEAT ammo for all my guns, which I have neglected to do…damn!

My forces try to manoeuvre into good firing positions while using as little Movement to do so and Peter does the same, boldly racing his M8s down the road to flank me.

A 234/2 Puma gets a good shot off and tracks a Chaffee  and in retaliation a platoon-mate of the stricken Chaffee shoots and hits a 251/22, destroying it completely:  . True to my luck, or form, or character, call it what you will! – that 251/22 wasn’t just any 251/22 but my Company’s Command Vehicle. This was bad. To ease my concerns slightly another 251/22 knocks the gun out of action on a Chaffee and the Chaffee crew bail, but regardless it still means I have to make a Morale Test for the whole company and the there is a good chance the game will end right then and there. I roll a 7…after extensive modifications it is a 2, which means the whole company is Shaken. I roll a single D6 to see how many turns they are Shaken and get 2. Not so bad. Across the table a 251/9 is hit and brews up – the armour they have is no defence at all to a Chaffee gun. A 234/3 who had turned 90 degrees is able to knock out an M8  , even though it was racing along the road. End of a tumultuous turn for me.

Turn 5. Due to so many enemy AFVs being within 400 metres (40cm) of my forces and my forces currently being Shaken, my troops must all withdraw. Peter checks the rules and realises that there is no discussion of what speed my men must withdraw at, so I can withdraw as slowly as possible. Two more 251/9s are destroyed  and the Morale Test gets a flee result. I then have to test the remainders of the Company and they too fail Morale, so my bloodied and battered troops flee the scene. Just as well, as at the rail yard the Americans had massed for a big push:  .

This game was played with 1/72 and 1/76 scale forces. Most of my forces were plastic, but the Lynxes were resin and some of Peter’s were resin.

I lose again and once again my badly placed commander dies too early. I don’t know how I can fix that situation apart from play ‘out of character’ and put my Commander at the back of the force.

Four modular (well, semi-modular, they aren’t as modular as I normally make) thickets are completed. Here they are as a group:

Here’s a close-up to give you some sense of proportions:

Tall enough to definitely block line-of-sight (LOS) for troops on foot, and as far as I’m ruling, enough to block LOS for AFVs too (except perhaps for a commander half-out of the turret of a Königstiger or somesuch).

They are not as modular as normal for me – usually, I would make the top part into at least two or more pieces, so that when footsloggers or AFVs enter it, you don’t need to remove the whole piece of terrain. Because I wanted these to be really thick, I made them as one piece, so the whole piece must be removed if an AFV (such as this Marder III (h)) or infantry try to negotiate passing through it:

These terrain pieces make their debut this friday night.

Why make them like this? So that they last longer. I don’t want my fragile terrain like this getting flattened, damaged and ultimately needing replacement after being crushed under bases of infantry or plastic AFV kits that have had some metal parts added to them. A little extra initial work results in a much longer wargaming terrain lifespan!

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.