The scenario was Breakthrough, where the attacker attempts to break through the defender’s defenses and exit via one part of the board. So, Peter and I decided to recreate the breakouts the pockets of Russians tried to make after Operation Barbarossa and before the end of 1941. Here’s the board for the night:   and from the other end:  .

TURN 1: A Russian armoured car company (BA-6’s, from memory) comes onto the table:   . Two Russian152mm artillery batteries rain down fire on two map references,  indicating where the Russians were hoping to exit from. Platoon 1 of the defending German infantry company were in the radius of the explosions, and a Section was lost straight away. Morale held, though. Having seen the armoured cars, a PaK 38 got a shot off at them  but missed.

TURN 2: The armoured cars advance. All three PaKs open up on them  and one is knocked out. The Russians pass their Morale test, so they keep coming. German artillery doesn’t kill any of my entrenched infantry. TURN 3: The PaK platoon claim two more kills and a Stun result: . The cowardly armoured car commander flees!  (Poor Morale test result). My infantry keep their heads down as the artillery continues to rain down.

TURN 4: Russian FAOs try to shift one battery’s artillery fire down onto the PaKs – but fail. The cowardly Ivan armoured car reaches the edge of the board and is removed from the game. The other artillery battery now kills Section 3 of Platoon 1. I test Morale – I roll 7, which is modified down to 2.We are are shaken for…I roll a 1…one turn and must withdraw if any Russians come too close.

TURN 5: The FAOs can’t get the fire to kill my PaKs  . My infantry suffer no losses to artillery. Russian tanks are on the move   but the Germans can’t see them.

TURN 6: 2 companies of BT-7s burst out of the woods, moving at full speed!  The PaK 38s swivel so they can fire at them.

TURN 7: 152mm artillery shells begin to fall onto the German anti-tank gun positions as the anti-tank guns fire on the BT-7s. One BT-7 is hit and brews up. The artillery kills the middle PaK, the platoon commander, so it’s time for a Morale test. I roll a 5 but then a -8 modifier is applied, the outcome being that the remaining gun crews flee. I now have to test the whole Company’s Morale. This is where I normally lose games. I roll a 7…that gets modified to 4 – that’s fine. I thought I’d break and run, with the game ending then and there. Now I felt that battle was really joined – I was in with a chance to win. After all, the Ivans only have a few more Turns to get 50% of their stuff off the board…

Some BT-7s are close enough to my infantry to use their anti-tank rifle grenades against them  . The two teams in the white hut fire and both hit the same tank. One grenade penetrates but only produces a Stun result…the other hits the tracks and the tank is Tracked. This is too much for the crew who test their Morale, fail, and bail out.

TURN 8: The BT-7s grind on to their Breakthrough point, which is behind the little village  . 2 T-26s run into a minefield my troops had laid earlier  – this is the first time I’ve used landmines and I’m keen to see what they can do, since Peter has used them against me a few times with deadly results. I need to roll a 7 on 3d6 for each tank (I have chosen a medium density minefield only) – I roll a 10 and a 13 – no good, the tanks are safe. Back at the village, a BT-7 drives right over my entrenched troops! 2 anti-tank rifle grenades hit it, one of them Stunning the vehicle for two turns (hence the blue die showing “2” next to it, in this German aerial photo:  ). The Tank Desant (Ivan tank-riders) on the back are shot up by the German platoon HQ  – one of two Ivan teams are killed, the other surrenders to the Germans.

TURN 9: More BT-7s move, some getting safely off the board at their Breakthrough point. The Russian FAOs attempt to shift artillery fire again, but fail. The Stunned BT-7 is finished off by the nearby German infantry (their prisoners having been made secure)  but that doesn’t affect Russian Morale at all.

TURN 10: One artillery battery now brings down fire on Platoon 2 and in the process, finishes off the remaining non-HQ teams of Platoon 1. Platoon 1’s Morale roll of 6 is modified to 0, so Platoon 1 (now just comprised of the HQ team and the HQ Rifle support team) begin to flee  .

Now Peter and I stop to assess where the game is at. It’s a 12 turn game (Breakthroughs normally an’t be achieved in a 10 turn game). Peter can see the rest of his stuff can’t get to the Breakthrough point in time  , being all T-26s with lousy Cross-Country speeds. Peter has 1499 PV of Armour to get off the board (we excluded the BA armoured cars as we were uncertain as to whether they would count or not). Peter managed to get 736 PV off the board – he needed to get 749.5 PV off the board to win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By gum, I WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

A rare occasion for me.

The lesson learned in this game for me – landmines are AWESOME, but remember, you are rolling 3d6 for them to hit, not 2d6. I bought medium density minefields because I thought I only needed to roll a 7 on 2d6 to hit with them. Peter’s advice was to buy dense density, because then you need to roll 9 on 3d6 to hit, which is a 50% chance.

 

Aren’t Peter’s tanks great? Some are his father’s work, some are his own. The T-26’s have great-looking mud splattering and weathering on them.

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In real life, I don’t think land mines are awesome at all. I am a supporter of MAG, the Mines Advisory Group, who do fantastic work getting rid of landmines, bombs, cluster bombs, other unexploded ordinances and live ammunition so that ordinary people can try to live ordinary lives once battles and wars have gone.

Tankograd had four more come off the production line. Here they are:

251 234 263 and Kubel

From left to right: a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 251/22, a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 234/3, a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and lastly a Roden Sd. Kfz. 263. The Kubelwagen comes from the Hasegawa ‘Kubelwagen & BMW Side-car’ kit (MT-12) – the rest are stand-alone kits.

The 251/22 was a great kit to complete. The only trouble I had was with assembling the mount for the PaK 40 anti-tank gun. I included a loader holding a PaK 40 shell – he comes from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. The PaK 40 shell is tipped in black – designating it as an AP shell.

The 234/3 was straightforward and lots of fun. Nearly all my comments about the Hasegawa 234/2 apply to it. I included a loader for it too, another figure from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. That particular figure is sitting down andjusting the gun elevation, so he is molded with an elevation wheel in his left hand. I cut it out and glued a PaK 38 shell there in its place – the shell being surplus from the Roden PaK 38 kits I did some time ago. That shell was tipped with white, designating it as HE.

The Kubelwagen was problematic. I painted up the driver seperate to the rest of the vehicle – and then couldn’t fit him into place once he was finished. The steering wheel had to be removed; the machine gun mount and machine gun mount supports had to be re-done (and new supports kitbashed from leftover parts from old sprues). I learned my lesson – glue any drivers into place first and then paint, which is what I’m doing with the ICM Krupp truck.

The Roden 263 wasn’t too hard. I think their decals didn’t work so well for this kit. The large aerial overhead frame was fiddly but turned out OK. There was also a bit of flash on the sprues that needed some careful scalpel-work.

The Kubelwagen and the 263 got standard Dark Grey with heavy dust coats, for the start of “Barbarossa”:  263 and Kubel front 263 & Kubel rear

The 251/22 got my first attempt at a ‘ambush’ paint scheme. I gave it the same paint scheme as per the notes in my Jagdpanzer 38 “Hetzer” book by MBI. Sure, it’s a little bit stylised, but I love it! The 234/3 got a simple disruptive pattern in Citadel’s Goblin Green. I went and added some foliage – Woodland Scenics’ lichen. 251 234 front 251 234 rear

So, just gotta get them bikers done and the Recon game can happen…

The bases of teams with panzerfausts for that Infantry company are now up to the basing and flocking stage. I spent a fair bit of time and inconclusive researching trying to determine what was the factory colour for panzerfausts. The photo evidence of panzerfausts delivered by the Wehrmacht but unused showed them to either be a green that I had not previously sighted anywhere in use, or a sort of off-white / beige. I decided to select Citadel’s Cammo Green for my panzerfausts, feeling that it was distinct enough and not wanting to try to make a blend to match a colour photo taken with a weak flash in a dark room. So, my panzerfaust teams will look like this:

That’s good enough.

The first of my StuG III’s by Italeri have come off the assembly line and are complete.

I’m doing some minor kitbashing to modify and enhance them.  Have a look at this photo:

On the back, I used leftover parts from the Roden Opel Maultiers and Opel Blitzes to make an equipment frame for the crew’s gear. This was a common field modification and some were even added in the factory. Panzer Grenadiers also found them useful as handholds when riding on the back. They were simple bits of metal welded into a crude frame.

Using leftover brass wire from the ACE PaK 38’s and my fine hand screwdriver, I added the aerial. I also wanted the vehicle to look battle-hardened, so I used my scalpels and files to remove the first plate of the left-hand-side schurzen. Schurzen plates were often lost from enemy fire or were snagged and ripped off when moving through rough scrub and rough terrain.

Lastly, I didn’t want this vehicle to have an autumn of spring look (mud everywhere), so I went for a high summer look and liberally coated it with dust. The effect is quite good. Careful observers will notice I painted in some sides of the track links being used as extra armour…again, another field modification by some crews.

I like this Italeri kit. Yes, it’s been simplified and doesn’t allow much modification but turns into a fine kit with a little extra work and love.

The above are the completed PaK 38’s by ACE. Crew figures were from Pegasus Miniatures’ Mortar sets, Italeri and one odd bod that I purchased as part of a collection at a Swap&Sell. They have turned out pretty well – definitely painting, basing and adding crew makes them more attractive. Here’s a close-up:

You can see all six photos over at my Flickr account.

Time for a final gripe, though – while flocking, three of the six wire handgrips that I had to supply myself came off the gun struts – one off each gun. I gave up and decided that all three guns will have to be “battle-damaged”, becuase I wasn’t going to try to go through the rigmarole of glueing and painting new ones on.

I’m looking forward to trying the Italeri ‘PaK 40 with Servants’ kits I’ve got.

One, then the others

June 20, 2008

For much of the time I’ve been working on these Maultiers, I’ve been assembling them simultaneously. Since I’m now putting major parts together and building up the caterpillar track drive system, I’ve decided to only forge ahead on one, so that I can make sure I’m doing the right thing (and can quickly enact changes if not). Then the other two can be (hopefully perfectly) assembled.

A problem: the bogies wouldn’t fit on their axles. Out came the mini-drillbits and the scalpels to drill and resize everything so that I had a snug fit. It was time-consuming because I had to be very careful with whittling down the axles with the scalpel…I didn’t want to have to deal with breakages and heavy re-glueing, as discussed in my previous post.

Painting up the PaK 38 gun crews and 120mm mortar crews is moving swiftly and smoothly.

As an unhistorical aside, I’m debating about going to see Mongol. I have high standards ever since seeing Jing ke ci qin wang / the Emperor and the Assassin. But – I haven’t been to the movies for a while, so perhaps I should…

On parade

June 1, 2008

Yesterday I took some photos of the completed A Company. Not only was the lighting good, but both the regular uniforms and the winter “mouse-suits” came out perfectly. Judge for yourself:

A Company, German infantry from the Eastern Front, suitable for 1941-1943

Here’s a close-up of one platoon:

Close-up - German infantry - especially showing the \"mouse-suit\"

From another angle:

From a different angle, showing prone and upright soldiers

You can see all of the photos over at my Flickr account.

Last year I purchased a secondhand, unwanted HO scale railway station from one of my favourite hobby suppliers. The maker is AMRI – I think they are long out of business, but they produced a lovely railway station circa 1930-1950’s Melbourne. I decided to assemble it and then add lots of bomb damage, in order to use it in games re-enacting the battles over Mga station.

First though, the kit had been in it’s box a bit long and long parts of it were slightly bent. I decided to fix it’s slight warping by gently heating the curved parts under the grill. This promptly completely melted the roof beyond repair (bad pun), so I put the rest of it aside in anger and frustration. Over the last nine months, I slowly picked it up again, decided to have a second go, glued it together, added bomb damage by using side cutters, then slowly painted it. It was completed on Friday, and has turned out extremely well – see here:

The bombed railway station

It takes bases/teams for Panzerfaust Iron Fist extremely well:

Railways station with Panzerfaust bases/teams

Again, more views over at Flickr.

Hopefully Peter and I can now play a scenario with it in the next month or so.

I have used Citadel paints for all this plastic work. With a supplier near my workplace and another supplier near my regular place of grocery shopping, it makes sense to. I am also in agreement with a number of others whom have commented that Citadel paints are good quality and applicable for a broad range of uses. In the past I’d used Gunze Sangyo, but when I started painting fantasy figures a few years back, chose to use Citadel as I couldn’t get Gunze Sangyo easily.

Certainly, I’ve applied Citadel paints successfully to sheet styrene, polystyrene, caulk, plastic figures, white metal figures, wire and more and they’ve done very well – however, I have learned that you can’t always undercoat some surfaces with their spraypaint (much to my annoyance).

The paints and inks mix well and I have experimented with them in order to produce the colours and shades you can see in my work. Even drybrushing was done with mixes. Usually I was blending Catachan Green with either Codex Grey or Space Wolves Grey for regular uniforms, and blending Black Ink with Boltgun Metal for various types of metals.

The bases were done with Kayak Brown house acrylic, which I also use on my hills.

So, I hope you enjoy the parade. I’ve moved on to painting up the 6 MMG teams and assembling the 3 Opel Maultiers. I’ve nearly completed painting the PaK 38’s (just drybrushing and then mud on the wheels to go) and hopefully next weekend I can begin work on the PaK 38 gun crews.

Tonight, the remainder of Company A was taken off their blackened film cannisters and packed away with all my other German forces. Photos will, of course, be shown here soon. But for now, I’m relaxing, comfortable in the knowledge that the next time I play Panzerfaust Iron Fist, a whole company of infantry (with all options) can take the field. That means 3 platoons of 11 bases each (each platoon is 9 bases plus 2 bases for platoon HQ), plus a company HQ base with 2 rifle bases and 2 LMG bases. Flocking, Dullcoting and annotating was trouble-free. I like the basing effect I get using the fine flock, coarse flock and then bushes…this time, I alternated bushes with small clumps of lichen that were carefully selected and cut.

The PaK 38’s are being feldgrau’d. I dropped the completed one by accident. It suffered minor damage, so I will have to craft, glue and then paint another wire hand grip on one of the struts. Since I’m discussing the PaKs, I’d like to also point out that I again fell foul of the instruction sheet, which I’ve griped about before. I stuck the gun mounting on too high! I’d been wondering why it looked so odd and didn’t quite match all the photos I’d found online of actual guns…I cut it off with a scalpel. Then, using a good file, filed it and the two others so that the whole mounting would fit on properly, liberally applied glue and stuck everything together. Saved, but once again, that instruction sheet could do with improvement – maybe a second diagram of the same stage, but from a different perspective and with arrows demonstrating how it’s meant to be joined to the rest of the trailer…anyway, others who wish to buy the same ACE kit – be warned.

The MMG teams are about to be commenced, along with some gun crews for the PaK38’s. Since I’m about to slave over painting another batch of troops, I decided to glue up, paint and base all the rest of my Pegasus mortar crews too.

I haven’t forgotten the Opel Maultiers…all things in time…I’m fighting the urge off to do the Tigers, and have sworn only to do them once those Maultiers are done.

Today it got it’s camouflage scheme, and tonight all final detals will be completed, then it’s ready. The other two are nearly assembled and then they can be painted. Haven’t done anything about the crews, because it makes sense to use the spare crew figures out of the Italeri PaK 40 kits.

Having finally got more flock, so flocked the rest of Company A, being 3rd Platoon and the full HQ bases.

The bombed railway station will be up for final details tomorrow; scorch marks and application of piles of ash. Yay!

Plastic or metal?

May 13, 2008

With a few heavy coats of my homemade Panzer Grey on it, the ACE PaK 38 is starting to look OK. In fact, it reminds me a little at the moment of diecast metal cannons from my childhood! The finished product will be the decider…last night I applied some watered black ink around moving parts for that “greasy” look. A camouflage pattern of Desert Yellow will be applied to it, then it’ll be drybrushed with Kommando Khaki for dust. Should have a “introduction of the thee colour scheme but we used the good paint on the vehicles” effect.

Peter and I had a game of Panzerfaust on friday night, where my Marder III h’s debutted. What a debut it was! I had them well placed from the beginning and they were able to tear across the battlefield and rip up four T-34’s, almost winning me the game. My infantry did pretty well too, slaughtering a good part of his “tank desant” motorised infantry.

The railway station is coming along well, too. Much of the heavy work is done – now it’s details.

PaK postscript

May 7, 2008

After I posted last night, I came up with an idea for the awkward struts…I tore the offending one off it’s hinge, retooled the remains with a scalpel, and then stuck it back on at the correct angles with loads of glue. It looks a whole lot better for the effort.

Today, the order went in for two Revell products, the PzKpfw IV “Tiger” I Ausf.E and the PzKpfw VI Tiger & German Infantry, which is the same vehicle but combined with their 1/72 later war German infantry figures. As threatened in previous posts, I also requested the PaK 40 anti-tank gun “with servants” from Italeri. Whee!