Game report: Game 4, 2011

October 31, 2011

This game was a replaying of the game we played back in August. Nothing had changed except that the map/table had even fewer clear lines of sight (LOS) and I was able to put my completed MiniArt Eastern European House on display. Here’s an aerial recon photo: .

A few things had happened inside my army since the last game – after Peter’s explanation of the difference between Digging in and Entrenching, I had some more points to spend:

  1. The AT Rifle teams went out, Early AT Rifle Grenades were in.
  2. An extra PaK40 went in.
  3. I was only Entrenched, not Dug In.

So, to begin, we established the Weather for the day. It was a Clear day with a Moderate Westerly wind.

TURN 1: Three T-70 light tanks came on to do some recon:  . A Soviet mortar barrage drops smoke down on the crossroads  whilst 122mm artillery rain down right on top of my 81mm Mortars, but good dice rolling on my behalf saw them head down in their trenches and safe.

TURN 2: The T-70s advance. Soviet artillery and mortars continue. T-34s now come on to the table. The Soviets can see two PaK40s on their right flank: .

Stupidly my mortar crew got out of their trench or something as I rolled badly and they were all killed.

As it was likely the T-34s had seen my PaK40s, they got to work right away. They killed a T-34 and Tracked another   , a great opening for me.

Having lost my Mortars, I Test my Morale and Pass. His tank crew Fail their Test and Bail Out, with the rest of that Platoon (one tank) fleeing! Sadly, the rest of the Russians held on to their firm resolve to defeat the Fascists.

TURN 3: The fleeing T-34 passes it’s Rally Test.

The two PaK40s are LMG’d into silence  , but in doing so they pop the turret off another T-34.

Having lost half of my AT Gun Platoon, I Test the Morale of those remaining and get a 4. They are Shaken for 6 turns.

The remaining two PaK40s are on the Soviet’s left flank. As a T-70 is within range, they are forced to fire on it – and kill it  .

It’s a tense game tonight. Can I win from here? I’m denting Soviet armour much more heavily than in the previous game…

TURN 4: The Soviets successfully call down 122mm artillery on furthest PaK on the left flank. The other PaK40 sees a T-70 come within 400m of it, so they flee the gun and it’s out of the game. 9 Russian tanks now try to silence the furthest PaK40 and fail! In reply, they kill a KV1-E  . But then the shells from the artillery land into their trenches and they are lost  .

I have to Test Morale twice now. This is where games are usually lost for me. But I roll a 10 for the AT Gun crew and they are fine – I then roll another 10 for the remainders of my Company, and they are fine! Battle on!

TURN 5: The Soviets continue to advance  , racing forward as there seems to be no remaining German opposition.

TURN 6: The Soviets continue to push forward – remember, their objective is to Break Through my lines. The 122mm artillery is now called down upon one of my rifle platoons, but they are safe in their trenches.

TURN 7: It is clear that the Soviet exit point is too far from my rifle platoons with their AT Rifle Grenades  , so I declare the Soviets to have won. Peter shows me his map with the exit point on it and indeed he is safe and thus the winner.

REVIEW: It was a really tense game. I could see myself winning until halfway through turn 4. I thought I had placed my AT Guns well and they performed extremely well.

However, I chose to ignore Peter’s advice from the previous game about landmines – to my detriment. I really could have used them this time to plug some of the holes in my lines.

Big game last night…

October 22, 2011

Peter and I got around to replaying August’s game last night. There will be a proper report with photos, so keep checking in, but for now, just an entree….

A fourth PaK 40 on the table was a bit of a surprise for Pete, and the bigger surprise for us both was that my rolling to hit for them was markedly better than last time!

Russian recon forces really proved their worth this time, even if this time one of them had to bite the dust doing so.

Russian offboard artillery proved effective, but Russian offboard mortars were all drunken, useless bums whom I think Peter hopes are spending the next 5670 years in a Siberian gulag.

 

2 weeks back Peter and I met for our third game of the year. The period was Autumn, 1942. The scenario was Breakthrough, with Peter’s Russians attacking (breaking through) my defending Germans. The sky was clear and there were light winds. Here’s the map: … a crossroads with hamlets and houses nearby.

No-one had any aerial forces, so we got straight into it.

Turn 1: The Russians call down a smoke barrage on the wrecked T-34 at the crossroads, neatly obscuring the vision of the PaK-40 I had dug-in behind it. Some recon forces came on to the table:  – T-34s were proxying T-70’s.

Turn 2: The T-70’s continued to probe forward: .

Turn 3: Now all the Russians came on to the table. T-34/76’s and KV-1’s. The smoke barrage was continuing: so my central PaK-40 couldn’t see them. They rumbled down the main road but also through the fields and trees beside it: – my PaK on the left flank found a T-34/76 going right into his bore-sighted path, so it fired and knocked it out of action .

Turn 4: The scouting T-70 on the far right sights the PaK-40 I placed over there. As the KV-1’s on that side break through the treeline, that PaK-40 knocks out a KV-1, which happened to be a Platoon Commander’s vehicle! Good! But over on the left, the T-34/76’s let rip with their hull MGs and my PaK-40 there is out of action. My mortar section try to rain death onto any tank riders, but their aim is off.

Turn 5: The Russians have to grind on if they are going to break through. One body of vehicles pushes past my dead PaK: .

Since I wanted to get my central PaK into action, we had a look at the rules about traversing infantry guns during a game. We were surprised to see some infantry guns could be fired whilst their crews were trying to shift them into new positions! We had to clarify the rules there and then for traversing mid-game: for a size B gun, the first 30 degrees of traversing is free…you can movie it and fire it without penalty. If you traverse it between 31-45 degrees from the original position, you can fire it but you suffer -2 penalty to hit. If you are trying to move the gun more than 45 degrees from it’s original  position you can do so but cannot fire it that turn.

So, back to the game; my right flanking PaK-40 hits a KV-1 and Stuns it, but is LMG’d to death by the rest of the KV-1 company. My mortars on the left flank wipe out a squad of tank riders through some accurate aiming. My infantry kill a few more. My remaining PaK-40 – the middle one, who was trying to traverse so that they could be useful – have to check Morale due to the losses of my other AT guns and fail, so they surrender to the Russkies.

Turn 6: Soviet movement is strong . They push hard and run over the dug-in Germans. All the Germans can  do is try to kill tank riders and weaken Russian morale. For the central force of Germans, their AT Rifles are useless against these medium tanks’ side armour so all that they can do by is pick off Russian infantry riding on the passing tanks. The Russians lose another squad as the Germans do so, but their Morale holds and the tank MGs cut down German infantry.

Turn 7: A lucky German infantryman kills the Soviet infantry company commander who’s riding on a tank: . The Russian Infantry check their Morale and are affected -they are now Shaken. But they are on the backs of tanks, so Shaken effectively means nothing for them. The Russians grind on to their breakthrough point and begin to exit the table  – they’ve won . My infantry are unable to stop them. Another victory to Peter.

~~~~~

It was also scenery-making night at the club that night. Here’s a mate making terrain for Stalingrad and the Eastern Front…burnt-down Russian hovels, where only the chimneys remain… .

Entrenching my troops

August 16, 2011

At some time in the last 18 months, I bought some fortifications from Battlefield Accessories. The particular ones I bought have three sides and are made of dug earth reinforced by wood and topped by sandbags. You can see the four I bought and have finished painting and flocking here: . I thought they would be good for indicating which of my guns were dug-in or entrenched and which are not. Here they are with my PaK 40s: .

They are well cast from resin, are single pieces with minimal bubbles or flashing to deal with. I wash mine in warm-to-hot water with dishwashing liquid in it. I then undercoat them (when dry) with Citadel spraycan Chaos Black and they take Citadel Paints well.  Hopefully I’ll be using them in a game against Peter soon.

Undercoating to final protective Dullcote varnishing took less than a year – booyah! It was April 2009 when I started. It was January 31 2010 when I finished. They look better than I thought they may, too! Have a look for yourselves:

Some detail of the anti-tank gun platoon commander and his gun: 

In “Panzerfaust: Armoured fist” I can have a platoon of three 7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 40’s attached to an infantry company or I can purchase a platoon of four 7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 40’s from a tank hunter battery. That’s why you see four bases of guns. Due to gun size, a crew of four is required. Now, in the Italeri box for this kit (#6096) you get six crew figures, so you are safely covered here. Mixing up the final pose (I only used one crew figure holding binoculars) means I have some sets of spare gunners for other projects.

I’m very happy with the way the camouflaged reversible winter parkas turned out. However, for when I do some Panzergrenadiers, I’ll do the Splinter camouflage pattern a little differently. I think that I have made the green patches/streaks too big on these figures. Have a look:

The Dark Green is the same size as the Dark Brown.

Now have a look at what Richard A. Underwood Militaria advertise. The Dark Green is half to one-third the size of the Dark Brown and are more like stretched hexagons rather than long streaks or long stripes. That is what I have to do for the Panzergrenadiers.

Some quick notes about the scenic effects for the guns that make them look like vignettes or dioramas: I used coarse turf in two colours instead of flock for the thick longer grass. I used Earth Blend flock for the churned-up ground where the crew are working. Woodland Scenics turf and flock are my ‘weapons of choice’.

I used real sticks / twigs found while walking or trout fishing for the logs that each gun is hiding behind.

A quick complaint about the PaK 40 guns themselves – their gun elevation is not 0 degrees or positive degrees – they are all pointing down slightly, their elevation is negative degrees. I suppose you could put some extra stuff under their wheels to raise each gun and get rid of this effect – I didn’t think of it until now – but it would’ve been nice if they had been made properly from the start. Still, for those who haven’t assembled and begun painting yet, you’ve got the chance to take my warning and correct this slight defect.

It is not hard to paint the Italeri  PaK 40 crew as wearing reversible parkas. Even though they haven’t been sculpted to show the full hood like the Caeser miniatures (you can see the hoods on the Caeser figs here and here), you are given enough to work with to model it sufficiently.

There are enough folds on the clothing at the back of the neck that can be enhanced with skillful painting…so just some careful applications of Skull White following the folds does the job and makes it look like the hoods, as you can see here: and in detail here: . Those extra folds become the hoods showing the snow white side on the inside.

Thanos, over at his Miniatures & Terrain blog, is also discussing painting the Italeri PaK 40 guns and in particular, the crew. He’s done his wearing the snow white side out. I think he’s done a pretty good job, too.

Anyway, I’ve based all the guns and crews now, so now it’s undercoating each base now and then it’ll be time for flock and lichen.

***

There are also some Panthers being worked on…I’m getting the preliminary surfaces fully painted so I can put the crewmen into their various hatches without having to repaint too much.

Some time ago I started serious work on Italeri’s “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit.

Since that post I had finished painting the four guns in DunkelGelb in Spring and left the crews to the side, as I was also going to do some crews for IG-18 field guns (7.5 cm leichtes Infanteriegeschütz 18) at the same time. Well, being a wargamer, I fall victim to regular bouts of “start something else on the side” disease and so decided to get these PaK 40 guns & crews painted, based, flocked and in play before July 2010.

I took off the sprue and removed all flashing from all six crew and then settled on four (as that’s what the Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist rules mandates for a gun of that size). Then I started painting.

Now, please click on this link to see all six crew that you get with the kit.

From the top row, I’m using #1 and #3 from the left. On the bottom row, I’ve chosen to paint up three of #1, all four of #2 and one of #3 from the left.

If you look closely, you’ll see that they are all warmly dressed. Bottom row #1 is in greatcoat and top row #3 has a balaclava or some sort of woollens around his neck. That means that I have to paint them as if all are in snow or a cold climate.

The crew whom aren’t in greatcoats are wearing a parka or jacket of some sort. Since I’ve already done troops in the reversible ‘mouse” suits, I wanted these later -war soldiers to have cammo. I decided to go and look at re-enactor suppliers and also my history books. Richard A. Underwood Militaria has this. Epic Militaria has this, which is great, but then there is also this. My book seemed to indicate that often it was the latter of Epic Militaria’s cammo smocks that were worn…ones without hoods.

You can’t see it clearly back on at Plastic Soldier Review, but these figures have smocks or parkas with hoods and also with distinctive drawstrings. So, it seems I’ll be painting my Splinter Camouflage uniforms with white drawstrings, as this best fits the Winter clothing Italeri has dressed these chaps in. Even though those winter outfits were reversible to snow white, I’m having all-cammo-out, because I can. Hah!

It’s nice that one two of the figures have greatcoats. Variety is a grand thing. Sadly, the picture I have in a book which I think Italeri has based this kit on doesn’t feature anyone in greatcoats…they are all in the reversible parkas, some with matching leggings and some not. All have reversed their clothing so the snow white side is on the outside. All wear the 1943 field Cap too (Einheitsfeldmütze).

***

Paul has concluded (for now) his Opel Blitz review and he has selected the leading product for wargamers to assemble, paint and use. Read his decision here.

I wanted to get good track sag for my 1/72 scale Panzer V Panthers (kit# 03107 by Revell), as evidenced in some of the photos over at “Juggernauts of the Second World War”. The Revell kit I’m using has length-and-link tracks, and very nice they are too. To get good track sag, I knew I’d have to coat the top length piece of tracks liberally with glue in order to heat it and slightly melt it into shape. This meant using a powerful superglue.

I had been using Flash Cyanoacrylate (thick mixture) but it was too thick…almost like putty…and that was going to be completely inappropriate for what I wanted. I didn’t want dried lumpy bits everywhere or ‘blocky’ or ‘clogged up’ tracks. I needed a extremely fast curing superglue that was less viscous.

I was advised to try Zap’s Zap-a-gap, medium. It’s not too watery – I was advised that the ‘thin’ that they make can, in the hands of someone unused to it (ie. me!), easily run and ruin work.

It did the job perfectly, good track sag was obtained on my models to match the photo evidence I had of actual track sag on these vehicles: (yes, that’s three kits on top of each other). A nice gentle curve above and then resting on the tops of the roadwheels.

As well as Zap-a-gap, another essential tool was required – some things to hold/wedge the tracks in place while the glue cured. Here’s a photo of what I used: – pieces of bamboo skewers that you buy to make satay skewers/shashliks and pieces of wooden disposable chopsticks/kwaizu/hashii, all cut into 3/4 inch lengths. Wedged in between the track and the body, it held the tracks in contact with the roadwheels at the right place and with the curing effects of Zap-a-gap (the slight melting that allows some re-shaping) I got perfect track sag.

***

The small river/stream will have to wait a few days or weekends, sorry all. I’ve got too much on the work table again – all these Panthers, that last Horch AA car and four PaK 40 crews that have been sitting round waiting for paint and basing.

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…

As I had begun last saturday prepping that SdKfz 7/1 AA halftrack for assembly, I decided last sunday to add to the assembly line my Italeri PaK 40 anti-tank guns. I had already washed, dried and undercoated the sprues many months ago and they had been sitting round idle, staring at me.

pak40-sprue-1

They are quick to assemble, but I still took the time to cut them carefully from the sprues, scalpel away any leftover flash and make sure they were all OK.

pak40-sprue-2

Just a little glue is needed, and the picture above shows how many parts are required to make one gun.

pak40-partway

This third picture was taken after the first round of glueing, making sure the gun and its holding arms and brackets are all OK, plus having done the first part of assembling the gun carriage. Took maybe all of 2 minutes. I then left everything alone for an hour to let the glue set.

The second and final round of glueing was maybe 5 minutes long. The pins to join the gun shield to the gun mounting are too long meaning thier positioning is difficult and fit into sockets tight…and I had to do some wiggling and poking and levering until all was correct – then take the shield off for a moment to apply glue.  Sticking the gun onto it’s carriage requires a bit of oomph…if you trim or file down the large pin that does that, you won’t have to worry about muscle power. Front shield and wheels were no problem.

I’d already drilled out the muzzles, so I was left with four guns just needing their glue to dry and a touching-up with some more Chaos Black undercoat:

pak40-basics-finished

Drilling out the muzzles wasn’t so easy. The vinyl-style plastic used for the guns takes scalpels and side-cutters well, but not drills. So I had to work harder than if the guns were made of styrene-style plastic.

Now I can put them aside for a little while, then do the crew (“servants”) and guns all at once.