This last game of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist (click this link to get the rules for free) for 2012 was to be an Encounter scenario, using forces most likely to represent reconnaissance forces. The date is March, 1942. The failed drive to Moscow is a fresh and sore memory.

Forces are searching for each other in the regions west of Moscow. For Weather, a 6 was rolled – Clear. For Wind, a 1 – Still.

Here’s the map/board for the night: 1 Map 1 2 Map 2

Turn 1:

The Germans 3 details 1 could already see a company of BA armoured cars that were advancing at high speed. I order to try to reach better positions before engaging, I decided the Germans would all move at Full Movement speed.

More Russians then came into view after my movement, including infantry on horseback 4 details 2 .

The Russians had already set up some anti-tank guns 5 Russian 45mm L 56 ATGs . A 45mm L56 fired on a Pz 38(t) but missed. Being a small gun and at some distance, the Germans couldn’t see its muzzle flash and so couldn’t try to fire speculatively at it.

Russian 122mm artillery is attempted to be called down onto the Pz 38(t)’s. An 8 is required; a 4 is rolled. It’ll come down next turn (Peter did this too late in the turn and so penalised himself by delaying its arrival).

Turn 2:

All German forces continued moving at full speed 6 Germans moving at full .  The Russian 45mm L56 on the hill fired again, missing again. The BA company 7 What the Germans could see  all fire at my Pz 38(t) platoon and all miss. The Russian artillery comes down but only affects a Pz 38(t) on the wing, Stunning it for 2 turns.

Turn 3:

I roll 5 pips for my actions. Good, I need it to get everyone firing at the Communist hordes. I choose to continue advancing the company as a whole (so my two motorised infantry platoons continue to move forward to optimal combat positions) 8 Germans continuing to move at full but I spend pips halting my two armour platoons.

My SdKfz 222’s roll brilliantly, and cause three BA’s to be tracked. The Pz 38(t)’s hit the same BA’s, knocking the gun out on one and causing the crews to bail out of two others 10 Russians taking hits too .

As a result of this savage fighting, the BA company have to test morale. They are Stunned for 6 turns! But – they can still shoot, it just means they can’t advance – so I still have to be careful.

By now the other Russian 45mm anti-tank guns are set up and open fire, knocking out a Pz 38(t). Another hits my already-Stunned Pz 38(t) causing it to be tracked, then a third hit forces its crew to bail out  . I have to test the Morale of the Pz 38(t) platoon. I roll a 7, which is modified to 5 because of the Russian artillery fire, so we are fine (a roll that ends up being modified to 2 or below is bad).

A SdKfz 222 is hit and the crew bail out 9 Germans taking hits . I test the platoon’s morale – 3 – they are Shaken. I rolled to see how many turns they are Shaken for – 6! Drat.

Now I test my company’s Morale. 7, modified to 6; no problem.

Turn 4:

I move everyone, armour at full speed but infantry at 5cm so that the infantry vehicles (SdKfz 251/10’s) can shoot. Some infantry vehicles have stopped moving, allowing the troops to race into the buildings 11 Turn4 results 1 .

There is mass Russian shooting. A Pz 38(t) is tracked. My SdKfz 251/1’s use their LMGs to wipe out some Russian infantry with AT rifles.

The tracked Pz 38(t) fails his Morale check but the rest of the platoon passes.

Turn 5:

My infantry have all leaped off their 251/1’s and 251/10’s (apart from those needed to operate those vehicles’ weapons). Some are able to swarm into the hamlet’s hall (the game’s objective) and surrounding houses. But they lie low, as the Russians don’t know they are there and the opportunity to ambush is too good to pass up.

My SdKfz 222’s use their LMGs and 20mm cannons on the second platoon of 45mm L56’s, wiping out the whole platoon at once. But it’s not all good news, as the German guns and Russian guns have simultaneous firing times – so the L56’s shoot and score three hits on the SdKfz 222’s, killing the platoon commander and causing the others to surrender to the Russians.

I test my company Morale – 8 – fine.

A 251/10 lands a shell on a BA and stuns it.

My 50mm infantry mortars fail to land their shells on opposing Russian footsloggers. The 251/1’s let rip with their LMGs at the same footsloggers and kill a few 12 Turn5 results 1 .

My other 251/10 is destroyed and that platoon’s Morale fails.

I test the whole (surviving) company Morale – 5, modified to 1…Shaken. I can’t advance, but I’m still in the game 13 Turn5 results 2 .

Turn 6:

We declared this would be the final turn, as it was 11.30pm.

The 45mm L56’s on the hill hit my Pz 38(t)’s and kill the platoon HQ; the game ended right there 14 Turn6 as my Morale was now too low to continue fighting.

So I lost (as usual) but this time did reach the objective and occupy it (briefly). I’m improving each year! 1 win, 3 losses for 2012. Next year, I want to have 2 wins and 2 losses.

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Here are some photos of other games being played at NWA that night:

Other games 1 Other games 2 Other games 3 Other games 4 Other games 5 Other games 6 . Those Warhammer 40K dudes? some of them are Stephen/cheetah185’s. You can see photos of his Warhammer 40K project on his blog, In my own time.

 

 

UM’s SU-85 and Dragon’s 251/10’s:  .

The SU-85:  . The 251/10’s:  and .

The 251/10 cannons were more difficult to assemble than the instructions suggested they should be. They required some carving and filing to get the barrels to properly fit through the gun shields.

The remaining 4 SU-85’s (making a company in total) have finished assembly and are now just awaiting painting.

My revised order of assembly has helped correct one set of part fit issues with the UniModels SU-85 (СУ-85) kits currently on the table, but I felt like I came close to problems with a different part of the model. This time, it was at the rear  of one of the five units and is visible for the left vehicle in this photo:  – the vehicle on the right is to show the better fit. A big gap between the superstructure and the hull proper. So, out came the Tamiya putty to fill the gaping gap:  – and there was shrinkage of putty, so I had to apply another coat too. I’ll scrape off the excess where possible, but some of those bolts/rivets are now lost under putty, so I’ll have to disguise all the putty and fixes with a very thick coat of mud – quite acceptable, given what Russian roads where like in Spring and Autumn.

Looking elsewhere on these kits, my revised assembly steps solved most of the previously-mentioned superstructure fit problems, except in this instance:  – so some scalpel and nailfile work was needed to get that glacis plate to slide smoothly into place.

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Two piece mudguards that don’t have proper anchor points/fit grooves don’t help either:  and that can lead to me using glue as putty to try to lessen the gaps made by the mudguards not sitting flatly and not being in total alignment, as you can see here where superstructure meets mudguard:  . Hmmmm.

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The 251/10’s are coming along well:  .

 

I’ve completed the major stages of assembly of UniModel’s 1/72 scale SU-85 (or, if you are Russian, 333 UM 1/72 Самоходная артиллерийская установка СУ-85):   . It’s a well-detailed kit, but I think there must be better ways to actually assemble the kit than the way they suggest on the instruction sheet. Since this is the first of a company of 5 that I’m assembling, I’ll assemble the other 4 in a different way. The reason for wanting to do it differently is that, having followed their instructions, part fit of the superstructure to the hull was poor – out came the nail files and there was a lot of filing in order to get part fit, let alone accurate part fit. Not good. I’m reminded of some of the grizzles with assembly I had with the Marder III (h)’s of theirs that I did 4-5 years ago. So, we’ll see how the rest of them go. This one isn’t too bad, but it certainly isn’t going to be the company commander’s vehicle.

Also, I completed the Pegasus Hobbies 1/72 scale Russian Log house – Two storey (Large Karilian region izba) that I won as part of a number of job lots on eBay three years back. Mine looks like this from the front:  and like this at the rear: . It’s to scale, as you can see here, with 1/72 troops (ESCI/Italeri, in this instance):   . It’s meant to be a two-storey building, but there is no “first floor” provided, so I made one with leftover sheet styrene:  so I can have snipers upstairs if I want:  and the first floor sections easily lift out and away for when the door finally gets broken in and close-quarters combat (CQC) occurs:  . As you can see, it is a very big building. Great for diorama or scale modellers, but I think that for wargaming, it occupies too much of the tabletap. I don’t mind a factory or somesuch taking up big slabs of the tabletop, but I’m not so sure a large farmhouse (Russian: изба́) should share that right.

So, now I have a good collection of buildings by Pegasus and MiniArt for the Russian side of the Eastern Front (Ostfront):  – that should be enough for a few years.

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My Dragon 251/10’s are coming along a bit more slowly at the moment, as you have to paint the interiors before you can fully assemble the bodies:  .

 

…is the Holcroft Pure Red Sable Brush Round Size 20/0.  Cost me $5.50 AUD or so, as it was on a discount.

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Work on a pair of 251/10’s is slow but steady. They are Dragon kits, and the kit is meant to have the rear of each vehicle with a hefty supply of jerrycans in racks. I”m thinking of omitting the jerrycans and just putting the normal benches there.

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The SU-85 (СУ-85) is coming along more slowly than the 251/10’s.

Having finished those Panzer III L’s and M’s, I’m now trying my first kits by Dragon Models Limited (AKA DML). Three Sd. Kfz. 251/1Ds are on my table. When I get around to doing the Sd. Kfz. 251/10s that I have (also from DML), the three 251/1Ds will go with a single 251/10 to make a platoon. That platoon will then be for panzergrenadiers.

I must say what has been said by so many before me about Dragon’s products – the detail is exquisite, it really is. Fine rivets,;Mp-40s minus their ammo clips; intricate dashboards and so much more all contribute to really make these vehicles feel like true replicas.

I have had some issues with what little construction I’ve done so far. Not everything has sat as nicely as the instructions would have you believe, and there is definitely a technique to doing the tracks (some of them “snapped” – the glue softened them too much whilst fitting them into place and trying to replicate track sag). I also came up about 8mm too short with the tracks – they wouldn’t join together if I was doing track sag.

Still, it’s early days yet. I’m going to do the entire bottom half and then paint it, then put on the top superstructure, glue all the rest of the side and top components and then finish the rest of the painting.