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.

***

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.

 

 

The IPMS Swap & Sell yesterday was quite an event. I was there at 9.05am, 55 minutes before opening at 10am, and there were already 50-80 people ahead of me. By 10am, the queue stretched the length of the building. Here’s a photo as I went up the escalator of the queue BEHIND me:  – you can see it stretching all the way under that roof up to the bright daylight in the distance. How many people is that lined up? 500? 800? I don’t know. But I’m glad I got there when I did and will be there earlier next year.

I already mentioned part of my wish list last post. I think Santa must have been listening:

  • 2 x Revell Panzer III – platoon completed!
  • 2 x Revell Panzer IV – platoon completed!
  • 1 x Dragon 251/2 D – The 251/2 by Dragon can be built as a 251/1, so that’s a platoon completed! Also, it’s technically not a 215/2 – the 251/2 had a mortar replacing the front MG. This vehicle is actually a Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D mit 28cm Wurfrahmen.
  • 4 x Revell Panzer VI – a platoon in one purchase! Sure, they are slightly different models of vehicle, but who cares? Many of the earlier ones with air cleaners on the back never went to the Afrika Korps.
  • 1 x Dragon 251/7 mit 2.8cm sPzB 41 – an engineering vehicle with a meaty gun; will be fun for Late War reconnaissance games where it can join the one I bought back in March.
  • 1 x ICM Sd.Kfz 222 & 1 x ICM Sd. Kfz 223 – a full reconnaissance platoon completed!
  • 2 x Revell Tiger II – half a second platoon started.
  • 1 x Revell Ju 87 D – all I needed for the air warfare component of the rules.

15 kits for $226…that’s $16 a kit if I add in petrol money and entrance fee. Now to find some time to assemble and paint them, and who to start with first? Decisions, decisions…probably the halftracks…

The IPMS Model Expo started today.

Monday is the great big Swap & Sell. Monday’s Swap & Sell is often very, very good for me.

I’ve even compiled a list of extra-special things to look for, mostly to make complete platoons of vehicles or complete platoons+matching HQ vehicles. I’ll lay a bit on you:

  1. 1 more each of ICM’s Sd.Kfz 222 & 223.
  2. 1 more Dragon 251/1
  3. 2 more Hasegawa 234/2

…and of course there’s more.

What’s different to previous years is that I’m also looking for a Focke-Wulf FW 190 G-3 or a Junkers 87 B-1 or a Junkers 87 D-1. Yes, aircraft! Pete and I want toget aircraft into our games.

 

 

 

Fourth & final game for 2009

November 28, 2009

A medium-sized township somewhere on the Eastern Front…the Eastern Front in Spring 1945, that is. Two reconnaissance forces clash somewhere in or near Germany.

There was a moderate south-easterly wind blowing.

We decided to play lengthways for this game, as our AFVs could all move at very good speeds and Peter wanted me to see just how that translated onto the table.

I had a company comprised of many different AFVs – 234/2 Pumas, a 234/3 Stummel, 222s and Lynxs. Peter’s Soviet force had a high percentage of Lend-Lease vehicles – M3A1s, M3 half-tracks as well as T-70s.

FIRST TURN:

Both sides moved. My 234/2 Pumas moved at 1/2 their maximum permitted speed, so they could shoot at the T-70s they saw on the main road on the other side of town.

The Pumas hit, but at that range their shells could never penetrate, so the shells bounced off.

SECOND TURN:

More movement. The T-70’s guns can’t reach my Pumas, so my Pumas take advantage of the situation, opening fire and causing one T-70 to be Tracked.

THIRD TURN:

Now AFVs from both sides were racing across the table top.

Peter was right – these recon AFVs really could fly, and having the roads helped this aspect of the game too.

The T-70s are now in range and fire a salvo at the opposing 234/2s but with no success. The 234/2s return fire, getting a Stun result on one of T-70s and  immobilising the other.

FOURTH TURN:

With AFVs sited by both forces, I needed all my 6 ‘pips’ to split my forces up. All jockeyed for cover or to present their heavily-armoured fronts to their opponents.

Down in the south-east of the town, my Lynxs came under solid fire from the Lend-Lease M3A1s, causing one Lynx crew to panic and bail out.

To the north, the 234/2 Pumas both immobilise the already immobilised T-70 and destroy its gun too – Peter rules that it is effectively destroyed as it can do nothing else.

FIFTH TURN:

I order all my German forces to slow right down. Firing at half speed affects their aim (not surprisingly) so now they are to only move 5cm each or less. My rolling for shooting goes downhill though – I roll far too high all of a sudden so my strategy is for naught.

The Russian infantry whom had been tank-riding and dismounted back in Turn Two, hurl Molotov cocktails from their concealed positions in the railway station at the Pumas. Peter rolls the top result possible – Puma #2 is destroyed!

I make a Morale Check for the whole Company…a Shaken result. Not so good.

SIXTH TURN:

My toughest platoon on the table – my 234/2 Pumas – must Withdraw. ‘Withdraw’ means reverse 5cm but can still Shoot…I just cannot go forward under any circumstances.

This turn there was much death. Peter’s  BA-10 platoon are all effectively Tracked and so they Bail Out. My Puma platoon leader is killed. 

I roll an 8 for my Morale Check. With adjustments, the final result is 0 – my remaining Puma must Retreat – but since enemy forces are so close, it’s forced to Surrender to those nearby enemy forces.

At this stage, I declared the Germans had lost. The Russians were bloodied – the most bloodied this year – but I didn’t have enough remaining firepower to break them.

An interesting game – assembling, painting and getting a whole 6 vehicle 234/2 Puma platoon reay for a re-match is an appealing way to spend the upcoming Christmas break.

I’ve finished the assembly of ICM’s kit #72451: Krupp L2H143 Kfz.70. I’d picked it up mid-year, you’ll recall, at the IPMS Expo. This kit hasn’t been easy to work with – unlike the Sd. Kfz. 222, which I’ve already reviewed on this blog and you can find the concluding entry about it here.

Since I’ve been doing the final painting of a base of  Italeri BMW R75 motorcycles I need for this upcoming recon game, I wanted something to work on while waiting for the fiddly painting to dry.  I dusted off the Krupp last week and began work on it building it.

I loved doing the Sd. Kfz. 222…but I haven’t loved this kit. The detail of some pieces is extremely fine. In fact, two parts (front axle, bumper bar) were broken already, and the kit hadn’t even come out of it’s plastic sealed bag! The pressures on the sprue are too intense.  Some more pieces broke while cutting them off the sprue. I was careful cutting pieces free, even using ultra-sharp hospital scalpels (thanks to my inside contact).

So, there’s been attempts to fix broken parts with lots of fancy gluework (and me having to work in short spurts to escape the fumes) and some straight-out kitbashing with brass wire and cyanoacrylate superglue. Fancy gluework didn’t work for the crucial parts, leading to frustration and a number of points where I was going to give up and turn the whole lot into spares. The front axle was one of these prickly points – I ended up replacing it with brass wire and had to use lots of cyanoacrylate to get everything to finally stay solid.

Once assembled, though,  it looks pretty good. However, I’m not going to buy any more (unless they are $5 AUD each or less) and I have to recommend that this is a kit for advanced modellers only.

Oh, and by the way – Italeri have launched a new version of their website!

It’s done! My first Sd. Kfz. 222! Painted in standard (homemade) Dark Grey, with white Balkankreuzes and covered in a heavy coat of dust ICM SdKfz 222 side , this is meant to depict a reconaissance vehicle during Operation Barbarossa.

ICM SdKfz 222 one quarter

This is ICM’s  Sd.Kfz. 222 Leichter Panzerspähwagen in 1/72 scale, kit #72411. I mentioned in this post that it looked like the fiddly parts of it (axles etc.) were pre-done but of high quality, so it should be easily to build. Well, it was! A pleasure to build, paint and look at. ICM SdKfz 222 rear elevated

Why has it taken so long to finish if it was so straightforward and easy? Well, that’s called Real Life – it keeps interrupting me and my hobbies ^_^

I need 6 to make a proper recon platoon – will I be buying 5 more of these kits? I certainly will! This is my first ICM kit (I do have a truck to do, too, but it’s still in its box) and I’m very impressed with it.

I do have one recommendation to modellers – do be prepared to make some modifications to the photo-etched wire screens on the turret. I glued the guns in place on a very, very slight elevation above horizontal and found that the photo-etched wire screen wouldn’t sit neatly on the turret. It was the 20mm cannon barel that was causing the trouble. To remedy this, I cut away some of the frame and made a neat slot to accommodate the barrel, as you can see in this close-up: ICM SdKfz 222 had to mod wire screens .

It looks a little funny and wouldn’t pass muster in a modelling competition but will do the job for wargaming. So, if you’re thinking of buying this kit and want to have the guns raised to horizontal or above, you’ll have to think carefully about how to model and attach those anti-grenade wire screens.

I used Brass Wire that I bought from a model train hobby shop (which is also where I get a lot of my terrain materials, like Woodland Scenics products).  The main aerial is made from 0.033″ diameter wire, with the prongs coming off it made from 0.022″ diameter.

Now, as you saw from my August 23 blog post, “ICM’s Sd.Kfz. 222, cars, bikes and aerials!“, the finished star aerials look a little bit thick and chunky. To do a new set of vehicles (since I’ll do any more 234/2s with the same wire for the sake of uniformity) I’ll be using thinner diameter brass wire – probably the 0.022” for the main aerial and then the next thinnest type that I can purchase from the model train shop for the prongs. I’d probably also use a less viscous bottle of Flash Cyanoacrylate, so that I don’t have to trim away any excess dried glue. Still, these were the only materials I had on hand or could purchase – so, I’m fine with what I’ve done so far and learnt from the process. Next time, I’ll try to order some materials in advance and not rush things.

I’d done some research to try to determine how many prongs these aerials had – the historical photos I had access to in various books showed vehicles with 6 prongs, vehicles with 5 prongs and vehicles with 5 main prongs plus one small horizontal prong. Hasegawa’s instructions for the kit seem to advocate a 4 prong aerial. Since I rediscovered the online Bundesarchiv earlier in the month, I spent some time ploughing through that, doing very general/broad searches like ‘ostfront 1941’, ‘ostfront 1942’ etc.

Here is one illustrative result: GrossDeutschland on the march.  You can see that, unlike Hasegawa’s suggestion that the main aerial stopped at the prongs, that the main aerial did go a little higher or feature a verticle sub-prong after the prongs. I have photos of two different Sd. Kfz. 263s (in Milsom & Chamberlain’s 1974 book ‘German armoured cars of World War Two’) with 5 prong aerials but showing that the main aerial continued after the prongs or had a vertical sub-prong. I’m not sure about how often a horizontal sub-prong just under the bigger prongs was used (you can see what I’m talking about in the Bundesarchiv example above). Looking through images using different search engines, I mostly saw 5-prong versions of what Hasegawa recommend modellers do. I’ve no doubt that there were different types of star/umbrella aerials…I was just hoping to find something more definitive than I did.

Löwe on the streets

August 25, 2009

The Sd. Kfz 250/3 (an ESCI kit re-released by Italeri) that I’d been working on is finished, as is a house that I’d bought a couple of years back from Battlefield Accessories. Here they are together: Lowe and Battlefield Accessories

The light green flock on the wall was to simulate moss growing on the northern side of the building…but it’s a little too light in colour, I think. Should be a bit darker. Oh well, you don’t know until you try.

This house is a Ruined Building from the Battlefield Accessories range. Resin kits, simple to assemble and customise. Fairly good detail – except the interior could have used more effort, like window frames and door frames, which it lacks – so the interior is all flat with no detail. Mine has painted up pretty well – I painted it to match the railway station I did some time ago (see much earlier posts on this blog about the railway station).

‘Löwe’ was done with my home-made Dark Grey paint and features my first attempt at making my own air-recognition flag. The flag has turned out OK and I learned a lot doing it. I’ll save how I made it for another blog post but I’m keen to try other methods, like using tissues heavily doused with PVA glue and then painted.

This 250/3 Schutzenpanzerwagen was then given a heavy coat of dust, as I decided that it would represent a vehicle from Operation Barbarossa…and many vehicles on that campaign got very heavily coated with dust while on the march.

Here’s a few more pics of it: Lowe 1 Lowe 2

Lowe 3 Lowe 4

You can see that I didn’t hesitate to make this a GrossDeutschland vehicle…how could I resist, when Italeri nicely provided me with a ‘stahlhelm’ decal on their decal sheet?!

I’ve commenced painting the ICM Sd. Kfz 222, and it will look similar to the above as I’ve decided to paint it as a vehicle from the same campaign.

So far, ICM 1:72 kit #72411 has been very straightforward to assemble. Part fit has been very good. There’s been a little bit of flash on the mudguards but otherwise it’s needed nothing but glue and cleaning up where I’ve cut each piece from it’s sprue. Assembly instructions are pretty clear – there’s one stage where one action is meant to be done three more times…but you get the drift from the pictures.

Also rolling along the Tankoberg assembly lines have been a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and BMW motorbike w/ sidecar – kit #31112 which I picked up last weekend at an IPMS Swap & Sell.

I’ve been experimenting with something else, too. After researching and consulting a number of sources online and in person, I decided to go ahead and try to make star/umbrella aerials for my Pumas, as I am well aware that they were used on these vehicles. Consulting photos in books and from the Bundesarchiv (the picture archives of the Federal Archives of Germany) left me a little unsure of how many prongs such an aerial should have…some vehicles had 6 prongs, some had 5. I decided to go with 5 for my Pumas after seeing a 251 with a 5-prong aerial and two different Sd. Kfz 263s with 5-prong aerials.

They aren’t so hard to make. Here are the steps I took:

One: Collect these materials – brass wire of two different thicknesses; some superglue or, in my case, Flash Cyanoacrylate (dangerous stuff but powerful); needlenose piers; wire cutters and lastly clamps or a modeller’s mate like this one to hold things for you.Aerials 1.

Two: shape the thinner brass wire into a triangular shape. Aerials 2. Also cut yourself a reasonable length of the thicker brass wire – in my case, about 5 – 6 inches.

Three: bend the two ends so that they run parallel and can touch each other flatly. Lock the thick brass wire into one clamp of the modeller’s mate and lock the thin brass triangular bit into the other clamp – bring the flat ends of the triangular wire so that they touch flatly along the thick wire and superglue them into place: Aerials 3. Let everything dry.

Four: repeat Two and Three with another triangle, except it needs to be at an angle of about 75 degrees to the first triangle. You’ll need to cut off one side of the glued-on triangle to permit this. When all is dry, cut off the side of the second triangle – now you should have 4 prongs radiating off from the thick brass wire.

Five: make the last prong and glue it on to make 5 prongs – hopefully the two triangles you glued on and cut away result in 5 fairly evenly-spaced prongs. Aerials 4

Six: when everything’s dry, take out of the clamp and use a scalpel to cut away any excess lumps of glue.

Seven: use the wire cutters to cut the prongs to a suitable anduniform length: Aerials 5.

Eight: stickytape the aerial to something and undercoat it: Aerials 6

Nine: glue into place on the vehicle and paint when the glue’s dry. Aerials 7 It’s that easy!

It was either tonight or tomorrow night for another blog post – tonight won the die roll.

With the Sd.Kfz. 250/3 nearly done and just waiting to get some materials to make star/umbrella aerials for the Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Pumas, I feel I can begin to assemble ICM’s kit #72411. The drive train, axles and such are detailed but mostly pre-assembled!

Have a look at the relevant  sprue:  Sd.Kfz 222 sprue scanand the assembly instructions: Sd.Kfz 222 assembly scan

This recon AFV clash game is looking good!