Sunday, 28 August 2016

Bolt Action - finally a game!

With the long run of fine hot weather continuing, Dymchurch has been incredibly busy, and like most locals we have avoided the village and the beach during the day, preferring to venture out early in the morning or in the evening. We did pop over to the' City' midweek as they currently have Young's Special on offer, an old favourite of mine, and I was pretty shocked to see so many people in swimming or generally splashing about, and some very sunburned bodies!

Bolt Action scenario.
Having set up my table yesterday afternoon for a game of Bolt Action I was out with the dogs before 8am this morning and once I have had my coffee and breakfast I intend to play through a scenario that will feature random entry based on a die roll with the aim being to reach a single centrally placed objective, pick up a secret document and return it to table edge to win the game. This will be an infantry only game at platoon level, no artillery or heavy armour. The twist is that only the commanding officers of both sides are aware of the document so it's a race to see which side can get the HQ team onto the objective first. To avoid everything rushing on directly opposite the objective, both platoons will start off table, and when an order dice is pulled the chosen unit will roll a dice to see where they can come on. I have my new TSS terrain boards laid out so the table is the full 6 x 4, and the roll will determine simply left , centre or right tile to enter. And just to add a littler more spark to the game, the commander that grabs the objective will also fire a flare to call in an airstrike against a selected target.

The forces will be roughly balanced, I'm not bothering to point things up but will comprise the following:

German reinforced platoon.

HQ team: officer and two men, medic and radio operator.
4 squads of veteran infantry, each with an MG42 LMG (10 men per squad)
1 squad of inexperienced 'Hitler Youth' (8)
1 MG42 team (MMG)
1 medium mortar team
1 sniper team
1 half track with mounted MG42 in support.

US reinforced platoon.

HQ team as above. (I decided to keep the medics as part of the HQ team as obviously officers are going to be targeted in this game so it just gives a chance of a medic save if the worst happens)
4 squads of 12 regular infantry, each with a BAR.
3 x Browning 30 Cal MMG teams
1 medium mortar team
1 sniper team
1 Stuart Light tank.

It's a good mix with plenty of machine guns, the Stuart is offset by the Youth squad with its panzerfausts (one shot, shaped charge, range 12"), no transports in this game to keep the number of order dice down. I'm counting both commanders as First Lieutenant/Oberleutnant (veteran), so both give a +2 morale bonus. The medic can save on a roll of 6, and in this case I'll allow the save to be made even in the case of 'exceptional damage' as it's a small chance only after all.

Terrain set up as below, you can see the objective on the road roughly centre of table. There is an orchard that blocks LOS as do woods beyond the first 6". Hedges do not block LOS in this instance, but give a -1 soft cover modifier as normal. Buildings and walls give -2 hard cover modifier, a score of 12 in a single turn from HE can destroy a building completely, but with only medium mortars on the table that's not going to happen. The Typhoon and ME262 are ready to make a ground attack run, depending upon who gets to fire the signal flare first.

Time to go pull some order dice!


The calm before the storm.
This is my new 'rural road' sections in use.

Crop field is slow going, 

All trees and hedges by Simon at S&A Scenics.

That's the objective containing the secret document.
Wall sections by 4Ground.
The orchard blocks LOS.

The new TSS boards still allow plenty of room to move around the table.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

'Moaning Minnie'.

Latest addition to my Bolt Action German forces is this Nebelwerfer, multiple rocket launcher, nicknamed by allied troops 'Moaning Minnie' due to the noise it made when firing. It's a Warlord Games model as are the crew. I'm pleased with the weathering effect, I wanted to capture the blackening around the barrels and a slight rusting here and there. The usual Vallejo 'Middletone' was drybrushed over a black undercoat, and then a touch of golden yellow mixed in for highlights.






In Bolt Action terms the Nebelwerfer is classed as a multiple rocket launcher and counts as a 'heavy mortar' when firing. To reflect the extensive potential blast area any units within 6" of the nominated target (friend and foe) could be hit. You roll to hit the target and then any unit within 6" so it's slightly unpredictable. Certainly the morale impact was devastating as described above.

For my US platoon I have completed a second 30 cal browning MMG team and have a third on order. The US army lists allow up to three such to be taken as a single selection to represent the high numbers assigned to the infantry. Each MMG team has three crew, with the spare loader being based separately.

Another fixed team Browning 30 Cal. MMG, now pumping out 5 shots under BA v2.

An objective marker I knocked up. 'Hande hoch' to quote Corporal Jones!
BA second edition is only a couple of weeks away now and it is revealed that all machine guns will now get an extra dice on the' to hit' roll, so this means a US 30 cal. will now roll 5 dice, while on the German side 'Hitlers Buzzsaw' the MG42 will roll no less than 6 dice when deployed as a fixed team. This additional dice for German MG teams represents the quality of both the weapon and the training of it's crew. Within squads where the MG42 is carried in Light Machine Gun mode, (not deployed on its tripod, often steadied over the shoulder of the loader for example), the two figures now put out 5 shots/dice AND can advance and fire on an 'Advance' order (-1 for moving and firing). This flexibility and firepower is one reason I enjoy playing German and with an MG42 (LMG) being carried in each of my 6 squads, together with a mix of bolt action rifles and assault rifles they are a force to be reckoned with. This together with the initiative training of the German infantryman that allows a fallen squad sergeant to be replaced from the ranks thus avoiding the -1 morale penalty, can seem an overwhelming advantage against my US platoon, but is balanced by the US special rules such as more MMG's and the fact that they do not suffer the 'Move and Fire' penalty so no -1 when firing on an 'Advance' order to reflect the 'Fire and Manoeuvre' training, and of course each squad includes a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), so you can see how nicely Bolt Action balances things up.

Another thing I hear is that dense woods WILL now block LOS, a victory for common sense. If you would like to hear more on the forthcoming 'tweaks' to the BA rules this video is well worth a watch.
(Fast forward 1 minute to avoid the advertising blurb!). It's a game of BA played to the new rules at a good pace by experienced players and the guy from Warlord umpiring and explaining the changes as it goes along.


And finally ..... the hobby room is painted, just need to improve the lighting now and put the blind up and it's ready to play some games.


The TSS boards are stored under the table as our cats use this upstairs window to get in and out overnight onto the pantiled roof below, we're looking into a catflap!
Pride of place, my wife bought me this as a birthday present 20 years ago. I'm pleased with the shade of green I went for.






Monday, 15 August 2016

'Day of Syn' and general progress!

It's that time of the year when dear old Dymchurch is rammed with holiday makers and day trippers and it's almost impossible to walk down the village High Street without getting caught up in a seething mass of bodies, many of them lobster like in colour given the recent high temperatures. Unlike many UK traditional seaside villages Dymchurch retains much of it's charm, there are no empty shops and enough visitors to allow the traders to make a good living during the Summer season. There are several caravan parks on the outskirts of Dymchurch and it remains a popular place for families to bring children. Throughout August we have free childrens entertainment in the form of a Living History Workshop where  kids get to dress up as smugglers, make swords and go 'Treasure hunting' on the beach etc. Fishing boats are towed down to the beach via the central slipway on the incoming tide and return later in the day when the tide turns. The beach is the big draw, miles of soft sand and on a good day the water is full of children swimming and playing.

This August Bank Holiday is the traditional Dymchurch 'Day of Syn' named after the Dr. Syn series of smuggling stories written by Russell Thorndike. It's a weekend of free entertainment including re enactment on the beach, live music and many villagers enjoy dressing up as smugglers. It's advertised as a weekend of 'Smuggling, Wenching & Drinking' and the atmosphere is always great. The preserved Martello tower will be open to visitors and offers a lovely view from the gun platform on the top. It's a very busy weekend and you really have to arrive early to have a chance of getting parked!




Back to Wargaming!
I have painted a few more British redcoats and general Wolfe, all by Front Rank. I have another 30 figures coming back from John the painter, including 10 more British regulars. These, with the additional 4 I have just finished will make up five companies of eight figures including the Grenadier company, leaving just the light company to paint. I'm onto the two artillery pieces for the crews that John has also painted for me (see pics), then I have two mounted generals to do.

Artillery crews and  all figures below by John at 'Kingscolours' Front Rank 28mm.

Rogers Rangers.
Canadian Militia.
More 'Hatmen'
A few bare/bandaged heads for contrast.

I'm also still beavering away at the 15mm tanks for Flames of War, need to finish the basing and decals. There are also a number of T34's unpainted so I'll get them done and add the wonderful tank riders to finish them. I hope next weekend to have a run through of Sharpe Practice.

A few general pictures of what I'm up to at present.




3 platoons of T34's an inspiring sight for any tank enthusiast.


Friday, 12 August 2016

British Grenadiers!

There can be few uniforms as iconic as that of the 18th Century British Grenadier with the tall mitre caps. I recall as a young man visiting Greenwich Maritime Museum, with it's 'Quebec' display (General Wolfe lived in a house within the grounds of Greenwich Park unless my memory let's me down!), and seeing examples of the elaborately embroidered mitres. I'm certain it was one of the big influences that got me into wargaming at that time.

These 8 figures took an awful lot of painting, but I enjoyed doing them. I might still go back and line the cuffs between the buff and the white 'lace' to help it stand out more, and try to tidy up the 'GR' on the mitres. I used a fine brush but wonder if a fine liner pen would give a neater result. I also painted an additional officer alongside them. All are by Front Rank and intended for Sharpe Practice FIW. Just two more 'companies' to complete the battalion of 48 figures. In SP British Regulars are fielded in groups of 8 soldiers.









Next will be 2 field guns (Front Rank), for the artillery crews John is currently painting for me, and then 2 mounted generals (FR). My plan is that John will finish off the rest of the SP figures, I have more due back early next week and end of August John is going to paint a box of Warlord French line plus an additional infantry pack making 3 companies of line to add to the 2 I have painted myself, plus the Last of The Mohicans personalty set. At that point I might well say the project is about done, bearing in mind SP is a 'large skirmish' game. I still have some 20mm plastic priests to paint for CK before I move onto anything else.

I also picked up another squad of Germans for BA via eBay, from John at Kingscolours, just could not resist them! These represent a Waffen SS squad, but I'll put that from my mind, I just liked the painting of the cammo smocks and the MG 42 being fired over the loaders shoulder.

With templates being introduced for HE shots in BA v2 it will become necessary to maintain the maximum permitted 1" spacing between troops, so I just spaced the squad out to see how it looks, not much I can about the LMG - or come to that all of my US, German and Soviet teams which are based on 30mm bases with figures huddled together around the weapon - but I have no intention of rebasing anything, I'll just have to take the hit!






Got the paint for the hobby room, went for a nice flat green, I'll get that done possibly Sunday then I need to move onto the hall and stairs to freshen things up.