Thursday, February 15, 2018

De-saturating colors for terrain

Mel the terrain tutor added an excellent video recently about de-saturating colors for terrain. Useful tip usable on figures as well as terrain.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Mining Guild Tie Fighters

I've been looking at a lot of re-painted Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures ships lately and I wanted to get in on the action. Rather than just doing a re-paint, I thought I'd take a couple of tie fighters and convert them to Mining Guild Tie Fighters. The modeling part of cutting out the panels and sanding them to shape was easy enough. The difficult part was re-painting them. I started with a white primer coat, followed by yellow shot through my airbrush. After that everything else was brushed on. Getting the frames of the solar panels was very challenging.

I finished these one at a time. The tie fighter on the left was washed after spraying the model with clear coat and letting it dry. The model on the right was washed over the matte color base coat. The left one has better panel definition while the right looks a bit more dirty. I think I like the left one more, but I'm happy with both. Lesson for future efforts. Do both the same way.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

28mm Austrian Napoleonic Artillery and Grenzer Command

These are my first completed figures of 2018. I seem to be a bit behind of last year's winter painting pace already. The first set of photos are four stands of Austrian 6lb field artillery. They are based for use with both Electronic Brigadier and Napoleon's Rules of War.

 The second set of figures are two command stands of Austrian Grenzers. Previously I painted up ten stands of Grenzers, but with only two command stands. That left me with the option of fielding two units of 3-5 stands. These add the option for me to field three units of four stands or four units of three stands. Both the artillery and the Grenzers are Old Glory figures. Total figure count: 18.

Monday, January 29, 2018

D-Day +4 - Capture the Village Scenario - British vs. Germans

Last Friday evening I had some friends over for another Iron Cross game. We have a few games under out belts now and we're starting to enjoy these games more and more. I've added a few minor house rules to fill in the gaps where the rules let you figure things out for yourself. Having a 6' x 12' table, I've also increased the movement ranges for our 28mm games. All of the changes seemed to make the game even more fun.

This was a meeting engagement with mirrored forces. I'm still learning the rules so balanced forces takes out mistakes I might make in scenario balance. Both forces were charged with capturing a village in the center of the table. Each force had a headquarters platoon with an attached anti-tank gun and a section of mortars, and three infantry platoons each with a weapons squad (MG or sniper) and an attached armor asset.

Below the Germans: Ralph, Rob and Mike on the left and the British Ed, Byron and Earl on the right.

The forces marched onto the table with the Germans taking a strong position on a hill on their left with their Panzer IV, and their infantry and mortars mostly deploying opposite the town with their Pak-40 on a central hill. The British matched the Panzer IV with a 75mm Sherman and an Cromwell on the opposite flank. Earl's Mortars started off the game accurate and deadly taking out an MG squad, damaging another and working over some infantry. Ralph's Pak-40 took out the Sherman before being eliminated by British sniper fire from Ed's command.

Rob's infantry moved aggressively to the town capturing two buildings and destroying Earl's infantry in a third, eventually occupying it. Earl returned the favor and assaulted the house with another squad of British infantry and the two squads fought to exhaustion in the house, neither gaining the upper hand.

In what ended up being the final turn, while the house melee was going on, Byron's lead infantry squad charged the Panzer IV. The Panzer IV and German infantry were so surprised by the bold attack they froze (failed their reaction rolls) and Byron's infantry got off not one, not two, but three Piat attacks to finally brew up the Panzer IV.

As we called time, the game was a dead heat. The British were ahead on casualties with five German squads/teams taken out to their three losses, but the Germans held more of the town's buildings.  Both sides had positions of advantage and weakness and there was surly plenty of fight left in both forces.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Star Wars X-Wing Ground Forces - Play Test #3

Last Friday the 'usual crew' got together at Ralph's to do another play test on Bob's Star Wars X-Wing Ground Forces house rules. Bob made a bunch of GREAT changes in this version, streamlining several previous friction points. 
For the game Rob gave my heavy armor some serious trouble with anti-tank missiles from his AT-ST walkers, stripping away my squad's commander. I returned the favor dropping one of his walkers. Steve had a devastating bomb run on Earl's storm troopers killing four stands. Charlie added an additional storm trooper kill from his infantry. With the heavy Imperial infantry losses we called the game and discussed next steps for the rules. All in all an excellent step forward and a fun evening.

Here's another video. I'm still learning how to take video, so apologies for the poor quality.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Northern Conspiracy January 2018 Game Night

Last Friday the conspiracy braved the weather again to get in some winter gaming. I participated in Greg's WWII skirmish game run with 'Chain of Command' rules by Too Fat Lardies. Greg's scenario featured his beautiful terrain and figures. This time the blitzkrieg into Poland at the start of the war. The scenario was a Polish counter attack. Phil, Chris and I were the Poles against experienced CoC players Byron and Dick.

Our attack was blunted early with effective MG fire from the Germans' Panzer I and main gun fire from their Panzer II quickly taking out one of my tanks and suppressing Chris' infantry. A turn later a Pak-36 popped a hole in the second of my three tanks, taking out my platoon leader.

From here things turned towards the Poles favor with Phil and his Polish light tanks tearing a swath through the right side of the Germans taking out tanks, infantry and the Pak-36 AT gun with equal prejudice. Phil's tanks were obviously crewed with Poland's finest tank crews. On the other flank Chris' infantry pressed forward and paid a heavy price for every inch of ground. Dick and I slugged it out mano-a-mano Panzer II vs my Vickers 17-ton tank, neither of us able to penetrate, or sometimes even hit the other. After several near misses on each side, my tank finally withdrew from the action, the heat too hot for them (retreated off the table). It was about this time that Phil's tankettes had finished up the Germans on his flank and were turning to the other side to seal the deal. Well done Phil - you saved Poland for another day.

Pete ran his 28mm Flanders game. It was epic-sized, trimmed to fit the players present for the game. Like most game nights at the Conspiracy, I wish I had been able to play in all THREE games.

Ralph ran a submarine warfare board game, Captain Sonar that was well received.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Star Wars X-Wing Ground Forces - Play Test #2

Last Friday Bob hosted the 2nd play test of his Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Ground Forces rules. These are a series of house rules to extend Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures from outer space down to the planet's surface. The game uses available and previously-available licensed Star Wars toys and miniatures into a 6-10mm ground game. Combat and movement mechanisms are all similar or compatible with the core game, so familiar to new players.

The scenario was an Imperial attack on a Rebel base. The Imperials came in hot and heavy with AT-ATs and smaller walkers. The Rebels defended with their own walkers, heavy and light tanks and a few land speeders.

Mike's land speeders suffered dearly in their run at the AT-ATs. One did attempt a harpoon snare attack, but missed before being taken out. As the battle slugged on the Imperial forces kept the upper hand. The smaller walkers being just as effective as the larter AT-ATs. In the end the rebels did manage to take down one of the Goliaths, but the writing was on the wall for them.

This is a fun diversion and has great toys. Bob's rules have taken a huge step forward since the first play test and the game was big fun. Below is a small video of the battlefield during opening instructions.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 Year In Review

2017 was a rough year for me personally. Things are better now, but my painting suffered throughout the middle of the year and painting totals are down significantly from previous years. Here's hoping 2018 brings me back to normal. My wargaming friends were great support during the year with 18 games played. I was also able to host 7 games myself and co-host another.  This was the year of WWII for me with a majority of my effort put into my WWII armies and running Iron Cross games. My favourite unit of the year is shown above, my scratch-built conversion of the Warlord Marder III into a Flakpanzer 38t and the RSO Pak-40 converted from the Warlord RSO and the gun from the Warlord Marder III. the best part of both is the RSO can still be used as a transportation vehicle due to use of magnets to mount the armoured cab and the AA gun on the Flakpanzer can also be used on the ground as an normal towed version.

Totals for this year are as follows:
  • Painted 28mm figures: 56 (mostly WWII British)
  • Painted 28mm vehicles: 7 - TWO were scratch build conversions
  • Terrain/Misc created: 51 - One scratch-built 28mm WWII German generator and some movement trays
  • Purchased painted 28mm figures: 28 (less than I painted!)
  • Purchased X-wing miniatures: 46
Painted figures pie-chart:

In 2018 I hope to continue enjoying Iron Cross WWII gaming. It's my hope to settle down on club 'house rules' for terrain and some of the less clear portions of these otherwise excellent rules. My other big project will be to return to working on my Electronic Brigadier rules in hopes of getting Napoleonics play tested and fully tuned. Once that's done I hope to allow some friends access to the system to run some games.

Here's wishing everyone a fun and productive 2018.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Northern Conspiracy December 2017 Game Night

Last night about 14 of the Northern Conspirators braved single-digit temperatures, slick roads and a burst sprinkler pipe in the hotel to attend December game night. Considering the slick roads and holiday season, a good turn out. Two games were run. To the left Mark Decouteau's War of 1812 game of the Battle of Lundy's Lane. This game was run using Mark and Ed's house rule wing scale variant of Volley & Bayonet. Talking to Ed after the game it looks like he and Mark are on the right track with this variant and all had a good time. Apologies for the poor focus on the photo. The lighting in the room was a bit dark and the hotel maintenance staff were a bit too overwhelmed with the flooding to ask for their help with it.

The other game was my 28mm WWII Iron Cross game. This was a hypothetical fight over an unnamed village in France on or around D-day plus four. The scenario was a German defense of a small village with the British attacking. The Germans started with a platoon of Osttruppen (Poles) in the village with the British marching on a superior force with armor support and the Germans bringing in some regular grenadiers and some scraped-together light armor to defend.

Rob and Charlie were the British. Although they didn't stop for tea, Charlie's force flanked the town and a large portion of it never really got into the fight. Charlie's armor and mortars were used to good effect, but the infantry lagged behind. On Rob's side he decided to also develop a heavy Vickers MG field of fire supported by his Sherman before going in with his Tommies. Once fully engaged it looked effective, but the Poles held firm responding to several rallies from their German officers.

In the end the Poles held out long enough for the German reinforcements to arrive and solidify the situation for the day. D-day +5 would probably see them pulling out under the darkness of night, but for this day the Germans carried the battle for the village.

We like the activation system and combat systems in Iron Cross a lot. It's a simple game with a lot to recommend. There are a few 'dark corners' in it that are left for the game master to handle. For my games I'm working on a consistent set of guidelines to use game-to-game to keep things predictable. I've worked up a QRS that is more intuitive for us on the west side of the Atlantic. Once I'm happy with it I will probably make it available for public consumption.