Friday, 15 June 2018

Battlegroup Desert Objectives

Some objectives I've made for Battlegroup, which will also work as Jump-off-points for Chain of Command in 15mm. Since I had the German stowage bits out, these were all quite German-themed: I've made five for NW Europe and five for the desert, though I still have to paint the NW European ones. In time, I'll also do others themed as British, US or Soviets objectives/JoPs.

BG does not need scenic objectives as the objective is really just a point on the table, or more often a piece of terrain. "Take the bridge" is quite obvious, but sometimes you need a marker in an open field and these suit the purpose. This is especially true in the desert.

My objective are on 25mm washers (i.e. 1 inch): the idea was to build up a core with filler pieces (boxes and crates, a tarp over filler, etc.) and then add details for interest. They became "themed" as one became a repair point, another gained several hand-held AT weapons, etc.

The simple tarps are just tissue paper soaked in watered-down PVA glue (as you'd use for applying static grass or flock), placed over filler, which is just several bit of scrap plastic sprue cut to size and glued to the washer.

I base coated the predominant colour on each pieces by airbrush (because I had it out so why not?), then did the rest of the painting and details by brush. Some smaller bits of scrub were added for interest and colour (Woodland Scenics Olive Green Bushes). Since I model my DAK forces on 15. Panzer Division, I've themed a couple with 15. Pz divisional signs, one ostensibly being a vehicle repair point, the other with a sign perhaps pointing to a staging area? It adds some interest and colour.

Panzer III for scale.

The bare pole is waiting some desert signs, but apart from that the desert objectives are done.


Sunday, 10 June 2018

Afrika Tigers

The new-ish BF mid-war Tigers: a very nice kit, here done as a fairly simple out-of-the-box build.


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Terrain Hacks - Extreme Makeover: Treeline Edition!

Improvement...and transformation to something better. Really this is about taking an old piece of terrain and giving it a make-over.

The tree-line: the old classic few-trees-on-a-base-that-magically-blocks-line-of-sight terrain piece, so beloved of FOW gamers and Stormtrooper-abusers everywhere. I hated them; they made little logical sense though they were useful as LOS blocks. Nonetheless, I've wanted to re-do mine for ages, so the old ones were set for a makeover.


Pretty bland, if functional. I had not used them in ages since in Battlegroup or Chain of Command they don't really work as much more than decoration, in which case singly-based trees would be preferred. Time to re-base: mine are Woodland Scenics Pine tree armatures with clump-foliage attached. Not the best, about eight years old and used in many games, but I thought they could be re-used for something functional.

On 3mm MDF bases originally, I soaked them in water to soften the sand & PVA basing.

After about an hour, I took them out and broke the MDF into one-tree pieces,
using a pair of side-cutters to help "tear" at the MDF.

I broke away the MDF until close to the tree base, then cut the rest away with a craft knife.
Please try not to cut an artery if doing this or you might bleed out and die. Apparently.

With a bit of work the trees were freed and ready for re-basing.

Rather than basing singly I now formed a new plan after looking at some pictures of Normandy hedges. New bases, a few rocks and stumps were added for interest. The trees are "glued" with caulk (acrylic silicon).

Next I covered the bases with wood glue, then sand. When dry, it was painted dark brown,
then dry-brushed a lighter colour and a very light dry-brush with a sand colour.

Next I glued on flock: Woodland Scenics, a 3:1 blend of Green and Earth blend.

The flock was really just to provide a base for the static grass.
I also painted the rocks and the tree stumps at some point.

I painted diluted wood glue onto the flock areas (when dry), and applied
some 2mm static grass using the WWS Pro Grass Micro applicator.

The grass looks very green in the pictures but is much better in real life.

On to the 2mm grass I placed a few patches of diluted wood glue, then applied
some 4mm static grass, again with the applicator (of course!)

With some decent grass added, I was ready to move on to the next part.
15mm Sherman for scale.

Woodland Scenics foliage clusters, Medium and Dark green, were glued onto the bases to start the hedges.

I then added more clump foliage to thicken the hedges, and glued a few smaller pieces to make the growth seem "rougher" and less pristine. A 15mm Sherman gives some idea of the height, i.e. fairly tall, certainly above man-height for 15mm.

Once the pieces were done and bulked-up suitably, the entire lot was sprayed with matt varnish (spray can)
to help protect it and because I can't be bothered to do the whole "spray with diluted PVA" thing.

The completed pieces have the foliage built right to the edges, thus the sections can
 be joined together to create a longer piece...

...or to build in different ways without the need for corners, T-pieces, etc.

The first lot done: I plan to do more in the future as the above
looks considerably more attractive than anything I had before. 


Monday, 4 June 2018

Operation Battleaxe Campaign

I had the relevant bits printed today, separate laminated campaign map in A2 and some cheap counters for campaign use. Now just to work out some of the rules and effects and we'll be good to go.


Thursday, 31 May 2018

BG Tobruk AAR - Crusaders R Us (Battlegroup style!)

In a few weeks my local group will be starting a 1941 Desert War campaign centred around Operation Battleaxe, using the Battlegroup rules and an appropriate map. More about that later: in the meantime, my brother has never played a desert game of any sort so what better time to practice?

A couple of quick forces were thrown together, my brother opted to play Germans and took the DAK: mostly Panzer III Gs with a platoon of Panzer IV Ds and some Recce (8-Rad, Panzerjager PaK38 and PzGren Foot Patrol). The British fielded Crusaders, two Troops of the Crusader Mk I. (Unreliable) with a Crusader I Forward HQ and additional tank. Also a Motor Infantry Platoon, a single 3" Mortar and a 2-pounder ATG.

No Recce as I don't have anything period-appropriate: we're going in blind! My plan then as the British was an old-fashioned cavalry charge with (hopefully) overwhelming force on one side (which ever looked more promising) while refusing the other with the infantry, 2-pdr and maybe a tank or two if necessary. The mission was Flanking Attack....and I got to start in the "this corner is all rocky ground" corner. Lovely.

(expand for larger versions)

The British start. The shaded are is all rough terrain (rocky ground): it took a while to get through it
and really get going, thus the Germans were able to take up good positions early on.

The German right: moments before this picture was taken, the PaK38 near the Sd Kfz 10
took a direct hit from the 3" mortar and the crew were wiped-out. Lucky!

Aerial view of German left. My keen senses detected the classic German double-envelopment plan developing...

Panzers on German left in hull-down positions.

Crusaders come on from reserve and charge the ridge: a lucky hit sees a Panzer III G KO'd.
Roll a 6, then roll two more. Simples!

The British left: the 2-pounder managed to miss everything all game, but at least *seemed* threatening.

The near Crusader....the Hero Crusader: deflected a 5cm hit and then passed a BTCOD test to surge forward,
hitting both Panzers on the ridge but failing to do damage to either! Long range gunfire KO's a Crusader, while the Hero Crusader is hit *twice*...

...and has somehow survived the return fire (unbelievable...).
Offered a second opportunity for life he now destroys a Panzer III G.

The Germans respond on their right, wiping-out the 2-pdr with the 8-Rad and long-range HE fire while the
foremost Panzer III manages to hit and destroy the British FHQ Crusader....sad!

The Hero Crusader KO's his third Panzer before being Immobilised on a 1 (Unreliable).
Now stuck, but the damage is done.

The rear Crusader KO's the Panzer IV near the rocks, but is in turn Immobilised (damn Unreliable!).
That leaves the Troop Commander to press on alone to claim the rear objective...

...because the other (non-broken-down) tanks are needed to counter on the left.

The tank-fight on the left quickly moves to close-range but neither side can hit much of anything.
A section of Motor Infantry moves up hoping to Close Assault the Panzer III.

The infantry assault but fail to do damage, lose a man and are pinned. Tank fire is pretty abysmal, only managing to Pin the Panzer III. Long-range Bren and Rifle fire lights-up a supply truck that became a little too bold.

German return fire is wholly ineffective, and the last Panzer III is shortly thereafter destroyed by a Crusader,
breaking the German force morale. The British were 35/37 a close game as the Britsh were drawing many 4s.

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