Monday 13 June 2011

Painting WW2 Hungarian Infantry

As part of a new-ish project for me, I thought I’d detail how I intend painting my WW2 Hungarian Infantry Company. I started out with the intention of building a Motorised Infantry Company for Mid-War, though the local trend at the moment is to mostly play Late War, thus it needed to be “morphable” to both periods, something Hungarian infantry is particularly good at. All that really needs changing from MW Eastern Front to LW Stalin’s Europe or the Hungarian Infantry PDF is the support weapons, the basic infantry structure and equipment changes only slightly.

The guide below therefore shows collar tabs for the Motorised Infantry: I wish I had gone standard green for the regular infantry divisions now, but I already had a platoon completed with the blue so they stayed. Apart from the small details such as markings, I’m led to believe there is very little difference in appearance between Motorised and Regular infantry. The figure below is from Battlefront's Hungarian infantry range.

Starting over a black undercoat, I painted VGC Tan over the flesh areas, followed by a VGC Dwarf Flesh block-paint, leaving the Tan in the recesses (eyes, mouth, nose areas, between fingers, etc.). The figure’s bread-bag was painted VPA Canvas, while the rest of the figure was painted VMC USA Olive Drab

After this had dried (I usually paint a group of figures to the above level, then leave to dry overnight and work on something else) I block-painted the belt, ammo pouches, strap on the rifle and boots with VPA Leather Belt, the uniform with VMC English Uniform, the bread bag with P3 Hammerfall Khaki (any khaki will do). 

Wood on the rifle was painted with VMC Flat Earth, metal areas P3 Thamar Black. The helmet was painted with a 1:1 mix of VMC USA Olive Drab and VMC Brown Violet, leaving a line where the rim splays outward and another fine line under the helmet, between the face and helmet. The flesh areas were then highlighted with VGC Elf Flesh, after which the helmet strap (annoying thing) was carefully painted VPA Leather Belt.

Now highlighting begins in earnest. The leather areas are highlighted with a 1:1 mix of VPA Leather Belt and VMC Light Brown, including the helmet strap which has a fine line painted toward the front of the strap. The helmet was highlighted with VMC Brown Violet, the uniform with VMC Green Brown and the bread bag was highlighted by mixing some white into the khaki previously used. The metal areas were painted VMC German Grey, followed by edge highlights of GW Codex Grey. Wood was highlighted with VPA New Wood.

Painting the M1935 Rifle

Battlefront’s Hungarian infantry range appears to be armed largely with the Mannlicher 35M rifle (to me, as opposed to the later re-chambered 7.92mm version, the 43M), so I painted it as such. The basic detail on the rifle is somewhat obscure: during clean-up I used a blade to cut away certain sections to better define the rifle. Don’t get too carried away with this or you’ll make the rifle too weak.

When painting weapons in 15mm I don't try to re-create them exactly, just paint a representation of the weapon emphasising the main elements while ignoring the more minor ones. This simplified approach captures the "feel" of the weapon without the need to go crazy

Now I got a little carried away.

For extra definition on certain areas, I applied edge highlights. Thus on the helmet rim I painted a fine line with a 1:1 mix of VMC Brown Violet and VMC Green Grey (886, not the other one) and a round area on the top of the helmet. The uniform was similarly given some extra highlight for definition, particularly on the edges on prominent folds, etc.., with a 2:1 mix of VMC Green Brown and VMC Buff. The bread bag also received a few extra lines for definitions, painted by adding yet more white in to the lightened-khaki used before. Lastly, the collar tabs were painted with a dark blue, followed by a medium blue as a highlight and to be more visible.

(Click for larger version)

The figures look pretty good close-up, but definitely also "pop" when on the table-top. Adding the extra highlights does take a little longer (of course) but I like the effect. I completed a single platoon some months back but haven't had time to do anymore for ages. Over the next few months I hope to expand the number of painted units until I can field an entire company and support weapons.

All for now.


Tuesday 7 June 2011

A Local Tournament Report

On Sunday, June 5th I attended a Flames of War tournament hosted at the local club, Warzone in Kensington. The period was Late War, 3 games, 1250 Pt armies on a 6 x 4 table using the Missions Encounter (booo!), Fighting Withdrawal and Breakthrough. A number of new players attended which was nice to see, though on the day only 8 players showed while the two regular Soviet-players were assured, Comrade Stalin has been informed. Pick it up slackers!

Disclaimer: The events described below cannot be independently verified, except by me. Good enough.

Knowing beforehand that I would be helping out with rules questions and the like (a lot...), I took an army designed for quick, fun games where I would either win quickly or die quickly trying. In reality the entire event was more to get some games in with different players, not to be super-competitive. Thus 'B' Sqadron, 1 RTR took to the field for its first few games. I fielded a Cromwell Squadron out of Villers-Bocage (no Turning Tide yet) and went with:

British 7th Armoured Squadron (Reluctant Veteran)
Source: Villers-Bocage Intelligence Briefing

Armoured HQ – 2 Cromwell IV, add 2 Cromwell IV CS (300)
Armoured Troop – 3 Cromwell IV, 1 Sherman 'Firefly' VC (325)
Armoured Troop – 3 Cromwell IV, 1 Sherman 'Firefly' VC (325)

Recce Troop – 3 Stuart V (135)
Lorried Rifle Platoon – 3 Sections (135)

1220 Pts (4 Platoons)

I could have added an ARV, but I still need to get one. Wouldn't have used it anyway.

The Tables

(Click on pictures to expand)

The Eastern Front table:

Somewhere in Normandy:

North West Europe:

North-Eastern backwater district of Somewheristhan:

I forgot to ask for army/force shots, ah well...

Game 1: Encounter vs. Ian's FE2 Grenadierkompanie

Ian, from memory had something like:

Grenadier HQ w/Panzerfausts (& Sniper)
2 x Grenadier Platoons w/Panzerfaust
2 Sections of 8cm Mortars
4 StuGs
2 Marders (of some sort)

My left deployment
He deployed the two Grenadier Platoons on-table, though should have at least put on the StuGs in place of one IMO. My Cromwell CO and two Troops massed on the left, 2iC w/Cromwell CS tanks sat on the right objective. Very simply, the left platoons quickly moved forward, MG'd any infantry in sight (only a couple of kills though) and then assaulted on turn 2 putting the opposing platoon under half, though they held.
The Cromwells swarm
The Grenadiers' last stand
The 2iC and the CS tanks also went forwards, MG'ing the right-most Grenadier platoon, then assaulting, killing a base but losing one Cromwell CS to a Panzerfaust before being forced to break-off.

The 2iC goes in...
...but Panzerfausts KO a CS tank.

Turn 3 and no reserves arrived, while Ian's right-most platoon was now simply shot to pieces, though they managed to contest for turn 3. Turn 4 again saw no reserves for Ian and with nothing near the objective to contest, game over, 6-1.
And then there was silence...
After the battle we had a chat about which platoons might have been better deployed (i.e. the StuGs on one objective) and the possibility of forming a Kampfgruppe to get to six platoons. From personal experience, I tend to favour deploying my most pivotal/expensive unit on-table, simply because my reserve rolls have been so awful for ages that if I don't, very often that unit does not see action at all. But then, my reserve dice are horrible. Nonetheless, Cromwells are nasty for infantry in a Mobile Battle scenario.

Game 2: Fighting Withdrawal vs. Rudy's FE2 Panzergrenadiers

Rudy had something like:

Panzergrenadier HQ w/Panzerfaust
2 x 2-squad Panzergrenadier Platoons w/Panzefaust
MG Platoon (1 or 2 sections, can't remember)
2 x PaK 40s
Infantry Scouts (of some sort)
3 x Panthers (joy...)

As a Tank Company, I would be attacking. Rudy deployed the Pak 40s in Ambush, the Panthers hull-down on the hill to his centre-left, Panzergrenadiers in the centre and his right, MG platoon on his left and Scouts somewhere at the back.

My Left deployment
My Right deployment
Panthers. At 1250 Pts. Great...

I used the cover of the hill on my left to deploy my Stuarts, Cromwell HQ and one Troop, Rifle Platoon in the centre, and other Cromwell Troop in the centre hoping to keep the Panthers honest. The Stuarts used their recce move, then another 16" to push far ahead, hopping to draw the PaK 40 ambush or prevent it's deployment. The HQ and Cromwell Troops followed. The Rifle Platoon advanced slowly in the centre trying to draw a little attention while hugging cover. The 2nd Cromwell Troop went forward but were able to stay out of LoS thanks to the buildings to their front.
The ambush...they missed!
Despite the Suarts puching forward the PaK 40 were still able to deploy, though a little back. They missed with the first two shots and two Stuarts from the Recce Troop succesfully broke-off out of LOS. Cromwells then moved up and unleashed a hail of fire, but numerous 75mm hits were saved. Return fire killed a Cromwell CS and bailed a Cromwell IV. Panthers moved to their right to KO my 2iC.

A hail of (ineffective) fire.
Return fire is more effective...

With the Panther re-deployment my 2nd Cromwell Troop motored 16" (12" for the Firefly) forward to engage the Panthers in the flank. Two hits were scored, both penetrated, and I rolled...1 and 2 for Firepower. Joy. On the other flank the Cromwells poured fire into the PaK 40s, but all hits were either saved or I failed more 3+ Firepower tests...this is becoming annoying. A single MG hit managed to get through and I rolled a luck '6' to at least kill one PaK 40. Go figure.
2 hits, 2 penetrations...2 bails.
Casualties start mounting.
The Panthers swiveled turrets to return fire on the flanking 2nd Troop, but only succeeded in KO'ing one Cromwell. The PaK 40 then KO'd my CO (forgot Warrior save though). In response I fired more rounds into the Panthers' flanks, though my shooting was poor and I again failed several firepower tests to result in 1 dead and 2 bailed Panthers. They passed motivation.

The Panzergrenadiers are forced back

On my left the last PaK 40 finally died and I assaulted into the woods, first with Stuarts (lost a tank to a Panzerfaust, then had to break-off) and then with the Cromwell Troop which succeeded in destroying the remaining Panzergrenadiers and their CinC. I consolidated onto the objective. In the German half the Panthers remounted, moved to fire on the contesting Troop but missed. In the following turn (Turn 5) I held the objective with no enemy teams contesting. Despite several burning tanks I had really only lost the CO, 2IC, the Cromwell CS tanks (HQ Platoon). 6-1 to me.

Just too far away...

Note to self: when you catch Panthers in the flank, pass your bloody Firepower tests.

Game 3: Breakthrough vs. Nick's US Rifles/Vichy French masquerading as Free French

Me attacking, though on the same table I put the Rifle Platoon in reserve, Cromwells massed to my left with the intention of over-running his 105mm battery, Stuarts to the centre to keep his infantry honest.

Massed armour on my Left.
Recce Troop, keeping the infantry in place.
Wait for it...
Bye bye 105s
The Cromwells duly swarmed forward, firing at the 105s though gun saves again thwarted my intentions. Return fire bailed a Cromwell CS, though it later remounted and an assault promptly finished off the pinned 105s. I also traded long-range shots with a pair of 57mm ATGs, though again gun saves mean only one died after several turns of firing.
A P-47 fly-by
Nick's aircraft (P-47s) make an appearance, but really are just a minor annoyance, claiming one tank only over the course of the battle.

The Recce Troop swans through the town, unopposed...
...only to get assaulted...
...and destroyed.
The Recce Troop meanwhile went on a joyride through the town, catching the flank of Nick's Engineers and reducing them almost to half. In the subsequent turn the engineers would have their revenge: pursuing a bit too far, I get assaulted, fail to pin with 11 dice (4 hits) and destroy half the remaining Engineer teams with defensive fire. I then get one Stuart bailed, and stupidly decided to continue with the assault (2 Engineer bases left) and lose another destroyed, the remaining tank breaking-off, then failing its Reluctant motivation test and departing the table. Thankfully, the Engineers also break after seeing the extent of their losses.

"The Great Swan"

In the following turn the Cromwells begin to arrive on the objective to support the newly-arrive Rifle Platoon. With no teams close enough to contest, the following turn sees me hold the objective unopposed (US infantry just an inch too short, should have moved to contest earlier).
End Game
I really shouldn't have lost the Recce Troop in this game. Breaking off after losing one tank would have been better, I just got a bit carried away: there were only 2 Engineer bases left, but I happened to miss with my assault rolls. Didn't really impact the game, though I lost a point because of it. Lessoned learned. 5-2 to the Desert Rats.

So 6-1, 6-1 and 5-2 put me in first place. Not that I really cared, but it was great fun using something that wasn't infantry: I've been foot-slogging for a little too long now. The Cromwell & Firefly Troops are awesome, very fast and versatile, but Reluctant can be a pain (obviously). Recce Troop Stuarts always fun. Rifle Platoon never fired a shot in anger over the three games, but given different opponents/missions they would undoubtedly have proved useful.

Picture album HERE.

From memory, the full result was:

Me/7th Armoured Squadron: 6-1, 6-1, 5-2 = 17 Pts 
JC/German Panzergrenadiers: 6-1, 3-4, 6-1 = 15 Pts
Nick/Free French: 6-1, 6-1, 2-5, = 14 Pts
Colin/German Panzers: 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 = 13 Pts
Charles/US Glider Rifle: 6-1, 4-3, 1-6 = 11 Pts
Dave/7th Armoured Squadron: 1-6, 1-6, 5-2 = 7 Pts
Rudy/German Panzergrenadier: 1-6, 1-6, 2-5, = 4 Pts
Ian/German Grenadiers: 1-6, 1-6, 1-6 = 3 Pts

Thanks to Nick for organising the competition, and to all my opponents for the games. Hope everyone learned something, I certainly did.

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