Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Gaming Table Final, AWI Progress, and Future Project Preview

Not much on the hobby front as i'm under the weather today but I thought I'd post the "sort of" final pictures for the gaming table project.

I will probably fix a few things but the table posts are done now.  Very happy with how the table turned out.

So I was able to get a little forward movement with my AWI troops.  Most of my foot officers are done now to include their basing (all but 1 guy...) and I've got some artillery finished as well.  The individually based officers will do double-duty in skirmish gaming as well, and I just base coated some Continental troops for skirmish warfare along the frontier.  For units, I still have a loyalist infantry unit to complete, British Cavalry, more lights, and some Continental lights.

British mounted officer

Seth Warner

Mounted Continental officer.

Continental foot officer

Yeah.  "This guy" there's one in every formation.  He was "hanging out" somewhere and didn't hear everyone else falling in...  Anyways I discovered him so his basing is still in progress...  But his paintjob rocks.
For CC Tricorne (and for other horse and musket AWI games for that matter) since I'll be playing at 15mm I thought 2 x gun batteries would look best so I made a pair of each RA and Continental Artillery.  These guys were painted but the paint job was horrid.  So I updated them.  The gunners look pretty good but the guns just turned out lousy.  Going to touch them up.
Threw an officer down getting ready to give the order to fire.

Royal artillery.

Continental artillery

2 guns will look absolutely smashing in a hex.

So that's it except for some CROSSFIRE activity.  What?  You thought Crossfire was done here?  Hardly.  I made some markers for squads so I don't lose track of stuff.  Also made some chits for "Mac's Missions" so you can pull your mission random mission from a bag. 

light glare washed out the picture.  Mission orders are HOLD, PROBE, WITHDRAW, BREAKTHROUGH, DIG IN, and ADVANCE.  
I also broke out my 15mm Soviets and painted the ground cover on the remaining 2 platoons.  I had enough leftover stands to form an SMG "Assault Platoon" and almost every infantry platoon will get an attached AT Gun, HMG, mortar, and has their own leadership team.  Perfect for Battlegroup, Crossfire, whatever.

Once I complete flocking the Soviet platoons, it'll be onto the Germans.  Have to paint and flock their bases as well and standardize my German companies for Battlegroup and CROSSFIRE. 

Future Projects Preview
This year I plan on having some fun with specialist and "elite" units to include more Soviet Scouts, German Assault Engineers, SS/Veterans, Oberfeldwebel Schmidt's Veteran CROSSFIRE platoon from Stalingrad, and Soviet Naval Troops for Stalingrad gaming.  That Rattenkrieg game at Fall-In really did a number on me!  If I can get all of these done, it'll be onto the Western Front to work on my British and Americans.

For terrain, I've begun decorating the bases for my trees (will do a whole separate post on that), and am standardizing ground cover with my table.  Going to be a busy year!

Monday, January 15, 2018

WIP: Gaming Table Progress Part 2

As promised, here are some pictures of more recent progress on the gaming table.  I'm achieving the look I was going for so far!

I worked hard on transitioning with the ground cover and texture coloring.  The middle areas between flocked areas have lots of dry-brushing and have that dried out look, while the areas closer to the flocked areas are darker, retaining a little more moisture.  The table was sealed with a bunch of PVA/Water and dried pretty quickly.  I'm happy to say the table is game-ready now.

Still WIP - this was before more of the work on the texture dry-brushing.  The darker areas are not so dark anymore.  I also like how the areas between some of the flocked parts look like trails or water runoff areas.  They add depth or relief to the table if you look at it.
Also, the hills I worked on are looking very good.  They've since been sealed with PVA and are ready for the table!  I'm going to give my Warzone hills the same treatment, and also I think I'll cut some more foam board hills out this year.  Enough for a ridgeline to cut across the table.

Soviet Scouts in overwatch!

While my wife disagrees, I think I need to add a few more splotches of flocked area in some of the bare spots.

2 hills.
So now that the table is almost done, I am working on standardizing all of my terrain pieces.  You could even say I'm basically "starting over" with all of my terrain.  My trees are getting the same treatment with their bases and the bases will match my table.  Same thing with buildings, village pieces, farm fields, hedges, fences, etc.  Nothing is safe!  An ambitious project, but one that I think it worth having and will pay off for me in the long run.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

WIP: Gaming Table Progress

Progress on the table-front as I was able to (with some help) slap some paint down onto the surface.  Surprisingly I was also able to dry-brush the table and begin the flocking process.  I practiced the concept on 2 scratch-built hills as well.  My daughter basecoated the hills for me and some of the table.  She had a blast completely trashing her clothes and practically immersing her hands in brown paint before I had the common sense to put some latex gloves to put on her. 

Today's post is really to highlight some of the progress, and also some of the difficulties I've had so far.

 The entire table took about an hour to cover completely.  I was extremely careful not to splotch and goop it everywhere like last time so as not to get any "friendly fire" on the floor or walls.

Table drying.  The paint is a mixture of a DIY Store "Tamiya Flat Earth" brew and a regular, run of the mill brown.  (50/50).  I have lots leftover and this is my standard color for basing troops now!  I am super happy with that look.

Dry brushing begins!  I am really digging the "parched" look.  This is exactly the look I was originally going for last year.
 So one problem I ran into was the areas previously covered with flock on the table dried with a completely different texture (duh) and they didn't take to dry brushing very well.  Last year, I sealed everything with PVA glue prior to painting and this year I didn't do that on account of that I was in a hurry and I have a limited amount of time to do this.  Just goes to show you - speed kills.

My course of action to deal with this was to apply the flock, more or less, to the same places it had been, but in patches as opposed to large covered areas, so the brown shows through.  It almost looks like trails or water runoff areas. 

I definitely got the look I was going for. [click]

The lighting washed out the texture and the detail and unfortunately makes it brighter looking than it is.

the hill turned out very nicely as well.  It's flocked now.  I like how closely the texture on my stands matches the table surface.

Note the large darker areas.  These are where the flock used to be.  I'm having to compensate for that now.

Some of the cool transitions and texturing I have now on the table.

So I'm onto something here.  I flocked the table and then applied some more highlighting with my drybrush color to work on the transition between the parched, baked earth and the green flocked areas.  It's not bad.  I'm not completely happy with it, but then my wife reminded me I probably never will be.  I'll try and throw up a post that shows how it looks with the flock.

The hills look awesome.  I could sell these and make some money off of them.  I'm half tempted to redo all of my Warzone hills to match this texture/flock combination.  More to follow! 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

WIP: Gaming Table Proof of Concept & AWI Project Status

Not much time for gaming this weekend but I did have some time to throw some paint down on the table and test out my proof of concept for my gaming table. 

You may recall last year [click], I took a page out of "Steven's Balagan" table [click] and attempted to redo my table in an attempt to get the "parched" look of his table.  I wasn't completely successful with the European ground, instead getting a sun baked North African look (in all fairness I missed a step, methinks). 

So this year I played around with a similar color and dry brushing scheme and took them to Home Depot (a DIY Store in the US) in order to get a more believable "parched" European ground look mixed into 2 x quarts of paints which I experimented with on my Russian Scouts.

I used Tamiya Flat Eart XF-52 mixed with regular brown (50/50) as a base, then dry-brushed a lightened mixture of Tamiya Flat Earth, Vallejo Dark Sand, and White. This got me a softer look that would look good dry brushed to the top of the ground, while keeping the recesses and undulations darker brown.  Almost how it would look 2 days after a rain, with the softer, wetter dirt still drying out.

Below are some pictures of the project idea so far.  Lighting in my basement doesn't completely allow for you to soak in all the glorious textured details, but take my word for it, I found the combination I've been looking for.

The lighting makes the color washed out in the photograph, but you can make out the nice, texture of the surface.  It matches the scout basing almost completely (pictured here)
 I made sure to include the old surface from last year so you can see the kick-ass desert look I'll have on the underside of the board. 

Small patch to the left is the basic tamiya flat earth, drybrushed with the lighter mixture.  It doens't have the 50/50 dark brown mixed into it.  
Wife came down and also marveled at the look so to me that's a green light to redo the table.  It's a good weekend project and the dry brushing is going to take a loooong time to do it right.

Close up.

I wish I had time this weekend to paint the whole surface, but it was much better to experiment with this scheme first, because going straight out of the can with the flat earth would be too bright.

In other news, I am very happy to report the AWI project is off to a roaring start.  This weekend, I was able to get all of my painted AWI units based the same way (7 infantry units per side of 6 stands each)  This might sound like no big deal, but my basing has gone through various evolutions since 2004 and this represents the final step for these battle-hardened troopers, who frankly are probably tired of being rebased again and again.

All of the painted AWI units just waiting on their flock
So when I opened my container of AWI "stuff" I was shocked to realize that this project is almost done!  That means I'll have every AWI trooper I own painted.  To some this might not be a big deal, but to me this is huge (and it means I can buy more!).  Below is a picture of "what's left" and I have some pretty cool ideas as to what I'll do with them.

What's left.  A cluster of soon-to-be officer stands on the left, individually based skirmisher stands for "This Very Ground" or any other Black Powder skirmish game and some badly painted leftover volunteers on the right.  Also a pile of Indians and loyalist infantry to paint up, including my Great Great Great Great Great [etc] grandfather's nephew (what does that make us?) unit of New Jersey loyalist infantry.
 Not a huge leap to get all of these troops painted this year.  Also planning some Commands & Colors TRICORNE, Black Powder games, "Guns of Liberty" throwback games, and AWI/FIW skirmish games in 15mm.  All around AWI goodness!

What's this?  An empty tray?  Note the tents in there.  I am going to model a sweet HQs or camp with those.  There's also an oxen train in there as well.
AWI Artillery and more officers getting the re-basing treatment.  Note the older, crappier bases on the right.
And finally my Russian support and command stands getting the basing treatment.

once flocked, they'll be battle ready

That is all for now.  If I'm feeling motivated, I'll slap some paint on the table this week after work in the hopes that I can dry brush next weekend.  I want to test some flock concepts as well before actually adding any to the table.  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 1, 2018


I was able to get a number of games in the last few days to bid farewell to 2017 and to usher in 2018. 
On Friday afternoon of course, I played the Hubbardton 1777 game with Ken and Alex using the "Fife & Drum" one page AWI rules.  Saturday afternoon and evening, Dave and I played Alex's excellent and exciting "Fast Play Medieval Rules" which were an outstanding "hack and slash" mass battle game based on Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames.  On Sunday I played 2 x back to back games of Alex's UP THE BLUE fast play World War II rules using the same scenario #14 (twin objectives) with Alex and Ken.

The Medieval game scenario followed:

“The Battle of Orewin Bridge (also known as the Battle of Irfon Bridge) was fought between English (led by the Marcher Lords) and Welsh armies on 11 December 1282 near Builth Wells in mid-Wales. It was a decisive defeat for the Welsh because their leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was killed, and this effectively ended the independence of Wales.”

We used the "Unfortunate Oversight" scenario from the One Hour Wargames book, and Alex's beautifully painted 28mm Medievals.  Dave, who played the Welsh, stacked up the defense behind the town on the north bank of the river.  

Not wishing to hack my way through built up terrain on the other side of a bridge, I decided to place my weight on the right.  In fact, I placed ALL my forces on the right!  Leading off with my mounted knights, my goal is to move towards the hill straight away. 

Felt marks the ford.  I have 2 units of infantry, 1 unit of longbowmen, 1 unit of crossbows, and 2 units of knights.
 The plan starts out brilliantly as my knights charge across the ford and deploy, heading straight for the hill.

knights deployed on the north bank of the river.  

My infantry assembling to cross the river.  They are next in line to head north.

Dave sends his mounted knights against mine on the plain.

My longbowmen on the left are fearsome and rain death down on the knights.

My other knights peel off to capture, or at least sit on, the hill.

Next thing you know I've got the entire Welsh Army all about!
 In a nice harrassing move, Dave sends his "brigands" across the river to harass my flank.  My Crossbowmen are assailing his infantry in the center.

 I try to move my infantry across the river ford.  they'll need enough movement to get there.  They roll a "1" and cannot move.  So my infantry are stuck this turn...

Knights are suffering from constant contact.  The yellow "6" means trouble for them.

Infantry still stuck at the ford.
 My infantry fail to cross no less than 5 times.  I even used the priest to extoll the men to cross the river, but to no avail.  He only gets a "2" on the reroll.  Dave makes mincemeat of my mounted troops across the river.  By the time my infantry cross (6 turns later) the Welsh are waiting for them.
A common sight on this battlefield.  Infantry sitting still....

The final apocalyptic battle....

This follows my Ponyri Station narrative on the northern pincer at Kursk, 1943 and sees the German 508th Infanterie Regiment attempting to enter the town of Ponyri with fierce Soviet resistance.  We played with more than the normal amount of units, with the Germans amassing 10 units and the Soviets 9 on-table with a heavy artillery unit off table in support.

German forces arrayed for battle.  1 x StugIII platoon, 1 x Panzer IV platoon, 1 x Ferdinand platoon, 4 x regular infantry platoons, 1 x assault pioniere platoon, 1 x mortar platoon, 1 x ATG platoon.

Ken's massed forces on the hilltop

I make a dash for both the hill and the town.  

Ferdinands lumber along at D6+2, the same speed as the infantry.

Ouch!  Heavy artillery plasters this infantry platoon as they move forward.  Permanent yellow die and 4 hits!

Ken places his troops deeper into the Ponyri terrain and places the komissar team (reroll a rally) behind the lead platoon.

AT guns and troops 

My assault engineers are wiped out by mortars and artillery but I reach the town with 2 infantry platoons relatively intact.  

My troops find good cover at the edge of the town 

Armor changes course and speeds off towards the town.

Now 3 platoons are embroiled with the Soviets for control of the town.

Things start to go quiet over on the Soviet left.

Things are a mess here but we're holding!

Germans continue the push into Ponyri with massive casualties!
 One platoon gets wiped out and another enters the town as Ken pulls back a platoon beyond the 4" to rally.  It's a great idea.  They're now in reserve as my landsers move in and get a toe hold on the town.  Heavy fighting on the western flank as well as another infantry platoon tries to claw their way in.

Holding fast in the northern portion of Ponryi the lead german elements will dig in soon.

Ferdinands come up to offer their support.

small scrap in the woods as I try to threaten Ken's infantry

Scratch 1 Soviet platoon as the Germans enter Ponyri from the west also.  The toe hold is secure for now.  But can they capture the town in time???

Trying to over run the Soviet AT gun platoon!

Finally the AT gun platoon has had it.  Ken still has an infantry platoon he can use to reinforce the town.  So even if I kill the last remaining platoon in the village, there's no way I can claim sole owner over "little Stalingrad".  We call the game on turn 13.  Soviet victory!

All that cleared space!
Ken had to leave so Alex and I played the entire game over.  I switched sides and played the Soviets and played very similarly to Ken, but with much less emphasis on the Hill.  I flooded the town with infantry, and also kept an armored reserve to react, but also to counterattack to the west of Ponyri itself.  Alex threw in his weight against Ponyri and we ended up calling the game around turn 13 or 14 when it became apparent that his forces again did not have the time to overrun the Soviets and force them out of the town.

Alex is working on rules for assaulting infantry and I think close assaulting a fixed, dug in position is really tough in his UP THE BLUE rules.  So far the rules really have shined in terms of encouraging combined arms operations, softening or suppressing an objective, and protecting infantry until they're ready to be used on the objective.

The Germans probably needed extra firepower in the form of heavy artillery to reduce the objective and soften the defenders prior to "going in" as historically they had plentiful fire support at Ponryi from small mortars up to the dreaded nebelwerfers.  So this might be a distinct possibility moving forward.  Alex is of the opinion that it's a scenario design issue rather than a rules issue, and I tend to agree with him.

Happy New Year to all!  May you roll 6's this year (or at least get your infantry over the fords).