Saturday, 29 October 2016

'Band of Brothers' for Bolt Action.

I received these in this mornings post, Warlord US Airborne figures painted by (as usual) John Holsman to his usual crisp high standard. These were not commissioned figures but rather 'Buy it now' via eBay and I am very pleased with them. I had been eagerly waiting for the US Airborne plastic multipart box set to be released, and the opportunity to grab a couple of squads ready painted was more than I could resist.

The Bolt Action lists for post Normandy offer the chance to feature both US infantry and Airborne in the same force as they quickly linked up after the D Day landings. 'Band of Brothers' has long been a favourite TV series of mine and these figures replicate them perfectly. Having now decided to focus BA purely on infantry based actions it seemed fitting to add these into the growing collection.

2 x 8 figure airborne squads, 6 riflemen, 1 BAR and one NCO with SMG Veterans.
1 x 'Pathfinder' sqaud of 4 riflemen and an NCO with SMG. Veterans.
2 x Browning Machine guns, veterans

These guys should give the Germans something to think about!

Dad's Army set.
This is the 8 figure 'Home Guard' set plus the 2 figure Verger and Vicar set. I  wanted to show them in the bare metal before they are painted because everyone who has seen them so far has been astonished at the way in which they have captured the iconic characters. These again by Warlord and come with rather nice slot in bases, as the strip below the feet is inscribed with each characters name so would be a shame to cut off. My intention is to texture the bases as usual so that the painted figures simply slot in or out. I can see these becoming quite a collectors piece in fullness of time.

Sergeant Wilson (of course!).
The Verger.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Breaking down the Germans for Bolt Action.

Reading through the posts on 'Army lists' section of the BA forum has given me some fresh impetus to give Version 2 of the rules another bash. I started looking at the smaller 750 point lists and found a particularly good one for my Germans, and what struck me was that it broke down the standard 10 figures infantry squads into 2 sections of 5 men each, working independently, but supporting each other. This is a historically accurate representation, with the MG42 section (Gunner, loader and 3 riflemen) putting down suppressing fire, pinning the enemy while the other section (NCO with sub machine gun and 4 riflemen) moves forward. In Bolt Action terms each section gets it's own order dice, so it's possible to replicate this tactic in the game, and if the LMG section can cause the enemy unit to return fire then the second section is free to attack them as the enemy unit will have used it's order dice for that turn. I like this use of historical tactics so decided to see how I could make this work in my own German platoons.

My Bolt Action Germans have grown to a sizeable collection, so it was no surprise to find that I could easily field TWO 750 point platoons from just the infantry alone, leaving the tanks and armour etc in the boxes as potential reinforcements for bigger games. Going through the squads I found I could now field a mid war (1943 -1944) Regular Heer reinforced platoon of three squads in six sections, plus a later war (44 - 45) force of Waffen SS or veteran Grenadiers. In addition I am also able to field a smaller 'Last Levy' force comprising Volksturm and Hitler Youth squads for those final desperate days in Berlin against the Soviets.

To give an example of how the veteran 'SS' platoon breaks down this is the list:

2nd Leutnant (Lieutenant) + buddy (2x rifle, veteran)

1 medic

5 waffen SS: 3x AR, 2 PZ faust (veteran, rifle section)
5 waffen SS: 1x LMG (veteran, LMG section)

5 waffen SS: 3x AR, 2 PZ faust (veteran, rifle section)
5 waffen SS: 1x LMG (veteran, LMG section)

5 waffen SS: 3x AR, 2 PZ faust (veteran, rifle section)
5 waffen SS: 1x LMG (veteran, LMG section)

1 veteran sniper team

748pts, 9 order dice, 35 models 

The option remains to add in MMG teams and /or mortar team and anti tank (panzershreck) team. I have added to this list an armoured car or half track with machine gun to act as a transport for the command team if required. The Heer list is much the same and retains the same options. Like many I'm not keen on having SS troops on the table, so I just consider it a 'late war' list, but BA is just a game after all.

I'm now trying to find a matching list for my hordes of US infantry before giving it a run through. Leaving armour and artillery off the table means I get to focus on the infantry tactics in this scale.

A few pictures of how this breaks down, the latter army has more distinctive cammo patterns and assault rifles, plus a sprinkling of one shot panzerfausts etc.

 Firstly the 'Heer' force, regular infantry 1943 - 1944.

And now the latter war 1944 - 45 force, same structure, different figures.

Still working on the terrain, adding fields etc.

General Patton awaiting the arrival of the US infantry!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Home Guard for Bolt Action.

I have been trying to resist this set for most of this year, but with my BA stuff mostly painted and in the boxes I finally gave in and this morning ordered the Warlord 'Local Defence Volunteers' box set of 8 Dad's Army characters in uniform, the Vicar & Verger set (2 figures), plus the 500 point British starter army set. I don't intend to expand it beyond this, but I can envisage some fun scenarios, with the Home Guard fending off a small German invasion force, backed up by Regular infantry, Vickers MG section and Bren carrier. Watching the latest re run of Dad's Army last week I noted the reference to the 'Dymchurch Home Guard'  (disparaging as I recall), and this sparked the idea of playing some fun games based around small Kentish seaside villages. Personally, this is how I like to play BA now, small games up to 750 points, no artillery, tanks, anti aircraft or transports/ tows etc, just the basic infantry platoon based game with a few support teams. Whatever else I'm going to enjoy painting the Dad's Army characters once they arrive. Warlord are offering free postage at the moment, another thing that prompted me to order.

Here are a couple of 'borrowed' images of what's coming, from the warlord website. As usual they are quite expensive, the HG 8 figure metal set being £20.00, the vicar and verger £5.00 for the 2 castings, pushing the boundaries somewhat, but very collectable. The British starter set is £39.00 and contains plastic infantry sprues with metal additional figures, MG team and a resin/metal Bren carrier and crew.

Aside from the above I have added a 4 base German  MMG team plus command for Flames of war and painted the ME262. Didn't turn out too bad, the dappling was a challenge as it was with my larger Airfix version for Bolt Action, but looks OK on the flight stand.

ME262 ready for action.
Yet more Shermans (no more!), M20 scout cars and Bergepanther undercoated. Also two German half tracks. The plastic Shermans are bought as you see them quite cheaply and are by Plastic Soldier Company.  They seem to go together far better than the Battlefront 'Open Fire' plastic Shermans with no annoying gaps that need to be filled.

And I'm still working my way through the beers! 

Really enjoyed this one, light and refreshing.
Not so much to my taste, 5.5% abv quite a bitter aftertaste, a darker ale, but interesting label and name.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Scenic planning and more beer!

Inspired by the videos of The Terrain Tutor I ordered up a few more packs of materials, some DAS air drying modelling clay and wire wool (smoke markers!). A trip to B&Q added several tester pots of suitable ground colours, a couple more carpet tiles and more sticks for my hot glue gun. Not had a lot of time this week, but I did manage to cut out and drybrush one of several planned 'ploughed' fields and add it to the table. My intention is to completely break up the board with a series of patchwork fields to represent ploughed up earth as well as harvested wheatfields and taller crop fields, all surrounded by 30mm tall 'bocage'. The fields are being cut to conform to the 6" & 12" hedge sections made for me by Simon at S&A scenics, slightly taller than his standard size 4 hedges. To this end he is making me another 4 packs of hedges plus another couple of packs of his size 3 trees. That should finish the job nicely. Once all the tiles are drybrushed and shaded they should look nice, and I'll be adding lots of hay stacks where appropriate, as done by The Terrain Tutor, very simple but amazingly effective, thus the DAS clay and hairy coconut matting! I'm just enjoying myself planning for this. Another TT inspired project is to make explosion markers from clump foliage, I could not believe how realistic they look when finished and painted and placed on top of a destroyed model tank. I have a load of clump foliage saved from my first attempt at making bocage, I'll make a few up this week and get them painted to illustrate the effect.

Meantime I have a game on the table German v US, loads of tanks, Shermans, M10's Stuarts, Tigers, StuG's and Panzer 1V's as I refresh myself with the rules. The enlarged Flames of War reference sheet has been reprinted and stuck on the wall at the bottom of the table, I can mostly still play off the sheet together with the printed army list from FoW army builder (here) that contains all of the stats for the selected platoons. THanks to 'Foy' for taking the time to enlarge and shoot the original A4 two sided playsheet into this magnificent double sized wall chart, it's 4 sheets of A4 card printed and stuck together and very easy to read.

I have a 4 base German HMG platoon on the work bench, plus 2 M20 scout cars to complete the US 2nd armored list Tank destroyer platoon ( 1 command recon jeep 50cal, 2 M20 Scout cars & 4 M10 tank destroyers). That will see the US list about done. Air support was a choice of a Thunderbolt or P38 Lightning, I went for the latter due to it's unusual shape and combination of bombs and rockets. Airstrike rules in FoW are quite straight forward, far more so in my opinion than Bolt Action. I find the little 'Battlefront' aircraft quite collectable, I have an ME262 on order for my late war Germans.

Tanks are a mix of Battlefront, Forged in Battle (resin) and Plastic Soldier Company, I have a platoon of 5 Panthers to build and paint in due course. Figures are mostly Forged in Battle with some Peter Pigs being added as I like them. I also have a lovely metal Bergepanther recovery vehicle by Peter Pig assembled and ready for painting.

In other news.....
My Son in Law usually picks up a box of beer for me when he visits his wholesaler, last couple have been 'Golden Ale' selections, my recently acquired taste, but he excelled himself this time, turning up with this huge festive 'Advent' selection of 24 craft ales! No way was I going to be able to wait until December 1st to try a few, and with the family round for Sunday dinner I sampled a couple of the beers. There are few odd ones in there, darker heavier Winter Ales, the usual Chocolate beer and even a Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale, but all seem eminently drinkable to me. The box included a nice glass and 24 x 330ml bottles, very nice, cheers Jay.