Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Laziness and the love of armour

So I went to the cottage and enjoyed an amazing vacation of fishing and enjoying all that a cabin on a lake has to offer. 

 Not my cabin, or my dog, but you get the idea.

I'm not going to lie, it didn't inspire me to get a lot done. That being said I knew I had to do something, not only for myself but to keep on track with my Canadians.

Looking with some mild hatred at my figs (I'm not a painter at heart) I dreaded the Infantry pl and Mortar pl that I saw sitting there before me, a long and enduring process of highlighting small soldiers in a colour scheme I'm still not sure of. Oh joyous day... Perhaps I can get away with doing nothing...

But then I saw them...

Three glorious hulls of the much beloved and often chided Sherman tank.

So with that I set about painting up these three hulks to give my troops some armoured punch. Not sure I'll use them a ton in MW, perhaps more so in LW but you can't have an Canadian army without  a few of these for sure.

 I like the way these are looking in among the UC's I did up.

I'm happy with these and I'm looking forward to putting some antennas on them (along with the UCs) and I'm thinking of adding some foliage camouflage to bulk them out and give them that used feeling that I tried to go for with the weathering pigments I used on their hulls and tracks.

If you have any suggestions on what to use or techniques for the camouflage hit me up with a comment or a pm. I'm still learning with this whole "Allied" thing so I'm open to new and crazy ideas that will look cool...

Now the greatest downside to this is I'm one step closer to being forced to paint the Infantry.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Gun Bunnies Part Deux

I just finished up an MG Pl mounted in carriers and I'm loving both how they look and how they'll play. Giving me the option to either move quickly while still having some long range anti pers fire and the ability to set up either mounted or dismounted firebases to support my Canadians as they advance or defend.

I have a rifle pl and a heavy mortar pl done up and ready to be painted. The rifle pl is based as if they are breaching wire obstacles and pushing through.  The mortar pl is set up in some building ruins or cellars.  I'm going to have a hard time of bringing the whole army together cohesively but I really want to show the many facets of the combat seen in Italy, from the obstacles, the urban fighting, and hopefully it will all fit. My one hope is that I may be able to tie it together if it doesn't fit on its own with a scenic display tray.

I might try to get a pl of Shermans all done up as well. While I'm trying to stay to the infantry with this list, it's always good to have some friends with armour backing you up from time to time.  (Don't tell any of my armoured friends I said that.)

I'm off to the cottage for a few days so I probably wont post until I get back, but who knows, maybe the reception will be amazing and I can post from my phone... Not likely...
Until next time.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Gun Bunnies done

So I finished up the first pl of Universal Carriers and I have to say I love these little guys, in real life and now in miniature... So I'm rapidly working on the second Carrier pl as well as an MMG pl that be Carrier mounted.

 I did up the divisional and unit markings on the fronts.

And tilted stars on the sides (Canadians often tilted the star to differentiate themselves)

I haven't fully decided how to grass them yet so I'll wait until I get the new tufts and grass to make them match up with the rest of the boys.

I'm loving how they look on the table.

And I can't wait to get them in the game. Dreams of this are dancing in my head.

So I have a full pl of Shermans with a Firefly on the table and am trying to find more reference pictures on to help me with my 'Canadianizing' of them. If you see any good pics post the links for them in the comments.

Until next time.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

And now for something completely different....

Okay maybe not entirely different but its switching it up for me.

I've played Germans in Flames of War for a while now for about four years and I've had a blast with them. The recent tournament in Regina had a huge lack of allied armies and while I do have a US Paratrooper list(its not all painted so I didn't take it) I've been wanting to try something different both in terms of painting and game play.

While the prospects of a new army dance in the head of gamers with the joy and excitement of children at Christmas, they are often the sworn enemies of wives and girlfriends... "You're spending how much? On what? So we're not going on vacation? 

"Oh it's a 'staycation' for you to work on your little men and for me to catch up on house work?"
(yup I married a red head... An angry, angry red head...)

Yeah... It can be an amazing and exciting adventure fraught with relationship danger.

I was taking a Canadian Military history class a few years ago and somehow managed to talk my way into a situation where my wife suggested I buy a Canadian army to 'keep me on track and interested' with my class... Yeah... Best wife ever... But with the heavy work load of class and then a series of classes and work all over the country they became a long lost box in my man cave.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I found them, combined with the aforementioned tournament shenanigans and it was on!

So the box I had was the Canadian 3rd Division army box set representing the Canadians in the Normandy invasion for units like the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

I had every intention of using these as such, with the Winnipeg Rifles storming beaches everywhere, my love of bodged equipment sated with the Kangaroos (defrocked priests) and my enjoyment of general Canadian shenanigans seeing me through.

But part of me was pulled away from this in no small part due to the number of Canadian 3rd players and armies I've encountered and more importantly my involvement with one of Canada's famed Regiments the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
So with that in mind I've set out to put together an army of Patricia's in Italy with the box set. Sure I can have fun now and again with the Kangaroos but more importantly I'll get to play an army that rides through mid and late war with the coolest troops Canada had to offer.

I've immediately hit an impasse, namely in how to base the miniatures, which in FoW is a big deal as the base is the majority of what people see and really sends the tone of the figures. To go with the urban street fights of Ortona, the rural areas of the Gully, or the obstacle and bunker clearing of the Gothic line(which I'm leaning towards). If you have an opinion or a cooler idea leave a comment and get me back on track.

Not wanting to get too bogged down in the basing of the Infantry, I've tried to keep some momentum by working on possibly my favorite vehicle in the world.  We have a Universal Carrier at work and every day I see it I want to steal it, drive it around, and generally have far too much fun with it. That being said it was going to make an appearance, and a big one in my army.

Now the vehicles wouldn't be Canadian unless the were covered in 'acquired' goods and equipment so I've set about modeling them up with some extra kit and some guns that somebody left just laying around... We would have asked the yanks if these were theirs but they looked busy and we didn't want to bother them.

This picture is great and shows the vehicle mounting a .50cal excellently. The one problem I had with it was the fact that as a game model, the position of the .50cal like this would essentially doom my models to a constant life of breaking and repairs. So instead I went with a center mount which was actually used, just less common.

I modeled up rucks and other equipment for the carriers to well, carry. Load these puppies up so the troops can walk a little lighter.

On the center carrier I modeled up a stretcher across the hood there and I think I'll do this on a few more vehicles as I like the look and it was something that was essential and yet far too often overlooked in miniatures.
More rucks and a cam net/ tarp... I'm thinking stolen German cam tarp... I mean acquired. 
So this is the start of my Army, while I've put together a bunch more I haven't personalized those vehicles and I'll keep updating as they get their kit along the way.

If you have suggestions or ideas please send them my way, I wanna make this army look cool and I'm willing to spend a bit more time and work then I normally do to get it done so if you have something super cool in mind or a technique you think would help me out or even reading material(I love the books... though the wife might be less happy about that) hit me up with a comment hopefully it'll start me into my Infantry.

Until next time.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Regina's late war 1750pt tournament

Captains log, star date Christina Hendrick's, late night movie and dessert... Yeah.. ... .. . Right the tournament... The voyagers of the U.S.S. Nostromo took flight on the Trans Canada bound for Regina, ensign Irwin was my Navigator as we set out on our expedition to the sounds of WWPD, the crunching of Ruffle chips and the cool refreshing taste of an Arnold Palmer...

We arrived in Regina after a fun drive of cruise control and few turns (the Trans Canada is like that for those non prairie folk) and checked in at our hotel and had a quick bite to eat before setting down to do those last minute painting details that always happen the night before.

A week out from the tournament we had to turn in lists and I was still unsure of what to do so I threw together a list I had never played, and said to hell with it, lets have some fun. Here's my list.

Gepanzerte PanzerGrenadier


Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Company HQ1x CinC SMG, 1x 2iC SMG, 2x Sd Kfz 251/1CV65
- CinC Upgrade1x Upgrade CinC SMG to CinC SMG Panzerfaust
- 2iC Upgrade1x Upgrade 2iC SMG to 2iC SMG Panzerfaust
- Panzerschreck1x Panzerschreck , 1x Sd Kfz 251/1
Compulsory Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon1x Command MG, 1x Sd Kfz 251/1 or 251/10, 6x MG, 3x Sd Kfz 251/1CV2201
- Command Upgrade1x Replace Command MG with Command Panzerfaust SMG
Compulsory Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon1x Command MG, 1x Sd Kfz 251/1 or 251/10, 6x MG, 3x Sd Kfz 251/1CV2201
- Command Upgrade1x Replace Command MG with Command Panzerfaust SMG
Panzergrenadier Anti-tank Gun Platoon1x Command SMG, 3x 7.5cm PaK40, 1x Kfz 15 field Car, 3x Kfz 70 TruckCV1551
Schwere Panzer Platoon1x Command KonigstigerCV3451
Panzer Platoon1x Command Panzer IVH, 3x Panzer IVHCV3601
Rocket Launcher Battery1x Command SMG, 1x Observer Rifle, 1x Kubelwagen, 3x 15cm NW41 rocket launcherCV1051
Anti-aircraft Gun Platoon1x Command Armoured Sd Kfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm) Half-track, 1x Armoured Sd Kfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm) Half-trackCV1001
Luftwaffe Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Platoon1x Command SMG, 1x Kfz 15 Field Car, 2x 8.8cm FlaK 36, 2x Sd Kfz 7 (8t) half-trackRT951

With 5 points left in reserve for the Fuhrer.

I worked on weathering some of my force and finished off some crew on my AA guns while watching IRON SKY for the night in the hotel, a documentary on US politics and foreign relations

A solid nights sleep later we awoke albeit way to early ( who gets up at 5:30 in a hotel room without a fire alarm anyways?) and put down a good breakfast before taking off to the tournament.

For those of you who haven't been to Regina on a game day this is what it looks like.

We made our way through that and headed to Tramps comics and games

and it was on. We met up with the guys and chatted it up a bit as we awaited all the players. We had brought a bunch of terrain and so with the tournament organizers help we  augmented a few of the tables before being walked through the terrain as a whole by the tournament organizer Lance... I can't say enough about this guy, he was great and did a ton of work to get everything set up for the event and ran a great and fun day.

I really think that doing a walk through of terrain is super important. Lance negated any sort of arguments based on terrain before anyone had rolled a die by doing this and took input from the crowd so everyone was happy. All in all if I run a flames of war tournament I'm stealing this from him and only hope I do it as well.

With that done we set out to play three games, Free for All, Hold the Line and Hasty Attack.  All of the Matchups were done by computer, Curtis (of Kages Flame of War blog for those who know him, and those who don't check on the right there I have a link to his blog) is working on the tournament app for Battlefront and it can do it all and impressively. Ensign Irwin and I (his names Duncan I just like going with this ensign thing A) because I'm still enjoying writing this with a Shatner voice in my head and B) because I know it'll annoy him.) having come so far had worried that we would play each other, " OH GREAT I JUST TRAVELED OVER 400KM AND I GET TO PLAY THE GUY I PLAY EVERY WEEK... GREAT!" But Curtis' app actually avoids that to get people to change it up and play new people... It was pretty cool.

 The heroic few about to do battle.

My first game was against Brody and his SturmKompanie.  Brody is a fierce and noble leader, and at 10 years old is a competitive gamer. We were playing Free for All and with his few platoons being very defensively minded it was up to me to attack. Brody got the first turn and swung 4 StuGs around a forest, and blew one of my Quad AA guns off the map. After a generous helping of flames and smoke being applied to the vehicle it was my turn for a counter attack. He had a Panther Turm holding down the Far right flank, so I avoided that like the plague and went up the left and center with everything I had. After a ton of fire  and a few turns, I managed to pin and assault my way into a victory. But have no doubts, he made me work for it. And noticing one of my mistakes (I forgot to shoot at or assault his lone OC, he openly mocked me for being weak... (in a funny and playful way) This was actually really good advice and would actually come into play later in the tournament. The game ended 6-1 for me.

While he and i were cleaning up the table he introduced me to "Luck challenges" which are actually pretty cool and I think I'm going to do more of to help me wargame out problems and make me take a different look at some tough situations... Again Kids a monster and a genius and he's going to be destroying people in a couple of years unless his dad can somehow take away his models and force him to take dance classes or something.... Lance, I'm looking at you here...

So with that out of the way we set about arranging forces for the paint judgement and took off for lunch. I took some pictures of the armies for you all to peruse.

I wasn't able to get pics of all of the armies as some of the players were still in the heat of it and well, I was too hungry to wait! Overall it was axis biased with only 4 of the 14 armies being allied.

After a quick lunch we were back for round two where I was facing Curtis the computer genius(read hacker) and his Panzer Bake list. He had 4 panzerwerfers with extra crew, GpPzGrens, 3 2cm gun halftracks, and of course the big kids, a pl of panthers and a pl of Tigers.

We were happy to be playing each other as we had been talking for the last few weeks online. As soon as we learned the mission all I heard was "I hate that mission", quickly followed by "ON THAT TABLE?!??" Funny thing was I was thinking the same thing. I was worried with his full army of heavy armour rolling toward my small holding force.

As used a kampgrupped force with pzgrens and a pak 40 on the table along with the KT and the Panzer IVs (who spent the whole game hiding).  My ace in the hole was an ambush of Luftwaffe 88s. Now for the record I love these things, some people think 88s are junk, but I love em. And while I'll talk them up I'll refer you to someone who doesn't believe in them. Kages thoughts on 88s

 So I was fairly concerned with what was coming at me and so sprung my ambush with the 88s and instead of taking on the tanks I saw the halftracks as my biggest threat. With that the 88s opened up and the few cars that survived fled the field, leaving hulking wrecks blocking off the advance of the tanks behind.  Well it might not have blocked them, but it sure slowed them down.

You can see in the pic my KT on the hill, I sat it up there to cover the whole battlefield and it dominated the ground from there (with it's re rolling misses) He sent in his AA halftracks to try and assault my force, but they were blown away by the defensive fire. And at this point he started losing tanks fast, between the 88s, KT, Pak 40, Panzerschreck and Panzerfausts there was a lot of shooting going down range at a very few tanks. The game was fun with both of us having a good laugh and I can't wait to get in another game with him. I think it would be a great time and with both of us being amicable to adult beverages this may need to happen. The game ended a 6-1 for me.

The final game ( I apologize I have no pics as it was a pretty intense game against an awesome player) was against Rob with his SS WIKING panzer list. Last time I checked this guy was ranked 3rd in Canada and can seriously play the game. He had two HQ Panthers, a pl of 4 pz IVs, a pl of 4 StuGs, two quad 2cm halftracks, a pl of GpPzGren, a battery of 10.5cm guns and a battery of 15cm guns... Yeah... So he's explaining the list to me and how the Kannone work, and that he's rolled 6's for them all day... Yeah... Yeah.... He rolled a 5 and 6 for them again... They were rerolling monsters on the table. Well long story short it was a blood bath with both of our forces being mauled, and the game coming down to a single die roll for where my scattered reserve would arrive, with a role of a 5 I was able to challenge his holding my objective and eventually destroy his pl and OC. The game ended a 4-3, and could have gone either way in any turn. Super fun, and yes lance stressful.

With the last game done we tore down and waited for the results. All in all it was a great day and was made even better when Lance pulled out these bad boys...
I loved it, far too few tournaments do trophy's or any sort of cool tokens, but this event had golden tanks... OH YEAH!

Rocking a Soviet KGB shirt while playing Germans is how you have to roll. It throws the others off...

In the end 5 players walked away with one of these bad boys and I was lucky enough to take Best Overall, and players choice which I think is even better.  A fun surprise and a great time. I couldn't of asked for more, but with Devil's Charge being released that day and being available up the stairs my day got even better.

Here's a screen shot of Curtis' program with the final standings.

So we launched back in the car for another 4 1/2 hours of fun after an amazing day of gaming, a lot of lessons learned and a new bunch of army lists that my navigator could read out to me as we drove... Yup it was a good day.

And now to come up with a new list... Hmmmnnn with the tournament being heavy axis, perhaps some Canadians....

Until next time.

Monday, 9 July 2012

The trouble of tournaments.

And so yet again its tournament time!

I love tournaments and though I don't play in many (mostly due to my living in the prairies and the lack thereof) I really enjoy them as part of the social aspect of the hobby.  And for me that's probably the biggest part of the hobby, the social aspect, where people get together to share their creative, competitive, tactical, and psychological skills, while having a blast, drinking far to much coke and regaling each other with the stories of the games that got away and the dauntless adventures we've had on table.

I think tournaments are good for our hobby, and if done correctly not only bring together our community but also encourage and develop our skills with brushes and with tactics. And yet tournaments seem to be one of the most divisive things in our hobby and mostly down the line of so called soft scores, sportsmanship, painting, history etc. And while I'm sure we could classify hundreds of subtypes of tournament opinions here I've decided to go binary and break it down into the two groups I think most would identify with in one way or another, the pure win and the all around.

So what are these two types? Here is my take on the two. The pure win type sees any finding game as that, a game to be one or lost, no more no less and wants only pure hard fact of the win loss record to decide the outcome. If this were say snowboarding half pipe, they want to know who got down the hill fastest, flips are secondary.  They want to know who kicks the most ass, and if anything in our hobby can be considered macho I believe this side of the house has it.

The all around group looks at tournaments differently, they see tournaments as an expression of the hobby and want to include all aspects therein.  Why would I spend my time meticulously painting little men if it is not of concern? Why not just play with cardboard counters? Sportsmanship again comes to the front as people are interested in finding those people they would like to play again and again to continue enjoying the hobby with.

I often find at any tournament I go to that a discussion of how tournaments should be run breaks out and these two corners of the argument come out in droves and espouse their views in sometimes heated tones. Now while I'm sure an editorial view should just go over these ideas and give all the information, I'm not that guy and I believe that having an opinion on things is good and important so I guess I have to pick a side. For me the all around aspect of this hobby is too important to leave out of tournaments. If we had no interest in any of these other aspects wouldn't we just all be playing chess? That way every move would be exact and we could perfectly judge in a non biased way who was king of the pile? But we made a clear decision a long time ago to sling paint, convert, research(for those playing fantasy don't tell me you didn't read a whole lot of fluff or came up with some concept of how your force came together or who leads it) and more possibly more importantly how well we play with others.  The later I put in there because this is a social hobby, there is no way around that. We could be playing starcraft or something else that is all alone in our basements, but we choose to play a game(or games) that force us to come into contact with others as the game simply can't be done alone.

Now time and time again I hear from the pure win types that scores like painting and sportsmanship and the like shouldn't be for who wins the tournament, but simply just have an award on their own. Why? I think the best tournament I ever went to had overall above best general, best army, best painted, best sportsman and the like.  And this put forward again the importance of the complete hobbyist, the one who puts in effort to all aspects.  The second cry I hear is "well I can't win best painted so it's unfair in that some people are better painters then others and I don't have a chance to win". TOTALLY VALID! Yes you will not win. My rebuttal question, "did we cancel the Olympics because you have no hope in hell of winning the 100m sprint? And the possibly better turn around is what about the painters out there who are absolutely amazing at what they do, but can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag? They still come out and play (the pure win types are typically the most happy when playing them as the pictures of them thrashing an army then look nicer).   Just as people can work on their strategy they can work on their painting.

So I've put down my line in the sand and I'm sure this has been a long and tedious read for many but before I end I just want to put down why I think tournaments are so good for us.

1) They bring us together in large groups where we can meet and interact on levels not normally had. This not only can inspire new people to get into the hobby but also for people in it to try new things and go off in new directions when inspired by others.

2) They help us get our sh*t done! Gamers are almost by nature procrastinators and the tournaments help us with putting in firm deadlines and inspiring us to up ante on our previous works, or hilariously so up the ante's of the works of those around us. Assembly, conversion, painting and the like might not ever get done for some people if it weren't for tournaments.

3) Tournaments are fun and they give us an excuse to play a bunch of the games we love and offer us a great justification to wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends and just about anyone else to go play for a day.

So with all that said, I'm pumped to go out and roll some dice against a bunch of people I barely know (I'm traveling about 400km for this tournament so it'll be no surprise I don't know many people there.

So what do you think about tournaments and their structure? Are you a Pure win type that thinks I'm out to lunch? Post in the comments what you think about it all, because we know you have an opinion on this.