tiistai 3. tammikuuta 2017

My year 2016 in miniature

It's once again time look at past year 2016 in terms on my beloved painting, modeling and gaming hobby. And maybe look forward into year 2017, what is to be come from there.

Last year has been quite buys and productive year. I've been painting a lot and have started few new eras of war gaming. Also have participated the usual local conventions with some nice demo/participation games. And one of the highlights of last year was once again trip to Hamburg Tactica.

The only thing I noticed is I've been lazy with my blog. There's not that many articles or battle reports published as previous years, and the reason is that I haven't had that many games last year. I have painted more and tinkered with all those nice models. Maybe I'm becoming more choosy in terms of games I want to spend my time.

Painting

As I said before, there has been fair amount of painting in year 2016. I have continued to build my ever growing collection of WWII miniatures for Bolt Action. During last year I started and completed British and German desert armies with good choice of support weapons. It was nice to paint loads of sand brown vehicles and those iconic adversaries in desert war, DAK and Desert rats.

And when we talk about iconic units I added also small but very powerful team of LRDG jeeps and lorries in my collection. More on these nice  models here.

Unfortunately I haven't had chance to field them but once, but where their firepower scary. Report of that desert incident can be found here. 

Desert wasn't the only new WWII project during last year since I also started Imperial Japanese army for pacific and kit bashed some US infantry for Pacific to fight along the Marines in island hopping. With these US reinforcements I also acquired some Higgins boats to ferry troops on shore. I'm planning to re-run the Tarawa mini campaign once again this year and now with proper equipment and enough troops. I kinda like Pacific theater.

Year 2016 also saw start of not one but two new war gaming periods and massive army building with that. First one was when I agreed to join in AWI starter army deal with my club mate and volunteered buy and paint Continental rebels. This was very intensive painting project when I painted some 130 + Continental miniatures on period of one month. I didn't painted anything else as you might guess. Sounds tedious, but was really quite interesting experiment of how much one can produce on certain period of time.

And if that wasn't enough I went in a another massive painting venture after summer. Some club mates started talking about ECW and TYW project and I was in. So from August I've been painting ECW parliament army for coming ECW campaign which is to start on early 2017 with Edgehill fight. Somehow ECW miniatures have been most joyful to paint. They are full of character and actually quite colorful too. Even the amount of painted ECW figures has been quite substantial I haven't reached the same numbers with that project than in AWI, maybe the year is taking it's toll.

Addition to these main painting projects, i tinkered little this and that, building mainly terrain
piecesand objectives. And yes had two very productive and good table projects with my club mate Kalle. First one was desert table which is featured in many of my Bolt Action AAR's in my blog. The second one was build of modular river table with interchangeable center piece. After having had some mishaps with water effect we realized one of the greatest tables so far.

The whole idea of concentrating on terrain and tables was brought home from last years Hamburger Tactica, where we decided our focus for the year to be a good quality terrain.

Wargames

If I've been quite busy on painting and building, gaming has been little bit slower. Not that many
games a month, maybe only one or two maximum, but that seems OK. Some years ago I decided to go for quality that quantity in gaming. Bolt Action has been on to my list in gaming as in previous years, its' just so good game and interesting theme. In Bolt Action I have had roughly a game in a month which is quite enough. With new V2 rulebook it saw some more gaming activities during autumn. In Bolt we have had traditional gaming days and demonstrations in our Club and in some conventions.

Black Powder was once again activated when we started the AWI gaming after summer holidays. We
started loose campaign and started playing games from Warlords Rebellion campaign book. we started with the first fight and went on until the size of the games exceeded our supply of miniatures. Now the campaign is on hold until more troops will be painted. The Rebellion book is very good campaign book and the scenarios give nice and relaxed games. I really have enjoyed playing them. We also had a participation game of AWI in local gaming convention Ropecon, where our new armies were on display and the game was introduced for interested. We had fun and people had fun, it was all fun.

And them at late last year we had our first ECW fight just to field new troops and take first tasters of the new period. We gathered figures from four gamers and had fairly nice looking fight where Parliament troops met the kings men on the field. The table was bit cramped but the provided quite intense game. And it was true eye candy with all those large blogs of units and flags flying. This we will go back in year 2017 big time with ECW campaign and then TYW battles.

For this I will definitely paint way more figures too since I really enjoy the look and feel of these men with feathers in their hats.

And yes, and one of my oldest gaming involvement continued also last year. Traditional WH 40K games during summer had some 40K games in the Club and then just before Christmas great day with my special War Head friends. Our Civil war inhouse tournament is new classic. Intense day of friendly but unforgiving gaming for bragging rights.

My hobby year saw also traditional weekend in Hamburger Tactica with friends. Tradition that will repeated also this year of 2017. Our Club also participated in PoroCon gaming convention in Helsinki. I promising new gaming con that combines nice all sorts of table top games. This also will be on my schedule for next spring.

Plans, plans... 

My painting plans are quite clear. More Bolt Action armies aiming to have them all! And then the previously mentioned ECW/TYW painting project. And then some more AWI Continentals. And off course something I haven't even noticed yet, but will most likely to venture in...

I have some plans and ideas of some Bolt Action events for next year. Maybe the first will be re-run of Tarawa campaign from two years back. Three game mini campaign of three fighting days in Tarawa. Now with reviewed scenario  rules.

Then on June Normandy D-Day mega game. Game set up I spotted in one of the British gaming blogs which I would like to repeat in some way. It will be D-Day landing on four joined tables spanning from airborne landing until first wave fights itself through the defenses. Involving some six players having the same game. This will test Bolt Actions limits, but would be great fun.

And maybe the year 2017 sees Napoleonic 1813 campaign start in the Club. Which I'll be participating.

and maybe something more...

keskiviikko 23. marraskuuta 2016

Bolt Action - Desert raiders

Back to desert with some heavily armed trucks! My club mate had some nice Italian trucks painted and asked me for a game of Bolt in the Desert. I naturally agreed since this was an opportunity for me to field LRDG team I haven't had chance to play yet. So we agreed a game and went back to Beda Fomm, since it is very mobile scenario and all Italian troops are in the trucks. So I gathered blocking force from my 8th army footsloggers and flanking force from LRDG veterans. Italians had four trucks full of infantry, a command team and a tank.

The fight started by Italians driving through the pass into he open where they were immediately fired by British blocking force behind the roadblock. First truck was set in flames and troops bailed out. More trucks speeded along the road and Italian traffic jam was gradually forming. This was the moment when LRDG flanking force hit and heavily armed jeeps and a Chevrolet truck knocked out another Italian truck. Just after that veteran infantry speeded in dismounted and eliminated Italian squads one by one by firing and in close combat. This was retaliated by Italian tank which rumbled in and gunned down helpless SAS troopers. One jeep with heavy machine gun was trying to pin the ending in flames itself. Fast strike and bold assault just in the middle of Italian convoy caused such confusion that rest of the fight was fought on the mouth of the pass. There British fire power was decisive and almost all Italian infantry lost. Only lonely tank was left but it withdraw or surrendered in the end.

The scene, empty desert road through the pass.
AT rifle waiting in ambush.
Desert rats arranging roadblock ambush. 
First Italian truck speed in.
The more followed by the officer.
After first truck got hit Italian troops dismount and prepare to fight.
On truck out and Italian HQ is checking the plans.
LRDG strikes - Tally Ho!
Veteran desert raiders join the fight with murderous effect.
Heavily armed jeeps flanking Italians. 
Italian troops pushing forward by the burning trucks.
More Desert Rats join the fight,
Remaining desert raiders push forward selling their lives dearly.
One jeep knocked out.
In the end only Italian tank was remaining on the road.
Strong British blocking force is holding it's ground.
The day went for the British. The heroes of the fight were SAS troops that took out two full infantry squads boldly attacking straight into the enemy. They were gunned down but they really swung the fight and stole initiative from the Italians. And off course those scary LRDG vehicles bristling with machine guns pouring insane amounts of fire. On Italian side the tank was the man of the match.

Nice game in good company, good stuff!

maanantai 7. marraskuuta 2016

Bolt Action - Across the River

Once again Bolt Action on the club, second game with new Ed.2 rules and this time I wasn't playing, but game mastering this one. Few friends asked if they could test new Ed.2 rules so I devised a game for them. Both players were familiar with BA game, so there was no need run basics  and we concentrated on new features of Ed.2.

This game was first run for our new river board we made for display purposes, when we were presenting our Club in an event near Helsinki. The board has river running through it, so it's more or less bit tricky board to play. But it's a beauty and we like to play narrative and thematic scenarios, not focusing on strict balance of the game. So. I based the game on "take the bridge" scenario, which I slightly modified. Now, instead of taking a just a bridge, the attacker had task to secure two river crossings, a bridge and a ford.

The fight was located somewhere in France in late summer -44 where US troops were doing strong push towards Paris. A battle group of Rangers and Paratroopers were tasked to take and secure two river crossings for the armored units. Germans were defending, but they were badly stretched and there wasn't strong troops to guard the riverbanks in all crossings. So the was only unit of infantry, MMG and PAK40 guarding two crossings.

At the start US elite troops made strong push towards both crossing at the same time. US troopers advanced swiftly to river and later they were backed by Sherman. Germans put up good fight but their fire wasn't enough to stop US veterans determined attack. Soon US troops started going across on two spots and after that they quickly eliminated German resistance. Not even the second wave of Germans wasn't able to change the push. So in the end US force took both crossing points and almost wiped Germans out totally.

The game went for US too easily, but as I said, the main focus of that scenario wasn't to find balance, but have thematic fight. But next time I'll give Germans armored support, a tank or SP sun and maybe some more infantry. Also the rules of wading in the river need some adjustments.

Here's some eye candy of our new table and the fight along the river.
One objective, a ford to be taken. 
Second objective was this nice bridge. 
Sherman rumbles in.
Rangers start advancing.
US airborne on left flank.
Rangers rush for the bridge.
Rangers advance cautiously to river.
Across the river, troops! 
This ruin was fire base for MG42, paratroopers took it.
Rangers doing risky business attacking another ruin full of Germans.
Last fire fight, after this Germans withdrew.
Quite nice game, bit unbalanced and next time we do this I'll do some alterations for the scenario. When wading, troops get only +1 cover and they can't use their weapons at all. Would like to test this again....



keskiviikko 5. lokakuuta 2016

Bolt Action - Demolition

First game of Bolt Action with new V2 rules. And Bolt Action game after some time. And it was like coming home. New rules are very much the same old BA, but with some nice additions which make the game even more fun.

The actual game was a scenario Demolition from the new rulebook. In which both sides have the same mission to destroy enemy depot or something. Not very interesting, but worked well as a test bench for new ruleset. In the future I'd prefer attacker - defender scenarios with good background story.

The actual fight started with British commandos forming up to make two pronged attack on German ammo dump. Germans formed up on their left a flank to advance to Allied fuel supply dump through bombed out village ruins. Both supply spots were left quite lightly guarded, British opened the fight by Arty FO calling in fire mission. On the opposite side German lieutenant ordered two infantry squads to move forward and then followed them.  Then artillery struck but missed the mark and shells dropped quite near commando unit and they got well pinned. Germans on the left flank moved forward but came under fire from British machine guns and mortars. Intense fire fight erupted around the village ruins, but casualties were still low. Then Cromwell tank rolled in and gunned down some more Fallshirmjägers. And then to finnish the job, German squad on far left was assaulted by tough commandos and got killed outright. Germans brought in their reserves and fortified their supply depot by infantry squad which made fire base behind cemetery walls. They were supported by Stug 42, so there was no way that Commandos were ever able to destroy depot. When German advance stalled on left flank and situation turned in senseless fire fight, which only caused casualties without results, bith officers ordered withdrawal and fight ended up a draw.

And then the main thing, nice pictures from the fight.
Bombed out village on Belgian border.
Commandos start advancing across the field.
Fallschimrjägers advance through the forest.
Cromwell rumbles in.
Commandos regrouping after successful close quarters.
Commando officer changing tactics in the cover of ruined house.
Fallschirmjägers advance through the cemetery.
Fearsome MG42 in ambush position.
Germans on left flank just before they decided to start withdrawing.
Commandos behind the ruined walls quite hesitant. 
Officer ordering covering fire.
Cromwell moving in to challenge Stug.
Germans in good position.
"Let's go boys. to fight another day"
German sniper observing the situation to unravel.
As I mentioned before, good old Bolt with new spices, which make it even tastier. Nothing is missing but many new features have been brought in. Good upgrade! And off course nice game if not the best scenario.