Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back, Looking Ahead - 2016/2017 Edition

As I sit down to do my annual review of the state of my gaming hobby, I can only wonder where 2016 has gone so quickly.  Seems like it was just the summer and now 2017 is tomorrow.  That's life I guess...time flies when you are having fun so they say.

On the plus side for 2016 I actually had more painting time this year than last, though my production wasn't as good.  I chalk that up to all of the 15mm WW2 Soviet tanks and Team Yankee West German vehicles that needed cleaning and assembly.  The West Germans had a lot of plastics which I never really worked with so that took a bit of extra time for me to figure out how to best assemble them.  I am pleased that I finished the Soviet armor and Team Yankee Germans (still have to finish basing the infantry, but I'll get that done in the next few days...and update at that time..they will be done for Shifting Sands!).  It is always good to have something "complete".

I enter 2017 with a few things on my "to do" list:  a 28mm Mantic Ogre army which I have all assembled and primed, some 15mm terrain additions for my Team Yankee table, and to finish up a couple of 10mm ancients armies so I can begin using them.  The terrain additions will be done in a week or so.  The Ogres in a couple of months hopefully.  I will work on the 10mm ancients in between doing other things, plus I want to work on putting together a multi-player set of rules to use them.  There are a lot of good rules out there, and I know that no rules are perfect as we all have our own biases, but it always seems that a good multi-player set is the hardest thing to come by.  We'll see what happens with that effort...worst case, I stick with other rules, warts and all.

After those 3 things, I have plenty of other projects to chose from:  28mm WW2 Japanese SNLF, 28mm WW2 British, 15mm Flames of War Japanese, a 6 point SAGA Rus Princes force, 15mm Poles and Transylvanians for By Fire and Sword, more 10mm ancients, and some other 28mm Fantasy forces.  We'll just see what I'm in the mood to do.  I know I'll finish up a few of these projects in 2017, I'm just not sure which ones will call to me to be worked on at this point.

I thought I played more games in 2016 than I actually did; it turns out that I played a wider range of games in 2016 than I did in 2015, but the total number of games was less.  This is something I hope to improve upon in 2017.  As for what I'll play in 2017, Team Yankee is a definite, as will be Kings of War and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Mummy's Mask...I already have games lined up for these in January.  After that we'll see.

I hope to get in more WW2 gaming and ancients gaming in 2017.  All of the buzz recently has been about Version 4 of Flames of War and what impact the major rules overall will have on game play.  I'm taking a wait and see attitude at this point because there is just a lot of speculation and rumor and assumption going on at this point; I will pass judgement once I have the new rules, read them, and a couple of games under my belt.  Just in case they don't catch on with the guys I game with, I am prepared to stick to V3 or look into other games.   I am especially concerned about what will happen to WWI, the Pacific and Arab-Israeli as I have 2 armies for 2 of those periods and have invested in a Japanese army...yet Battlefront  has only said what they have planned for Early War and Late War, but have remained silent about these 3 periods.  I'd like to get in some more Bolt Action games too; I have the 2nd edition rules, but haven't read or played them yet...I hope to in 2017.

As for new projects in 2017...I'm not sure at this point either.  The only thing on my radar at the moment will likely be a Warsaw Pact force for Team Yankee.  I'm not sure if I'll do Soviets or use the upcoming East German book as a basis for a Polish force.  With Plastic Soldier Company announcing plastic T55s (5 for just over $30), that becomes a viable option as 5 Battlefront resin T55s is over $70.  Other than that I will just likely acquire some bits and pieces for the Kings of War fantasy armies I'd like to do...but knowing me, there will likely be at least one project I jump into that I currently have no plans for.

So to sum it up, 2016 was a pretty good year...I wish I could have gotten in more game, but that, along with completing a couple of more projects, is something to tackle in 2017.

Happy New Year!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Team Yankee - 15mm West Germans

When Team Yankee first came out I told myself that I wouldn't get into it because I already had so many armies for WWII plus two for WWI and two for Arab-Israeli (Fate of a Nation), then Battlefront released the West Germans and I caved!  The models looked great I had to commit.  Tomorrow one of the locals is putting on a small tournament which will be my first solo games...going to get destroyed probably, but I have to start learning somewhere!  Unfortunately I procrastinated working on this army for a while, so I haven't completed the infantry...I'll be using just armor.  I will post an update when I finish the infantry.  What I have completed are:  6x Leopard 1's, 6x Leopard 2's, 7x Marder, 4x Luchs, 2x Gepard, 2x Roland, 4x PAH helos, and 3x Jaguars.  I did the Jaguars as a bit of a hybrid since they come with both the HOT and TOW missiles...I may invest in 3 more hulls in the future, but let's see how they play first.  I may also add some air or mortars in the future...I just can see having artillery or rockets on the table as it goes against reality.  So here's what I've completed:
 Leopard 1's
 Leopard 2's
 Jaguar 1's
 Jaguar 2's
 PAH AT Helos
 Another view of the Helos

Next up will be the West German infantry and then some fantasy stuff for Kings of War!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

15mm World War 2 Soviet Armor

I have finally completed a large lot of 15mm Battlefront Soviet armor for the Early War period.  I purchased these a few years ago and finally got them completed.  It feels good to get them done and not have any more WW2 Soviets to paint up.  These will be used for Flames of War. I used "Yankee Green" from Battlefront as the base coat and then after detailing I did a wash with Army Painter Dark Tone and Minwax which did a good job of darkening the overall look.  Finally, after putting on a few decals, I dry-brushed them with a light cinnamon brown to give them a dirty/in the field look.  I think they came out pretty nicely. 
Here is the Battalion Commander in a T26 1939:
 Here are 6 Kh-130 flame tanks.  These are an option from the T26 1933 box.
 Next up are 5 early period KV1s.
 And here are 4 T28s; these are probably my favorite early period Soviet tank.
 One company of 7 T26 1939's.
 A company of 9 T26 1933's.
 And the last company with 8 T26 1939's.

After finishing that project I find myself actually in the mood to paint more tanks.  I was on the fence when "Team Yankee" came out; I wasn't sure if I wanted to start yet another period mostly since I already do WW1, WW2 and Arab-Israeli using the Flames of War system.  When the West German models were previewed, my resistance crumbled.  Here is my next painting project.  I plan on using this in Shifting Sands 2017 in January, so I better get moving...

Oh, and if assembly and painting of the West Germans goes well over the next month or so, I hope to complete this box of Mantic Ogres for Kings of War by the end of the year...wish me luck!

Friday, July 29, 2016

SAGA: Anglo-Saxons & Viking Additions

I had the good fortune of doing a trade with Randy for some painting recently, and I certainly wasn't disappointed.  He did a great job on an Anglo-Saxon force for SAGA.  All I had to do was apply the LBMS shield decals to the very nice 28mm Crusader Miniatures figures, add a few LBMS standards, and do the basing.  I think they came out great and are a good mix of figures that will allow me to configure the army several ways.
Mounted Warlord - Harold & Tostig Godwynson pack

 Warlord on foot - I replaced the Tostig figure with the standard bearer from the Huscarl command pack

 Armored infantry
 More armored infantry, including the dismounted Tostig figure
 Unarmored infantry which can be used as levy or mixed in with warrior units
 Levy slingers
 I also painted up a Viking Warlord command stand recently as well.  I should have used a black undercoat for the armor; I think they armor came out too bright, even after putting a wash on the figures.  LBMS flag on these Crusader Miniatures figures.

I am currently working on a large lot of 15mm Battlefront Soviet tanks for early WW2 (T26's, T28's, KV1's).  When I get them done I'll post pictures of them up as well.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

10mm Black Powder

I have been busy with a few things lately.  One of which is the decision to purge my 28mm ACW collection.  The reasons for this are many, but it basically boils down to doing what makes me happy.  I originally thought I would just replace my 28's with 10's as that is the scale I want to use for Black Powder.  I purchased a few packs of Old Glory 10mm and painted up a few units.  One is a standard sized unit for Black Powder and the other would be a small sized unit.  These were a breeze to paint and look better from a distance which is the way it should be...10mm is for a massed look, and too much detail actually gets lost too close up.
My gaming friends are sticking with 28mm for Black Powder and are doing ACW and Napoleonics.  I don't want to duplicate their efforts initially, so I need to figure out a different period that I can do both sides for so they don't have to worry about it and I can be able to host games on my own.  I'm looking at the Crimean War, the American War of Independence, the Franco-Prussian War (and others during that timeframe), and the Sudan.  I'm not sure what I will end up doing...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Flames of War: Great War "The Big Push"

When "The Great War" came out for Flames of War, I really had my doubts about it being a viable game system. From my experience with Flames of War for WWII, I just didn't think it would work for WWI; boy, was I wrong.  Battlefront did a great job in balancing the scenarios and special rules to make the games challenging; I haven't seen a "bad" game (one-sided without it being fun for one of the players) for this era yet using this system.  After being pushed to play by Robert, I have gone full in with a large 15mm German force and a decent sized 15mm French force now in my inventory.  I have even invested in the great trench line and a few of the other terrain pieces; I still have to get a set of the regular craters.

Yesterday, Robert, Tim, Randy and I got together for a 3000 point per side game; Randy and I ran 1500 points of Germans each while Robert and Tim ran 1500 points of British each.  We played the Big Push scenario where one side defends a trench line and the other has to seize the communication trench junctions. We have played this scenario several times and it always seems like the attacker makes it to the trench, but never has enough to hold on against the counter-attack.  To switch things up, I took a Stosskompanie with 2 platoons of Stoss, 2 Stoss MG platoons and 2 regular (trained) Infantrie platoons. The Stosskompanie is an always attack force, but the Brits had tanks making them always attack as well, so luckily after a dice off the Brits decided to defend.  This allowed the Germans to night attack.  This certainly helped us survive the initial rounds of defensive fire, and though I had to recycle one Stoss platoon (using the "Overwhelming Force" rule for this scenario; Randy on the left flank also had to recycle one platoon), I was able to break the platoon defending the trench in front of me, take out several pits and nests, decimate the reinforcing infantry platoon and capture a bogged MKIV tank!  Great victory for the Germans!  So, here are some pictures:
View down the table length (with a WWII game just past our game)
 Stosskompanie hits the wire 
 View from the left flank of the attack.  Randy also got to the trenches stopping Tim from reinforcing Robert.
 2nd Stoss platoon (left) making it through the wire while the regular Infantrie stall.
 Whittling down the defenders with some good shooting and assaults.
 Randy is pushing things on the left flank.
 Wire finally cleared as is the trench line, but reinforcements are trying to outrace the new wave of Stoss on the right flank.
 Better hurry because here comes the British Armour!
 Devastating fire (and poor saving by Robert) has his reinforcing platoon at half-strength and pinned while the only British team left in the trench on my front is the Company commander who can't last for long.
 And the 2nd Stoss platoon is disputing the other trench junction, which will end shortly....
 As Randy kills off the 18-pounder in the gun pit and Robert's last hurrah bogs down...

This was a great, fun game.  I hope we play again soon.  I also hope to get my French on the table soon.

In the meantime, I've got some 10mm ancients ready to paint and just spent some time prepping 40 early war Soviet tanks...T26's, T28's and KV's...still lots of work to do on them, but it's a start.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Gaming Focus

Recently I have been having various discussions about gaming with several of my gaming friends about gaming in general.  Now all of this is just my personal feelings.  I realized a long time ago that no two gamers see the hobby exactly the same.  I know gamers that are even more easily distracted than I am (which says a lot), gamers that seemingly never get rid of anything, others that have a lot of unstarted projects but only play one game, and others that play only one or two things and are happy with it.  Much of this goes back to something I have struggled with for quite some time:

  • The "look shiney" or "squirrel" effect of jumping into new projects before old projects even see the table, or before I have a feeling on how a game actually plays or whether my friends will truly be interested in playing.
The conversations with my gaming friends have just really reinforced my new found mantra of doing what makes me happy.  I believe I am going to cut back some on the number of games/systems I play.  I feel that it may be difficult for me to not get distracted and remain focused in doing so, but in the long run if I can overcome that struggle, I will likely be able to accomplish more of what I really want to do focused on rules/periods that I really enjoy and am familiar with. 

Another issue that drives some of my gamer friends crazy is how I divest/get rid of stuff.  Meanwhile it drives me crazy to have: 
  • Armies sitting unused for extended periods of time (years in some cases);
  • Projects sitting (again sometimes for years) not being started or started and never worked on to completion because someone else has more than enough stuff for me to game; and,
  • Not playing a set of rules or similar rules on a frequent enough basis that I don't have to keep thumbing through the rules to look stuff up.
I have always seen my hobby materials, figures, rules, etc. as "currency" in effect that I can sell or trade off to fund the next greatest thing.  The wheeling and dealing I do is part of the hobby to me, and in the past I have sold unused projects to fund new projects frequently; in some cases I have even gone back and reinvested in scales/periods/genres that I had previously gotten rid of.  I regret the time lost painting and basing when I do this and it is something I did myself, but if it is something I paid to get painted then I certainly don't have the same attachment.  I think this will continue, but since I will be narrowing my focus it is more likely to mean getting rid of some stuff for projects my heart isn't into or possibly changing scales to better fit what I want to do.

The difficult answer I have to come up with now is where to start?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

10mm For Gaming Ancients & Medievals - A New Start

When I first started gaming ancients & medievals, I used 15mm because that's what the group of guys that introduced me to DBx were using.  I later migrated fully to 28mm as I became fully involved in Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB); this included getting rid of my 15mm armies to fund 28mm.  When Warhammer Historical was shut down I really felt it as a punch to the gut; not only would it become next to impossible to get new players into WAB, but all of the time I had spent working on (play testing, proof reading, etc.) the 100YW supplement, the Successors supplement, and others was lost...time I would never have back for wonderfully written books that will never see the light of day because of how the company that "owns" the material operates. My 28mm armies just sat unused.  I tried to get interested in other rules, but interest seemed to die off locally as well.  Eventually I sold and traded my 28's off for 15mm again.

Last year though I started to shift my perspective on gaming and heed the words of a friend..."do what makes you happy...", so here I am starting over again when it comes to mass battles for ancients & medievals.  I am keeping 28mm for skirmish games like SAGA, but for big battles I am moving to 10mm.  My first test is in the pictures below.  I bought a painted army based for Warmaster Ancients off of ebay and realized that this will give me an opportunity to have units be a single base instead of multiple bases like in many games.  I fiddled with frontages and depths before arriving at 100mm by 50mm for infantry and 100mm by 60mm for cavalry, warbands and pike phalanxes.  I think this gives a nice massed look, allows the units to be handled by the bases instead of the figures (something that always drove me crazy with the Warmaster basing and most 15mm basing conventions), allows for for more diorama style basing (like adding some casualties or skirmishers in front of a unit of heavy infantry), and will still allow me to play a wide variety of games since most rules really just depend on similar basing for units.  Now, I did think of basing skirmishers and horse archers, etc. on narrower frontages in order to fit as "small" units for Hail Caesar, but decided against it in the long run.  Since this is a solo project where I intend to build matching armies and host games for my friends which they won't have to contribute anything except for their time, I will simply have unit rosters noting the unit size when/if big deal to me.

So, here I am...doing something that I have thought about for a long time...finally...and enjoying it.  The pictures don't due these units justice as I didn't feel like setting up the photo box today.  More to come as I get painting on this project...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Time Is Flying By in 2016

Man, where have the first 3 months of 2016 gone?  It seems like it was just New Years.  I certainly haven't been as active posting here as I would like; it seems like I find excuses not to post when it doesn't really take all that much time...something I need to work on for sure.

The good news is that I have been pretty active on the gaming front.  I've played a lot of different games, including playing in the Shifting Sands Flames of War event in January, and the Gathering in the Desert Bolt Action Operation Torch campaign event in February.  I enjoyed both thoroughly...played some excellent opponents and had a fun time.  I actually managed to be the top Axis commander with my Italian Paras in the Bolt Action event with a 1 win, 1 loss, and 3 tie record...just goes to show how poorly the Axis did!  Next year Shifting Sands is supposed to be Team Yankee, so I'll be passing on it...not that I have anything against Team Yankee, it's just that I have plenty else to do and I need to draw some lines.  Gathering in the Desert next year is supposed to be Normandy, so I am more likely to build a force for that than I am getting into a new period.

I haven't completed much painting this year, though I have been working a a few different things.  I prepped a couple of 15mm WWI armies for Great War to be painted by Saguaro Painting Service, painted some 28mm WWII, based some figures for SAGA, and have been rebasing a 10mm army as I shift to that scale for my big battle ancients and medieval gaming.

Here are 3 Perry Brother WWII German Fallschirmjager MG teams.  I am going to use these as additions to my Italian Para force when I want to play Chain of Command as the unit structure is different than that in Bolt Action.  They are nice figures, but a little smaller than the Warlord Games Italian Paras as you can see in the comparison shot:

 Comparison - Perry on the left and Warlord on the right

I also contracted some 28mm Varangian Guard for my SAGA Byzantines.  The painter, Andrew K., had posted some stuff for sale on a forum and I liked his work.  He was great to deal with and said he liked painting these up.  The figures are from Crusader Miniatures with the exception of Harald Hardrada which is a Gripping Beast figures.  All have LMBS shield transfers.
Harald Hardrada
 Spearmen - Front
 Spearmen - Rear

Well, that's it for now.  The next post will definitely be sometime in April as I show off the 10mm figures I've been working on.  I am not sure what I'm going to work on after will be something as I think I'm starting to get back into a groove.