Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Analogue Hobbies Recap

So, the painting challenge ended on the 20th, bringing to a close 3 months of hard work sloging away at the painting table!

This is what I finished in 28mm....

From left to right-
- Germans, Australians and Americans for WW2 Force on Force gaming.
- Greeks for SAGA and Impetvs
- Irish for SAGA
- 1 Artillery unit, 1 Infantry unit, Duke of Wellington and Casualty markers for Lasalle

And in 15mm...

From left to right..

- Early War British Infantry Tank Company
- 1st (US) Infantry Division Beach Assault Company
- British Late War Artillery Battery with Transports
- German units- Kradschutzen, Panzer III's, Stukas, Pak 36s, Pak 40s, 15cm SiG guns
- NZ 4th Armoured Regiment Sherman tank Company

So, just a wee bit painted in 3 months!

The voting is up on Analogue Hobbies (here)so have a vote for your favourite- and if in doubt, vote my Irish!

Shameless plug over, back to painting Greeks.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

SAGA Irish Completed

As part of the Analogue Painting Challenge, I set about finishing off an army to use for SAGA in the Dark Ages. As part of my usual goal to use an army which other people don't have meant that I wasn't going to go for the usual Vikings!

So instead, I chose to make an Irish army, using Crusader Miniatures from War and Peace Games.

This is the 6 point SAGA Warband as a whole, but here are some closer shots.

Two shots of my Warlord Cu Eion, with his loyal retainers. There is also a poor unfortunate saxon who has been on the recieving end of Cu Eion's axe! The command is from Crusader, the saxon is from Gripping Beast.

Two units of Irish Nobles with big axes. I decided early on that my nobility would have tartan patterns- and each would of course have their own style given their own houses, so after a bit of a google search, I was able to find some easy to replicate patterns! All are historical, especially the ugly ones!

Here are two units of 8 warriors- the first "Shirts", the second "Skins" so I can tell them apart! I chose a simple colour palatte for the 16 as a whole, just to keep them looking like a whole force.

My next unit of warriors is something unique- they are Irish Wolfhounds! I will split them into two groups of four, to combine with the other warrior units to have nice big units of 12.

And lastly, probably my favourite of the army, my levy. They are a combination of Crusader and Warlord Games miniatures. They are a combination of women and children, some far more scary than others! The kid with the sling is probably one of my absolute favourites.

Overall, I am really happy with how the army has turned out as a whole. I like the Crusader Miniatures, so much so that I am already looking at the next army from them!

As for painting- time for more Greeks I think! A proper write up about the challange tomorrow I think.


Friday, 16 March 2012

Force on Force- How I stopped worrying and learned to love close assault....

Adam and I had our first crack at playing Force on Force last night, He was in charge of most of a squad of marines, whereas I was using some Gerbigsjager which I had freshly painted.

My 6 man team was made up of...

A Junior Officer with MP40

A Three man team, one with MG42, two with Rifles

A two man team one with a rifle, one with an MP40, who will be joined by the Officer.

So, how did it go?

Well, both Adam and I thought we had a good handle on the rules before the game began, only to find that we really didn't know what we were talking about! So our first play through was very, very stop/start with much looking in rulebooks to find out what we were actually meant to be doing!

The first match up was 8 D8/D8 Marines against 6 D10/D8 Gerbigsjager. We put down what we thought was a reasonable amount of terrain, and we spent a fair bit of time shooting each other from it! Adam had his force in two fireteams (not that the term existed in WW2 like it does now), one with a Rifle Grenade and a BAR, the other with an NCO with a combat shotgun. Very quickly, we found the superior trained Germans were able to counter act their poor numbers and poorer firepower by rolling a 9 or a 10! So that kept his support team pinned, leaving his assault platoon to hit my picket without damage. Close Assault in FoF is very, very vicious (as referenced in the title...) Simply, it removes one aspect of the game, first aid. If you become a casualty and your side loses the combat; you are either dead, or a POW. And there is not a high chance of being a POW.

The second and third match ups were based around both sides having equal training, but the marines having to attack a fortified position. Which sounds like it could be good to be German, except that in turn one of game 2, one of Adams fire teams slaughtered my entire force! I had one private with an MG42 left at the end of turn 1! Moral of the story for game 2? Cover is good, but rolling a successful initiative test to fire first is better.

Game 3 was much more interesting. I changed my squads to having a Weapons Team with an MG42 and 2 men, and a fire team of 4 men with the 2 MP40s. This game was much more even, the MG42 team was pumping out 6 dice per turn (2 men, 3 for the weapon, 1 for optimum range) at the enemy, and through successful initiative rolls, was doing it as soon as the Marines hit the treeline. The Weapons team did eventually fall to a vicious assault, but they were avenged by the squad, who cut through the enemy marines with their 2 MP40s in close assault (learn to love it).

Force on Force was fun, for Adam's report head here. Also, Jason I did do some research on your Type 99 LMG, and the bayonet lug is historical. And ridiculous.

"I stab you with my machinegun!". It's the sort of thing out of a Commando Comic....

As for what next? Well there is 3 days left in the Analogue Painting Challenge. So, I will get a SAGA Dark Ages army done and more Greeks so I can use them for Impetvs. If you particularly want to see my take on a hero of the Trojan War, tell me who you want to see in the comments!

At any rate,if I finish all of that it will be a miracle!


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

SAGA Trojan War- On Heroic Greek Characters Part 2: Ajax

Following on from my earlier post about Greek Heroes , I humbly present Part 2, all about that loveable chap from Salamis, Greater Ajax (or Aias).

A painted representation of Ajax from the 1800's

Ajax (Aias in Greek), son of Telamon was known as either "Ajax the Great" or as "Telamonian Ajax", to differentiate him from Ajax, son of Oileus, who was known as "Ajax the lesser". Which must have been a real ego killer for him!

Ajax was a King of Salamis, and as a suitor of Helen, he was called into battle against the Trojans during the epic struggle that was the Trojan War. On the battlefield, he was a brilliant warrior- second only to his cousin, Achilles. Ajax is described as having great strength and bravery, known as "the bulwark of the Achaeans", he went into battle carrying a massive shield as well as an axe or sometimes a spear. In terms of the heroic poem the Illiad, Ajax is unique because he receives no help from the Gods, which is totally unique among the heroes on either side of the conflict! In that then, Ajax comes to represent hard work and perseverance, of earning the right to have glory.

Ajax's great strength is displayed twice in the Illiad while attacking the Trojan Prince, Hector while Achilles was sulking. In Book VII, he gets the better of Hector, wounding him with his spear in a duel. The only thing that saves the prince of Troy was that the heralds called the duel a draw; at the request of the Trojan loving Zeus. Ajax and Hector again battle in Book XIV, when the Trojans make a brutal assault onto the Greek ships. Ajax hurls a massive rock at Hector, gravely wounding him. Apollo revives Hector, who returns to attack the ships again. All the while, Ajax armed with a spear and his massive shield is leaping from ship to ship, holding off the Trojans without any aid. Hector returns and disarms him, but by this stage the destruction of the fleet has been avoided, and Ajax survives without a scratch. As well as fighting Hector, Ajax kills another named 27 Trojans or their allies, in addition to the nameless ones.

It is Ajax assisted by Menelaus, who recover the body of Patroclus from the Trojans, who were to feed it to their dogs for Patroclus being a liar (pretending to be Achilles).

So, Ajax was a brilliant warrior, second only to Achilles. He was equal to the best of the Trojans (Hector) and was able to defeat many of his enemies in single combat. He also displays eloquence about the true path of the warrior, acting as an embassy to persuade Achilles to rejoin the war. In combat he has no equal, but he is known to be not as cunning as Nestor or Odysseus.

Ajax, as with all Greek Heroes is a tragic character. Although he survives the Illiad, he is not to live long into his old age.

Upon the death of Achilles, the Greeks have a competition as to who is now the 'Greatest of the Achaeans'. As is was Ajax and Odysseus who are the ones to rescue Achilles' body, they are the two who claim the title and Achilles' armour as their own. In the end, it was Odysseus' eloquent words that won out the other Kings, proclaiming the armour to belong to Odysseus.

Now, Ajax in later poems was a character who disregarded the gods. In Ancient Greece, the gods were a force to be appeased at every turn- for example Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter to have fair winds for his fleet's sailing to Troy. Odysseus' odyssey was caused by Poseidon being angry with him. For Ajax then in his hubris to disregard the Gods, he became at their mercy. And it is after the loss of Achilles' armour, that the Gods punish him for his hubris.

Upon waking the next morning, Ajax is beset by madness (god inflicted)and attempts to slaughter his comrades, only to be tricked by the gods into slaughtering some nearby cattle. His wits return, and upon seeing what he had done in his madness, he commits suicide. That decision, makes Ajax completely different to other heroes, and helps explain the code by which Greek Heroes (in poems) exist. Ajax, the great warrior displayed his arete through his strength, his courage and his honour on the battlefield. But he became too proud, in his hubris, his pride he dishonoured the gods and as such, was punished. Upon realizing his mistake, the loss of honour was too much for Ajax, it was unbearable, and so he falls upon his own sword, akin to what the Japanese would call seppuku.

For the Greeks then, his story is a warning, a tale against hubris. Why am I talking about him? Well, I constructed a version of him to use in SAGA

His body comes from the Immortal Games box, as does the head. His arms are from a Warlord Games Ancient Briton, his axe head from a Viking, and his cape comes from a Saxon, with a redesign to make it fit.

So, I have decided to make more Greek Heroes of the Trojan War, and will write a bit of a biography for them too. Question is, who would you like next?


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Force on Force- Australians!

So, my painting progress has slowed a fair bit, but what I am working on right now is a Dark Ages SAGA army (because SAGA is cool!) and also as a wee group we are painting up some 28mm Pacific War WW2 guys, to play a modified version of Force on Force, which we think will be a heap of fun!

More on the rules part in the coming weeks, primarily because we haven't got them all nutted out just yet!

So I have opted to take charge of the Australians, basing them around the 6th Australian Division, who were part of the gruelling campaign for the Kokoda track (or trail, depending on etymology. I have done a quickie link to wikipedia for this, as honestly I don't actually know that much about the campaign. The Pacific War is a bit of an unknown for me, I have read some wonderful books about the USMC in the war, Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge's were brilliant, but in terms of my actual knowledge, I know very little.

So what I started with was google. I looked at images, at descriptions and at reports and certianly the Australians stood out to me. The Kokoda campaign was quite simply, brutal. A fight against the elements, disease, malnutrition and against a ruthless enemy, the Australians fought with courage and dignity. The overall scheme of the campaign was one of next to no logistical support, of small unit actions all because the track is simply too small to bring up large equipment, if you wanted something, you were going to have to carry it on foot! But carry it they did, both the Japanese and Australians were able to bring artillery pieces to bear on the enemy, lugging them up the track by hand.

A 25pdr being manhandled up the track. Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

So, after that brief history, I think it is time to show off some painted diggers...

Here is my first half squad. Complete with an NCO with a Thompson SMG and a Bren gunner, these guys come from Artizan designs and are not too bad a models. I am not sure why, but Artizan don't really do great faces in my opinion, they are a little too... chiselled jawed american GI JOE styled for my tastes.

Next up is my AT Team. We have a man with the whopping .55 caliber Boys AT Rifle, with his A gunner. The Boys gunner is from Warlord Games, the assistant gunner is from Artizan.

Here we have the last of my Artizan diggers, one will be the spotter for my Sniper team, the other is a spare NCO with a Thompson. The spotter is one of my favourites from the Artizan set.

Last but assuredly not least, we have an objective marker for one of our games. It seems that some nasty Zero has shot down this chaps Hurricane! He is a downed pilot from the Warlord Games range, and is looking suitably out of place next to the hardened diggers! There will be a "save the pilot" scenario, and this guy will serve the part nicely!

So, that's all I have done now. I got all these chaps from the wonderful people at War and Peace Games seems only fitting to buy auzzies from an auzzie company!

The next lot will be on the painting block over this coming week, but there are definitely more diggers on the way....

Lastly, this happened recently in Libya. All I can say is, those who fell serving their country both here and abroad, deserve peace. In wargaming, I do not seek to glorify war. Only a sociopath could. Instead, it is to remember the history, to remember those who fought, those who fell and those who remain.

Put, as only the Bard himself could,

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

On that note, take a minute to remember those who are still overseas.


Monday, 5 March 2012

SAGA Trojan War- If Achilles goes down to the woods today he is sure for a big suprise...

And that suprise is.... A trojan spear to the face. Repeatedly.

So, Achilles in his hubris from his previous victory over the cunning Odysseus thought that he would go for a gentle stroll through the forests surrounding Troy with a few of his best buddies, maybe stopping for a nice wine amongst the trees. A lovely sunday stroll one might say.

Quickly, into stroll formation!

Tragically, Hector was also out for a stroll. Except his stroll was not leisurely, it was instead murderous!

From a tactical point of view, the less said about the games the better, in short, everything I learned from my game against Odysseus I forgot. I charged things off blindly, I didn't keep my battle line in formation, and in short, I kept getting Achilles killed!

For his part, Hector was most obliging to take advantage of my tactical ineptitude, the Trojan bow armed warriors were enacting a horrific toll onto my warriors, quite simply refusing to miss, while I refused to hide behind a shield (damn cowardly that is).

But, there were some highlights, my 8 strong unit of Myrmidon Elites kept up their impressive killing streak, ably seeing off larger units of warriors and causing many, many casualties.

What do you mean "we missed one?"

And now some more pics of the Myrmidons in action...

Achilles did serve himself pretty well, I need to remember that he has more abilities than just the "no fatigue" aspect. It is interesting at any rate to run around with some cool looking hoplites.

Back to the painting board, working on a SAGA Dark Ages army....


Friday, 2 March 2012

SAGA Trojan War- Teaching Odysseus a lesson for calling me "emo"

Achilles and Odysseus squared off last night in our first crack at SAGA- Trojan War.

We played a 6 point game, I was using..
Achilles (the best of the Greeks)
8x Myrmidon Elites
12x Myrmidon Hoplites
12x Myrmidon Hoplites

Jamie's Ithacans looked like...
Odysseus (the cunning)
4x Ithacan Nobles
12x Warriors
12x Warriors
8x Warriors

The Myrmidon battle line.

We were playing the "Kill the Warlord" scenario- seemed only right to describe the meeting between these two, after Odysseus' claims of Achilles being "emo"! The terrain was pretty simple, the Ithacans are good in the rocky ground, so naturally when we rolled, there was a massive bit of rocky ground in the middle of the battlefield! Cunningly, I put all other scenery on the outside, where it would have no impact on the battlefield at all.

The Achaean battleboard (here) is relativly straight forward. Achilles is an absolute combat monster, so what you want to do is get him into combat. Alot. If you keep him alive in combat, he will probably kill everything in combination with the Heracles ability, so you need nice little ablative hoplite armour kicking around with them. My plan was simple then, get Achilles in combat, get the Myrmidon Elites in combat, fluff around with the warriors.

The battle started pretty slowly, Odysseus reduces my amount of SAGA dice to 2 for turn 1, 3 for turn 2 then back up to full from there. So basically turns one and two were pretty low key, getting my troops forward to get into position to attack the Ithacans in close combat.

Myrmidons have captured the rocky ground!

The start of turn 3 saw me roll 2 6's- perfect for the Heracles ability! So there was nothing to do but to charge Achilles blindly into the intervening Ithacans in the rocks.

"Achilles SMASH!"

And smash he did. Killing a fair swag of Ithacans- 10 dice hitting on a 4+ is ruthless! Combined with his "no fatigue" makes him an absolute monster. Soon, the battle of the rocky ground was so bad that Odysseus himself was forced into the fray to save his warriors! Unfortunatly, Achilles and his Myrmidon elites had far too much fun slaughtering them, until there was only Odysseus left.

"Hey, Achilles, could we have a time out?"

All the while this was going on, I had sent one of my Warrior units on a massive flanking mission, sweeping away the Ithacan Nobles and then laying into the smaller unit of Ithacans.

Get them! Kill the unpainted ones!

But by this stage, I had lost a few of the Myrmidon Elite, giving their lives willingly (ish) to save Achilles. They were at least allowed the honour of killing the last of the Ithacan infantry!

Weren't there more of us? Fatigue sucks, why can't we be like Achilles?

The merry slaughter of Ithacans continued, until only Odysseus remained.

In spite of killing one of the Myrmidon Elite, Odysseus fell, was put into a headlock by Achilles until he said "uncle". Now the two could go off and sack Troy together, honour intact!

So, Achilles killed no less than 11 enemy models, including Odysseus.

My thoughts on SAGA? It is brutally simple in a lot of ways. Rolling to hit is simple, no great modifiers, changes or anything like that. But, through the battle board, you find some real complexity, I think I will use my battle board much more effectively next time (I think), the Achaeans don't have too much finesse to go along with them, certainly if I can keep the Heracles dice ready to use at any time for my Warlord, I will kill a lot of stuff, but I think the cunning Odysseus might have some new plans and machinations of his own.

SAGA is fun. Hoplites look awesome, the Pro-painter is doing a great job on the Ithacans, expect more games of this in the future!

There was a Day of Days update on here earlier today, make sure you check that out too.


Day of Days 2012- Kiwi's Big Weekend Out

Well, over the weekend my 4th Armoured Kiwi's went for a wee outing down to Timaru, to try to take Italy. Coming along for the ride (or leading the charge) was the 22nd Motor Brigade, supported by the Royal Horse Artillery- In the form of 8 Priests!

My list was simple,
HQ- 2 Shermans, 1 with a 50 cal
Tank Platoon- 3 Shermans
Tank Platoon- 3 Shermans

Nick's had a little more finesse!
HQ with smoking mortars
2 Motor Platoons
Carriers with an ungodly number of MGs
8 Priests

Ok, so not much more finesse, but it had more than the 8 shermans did!

So how did the games go? Well, Nick and I managed to win the first game, and then we progressivly got worse and worse at rolling dice. Things like failing 8 out of 8 Sherman tank saves, frontally to Panzer III's (yep, that would be 8 1's and 2's) followed by him rolling ALL the firepowers (all 4+) made it pretty hard!

But, that being said, Nick and I gave ourselves the best possible chances to win each game, we just managed to NOT roll the dice we needed at critical points, and somehow we made it so that our opponents were able to do the opposite!

The most telling statistic? I played 4 games, with 8 sherman tanks each game. So out of 32 Sherman tanks used in the tournament, I had 28 destroyed. Not run away, actually destroyed. The remaining 4 actually survived the games!

Thanks firstly to our opponents Craig, Ian, Nigel, Dale, David, Tony, Stephen and Noel, I did enjoy our 4 games! Then a huge thanks to Craig for getting DoD sorted, I think we are on to a winning formula with what we have here, we are already tweaking things for next years DoD- Alamein baby!

Now, lots of photos of the weekend

All in all, a fun weekend. Next up? Tonight I will post about Achilles' first run around...