Friday, 12 February 2016

General Purpose Terrain Mat, Roads & Fields.


I will be going to Normandy in June with some friends and as we are leaving our wives behind, it will be a full week of military history with a little beer and wine in the evenings to help us relax after the many miles of walking during the day.

We will be starting with the beaches and then over the course of the week, we plan on working inland. We are staying in a rustic Normandy farmhouse set in typical Bocage countryside and is set central for visiting as much of the area as possible but is quite rural. Due to its location we will probably not be eating out every night so on those occasions, we plan on playing a couple of games of Chain of Command in the evenings along with a couple of bottles of wine to help us with making those tactical decisions.

We thought it would be ideal to try and recreate part of a particular action of some place that we had visited that day, onto the table top, having the benefit of seeing the actual terrain up close of what was actually fought over.

Between us, we had to decide what each of us would bring and what scale we would play the game in. We opted for 20mm as one of the lads, Steve Lygo has a vast WW2 collection in this scale of figures and vehicles, plus it would take up less room than 28mm transporting it in the car. John Warren will be bringing along some 20mm buildings, trees and hedges and I said I will provide the terrain mat and roads.

John stayed at the farmhouse last year and informs me that there is not a suitable table to game on, so I have purchased a couple of fold up pasting tables from a DIY store which won't take up too much room in the car and will give us a playing area of just under 6 x 4 foot.

Having recently made a Snow Mat and flexible roads, I decided to do the same for the Normandy table, making the mat 6 x 5 foot, so I could also use it with my existing 10 x 5 foot table. Also the mat rolls up, keeping storage space down in the back of the car. Hopefully we will have enough room to be able to take some clothes with us for the week????? 

Whilst making the terrain mat and roads, I also made a few fields, these were really just test pieces before making the bigger mat and I also promised John I would make him a few fields for his Napoleonics that he is doing in a smaller scale.

I also just realised that I will have to do some flexible river/streams ready for Normandy and will include a step by step guide on methods and materials for these, along with the summer mat, roads and fields in the back of my 'Setting the Scene' book that I am working on.

Flexible roads and fields, ideal for following the contours of your hills.

                       
I have placed a few items underneath the terrain mat to give an impression of rolling countryside and the mat is thick enough that it doesn't crease and the contours are gradual, which is more ideal for placing troops.

To give you an idea of scale, I have placed a few 28mm Perry ACW figures on the table.




With the flexible roads on the table, along with some 28mm Warlord Games, Bolt Action figures and vehicles.




 

Friday, 29 January 2016

SETTING THE SCENE (part 2) Recycling Old Terrain. Plus ebay sale.


For part 2 of my 'Setting the Scene' project, I have dug out some of my old terrain pieces that rarely get to see the light of day and 'winterised' them. Obviously if you do this, then they can't be used for anything other than winter settings but it does speed things up and it has given me a pool of terrain pieces to draw from.

I will be attempting to make lots of terrain that will be more specific for the Ardennes in future posts but this has been good practice as it has been a learning process of trial and error.  You may notice that the winter grass on the terrain mat has been toned down as I didn't feel it looked quite right with the heavy snow fall that occurred during late Dec 44 in the Ardennes.

 
A couple of pictures of the revamped terrain, ignore the wrong bases on the figures, I will attempt to get a few figures painted up with the correct bases but the majority of figures and vehicles I plan to do towards the end of the project.







  





I have also put the Church Ruins from last post on ebay at reduced price. They are starting off at the price that I payed for them unpainted 10 years ago at £80 for those that may be interested.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/-/222009518830?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

FOR SALE - Church Ruins for Historical or Fictional/Frostgrave


These 28mm church/cathedral ruins from Monolith Designs I think are now out of production, as I don't believe the company is still running.

 There are 13 x sections of church that I have given a ruined/rubble base to and then painted and also 3 x fallen statues from Lord of the Rings plus a scratch built altar.

The church ruins cost me around £80 unpainted, ten years ago, so I think a fair price for these now that they have been based and painted plus the statues, of £120 plus postage. If interested, contact me at kerstinsmith@ntlworld.com

 

The 28mm figures are obviously not included but just to give you an idea of scale.

Ideal from the Medieval period up to present day or even Frostgrave I would imagine as that seems to be very popular at the moment.

I live in Essex and work in central London so willing to travel meet up with the buyer to save on postage or if a deposit is put down, I can bring with me to Salute in April for collection.






        

Friday, 8 January 2016

Setting The Scene, The Ardennes. (part 1) Flexible terrain mat & roads


WW2 The Ardennes 1944 or Battle of the Bulge.

INTRODUCTION.

This is the start of my new project for 2016, although I started researching and collecting for this during the autumn of 2015.  I plan on making and painting lots of different terrain and figures and vehicles specific for this winter conflict.

Each blog entry I will show a few pictures of the finished article but will keep back the information on how I did this until a later date. All being well, I would like to put all the information with lots of pictures together in a small reference book for a step by step guide for wargamers interested in wanting to game this period.

There is a fair amount of information scattered out there on how to make/paint winter terrain/vehicles/figures and I have been trying to sift through what I think gives good results for minimum effort and aimed at wargamers, rather than techniques that a model maker might use for a detailed diorama, although, that would be the ultimate way to go, depending on how much time and effort you were prepared to dedicate and if the end result was robust enough for wargaming.

That is not what I am aiming for with this project but instead, sharing with you what has worked for me and hopefully striking a balance at what looks good with minimum effort, skill and cost and being robust enough for the wargames table and having all this information at hand and in one place.

I have no idea of costs for publishing or if this would even be a worthwhile adventure, depending on if there is a market out there for this with wargamers, so I will just carry on with the project regardless and cross that bridge when finished.

Over the Christmas holidays I was able to make a start on the project, kicking off with the biggest item, a flexible terrain mat for my 10ft x 5ft table, along with 39 x pieces of flexible road. The great thing about using a mat is that you can place suitable objects underneath to give you your natural looking hills and slopes.

I have placed some 28mm figures and a vehicle on the table to give you an idea of scale but as mentioned above, I will be painting specific figures and vehicles that will be more suitable and will blend into the terrain, along with lots of scenery.





       
       





The above pictures are a bit bare at the moment but will become more interesting as the project progresses.

The start of my reading collection for the conflict.
 

Saturday, 26 December 2015

COMMANDO RAID (CoC) picture heavy.


First of all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2016 to all of you that visit this blog.

I recently finished painting some British Commandos to add to my growing WW2 collection, the figures are from Wargames Foundry and Warlord Miniatures.

I also made a small coastal board and painted some rubber dinghies, so along with the Radar Station that I had painted previously, I now had all the ingredients for a Commando Raid.

I just needed to work out some simple rules for the German sentries, to replicate the chance of them spotting the commando's as they try to make their way to the radar station.

I have listed the rules and pictures of the playtest at the end of this post for those that may be interested and for those that are not, then I have stuck a few pictures at the beginning.




































SENTRY RULES.

Roll each German phase for static and mobile sentry.

Static Sentry - roll 1 xD6 - on a 1 or 2 sentry turns to his left. 3 or 4 turns to his right. 5 or 6 stays as is facing forward.

Mobile Patrol - will continuously walk the fence line from one table edge to the other. Roll 2 x D6 and that is how far they walk each phase. As static sentry, will be able to spot up to 12 x inches in front and due to several guards in the patrol, they can also spot up to 6 x inches on either side.

If facing the direction of enemy, there is a chance of spotting them if within 12 x inches. Roll 2 xD6 and if the number rolled is equal or higher to the distance between figures, then they have been spotted.
For example - if the sentry rolls 9 on his two dice and the commando is only 7 x inches away, then he has been spotted.

If a commando can approach the sentry from behind, making base to base contact without being spotted, he will take the sentry out on a 4,5 or 6.  If he can only get within 4 x inches then 5 or 6. If he fails, then the sentry will set the alarm.

If the alarm goes off, a flare gun has been fired into the air and night turns into daylight, lasting until the end of the turn. There will then be one phase of darkness until the German defenders for one activation will set another flare off.

I have 'solo play tested' these rules as part of a scenario using the TFL's Chain of Command WW2 rules.
I have not used a 'Patrol Phase' with this scenario, the Commandos will start in the sand dunes and the Germans will have one section spread out on sentry duty and the rest in their barracks based at the Chateau. There is also an MMG team in the bunker.

There are 3 x static posts, 2 x placed along the perimeter fence line and one at the barrier entrance to the Radar Station. There is also a 4 x man mobile guard, patrolling the length of the fence.

THE FORCES

BRITISH COMMANDO'S  Elite.
Command Dice 6

Support Squad
Senior Leader smg
Radio Operator
2 inch Mortar team 2 x crew
Bren team 3 x crew
Sniper

2 x Squads of
Senior/Junior Leader smg's
Bren Team 3 x crew
Rifle Team 5 x riflemen

Engineer Squad
Senior Leader smg
4 x engineers with 3 x smg's and 1 x rifle.

BRIEFING
It is midnight and your platoon has been dropped off by the Royal Navy about a mile away from the French coast. Your small force has had to try and battle their way to shore in their rubber dinghies, fighting their way through choppy sea's.

You have eventually managed to arrive on the beach intact and your objectives are as follows.

Engineer squad - remove as much technical equipment that your team can carry in your Bergen's and then destroy the Radar Station. (occupy radar station until end of a turn to achieve objective)

Secondary Objective - Kill or capture Senior German Officers staying at the nearby Chateau.

We have reason to believe the German Garrison is platoon strength made up of mostly old men and young boys and are rated as Green.  There is also a pillbox built into the Radar Station and once the alarm goes up, a strong likelihood that German armour will make an appearance. ( Panzer 38(t) will appear at the start of the next turn after the alarm has gone off)

The support squad deploy at the edge of the sand dunes and go on over watch.

 The Engineer squad advance up the centre, flanked on either side by squad one on their left and squad two on the right.


As squad (1) approaches the perimeter fence, they can see a German mobile patrol reach the end of the fence and then about turn and move off in the other direction.

Engineer squad have a clear path to the perimeter fence.

Squad (2) on the right flank can see a single German sentry up ahead.


 

The Engineer squad in the centre are about to cross the fence with plenty of time to spare. The mobile patrol are moving in their direction but they are still along way off. (Crossing the fence, roll 2 xD6 and discard the lowest dice)
  
 The German sentry rolls to see if he spots commando squad (2) which are 10 inches away, he only rolls 7 so is unable to spot them.

 Engineer squad now over the fence and making their way to radar station.
 German sentry rolls a 2 and turns to face squad (1) who are 8 inches away, he only rolls a 6 and unable to spot.

Mobile patrol roll 2 xD6 and move along the perimeter fence but are too far away to spot Engineer squad.

Squad (2) see their chance and advance towards the fence as the sentry has rolled and turned away from them.

Engineer squad making good progress in the darkness towards radar station.

Sentry rolls a 5 so keeps his same facing with his back to squad (2)


German mobile patrol roll high and move within 12 inches of Engineer squad but then don't roll quite high enough for spotting.
  
Sentry rolls a 6 and keeps facing towards squad (1)

Brits roll double 6 and get the next phase, Squad (2) move up to the fence whilst the sentry has his back turned.

Engineer squad can see another German sentry ahead at the barrier to the radar station.

Squad (1) try to give themselves as much distance from the sentry but they are within 12inches so there will be a spotting test.

Again, the sentry doesn't roll high enough and the commando's will climb over the fence discarding the lower of the two dice.

Squad (2) climb the fence and the commando dispatches the sentry from behind rolling a 5, needing a 4,5 or 6.

Engineer squad within 12 inches of sentry but he has turned to face the other way.

German mobile patrol still moving along the fence line and will eventually discover the dead sentry.

The sentry at radar station has rolled a 2 and so turns to face his left, which is good for the approaching commando's as he will still have his back to them.

Commando's are now right behind the sentry but need to spend the next turn getting over the barrier without the guard turning around.

Squad (2) making their way across open ground towards the chateau to try and achieve the secondary objective of killing or capturing the senior German Generals residing there.

 .The commando's luck holds out, the sentry rolls a 5 and keeps facing in the same direction. The commando's will be able to climb the barrier and attack the sentry from the rear.

The mobile patrol advance 2 x D6 and move within spotting range, they roll and easily spot the dead German sentry. Their next activation they will fire the flare gun into the air, signalling the alarm. The commando's have one activation left before things light up.

Squad (1) have made good progress and slip around the side of the pillbox just before the alarm goes off.

The LMG team exit the bunker to support and cover the flanks of the MMG team inside.
       
The commando's try to make the most of their last phase of darkness, the commando rolls a 1 (needed a 4,5 or6) and fails to dispatch the guard.

Squad (2) hears the warning shout and make that last dash forwards in the cover of darkness.

The flare goes up and turns night into day, The LMG team take a full move to get into position so are unable to fire this turn.

The close combat continues between the commando and the sentry but as the commando is two grades higher than the green sentry and he is 'aggressive' he gets to roll 4 dice to the guards 1. They both need to roll a 5 or 6 to get a kill and on this occasion the commando's training pays off.

Squad (2) are in the open with their backs to the German mobile patrol who open fire on them but miss.

The commando support squad who were on over watch, see this and their 2 inch mortar drops smoke in between the mobile patrol and squad (2) and the sniper also takes out one of the group.

Squad (1) Bren team inflicts one casualty and one point of shock onto the German LMG team whilst the rest of the squad advance into hand to hand combat with them.

The rest of squad (1) in combat with what is left of the LMG team.

The Engineer team have reached the radar station and start stripping and packing any useful equipment that they can carry.


The Germans have now reached a full chain of Command dice and so end the first turn, This will allow them to bring on the Panzer 38(t) in the start of the next turn.

The German Generals quickly exit the chateau into their awaiting transport along with their motorcycle guard.


Squad (1) are able to toss a couple of handgrenades into the rear of the pillbox and finish off the MMG team inside.


The commando's are now able to play their full chain of command dice and end another turn. This enables them to move the Engineer Squad out having achieved collecting equipment and then destroying the radar station.


Squad (2) can only partly see the German Generals in the forecourt of the chateau so spend one dice moving and then firing at half effect. Unfortunately they only roll a 1 for movement and only cause 1 point of shock on the escort.

The Commando's secondary objective makes good their escape.



The Panzer 38(t) advances quickly down the road towards the radar station.


Squad (1) and the Engineer Squad start to make haste.


The tank commander sees his first target, Squad (2) caught out in the open.

The German LMG team on the chateau roof and a rifle team on the roof of the barracks get themselves into position to fire at the escaping commandoes.



The Panzer crashes through the gate and closes the gap with Squad (2) being able to move and fire.

The Support Squad back at the sand dunes try to give cover with smoke from the 2 inch mortar.

Squad (2) is starting to take casualties from the combined fire of the Panzer and the infantry squad on the roof of the chateau.



The Engineer Squad on the left hand side of the picture, take the longest but safest route back to the boats. They more than any of the other squads need to escape for the mission to have been a success.
















15 out of 33 commando's make good their escape along with vital equipment from the radar station. A costly but successful mission for the Brits.

I have made the platoon up from the figures I had available, so before anyone points out to me that I have not used the correct lists for the commandoes or that they have the wrong cap badges, please don't, as this post is just a bit of fun that I wanted to share.