Sunday, July 5, 2015

1/76 Matchbox Wespe

One of the kits I picked up from Terry this spring was an old 1/76 Matchbox Wespe. This was among the first kits I ever built and I was keen to try it again.

The grey tracks the kit came with had degraded over the years making them unusable and leaving an oily sheen over the model. The oil came off with some soap and I used some zipties to make replacements. Each tread is four pieces (two straight and two curved).

It is not a perfect remedy but not bad given my limited skills (and patience). I painted this one up for the desert and will add a crew in later on.

Up next: I have six bases of WW2 Germans by Zvezda that are drying and I hope to get a game in at the club this week.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Longstreet lessons: Cavalry charges don't work so well...

Bruce and I played the fourth game of our nine-game Longstreet campaign this week, with the south being the attacker. We rolled the same scenario (attacker sneaks up on the defender thus the firing lines are blocked by standing crops. We've decided not to accept this roll again in order to get some diversity of terrain.

The south deployed with cavalry on the right and infantry on the left with the guns covering the centre. Bruce completely hooped by cavalry with some surprise bad going and then drawing one unit right in front of his deployed infantry.

Note to south, don't charge infantry with cavalry. The right southern flank basically started to fold up.

Things were going better on the left with a clear advance towards some damaged units.

I tried to buy time by "refusing" the right but that was basically a terrible bit of tactics on my part and both cavalry units were wiped out.

Bruce won a handy victory for the north and I think I need to emplace my guns more carefully.

Up next: Longstreet will go on a short summer hiatus. I have been doing some painting in the basement and the club is Tuesday night. I may also try to interest Jessica in a game at some point. I also keep thinking I should spend some time building and priming some models for winter painting while the weather is nice enough for easy spray painting.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Some Memoir 40 reinforcements

The end of kids soccer and some brutally hot temperatures drove me back to the basement over the weekend to finish off some single bases of WW2 German infantry. Apologies for the colour quality of the photos--I am still learning how the new camera works!

These are a mixture of ESCI and some Airfix that came some various tins in Terry's basement; All had been clipped from their integral bases so I used some spit to accelerate the crazy glue to get them to stand up.

I have six more bases of Zvezda infantry groups underway and then I think I have enough troops to run a game at the club in July. I am keen to try to the France 1940 campaign in the Memoir book. 

Up next: Some more Longstreet with Bruce (I think) and then some more 1/72 WW2, including a Wespe with track woes and some infantry.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Even more Longstreet!

Bruce and I continued our Longstreet campaign on Monday night. This was a meeting engagement and we each had objectives to protect. The picture below is pretty much the start lines. I hoped to draw Bruce's cavalry onto my guns (on the right) but then got a "that's not on the map" card that put rocky ground in his way. His horse eventually turned back and played no role in the rest of the game.

In the middle, our lines came together and the north was repulsed. In the very background on the left you can see a brave cavalry charge by the flower of southern chivalry against the north's pitiless guns... .

What followed was a bloody shoot-out while Bruce whittled down my cavalry unit on the left and I shot up his new Zouaves on the right.

The game ended with a northern victory, but I'd say no one really won that game! Fortunately, the south was able to recover during the campaign phase and will rise again against their foes.

One of the nice pieces of the campaign system is that it is simple and keeps the games balanced. It is interesting but not so interesting as to over-shadow the miniatures game. I look forward to my war-weary foot and blood thirsty cavalry giving Bruce's northerns a right thrashing on Monday!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

More Longstreet

Bruce and I played a second game of Longstreet last week. The south was again defending and forced to set up inside the white zone to protect an objective marker. My plan was to rush my cavalry forward on the right and set up in the trees while infantry manned the wall.

Alas, Bruce moved much more quickly than anticipated and I barely got the infantry to the wall before the got shot up while in column of march. I re-routed the cavalry to the left flank, thinking I might have an opportunity to enfilade his central force.

Bruce pushed me off the wall on the right but I managed to turn my cannons and contain his advanced. In the middle, the lines clashed inconclusively while his cavalry ran into traffic problems.

Eventually, the north decided the battle could not be won and started to fall back. Bruce covered his retreat with a gimmicky (i.e., my favourite) card that put rough terrain down.

Another interesting game, with lots drama and the armies are evolving in interesting ways. Looking forward to game three!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Gaming: Longstreet

Back from Ottawa to find Bruce has rebased his 5mm ACW armies for Longstreet, Sam Mustafa's new rules. Simple rules (or so I thought). Bruce did most of the pre-game and the basics of the campaign are you follow a brigade through 9 battles.

I was the defender and had to hold the cross roads. Bruce played the northern aggressor with what seemed like a lot of damned drums (the legacy of a long-ago trade).

The opening moves (below) saw both of us use cards to hoop the other guys: my right flank charged forward into a wheat field while Bruce's left flank (in the distance) had major traffic issues. On my left, I jumped guys forward from behind a stone wall and rushed the hill to tangle with Bruce's dragoons.

I tried to extricate my guys by forming column. I also started working my mounted dragoons (unseen below) around my left flank.

Things are coming to a head on the right flank but Bruce suffered some bad dice. In the meantime, I'm over the hill on the left flank and I delivered a devastating (i..e, damned lucky) volley.

His dragoons start to disintegrate before my dragoons can even get there so I plan to continue on with the cavalry charge and attack him from the rear in the centre of his line.

In the meantime, my right flank is falling back and starting to fold up. The centre remains inconclusive. But he is losing a lot of cannon.

Eventually I managed to knock off enough units for him to signal the retreat, alas before my cavalry can charge to glory. The Northerners are knocked into a cocked hat! And the Southerners have seen the elephant! We then did the post game phases where troops become wary, die of disease and new units show up.

Overall, a nice set of rules. The cards make sense, lots of tough choices but fairly simple combat mechanics. I would definitely play again and I find most ACW to be intensely boring! I think Mustafa has hit upon the right level of abstraction. At the brigade level everyone can still have some cavalry and overall it was less fiddly than Maurice.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gaming: Victory in Europe

Between kids soccer and the yard, the painting table has not seen much action. I did, however, get two games of Victory in Europe in with Bruce. The first game we played the 1939 scenario. Germany made a two pronged attack on France, feinting into the Netherlands and then punching through the Maginot Line and capturing Paris on an exploitation. This knocked France of the game

Things bogged down a bit in the desert and Poland, but a lucky diplomacy role brought Turkey in on the German side. Had The Russian block in Baku not been obscuring the production points, the German player would have pushed into souther Russia, hurting the Russian production and radically extending the Russian frontage. We called it in early 1941 with the Germans readying to attack Russian.

We also tried the 1944 scenario. A western landing in France was successful. Second landing was pushed back but the cost to the Germans was high and France quickly rolled over. The German played then abandoned Italy to shore up his defense.

In the east, an aggressive German attack in 1944 cost a lot of units and the Russians managed to push forward to seize Berlin (again, on an exploitation attack). Lucky dice helped and it was game over for the Germans in early 1945.

This system is pretty slick and gives 1945-quarterbacks an opportunity to try their master plan to win the war. What I keep being struck by is how any deviation from the historical has many unexpected consequences. Focus on France in 1939? Then the damned Russians gobble Poland and you have that much further to push them back plus a major headache shuttling troops. Arrgh.