Finished 10mm Polish Forces

Yesterday morning I woke early and finished the last bits of my Polish force for the Cold Wars LSNC-aganza.  I had ordered some Pithead C2P artillery tractors.  I also needed to paint and mount Ursus trucks.

C2P Polish Artillery Tractors
C2P Polish Artillery Tractors

Pithead doesn’t make the horse-drawn machine gun wagons, but I wanted them for my cavalry units.  I found Russian ones from Pendraken at The War Store.  Though the machine guns are wrong, in 10mm they are close enough.  At this scale, any uniform differences are completely indiscernible.  I don’t believe the Polish had machine guns with wheels on them as shown on these wagons, but again, they are close enough.

The "business end" of the machine guns.
The "business end" of the machine guns.

Mounting the wagons onto bases presented a bit of a challenge.  With the horses, the wagons were too long for the standard 1.5″ deep LSNC bases.  I’ve had this trouble with larger German tanks as well.  I mounted the wagons on 2″ deep bases.  Also, there was the question of what is the “front.”  I decided that when the the muzzles represented the “front” of the unit.  This means that when moving, it will look like the wagons are backing around the battlefield, but they’ll look correct when they are firing at the Germans.

Note that the axles were not quite long enough on many of the wagons, which is why they look a little “bowlegged” in these pictures.  Again at 10mm they are okay.

To finish off the bases, I like to add some tiny gravel and also the “tufts.”  These come in sheets of static grass glued in clumps to waxed paper.  I get them from International Models (www.internationalmodels.net).  Though they are in England, they arrive about a week after I order them.  You pick the tuft off the waxed paper with tweezers.  Then I use a dab of white glue and stick them down to the flocked base.  After I spray dull cote over the entire base, they stick well.  I think I may have lost one in the past three years.

Side view of machine gun wagons
Side view of machine gun wagons

The Poles are now fully equipped and ready for action!

JJ Con 2010

For several years, my friend JJ Dziadziola has hosted a gaming weekend at his house in North Carolina.  This even was originally designed to get our old high school gaming buddies together, but it has grown to include several other folks, including Dave Wood, whom I met at West Point, and the Schlegel brothers of the HAWKs.  This year, the gaming began Friday morning with an ironclads game, using Beer and Pretzels Ironclads.

David (Ook) Dziadziola, Nick Cirocco, and JJ harassing each other about the Beer and Pretzels Ironclads game

JJ, the GM for this game, pulled a fast one on us.  I was part of the Union force that was sent to rescue a fellow Union ironclad stuck on a sandbar within range of shore batteries.  As our boats got close enough to haul the boat off the sand bar, we discovered that it had been boarded the night before.  We discovered this when it began firing at us.  Big surprise!  It really spiced up the game.

Our next game of the weekend was Poland 1939, using Look, Sarge, No Charts: World War II.  This was a play test of a portion of the Lvov extravaganza described in a previous post.  In this game, Ook ran the Polish cavalry, trying to slow the German armor and infantry.  Nick commanded the Polish armor which conducted a spoiling attack around the German right.

Mark (second from right) pushes his tanks around the Polish cavalry toward the town of Zboiska

Ook’s cavalry screen managed to strip off the German infantry, leaving Mark with just armor to assault the town.  As that is a very difficult prospect in LSNC, we called the game a Polish victory at that point.

German infantry and armor push through the Polish cavalry screen
German infantry and armor push through the Polish cavalry screen

The third game of the night was a Blood and Swash cowboy game.  Eric used the factions and victory conditions from an Italian card game, Bang.  I was the marshall, and I didn’t manage to survive the fight.

Eric's cowboy Blood and Swash game
Eric's cowboy Blood and Swash game

Saturday morning we played Wellington Rules.  The scenario was based on the action around Laon in 1814.  We were part of the French rear guard retreating through a defile.  The Prussians were trying to stop us and block the road to prevent the French main body from escaping.  Everyone seemed to enjoy this game, because both sides needed to maneuver, rather than one side being on the defensive.

Prussians (Mark and Kurt) prepare the attack my retreating French
Prussians (Mark and Kurt) prepare the attack my retreating French

I was the rear guard of the rear guard.  My division was tasked to hold the end of the road closest to the enemy.  As the enemy neared, I turned to face them.  Mark and Nick hit my two battalions in line with six battalions in column.  One of my battalions evaporated.  Fortunately, I had a third battalion ready to plug the gap.  By the end of the game, my division had been completely destroyed and my guns overrun and captured.  It was a lot of fun, but the end was ugly.  

The French rear guard prepares for the Prussian onslaught
The French rear guard prepares for the Prussian onslaught

The final game on Saturday was another play test of Kurt’s Stones River LSNC extravaganza.  We had planned for this game to only last four hours.  We started at about 1300.  At 2100 I realized that we hadn’t stopped for dinner.  It was gratifying to note that all the players were busy and engaged in the game until the end.  We rarely play any games, let alone LSNC, for that many hours.  In fact, I can’t remember when I played the same game so long in many, many years.

Several echelons of Yanks at Stones River
Several echelons of Yanks at Stones River

JJ Con was the weekend before Halloween.  JJ’s wife, who puts up with the annual gamer invasion of her house, went to a Halloween party, dressed as a pirate, to escape the madness in JJ’s gaming room.

JJ and his lovely (pirate) bride, Karen, who graciously puts up with a house full of gamers every year
JJ and his lovely (pirate) bride, Karen, who graciously puts up with a house full of gamers every year

In addition to the miniatures games, we also played a few games of a card game, called Mag Blast.  These are short, light games that we could play at the end of a hard day of gaming to unwind.  If you haven’t played Mag Blast, you are missing a fun game.  One of the gimmicks is that when you play an attack on an enemy ship, you have to make sound effects or the shot is a miss.  Nick never seemed to quite get the hang of the sound effects, even with Dave whispering in his ear.

I think a good time was had by all, and I am looking forward to JJ Con 2011.

Polish Cavalry

Top-down view of a Polish cavalry troop
Top-down view of a Polish cavalry troop

Last night I completed a regiment (three battalions) of 10mm Polish cavalry for the 1939 campaign.  The figures are manufactured by Pithead.  To my knowledge Pithead is the only company that makes Poles in 10mm.  Most of my figures for Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII are Minifigs, but they do not make Poles.

Closeup of Polish Cavalry
Closeup of Pithead 10mm Polish Cavalry

10mm Wold War II figures paint very quickly.  It’s mostly a matter of dry brushing.  I base spray the figures black and then dry brush the horses and uniforms.  I paint the hair and rifles and then add the flesh for the face and hands and the helmets.

A Polish cavalry company
A company / troop of Polish 10mm cavalry mounted for Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII

The figures are mounted for Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII.  In LSNC all the information needed to play the game is placed on the label at the back of the base.  There are no chart cards.  Additional information is provided by a handful of special dice.  To help denote which bases (platoons and headquarters) belong to which units, I paint a small bar on the base in different colors for battalions and denote the company number with dots.  In the case of the picture above, this troop is from the “brown battalion” and is the “third company.”

I can’t wait to get these troops on the table.  Buck’s law says that the first time you use a newly painted unit in a game, they will get smucked.  I’m anxious to get that over with so we can start doing play tests for the Lvov LSNC extravaganza.

Battle of Lwów (1939)

As a Look, Sarge, No Charts: World War II extravaganza for Cold Wars 2011, Chris and I are working on a large battle based on the fighting around Lvov in 1939.  We’ll be taking a little license with the history.  The Germans attacked the city around the 12th of September.  Polish forces retook the city on the 13th with the help of the 10th Mechanized brigade, but the Germans maintained control of the high ground around the city.  They set up their artillery on the city and shelled the town.  The Russians arrived and completed the encirclement of the city on the 19th of September.

In our scenario, the Poles are in the town, but must attack to seize the high ground north of the city and destory the German artillery there.  The Russians are attacking from the East to enter the city.  The Germans are attacking from the West.  It will be a three sided scenario, because the Russians and Germans are attacking from opposite sides.  (In the real battle, there was no coordinated German-Russian attack.)  The Russians and Germans are, in fact, competing for the honor of capturing the city first. 

Polish Cavalry 1939
Polish Cavalry 1939

In preparation, I’ve been painting 10mm Poles like crazy.  I am just about done with more Polish armor and a regiment of cavalry.  I’ll post pictures of them soon.  When I finish another regiment of infantry, I’ll have enough (minus the trucks) for a mechanized brigade and an infantry brigade.  As the trucks are expensive, I think I’ll make my truck bases half sized and only mount a single truck.

I think we’ll have 8-10 players worth of Poles and another 10-12 player worth of Germans and Russians.  If you live in the Baltimore area, consider coming to Barrage in Janaury for the first major playtest of the scenario in preparation for Cold Wars.

Jurassic Reich

Before I came home from Iraq, I saw some information about these figures.  I put together an advanced order from Eureka, and Chris picked them up for me at Historicon.

Jurassic Reich Figures from Eureka Miniatures
Jurassic Reich Figures from Eureka Miniatures

Many years ago, when I was living in Georgia and a member of HMGS Mid-South, I needed to put together a game for a small regional convention.  I was just beginning to get interested in WWII skirmish gaming, and all I had painted were Germans.  I was trying to figure out what kind of game I could run with just Germans, when I saw a television documentary about dinosaurs, narrated by Walter Cronkite.  It occurred to me:  what would a panzerfaust do to a Tyrannosaurus?  Thus was born Deutschland and Dinosaurs, a real crowd pleaser, that I ran for several years.  Experiments on Penemunde go bad, and a rag-tag group of German soldiers have to defend the research facilities from rampaging dinosaurs.  It was always fun to see the dinosaurs pull the Germans out the top of the open-topped vehicles!

I use this pose as a "team leader" within the dinosaur cavalry unit.
I use this pose as a "team leader" within the dinosaur cavalry unit.

So… when Eureka announced these figures, I just HAD to have them!  This weekend was reasonably slow, so I had a chance to finish them up.  I actually started them last weekend, but I was gone on business all week.

I love this soldier with the vehicle-type MMG.
I love this soldier with the vehicle-type MMG.

I can’t wait to get these into a GASLIGHT game.

The officer.
The officer.

I’m not sure why the officers and NCOs are wearing masks, but that’s how they’re molded.  The other troopers with SMGs are wearing goggles, but not masks.  The sculpting on these figures is very clean, and assembly was easy.  It took three hands to get the figures to stand straight on the two, separate legs while the super glue dried.  Otherwise, assembly was very easy.

Knocked out another Litko Building

Sammy, my 11-year-old daughter and I finished another of the Litko laser-cut buildings today.  This one is the small garage.  On the pizzeria, Sam did the basic dry brushing, but I did the rest.  In this case, Sam also painted the random, different-colored bricks. 

Front of Litko Small Garage
Front of Litko Small Garage

I just found the vintage radiator repair graphic on the Web and resized it to fit on the door.  I haven’t decided what kind of sign to put above the door yet. 

Side of Litko Small Garage
Side of Litko Small Garage

This building is interesting because of the slit-type windows along the sides.  Good places to shoot those Tommy guns!

Litko Building

I’ve been adding to my collection of buildings for Pulp games.  In a very general, abstract, nostalgic way, I’m working on constructing the town of Granville, IL, which is a small town near where I spent my Summers as a kid.  I’m not being overly “realistic,” but looking for the right feel of a 1200-person town with a single main street. 

Finished Litko pizzeria
Finished Litko pizzeria. Each of the floors comes apart. The company also sells windows to go in the holes.

I’ve become a big fan of the Litko building kits.  They are laser-cut, hard wood kits that have brick and other detail scribed into them.  They assemble and paint quickly.  For Christmas, my parents got me another of the 2-story buildings, the pizzeria, and the small garage.  The garage is on the project table, but I finished the pizzeria.  My daughter did the dry brushing of the bricks, and I painted in the detail. 

Close-up of front door
Close-up of the front door. I didn't use the sign that came with the kit, but instead decided to make my grandmother the proprietor.

I’ll post a picture of the garage when I finish it.  I’m hoping to run a large pulp game in the Fall some time at a HAWKs night.

War Rocket!

Since this project was announced by Hydra about two years ago, I’ve been excited about it.  I’m a huge fan of the old movie serials from the 40’s and 50’s, having quite a few of them on DVD.  While I was in Iraq, my wife ordered some of the ships for me for my birthday.  By the time I redeployed, Hydra had released a few more ships and the rules.  The rules and additional ships arrived while I was on vacation, but I was able to get them painted and ready for their first game for last Friday’s HAWKs night.

Zenithian Fleet
The Zenithian Fleet, which is the only one that has all four classes of ships available
Valkeeri Fleet
The Valkeeri Fleet. For some reasons no matter what I did the purple washed out on these photos. They're brighter in person.
Galacteers
The Galacteer Class III and three Class I ships. The Class III was the slowest ship on the table, but the Class I's were the fastest
Imperial Fleet
An Imperial Class II and several Class I ships. Don't these look like they are straight out of the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon serials?

These ships were very fun to paint.  There is enough detail to help with the brushing, but not so much detail that they get gunky when painting them.    I was able to paint all four fleets in a weekend.

So…  I signed up to run War Rocket at a HAWKs night before I had even primed the ships.  There’s nothing like a deadline to increase focus.  Having never played the game, I ran two iterations for the club.  As this was our first go at the rules, I paired up the four fleets into two alliances (Valkeeri and Galacteers vs. Imperials and Zenithians) and ran a “meeting engagement.”

Duncan Adams moving his Imperials
Duncan Adams moving his Imperials between the planet my 11-year old daughter made and an asteroid field

We didn’t play with the rule about delaying your actions until the next turn for this introductory game.  We found that all the fleets had nice plusses and minuses to them that made them interesting.  Our feeling though is that the forward only fire of the smaller Valkeeri ships put them at a bit of a disadvantage compared to the others.  I think my favorite fleet is the Zenithians.

Valkeeri ship "slingshotting" around planet
Valkeeri ship "slingshotting" around planet

I made this planet from a styrofoam ring and ball from the floral section of the craft store.  I like the effect.

Chris Palmer and my daughter Sam face off
Chris Palmer and my daughter, Sam, face off

Chris suggested that I put sparkly pipe cleaners sticking out the back of all the ships.  That might be a neat effect as well.

Fur ball near the end of the second game
"Fur Ball" near the end of the second game

I think we all had a good time with the rules.  They’re simple, fast, and bloody, but there is enough nuance and detail to make the games interesting.  It’s a step down in detail and complication from Firestorm Armada that the HAWKs started playing while I was deployed.  I like the feel of the game and the speed of play.  While we found a few typos in the quick reference sheet, we all picked up the rules quickly.  With four fleets of about 8 ships per fleet, we were able to complete two games in about three hours.

I eagerly await the release of the missing ships and the two new fleets.  A combination of Class III and IV ships are needed to complete the Imperial, Galacteer, and Valkeeri fleets.  I have six Class I ships per fleet, a Class II, and where available, a Class III and IV for each.  I think the right composition is six Class I, three Class II, two Class III, and one Class IV per fleet.  When the new ships are available, I’ll purchase enough additional ones to put this together for each fleet.

This game gets a thumbs up.  I recommend it.

Kung Fu Fighting

While in Iraq, during our copious free time (not!), I introduced a couple of the guys I worked with the Kung Fu Fighting, the card-based game from Slugfest.  In this game you get to throw flying, flipping, running up the wall kicks at each other.  It’s a lot of fun, and it was a nice break from the “Groundhog Day” existence.

Kung Fu
Rick Martell, MAJ Rhett Murhpy, COL Mike Linick, and Lamar Garrett playing Kung Fu Fighting