GRUNTZ

GRUNTZ
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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Bag the Hun VVS Victory!








I ran a very enjoyable game of Bag the Hun this evening, using the beginner scenario from the rules - Bandits - with four Soviet La7's against an equal number of German Fw190D's, somewhere over the Baltic in early 1945. A roughly even set up, so it was all down to tactics and the luck of the dice.

This turned out to be a good laugh, mainly due to the Luftwaffe pilot's impressive if slightly less than tactical formation flying, in circles around and then in perfect side by side formation with their Russian opposite numbers. It won Jerry a bonus Victory Point which made up for some terrible dice rolls later on!

The Soviets also pulled off some impressive manoeuvres including a very nice echelon formation, which appeared in mid-dogfight as if by magic. It was a definite victory for the VVS, however, with one Focke Wulf shot down and three escaping to fight another day, for no loss to the Motherland.

Za Rodinu!

* apologies for the dodgy photos - the camera is completely knackered :O(

Monday, 30 May 2016

Bagging the Hun


I'm off to the club tomorrow night, where I'll be running and taking part in a couple of games of Bag the Hun 2. The first will be a late war Soviet VVS versus Luftwaffe dogfight using the starter scenario from the rulebook - Bandits - as there is a new player taking part. This should give him a quick run through of the rules mechanisms and help me to remember what I'm doing as well!

After that, if there's still time, I'll re-run one of the Malta scenarios that I wrote and was published in the 2014 Summer Special - Lightning Strike - which we play tested at the club a few years ago. I don't have time to write a new scenario and I know that this one works well, with plenty of aircraft to go round and some clear cut victory conditions, so it should be a good game.

Last time the Royal Air Force boys of 185 Squadron achieved a narrow victory...let's see if the pilots of 73a Squadriglia can even the score this time round? Tally Ho!

Commando Miniatures


I was looking for some 28mm modern figures, specifically for Britain's Small Wars in the Middle East in the 1960's, when I re-discovered the Commando Miniatures range yesterday. I had seen these when they first came out a couple of years ago but, at that point they only had the British, so I moved on in my search to 15mm, using Peter Pig AK47 professional figures as a starting point but with a bit of a blank for the bad guys.


Now, the range has expanded to include Indonesian para-commandos, generic Middle Eastern Arab irregulars and also South Arabian tribesmen for Aden and the Radfan. They also look like they might match up quite well with the old Inkerman Castings range (ooh, that Saracen!!). The range also includes a very neat little Ferret scout car and a FLOB, Forward Locality Base, complete with bunkers and sandbag walls.


This has opened up all sorts of possibilities for 28mm skirmish gaming using both my growing collection of desert terrain and the jungle village that I built last year using the Sarrissa Precision kits, which has been sitting in a box ever since. I could do both the Indonesian Confrontation and Aden, although I really fancy scratch building some jungle after all the desert stuff I've been doing, so Borneo would be a refreshing change!

Brilliant!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Back of Beyond Terrain Bits [9]


I spent a happy few hours assembling these Timeline North African buildings over the last couple of days, together with some scratch built mud brick walls and a watering pond, all of which can be used for the Back of Beyond, Old West or any number of other desert settings. The wall sections are a bit experimental, being made from cut down terrain templates and bases left over from my various naval projects. They will get a good coating in the usual Polyfilla / PVA mix, so the edges won't be as obvious, the idea being to create a tumbledown look. I might make some less weather beaten sections as well but I need to get this lot covered first.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Desert Oasis Terrain Features



Charlie Foxtrot Models has recently produced a set of lasercut base kits to make desert oasis terrain features, including removable tree bases and a plastic insert to represent the water. They also have some plastic palm trees in various sizes that you can buy to add to the bases. I have ordered two sizes of the oasis templates and some trees for the desert terrain project.

The idea will be to create a couple of generic watering hole features with a set of palm trees or Woodland Scenic bare trees to swap over, depending on the game and location. There's also a really useful set of woodland bases using the same basic design which I'm looking at as a future approach to jungle bases for Darkest Africa. Very useful indeed!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Afrika Korps


I've been looking for skirmish things to do that will extend the use of the desert terrain that I've been assembling over the last couple of months. I thought about the obvious options like colonials including the Sudan, North West Frontier, the French Foreign Legion and so on, but have decided to make use of the Perry Eighth Army plastic set that I bought for Malaya last year but didn't use.

To balance these out, I've ordered a box of Perry Afrika Korps from eBay, although the first time I tried to do so I was stung by a seller who never posted the kit. Luckily, the eBay people sorted it out and I got a full refund. It's never happened to me before but it's good to know that they'll step in if you've done nothing wrong and sort the problem out quickly.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Timeline North African Buildings


I really enjoyed putting together the Timeline North African compound a while back, so decided to get some more buildings to go with it. These include a couple of small single storey adobe buildings and a two storey adobe house. I can use these for the Back of Beyond and for the Old West but I'm also thinking of using them as they are intended.

I'm not sure what but something with a North or East African colonial theme would seem to be an obvious thing to do, or perhaps a venture into WW2 small skirmish with those Perry 8th Army that I never got round to using for Malaya. I have enough to get on with for the moment but it's definitely worth a thought, if only to squeeze some extra mileage out of the desert terrain project.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Bugger

MDF regulars with nothing much to do until next week

I was supposed to be running another AK47 game at the club tomorrow night, hence the recent media output, but I've had to postpone it due to a clash with something the other half has organised without telling me (actually she did tell me but I wasn't listening). Anyway, it will happen but probably next week during half term, which will at least give me the chance to get those technicals painted up in time and to find a shipping container in 15mm. I hope that the players concerned can re-arrange something to do in the meantime and that they can make it to the club next Tuesday? Sorry guys.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

AK47 Rocket Launcher Technical




I finished off the last of the technicals this afternoon, using another of the Majorette Saviem toy trucks that I saved for just this sort of thing, although this one was considerably more bashed about than the last one. The multiple rocket launcher rails are from The Scene, which is a great source of add-on heavy weapons and stowage, with a couple of Peter Pig militia as crew including one with a spare rocket converted from a figure with an RPG. I've now finished assembling the technicals, having re-crewed the Toyota and found a Landrover to add to the convoy, so I can now start painting them, although I doubt they'll be ready for the game on Tuesday.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Technical Hitch

Minor Technicalities

I have another AK47 game next week so will be busy finishing off some new militia technicals over the weekend. This has given rise to a bit of a 'technical' hitch in that you can only have two RCL per unit, which means that my existing technical fleet can only form one such unit, otherwise it will break the two RCL limit. This is a result of my daft decision to count the katyusha rocket rail armed vehicles as RCL's, as there are no points values in the rules for multiple rocket launcher equipped units. I'm now going to re-classify them as vehicle mounted mortars, which are mentioned in the rules but also don't feature in the points table. I think that they are worth about the same as AA mounted weapons, so will rate them at 30 points for the militia version, which seems like a fair solution to the problem.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Five Men at Kursk


A special offer on these Nordic Weasel skirmish rules this week, so another direction in which to take my on-going search for a good set of WW2 skirmish rules other than Bolt Action or Chain of Command. I really like Ivan Sorenson's approach and have been thinking of scaling down my WW2 focus to squad rather than platoon level, so this is very much up my street. Only £5.75 as well, which isn't bad for over one hundred pages of well-designed, comprehensive yet playable skirmish rules.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

AK47 Flatbed AAA Militia Truck


I've had a great day, spending three hours in casualty with the top sprog who decided to slice open his hand yesterday while snowboarding at the dry ski slope, so I'm less than happy. The work has piled up again as well, so it's a case of fitting in whatever wargaming stuff I can, often in a late night or last minute sessions at the workbench. I have lots of things to do, including some more 28mm desert terrain pieces using some bark pieces I've found, but no time to do them in!


Anyway, today I  prepared a slap up fish and chip tea for the kids,  a slow cooked Spanish chorizo and chicken casserole for the lady wife and, at the same time, cooked up this diecast AAA flatbed guntruck from an old Majorette Saviem lorry toy. The .50 cal quad AAA gun is the last of the ones I have from The Scene, with the gun mountings turned upside down as I think it looks better than way.

I have another couple of technical vehicles to add before I do some painting at the weekend, either of the AK47 vehicles or of the Back of Beyond Chinese Warlord bodyguard unit. I've been signed up as a car parking volunteer for the Scouts this Saturday, so I'm not sure I'll be able to get much done, but its half term soon so I'm planning to blitz some stuff then, when I have more free time.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

AK47 Militia Gun Trucks


I have had a very unproductive day today, despite my best intentions to get some painting started on the Back of Beyond Chinese Warlord figures, largely due to an over long cricket match with the sprog this morning, followed by the weekly shopping this afternoon. Instead, I have added a couple more technical vehicles to the AK47 Superpower Backed army, using a half painted Maisto die-cast truck and a spare Peter Pig Toyota pick up. The third of the trucks was one I started ages ago.


The Maisto truck has a very nice quad .50 cal AAA mounting in the flatbed which is from The Scene while the Toyota just has a couple of Peter Pig pintle mounted .50 cal heavy machine guns. Why do I need more technicals? I have several with RCL's mounted on the back but, as you're only allowed two per unit I've been stretched to deploy more than two or three militia units in recent games, with the technicals being spread far too thinly to be effective. 

As I only have a militia mortar unit and one militia S/A unit, this makes it difficult to have sufficient flexibility and choice when it comes to army design. The extra technicals should go some way to sort this out but I really need another S/A infantry unit, heavy weapons and some transport to fix it long term. I'd rather set up a whole new army rather than add yet more bits to the ones I have, so these two are a bit of a quick fix. They're also fun to convert and paint!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Eagles and Bulldogs


I was swamped with DIY today and have achieved very little aside from an assembled trampoline, two newly attached washing lines, a replacement toilet seat and a trip to the tip. Nonetheless, I did get this second hand paperback yesterday after work on my habitual weekly browse through the shelves of the local Oxfam book shop. A good addition to the reference library, even if I doubt I'll get round to reading it for a while. It reminds me that I really should take another look at Normandy Firefight, especially as there are now some other players at the club with the rules.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Mexican Revolution Solution?


It's turning out to be not as easy as I thought when trying to source figures for the Mexican Revolution, which you'd think would be well covered given the iconic associations and feature film tie ins. Anyway, it's been a bit of a struggle finding what I'm looking for, especially in the smaller scales of 10mm and 15mm, which I think would be the perfect way to go.

In 10mm there's some stuff in the Pendraken ranges which could be used but too many holes and gaps that need to be filled (there's a good post about this on Doctorphalanx's excellent blog)

In 15mm, there's just tumbleweed gently rolling across the scene, with even Irregular Miniatures looking a bit sparse, although someone on TMP did suggest some Freikorps options.

In 20mm the outlook is much brighter with dedicated and expanding ranges from Shellhole Scenics, and Early War Miniatures, together with some relevant stuff from Tumbling Dice and the aforementioned Irregular Miniatures ranges.

In 28mm there's a really nice but quite limited range from Brigade Games and a very good  range from Old Glory. The former is, however, off the cards as it would require ordering from the US, which is not an option due to Mr Customs and Excise.

I haven't made up my mind yet, although I have got a couple of starter packs from Shellhole Scenics as a first foray into 20mm. The figures are good and I'm sure will paint up well but they're not really what I'm after. I'd like to go for 15mm but it looks like that's not a runner while Old Glory 28mm is a possibility but at a much greater outlay.

Still, there's no rush and plenty of time to find the best solution, so in the meantime I'm cracking on with my desert terrain, the Back of Beyond Chinese Warlord army and a few mini-projects along the way. I'm thinking about doing one of these over the weekend, time permitting, so the Mexican Revolution will have to wait!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Achtung Gringo


I now have a copy of these fast play rules for the Mexican Revolution which are based on the Crush the Kaiser First World War system. I haven't had a decent read through yet but they look pretty solid and have some useful army lists and unit organisation details that could be useful for Contemptible Little Armies. These are my first choice for rules but the Achtung Gringo alternative does look really interesting too.

The rules are for battalion to regimental sized games, with a battalion of two or four ten to twelve man companies for infantry or four or so squadrons of cavalry, each of around nine men, although the exact sizes vary between the different factions. The figures are individually based, so very much in the same organisational style and level as Contemptible Little Armies. It's a shame there aren't any scenarios included as these would also be really useful for both rulesets.

The rules are pretty comprehensive and cover all of the usual aspects as well as some specialised things like dynamite, naval artillery, native weapons, trains, demolitions and aircraft. There are also rules for 'random stuff' using Fortune Cards and some hypothetical 'what if' rules for a German intervention. I think they could be really good fun and they certainly seem to have captured the Mexican Revolution vibe, whatever that means.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

NEWSFLASH - Victory to Zubuto! (ZTV)


Victory to Zubuto!

From our home affairs correspondent in Mpangi

VICTORY!

In a packed press conference at the presidential palace in Mpangi today, the newly re-elected President for Life of Zubuto, Dr Depe DuDu, proclaimed a massive victory for the Zubuto Army of the People (ZAP) over the Mbote Defence Force (MDF) in a cross border clash yesterday. A full parade of ZAP troops, tanks and armoured vehicles has been greeted by jubilant crowds outside the presidential palace in Mpangi, in a spontaneous outburst of national celebration

ZAP presidential guard in the Mpangi victory parade

The President praised the valiant actions of ZAP armoured and air assault units in repelling the aggressive and illegal infringement of sovereign Zubuto territory by the Mbote interlopers. The decisive and total defeat of the MDF was testament to the skill, determination and superior Soviet backed training of the ZAP armed forces. A special citation and medal was awarded to the crew of a ZAP helicopter gunship, who destroyed twenty three heavy tanks of the MDF with a single anti-tank rocket.

ZAP helicopter formation flying team in parade display

In a separate communique, President DuDu has also pledged a full review of maintenance protocols in the MDF armoured brigade, after a number of tanks suffered minor 'mobility issues' in the recent engagement. An advanced training programme for engineer and armoured field support units has also been initiated, with a visiting delegation of Soviet agricultural tractor engineers on hand to advise the MDF in tracked vehicle repair.

ZAP Tank recovery team look for spanner

VICTORY TO ZUBUTO!

LONG LIVE DUDU!

DOWN WITH MBOTE!


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

AK47 Game











A short but enjoyable game of AK47 at the club this evening, resulting in an overall draw, with Mbote gaining forty eight victory points against Zubuto's total of fifty two. The MDF were attacking against the ZAP defenders, with the first half of the game dominated by the helicopter gunship of the latter, which almost wiped out an entire unit of technicals before flying off in Turn Five.


In the second half of the game, the MDF slowly gained the upper hand and had most of its units on the table, only to run out of time to make them count. If the game had gone another couple of rounds, I would have been in trouble, as my tanks had broken down and had already lost two morale points. I'll be claiming a massive victory for the Zubuto Army of the People either way!

In other news, the camera has now packed up...as you can see by the dodgy photos!

NEWSFLASH - Zubuto military re-inforces border zone (AP)






From our correspondent in Ntumbe

Reports are coming in of troop movements by the Zubuto Army of the People (ZAP) in the vicinity of the Ntumbe border crossing. A significant force of battle tanks, infantry in armoured personnel carriers and wheeled transport vehicles has been observed advancing toward the border post at the Ntumbe bridge. There has been no official comment from the Zubuto military high command or from the government.

NEWSFLASH - Mbote mobilises troops on border with Zubuto (Reuters)


From our political correspondent in Mboteville

In a sign of increasing regional tension, the Mbote Defence Force (MDF) has been mobilised and placed on a high state of readiness in positions adjacent to the border with the neighbouring Peoples' Republic of Zubuto. In a brief press statement, the President of Mbote, Colonel Banga Boum, explained that recent disturbances caused by the presidential election held in Zubuto over the weekend, have threatened the stability of the disputed border zone.

Independent reports have identified armoured units of the MDF supported by regular infantry and a mobile border patrol force moving into the de-militarised zone adjacent to the Ntumbe river crossing. In a separate unconfirmed report, the Combined Regional African Peacekeeping (CRAP) contingent monitoring border security, appears to have hastily withdrawn from it's checkpoint on the Ntumbe Bridge, leaving the crossing open to cross border movement.

Monday, 9 May 2016

NEWSFLASH - DuDu claims landslide victory in presidential elections (ZTV)


From our Zubuto TV correspondent in Mpangi

In the snap presidential elections held this weekend, President for Life of Zubuto, Dr Depe DuDu, has claimed an overwhelming landslide victory. Although results are still coming in from outlying tribal regions, the government has declared that 102.6 % of the electorate have voted to retain Dr DuDu as President for Life of Zubuto and Commander in Chief of the Zubuto Army of the People (ZAP).


The news of this landslide victory was greeted with spontaneous outbursts of celebration in the streets of Mpangi, where jubilant crowds burned tyres and set fire to cars in tribute to their esteemed and ever popular leader. The happy carnival atmosphere was later heightened by a firework display kindly organised by security units of the Zubuto Internal Police Force (ZIP).