The last few months have been hectic, so I am more than happy that things are getting quiet now.
But I really hope that your Christmas is both merry and peaceful! Have a great time with the people you love!
The last few months have been hectic, so I am more than happy that things are getting quiet now.
But I really hope that your Christmas is both merry and peaceful! Have a great time with the people you love!
Well things have become a little quiet lately. Last month I finished a bigger batch of vehicles for my WW II project and right on the heels it was painting extra minis for the SAGA French Melee.
I had been wondering what to play. Out of my Age of Vikings era armies none were really playable under SAGA 2, so I first has to make the choice which army to expand. Only the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons could be done in due time and I was in no mood to play Vikings, so Anglo-Saxons it was.
I decided to play with a mounted Warlord, two points of mounted Hearthguards amalgamated into one unit and 4 points of Levies (3 of them with close combat weapons and 1 with bows).
What gave me some headaches though, was that I had hardly gotten any games of SAGA 2 in since its release… one in mid-August another earlier this month. So I was not expecting much, except for a good weekend.
Game one (standard Clash of Warlords)
The first game pitted me against Andy Lyons’ Welsh. I have to say, this was the game I had been both hoping for and dreading for years. For those who do not know him, Andy has played SAGA Grand Melees and Iron Mans all over the world and won a good number of them. A former U.K. and German champion and the current French champion, he was quite an opponent for the first match. That being said, I have known him for a man with great spirits for years, so no matter what, I was expecting a great game.
Andy was playing Welsh in an all mounted, all Javelin set-up. There was a Warlord, a Priest, 2 points of Hearthguards and 3 points of Warriors. Unfortunately I cannot remember how he arranged them.
Deployment method was A. Andy was first player and decided to take shots with his javelins at my Hearthguards. Which did not go too well. That turn and the next one too Andy rolled below average on his to-hit rolls, I rolled above average on my saves. This resulted in Andy having to keep his troops closer to mine than he would have liked. By the third or fourth turn my Levies were close enough to his troops and spread out enough to always be able to attack one of his units no matter where he put them at the end of his turn. So it was a close call all the time and in the end Andy won by a point.
All in all I was extremely happy with the result, which put me in the midfield and still gave me chances for a good result in the end. But in all fairness, had the dice been more average, Andy would have won by a bigger margin.
Game two (Clash of Warlords variant)
First things first. This scenario was based on the Clash of Warlords, but both players got to place two objectives each (at least L from a long board edge and at least M from another objective). Being in procession (having a unit within VS of an objective at the end of the game, without any enemy units within VS) gave you another two kill points per objective. This game I was playing a very good French player, who’s name I unfortunately forgot [EDIT: It was Dorian.] He was playing Normans. A mounted Warlord and a mounted Priest, 1 point of mounted Hearthguards, 2 points of mounted Warriors (spread into two units of 5 and one of 6 men), 1 point of Warriors on foot with close combat weapons and 1 point of Levy archers.
Deployment method was B and we both put the objectives in terrain in our home corner close to our respective Levie archers. I began in a strong round defense hidden from his Archers by a large hill in the middle, expecting such a mobile army to go on the offensive. Again I was player two and took a heavy beating for it. My opponent rolled well on his three SAGA dice and together with the use of We Obey managed to send his larger unit of mounted Warriors charging into my Hearthguards using two SAGA abilities (Charge and Pursuit) to beef their mettle quite a bit in additions to the benefits from charging with javelins. This cost me dearly, since I lost a total of 7 Hearthguards. My other troops were able to mop those Warriors of his up once it was my turn, but it meant we had traded 6 Warriors of his versus 7 Hearthguards (and I think a Levy or two) of mine. Which left me down four slaughterpoints on aggregate. Not a good start, since I had to go on the attack now to make up for that. So I left the bow armed Levies alone to guard the objectives, while the rest of my army began their journey to attack the enemy positions. All game long the dice were a reversal of the previous game. This time I rolled sub-par and my opponent better than average. But still my troops kept constantly closing the gap. Things still did not look too good until the fifth turn when he tried to take out my Warlord and failed, loosing a unit of Warriors. My counterattacks cost him his Warlord and now I was in the lead. My plan sometime during the game had become to contest his objectives with my Warlord (the only unit mobile enough) on the final turn, but all this fighting had left him with too much fatigue, so I just scrapped that plan. On the other hand my opponent did not manage to contest mine either since he was kept too busy on his flank. So in the end my lead in slaughter point gave me the victory.
Game three (Clash of Warlords variant)
Game three would bring another Clash of Warlords variant. This time one would only score slaughter point in Melee and each time your Warlord took part in a Melee it would be another two bonus slaughter points. There would be no slaughter point for a unit being destroyed completely.
After having had to play two armies that were either completely or mostly mounted I had been hoping for an all foot opponent. My wish was granted, but one should always beware what you wish for. Emmanuel (who came second overall [EDIT: He came third overall]) was playing Pagan Rus and this was not the kind of game I had hoped for.
He fielded a Warlord, 3 points of Hearthguards (amalgamated into two units of six), 2 points of Warriors (fielded as a unit of twelve and four mean respectively) and a unit of Gall-Gaedhil mercenaries.
Set-up was according to method B once more. Due to the Pagan Rus ability Frozen Winds my units were fairly spread out (but they still suffered from it for the first three turns), while my opponent deployed fairly compact.
I can no longer remember who was player one, but it did not really matter. Emmanuel made heavy use of Blizzard, Long Winter and Biting Cold all throughout the game, which over the first three turns meant that except for a volley by my archers against his large unit of Warriors I did not get any charges or volleys in.
So I simply positioned my units where they would be able to either attack next turn or force my opponent to withdraw. And I made sure I always had Valiant Hearts actived and had a mix of Defenders of the Kingdom, Closed Ranks and Clash of Shields on my board. Which paid off. His large unit of Warriors attacked my Levies with bows in rocky ground and took a heavy beating. Virtually the same happened when his Gall-Gaedhil followed up. They were now attacked by one of my Levies to my advantage. Now I was leading on slaughter points and his board became oriented towards the offensive which meant I was actually able to get two charges of my own choosing in. His attacks met a similar fate as before. But until the end of the game I was unable to attack with my Warlord. His formation was too compact to risk that and the easier targets were situated within ruins, making them too hard to attack. We had to finish the game after the fifth turn due to us taking a little too long, but the result was a solid victory for me.
Fourth game (Clash of Warlords variant)
The second day began with yet another Clash of Warlords variant. Every turn from the second turn onwards, one would get an extra slaughter point for every unit that was completely within the opponents half of the table.
I was facing Simon who was playing Normans as well. His force consisted of a mounted Warlord and Priest, a point of Hearthguards three points of mounted Warriors (spread out in a number units of six, five and four men) and a point of archers.
I was aware that to win this one, had to prevent my opponent from getting on my side of the table as long as possible, since I would hardly be able to contain, let alone catch, this many mounted units once they got to my side. So I tried to make the centre of the table as restrictive as possible by placing a large wood on the right flank, a swamp on the left and a field in the centre. I was player one and rolled a four as our deployment method (method B), but chose to shift that to method C. Due to his large number of units and the large cavalry bases he was using he had to spread his units out a lot, placing some of them either behind terrain the had to move around or at the very edge of the table. All in all this meant that during turn two and three I had more units on his side of the table than he had on mine. Special praise has to go to my Hearthguards who held on to my left flank on their own versus three units of Warriors and later on the Warlord and Priest. I had to laugh when Simon put a lot of effort into attacking them with a unit of Warriors aided by the Charge and Pursuit abilities only to find I still had Valiant Hearts active and had Defenders of the Kingdom and Clash of Shields on my board. All in all this fight cost me nothing while he lost his whole unit. But I also made a stupid mistake when I became greedy and had my last remaining Hearthguard attack his exposed Priest later on only to die in the process without doing the Priest any harm.
Only in turn four and five did the number of units on the opponents side shift substantially in his favour. But during the whole game I had done my best to both keep him back and bring his Warrior units below the four men threshold for creating SAGA dice. Which meant I was in the lead on real slaughter points. In the end he had slightly more points for units on the opponents side than I had while I got more from the kills. Again the game had to be called after turn five and we were equal on points. The tournament did not allow for a draw and since I still had vastly more men left on the table, I it was a minor victory for me.
Game five (Clash of Warlords variant)
This variant would give each player two extra slaughter points at the end of each of their own turns per unit for every unit partially within M of the table-centre.
This time my opponent was Jan who also played Anglo-Saxons. He fielded a Warlord on foot, a Priest on foot, a unit of Gall-Gaedhil mercenaries, 3 points of Levies with close combat weapons and 1 point of Levies with bows. I was expecting this to become a very bogged down game given the defensive orientation of the Anglo-Saxons.
Again, I was player one. I have to say, I did not care much for terrain, except that I wanted a field on my side of the table partially within M of the centre where I could place my archers and that the rest of the terrain I deployed (a hill) did not restrict the movement of my cavalry too much. Jan placed two small woods on his side of the table, also partially within M of the centre, one of which I moved away from the centre. Deployment was according to method C again.
I did not roll too well on those three initial SAGA dice. So there was no way I could do him some harm and I settled for two defensive abilities to get me through the first turn and moved two units of Levies and my Warlord within M of the centre. My opponent tried to expel as many of them as possible (and succeeded on the two close combat Levy units) and tried to kill my Warlord (which he did not, but which left my Warlord with three fatigue).
The next turn my Hearthguards together with two units of close combat Levies managed to push the enemy back, giving them a heavy beating. My Warlord was still very exposed, had two fatigue and had three units of Levies within S of him. Which made him a tempting target (both as a kill and due to the fatigue the other units within S would get upon his death). So Jan tried to brush one unit of Levies away with his Levies and Gall-Gaedhil (which he managed) and kill my Warlord with the later (which he did not). But this had left his Mercenaries with three fatigue and they were wiped out by my Hearthguards without any losses of my own the next turn (I used two of his fatigue to raise my armour to seven). My Levies regained their position against their oposites and the dollowing turn my Hearthguards about faced and pushed another unit of Levies out. From then on it was only securing my position (gaining ten slaughter points per turn) and harressing the enemy. In the end I won by a margin for 39 points, for a superior victory. What really made me happy was that in this very last game, my Hearthguards were able to enact their envisioned role of shocktroops for the first time.
All in all I ended up with 62 tournament points and made fifth place overall. With which I am mighty happy, given both my lack of preparation and the quality of the opponents.
The later was really amazing. I have played in a number of tournaments over the years and always have I had one opponent that only gave me an easier game. Not so this time. They were all very good players and there was not a single game that one could just play it home easily. Even the very last game was much harder than the result would suggest. The general sportsmanship, not just in the games I played but also what I saw on adjacent tables, was very good. Being provided with lunch on both days and dinner on the first day as well as cake was a huge bonus.
So all in all, it was a very taxing, but friendly and enjoyable weekend. One I will certainly try my best to repeat as often as possible in coming years.
I worked on this model last month and the only thing missing is the base. I am a bit torn here. The original plan was to have it wading through swampy water, with water running down the right foot. But I am a bit torn, since this would mean a.) break from the current basing and b.) I am not sure if I can even tape the base off well enough to cast the water. (The cut-outs for the movements tools could cause massive problems there.)
a.) could be solved by just doing a few future minis with both swamp and partial swamp bases, but I am still not sure about b.). So what do you think… worth a try or just keep with the current theme? Here is what it looks like now:
So following up on the last post, some more Normandy really estate. First up two free-standing houses from Sarissa Prescisson. I have to admit, that while working on these, I could not decide if I liked them or not. They offered some nice details, like the brickwork on the ground floor level or the nicely laser cut shutters. On the other hand some things were a bit basic, like the very simple chimney stacks, the chimney of the destroyed house actually ending nowhere or the side walls and floors forming small ledges and buttresses. In the end though, one also has to see that they cost around 15 GB£ each and for that price tag they are fine, if you are willing to put some effort into these.
I added some filler to the walls, the bricks were painted in different colours to give them depth and I added a fireplace from Ainsty Castings (which I can unfortunately not find on their website right now). The thin spread of filler to mimic plaster shall now become a standard for MDF buildings, since I feel it gives them a more organic look and makes them look less like MDF.
These buildings are meant to specifically complement my earlier Normandy buildings that represent buildings at the edge of a town or larger village or small farms or hamlets. Now a couple of years back when I did the others I got a lot of fire from one user on The Wargames Website for doing the shutters and doors a bit more colourful. While to this date I still do not believe that every house in Normandy has them painted white, looking at photos from Normandy it seems that this is indeed the preferred colour for shutters and doors in that region of France, So I decided to paint them all white to raise the ratio.
But now on to the other set I work on last week and to be honest… I can not stress how much joy I had working on these. This is a set of French village buildings designed to form a row of houses / stores by Charlie Foxtrot Models. Now there are two things that made me like them so much. One is the level of detail put into them and the other is that they are all unique. You could have a street like this by designing a basic building and just adding different facades and signs to it and be done. But assembling them you already see that this was not the case. Each one is designed on its own. They all have slightly different dimensions and the windows and shutters are different, too. The angle of the roof is not the same on them all and neither are the chimneys. All in all this leads to a very natural as opposed to the very cookie cutter look we often get on the tabletop. And building these houses, it makes you want to see the end result, see it all come together. And this was a massive joy.
As you might have noticed, the roof on the Chapellerie is damaged. One side has a larger hole in it, big enough to provide a nice position for a LMG or HMG team (or gun if your Gebirgsjäger are in the mood to dismantle their gun and carry it upstairs), the other side a smaller one that makes any sniper happy.
Now there is another building in the serials which is actually designed to form the left end of the row and which I will eventually get myself. If for no other reason, just because the end of the row looks rather blue right now.
Now there is one small “problem” if you like with these and that is that all the buildings extend to the left from the grocery. Now while you may think “what is the problem, simply put one on the right”, the grocery has an outside staircase, which would be blocked by the depth of the other buildings. I voiced that to Colin (the owner of Charlie Foxtrot) the other week and while he had previously not thought about it, he is now thinking about adding another building to the line that would allow the row to be extended to the right as well. So I guess we will see even more buildings in this line. If you want to see more details on these builds, please remember that these photos lead to larger versions.
Anyway, I think that these buildings should give me lot of mileage, since they could be used for virtually anywhere in France, making them suitable for both 1940 and 1944.
Following up the quest for more terrain, here is some for Normandy.
Up first is the Church by Commission Figurines. I bought it as part of Walt’s Kickstater for the Berlin Buildings. I liked it at first glance for its nice clear Norman lines. When it arrived I was very happy with the detailing on it, including the fact that the mortar lines between the stones were actually engraved into the MDF instead of being just cuts between the stones. The stones might seem a bit large, but this engraving really makes sure they do not stand out. And looking at many (late) medical churches in Europe they often feature massive stones. The building itself is massive as well, making for a great centrepiece on the table. For those worrying about storage… if you do not glue the belltower to the base, you can lay it into the main building.
The large windows just screamed for stained glass windows. Which were easier to Donovan Inhad expected. I just looked online for a Kaleidoscopic pattern, printed it out on a sheet of overhead projector film (for those too young to remember… this is what us old people used before the spread of laptop computers and video projectors), cut it to shape and glued it on the inside.
The church can actually be assembled in two ways. You get two different “back” walls. One with a door and two thin windows and one with the larger window assembly. Depending on which one you use for the front or the back either the door or the larger window will be covered up by the belltower. You could also decide not to glue it to the base and use it whatever way round suits you best in a given game, but I decided to have the large window all the time. One word of advice though. If you do it like I did you will only have a large entry to the front and none at the back. There is a small side door on one of the long pieces, so make sure that is to the end. I only noticed the doors once I was painting on the details and did not want to rip it all apart.
While we are on the topic of painting. I have always struggled with the realistic colours for stone buildings. This is part of the reason why I had left this one lying around for 4 or 5 years now. Looking at many stone churches here inGermany or stone buildings in the UK, I found that most of the stones did not really look grey but brownish with a grey hue. Some looked grey all right, some greenish, but the majority rather brownish. And that is the way I remembered these from Normandy as well. So I decided to take a different route now. Both the church and the barn below were primed in Vallejo IDF Sand Grey which is a rather brownish grey. I then airbrushed individual stones (small areas in case of the barn with its much smaller stones) in a light grey and concrete (which is greenish). Afterward it was all given a dusting of Ammo One Shot grey primer. For those who do not know this primer, it is designed to be applied in a number of thin coats (yes, I know this is irritating since it is called One Shot). This feature meant that the primer rather changed the colours below when allowed as a thin dust, than covering them up. This gave it all the grey hue I wanted.
Now to the next building, which is a stone barn by Charlie Foxtrot Models. As with theirrazed Russin huts seen the other day, assembly was quite fast and straightforward. Just like the church it features lots of details, but in a different way. There is literally hundreds of small odd shaped stones carved into the MDF here. They never run in straight rows, making the building look like it was assembled from the rocks a farmer had pulled from his field and not like stones a stonemason had worked on to build a church. Which gives the whole barn a nice nice rustic authenticity.
The kit also comes with a second floor and a ladder leading up to it. With three windows for this second floor this makes for a nice sniper or LMG position. The kit also comes with seperate doors for the entrance and gate with a more intact and a more rotten version for the gate. I chose to leave the gates open to be able to place a small AT gun or a HMG inside, turning this into a real strongpoint. What surprised me, was the fact, that the floor was evens engraved with a flagstone pattern, which you rarely see on MDF buildings modules intact. So I felt obliged to add a little straw (fibres cut from a doormat) to both the ground and upper storey.
I hope most of you who are interested in the period have already seen this, but if not, I wanted to point you to a Kickstarter for Hungarian Infantry in WWII in 28mm.
I know there is already another company out there producing WWII Hungarians in 28mm, but to be honest… one can never have enough diversity. And I got some samples of their Hungarians when the minis from their last Kickstarter were delivered the other week and the quality is phenomenal.
So if this is your cup of tea, go and take a look.
While I have some houses set in rural Russia for the Napoleonics to WWII era, it seems there never were and never are enough. So some time ago I decided to beef this up. Buying the models had been the easy part, actually building and painting them took ages it seems. So in order of their purchase dates, here they are:
Up first is a Russian Orthodox Church. Now these days there are a number of extremely nice MDF kits out there and I would be hard pressed to decide which one to use, but back when I decided to beef the numbers up there were none. So I decided to take a different route and use the Perry’s ACW plastic Church kit. I scraped off the Christian cross above the entrance, which sounds easier as it was without damaging the wooden planks, and replaced it with one laser-cut from MDF. The cross is by a small UK company. Unfortunately I can not remember their name to give them credit. The regular roof on the bell tower was left off and the resulting square hole shut off using a piece of plastic card. The onion shaped dome is from Fenris Games. All that was left to do was paint it. In real life there is more contrast to the wooden planks and also some greenish stains, but it seems the natural light when so took the photos nearly soaked that up (same also applies to the other buildings in this post).
Up next is the windmill. In a way this is kind of a kitbash as well. The basic windmill is by Warbases. I replaced the original tool with coffee stirrers, since I wanted a real simple roof there. Since I wanted it to be raised and of a kind that was able to turn with the winds I constructed an under structure from wooden strips and Hirst Arts stones. To make it all accessible I added a ladder from the same company that provided me with the Orthodox cross. I know a set of stairs would probably have made more sense, but this is easier to store and there is a door up on the rear side for lifting goods into the mill anyway, so a ladder had to do.
Up Last are two razed buildings. These are extremely nice kits from Charlie Foxtrot (you are going to see a few more of their models over my next posts). I really love their chimney stacks. They really add something to the looks of these burned down buildings. I build these two sets pretty straight forward assembling the buildings and painting them. They come with lots of separate planks and so on to allow you to mimic rubble and I decided not to paint these. Since they were thin strips of MDF they already looked suitably scorched as it was. So these were just filed in after the painting. Now once it was I all glued together this proved to be a mistake, since they looked immensely different from the way I had painted the rest of the buildings. The original plan had been to give the edges of the buildings a quick black spray with the airbrush and give it all a light black dusting to back it blend, but I realised that this would not do the trick. Something else would be needed. So I treated it all with a candle, making sure it left soot marks over the building and rubble. I also noticed that the floors looked to clean and that there was too little debris there. Thank gods it is BBQ season right now so I took some coal dust from the bottom of a bag of coals, smashed up a small piece of charcoal to get some larger pieces of debris and files that over the floor and debris to enhance the looks. And I feel it worked. If you want to try this yourselves, please make sure you are working outside or in a well ventilated room (the heat from the candle combined with the paint could cause fumes) and that you have something on hand to extinguish the fire should you overdo it. Also, sealing it all with varnish afterwards is a must otherwise you will smear things and you and other players might get dirty using the buildings.
Today we have something from Infinity. While my Forward Base terrain is not completely finished yet, I am thinking about another table with urban terrain. There are two things that have me irritated about most urban tables for Infinity. And since urban seems to be the most popular table type for Infinity, most tables. The first is that most tables seems to be dominated by boxed shaped buildings with railing on top that are all on a single level. I will get into more details when I start more in-depth on my table. Which is what attracted my to Battle Kiwis Contemplation Lookout when I first saw it. So much actually, that I asked them about it when I saw their pre-release test model on a tournament photo. It provides a high lookout with cover, while on the ground level it has a very narrow footprint, leading to more open lanes of fire. At the same point it proves cover from shooters from above on other buildings. As such it should form a challenging centrepiece, or piece in the middle zone of the table.
But the other thing that always irritated me is, that everything seems to be so clean, bright and nice. There is no soot, no dirt, no graffiti, no social underbelly. I can not imagine this to be the case. Even in the future of Infinity mankind is still at war with itself (and other races), so if it has not surpassed those habits, why should it have eliminated social inequality? Would the conqueror treat its new subject as good as his own people? I do not think so. So I want my urban table for Infinity to look that way. With graffiti, run down buildings, neglected municipal recreation areas, run down buildings and dirt.
The kit itself come in a nice light off-white with protective film covering the parts. Which is nice, but did not fit my wishes, so I repainted it. A light grey seemed appropriate for a structure of this type, but I wanted a darker white, so everything was airbrushed with Vallejo USN Ghost Grey, which is a few shades darker and has very slight blue hint. The walkways and ramp were airbrushed in a German Panzer grey and highlighted with gun-metal while the upper railings were done in yellow. Here in Germany and many parts of Europe you often seen this on such municipal recreation structures where the designer felt they would look to bleak otherwise and I wanted to pick that idea up. I then painted on various graffiti. As strange as this might sound… while I have an airbrush, I find it easier to mimic graffiti painting by brush, which is what I did here for the most part. Some smaller graffiti were added using a paint pen. I tried to achieve a mix of more artistic graffiti, political or social criticism and the mundane ones.
[/caption]Up next everything was given a very liberal wash with highly diluted streaking grime. When I hit the first graffiti made with the paint pen this caused lots of problems, since the white spirit used to dilute the paint reacted with the paint from the pen in that it washed it off. Since the ramp section had already dried, I could not change for a different weathering paint. So I used white spirit to wash those graffiti made with the pen off, replaced some of them with ones painted by brush using acrylics (although not all of them, so there is less graffiti here than planned) and carried on. After everything was given the base dirtying up, I returned to the model with the streaking grime, this time adding real streaks where the rainwater would flow down the building.
The display on the upper deck could hold an old smart photo to give an interactive display on the table, but I wanted to keep things simple, so I just added some desert like flora to it.
I did not glue the display to the platform. While this could in theory form a landing pad or the like, I just wanted to make sure it could be stored more easily. I was contemplating adding rain water streaks to the glass of the display, but upon assembly I felt it looked too nice. On the other hand it stands a bit out with the rest being so run down. What do you think… rainwater marks yes or no?
Just a short post today of some additions to my Combined Army I painted a few weeks ago… a unit of Suryats. While Iam getting ever more of a feel for the game, I do at times struggle with the units at my disposal. Most infantry seem to die too fast, so I decided to paint up a unit of Suryats. With two wounds each, I hope they will be a little more robust, but since I have not fielded them yet, it is still too early to tell.
The lift in the background is from Antenocities Workshop as part of their Forward Base range. I repainted it a little to give it more contrast than just the light grey and yellow. Quite happy with it (and the second one from the set). I was contemplating buying the set or not, since they are designed for the post Kickstarter version of the Forward Base, but it seems the Kickstarter version (which I have) and the post Kickstarter version both have the same hight and shape so they fit mine as well. Although I have to say that the lugs where you can fit the security barriers to the roof of most Kickstarter buildings are in the way of them really hugging the buildings. Except for some of the larger buildings where there are spots where the lugs are further apart. But I can live with that.