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And another game of Fall of the Reich

And another game of Fall of the Reich

So I am still catching up. This time it is another game of Fall of the Reich. This one was played during the first fine week (weather wise) of the year, so we could actually play outside. But even though this one has not been so long ago, my memory is even less precise than the previous one. I can remember, that the American fox consisted mainly of Shermans and infantry in M3´s, while the German force was mainly PzKw IV´s.

The beginning was not too good for the Germans. One PzKw IV was damaged right at the beginning another one blown up by the allied artillery. The Germans tried to repair the former, but failed, so it was two losses right at the beginning. So things did not look too well, but once the Americans got closer, the tables turned and the Germans could make good use of their position behind the railroad embankment. It became a real turkey shoot and in the end the American broke and the game was over. Unfortunately this is the best AAR I can come up with. Sorry! So I hope the pictures tell a good story instead.

Table seen from the American side

Table seen from the American side

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

Waiting for the enemy

Waiting for the enemy

Bergepanther trying to repair a PzKw IV

Bergepanther trying to repair a PzKw IV

American advance

American advance

American armour in the village

American armour in the village

American halftrack

American halftrack

German defensive position

German defensive position

76mm Sherman on the attack

76mm Sherman on the attack

Hull down PzKw IV

Hull down PzKw IV

SS HMG team

SS HMG team

 

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich Christmas game

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich Christmas game

“Wait?” you will shout… “Christmas game… it is only October!” And rightly so! But, as I have had to say so many times this year, I seem to have huge problems keeping this blog up to date. So, here it is, almost 10 months late:

Between Christmas and New Years last year Julian, Martin and I met up for a little game of Battlegroup Fall of the Reich. Please do not ask for the exact composition of the forces… it has been a while. But if I remember correctly, the Americans had a mix of truck and jeep mounted infantry, M10´s, Shermans and Greyhounds (the burning Stuart was scenery). The Germans were a rag-tag bunch of Panzergrenadiere, a Volkssturm platoon, two Hetzer, a Hornisse, a Luchs, a SdKfz. 251/22 and a SdKfz. 250/9. Both sides had some off-board artillery.

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the American side

Table seen from the American side

We rolled to see who would play which side and Martin got the Americans and Julian and I the Germans. We were playing the Road Block scenario and the Americans were allowed to set up the majority of their forces as far as the river. Martin put the armoured command car on he bridge with the M10s, some of the truck mounted infantry and a Dozer Sherman behind them. The Greyhounds were allowed to deploy on the German side of the bridge.

The German Volkssturm was dispersed throughout the village and one of the fields on the flank. The Panzergrenadiere and Hetzer were hiding inside the village, while the Hornisse was waiting at the edge of the village with the bridge in sight. We took a slight risk as the German players, by not putting any scout units on the table, which meant we would start the game by drawing a chit. In retrospect this was the best decision we could make, since we drew a breakdown counter, which we played on the armoured command car on the bridge, which got an immobilized result. So Martin had to start shuffling vehicles around to get the Dozer in position.

Things are about to get tough

Things are about to get tough

But while he was doing so, the Germans called in some artillery on the bridge, which took out the command car for good and set the M10 ablaze. So when the Dozer arrived, it had to start by pushing the tank destroyer aside.

American starting positions

Getting the other vehicles out of the way for the dozer

Getting the M10 out of the way

Getting the M10 out of the way

But this was not the only problem for the Americans. when it was clear, that the bridge would be blocked for the foreseeable future, the Greyhounds chose to dash into the village to hide. Which proved to be a bad decision, since the lead Greyhound drove past one of the buildings where the Volkssturm was hiding. A Panzerfaust into the rear was a reward, after which it blew up.

American armour burning

American armour burning

First moves inside the village

First moves inside the village

All in all it took the dozer three turns to even get into position to try to clear the command car off the bridge. During that time the came under constant German artillery fire. To minimise their losses, the American infantry dismounted to disperse and get across the bridge.

Sherman Dozer about to clear the bridge

Sherman Dozer about to clear the bridge

American Infantry pushing across the bridge

American Infantry pushing across the bridge

But while doing so, the American infantry became pinned by fire from the Volkssturm in the fields.

Volkssturm firing at the American infantry across the river

Volkssturm firing at the American infantry across the river

And to make matters worse, by now the remaining German armour had arrived on the table and were taking up positions to counter any American moves off the bridge.

German halftracks staging inside the village

German halftracks staging inside the village

Getting into position

Getting into position

Luchs and Hetzer securing the flank

Luchs and Hetzer securing the flank

With the bridge cleared, the Americans finally managed to get their own spotters to a place where they could actually call in effective artillery fire on the German spotters killing them, but it was too little, too late. By now the Germans were in positions where they could target anything moving across the bridge from three sides.

Hetzer moving to the front

Hetzer moving to the front

By now the American force was close to breaking to breaking anyway. And when the Dozer started to push the command car, i was hit by an eighty-eight shell from the Hornisse.

Turkey shoot

Turkey shoot

At this point no coordinated push would have been possible anymore and the Americans withdrew.

 

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

Part of the reason things were this quiet lately are these minis. Earlier this year we decided to do the “counterattack” at Pegasus Bridge for Crisis in Antwerp. Everything seemed quite fine. I had done the bridge earlier this year (pictures to follow when I finish the banks of the canal after my holidays), we had vitally all the Normandy terrain we would need and I had enough minis. So it was all easy-going. Well that was until we did a test set-up late August and I realised that I only had support weapons, heavy weapons and officers done for the Paras, but virtually no grunts. So that had to be remedied and here they are.

All the miniatures are from Bolt Action, sculpted by Paul Hicks. And I have to say I really love them. Amongst all the great minis he has been doing in recent years these have always been my absolute favourites since they have so much character. So it was a pure joy to paint them.

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

This last guy is no Para, but a commando. Due to the similar clothing on the mini I decided to paint him up while I was on it anyway.

British WWII Commando

British WWII Commando

 

Infinity Combined Army Xeodrons and a Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Xeodrons and a Sogarat

Well I am off on holidays which gives me the time to finally post some pictures of the stuff I finished in recent weeks and months.

As some of you may have realised from my recent terrain posts, I have started to take an interest in Infinity. A lot of the armies do look interesting, but the one to fire up my interest the most is the Combined Army. Right now I am just painting up the minis I like the most. I have to admit, that I do not know yet which ones really are good or which role they fulfill in the game, so do not expect too much info on the units themselves. In the end, I will do just what I always did when it comes to SciFi games… paint what I like and learn to play them afterwards.

Anyway… here are the minis. Up first is a pair of Overdrons. I really like the models. They are huge, about twice as tall as a human miniature. They have a nice mix of external armoured plates with the musculature / skin underneath. The original studio miniatures were painted with very dark armour and orangey skin. This created a very dark and menacing look which I wanted to go for, even though I had something different in mind for the rest of the army.

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

I also wanted to try and see how close I could get to the looks of the official studio miniatures. Those had a black base colour, over which several shades of grey were airbrushed. The edges of the plates where highlit with even lighter greys, finishing with an almost white. I found the idea of the softer shading together with the strong contrast at the edges interesting, but while painting, I quickly found I did not like this. So I went with somewhat softer contrasts airbrushed onto the miniature and only did the edges in a medium grey. Not as striking as the original, but more to my taste.

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

Infinity Combined Army Xeodron

And here is the pair together. Most people base their Infinity minis in a very clean and modern way. But I wanted something different so I based mine on jungle bases, or rather the Deep Forest bases by Antenocities Workshop. I also painted some mud splashes on the lower legs to round everything off.

Infinity Combined Army Xeodrons

Infinity Combined Army Xeodrons

Antenocities Workshop deep forest bases

Antenocities Workshop deep forest bases

As I said before, I want something different for the rest of the army. Something that makes them blend in with their surroundings. So the rest of the army will be painted in a very dark brown with consecutive highlights to a mid-brown. Markings / sections of the armour will be in a sand colour.

I am not entirely happy with the way this one turned out. Somehow the sand colour itself and the fact that I picked out individual plates remind me, too much of 40K minis. Before I left for my holidays, also started with some Radoks. In their case I picked out fewer individual plates, but painted some patterns on the larger ones. I also used a different colour to highlight the sand parts. All of this created a look more to my taste. But you will see those in a few weeks time. The OSL lights on the arms and legs are also not completely my taste. So I guess I will use those less on the other minis.

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

Infinity Combined Army Sogarat

 

Forward Base, Habitat 4

Forward Base, Habitat 4

So it is time to upload the next Habitat from The Forward Bas Kickstarter. This time it is Habitat 4, which is the large L-shaped living quarters. All in all the general process on this one was the same as it was with the previous one. So a lot of the detailing was doing by using the masking film as a mask and airbrushing the habitat. But there are a few new things on this habitat and a few things and others I skipped on the previous one that I would like to go into more detail here.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

First of all, you can see that this is a massive habitat as well. Not as tall as the previous one, but the footprint is almost as large and due to its L-shape it offers some interesting LOS options compared to a square or rectangular building. Also, this being a living habitat it features more monitors and air con units that the workshop and I really like how this adds character to the model.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Now with the previous post, the solar panels on the roof were a little harder to make out. But there you get a clearer view of them, up on the roof. I really like the mirrored version you got with the KS. They are quite reflective and look the real deal as a result. If you look at the upper edge of the walls, you can see that the models come with solar panels etched into the MDF and I simply could not resist, but paint them up. But even though I airbrushed them with chrome paint, they are by far to as shiny as the moveable panels on the roof.

This photo also shows the Habitat Logo that Angus designed for me. The design will be repeated on the other barracks building, just with other numbers. And as you can see, the font, general arrangement and simple icons are present in all the logos, which should give them all a unified look in the end.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

The ends of the habitats really live up with he clear acrylic windows and doors, as well the resin parts and the red markings. I was actually quite surprised how much light actually gets into the building. As you can see on the upper picture, the roof is in place and still you can see fairly far into it.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

As strange as it sounds, this corner is actually my favorite part of this building. I cut the edges of the corner panels off at 45° and the really sink into the wall. It is hard to explain, but in really live, this gives it a really homogenized look, that makes the whole building appear like it was not made from MDF. I would advise everyone to do the same, especially since the kit comes with twice as many corner panels as you need, so even if you do not like the results, you will always have a spare part.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

So as I promised in my last post, here is a better look at the Imperial (Warzone) / Ariadna unit logo that Angus  as kind enough to draw up for me. I am really happy with it. As you can see, after airbrushing it in red there is still a lot of work to do there, but it is worth the effort I think. And as you can see, I tried different colors for the keep clear area (the backdrop for the text is now white instead of red). I like this much better than the version I used on the other building an shall stick with this.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

One of the best thing about these buildings is the interior. There is the option for resin wall elements and furniture, both of which I decided to go for and they add so much to the building. I wanted a somewhat sterile look for the interior of the buildings. After al these are prefab buildings, serving as quick to deploy military or scientific outposts. If you look at SciFi movies, they usually convey this sterile look for these types of buildings and that is what I wanted to copy. So all the panels and furnitures are painted in an US Navy ghost grey and given slight highlights. Afterwards I accepted the buttons, handles and panels, painted the couches and seats as faux leather. The monitors simply received the printed screen provided with them. For the next couple of buildings, i really need to make sure the photos are more focused.

The one thing I am not too happy with yet is the double personal container unit standing on the floor on the bend of the L. It somehow does not seem to fit in. But I already have my sights set onto a set of consoles from AW that will probably replace them in due time. I just hope I will be able to remove them, without doing too much damage to the floor (already glued them to the model).

 

So, this is it for today… hope you liked it! Not 100% sure, when I will be able to post the next building. We did the test set-up for your game at Crisis the other week and found that we still needed more terrain than I I had though. Plus i sighed up for an Infinity tournament in November and I would like to play with a painted  army. But I will still try to mix one more habitat in from time to time.So please stay tuned!

 
 

Forward Base, Habitat 5

Forward Base, Habitat 5

As I indicated in my last post, I have started work on a massive Sci-Fi terrain project. essentially it is all based on the Forward Base Kickstarter from Antenocities Workshop. Now as usual with me, I went a little bit over the top here and went for everything, so there is a fair bit of work for me to do.

Before I get started, let me say a few words here. First of all, the models as they come out of the box are already great. They have lots of detail into the MDF and if you went with the extra resin parts they are even better. So essentially you could build them straight out of the box and get a real nice set of buildings. Now that being said, with all the extra detail, I felt it would just have been a waste not to go the extra mile paint the resin, pick out the details and accent the MDF a little more. This last part was actually made pretty easy, since I had gone with the pristine version of the buildings. Which meant the MDF is covered with a protective film / tape before cutting to prevent the paint from being burned. Now if you removed that film selectively and airbrushed those sections carefully, you could use it as a mask. For me this worked out like a charm and I am glad I did do so. But with all the extra detailing, I am still unsure, whether to weather the buildings or not. For now, I think I am going to finish them all first and make a decision, after I see how they look as set.

Now before I go on to the model itself, there is one more thing I need to mention. At the pledge level that I went for, I had the option to choose custom logos for my buildings. All I had to do was provide vector graphics for my custom logos. Now in my youthful ignorance (if you can call it that way at my age) I told myself “this cannot be that hard”! Well it turned out it was and I surrendered after about half a logo. At this time Angus, a very fine Scottish gentlemen, came to my rescue and drew me the logos. I have to say, I am really, really indebted to him. Without his selfless help, these buildings would not be the one-off pieces they are  and after having finished the first two, I am so happy they are!

So off we go. I decided to start with Habitat 5, aka the TAG hangar. Why? Well this is one of the habitats for which there are assembly instructions and I want to get a feel for the general idea behind the buildings, before I tackle those without instructions. And this seemed like a pretty straightforward building in the first place.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

As you can see this is a front view. The ramps can actually fold up infront of the bay doors and I have kept the parts for the bay doors loose, so I can depict them either closed or open as needed. As you can see there is a lot of resin pieces on this one. With most of the exterior resin parts (for all buildings) I decided to go with dark colours like Gunmetal Black and Panzer Grey. The buildings are all very light-colored and I chose the dark colors to create some contrast here and break up the looks. The ramps are actually a fine example of the airbrushing in combination with the masking tape. The ramp pieces were delivered in yellow. So I removed those sections I wanted in black and airbrushed them. Easy as that.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Now this is the top down look. Again all the red and yellow sections were airbrushed again. All the rest was done using a brush. On this one I decided to try how the text boxes on the hazard areas would look in red. But I have to say, I am not too happy with that, as I feel it looks too heavy, so this will not be duplicated on the other buildings. The logo you can see on the upper roof is one of those that Angus did for me. When I pledged for this Kickstarter I had planned to use these for Warzone and that one is the logo of the Imperial cooperation (and I am very happy that Prodos Games allowed me to use it, as long as it was only used on my models). But from the very beginning, I wanted to make sure, that these logos gave me extra mileage, in case I chose to play Infinity or to sell these off one day. Now the logos from the Adriadna faction in Infinity is based on variations of British and French rondels, just like the Imperial logo. No big surprise there, as I understand Infinity was created by some Warzone fans when the 2nd Edition of Warzone went belly up. With that in mind, I felt I could always claim, that this was the logo of some sub-unit within Adriadna. Unfortunately it can not be seen too well on this photo, but with so many more buildings, you will see it soon.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5


Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

With the removable roofs, it is now time to take a look inside. Now in this case, the floors were a little harder to paint. Antenocities made the decision not to cover the floors of the habitats with the protective mask, saying that these would get dirty in real life anyway and could do with some stains. And in general they are right. And they do look good with a little staining. But I would have much preferred to airbrush these piece and this way I had to paint them with a normal brush, which took about an afternoon.

Health and Safety would probably rant about the upper level having no railings. I am still a bit undecided here. I can understand why there are none. It is easier to move figures on the lower floor when your hands to not get entangled in the railings and as I understand it, the upper floor is essentially a workspace to work on the upper parts for the TAGs, but it still feels like something is missing. So I might still end up building one of my own in the future.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5


Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

A look inside through the open bay doors and I think it gives a very good idea of the size and lines of sight inside this baby. Again, all the gun metal lockers and grilles cut into the MDF were airbrushed.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Rear view, giving a nice view of the custom logos Angus did here. At first I was a bit undecided, since on this habitat, the logos is much larger than on the other ones, but once finished, it looks fitting on this large wall. There are actually resin fans that go over the round grills here, but I have to admit, I liked the looks of the grills so much once airbrushed, I did not want to glue them on. So I will rather keep them for some other building or even another project. The space above the mini will receive two holo screens. For some reason I put them in the box with the parts for habitat 4 and could not find them when assembling this one.

I think this shots also shows the clear acrylic doors and windows as well as the acrylic rods in the light fixtures quite well. And I really like them all. The light fixtures actually glow a little im the sunlight and having clear doors and windows that actually allow you to draw line of sight is great.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

And a view of the side. Again giving a nice impression of the acrylic parts. All the little details like the metal bolts were painted on using a brush. There are lots of little ports and connectors on the lower surface, which is a bit of a shame, since one can hardly make them out with the panels angled inwards.

The grill right above the door, does not come with the kit though. I had fitted the resin part that belongs there on the inside of the building and since there were marks on the outside here (the MDF also has imitations of the resin parts layered in for those who buy them without the resin) I needed something to cover that up. And this one did the job nicely.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

And I am going to leave you with this last shot of the other side, this time with the bay doors closed.

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 12, 2016 in Sci-Fi, Terrain building

 

SciFi fast food container and other Sci-Fi scatter terrain

SciFi fast food container and other Sci-Fi scatter terrain

Well it seems this year I am utterly incapable of keeping a coherent chronology on this blog. Why? This model was finished around February.

It is a fast food stall / container by Laughing Jack Games here in Germany. Nice model all around. Easy to assemble and for the amount of parts actually quite fast, too.

Fast food container

Fast food container

The model itself is meant mainly for games like Infinity. Now back when I bought this model, I had planned to use it for Warzone, so I decided to do it with more of a run down look than what you usually see in Infinity. Now since then I have decided to play Infinity as well, but to be honest… I would not image the whole Infinity universe to be as shiny as you see in the concept art. There must be a social underbelly and there must be areas where those recently conquered do not live in the most shiny conditions. And this is what this container represents.

Fast food container

Fast food container

I wanted to try some new techniques. So I primed the whole thing in off-white and applied coats of green ink over it with my airbrush to get a faded paint look. I like the results, but it was a somewhat strange experience and definitely needs some getting used to. Otherwise the usual chipped off paint and rust marks and it was as good as done.
What I did not like was the looks of the billboard, since it simply looked too clean and new in its acrylic state. So I painted some rainwater streaks over and that did the job. Overall, I am really happy with the results.

Fast food container

Fast food container

What else? I recently bought some bicycle booths from Antenocities Workshop. Nice little models. They come in their pristine MDF version, which means the MDF is covered by a protective mask while cutting. This also helped painting them, since I removed the mask over the company logos and airbrushed them before removing the rest of the mask. This was fast and created a great result. The only downside I had was this: Usually this mask is only on one side of the MDF. Since the inside of the booths looked somewhat ungainly, I airbrushed them in the base-colour. Only after assembly did I realise, that this side had been masked as well. I hope the mask never decides to come off, since that will be a royal mess to remove with everything being glued together.

Bycicle booths

Bycicle booths

Bycicle booths

Bycicle booths

Last I also wanted some cars for Infinity. There are lots of really nice resin models for Infinity out there, some of which I have in queue, so I wanted something different, too. I looked at some of the 1:43rd scale models of concept cars from the big car companies.

Up first is the 2004 condor for the Renault Laguna. Really liked the sleek low looks of it. But I had to laugh. Last year Renault closed the Laguna line and replaced it with a new model, the Talisman. Looking at the last Laguna (photo included as a reference, since I know Renault does not sell in many parts of the world, including the USA), it is striking how far it still is from this concept.

Renault Laguna III

Renault Laguna concept

Renault Laguna concept

Renault Laguna concept

Renault Laguna concept

The other one is the Peugeot Moonster. This is a concept from 2000, trying to envision what Peugeots might look like in 2020. Suffice to say, I doubt that this is what cars will look like in 4 years time. But I really liked its organic, chrome looks for a Sci-Fi setting.

Peugeot Moonster

Peugeot Moonster

Peugeot Moonster

Peugeot Moonster

This is it for today. But this also is kind of a prelude to more Sci-Fi buildings. A couple of weeks ago my Forward Base Kickstarter models have arrived and after slaving away for a couple of weeks preparing all the details to get them assembled, I have now started. so there should be more to present.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Sci-Fi, Terrain building, Vehicles

 

8 Points of Spanish for SAGA

8 Points of Spanish for SAGA

So it is supposedly summer here in Europe, so I wanted to take photos of my Spanish for SAGA outside. Well two weeks of almost constant rain and thunderstorms later I finally found one sunny day and was able to do so.

First of all a few general comments on these minis. Some time after the 2015 German Grand Melee I had decided I wanted Crescent & Cross army for SAGa as well. The one that intrigued me the most were the Spanish. Their style of play seemed vastly different from what I already had and they seemed to be rare as hens teeth (I usually y do not like playing what everyone else plays). So they were ordered and that is where things got a bit of track. Back in fall Gripping Beast was unable to deliver the Warriors both mounted and on foot to my German dealer of choice. So all I got was one point of Levies, three points of Hearthguards and the Warlord. Not wanting to paint an incomplete army, I let them rest on the lead mountain for a while. Then during the winter, I decided to start with my Anglo Saxons, which got finished just in time for the tournament at Klingencon as you know. That left me only about eight weeks to get the Spanish done in time for this years Grand Melee and I still did not have any Warriors. And what I had was not cleaned or primed or anything. At least my dealer got back to me with the good news that he had secured those Warriors for me. Unfortunately his packaging service messed that order up and what I got was two Welsh and two Viking starters each.About a month before this year Grand Melee they finally arrived, too. All in all I painted 57 minis, 29 of them mounted, in about 7½ weeks and that is besides my day job. Timing was pretty tight and in the end I put the flock on the bases 2200h the day before the Grand Melee. All in all this meant about a third of the average number of minis I usually paint per year were done in two months time. Add to that the 51 Anglo-Saxons and Monks painted right before these Spanish, I can say, that I am now content with painting any medical minis for this year!

SAGA Spanish Warband (8 pts.)

SAGA Spanish Warband (8 pts.)

Well enough of my ramblings, let’s get to the minis. I will show them in the order in which they were painted. All minis are by Gripping Beast. I have to say the minis were a bit of a mixed bag over all. The casting on the horses was abysmal. At times it felt more like carving new horses out of a block of lead than cleaning away flash. Otherwise the castings were OK. Animation was good, but the faces were a bit hit and miss. The mounted Warriors had great expressions, their brothers on foot were quite poor. The rest was in between.

Up first I painted the Levies with Crossbows. The minis were quite nice and far better than the Norman Crossbows. I would have wished for a little more variety (there are “only” four different poses in the pack), but even that did not stand out too much, as those four poses are quite different. I went a little more adventurous here and gave two of them black skin. Not sure why. I guess I imagined them as Moorish prisoners of war who had switched sides or had been press ganged into fighting for the Iberians.

SAGA Spanish (Levies)

SAGA Spanish (Levies)

SAGA Spanish (Levies)

SAGA Spanish (Levies)

SAGA Spanish (Levies)

SAGA Spanish (Levies)

Up next came the Hearthguards. What I really liked about these was the variety I got, for all twelve riders are different (maybe that is what I was a little disappointed with the Levies). For their spears I tried something new. They are no brass like the ones I usually use, but bristles from a nylon broom, cut to length with flattened and shaped tips. And I am quite happy with that experiment. They are flexible so the do not break off as easy, do not hurt if you touch them, are much cheaper (I got a set of roughly 400 at Aldi for 3,50 Euro ;-)) and the paint sticks well. Although when it comes to the paint sticking… I used a broom that had been in use a couple of years (which was actually replaced with the Aldi one), so the bristles were  sanded, which might improve paint adherence. In the end I used this type of spears for all my Spanish with spears or javelins.

For the shields I used transfers from LBMS. I had hoped, that this would actually reduce the time spend on them, but I was slightly wrong there. The way the shields are sculpted, they are covered by painted hide, drawn over the rim and nailed to the back. So not quick fix like painting the rim in metal. So I had to continue the pattern over the rim and onto the back, which was a paint with those checkerboard patterns. Also the transfers have 3 slightly different shades of yellow, so that was hard to match.

SAGA Spanish (Hearthguards)

SAGA Spanish (Hearthguards)

SAGA Spanish (Hearthguards)

SAGA Spanish (Hearthguards)

SAGA Spanish (Hearthguards)

SAGA Spanish (Hearthguards)

So with me still waiting for the Warriors, I tackled the Warlord. Not much to say about him, except that I went for finer fabrics on his clothes than I did with the others. And the yellow for the shield failed me. The paint was a little too thick which unfortunately left make on the shield face.

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

SAGA Spanish (Warlord)

So now my Warriors had finally arrived and the mad rush to clean and paint them begun. I went for the ones on foot first. For one I figured that these would be superior to their mounted version in the second game of the tournament. And second… well should i have run out of time completely, I could have gotten away with just painting the riders and ripping my Byzantines off their horses mounting the Iberians on the Byzantine horses. Fortunately it did not come to that.

The tear shaped shields on the majority of these Warriors crossed my best laid plans for the transfers, as all the LBMS transfers are round and I had to handpaint most of them after all.

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

SAGA Spanish (Warriors on foot)

And last came the mounted Warriors. Not much to say about these, as they are quite straight forward. I only removed the hassles off some of the shields, so I could use the transfers for them.

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

SAGA Spanish (mounted Warriors)

And this is it… a massive 8 point army. But I will probably add another point to it in the future, since I also want some Levies with spears, in case I ever have to play a scenario in a tournament where crossbows are useless due to a range reduction.

SAGA Spanish Warband (8 pts.)

SAGA Spanish Warband (8 pts.)

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Medival, SAGA, Spanish

 

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016 AAR

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016 AAR

I know some might have wondered, if this blog was dead, but no it is not. The reason for the lack of posts in recent weeks was the upcoming SAGA Grand Melee here in Germany. Or more precisely the mad idea to paint up a completely new army for it in the roughly seven weeks leading up to the event. Lets just say my Spanish got finished the night before the event, but that is something for the next post here.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

So we were back at Oerlinghausen here in Germany, playing in the Saxon Longhouse and under the gaze of the Anglo-Saxon gods. This time my friend Martin accompanied me (he had been sick last year). My plan was not to finish worse than last year (5th place) which was a tall aim, to be fair, since I was completely unused to the Spanish, having played only one game with proxy miniatures with them and that was one of the more obscure scenarios from the Grand Melee, that did not allow to learn the army too well.

My army consisted of a mounted Warlord, three points of Heathguards (mounted), two points of Warriors (with miniatures for both the foot and mounted options) and one point of levies with crossbows.

Game 1 (Holy Ground) vs. Mutatawwi´a 

Now I knew from the beginning, that this would be a very tough game. My opponent was Erik who was also my last opponent at Remscheid roughly two months earlier. Therefore I knew that he was a very experienced player, who knows the Mutatawwi´a inside out and plays them with great skills. His army consisted of a camel mounted Warlord, two points of Heathguards on camels fielded as two units of four and four points of Warriors. The later were fielded as two units with close combat weapons (one eight men strong, the other twelve men strong) and a twelve men strong unit of bowmen with a banner.

I did not want to offer his camels too many mounted troops, so my warriors were deployed as two foot units of eight. My Hearthguards were deployed as one unit of eight and one of four.

I started to play and things went down the drain from the first moment. I think I was still a bit drained from he previous weeks painting spree, for I forgot that one cannot score victory points on turn one. So my horsemen rode up the central hill without any need for them to do so. As a result one of his camel mounted units crashed into my large units of horsemen and with a combination of various Mutatawwi´a SAGA abilities both units were annihilated (with a net loss of four Heathguards for me). I also had to find that one of my best SAGA abilities (Reconquista) does not work against Mutatawii´a, since its effect is determined by the number of SAGa dice the opponent has on his board at the end of the orders phase, while Mutatawii´a generate extra SAGA dice after the orders phase.

My counter attacks the next turn did not go well, due to bad dice rolling. But when Erik got to act, he wiped out my other unit of Hearthguards and one unit of warriors for hardly any losses of his own. Victory points at the end of this turn were 8 to 4 in Eriks favor and when the next turn saw me lose my other unit of Warriors, I decided to capitulate. At first Erik did not want to accept (he wanted more kill points for a possible tie breaker at the end of the tournament), but when we explained, that only the quality (= final standings) of the opponents would decide any tie-breakers, he agreed to cut my suffering short.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

Game 2 (Champions of god) vs. Mutatawii´a

This scenario was modified for the tournament. Ranged weapons would only be able to fire “S” distance. Mounted units would only be allowed to move “M”, unless they risked a taking a fatigue on a roll of “1” or “2”. This time I would play my mate Martin. He played his troops with a camel mounted Warlord, one point of horse mounted Hearthguards, two points of camel mounted Hearthguards and three pints of Warriors with close combat weapons. They were all fielded like that.

My army looked the same as it did during the previous game, except that my Levies were armed with javelins this time (I did not have appropriate minis, but Martin did not mind). To be honest, the game was a bit boring. I had already played a couple of games vs. Martin using his Mutatawii´a, so I knew by hard how he would play them. So I was able to make good use of my Iberia ability to keep my Hearthguards out of most critical situations. We both did not roll too well during the whole game, but Martin managed to roll even worse than me. After Martins last activation of the last turn I was 7 ½ points in the lead and decided not to do anything on my turn, not wanting to risk that lead and just bag the win.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

Game 3 (Hurry [from the Gripping Beast forum]) vs. Anglo-Saxons

My opponent for this game  was Jens and his Anglo-Saxons were led by a mounted Warlord plus a Priest to grant him extra SAGA dice. All his other troops were on foot and consisted of three points of Warriors (amalgamated into two units of twelve) and two points of Levies.

My Levies were armed with crossbows again, but this time only four Warriors would fight on foot, with the other twelve fighting mounted. This is also the way I would play my army for the rest of the tournament.

Jens put his barrel inside a wood in one of this corners protected by one unit of Levies and the priest. My barrel was left in a cornfield in the opposite corner, protect by my Warriors on foot and the Levies. All out other units were free to roam the battlefield. Having played about half a dozen games with Anglo-Saxons myself, I had a pretty good idea how to play this one and it worked out well. My Hearthguards managed to stay out of trouble and only picked those fights where they had an advantage, while my mounted Warriors kept harassing his troops. Pretty soon all his units were decimated enough not to be able to make good use of the Anglo-Saxon abilities anymore. Now the small unit of Hearthguards and Warriors would have to kill enough troops to open the way for my other Hearthguards and Warlord to administer the killing blow and take out his barrel. And they managed to open the way by the end of my pan-ultimate turn. It all went according to plan and looked like a decisive win.

But Jens had sent out his Warlord and a unit of warriors to destroy my barrel. Between my mounted Warriors javelins and the crossbow bolts my troops were pretty fast to decimate this force to the Warlord and five Warriors. But then my dice rolling got worse and neither my crossbow bolts and javelins could take them out. By the end of Jens pan-ultimate turn they had been in combat with my Levies and Warriors on foot for two turns, had only lost a further two Warriors and my troops were down to three or four Levies and one Warrior. Now I rolled bad on my SAGA dice and this put my between a rock and a hard place. I had too few activations to take out his barrel for sure, but with the few troops I had left, there was no chance for me to defend mine. So even if my attack went well, the best I could hope for was a draw, but there was a good chance for a loss as well. So I decided to have my Warlord and large Hearthguard unit attack his attacking force. They managed to secure my barrel, but by doing so, I had to forfeit my chance to destroy his. So in the end, the game ended with a draw. But this was the first game that I started to feel at home playing the Spanish.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

Game 4 (Chance Encounter [from the Gripping Beast forum]) vs. Irish

Again this scenario had some modifications from the standard version. The cart would only get the extra defensive dice in close combat. The game would not end with a cart leaving the table. This would give the player two victory points instead. The opponent would get one more victory point each for killing the enemy Warlord or destroying the enemy cart. nothing else would be worth any victory points.

As I said, my troops were set up the same as last game. Jan my opponent had Brian Boru for his Warlord, Ulf the Quarrelsome as a Cuiradh, four points of Warriors and one Point of Irish Bloodhounds. Jan set his cart up on the road, while I tried to sneak my along one board edge. In theory the first turn was quite uneventful, except that the Jan used his Sons of Dana ability, boosted by some other abilities to have one of the woods kill five of my mounted warriors. Most of Jans troops operated in the centre where they slowly worked their way into my troops, but not enough to open a way for his cart. At the same time most of my Hearthguards and the mounted Warriors fought with his lone twelve men unit of Warriors on the flank with my cart. I have to say most of the game was dominated by the dice. Jan kept on rolling an hilarious amount of “5”s and “6”s while most of my rolls were mostly “3”s or less, also my SAGA dice rolled no rare symbols for two turns. When they did, Jan, who plays Spanish himself, made sure I could not take any advantage. This way I lost my mounted warriors and small unit of Hearthguards pretty fast, while Jans warriors on the flank had only lost five men. On the third turn Jan had this unit throw their javelins at my cart, two hit and I saved neither. They next turn saw me loose most of my other Hearthguards and Warlord. With only the Levies, one Warrior on foot and two or three Hearthguards left, I had no chance to push my way through to either his cart or Warlord, so I capitulated.

End of day one

So at the end of the first day, I had one win, one draw and two losses under belt. Not the way I had wanted the day to go.

At this time it also felt like a mixed bag to me. Lots of bad dice rolling and three games with opposing armies that were tough for me. The Mutatawii´a because they denied me my best abilities and made my cavalry weary of their camels. And the Irish in the last game where their large number of foot troops could make the best of the abundance of terrain which was a psychological drain due to the Sons of Dana ability, too. And the one victory, did not feel like one either, given that I was only able to net it due to the fact that I knew my friends style of play so well. So I ended the first day slightly frustrated and unable to tell, if the Spanish were a good army or not. Now it was up to the second day of the tournament to raise my mood.

Game 5 (Village Pillage [from the Gripping Beast forum]) vs. Steppe Tribes

For this game I was matched up versus one of the three women in the competition, Kim (who also won best painted army) and her Steppe Tribes. They were led by a Priest Warlord and consisted of 4 points of Warriors (split over 6 units) and 2 points of Levies with bows (split over 5 units). I had deployed my Warriors on foot near the building that was to be defended and the crossbows in a woods near the centre of the table. All my mounted units were to roam freely on the board. Kim had set up her Levies around the building with all her Warriors (except one unit that always stayed near the Warlord) also in position to roam around.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

So this one looked like a stalemate from the beginning. With the ability of the Steppe Tribes to shoot all Levies at once, if only they were close enough to the Warlord (which they were), I stood very limited chance to survive an assault on Kims building. On the other hand her Warriors lacked the staying power to push through my Hearthguards. And this is how it played out. All of Kims efforts to push forward were punished by my mounted troops or the crossbows, usually ending in the annihilation of her units. So for the whole game, I was able to contain her troops in her quarter of the table. But she always kept her Levies and Warriors back, so that I did not dare to attack her building.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

Now I have to admit, that I never played with or against Steppe Tribes and only ever read them online once a couple of years ago. So I asked for a battle board and read almost to the end of the second column, but not wanting to hold things up too much, I stopped there. Right above the Wildcats ability. And this cost me dearly. For that one Warrior unit that had always lingered near her table edge now teleported to my edge and pillaged my building. All my mounted troops were just out of reach, even with the Iberia ability and the game was lost.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

This was really the low of the tournament for me. It had been the first game were my dice had rolled well and also the first, where I felt really at home playing the Spanish, so to lose like that really got me down.

Game 6 (Clash of Warlords) vs. Jomsvikings

My opponent for the last game was Marco and this was the match-up (Jomsvikings vs. Spanish) that I always thought would be the most boring combination possible for this tournament. Marco fielded a regular Warlord, two points of Warriors and four points of Hearthguards. The later were fielded in units of five to six men with one six-men unit sporting Dane Axes. He played them in the very compact formation most Jomsviking players seem to prefer. The only really clash happened on the first or second turn, when one of his five-men units of Hearthguards attacked my 4-men unit. Due to the fact that they had to attack with a double move (and some unequal dice rolling) this ended with his unit being wiped out and me only loosing two riders. From now it became a slow war of attrition. With my Reconquista ability I pinned his Warriors half the game, essentially meaning that this Hearthguards had to move around them to attack. My horsemen always managed to get out of reach, while my mounted Warriors slowly took out his troops with their javelins. Together with the fact that I hardly ever granted him Wrath, this must have been one surely frustrating mach to play for him. Due to his Warlord always staying close to the Dane Axes there was no chance for me to take him out with a swift move. And he did not fall for any bait I threw him either, so in the end this was decided on points. Not the most imaginative victory for me, but one I urgently needed.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

Results and famous last words

So how did it go in total. Well I missed my target position by a grand 19 places, finishing 24th out of 32 players. After really being unimpressed with my Spanish during the first few games, I really started to love them later on. I guess this goes to prove, that it is never a good idea to go to a tournament with an untested army. After the first day I felt a bit like it was all down to bad pairing, bad dice and maybe even a bad faction. But to be fair and with a week to let it all sink in… those might have been factors, but I think the biggest factors me not know my army well enough, and making a few mistakes in the first game. I sure would have been unable to turn everything into a victory, but some games might have gone better. And I also need to make a habit of learning even the more obscure battleboards before a competition like this.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

When it comes to the Spanish. Had you asked me on Saturday, I would have dismissed them as a poor army. After Sunday that definitely changed and I already decided, that they will be the army I shall field next year. But I really need to learn to play them in a more offensive way.

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

Regarding the event itself. It was just as great as it had been last year and as much fun. Definitely one to attend again next year. The one thing I noticed was, that many of the warbands (all over, not necessarily the people I played against) were more optimised than last year. More stuff that I would label power combinations. But do not get me wrong. The general atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly and while I am growing ever more disenchanted by competitive play, this even sure is the exception due to the people playing in it.

So I am now going to leave you with some more pictures from the event and the archeological park. For those interested, here are the links to the pictures taken by the organizer Mirco from Stronghold Terrain and a video report by Tabletop Workshop (all in German except for the interview by Andy, the overall winner). [Yours truly managed to show up quite often during the video, including the interview starting at 3:40 mins.]

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

SAGA German Grand Melee 2016

 
14 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Medival, Rules, SAGA, Spanish

 

The last of my Anglo-Saxons

The last of my Anglo-Saxons

As announced in my last post, here are the final minis for my Anglo-Saxons. One more point of Warriors. Again Gripping Beast plastics with LBMS shield transfers done the same way as all the Anglo-Saxon Warriors before them… so not much to say about them.

Anglo-Saxon Thegns with swords

Anglo-Saxon Thegns with swords

Anglo-Saxon Thegns with swords

Anglo-Saxon Thegns with swords

Anglo-Saxon Thegns with swords

Anglo-Saxon Thegns with swords

But that was not all I did to finish my Anglo-Saxons. As I said, I played them with a Religious Advisor Warlord. I had wanted to actually use the warlord base I had painted at the very beginning, but in case someone complained, that this was too combative (which no-one did) I needed a base that looked like it was… well religious enough and came across the set with the monks from Gripping Beast. I painted them up as Franciscan friars. Not sure why really, but thinking about medival monks, the first thing that came to my mind was “The name of the rose”, so that seemed fitting.

Medival Monks

Medival Monks

Medival Monks

Medival Monks

Medival Monks

Medival Monks

While I based them the same as I do all my Warlords, they could just as well serve as a marker for the “The Baggage” scenario of just act as extras on the battlefield. They were a fast paint job, but I really enjoyed them a lot.