RSS

Category Archives: Modern

Gamemat.eu review

Gamemat.eu review

I guess it has been an awfully long time since I wrote my last review, but I guess it is time for another one. This time it is a gamemat from gamemat.eu or namely their 6´x4´G-Mat: Quarantine Zone.

Those who know me, will know that gamemats of any kind are something new for me. In the past I have not been too fond of them. I always liked the ability to have rivers, trenchers, hill and so on in 3D on my table. Also, my table is obscenely large (3,5m x 2m maximum) and I never found any mat that could cover this. So I always went with my own modular game boards. So far so good.

But last year in the run up to our Battle for Berlin game I came to a point where this did not make sense. What if you do not need such a large table (as you will with most SciFi and Fantasy games, where a 4´x4´ table is the norm)? What if that table does not even require any rivers, trenches and the like (like urban terrain or many deserts)? Does this warrant the use of game boards that are larger & heavier and therefore more complicated to store and transport? What if, even if you wanted to say yes, you do not have the space to do so?

So I personally came to the decision to look at gamemats after all. The cobblestone mat we used for the Battle of Berlin vindicated that idea. It looked good, was easy to transport to the show in Antwerp and only took minimum space to store (which was a huge plus, taking into account, that the buildings were taking up a lot of said space). So I began to look at other options. With us playing a lot of Warzone lately (which also recommends a table size of 4´x4´or 4´x6´for larger games) and me wanting to play in some more futuristic urban settings, this was the natural choice as well. Looking around the mats from gamemat.eu looked quite pleasing to me and that was what I chose.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

Now this mat is made from neoprene with a cloth covering (to those non divers out there… this is often referred to as “mouse mat material”). The neoprene is about 2mm thick. If used for a wetsuit this would only be fine for warm waters, but I felt for a gamemat this was more than enough. It is so soft, that the dice settle fast after rolling (even with a D20), but hard enough that you will not get dice that are cogged. The big plus is that the neoprene will cover minor bumps in your table, giving you a flat surface. It also means that the mat is non slip, so it will not easily shift or wrinkle during a game.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

The cloth itself is printed with the design, in this case a somewhat damaged and dirty futuristic urban environment. Looking up close at the cloth the paint is soaked into the fibers, which should mean that is will be robust and should last a long time, if not forever (well not in a sense of “some alien archaeologists will be able to dig this up in a couple millennia and instantly play on it”, but you know what I mean). I cloth as a matt to slight satin gloss finish, which looks good when playing on it and does not look shiny on some photos. If you look very closely, you will be able to see the structure of the cloth, but during normal gameplay or on photos you will not notice it. The bond between the neoprene and the cloth seems to be very good. Better than most mousemats I have seen and about en par with good expensive wetsuits. So that should last you a good while, too.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

The corners of the mat are rounded. At fist this might seem strange, after all we play on a square playing field, but then again… when did you ever place a mini right in a corner? But I feel this is an added benefit. With a rounded corner the wear on the corners during play, storage and transport will be less, so combined with the good bond between the neoprene and cloth, this should enhance the lifespan of the mat as well.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with car]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with car]

What I really liked about the mat is the design itself. For one it could fit both ultra modern, as well as SciFi settings. Some elements look futuristic, others present day. In the end this means it is a bit futuristic, but not so much, that it look out of place in a modern city. At the same time it is not so present day that it would not fit a city of the future. This is a very fine balance, that I think they met well.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with building]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with building]

Also, if you look that the two photos above and the one below, many of the details are sublime. It does not matter if you place a building over them. It will not scream in your face “but there are markings for cars on the floor, your building looks out of place”, but still when you place a car there, it will fit the table. With many mats I have seen, the designs are pretty straight in your face and if people place a building over them it will look wrong. So I feel this mat gives you a lot of flexibility placing your models.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with building and miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with building and miniature]

There might be one slight exception here and that is the streets itself. Any mat that has a street design printed on, will inevitably force you to place your buildings where there are no streets. On this mat, the streets all run parallel to the edges. So if the game you play is very strict about having fire lanes that run diagonally to the edges, this might not be the mat for you (although they did release a 4´x4´ version of this mat last week that has the streets run diagonally). But to be fair…it is hard to do diagonal streets on a rectangular mat, without creating open areas in the wrong spot and without knowing the size of people’s buildings. And the streets leading onto the table from the long edges do not line up, so there is no fire lane from one long edge to the other.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

In this context there is another thing that I liked (and that I think might have been impossible with diagonal streets). The city blocks are actually well sized. They are big enough to allow for buildings with a large footprint without making them look  squeezed in (sorry no photos of that, since I am still awaiting my SciFi buildings and only tested it with some historic buildings that would have looked ridiculous, but there should be some of that in coming weeks!). But they will also accommodate small buildings without making them look lost. Some of the areas are also large enough to allow for multiple buildings, allowing you to create small alleys off the main roads or small plazas besides the buildings.

So here are some photos of some of the details I really liked on the mat:

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

So final verdict on this one?

Well I really like it. The design is good and it should come in handy for anything from modern to SciFi. The quality of the mat itself is really good and should last me a long time.

Official retail for this mat is 69,00 Euro / 52,00 GB£ (or 62,00 US$ without VAT) and I personally feel this is worth every cent.

 

P.S.: I will be posting some pictures of a few terrain items I painted recently later this week and since I took those pictures on the mat as well, you can see a few more pictures in the next post once it is up.

 

Advertisements
 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Modern, Sci-Fi, Terrain building

 

Trucks, forklifts, cargo and a Monorail

Trucks, forklifts, cargo and a Monorail

So the struggle to catch up continues! 😉

Now as some may or may not remember, one of the resolutions for this year was to definitely add to my collection of terrain, where I have felt an increasing lack, especially in the Sci Fi sector. So this is what I worked on besides minis over the few months (usually on weekends, when I actually had the time to work more than a few minutes in a row and when it was worth filling the whole table with stuff). But it is not all strictly Sci Fi. Some of it would also have its uses in a modern game, so I tried to keep it kind of generic. So lets kick things off:

Up first is a Container Truck. A lot of this post will be taken up by the Mad Mecha Guys Monorail system and associated items. And tis is one of them, as it came as part of the cargo stop set. So maybe lets start with a few words on his items. All his stuff are sound and simple (in a positive meaning) laser cut MDF designs. Easy to assemble, easy to paint and great value for money. This truck was no exception. Easy assembly, clear lines and nice to paint. Th only thing I did not like about this truck, is that the seams are easy to spot, but still, the end product looks really nice. Actually to the point that I think I will get myself a second one in due time. Please note, the cuts into the flatbed are supposed to be fitted with holding clamps, but they were missing from my set. But in my experience, Joseph´s (the owner) customer service has been top-notch, so I will simply mention it with my next order.

Container truck

Container truck

Container truck

Container truck

The next truck is from another company, CNC Miniature Scenery. Now again, these look nice and are good value for money. They are also a little more elaborate. But I did not like them near as much. Both this truck and the Heavy Forklift coming next had spots where a hole was cut in the wrong place and the parts had to be modified to fit. The Forklift was also missing some parts (they were not cut out). Also each vehicle came in a lot of parts, each fitted to the MDF sheet by two lugs. The lugs were fairly extensive (usually 2+mm longs) and the MDF is quite thick. So it took a long time to cut them out and there was absolutely no chance to do more than one a day, otherwise your wrists would hurt too much.

Cargo Truck

Cargo Truck

Another problem is the functionality. With the engine sticking out of the flatbed, you can hardly place any cargo on it and on such a large truck, a few small crates loo ridiculous.

Cargo Truck

Cargo Truck

The Heavy Forklift is from CNC as well. Again the functionality is not perfect. the centre of mass is very much to the front. Meaning it will topple forward even with small items placed on the forks. Unfortunately the model does not really allow for the placement of hidden counterweights far enough to the rear.

Large Forklift

Large Forklift

Before anyone asks… the heavy chipping and rust are not there to cover any imperfections with the models up, I just wanted something that looked like it had seen many years of wear and tear on a cargo yard.

Large Forklift

Large Forklift

The next item is a small Forklift. This time a 1:43rd scale die-cast from Siku. Pretty simple work here, as I simply weathered it, put some matt varnish on and painted the warning lights and indicators.

Small Forklift

Small Forklift

Small Forklift

Small Forklift

The good thing about this on is… the it actually works and you can actually place items on it. A fine example are these HazMat barrels from Fenris Games, which I also painted last month. Before anyone complains… yes I know, that they would have to be different colours, but I think all those Zombie movies and TV series in recent year have left everyone expecting yellow, so I went with that for all of them. As usually with Fenris, good value for money and easy and fast to clean and paint.

I glued three groups of six to some Siku pallets. To be honest, no one wants to arrange all these barrels on by one for a game, so that seemed like a good solution for me.

HazMat barrels

HazMat barrels

And to round the small cargo off (at least for a few weeks) some ammo containers from Fenris Games. Wanted more of a military coloration for them, so I went with green and brown here.

Ammo containers

Ammo containers

But What I really felt I needed now was some bigger cargo or in other words ISO containers. Again these are from Mad Mecha Guy. They were easy enough to assemble. I could also have done so with open doors, but I did not want that.

What I wanted here was something, that would be useful in modern games as well. So they received homemade decals with the names of well-known container companies. What bleeped me off though, is that I put a lot of effort into doing the decals properly. I let the containers dry for a couple of days in the sun, covered them with gloss varnish, let that dry for a couple of days in the sun, applied the decals with decal softeners and decal fix, let that dry for a couple of days in the sun and varnished afterwards. Still I got frosting. I cannot say for sure, but my guess is, decals and MDF to not like each other. 😦 At least it is half as bad to the human eye as it is to the camera, so it is not quite as distracting while playing as it is on these photos.

Anyway, as a last step they got some rust marks using sponge techniques and various pinpoint washes.

ISO containers

ISO containers

ISO containers

ISO containers

A couple of years ago, I also bought four plastic container models. They were fairly expensive, but much more detailed. Yet all those years I had just left them plain. Now I was wondering what to do with them. Their hight and width was identical to the MDF ones from MMG, but the style too different for my taste.So I decided not to do them as civilian containers, but military ones. This way I could use them together, but the camo would distract from the differences.

While they look fine on the photos, they did give me some headaches. Even with proper cleaning and priming, the paint would still rub off easily during painting. So I decided to seal them with heavy-duty car varnish. Unfortunately, while drying, the varnish crackled. Even more unfortunate… the varnish did its job well and now nothing would easily rub off. So I decided to incorporate the crackles into the rust to a certain degree. Which is fine, since it actually looks a bit, like the containers are rusting below the paint.

Camouflaged ISO containers

Camouflaged ISO containers

But now on to the big one… the Monorail. Back when MMG released the 15mm version last year I was hoping that he would do a 28mm version as well, which he did soon enough. Even better, he was open to suggestions so the line grew really quickly into a complete system. Before I start with the rolling stock, I just want to say, that there is lots of track, both raised and low, straight and curved. I think about 15 meters in total length, or in other words enough to cover my whole table (3,5m x 2m). But to be honest… taking photos of meter upon meter of track is boring, so I will leave you with the more interesting pieces and will let it feature in future post here.

Now on to the rolling stock. My initial plan had been to do a mixed passenger and cargo train. So I bought a cargo locomotive, a flatbed and a passenger locomotive. Now painting it and doing the cargo stop, I feel that separate passenger and cargo trains will be better, so I will have to buy another passenger locomotive in the future.

I wanted all the trains to be somewhat inspired by the Transport for London trains, but not an exact match. So the cars were painted white and the lower half was painted blue (but a lighter one). Instead of painting the doors red, I decided t do the roofline in red. The roofs on all the cars can be taken off and minis paced inside.

Monorail (Cargo locomotive)

Monorail (Cargo locomotive)

When all that was done, the passenger car looked a little bleak, so I decided to break that up and chose some graffiti for it. Back when I was in school my best friends were “graffiti artists”, but that never caught on with me. I have never regretted that… until I had to paint these, since I had to find that these took me ages. The first one I applied (Ozone) is actually a copy of one I found on the internet, which someone had sprayed on the London tube. With the rest I got more experimental, creating designs of my own from graffiti alphabets I found online. Some of these are completely fictional (Stalk), others have a reference to Warzone (the Algeroth logo with the words Rulez) and one is a reference to my gaming club (DHC). There are also some other small references hidden in there, like my initials and year, the tag my best mate in school used and so on. I am sure and real life “graffiti artist” would be laughing at my designs, but I think they are good enough for the gaming table.

No I am never too comfortable with freehand. If you look at real life graffiti, all the lines are usually pretty clear and surprisingly hard-edged. I did not feel comfortable doing this with an airbrush, so I did it all with a brush, trying to mimic spray can effects.

Passenger car (front)

Passenger car (front)

Passenger car (rear)

Passenger car (rear)

And here is the whole train (with the cars I currently have) on one of the two ramps I have that can be used to connect the raised and low-level parts of the system.

Monorail ramp

Monorail ramp

Now at one point I said to Joseph, that a switch would be nice as well. What I was expecting, was that he would do something that looked realistic and stop at that. Quite to my surprise, he came up with a design, that actually works.

Switch (straight)

Switch (straight)

Switch (interchange)

Switch (interchange)

Passanger car on the switch

Passenger car on the switch

For the low-level track, he also provides level crossings. I have two set of two, which should even be more than I would ever need. Again, these are working.

Level crossing (closed)

Level crossing (closed)

I just need to do some road sections, that fit these. As you can see, there are beams, that hold the track when lowered, but these are in the middle of the road. So I will have to cut some road sections, where the lanes split for the level crossing.

Level crossing (open)

Level crossing (open)

What I really love is the cargo stop. The crane is moveable. It can be moved along the track and left and right. The operators cabin can be opened and minis placed inside.

Container terminal

Container terminal

Container crane

Container crane

Container crane

Container crane

I also wanted a passenger stop. Now this one is not 100% finished. It will receive some signs with the station name, but the color cartridges for my printer died while printing them out, so that will have to wait until the replacement cartridges arrive.

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

I really like this station. At first I was unsure, if I had made the right decision to buy the raised version, but now I am really happy with my decision. The hight provides a nice raised level to the battlefield. And the pylons, together with the pylons for the track also provide nice cover on the ground level. The bus stop and ticketing machines also provide some extra cover on the ground level.

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

Monorail plattform

Monorail platform

As you can see, the platform is a little bare right now. I need to find (= buy or scratch build) some trash bins, modern benches, flower basins or even a small kiosk to provide some cover on the platform. Until then, two soda machines from Ainsty Castings will have to do. One was painted as a generic machine, the other in a future Version of a coke machine.

Soft drink machines

Soft drink machines

And here are some close-ups of the ticket machines and the bus stop. The bus stop features some recruitment and movie posters fit for Warzone that I photoshopped.

Ticket machines

Ticket machines

Bus Stop

Bus Stop

So this is it… probably the longest terrain post I have done to date.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Modern, Sci-Fi, Terrain building

 

Modern Russian T-55 (5th Entry, part 1, 5th AHPC)

Modern Russian T-55 (5th Entry, part 1, 5th AHPC)

With the Challenge drawing to an end and me being about 100 points short of my target, I knew I needed something and I needed something fast. My output for this year has been abysmal so far, but with the weather getting better here in Germany I was hoping to catch up. So over the next couple of days, you are going to see what made up my 5th entry.

Now this first one was quite simple one. The model is a 1:48 die-cast (although it has a lot of plastic for that) from the James Bond collection (the one Pierce Brosnan drives through St. Petersburg). I have had that for ages, but never got around to work on it. Those who have been following this blog for a while now will remember, that I actually purchased this model about three years ago (almost to the day)… those who have not been along this long… this is how it looked back then. Since I like my 2nd and 3rd Tier Russian tanks for Ultra Modern to look quite unspectacular, I decided to keep it in its original single colour green looks. But I cleaned away the mould lines, painting imperfections and so on. The green was faded, skirts and mantlet painted in a different colour and minor details (like oil stains on the barrels) added. Last but not least it got a liberal coat of dirt and dust with an airbrush (which unfortunately blended too well with the fading 😦 ).

T-55

T-55

T-55

T-55

T-55

T-55

 

 

Crisis Antwerp 2013 picture report

So having returned from Crisis, I would like to show you some of the sights that could be seen there.

As usual, all pictures are linked to bigger versions!

If you did host a game and you can not find any pictures of it, I really apologize, it is probably that the pictures I took of it were no good. Sorry!

First of, just to give you an idea of the size of it all (and this is just the first hall):

Crisis 2013 1st Hall aerial shot

Crisis 2013 1st Hall aerial shot

I will refrain fro saying too much about the games and rather let the pictures do the talking, now if you should find anything that is mislabeled please let me know!

This could be a find example of that since I simply call it Wild West although from the looks of it, it was post ACW US cavalry vs. Native Americans.

Wild West

Wild West

Wild West

Wild West

Now Warmachine is not my cup of cake, bit this one was great with its two levels!

Warmachine

Warmachine

Warmachine lower level

Warmachine lower level

TSA Afghanistan Participation

TSA Afghanistan Participation

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

Stirpitz Hussars  Ocana 1809

Stirpitz Hussars
Ocana 1809

SELWG Valhalla Demo

SELWG
Valhalla Demo

Red vs. Blue

Red vs. Blue

Red Star Games Dien Bien Phu Table

Red Star Games Dien Bien Phu Table

RCW (I think)

RCW (I think)

Rapid Fire Market Garden

Rapid Fire Market Garden

North Star Games 1672

North Star Games 1672

Napoleonic Paper Flats

Napoleonic Paper Flats

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club - Punic Wars Naval

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club – Punic Wars Naval

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club - Punic Wars Naval

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club – Punic Wars Naval

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Medival Japan Demo table

Medival Japan Demo table

Medival Japan Demo table

Medival Japan Demo table

Flames of War Market Garden

Flames of War Market Garden

Flames of War Market Garden

Flames of War Market Garden

Korean War

Korean War

Korean War

Korean War

Flames of War

Flames of War

Flames of War Ardennes

Flames of War Ardennes

Fire and Sword Demo

Fire and Sword Demo

De Alde Garde Geulders vs. Geulders

De Alde Garde
Geulders vs. Geulders

Darkest Africa

Darkest Africa

Darkest Africa

Darkest Africa

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

Culloden 1746

Culloden 1746

Culloden

Culloden

Crush the Kaiser

Crush the Kaiser

Crush the Kaiser

Crush the Kaiser

Blood Bowl

Blood Bowl

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Barry Hilton

Barry Hilton

Barry Hilton

Barry Hilton

ACW

ACW

54mm ECW

54mm ECW

Now these were the general impressions from the show and now on the game I hosted… the battle of Möckern. I have to admit, that we did not really get to play a lot. There were always so many people who came to chat, that eventually there was no cohesive game to speak off. This will be remedied soon though, since we are planning to game it for good, before the year is over.

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

Thanks to all who came by and introduced themselves, really enjoyed chatting with all of you. Hope you got the same feeling in return!

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

What surprised me, was that this was the only game on display that dealt with the Völkerschlacht of Leipzig / Battle of Nations. Given that the bicentennial was only two weeks ago, I would have guessed there would be about a dozen other games.

And I was even more impressed by one gentleman who looked at the uniforms and flags of the troops on the table in detail and then went on to ask if this was Möckern. Really impressed by this kind off-the-top-of-the-head knowledge!!! And it made me proud to see that all the details I have worked on have not been wasted. Thank you!

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

Now someone lease also made me proud and that was Sami, who spend the day (and the previous night in the hotel) in the most well behaved way. Not bad for a dog of 5 month on his first big trip to a war-games show!

Sami

Sami

And this is the view we got just when we left the grounds at the show.

Scheldt

Scheldt

Hope you enjoyed the report and hope to see you next year!

 

 
18 Comments

Posted by on November 3, 2013 in ACW, Ancients, Medival, Modern, Napoleonic, WWI, WWII

 

Empress Miniatures Kickstarter

I guess most of you who are interested in modern games in 28mm will already have seen this, but this week Empress Miniatures started their Kickstarter. It is set in the Asia Pacific region. The first forces to come out of it will be USMC (judging by the size of their previous models these should be highly compatible with Eurekas Marines) and Chinese PLA both will feature and initial five 4-mini packs.

20130614-150800.jpg

While things are only at the beginning, they already show, that they have some real cool ideas. They said that there will be SeALs in scuba gear, or PLA boarding parties amongst future stretchgoals. And they already showed that they are listening to the pledgers by offering a Marine with a M32 grenade launcher as a stretchgoal mini or that future stretchgoals shall include Japanese or (most important for my taste) North Koreans!

Right now things are going great for them, but i suggest if this is your cup of tea… Go and take a look!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Empress Miniatures, Modern, Modern Chinese, USMC

 

Game report USMC Recon vs. Russians

For the first time in a very long time we played a modern scenario. Situations was this.

As part of a general attack on western Europe, Russia also decided to return the Baltic Republics to the fold. Not willing to let this happen NATO has decided to send an US Marine Expeditionary Corp to retake Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. While the initial landings went well against the second and third level units used to garrison Russia’s “acquisitions”, the Marines ran into troubles after a few days when The Russians diverted front line reinforcements to the Baltic, together with a strong anti-aircraft screen.

Against this backdrop, a large USMC Recon patrol stumbles over two Russian T-90 tanks besides a small warehouse. Observations show that the tanks actually are the command tanks for a tank battalion operating in the area. Out of range of the ships heavy artillery and not wanting to risk any of the few fighter aircraft still at his disposal, the expeditionary force commander decides to order the Recon team to attack and take the tankers out before they leave for another attack. But to make matters worse, there is also a Russian infantry detachment to guard the tanks… not an easy nut to crack!

Table set-up [Minis no yet in their starting positions]

Table set-up
[Minis not yet in their starting positions]

This only being a small skirmish game, we only set up a small table. This was divided at roughly 1/3 of the depth by a raised railroad dam. There was also a road parallel to it. On the other side was a small fenced in warehouse compound with a few containers. The table also featured a small field and some woods. The Russians (eight infantry) set up with-in the compound. Both tank crews were still inside the warehouse where they had spent the night. They would only be allowed to leave it, once the Marines were either spotted or a firefight broke out.

Russian starting position

Russian starting position

The Marines split up into two five men teams that would try to sneak close on each flank. Only the M-60 machine gun would remain behind at the railroad crossing to provide covering fire if need be. At first things went quiet well, with the Marines silently crawling up on their target. But then, having gone roughly half way to their assault position, something went wrong with the team advancing through the woods.

USMC advance on the right flank

USMC advance on the right flank

Maybe someone broke a branch or it was the glitter of the sun on a weapon optic, but they were made out by the Russians, who instantly opened up with their LMG. Seeing that things were starting to go south, the M-60 gunner instantly opened up on his Russian counterpart and drove him to cover, but it was already too late… two of the right flank Marines had suffered wounds that turned them incapable to fight on. And now a general firefight broke out between the Marines on the right and the Russians who were starting to scramble to take up defensive positions. In this firefight the Corporal leading the Marines there was killed by a sniper bullet, before the SAW opened up and injured the sniper, taking him out of the fight.

Russians taking up defensive positions

Russians taking up defensive positions

While trying to crawl out from under the M-60s field of fire, one of the Russian NCO´s raised his head a bit too high and received a bullet to the head. At the same time the Russian LMG fired once more, killing another Marines on the right. Plus now the first Russian tankers were leaving the building as well, making for their tanks.

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

Things were not going well! In this light the Marines on the left gave up their hide. Firing at the Russians closer to the warehouse, they managed to take out the LMG and injure the remaining Russian soldier hiding behind some crates behind by the warehouse. The M-60 ceased its fire and got ready to fire deeper into the compound where the second tank crew had left the building. The remainder of the team split up they. While the recon leader and another of one of his soldiers fired at targets of opportunity, two more soldiers sprinted forward to take the Russians in the flank.

Marines advancing on the left flank

Marines advancing on the left flank

Unfortunately, the first of them came under the sights of the Russians Sergeant who just happened to look around one of the containers. One snapshot and another Marines was down with severe injuries, before the Russian NCO got back behind cover of the containers. The other Marine who had just seen his buddy being felled, got down on his knee and fired his grenade launcher between the containers, eliminating the Russian Sergeant.

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

Now the remaining Marine on the left flank (the SAW gunner) shifted its fire to the tankers to its front and together with the Marines from the other flank managed to injure or kill four of them. But only to be killed himself by one of the Russians. Now the firefight between the Marines and the three remaining Russians between the containers intensified. While one of the Russians was killed by a bullet, the others withdrew deeper between the containers, only popping around the corners for some snapshots. The devildogs tried their best to get them with more grenades, but had no luck. At the same time the M-60 had managed to take out all of three second tank crew except for one, who managed to get into his tank and close the hatches.

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

Seeing that the firefight was getting them nowhere, the remaining three Marines charged. When the team leader ran into the first Russian, they got into a bitter hand to combat, which the Marine ended in his favor. Now the sole remaining Russian infantryman surrendered. At first the tanker refused to do the same but being shown the C4 that was about to be attached to his tank, he chose to surrender as well. After blowing up the T-90s, the Marines left with their two prisoners, dead and wounded… too high a price to pay, but still a victory.

 

Crisis Antwerp 2012 picture report

So yesterday it was time again for my favourite show of the year… Crisis in Antwerp.

Now as the kind reader of this blog knows since my picture report from last year, this year was the first year for Crisis to move to Hangar 29. It was a huge improvement over the old Metropolis. The light was far better and so was the air due to the much higher ceilings. So if you were kept from attending Crisis due to the stories of bad light and air over the last few years, you should definitely give it a go. Honestly… there is no reason why you should not give it a go if you live in western Europe or the South of the UK actually. The other positive thing was… there was much more space now than ever before, especially with much bigger aisles. And virtually all the traders had more space as well, which meant more table space to show the off good stuff. Oh and if you still remember the venue from before Metropolis (I do… does this mean I am getting old), Crisis has gone light-years from that!

But enough of that… on to the photos (which are all linked to bigger versions). I will do my best to describe what can be seen and which club hosted the game. If you find that I mislabeled your game, please feel free to contact me!

Oh and all the people on the photos are just there for size reference. So please do not complain if you can be seen on a picture! 😉

First up is an aerial photos of the first hall (yes there as a second one about as big):

The French adventure in Mexico:

28mm Napoleonics (Stipsicz Hussars):

Zulu (South London Warlord):

DUX Britanicum (Too Fat Lardies):

28mm Medieval:

Cholet 1793, 15mm Napoleonics:

I assume this was Dutch East Indies in 15mm:

Battlegroup Kursk Demo, 15mm WWII:

Fireforge Games Demo, 28mm Medieval:

Stronghold Terrain showpiece 28mm:

15mm WWII Pacific:

Malifaux, “Soulstone Rush in Bayou City”, 28mm (Murphy’s Heros):

28mm Lord of the Ring demo piece (if I remember correctly, this was from someone building custom terrain):

Beneath the Lilly Banners, 28mm (League of Augsburg / Barry Hilton):

Sorry, I did not see you around Barry!

Fictional AWI encounter, 28mm (Wargames Soldiers and Strategy Magazine):

Fall Gelb, 15mm WWII and a real eye candy:

Monte Casino Campaign, 15mm WWII / FOW:

The Siege of Troy, 28mm:

20mm WWI (Crush the Kaiser):

20mm Cold War:

Freebooters Fate Demo, 28mm:

15mm Napoleonic Peninsular (De Alde Garde):

28mm War of the Roses:

28mm WWII Pacific, Bolt Action rules (and they made a hell of a lot of noise rolling the dice in a mess tin):

28mm Napoleonics:

20mm WWII, Pegasus Bridge:

Red Star Miniatures Demo table, 28mm Cold War (Belgians and British vs. Soviets):

18mm Fantasy (THS):

 
38 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Medival, Modern, Napoleonic, WWI, WWII

 

More painted modern Russians

More painted modern Russians

This year I really want to finish my modern minis. There is not much more to do… paint a few Russians, US Army and Marines, do a few vehicles and I am done. Well at least until Eureka release some new minis or Imprint some new vehicles :-D. Anyway, I tackled the Russians two weeks ago and here they are.

First up are some Russian tankers from Red Star. I already had some from Mongrel Miniatures, but these are far nicer.

Russian Dismounted Tankers (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Dismounted Tankers
[Red Star Miniatures]

I kept these simple. No elaborate camo uniforms or anything. But many tankers I see in real life pictures do only wear simple one colour uniforms, so I let myself be inspired by these:

Russian Tankers

Russian Tankers

Up next are some Russians from Eureka. These come in NBC suits and would technically be most suited for the cold war era. But I fell in love with them, when I saw the first set at Historicon in 2005 and had to buy them, which also was the begining of a very good customer relationship with Eureka Miniatures. Since then I have mostly used them as lowly conscripts or troops for third line units. So these are the minis I already had (coming from the first and second releases):

Russian NBC troops (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC troops
[Eureka Miniatures]

And these are the ones I painted the other week to beef them up:

Russian NBC DShK A³ Machinegun (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC DShK A³ Machinegun
[Eureka Miniatures]

The DShK 12,7mm machine gun is based on a 1938 Soviet machine gun and the equivalent to NATOs .50cal. This will give them some serious firepower. This one being mounted on an anti-aircraft tri-pod.

Russian NBC Mortars (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC Mortars
[Eureka Miniatures]

Now these mortars should give the Russians some serious firepower. Mortars are quiet effective both in real life and under the rules we use. When playing games versus my Brits (who already had mortar minis) they had to suffer… now they can fight back in style.

Russian DShK and AGS 17 (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian DShK and AGS 17
[Red Star Miniatures]

These minis are from Red Star, giving some heavy firepower to my other Russians. Another DShK, this time on a ground mount and an automatic grenade launcher.

Russian Kornet team (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Kornet team
[Red Star Miniatures]

Russian Kornet team top view (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Kornet team top view
[Red Star Miniatures]

And last but not least their Kornet AT team. I really like the Red Star minis for their animation, even though the face on the radioman is a bit flat. Recently read somewhere that the Chemins de feu (the club the owners of Red Star belong to) will be shifting to other periods, so maybe there will be no new Russian minis for a while. Would be a shame!

Before anyone asks the large bases for the heavy weapons and prone troops are from Fenris games.

 

Bundeswehr

Bundeswehr

All the posts showing off special forces over the past couple of days have led to some requests for pictures of the remaining NATO force I have miniatures for… the Bundeswehr. While I had planned to postpone this until I had the last vehicles finished (3 Transportpanzer Fuchs and a CH-53 still left to do) I am going to show them anyway. Fist up the vehicles:

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

This is the mainstay German MBT in current use. The A5 model is the result of the KWS II package (Kampfwertsteigerung II or combat upgrade program II) giving it stronger armour, better electronics and targeting systems. The main gun (120mm smoothbore) and targeting system see use in most other NATO MBTs as well.

Bundewswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

Bundeswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

The Flakpanzer Gepard is reputed to be the best cannon armed air defense tank world-wide. With its twin 35mm autocannon (ROF 550 rounds per minute) it is able to lay down a massive volume of fire both against air as well as ground targets. In 2000 it was decided that the German army no longer needed close air defense of this type and that these tanks would be phased out and mothballed in favour of the Patriot system until the year 2015. With the new reforms in 2010 the remaining 90 tanks were phased out completely though. Not that this matter since me games are set a couple of years before that!

Bundeswehr Marder A3

Bundeswehr Marder A3

These two IFV´s represent the latest version of the Schützenpanzer Marder with a turret mounted (dismount-able) Milan launcher on the turret. A Panzergrenadiergruppe (more on that later) will be spread out amongst these two tanks. The models are actually some cheap RC tanks. They required a lot of conversion work to get them here since they represented the A1 version. Which meant moving the roof mounted, rearward firing MG to the turret (co-ax) and the addition of the Milan launcher. Armoured boxes were added to the sides, spaced armour to the front and roof using plasticard.

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

This is a model of the ABC Spürpanzer (NBC detection tank) Fuchs. Some of these were lend to the US for Desert Storm since this is the most advanced vehicle for NBC detection available. Both the US and the UK have since bought vehicles using it under the English translation Fox. There is also a troop carrier version available and I still have three models in storage where I will have to modify the rear hatches to use them as troop carriers.

Bundeswehr Unimog

Bundeswehr Unimog

Last vehicle is a Unimog, serving as a light truck for my forces. This is a repainted die-cast model.

Up next are the infantry.

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

These are some Scharfschützen (Snipers) based on the old TO&E. The new organisation calls for two men teams armed with bolt action sniper rifles (G22) or an anti-material rifle (G82). The old organisation had two snipers with G3 rifles. These G3 were the most accurate assault rifles from a batch, remastered and equipped with scopes. They were accompanied by two men to provide them with security. These men were armed with machineguns, usually MG3s. In this case the man on the right has the newer MG4. Minis are from Devil Dog Designs and mostly converted.

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

This is my Fallschirmjägergruppe (minis from Devil Dog Designs). The Gruppe is the smallest tactical infantry element in the German Army, be it airbourne (like these) or Panzergrenadiere (below), Jäger, Infanterie and so on. A Gruppe consists of 12 men. One of them is a machinegunner, the rest are armed with G36 assault rifles, the Gruppenführer (section leader) usually has and underslung AG36 grenadelaucher. Special weapons like man pack anti-tank or anti-aircraft rocket launchers can be distributed as need be. [These Fallschirmjäger have now been sold and are on their way to a good new home in France.]

All the minis below are Eureka.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

Now this first Gruppe is similar in organisation to the Fallschirmjäger above, except that two of the men also have the Milan launchers dismounted from the Marder along. They have often proven useful in games, especially one where the Russian tanks chased after the Marder tanks, missing the dismounted Grenadiere at the forests edge that hit them in the flank with their Milans.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

While these two Gruppen also represent Panzergrenadiere they have no Milans but one Panzerfaust 3 each instead. As I said the Marder were a hassle to convert and I was in no mood to do that 4 more times to get a full Zug (platoon). Now in some units only the first Zug is equipped with Marder, the rest rides Fuchs. I just decided to mix this within the Zug, assuming that the commander had distributed the Marder amongst his Züge to given them all an even punch.

Now a few more words on the machinegunner (for all types of Gruppen). A little over a decade ago it was decided that the MG3 would be phased out and replaced with the MG36 (essentially a G36 with heavier barrel and if lucky with a drum magazine). Just like the SA-80 LMG in the British Army this met little approval by the soldiers. They already felt weaker due to the reduced calibre of the G36 when compared to the old G3 and with just one LMG to 12 men (other NATO forces have one LMG per 4 men squad). So commanders found all kinds of excuses to store the MG3s they had and simply handed them out when troops were deployed. So a couple of years ago the MG4 was introduced, which solved the problem since it was at least a proper SAW type of weapon. I have decided to stick to the MG3, since it gives me the most firepower and my games fall into the transitionary period anyway.

Last are the force multipliers.

Bundeswehr forcemultipliers

Bundeswehr force multipliers

To the left is a medic with a MP7 PDW (you can also see this on some of the NCO´s and radiomen above). In the middle is a dog handler. Military dogs see more use in the Bundeswehr these days, especially for house clearing. To the right is a GMW 40 automatic grenade launcher. This is about all I need. I just hope Eureka releases a tri-pod mounted MG3 one day… otherwise I will have to do one from a WWII MG42 and convert some crew for it.

The big beauty with the German army is that soldiers wear no unit patches in the field and that the equipment is vastly similar. So I plan to use these men as Panzergrenadiere for the 21. Panzerbrigade, Fällschirmjäger for the Saarlandbrigade or Jäger for the Deutsch-Französische Brigade.

 

SpetsnaZ

To finish off last weeks special forces posts, here are some who will face those already posted on the styrofoam fields of glory… Russian SpetsnaZ.

Now it is hard to write something about these units like I did on their NATO counterparts. For one the term SpetsnaZ refers to all the different units the Soviet Union (and now Russia) had. [EDIT: SpetsnaZ stands for Otryad Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya, meaning: troop for special purposes / functions in English.] All the branches of the Russian military, the police and secret services have at least one unit and western literature frequently mixes them up.

The unit I have gone for is modeled on the GRU GSh (Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye Generalnovo Shtaba, meaning: Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff in English). Their primary missions are sabotage, assassinations as well reconnaissance and direct support for regular forces. Especially the former two were what attracted my attention. In my hypothetical WW III setting Russian attacks Europe and a unit like that would be needed to attack force multipliers behind NATO lines. This is only underlined by the fact that this unit was tasked with taking out nuclear first strike weapons even inside the US.

The unit itself was created in 1949 and there are currently nine brigades and one battalion attached to various military districts. Exact numbers are hard to establish, especially since these men wear regular uniforms (usually airborne) to make sure they do not blend in. This is not only done in an attempt to confuse other nations intelligence, but also to keep them secret within their own nation and military. In combat these men have full choice of weapons and equipment (even western).

Spetznav

Spetznav

The minis above all from Devil Dog Designs, the sniper being a slight conversion. I feel these were some of the finest DDD did back then and they are not that far behind some of the minis produced today. But I painted them nearly a decade ago and one can clearly see how much my style (especially with the skin) has changed since then.