Monday, July 9, 2018

A Bit of Creativity and Silliness

Came across this video titled Choreography for Plastic Army Men earlier today

Many of us have encountered "tongue twisters like Peter Piper or Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers.   Years ago I made up one for a fictional American Civil War Battle "Rabid Rabbits Rapids"   There are a couple of older blog posts covering the civil war battle and a fantasy battle.   The other one had to do with the tech people I have known and gamed with over the years  "Bad Black Box".  

I have several painting projects lined up and will start working on them this week.   Next weekend will be the Miniature Wargaming Society of Sacramento meeting.   In addition to the games at the meeting I will be exchanging my spare copy of the Lost Battles board game to a friend for about 500 3d plastic 1/1200 scale ancient naval galleys.   I will save several hundred dollars over cast metal ships and he will save just over $100 if he had to buy a copy of the game.   At one point I had considered doing resin casting of the ships, but the cost saving over cast metal ships was not enough to offset the time and mess of making resin castings.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Over the past year or so I have played several games of "Form on the Admiral's Wake" at various club meetings.   The rules are not complex and provide an interesting and fun game.  There is no guarantee as to what order the various action cards will be drawn in and one person shuffles the end of turn card into the deck instead of placing it at the bottom as per the rules.  Players could handle a dozen or so ships and a battle such as Trafalgar could be played with two on the British side and four on the Franco-Spanish side.

Form on the Admiral's Wake is available from Brian DeWitt in PDF form on a CD .  The rules come with five scenario books in addition to the rules and card deck.   I used a company in China called ArtsCow to have a deck of cards printed for the rules.  If you use them you will need to select the 54 card set and  download a software program called Silverlight from Microsoft.  The cards are not expensive and they give a discount for the first order.  While Trafalgar is not one of the scenarios included with the rules, almost all of the ships on both sides can be found in the other scenarios that are included.

I recently purchased the two boxed sets of Trafalgar ships from Forged in Battle  These are a little over an inch long and fit nicely into the hex cloth I purchased from Amazon.  For most battles you would only need a couple of yards, but for Trafalgar you would probably need about four yards in order to have a wide enough battle area to allow the British fleet to approach in the formation it used..

Although the ships are small, they are well detailed and have minimal mold flash to remove.   The Franco-Spanish set comes with a special casting for the Santissima Trinidad.    Keep this one separate from the others when painting them as the difference between it and the other large ships is minimal.   The sets include all the ships of the line (3rd rate and larger) along with four of the British frigates.  None of the Franco-Spanish frigates are included.   While frigates were usually kept out of battles between ships of the line, they were used to relay orders by standing off behind the line of battle.   For those who want to add the rest of the frigates and maybe also build an American fleet, either the British or Dutch sets from the battle of Copenhagen will provide the missing ships.   The British set is probably the best one to purchase for this as it has enough large frigates for the Franco-Spanish fleet and enough gunboats to cover the remaining smaller ships in both fleets.

I used a brown spray primer and then painted the sails and sides of the ships.   After painting the side color I then used a very dry brush to paint the gun hatches and other parts black.
 Both fleets.  British on left, Franco-Spanish on right.
 British ships
Franco-Spanish.  Santissima Trinidad with red sides.
Custom made cards from ArtsCow.  You can upload almost any image you want for the back of the cards.   Text can be black or almost any other color and backgrounds can be added,

Friday, June 29, 2018

NATO Three Color Camouflage

In the mid 1980's the United States and Germany agreed to adopt a new camouflage pattern using a combination of green, grey-black, and red-brown.   They also devised specific patterns to be used on each type of vehicle.    There is a US army field manual  tb43-209   with almost all the patterns for each vehicle in it.   The Team Yankee website also has PDFs of some of the German paint diagrams  A website with paint diagrams for German, US, French and other nations is Panzerbaer  Be advised though that the diagrams for the French vehicles have green and black reversed.   Where it shows green it should be black and green where it is black.

Vehicles primed with green spray primer from Amazon (local OSH store used to carry it, but not anymore), then black, and finally red-brown spots using a 10/0 brush.   Black and Red-Brown paint from Stone Mountain Miniatures this time and on the Terminator and Cimmerian in a previous POST  I have used GHQ paints on some previous  batches and for some scifi vehicles

 TPZ vehicles for Union Federal de Buena Vista
Leopard 2A6M for Union Federal de Buena Vista

For those who are doing the earlier US army MERDC scheme this manual will be helpful

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Engagement at Velpare

I played this as a solo game to see how the CG300s would do against a Panthari task force.   The CG300s were designed using the Excel ship design spread sheet for StarCruiser.  The Panthari ships are based on the French ships in the game.  Other than the "ground" and time scale the rules played as written with ships defending against a missile attack firing in the fire phase and the detonation phase.   Turns were changed from 20 minutes to ten minutes and one inch is one light second.  Fleets moved in formation centered on the command ship to which all distances were measured from and to.   Due to using miniatures instead of the board game counters, ships could not be "stacked" in the same place on the game mat.  The missiles have been revised to increase their velocity to 14/15 per turn in order to make them more effective and be able to chase down the American cruisers in the game which can outrun any of the original missiles.   Sensor drones were also modified to give them reflective and radiated signatures similar to the cruisers.  From starting positions at seventy light seconds to engagement distance at less than 40 light seconds took five turns.   The following is an account of the engagement from the viewpoints of the two opposing commanders. 

My squadron is now two light minutes from the opposing fleet.  It has been seven hours since we passed the FTL grav limit of the Velpare system.  All ships have oriented themselves to the planetary orbital plane.   The squadron had been on a training mission testing the new ships when we received orders to divert to the system and investigate a probable Panthari Imperium incursion into our territory.   Federation Intelligence agents had discovered a plot by Baron Rolf von Toerbach chairman of Tallamatrix Corporation to take control of several Federation systems with the backing of the Panthari Imperium.  This included establishing a secret base on the moon of the third planet of the neutral Velpare system.   Our orders were to secure the system and await the arrival of a marine brigade, which would arrive within the next 24 hours.  My command consist of the CG300 cruisers Achamandra, Calamain, Caractacalla, and Mairsus.

Our arrival had been met by a challenge from system control to which we had responded identifying our squadron and stating that we were here to investigate the local situation and secure the system.   This was met by a further challenge from Grand Duke Emanuel Folgere commanding the Panthari task force that was orbiting the planet.   The Panthari task force had left orbit and headed for our squadron.   It will be another half an hour before we are within 90 light seconds of the opposing task force at which time we will go to full battle stations.  Meanwhile the crews have been preparing our ships for combat.   The spin habitats have been locked, loose objects secured, weapons systems tested, and damage control teams readied.

A Federation cruiser squadron entered the system some time ago.  Four drive signatures were detected with a velocity of .09c.   Our response to their message was that they were invading the territory of the Panthari Imperium and that their incursion would be met with deadly force unless they withdrew.   There has been no further response from them at this time and the task force is now about two light minutes from the Federation cruisers.    The task force has the battleship Crown Prince Mikhail, the cruisers Duke Pontefract  and Duke Aivan, and the frigates Goliath, Wattiwaddle, Viktorya, and Spook.   While the task force only has a missile salvo of 12 compared to the 16 that the Federation cruisers can launch it also has six fighters and four drones.  The Federation squadron may have two drones per ship, but if they launch more than one drone per ship that will reduce the number of missile they can control.  this was followed by launching our sensor drones

Our squadron is now within 90 light seconds of the Panthari task force.   They have been approaching at .03c  and four additional drives have been detected indicating that they may have launched their drones.   All ships have gone to full battle stations and we are launching our drones.   Five of them will remain with the task force while the other three will take up equal distant position ahead and to the sides of the squadron.   Velocity has been reduced to .07c  as we continue to approach the Panthari ships.   A new message has been sent to the opposing fleet informing them that they are trespassing in neutral territory, that we were investigating possible criminal activity by a Federation citizen and that any hostile act by them would be met with force.   

The Federation commander must be suicidal.   The latest message was a demand for us to not interfere with their mission or be met with force   This was followed by eight additional drives being detected indicating that they may have launched all eight of their sensor drones.   Three of them have moved out ahead of their squadron above and below the planetary plane.  The task force has responded by launching its drones and demanding the enemies surrender.   They have reduced their velocity to .07c indicating that they are diverting part of their power output to defenses and weapons.   In another 30 minutes we should be separated by about a light minute, at which point we will launch our fighters.   The sensor drones will not be able to get a target lock until the separation is about 30 light seconds.

The Pantheri response to our message was to demand our surrender.  Two of the additional drives have a velocity exceeding .10c and most likely are sensor drones.  They are quickly approaching us.  The other two have remained with the opposing fleet.  Separation is now 70 light seconds.  I have ordered the active sensors of one of the drones with our ships to go active.
 Start of game Federation fleet 

"Your Grace,  the Federation has just energized an active sensor in the main body of their fleet!   Separation is now 70 light seconds from their ships."
 Start of game Panthari fleet. 

"Admiral, Separation is now 50 light seconds,"
"Maintain current velocity and course.   Are the missiles ready for launch?"
"Aye, sir."

"40 light seconds, sir"
"Light up the lead drones!"
"Aye, Sir...... We are getting targeting information from them now.   Bogies are one battleship, two cruisers, six unidentified."

"Separation 40 light seconds, Your Grace."
"Energize the active sensors of the drones with the fleet.   Launch fighters."
"Your Grace, our lead drones are now within 20 light seconds of the Federation ships and are reporting target identification. Something is odd!?.  They are reporting eight Federation cruisers instead of four!  The  enemy has activated sensors on the three lead vessels."
"They must have configured their drones to appear as cruisers.   This will cause targeting problems for our missiles unless we can determine which is real and which is a decoy."

"30 light seconds, sir.   Our drones have identified the other bogies as four frigates, six fighter and two sensor drones in addition to the two that are maintaining a separation of 20 light seconds.  As are our lead drones which have now gone passive again."

"Continue to close and rotate ships 180 degrees.  Send  the following message 'This is your last chance to cease hostilities.  If you do not break off and acknowledge we will fire upon you'.  Prepare to launch missiles at roll over if they do not break off."

"We still have not been able to separate the decoys from the actual ships, your Grace.  We are now 30 light seconds from the enemy.  Incoming message demanding we break off or they will fire on us."
"Tell them to go to hell"

 Turn 5.  Fleets are at 22 light seconds from each other. 

"The Panthari response was negative sir"
"They are going to regret their choice"

"The enemy ships have reduced their forward velocity to .05c  We are now within 22 light seconds of them."
"Prepare to launch missiles when we close to 20 light seconds"

"Sir, rotation is complete.  The enemy has closed to within 22 light seconds."
"Launch missiles and make full speed away from the Panthari ships"
"Missiles away.  Lead drones maintaining 20 light second separation.  We are increasing separation from the enemy"
Turn six missiles about to strike Panthari Fleet

"Your Grace,  sensors detect enemy ships moving away from us at .09c and missiles being launched.   My God!  There are 144 of them heading towards us.  Estimate time to impact is less than 15 minutes"
"That's impossible.  Power up the shields and get the lasers online.   There is no way for us to avoid them.   This might be another trick of theirs like the extra cruisers."

Sir, sensors confirm over 100 missile detonations.   One of the Panthari cruisers is an expanding cloud of debris.   The battleship and several of the frigates have lost power. "
"Hold position and bring all ships about 180 degrees.   Lets see what they will do"

"Get me a damage report on all ships immediately.  How many missiles made it through our defensive fire?"
"We have 29 confirmed missile kills, your Grace.   Damage reports as follows:  Duke Aivan is destroyed, Duke Pontefract reports  both active and passive sensors damaged, major hull and computer damage   Spook, Viktorya, and Wattiwaddle have lost power in addition to other damage.  Goliath has minor hull and computer damage We have minor hull damage, no power, computers have been destroyed,  major crew losses and ongoing system failures."
"Contact the Federation Commander and tell him we surrender.   When they accept, order our crews to abandon their ships and scuttle them?

"The Panthari fleet is surrendering sir."
"Accept their surrender and round up the survivors"
"Aye, Sir"

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Terminator and Cimmerian

I recently purchased some tanks and infantry fighting vehicles from Kurzwell Corporation   They are listed as heavy ifv and Leopard 3 6mm.   They are based on the video of the hypothetical version of the Leopard 3 on  YouTube .   They arrived in the mail on Saturday and I was finally able to start painting them today.   They have all been primed with green spray primer and are now having the other two colors applied.  Clicking on the pictures will provide an enlarged view.
Fresh from the paint shop.   I went with NATO three color for these to distinguish them from the Domain vehicles.   The tank and the IFV are similar in size to the Darkest Star Federation vehicles I am using for the Domain which can be seen here.   I still have eight more of each to finish and base.
 They are more expensive than GHQ, but this does make a good future MBT.   I have decided to use Cimmerian as the name for the MBT

 This is the IFV version.   The hull is the same as the MBT.  The turret is based on the Russian BMPT-72, also known as The Terminator.    The turret of the Russian vehicle has a pair of 30mm auto-cannons and two pairs of ATGMs mounted on the sides.  It doesn't show in the photos, but there is a rear hatch.
 I chose the MBT name to go with the nickname given to the Russian vehicle as an obvious reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger's two more well known movie series.  There had been plans for a new Conan movie starring Schwarzenegger as the older King Conan, but that has apparently collapsed.

 All nine IFVs finished
 All nine MBTs
 left side view.
IFV  right side
MBT right side
I need to figure out vehicle stats for the two vehicles for both Future War Commander and Fist Full of Tows 3.   Both rule sets are one vehicle equals a platoon, so once I have finished painting them I will have a battalion of each.

Monday, May 28, 2018

May Painting Projects

Got a few projects painted this past month.  I am working my way through the unpainted figures.  Still have quite a ways to go.

216 Hellenistic Zystophoroi.   These are Baccus Prodomoi figures being used for the heavy cavaalry.  They are made with a strip of three different poses.   The middle pose is the same as their Companion figure
 288 Indian Infantry.  These are also from Baccus
 256 ACW Confederate infantry.   Figures are a mix of Baccus and Rapier.   Baccus has two poses in their skirmish pack.   Standing shooting and standing loading with no command figures.  Rapier makes standing shooting, kneeling shooting, standing loading, three different advancing poses, a march attack pose, and three different command packs.
256 ACW Union infantry.   The flags were made by reducing larger scale flags using Paintshop Pro.   Original flags were about 30mm tall at 72 dots per inch.  They were reduced to about 6mm and the dots per inch were increased to 360.  This kept the same level of detail as the originals.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Battle of Omdurman

This past Saturday, Manny hosted the battle of Omdurman at his home.   The rules used were Reckless Daring written by Manny and published by Hoplite Research.  I was Kitchner and commanded the mounted troops on the right flank.   Gill commanded the British infantry in the center, while Nick and Alan commanded the Egyptian and Sudanese infantry on the left flank.   Mahdi Manny commanded our opponents with Richard in charge of the right flank, John leading the center and Jim arriving from off table on my right.   We also had a large artillery park consisting of two medium gun batteries, one howitzer battery, and four machine gun batteries.  The original plan for the game was to require the British forces to advance up the river and take the city, but due to space limitations this was not included.

I assigned the howitzers and one machine gun battery to Nick and Alan.   Except for two artillery sections and one machinegun section the rest of our guns were under Gill's command and interspersed amongst the infantry battalions.   Since our European troops would have suffered from heat and dehydration if they advanced too far from the river our plan was to hold our positions and let the Mahdists break themselves on our defenses.

The battle began with an aggressive advance by Richard against Alan and Nick and a cautious advance by John in the center.   Richard attempted to charge into Nick and Alan's infantry, but his charges were either halted by gunfire or driven back with heavy casualties.   John held back and only advanced to just over halfway across the table.  Gill was able to inflict some long range casualties with his artillery and caused one of John's infantry units to break.  Gill had the Guards battalion and one of the Highlander battalions in reserve.  The snipers on the hill never had an effect on the battle as they were our of range of our defenses.

I had most of the camel corps and mounted infantry dismount and occupy the buildings on my flank with a couple of squadrons mounted in reserve.   For the first two turns I had been waiting for the enemy to attack on my flank, but had not seen anyone in front of me.  Manny and JIm then announced that a large dust cloud was approaching from my right.  This was followed by the arrival of about half of Jim's command.  The next turn I charged the 21st Lancers into the two units on his left next to the river.   The Lancers quickly drove them from the field.  The left two squadrons continued their charge into the next group of infantry to their left and drove them from the field also.   I had been able to halt the two squadrons on the right and had them reform, but the left two squadrons continued their pursuit off the table.   They were to return later.   I had to recall the right two squadrons towards the buildings before they could finish reforming to avoid flanking artillery fire from Jim.   Jim quickly advanced the rest of his command towards the buildings as more of his infantry arrived.   His advance came under fire from my guns and the two reserve camel units that I had moved up and dismounted to support the guns.   The 21st recovered and with the rest of the squadrons arriving drove more of Jim's infantry from the field triggering a morale check for his command.   The morale test failed and Jim's troops fled the field. 

At one point our gunboat came under attack when it was boarded by enemy troops on boats in the river.   The better quality naval crew was able to drive off the two waves of attacks, but suffered heavy casualties.

At this point our opponents conceded the battle.   Nick and Alan had suffered some casualties, but had done an excellent job of holding off Richard's attacks.   Gill had held his position and his artillery fire and his strong position had kept John at bay.   Manny had some additional troops in reserve on the far side of the table from me.   While the 21st was a bit worn from combat the other 10 squadrons of mounted infantry that I had would have been able to advance and start rolling up the enemy's left flank even with Manny's reserve command  to oppose them.
Overall view of the battlefield with Egyptian and Sudanese infantry in foreground.
 Artillery and machineguns
 The gunboat.
 The mounted command
 Enemy snipers on the hill
 Enemy right flank (at bottom) and center commands
 Mounted infantry deployed in buildings with part in reserve.  21st Lancers at bottom right outside built up area.  
 British infantry and guns defending works
 Our left flank.  Nick's command at far left.  Alan's command at buildings
 Jim's command arrives on my right flank and the 21st Lancers charge into action.
 John's command arrives on far edge of table
 Near the end of the battle just before Jim's command broke.   
 John slowly advances towards Gill and gets to about the middle of the table.
Richard's attack on our left flank is halted by gunfire.

Alan was kind enough to send the pictures he took of the game.   The following were all taken by him.  Thanks to Alan for allowing me to post them.
 Part of Alan's command in front of buildings.  Highlanders in building.
 View of front of British infantry behind works
 our gunners prepare their weapons.
 21st Lancers
 Richard's command advancing
 Awaiting the onslaught

 Mahdists form up
 Nick's command   mahdist infantry has been disorganized by fire
 Mahdist casualties mount.
 Gill in red John towards the back and me wearing the mandatory helmet provided by Manny. .  Nick and Alan's  forces are almost untouched
 21st Lancers attack the second group of infantry.  They would chase them off the field.
 Mahdist infantry make contact with Nicks command 
Mahdist infantry about to be thrown back 
 John's command advancing
The 21st strikes again routing this unit would cause the morale test for Jim's command.