Saturday, 13 October 2018

Avanti Savoia!

Warning. Longish post ahead...

The battle reports first! 

Pelarel and I played a couple of games of V4 mid war desert Flames of War at the club between my Italians and his British.

Game One - Hasty Attack
Ariete Armoured Division attacking the Welsh Guards 

Pelarel set up a Guards platoon on each objective, his Vickers bridging the gap and Kittyhawks loitering about the field. In reserve, the fearsome Churchills. I deployed a platoon of M14/41s facing each objective and my Lancia da 90s and captured 25 pdrs covering as much of the board as I could.


Deployment
 Over the first couple of turns I screamed across the board, being vigorously bombed by successive (albeit ineffectual) flights of Kittyhawks.
The Italian view of the Objective at the end of turn 2
Pelarel popped his ambush of 6pdrs on his turn 2 and succeeded in bailing out a tank. Yep. This is where his dice just gave up. Completely.

In turn 3, I assaulted the objective covered by the 6pdrs, rode my luck through the 6pdr defensive fire and over a series of rounds of assault, this is where we wound up:
The Italian view of the Objective at the end of turn 3
"How?" I hear you exclaim! This:
The reason for the Italian view of the Objective...

Pel's list, without the Churchills on table, really wasn't well set up for Italian armour and the many many machineguns on the M14s did horrible things. Conveniently, Pel had brought his entire collection of desert Brits so he built an armoured list and we reset for another go.

Game Two - Counter Attack
Desert Rats attacking the Ariete Armoured Division

I deployed defending one objective with my 25pdrs and Bersaglieri platoon on the objective, with the rest of the army having a view of the second objective. Pelarel deployed all his Grants and Shermans in front of the objective in my deployment zone and his Crusaders out on his flank.
The board. Sneaky Lancias are not deployed. 
In the first turn, the Brits advanced aggressively to deny me an ambush spot for my Lancias and took a few potshots at the 25pdrs. The Crusaders took a big swing out to my left flank. My reserves arrived to attack the Crusader in the rear and the rest of my armour advanced through the village to turn the flank of the attacking British armour.

Italian reserves blat marshmallows into the back of the Crusaders. 
 Turn 2 saw many British tanks go down in a hail of 25pdr fire attacking them
I ambushed my Lancias in the depths of my deployment zone and they managed to destroy one Grant before being shot to bits in return. Pelarel's Grants also assaulted my infantry and managed to reduce the Bersaglieri platoon to an Infantry team and a 47/32 Elefantino before they withdrew and I fled!

Grants CHARGE! 
 In response, I swarmed across from my reserve deployment heading for that objective, expecting that I'd be having to feed platoons into the Grants until turn 6!
The Crusaders can't hold off the aggressive Italian armour.
By Turn 6, the British HQ and the sole remaining Grant had taken the objective, but were being contested by the M14s and the L6s who held on till the British finally broke. 
The end. Italian armour swarming the objective to deny the British. 

Pelarel's plan to force my Lancia da 90s right into the back of my deployment zone was sound, but did involve sending half a dozen hulls straight into my best AT guns and his dice really didn't help him get that to sing. He also noted he went too early, although I will say that if he'd been able to deal with the 25pdrs successfully, I think he could have held the objective as I would have had to do some fairly insane maneouvering to get onto his flanks (since AT6 against side 4 is....bad) while feeding whatever I had left in order to protect the objective.

The first game was a blowout but I think Pelarel's aggressive attack was the right plan to win the second game. His dice let him down again though. He did go on to a third game against Scotty and gave him what for!

In conclusion?
There's something that still doesn't sit right for me about the Italians in V4. They really do seem a bit good. I mean, I'm not a particularly good general by anyones measurements and this army feels like it really almost drives itself and even accounts for my utterly appalling dice.

Not rolling for unit ratings any more has seen an across the board improvement in the quality of Italian troops in FoW V4. In V3, the Elite ratings ran from CT to FV. Now, an M14 platoon sits consistently somewhere between FT and FV and then has some extra granular ratings and that seems very good, given the insanely cheap platoons - (3 Shermans = 11 M14/41s).

Some of the pointing is definitely out of whack as well. 4 100/17 guns (RoF 1, AT9, FP2+) can be upgraded to Captured 25 pdrs (RoF 2, AT9, FP3+) for nothing and if you succeed in your 8 Million Bayonets roll, this platoon is better than the British equivalent for 2 points less. And this fills the gap for medium AT if I don't have Semovente 75s on the park. Air support is another one. I can upgrade a flight of CR42s (5 points) to JU87s for 2 more points, giving me German Stukas for 2 points less than the German army pays for them.

And then just yesterday I started looking at the Bersaglieri Rifle company and honestly, if you downgrade to Blackshirts (which in a current V4 Desert context, doesn't feel like too much of a downgrade - it's mostly somewhere between CT and FT) I can put a 9 core unit formation on the park for a touch over 40 points.

TL;DR? I'm going to park these guys for a while to work on some lists that don't feel like I'm using stuff in the list that feels a bit wrong. It might be time to look at my Iron Cross Germans...

Next time: 
An astoundingly good question. I've just got all my Marine LAVs back from Pelarel, who graciously airbrushed the base coat on for me (although you should have seen his face when I suggested that I could get a SECOND LAV company. Not so gracious!) so a couple of test LAVs and / or HMMWVs in MASSTER camo will be next week.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Semper Fidelis

Just a short post this week since there's not a lot I have to say! I said I'd paint a Marine platoon so I did. The blog works!
Command and Mortar team

Anti-tank weapons - Dragons on the left and SMAWs on the right

A selection of the NINE! stands of Marine M16/LAW teams

M60s

The transport for this platoon, the ultimate bathtubs (the AAVP7s), are winging their way from the UK along with a new Crucible Guard Trancer that I am going to put to use filling a gap in the 40K range that I'd quite like to use.

They were really nice to paint - well detailed and the camo painting guide in the back of Stripes was excellent. Painting 15mm infantry was a challenge since I've not done in it a while but they look pretty good. I might put an extra highlight on some of it. Not sure. Good enough for the mo at any rate. I might even do a second one and run Marine rifles with LAV support in TY.

Next time: 
A battle report I think. I have a couple of projects to finish for my mid-war Italians and, as I've booked in a game at our next club meeting with Pelarel, I should get them done so I can use them!

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Stop. Hammer Time.

So the 40K universe has always been one of my favourites to play in. I love the slightly over the top, gothic "there is only WAR" vibe. I enjoy the aliens races that exist in the universe and the slightly dystopian bureaucracy that is the Imperium of Man.

Now, I wouldn't say that I have a predilection for armies where the fluff is mostly about fire and burning heretics but other people would absolutely say that. And I do play Menoth AND Teutonic Order, so no real surprises when I went straight down the Inquisition road and decided to play Deathwatch for 40K. I've blogged them before (although not as much as I thought, apparently) but I've done as much as I can do with that army - other than a Terminator Chaplain and Terminator Librarian, both of which are on the shopping list.

When I started thinking about expanding out of Deathwatch, it was only logical that I headed towards the other arms of the Inquisition (and that train of thought wasn't hurt by Pooch lending me one of the Eisenhorn novels...) and it made sense to add a small contingent of Guard, some Inquisitors and some Grey Knights. And here are those Grey Knights.

I went with Voldus and a bodyguard of Paladins after I picked up Gripping Beast's Teutonic Command pack for my IMPETVS army and it came with the Grand Master and his Standard Bearer. And that got me thinking. Grand Masters of Space Marine Chapters should probably go into battle with their own standards, Hearthguard and other such things. And so this little detachment of silly was born.

Stop. Hammer Time. 

Voldus' Champion

Voldus' Standard
Flag detail
Voldus' Bodyguard
MEDIC! 

Grey Knight Tech Support

This collection was created as a step towards the army I've always wanted to play in 40K - a big old Inquisitorial task-force with a mix of Guardsmen, Inquisition, Imperial Agents and Space Marine specialists (i.e. Eisenhorn + Deathwatch for Xenos or Coteaz + Grey Knights for Malleus and something something I don't know yet with Greyfax) but so far, this list is not to be. And now that self-contained Rogue Trader crews are apparently going to be a thing in both Kill Team and 40K, I'd like to include those as well because again, the idea of an Inquisitor requisitioning a Rogue Trader ship to go somewhere stupid to do something absurdly dangerous is rather appealing as a narrative. 

The oddness of the model choices here is about meeting the requirements of a complete Vanguard detachment because that's now the only way I can include Grey Knights in my mixed up force list in a Matched Play situation like a competition or a pickup club game (yes, I know, Narrative exists for fluff bunnies like me but that takes organising and it doesn't lend itself to more routine gaming.) And now, with the formalising of the Battle Brothers rule and the detachment limits in the Rule of Three, I can now only ever play part of the list since having all the little bits and bobs thrown together is simply against the rules.

I was going to publish a long and tiresome rant about this but honestly, once I got to the TL;DR and realised I get it and I have no other practical solutions, I guess I just have to live with it. So with that said, I can but hope that someday we get a proper Inquisition codex that allows for mixed detachments of specific Ordos and maybe, just maybe, I get to have my super fluffy, utterly terrible, list in real life.

What's next?
Good question. I feel I need to commit to something as I'm running low on half-finished projects that the blog is helping me get done. I'm going to say the next instalment will be a completed TY Marine platoon and hopefully some WIP pics of the LAV company although that depends on if Pelarel and his airbrush can spare some time to base coat them for me! :)

Saturday, 22 September 2018

For the Emperor!

So, Pelarel picked up Wrath and Glory, the new 40k RPG, on RPG day so we're going to play through the canned adventure in a couple of weeks time. We had a look at the characters a month or so ago and I realised I had or could easily make five of the six characters. Wanting to play Inquisition in 40k tends to mean you do collect a fairly random collection of things...

With that in mind, here's the crew:


Sergeant Gael Harden of the Cadian Shock Troops.
I have a bunch of mostly assembled Cadians on my painting desk. Why this one? Sweet shades yo!  And it was a good chance to paint one up in a scheme that I thought I'd like (and I do) and now I'm quite looking forward to doing the other 34....


Battle Brother Trojon Kull of the White Scars
As I said a few weeks back when I put this dude together, I've wanted to do a Reiver for my Fortis Kill Team in 40k and he'll drop nicely into my DW Kill Team too. The skull helmets are an amazing little detail and I love how he towers over the Guardsman.


Commissar Victor(ia?) Linn of the Astra Militarum
Pooch really wanted to play the Commissar so picked up this sweet sweet model from the Start Collecting Astra Militarum box. I have one of these waiting to get done myself. The model isn't quite the one referenced by the game but who cares? It's too pretty not to use.

Pater Nemoris - Preacher of the Ecclesiastes
This was one of those 'I love this model, I'm buying it, I'll work out what to do with it later' type things. But the autogun and the giant book on a stick. Such an Imperial emblem.

Battle Sister Henna Orten of the Adepta Sororitas
This is one from Scotty's collection and it's definitely typical of GW miniatures of that generation. They really have some lovely character and touches - pulling the pin on the grenade with her teeth? Epic.


Lady Yrmilla Aleretta of the Inquisition
I picked this Crusader up off TradeMe missing it's left hand and shield. A bit of green stuff to repair the cloak hem and sleeve and a new hand and boom! Again, not a reflection of the Acolyte in the RPG but it has all the iconography and is slightly scary in a 'You! Is that Heresy I see?' kind of way.


And the obligatory 'before we go off on a quest' group shot:
Go Team What Could Possibly Go Wrong? 


I have a couple of other little projects for my 40K army that are *nearly* done so will be here soon but not yet and I have just finished the assembly on my 45 point Team Yankee army for a local club event at the end of the year.

Next time:
Some Grey Knights, a tiny detachment of VERY elite troopers led by the Grand Master, Voldus himself, that will come to play with my Guardsman and a certain Inquisitor from the Ordo Hereticus *cough* Greyfax *cough*

Friday, 14 September 2018

Dracula's America


Before I get into the piccies and broadly what happened, can I just say that the game is delightfully fun. The mechanics are solid, setting the turn order using playing cards adds a nice touch of random (and the chance to occasionally trump the turn and get to go first) and losing models is actually surprisingly difficult (right Tank? Right?) which keeps all the players in the game.

Claremont

McBeth, Tank Engine and I set out this weekend to teach me how to play DracAm in Tank's lovely little Old West town of Claremont.

Tank's Plains Indians, my Crossroads Cultists and McBeth's Damned Confederates were all trying to sneak our loot off one of the other player's deployment. We deployed, rolled up our ulterior motives and set to work.

Cultists! 
Indians!

Town was unprepared for the drama that was to descend upon it, with the local barkeep having met the Stage and a well-to-do lady visiting Claremont.
Impending drama
The Confederates came from the North West, the Indians from the South West and the Cultists from the East. The Confederate ghostly gunslinger made his way into Main Street and scared off the Chinese prospector!
The Confederates arrive
The Crossroads Cult began by summoning Greeblies to attack the town. The small 'Hellhound' was summoned almost every turn and the big scary Behemoth discovered the slow walk across town was going to take him a while!
Greebly!
The Indians played the board edges and while one of their Skinwalking Wolves was shot down by a Confederate Zombie (I refer you to last weeks comment about McBeth and rolling 6s) the rest snuck up on the Cult.
Indians sneaking up to Main Street
The small 'Hellhound' ran into Main Street and took the first of the Cults two hostages, who was promptly shot down by the Conferedate ghostly gunman. The hostage, not the Greebly. The Greebly took another hostage and attempted to close with the Indians leaning to this scene:
Post-Greebly Hostage Taking
Turns out a Greebly with a hostage is no match for an Indian with a rifle. This was rather the story of the game, as both mine and Tank's shenanigan creatures were repeatedly gunned down by basic six-guns. At least I could keep summoning mine although it did impact on my team performance since it chewed up three actions a turn to get both the Greebly's back in play and it meant my Summoners barely left their deployment zone!
Angry Greebly is Angry
Some intense gunfighting between the Cult's Bandito allies and the Indians led to one very angry Indian shooting like a boss and gunning down a small Greebly basically every turn.
The Anti-Greebly Indian
Much despair was had as we hadn't managed to throw down identical cards to get a supernatural event! When we finally did, it turned out Rogan's Bar was haunted and a man who summons demons for a living ran off while his demonic ally stood there and cowboyed up!
A Spirit scares off the Chief Cultist but not his Harbinger Friend

McBeth took the game in the end, 10 VPs to Tanks 2 and my 1, which was a good win for him - he made the most of his advantages while Tank and I spent a lot of time figuring out what ours didn't do well. The after game is a hoot - not as dependent on your in game performance as after games in classic Necromunda or Frostgrave. McBeth has taken a big lead in cash, and will probably maintain his numerical superiority (zombies aside) but Tank and I have both picked up some slightly better dudes and a bit more of a clue about how our crews are supposed to work so that should balance out.

More DracAm is definitely on the cards. It's a nice shift from regular cowboys and the supernatural offers a really nice little tweak on the well known cowboy tropes.

Next time: 
My chunk of the crew for our 40K Wrath and Glory canned adventure and a few other 40K goodies I've finished recently. There might even be a small TY preview if you're lucky and I'm organised.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Nananananananana.....

BATMAN!!

One of half a dozen possible Batmans (Batmen?) from the BMG.
Unusually for the denizens of this blog, someone (Pooch) talked me into playing Knight Models Batman. Pooch collected a Joker crew and so, while in a city with a decent game store or two a couple of years back, I picked up a few bits. We played some games and my small Brave and thre Bold crew went down in a screaming heap. I needed more options.

ARROW'D! 
Tank Engine, and a profoundly cheap sale at an online store, got me the bits I needed and one I particularly wanted. More cops, more SWAT and Hawk Girl, the sassiest of superheroes, especially when it comes to mocking the hell out of Bats.
Bad Cop, Good Cop

GCPD Detective and Lt Brandon

GCPD Beat Cops
How do I like BMG? Very much. I mostly prefer the heroes in the MCU, but there are a few gems in the DCU. Hawk Girl, Green Arrow, Huntress and others who aren’t quite so painfully moralistic or serious in their portrayals. So playing a Batman crew was actually an option. The fact that I can chop and change my Boss and Sidekick mix from a choice of Batman, Green Arrow and Jim Gordon (and Arsenal as well) and then fill out the crew with the GCPD is really sweet. If I focus on the GCPD, I can look to Huntress, Hawkgirl or either of the Arrows to fill out the force with the superhero goodness it needs to be sweet.

Two of the Three Birds of Prey
The game involves allocating your actions and prepping your turn before following it through which makes for a really interesting tactical challenge - making the most of your resources is a known challenge.

It has some neat little features, very fitting with the Batman vibe - the game is always played at night, so guns don’t dominate (and a good thing too as they fricking hurt), the heroes are generally trying NOT to kill people and the winning of the game is about achieving objectives - like turning on the Batsignal or solving Riddler puzzles - alongside taking out the foes who are preventing this.

What don’t I like? Only the layout of the rulebooks, their lack of an index and the occasional obvious gap in the rules (can you move out of combat?) However, you can download them for free so that definitely helps.

Overall, it’s a sweet game and, now that the SWAT cops are painted, it is all on.

Next time:
Pictures and a recap of my first game of Dracula's America with McBeth and Tank. It was great  fun, with some interesting strategic depth and, without giving too much away, let's just say McBeth will do well while we're mostly rolling D6s.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

A few construction projects

Honestly, I'm trying to get back into the habit of this. I've not been spending a lot of time with the brushes in the last little while and have been looking for a bit of inspiration. I'm hoping getting back to blogging about the things I'm working on will be it.

So a couple of the magpies got into their heads that given we have been known to play Dead Mans Hand and In Her Majesty's Name, we should probably look at Dracula's America as well. After a read of the rules, it looks very cool, so I set about pondering what I could do with my existing collection of Mexican banditos and peons. I had a couple of monks floating around that looked like they'd make good cultists (a robe is a robe right?) with a bit of a repaint, but to play Crossroads Cult, I needed a Harbinger - a demon who takes human-ish form to 'help' the Cult summon demons. Cue some spare Ungor horns and a giant rat tail provided by Pooch:

NO! You must summon harder! 
My other little project is a GW easy-build Primaris Reiver. I've been meaning to get one for ages and a recent game of Kill Team with Scotty and Pooch convinced me he'd be a good add. It's simple enough to DW-ify - I filed down the right pauldron, till I could slot a normal marine shoulder pad over it and for the left arm, I was looking to replace the shoulder with a normal marine shoulder when I realised that a Reiver combat knife is about the same length as a normal marine's power sword. So I just added a power sword.
Hippity hoppity, where's my property?
He's going to do triple duty - he'll go in the Fortis Kill Team in my 40k Deathwatch army and likely make the field as part of a Deathwatch Kill Team in Kill Team (how many times can I say Kill Team in a sentence?). He will also appear in our groups upcoming canned 40k 'Wrath and Glory' RPG. My little Inquisition collection is producing four of the six PCs. Which reminds me, I better paint a guardsman!

Now, in a feature I'm shamelessly borrowing from Tim over at Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog (along with his impressive capacity for posting!), I'm going to try putting in a next time thing to make me actually post something.

Next time: 
Some piccies of my recently completed Batman Brave and the Bold crew, complete with Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Green Arrow and a few other comic book faves. And a lot of policemen. A lot.