Tuesday, 22 April 2014

HMS Implacable gets a "It's Rigging"

I had 'almost' finished drilling holes in the ship. One last one to do remained. Two thirds the way up the 'middle sail' a hole needed to be gently drilled to fix a rope to the top of the 'aft sail'. Instead of a quick clean turn I seemed to have to resort to more force than usual. As I was wondering why this should be so I felt a peculiar and unpleasant sensation in my forefinger :(

Warning: Small metal modelling drills can be more dangerous than you think! OK not quite a trip to A&E (aka a UK hospital) but a stinging reminder to keep drill points sharp so you can keep more control over the drilling process (see below the result of complacency):

Medic! Looks like I'll live!

But please note the small (nay tiny) diameter of the puncture wound, but I drilled it quite deep all because of the "gunked-up" super-glue on the end of the drill tip. Please don't try this at home (see below):

After a medicinal "cup of tea" I got back to the business of rigging, a slow and tedious affair which I am still trying to perfect (see below):

Steady as she goes, no need to rush this bit (see below):

Otherwise you will curse yourself as you see your beloved model tumble before your eyes and bounce off the carpet. Maybe it was down to the numb finger, or maybe I should have just taken a break, but I was almost finished before tragedy struck :(

Sigh, I twisted and straightened it but the bow-spit still looks a bit bent (see below):

I soldiered (or should that be sailor-ed) on and finally finished her to join the squadron of Royal Navy 74's ready to serve the crown (see below):  

Next (after a small healing interlude): Some opposition from the French Navy

Monday, 21 April 2014

HMS Implacable gets a "Lick of Paint"

My third Navwar 1/1200 Royal Navy "ship of the line" circa third rate (74), HMS Implacable, comes across the Painting Tray. The sails and deck and wooden walls get the standard three colour (shade, base and highlight) treatment and 'most' of the holes are already pre-drilled for the rigging stage (see below, sails to the foreground):

HMS Implacable is another example of a captured French warship (aka the ex-French Duguay-Trouin) that provided useful service to the Royal Navy. 

To distinguish her from the other captured Frenchman, aka HMS Canopus (previously the Le Franklin) I painted the top of her deck cabins red. Hence she can now be identified at a distance as the "red" ship so the base does not have to be picked up and annoyingly moved (never to be put back into quite the same place) from the wargames table (see below, hull now to the foreground):

While still in the painting phase I did a small trial run with the masts as a precursor to the fiddly rigging stage to see that all was well (see below):

Can you spot the difference?

I do tend to stare a lot at the 1/1200 Napoleonic Ships after I've finished the initial "painting stage" and before the treacherous "rigging stage". I think it is just a case of building up confidence before going on (see below):

Answer: The difference between the two shots being the consumption of a cup of tea by me. ;)

In Formation:

My squadron of Royal Navy 74's or 74'ish as HMS Canopus is technically an 80 gunner. I am also viewing basing sizes for the "card stock" sea I have to mount them on. There has been enough tumbling ships to date to fill my lifetime, so a more secure means of handling my Napoleonic ships is sought (see below, going left to right  HMS Thunderer, HMS Canopus and the "red" HMS Implacable):

Next: The Damned Rigging (Again)

Sunday, 20 April 2014

New Kid In Town "Blogging"

Hot tip check out TWTRB aka "Tomorrow when the Revolution Begins":

A very good read over a variety of subjects, from WW2 Matildas and Chi-Ha's to atomising city blocks and terrain-scaping them into ruins (Sci-Fi but usable for WW2 and the like). Also mentor to 16 Platoon's new commander in the Normandy "Chain of Command" campaign and knows his WW2 stuff.

I am waiting keenly for when his attention turns to Impetus and other gaming systems :)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Project and Painting Table Review:

"Who am I?", "what an I?" and "Where am I?" are my most confusing questions. As of January 1st 2014 I certainly did not think I would be donning a "Napoleonic Naval" cap in March/April, but as the old adage goes "variety is the spice of life!")

Active Projects:
  • Playing and Making: Napoleonic Naval (1/1200)
  • Playing and Making: (1/72:20mm) WWII 'Chain of Command' Skirmish (Normandy + others?)
  • Currently Reading: Ancients Marathon/Xenophon/Sparta and Thebes
Projects "To Pick back up": 
  • Ready and Waiting: WWII (1/200) Battalion Attack (Phil Sabin) v Miniature Rules (time to test some miniature rules [Spearhead, BGC, CDIII] against the same scenario)
  • Ready and Waiting: WWII "Plastic Kit" construction Backlog aka "The Plastic and Metal;  Mountain" - paused for respite and ready for second wind
  • Ready and Waiting: Ancients: Peloponnesian War (15mm) "The First Battle of Mantinea"  418BC using BBDBA (Big Battle DBA)
Future (and de-hibernated) Projects - "The Shape of Things to Come"(?): 
  • More Preparation Required: Circus Maximus (6mm) Avalon Hill Board (Ancient Race Horse in Chariots) Game
  • Undercoated and Ready to Start Painting: Impetus Army Unit Expansion: (25mm/28mm) Mounted Harquebusier Unit for Renaissance Period "Maximilian-Landschneckts" 
  • Army in Early Stages of Collection: (25mm/28mm) ECW Covenanter/Montrose Armies
  • Naval Musings (1) Ships Acquired but Intellectual Thoughts (Aka Rules)/Historical Reading Required : WWI/WW2 [Jutland/Bismarck Chase/Early Pacific War] 
  • Naval Musings (2) In Minds Eye Only: A strange attraction with sailing ships seems to be developing [Napoleonic has started it up (see above)] but then there is the Spanish Armada, Dutch Wars and Salamis to contend with (the latter been a "project" I know I must do)
"That's all for now folks" ... but like every other wargamer I can think of I would be very disappointed if I could not find even more material in the "loft" that I had totally forgotten about that goes "active" (did I mention my crazy 2mm Napoleonics or more traditional 15mm Franco-Prussians?)


Friday, 18 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (6) - Cold Sheffield Steel and Shrapnel Hell

The End Came Quickly:

Another unexpected twist in the Chain of Command sequence of play. This time the British gained the advantage by throwing three sixes in their 'command phase' meaning they get a flip-flop turn and 'go again', which meant more "mortar hell" for the Germans. Pity (a rather insincere comment from the British Commander) as the Germans were waiting patiently to play an 'end of turn' Chain of Command die to stop that "mortar barrage" smothering their baseline squads. Instead their baseline morale started to crumble with British Infantry (Second Squad from 16 Platoon) poised ready for a close assault (see below):

In Second Squad went, but there was nobody left! A couple of skull markers representing KIA but there were no German defenders, the mortar barrage had certainly done its job (see below):

Meanwhile the 'cheeky' German Panzer Grenadiers had inadvertently left themselves exposed to Third Squads counter attack led by the Senior NCO from 16 Platoon. It is lucky that British Platoons find themselves with an abundance of NCO commanders who have earned their stripes at the 'sharp end'. Although no kills were scored, half the Panzer Grenadiers were left incapacitated in a severe state of shock and the threat to the British Right Flank was abated (see below):

The Britisg victory was sealed when the British Commander personally took control of "Grey House" second floor Bren section, having judiciously re-positioned it and with a deadly burst KIA'ed a Panzer Grenadier. The will to fight on departed from the Germans and the German Commander decided to bail out (see below):

As Wellington said "It was a close run thing". In this instance the breaks went to the British just when they needed it most.

The next campaign scenario follows up the British advance through the village on the heels of the retreating Germans. 16 Platoon's adventure continues.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (5) - Mister Mortar Unleashes Hell

Darkest before the Dawn: 

It seemed like it was well and truly falling apart for the British. The advance of the German Panzer Grenadiers on the British Right seemed to suggest 16 Platoon were going to go the way of 12 Platoon in a viscous MG42 crossfire. Even the first attempt at bringing in a ranging shot for the mortar landed off-table somewhere near Caen. This did not translate to a portent of good fortune.

However the second ranging shot was "spot on" (see below):

This was translated into an immediate "Fire For Effect" (see below):

This had a devastating effect on the Germans, not just the German Squads underneath it but the German player morale. The German defensive strategy was suddenly scuppered. They had already used their scenario freebie "Chain of Command" dice to gain a tactical advantage earlier on and could not simply end the turn, which would stop the murderous barrage.

Each German team (two teams to each German squad, so four teams in total were effected) caught in the barrage was attacked with 4d6 with a 50:50 chance of a 'hit' and then a subsequent 'roll for effect' with a 50:50 chance of attaining an effect (shock or KIA), thus hurting the affected team. Nasty odds in an gaming system. Hunkering down in hard cover was no longer a sound defensive option but more of a coffin-maker.

The only way out the German Commander could see was to squeeze the hard pressed British right flank even  harder with the German Panzer Grenadiers to enfilade the whole British position (see below):

Just as the German commander's morale was wilting the German luck gets a lucky break and he gets his long sort after "Chain of Command" dice to to end the turn and the three inch mortars, what had been thought of as the saviour of the British PBI, falls deathly silent.

The situation was critical. The last thing the British needed was the German baseline infantry squads to recover and suppress the British Infantry in "Grey House" while the Panzer Grenadier enfiladed them from the rear.

The young British Commanding Officer called to his FOO in the upper floor. "We need those mortars now FOO!" To which the cool reply came, "We need to register again, I've got a new battery on the net, they'll be firing off co-ordinates." The young Lieutenant knew this would take too much precious time. "Now 'Bomber'! Now! I need them now! We don't have any bloody time!" Again a cool calculated composed response from the FOO, "Risky 'Sir'?" This time the Lieutenant's response was cool and calculated but rather curt, "My call, bring it in."  

The most important roll of the game was made, needing eight or more on 2d6 (slightly against the odds). The umpire nodded at the call, it was desperate times and risk now could make the difference. A nine was rolled, hell was once again unleashed on the German baseline squads, the German Commander grimaced and the British Commander gave a sigh of relief (see below):  

Using the cover of the barrage and direct-fire smoke from the platoon's integral two inch mortar, 16 Platoon's Second Squad moved down the hedgerow to get into an assault position (see below):

Crossing the open ground at a run was not without misfortune though as a rifleman was dropped in a KIA result from what defensive fire the Germans could muster. However Second Squad managed a perfect assault position (see below):

It was now the Germans who were feeling the pressure despite their wonder weapon MG42s.

Next: For Who the Die Rolls

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (4) - Fritz Wakes Up

The German Response:

Was immediate and potent. A German Panzer Grenadier Squad (that's two MG42's and some riflemen to you and me) sitting on the British right flank, the newly deployed Third Squad and Senior NCO from 16 Platoon along with the Sniper Team underneath the wrecked Churchill Tank (see below):

As intimidating was the sight of the numerous grey clad figures of two full German Infantry Squads appearing in the baseline (hard cover) buildings (see below):

The German Panzer Grenadiers soon showed how deadly they could be by moving into position and pouring murderous fire into 16 Platoon's Two Inch Mortar Team, killing the loader. This was an introduction to the "if you are on table and I can see you then I can shoot at you and kill you" concept of Chain of Command. The only thing that can potentially save you is the amount and quality of cover you are in (see below):

The deadly German ("b@$|@&d") Panzer Grenadiers shown in their 'killing posture' (see below):

Being on the receiving end of concentrated fire from two MG42 is not a nice experience. I have to admit to a certain admiration for the weapon though.

Meanwhile the Second Squad of 16 Platoon shuffles slightly left using tactical movement (which increases their use of cover and thus makes them harder to hit) while the First Squad receives a "shock" marker from the attention of the German Infantry Squads in the baseline. The 'hard cover' of "Grey House" saving them from further casualties (see below):    

Then tragedy strikes on the British right flank as Third Squad from 16 Platoon becomes another victim of the German Panzer Grenadiers and their MG42's, sustaining three KIA's (including their NCO) from an unexpected angle. My inexperience of Chain of Command 'line of sight' showing here. The hedgerows were only light cover as I was moving (non tactically) in them and the 'line of sight' extended six inches into them. My confidence was being rocked as I had lost four men in a matter of murderous minutes (see below):

Trying not to panic I tried to hurriedly gather my rather confused thoughts, much to the amusement of the umpire and now gleeful German player. If the call had come for a "Taxi at the bar!" I think I would have taken it at this point.

Next: The British Regroup and introduce the Germans to "Mr Boom, Boom" (a three inch mortar meteor asteroid shower)!