Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Yamato continued

Taking it down to low level hell:

Your bomb doors must now be open, but in all honesty could you say the same for your eyes at this point? Fingers crossed here goes!

Sometimes when you get your teeth into something you are not quite satisfied until you get a little more from it. The 1/3000 scale Yamato was actually painted after its slightly bigger 1:1200 Revell brother here (in fact sister, as the kit I have is in fact of the Musashi.)

I was seeking some meat to the bone and my crazy collection of plastic 1:1200 ships (long forgotten about in a cupboard) came to my rescue. All I need now is for Airfix to re-release their old 1:1200 "Sink the Bismarck" ships so I can get my hands on the old HMS Hood:)

[Footnote: A little bit of after the fact internet research shows that the yellow decking should extend slightly further forward on the 1:1200 model, well I'm not going to have a sleepless night over that, I'll putit down on the future Sunday afternoon job list.]

One fine day (in retirement) I may get round to doing her in 1/700 as those Japanese kits are beautiful (I fear I'll never move up to the motorised 1/350). Wargaming wise this is all crazy as even 1/3000 seems too large at times for tabletop naval battles without the aid of a ballroom.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Yamato Progress

The (painted) Yamato is spotted! Coming down from on high:

Getting bigger and bigger all the time.

Will your luck hold or the murderous flak get you?

The ocean effect courtesy of an artist stretched canvas, thinly smeared in flexible filler (hence the ridgy cracked nature), painted dark blue. It is a WIP experimentation inspired from some comments posted on the awargamingodyssey blog (a nice recommended read).

Monday, 29 March 2010

Painting tray update "Something Naval" the IJNS Yamato in 1:3000

At last, after three months of modelling inactivity I get my fingers moving. Small steps but the Pacific War project has spawned some painting tray activity at last. The Navwar 1:3000 Yamato, the biggest of the big in WWII battleship terms.

A little bit of filing and gluing needed.

Unusually for such a small beastie there are five parts to assemble, but then again the design of the Yamato means that for the model to be nice and pretty (devoid of the horrendous/hideous barrels to the deck) the turrets go on a separate pieces. Lesser known WWII battleship characters don't quite get this TLC but then again are less likely to be picked up as much (more likely viewed from six feet away).

Next step a bit of paint ...

Friday, 26 March 2010

Ancient Campaign Update: Rome's fate Hanging in the Balance

As the battle progresses it is becoming clear that: The Roman army is of two halves, a major command (being strained to its very limit on the left and holding a very defensive position) and a minor command on the right (still barely touched) looking for somehow to get into a fight and thus is aggressively advancing forward. The pressing danger for the Roman being that if its major command is defeated, then it is game over for the Romans.

The outer Roman right flank has gone, these are all Carthaginian troops in the picture (also see commentary below): 

Carthage has opted for a pre-game deployment of three commands of almost equal thirds. Hannibal is cunningly using them for distinctly different purposes. The most dangerous one of these is the Carthaginian right, still completely intact and is in the process of successfully turning the Roman left flank (the Roman major command) with very mobile fast foot and cavalry.

(The Romasn in this picture [top left] are actually in the Roman dead-pile) The elephant is lining itself up for an attack on a legion flank, two turns away (so it may turn in time).

The Carthaginian centre command (which was comprised of a large number of warband bases) is now approaching its spent status after being hurled into a kill-or-be-killed maelstrom in the centre of the table.  They faced a murderous flank charge by Roman cavalry and suffered, however a huge block of Carthaginian Fast-Blade has been committed to the fight and the outcome is by no means certain.

Nevertheless the near spent Carthagians did succeed in inflicting considerable damage on the Roman main command. It was here in the centre of the table that Rome and Carthage committed their Gallic warband allies to annihilate each other in frenzied assault and counter assault. The result being an almost net zero-sum exchange. 

Worryingly for the Romans those far left bases in the picture (behind the legion) are in fact Carthaginian warbands! He has one turn to counter attack and restore a contiguous front of sorts or face fragmentation.

By some strange force of attraction every non-General stand of Roman cavalry has been drawn into the middle of the battlefield. This mobile force has managed to forge an ad-hoc join between the defensive Roman left wing and the aggressive Roman right wing with an ugly (dangling flanks abound) "Zee" shape, or "two L step".

The elephant breakthrough will probably be very short lived. The "ugly L" is just off camera to the left!

Meanwhile the Carthaginian left is being refused and is siphoning off as many troops as possible to exert pressure on the centre.

Roman success on its right is actually drawing their troops away from where they need to be!

Rome has its next bound to reform into a contiguous line and/or pick off vulnerable Carthaginian units, however there is is a strong possibly of fragmentation and hanging flanks if the Roman chooses to be too eager to pursue local tactical gains.

With some good dice you cannot rule Rome out but a betting man would strongly fancy Carthage to come out on top. Whether that can translate into a telling campaign result is another matter as the Romans can still pull back inside Rome proper and opt to take damage on her walls instead. 

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Ancient campaign Update: Rome in the Hot Seat (again)

And so Hannibal assembled his forces for battle at the Gates of Rome, in so doing he deliberately sacrificed his cavalry superiority (as did Phyrus before him) for a disadvantaged dagger thrust at the heart of what he deemed to be an evil empire. The scene was set for a juicy campaign battle, with Carthage already one up in the series, with all to play for.

Of note, dramatical political events had taken place behind the scenes in Rome, it would be uncharacteristic for this not to happen. Certain powerful Roman senators had obviously been perturbed by the annihilation of their fabled Republican Legions in Gaul. These senate 'armchair generals' had decided to take direct control of the organisation of the army. The battle reports of blades and spears being trampled underfoot by elephants and hacked down by frenzied warbands seemed to have adversely affected their previously granite faith in the traditional Roman Army system. The Carthaginian invaders thus encountered an army that seemed to be manned more by Roman allies, fielding a maximised allied cavalry force, numerous auxillia and warband contingents, in preference to the traditional Roman "strong farming boys" stock-in-trade of blade and spear.

Warband abounded on both sides:

This strategic/operational decision certainly maximised numbers but reduced the important element of quality. More worryingly perhaps for the fate of Rome, the "pickers" of the new Army List then retired safely behind the walls of Rome and left the "Battlefield Generals" to get on with the job with a strange odds-and-sods collection. Interestingly, the Carthaginian Army is a much different force from that what the senators had expected. Abiding by historical restrictions it was without the dreaded elephants but still heavy in auxillia/warband and strong in cavalry, still very much a Carthaginian polyglot. The Carthaginian has to know how to play with and without his "column of many" elephants so is relatively unphased by this.

Hannibal on tabletop leading a mobile column of reserve to where it is needed most.

The Romans deployed defensively, maximising difficult terrain, but importantly left Carthage (aka Hannibal) the opportunity strike first. Carthage chose its preferred flank, refused the other and struck hard. Although it is still early days the Romans have to respond with a good round of combat or face an uphill struggle. In terrain unsuited for quick manoeuvre the Romans (despite being the more numerous) seem to have lost the "local" strength at key points where Carthage wants to win.

To be continued ...

Friday, 12 March 2010

Ancient Campaign Update: Rome takes another pasting

Catching up from the post tabletop battle (a clear Carthaginian win), the casualty rolls (and shifts accorded by various board game "cards in play") meant that the Roman army suffered 40% losses compared to the Carthaginian 10%. Worse still, this was early on in the Carthaginian move. The armies clashed again in terms favourable to the Carthaginian. The Roman army was hit hard and then hit hard again, no point in even taking it to the tabletop. Rome's army counters fell into the dead-pile, dying stoically as only Romans can die. Roman senators were now in panic! Thankfully (small mercies) the Carthaginian army was far away in Gaul.

A legion, one of many, lost in Gaul!

Ah! "The Fates" interfered again in the events of Rome. Next turn: In a use him or lose him fashion "Hannibal" turns up as a Carthaginian commander. Rome burns all its gold to recruit as much of an army as possible. As inevitably Hannibal arrived outside the "Gates of Rome". Once more the smell of panic fills its streets. True Hannibal's attack is at a disadvantage, but again like Phyrus before him "How many times will you get the chance to sack Rome?" The Roman players are feeling a certain "deja vu"!

From the Greek perspective this is good news as we do not have to fight a war on two fronts, with a province pinching Rome on one side and the Seleucid colossus on the other. The looming power struggle (to the death) with the Seleucid Empire is commanding our attention and cannot be put off much longer.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Ancient Campaign Update - Roman Legions lost in Gaul

I managed to pay a visit to my local club and see the tabletop action in our ongoing Pax Romana game: 

The years (25 per turn) roll by and now the memory of Phyrus and his army at the gates of Rome fades as one by one their counters are removed. Rome limbers up to extract a deadly toll against the impertinent Greeks, yet when all looks lost, Pan plays a fateful tune on his pipes that even Cybil cannot deflect.

A random event of insurrection and a slave revolt takes hold of Italy wholesale causing the despatch of legion after legion to quell internal disputes instead of punishing a weakened Greece. Greece reforms what power it can but tussles ineffectively against the steady growing menace of a Seleucid empire, losing ground to their methodical advance. Indeed exotic trading links into the unknown Germanic lands are wisely made by Greece as a future escape avenue from the inevitable Roman and Seleucid expansions in turns ahead.

The real action spreads to the Spanish peninsular, as Carthage grows stronger while Rome is distracted in quelling slaves. The two empires are destined soon to meet on fringes of Gaul and the next campaign generated table-top battle ensues. A hardened Republican force of blade and spear face-off against their erstwhile enemies, a polyglot of Carthaginian foes with elephants, warbands and a backing of pike/spear/cavalry. The rules again are DBMM, but we are finding them hard to play with, though they are considered an improvement over DBM. Fields of Glory (FoG) has its advocates, me amongst them.

The legion deploys.

From early on it boded well for the Carthaginian handlers of elephants and paymasters of ferocious tribesman, as the quick kills on hapless legionnaires mount up. So many elephants they have to move about in column!

The warbands were just as effective!

Rome soon faced an all or nothing situation, a last gasp strategy is soon in play, gambling its fortune on those now tired legionnaires slashing and killing hoping also for a useful contribution from the massed Roman cavalry (well they call it that) that formed a reserve. The result being a quite remarkable turn around against the elephants, but the warbands were steady and eventually took their toll. The legion had to pay the butchers bill. The Roman cavalry did not impress. The post battle campaign attritions are yet to be calculated but the Carthaginian army is set to play a game of "Carry on Catch the Legion" all the way back to the borders of Italy.