Monday, 18 June 2018

Hungarian Toldi Tank (20mm)

This wee beastie from IBG Models caused me no end of heartache. Whereas the other recent builds were "fast-builds" this brute was an intriguing subject but as a light tank was by definition small. Sadly it was old school, as in "many, many parts - including the tracks". I persevered, but where I would contemplate making other Panzer III Ausf As or Panzer II Ausf As,the Toldi Mark 1 will be a lonely child. It is definitely a "modelling project" *see below): 

The assembled product is seen below. I could have made the other three IBG Models kits in the same time as I made this one and probably caught up on an episode or two of a Netflix favourite. The suspension is the most interesting part to me from an engineering sense. The rear wheel is flat to the floor unlike other German and Allied tanks. After the delicate wheel and track assembly was put together I had to take my heart in my mouth and press the whole thing to the floor to make it look like the picture on the box lid. Thankfully it did not break in the process otherwise an grown man's sobs would have filled the internet (see below):

It will be a long, long, long time before I get three of these for a game of "What a Tanker!" First I need a Jack Daniels and Coke! In words from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: "The Horror! The Horror!"

PS: Looking back it's "a very nice to have" but what a problematic birth. I need to get my hands on some Hundarian WWII Infantry now. Surely HaT should be able to help ;)

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 5) Meat grinder and the Locals Bug Out - New Kid on the Block (Yaeter: Top Dog for Today)

Missile after missile hits the tank to no apparent effect. It's retun fire is getting dangerous as there is only so much punishment even hi-tech armour can take. Then much to the surprise of the Yaeter the Zard forces show hidden capabilities. The 'Zard Tank' in fact turns out in fact to be an APC as infantry de-bus (see below, the Zard Commander was one ice-cool dude as I thought it was purely a big old fashioned gun bus):

The inevitable happens, a Yaeter Trooper is dropped. The problem with small squad sizes is that morale can be brittle, so one fail can scupper you. The Zards despite their losses are holding firm. Thankfully the Yeater pass their first morale test! The "pinned and pinning" element of the Yaeter plan is starting to unravel. There are half a dozen Zards down but they are have a persistent gun-line with reinforcements pouring in (see below):

To the relief of Alpha Squad the de-buse Zard infantry shots "miss" and they find themselves exposed and are picked off  by a combination of Omega sniping and Alpha shooting. The Gamma Commander orders Beta Squad to close with the enemy's flank (the pivot part of the operation) but this is risky as it means a bare-assed run across open ground. The Zard hold their nerve and drop two Yaeter - another tense morale test is passed [helped in no small way by the Omega Commander's iron resolve]. The Yeater retreat back to cover. They seem to be in a no win stand-off where extraction will be problematic (see below):

Then Delta Squad comes in with a hard punch to the deep flank an rear of the Zard occupies Shanty Complex. Unhindered by a very quiet and defensive New Pole force who seem to be very content in watching these interesting events unfold they 'double timed' across the brojen ground and occupied excellent shooting positions in parallel Shanty buildings. The rounds of laser fire came as a complete surprise to the Zards who were fixated to their front. A careful Omega Sniper Team (Two) took care to take out the NCO. The resulting failed morale test put the Zards on a very defensive footing (see below):   

This was ruthlessly exploited, as while the Zards were rallying, a second round of flanking fire decimated the original Zard and reinforcement infantry. Effective resistance dissolved (there was nobody left to take a morale test) and the vehicles "bugged out" (see below): 

The Yaeter took the ground and advanced on the landing pad (where the Attack Shuttle had previously been) and searched the buildings for intelligence. The Zards escaped by virtue of their faster movement on vehicles while in the words of the New Poles leader, "I give the Yaeter this day, tomorrow may be another matter".

Great game, loved the figure collections on display and yes I would like to play another game. I do have the urge to expand the Yaeter arsenal and equipment roster .. in a low-budget controlled fashion. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 4) The Firefight Starts

The Yaeter are a little put off by the appearance of the "Zard tank". Still the Yaeter are missile armed (AT and AA) so they "may" make short work of it and turn it into scrap. There is only one plus a scout car that looks like a crazy Beach Buggy (see below):

Yikes here comes the tank, rather too confidently for my liking (see below, nice paint job, beautiful weathering):

Yaeter's "Alpha Squad" come under fire but weather the storm of  long range 'normal kinetic' and 'magnetically accelerated kinetic' rounds (I am getting to dislike that Zard Tank and its upgraded infantry weaponry). However this action seems to come as an unpleasant surprise to the Zard as they expected much better results. One has to think that they would have killed the New Poles by now, but the hi-tech armour of the Yaeter has defeated their "Frontal Attack Option A" (see below, the Yaeter go "prone" and 'hug the dirt' like a pro):

The return Yaeter fire is even more of a concern to the Zard as an Omega Ream (One) pulls of an impossible shot and takes out a Zard Squad Commander. The round is not kinetic and burns straight through the Zard Personal Protective Armour (ZaPPAr) patent protection against all be the heaviest New Pole "shots", as if it wasn't there (see below):

The Yaeter Gamma Commander takes stock of the situation: Alpha Squad is in the process of either "pinning the enemy's attack" or will be "pinned by the enemy's attack" (aka somebody has to be under the guns), Beta Squad with himself should "pivot" in the middle to 'flank the enemy' while Delta Squad will angle in to "punch" into the rear of the enemy formation. Looks good on paper but so does any bold combination of arrows and circles. The question is can they pull it off before attrition goes against the Yaeter small squad size (see below, bottom left: Alpha (pin); middle left: Beta and Gamma (pivot) and top left: Delta (have to scamper across to throw a punch) .. well that's the plan, but will anybody be left by the time Delta show up?):

The Zard infantry scamper through the 'Shanty Town' making good use of its cover, however the Yeater advanced weaponry still takes it toll and pins them behind heavy cover, whereas the Zard Tank brazenly rolls up the Yaeter position (how many Starship Troopers can hide behind a rock?). Rather than suffer another exchange of cannon fire the Yaeter Squad Leader instruct Missile Man to let loose the 'bang stick' (see below):

Hoping for a spectacular explosion the Yaeter troopers are sorely disappointed. Rather than a mini-HMS Hood style magazine explosion there is a "whimper of a fizz" and a puff of smoke. Critical damage perhaps? No, it almost immediately starts firing back. This seems to be an old fashioned tank with hardened armour, plus reactive charged panels and ECMs. The Yaeter missile seems to be suffering from a little bit of space fatigue and is adjusting to the new aerodynamics of the planets atmosphere. Still the Zard finds this anti-armour capability an unpleasant surprise in itself, which is a not a bad thing, as it may make them more cautious and buy a bit of extra time for Delta Squad to move up (see below, nothing more than a ricochet, also note the military beach buggy in the background):

Next: Hard Rain Gonna Fall .. but exactly where?

Friday, 15 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 3) Yaeter dispositions, almost ready to start "Shooting" sir!

The Yaeter right flank, Alpha Squad of Star Gruntz advances: 1 NCO (hand waving), three Troopers, a SAW Gunner and a Missile Man (see below, and what a bonus two rocks for cover, advancing towards the 'shanty town' - anyone remember "Precinct 9"?):

Beta Squad (as per Alpha composition) and the the Gamma Commander advance in the centre, almost to touching distance with the Shanty Town (see below, tactical tip -shoot the man in the middle he looks important):

Omega One (Sniper Team) sets up on the high ground immediately behind Alpha, Beta and Gamma to give long range covering fire (see below - they look the part IMHO):

Delta Squad (as per Alpha Squad composition) take the extreme left which has noticeably less cover (and less enemies so no sympathy here); understandably they have the "urge" to move fast to get to behind some nice rocks (see below):

Omega Two (another Sniper Team) "have Delta's six" on the high ground immediately behind them(see below, notice the "ah hoc" Star Wars style communication equipment alongside them - I love Sci-Fi, with a bit of imagination you can use anything and everything - I don't know what it fell off but it looks the part):

In the far distant the 'New Poles' Command Team take stock of the situation. Everybody and everything is far too distant to shoot at [or so I think/hope]. They look 'low tech' in comparison to the Yaeter (for example the Yaeter Command Team numbers "two" for the same price of the New Pole six). There seems to be a lot of confused chatter over the air waves as the communication spy software intercepts a weird guttural message "Bok de Duk Essie Dat?" [Ed: Google Translater = "Honourable Commander Sir I detect strange white suited "men" [alternative translation: "things"] in the distant who look like "undersea divers" [alternative translation: "dental nurses"] what tactical formation should we adopt?" (see below, nice hair cuts):

The main swarm of New Poles gather in the lee of the protective ridge-line (see below, a milling mob or an all round defence?):

Meanwhile closer to home in the 'Shanty Town', sinister shadows slip between the buildings carrying heavy duty ordnance. These seem to be the more "clear and present danger" to the Yaeter. The Yaeter Commander switches his tactical focus accordingly (see below): 

Action now seems imminent: "Laser batteries ready to discharge! Setting locked to kill."

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 2) Things Start Rolling

The Yaeter recon probe detects a "Mechanical Mobile" response unit approaching and initiates a "recall protocol" (see photograph below), evidence of a higher level of technology than expected with a disturbingly quick response from the local inhabitants (see below, unknown high specification APC identified - I am envious to own one of these beautiful beasts from GZG but am also fearful of the cost of "meching-up", my 15mm Sci-Fi is low budget at the moment):

Humanoid troops deploy, obviously trained but looking relatively lightly armed with kinetic weapons (see below):

The Yaeter Attack Shuttle "assault jumps" the landing pad acting as a large noisy distraction exercise as the probe is picked up. The attention seeking "Attack Shuttle" masks an off-table deployment of a Yaeter light infantry tactical unit (see below, a Star Wars - Clone Wars model in 15mm [approx] got from The Works for a tenner a few, few years ago - I knew it would come in handy one day [another model fulfils its wargaming destiny]):

First stage extraction complete "signal lift off" by traditional officer hand-wave (see below, "Combat Technical Staff" re-embark):

Meanwhile small APC drop-ships [aka Star Wars Republic Gunships] deploy three sections and a command team off-table (see below - the Yaeter OoB laid out: Alpha, Beta and Delta Light Infantry Assault Squads, Omega One and Omega Two Sniper Pair and the Gamma Commander):

The game board. Three sided. The Yaeter advance from the bottom upward, strung out in an "advance to contact" linear formation towards the disorientated Zard "Mobile Technical Column" (anything they could get moving filled up with troops packing ordanance). Meanwhile the 'New Polish' faction have deployed to the top of photograph on high ground and on the reverse slope. Their viewpoint seems to be rather "targets of opportunity" as the as yet unidentified White Suited Travellers (Yaeter) seem to be causing their local adversaries some welcome discomfort (see below):

The mission for the Yaeter Commander is to test the mettle of the local inhabitants, discover their preferred tactics and minimise "combat trauma" to the precious resource of Yaeter Light Infantry. As a secondary objective, the Commander is mindful that there might be potential local Allies as well as belligerents present.

Next: Fire and Movement - Combat School

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 1) Dirt Side with the Sand Dwellers

This one is a long standing entry on the wargaming "bucket list" to do: Star Gruntz. With my 15mm Yaeter painted it was time to go adventuring!

Planet-fall on AZ3499-Q: Yeater Recon Mission: Advance to Contact

AZ3499-Q is a sparsely populated humanoid mining outpost. Orbital sweeps have detected low to middle tech organic resources probably of "militia level"; kinetic and simple energy weaponry. Planetary communication systems were at one time present but now have degraded capability. The low setting sun stirs soft shadows on the arid terrain of a selected 'inhabited' outpost. The ramshackle dwellings are prefabricated with a low energy signature. Artificial Intelligence (AI) assessment: Low to Medium probability of civilised habitation. Lack of detectable external movement and static infrastructure indicates this is at best an out-reach settlement possibly deserted for part of the annual cycle. The red sand is barren and infertile; there is no sign of enclosed agriculture micro pods - you take what you need to eat and drink (see below):

Low level drone passes detect nothing of particular interest but seem to confirm the AI prediction (see below):

The few low level energy signatures are assumed to be from primitive maintenance or robotic activity. The corrugated metallic structures show extremely  heavy wear and tear by exposure to the elements but are still structurally intact (see below):

An advanced Yeater recon probe settles down on the "dust-pad". The detected energy signatures confirm the drone's initial remote analysis. However unbeknown to the Yaeter the probe's landing has been detected by remote sensing equipment left behind by the primitive warring factions that remain in this region of the planet (see below, yes it is an Airfix Apollo Moon Lander cast off from the Saturn 1B kit that has now fulfilled its wargaming destiny):

Which causes an alert to the local "New Polish" forces who have to travel "on-foot" (see below):

And also the more mechanised "Zard" detaching a mobile scout force (see below):

Both sides suspect the others involvement. Technically the "Zard" are in ownership of the settlement but ownership is ninety nine hundredths of the law on AZ3499-Q. Both local militia sides are completely unaware of the Yaeters planetary operations. A Yaeter combat "Away Team" are sent to inspect the semi-deserted settlement.