Friday 26 October 2012

The Battle of Platea 479BC : Playtest Beta BBDBA - Notes to Self - Persians

Background as to why I am interested to game "The Battle of Platea 479BC"

Having slowly accrued the DBA armies for a "Greeks in Peril" Campaign over the best part of a decade I am keen to see these toys put to some good use. I still have high hopes to run the full campaign in 2012/13 but  as an immediate "wargaming fix" I opted to stage the major land battle of the campaign. That is Platea 479BC as a BBDBA (Big Battle DBA) "event" for some wargaming virgins (an elder brother of mine, two of his friends and an old school friend of mine [who had done some RPG with me a long,long time ago]).

However I had some major scenario design questions to answer. Would it work with two DBA Armies aside with a third in reserve? Platea was notorious for a third of both armies (Greeks and Persians are both guilty of this) "not getting involved". Therefore I elected to have the third DBA army for each side resident in their army's camp area, fairly dormant until it was somehow "activated". Each turn they would roll and accrue activation points until a target had been reached/passed. A simple enough suggestion but how would it work in practice?

Before I put the game before the 'virgins' I chose another group of wargaming 'Grognards' to blood my beta-test scenario set-up ... read on (another excuse to get the toys on the table).

The Persian BBDBA Force: 2 x DBA Early Achaemenid + 1 x DBA Early Hoplite (Thebes)

Thebes: [1 x 4Sp (Gen) + 9 x 4Sp + 1 x 2ps + 1 x 3Cv] facing the Athenians on a "hill"
Note: A pretty compact force but fielding a useful 3Cv element

Design Note: I decided to mingle both the Persian DBA armies together. I took the bulk of the Persian Infantry and blocked it as "one" DBA army force (Mardonius on the Persian left) with remaining mounted Cavalry/Light Horse plus the remaining Hoard and Psiloi infantry as the reserve "camp based" force

Persian Main Infantry Body: [1 x 8Bw (Gen) + 7 x 8Bw + 2 x 3Bw + 2 x 3Ax]
Note: I had demoted Mardonius (C-in-C) from his Cavalry and stuck him with the Immortals, despite him being mounted he was attached to a unit of a thousand infantry. Arrayed as thus, it did not look too bad (in the very words of a veteran DBM/DBMM Grognard gamer). Note: See the Spartan "long thin line" on their hill in the distance.

Persian Reserve: [1 x 3Cv (Gen) + 3 x 3Cv + 2 x 2LH + 4 x 2Ps + 2 x 7Hd]
Note: I had assume that the cavalry were being rested after all the activity they had been put to in the previous weeks of campaign and that the camp "bric-a-brac" infantry were being slowly roused.PS Please note the fortified camp/stockade complex.

Game Rule: 
To activate the Persian reserve, at the start of each Persian go a d6 is rolled. The Command activates on a 1, or else the score is added to an accumulating total. When the score reached 18 then the commanding General wakes up. Until then everything costs double points to move. Note: The infantry and cavalry were deliberately lined up in separate blocks.   

Next: The Groovy Greeks

Tuesday 23 October 2012

WWII School Project Completed: 1/48 Spitfire Vb and 1/72 Dornier Do.17E (Airfix)

The deadly foes on the table (see below) with wait ... hold the front page .. decals applied :)

"Snowdrop leader, Snowdrop leader,this is Snowdrop Six, Tally Ho!" ... sorry I couldn't resist it ;) ... I think it looks magical onc those big decals have gone on :)

Meanwhile the bomber drones on (see below) and I think its more sombre decals make it look very menacing (Note:By virtue of European Law Airfix are not allowed to depict the swastika, which would have adorned the rear twin tail flaps - and it is far too hard for me to try and paint on given the project deadline):

Now with a coat of protective varnish on (see below), from a very old but 'reliable' tin of Humbrol 'enamel style' matte. This was after I had an unmitigated disaster trying to use the more modern acrylic matte varnish (in their square tins) and getting it horribly wrong. I had probably rushed it but it looked to my terrified eyes to be drying with a white "winter camouflage" sheen to it .... argh. And this was the Sunday night before the Monday deadline and I had been left in charge putting the "smelly varnish coat on" after the rest of the family had gone to bed! Luckily I had started on the German Dornier Bomber first and spotted the damage, which meant it was so much easier to repaint (I would have ruined the Spitfire's decals) ...whew!

One last flypast before I hand them over with compulsory sound effects "wheewwwizzzooo" (see below). I also like the angry yellow wing stripes and machine gun read patches on the wings. 

Anyway I am chuffed to bits with them both and even better my eldest son thinks they are cool too, paying particular attention to the Spitfire ("that's my boy"). I do intend to "tart" then up a bit when I get them back from the school display, although I've heard the German Dornier has already taken a bit of "flak" damage from the hands of Year 3. I plan to hang both planes from my son's bedroom ceiling.

Monday 22 October 2012

School WWII Project Nearing Completion

Well we had fun making these.

The magic Humbrol Clearfix worked wonders on the previously tricky (as in I always messed them up) canopies (see below):

It was 'really' useful on the Dornier Do.17's expanse of canopies to fill in the missing gaps in the perspex (see below):

The "Spitty" gets its undersides painted in a peculiar XF-12 IJ Grey, which doesn't seem quite right but according to my conversion chart matches to Humbrol 64 (see below):

The Dornier gets a more traditional paint scheme of light blue for its underside from a 'really' old Humbrol acrylic range they had, but after all these years it's still ready to use from the pot, unlike some more modern paints I could name (see below): 

The Spitfire starts to come together nicely when its camouflage pattern is put on. I am using XF-61 Dark Green and XF-82 Ocean Grey 2 (RAF), the latter being a newer Tamiya paint colour I spotted while I was in a local model shop (Hobbycraft). I was looking at the Tamiya colour schemes on other model kits and borrowed this one off a Tamiya 1/48 RAF Mosquito kit (see below): 

The 1/48 scale Spitfire was such a nice kit to put together, far easier IMHO than the 1/72 scale kits I am used to. You stand a fair chance of even painting the "yellow" along the wing tips and "red" machine gun patches (see below):

The Dornier also gets it's Blitz camouflage scheme. A jagged edge XF61 Dark Green interlocking with a XF-27 Black Green (see below):  

This was the later Luftwaffe 1940 camouflage at the time of the Battle of Britain as opposed to the three colour, with a light grey and a brown alongside a green in the instructions, dating to 1937. The propeller housings get a bright white covering while the propeller blades get a surprising XF-61 Dark Green (I was expecting black) covering (see below): 

They are taking shape nicely but we are coming to that dreaded phase of mine, the decals, however for aircraft they simply are a must! Also, for the record, there were little hands helping me along the way, though they did take long telly breaks from time-to-time (Merlin and Mr maker being two of the CBBC culprits).

Thursday 18 October 2012

Just Putting Pastic Things Together (GW 40K Tau Kroots) : Part VI

A bunch of carnivorous monsters under pseudo control of their Tau masters, though technically mercenaries. Bird-like in their representation and quite fun to put together (see below):   

I also like the antique looking weaponry they carry (see below):

With this latest acquisition of this pack I can bring the basic Tau army to a close and sit down to a winter of varied "painting" along with the hoard of recently assembled but not painted figures. If only I didn't get so easily distracted ;) 

Wednesday 17 October 2012

New 1/144 Revell WW2 Aircaft :)

  •  Stuka
  • Me 109E
  • Fw 190D
  • Me262
  • Spitfire
  • Hurricane
  • Tempest
  • Typhoon

Something for the air war sir?
Cheap too retailing as £1.99 which is a very sensible price for a fighter
Good as the Zvezda kit is creeping up in price 

If I remember correctly these are very old molds (I had a Revell Me109E, Stuka and a Dornier D0.17 unless the latter was a mad dream of mine)    

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Airfix Dornier Do.17 E/F Assembly Question: Am I doing it right?

As part of the 'WWII School Project' I am putting together a Dornier Do.17 E/F, but am I doing it correctly? A classic old Airfix kit of a plane that tried to 'bomb my dad' when he was in the 'Home Guard' (see below):

I came to "an assembly issue". It all started with this chap, the rear gunner and radio operator sitting on his stool (see below):  

Looking at the instructions I see a different diagram (see below, top left corner - the spar that the seat sits on looks to be completely he wrong or rather a different shape - a classic Airfix now get out of that or have I missed something?):

This is how I put it together (see below):

Not being quite happy with it I changed it to thus, with a 90 degree twist to the gunner to sit more centrally (see below), but have I done it as intended? Or is it a case of a change/amendment that was never corrected in the instructions?

The crew now "complete" inside the fuselage and with the wings on (see below): 

A bit of a cockpit close-up (see below):

The whole thing from a distance (see below). Next to do is the clear glass canopies, previously a nightmare operation for me but now I use my secret weapon Humbrol Clearfix :)  

"Model on" as Paul from NZ says ;)

Sunday 14 October 2012

School Project Time: WWII

My eldest son is doing all about WWII a school, so as part of his homework we had to do a "special" project. We where do I start? I wanted to do everything ;)

What about a Spitfire! The one I had in mind was a 1:48 scale Airfix Spitfire Vb kit I had lying around. Too big for my general wargaming purposes but perfect for "small hands" to get a grip of. See below for how she stands in the "undercoated black" stage.


My main job was getting it through the construction (aka put it together with glue and don't get stuck) stage to the 'large areas' to paint stage where my son could help me finish it, but needless to say I had some fun on the way with the pilot (see below):

Most of it will be lost behind to sight the perspex canopy but it was fun painting the 1/48 scale pilot (see below) and I am inclined to drift to the bigger figures as my eyesight wanes: 

We opted for the 1941 European version (as opposed to the Middle East, Desert Air Force Version with the funny tropical air intake/exhaust). I especially like the fact in 1/48 scale you see extra little details such as the rear view mirror, to protect your six, on top of the pilots canopy (see below, you can just make it out):   

After first dismissing he bigger scale planes, I am now warming to them, in particular the fighters. They certainly have more immediate impact and substance with the youngsters as they fit nicely into their hands without 'immediately' breaking things off.

A Spitfire seems a very fitting post for No.500 methinks :)

Friday 12 October 2012

Just Putting Plasic Things Together (WWII IJN 1/700 Submarines): Part V

These Tamiya 1/700 kits are lovely, though expensive and I have to be "in a naval zone" to have a go at them. The IJN submarines here are double the scale (reduced) of the Revell U-Boats (see previous posts) but in reality were twice the tonnage, so length wise they are not too far off. Unlike U-Boats the Japanese Submarine Cruisers were designed to be the "eyes of the battle fleet". 

Japanese Cruiser Submarine: I-16 with Kaiten midget submarine (see below). It took part in the Pearl Harbour operation (see below):

Japanese Cruiser Submarines I-58, he deck bubble at the front housed a float plane, again ideal for the "eyes of the fleet" role envisaged for it (see below). This is the submarine that sank the USS Indianapolis in 1945 but after it had delivered the second atomic bomb.

I chose the simple underwater assembly, there were more hoists, railings and spars to add (as well as a float pane) for the surface cruising mode.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Just Putting Plastic Things Together (40K Tyranids - Carniflex): Part IV

The Tyranid equivalent of an Imperial Tank, meet the Carniflex (see below):  

I copied he armament, but chose a different head and carapace (see below): 

One advantage of plastic over metal, apart from price (but at £30+ it is not cheap anyway) is that angled unbalanced poses can be secured by a small piece of blue tack Who knows when this chap will be painted, but the winter nights are closing in ;) 

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Monday 8 October 2012

Just Putting Plastic Things Together (GW 40K Tyranids - Gene Stealers): Part III

Another box kit of dormant plastic takes a step towards the painting tray. GW Tyranids, the classic Sco-Fi genre "Genestealers". Not only do they want to kill you but they want to steal our DNA too. Humanity is officially no longer safe (see below):

I literally cannot remember when I got these. I even went through a phase of thinking I positively had a box but hen could not find them, then behold, when looking for some thing else I came across these in the loft. Four armed monsters without much variation, multiple head poses, but their weapons limited to ripping claws (see below):  

I did six of the standard box lid style (enough for one brood) and on the remaining two try the other variation shown on he back of the box. A tentacled head (let's call it a 'mindflayer' head - because that's exactly what it seems to be) with scything talons. A weapon set hat is still "up close and personal". Can you spot them above and below?

At the end of the day it is one less unmade kit in the house ;)

Sunday 7 October 2012

Just Putting Plastic Things Together (WWII 1/144 Luftwaffe): Part II

Jumping away from RPG Fantasy and Sci-Fi a couple of small scale kits caught my eye from the "to do" pile of unmade kits, 1/144 Me-109's from Zvezda (see below):

This brings my collection of Me-109's to a total of four, in other words a nice little "finger four" Luftwaffe Schwarm.  

The kit is a basic 'almost' snap together affair, but I think it will paint up nicely. The only unfortunate downside is their attempt at decals (I think I will be trying to paint mine on).

Looking around the net I just spotted an interesting Zvezda new 1/144 kit the Hawker Hurricane Mk I, which immediately goes on the Xmas list. They also seem to be going British, doing a 15mm Matilda II and Bedford truck! If only I could justify getting one as I game in 20mm, 1/200 and 1/1300 - No way can I sanely go into another scale! 

Friday 5 October 2012

A Little Bit of Painting Catchup .. GW (Again) Tyranid Warriors

This was more of a "painting push" than a project as I had expanded out my Vallejo colour paints range to cover the gaps made by "dried up" GW pots and I had a nice range of greens to play - Orky or Alien. So I went for "Alien".

Alien#1 = Nasty Claws for Close Combat and gory Sci-Fi "rending scenes": 

Alien#2 = Complementary Gunner with a Long Range Organic Bio-Cannon (Barbed Stinger?)  

Alien#3= Boss Alien Albino (Mutant Size) and a tribute to the individuality of my eldest son, wanting nothing of how GW says you should build the model, slaps on gigantic Scything Talons and he biggest cannon he can find (a Death Spitter?) :)

All painted, all hey need now is some astronauts to terrorize

Thursday 4 October 2012

Just Putting Plastic Things Together (GW 40K kit - TAU): Part I

Well fresh back from the 40K dice fest and I wandered casually over to my box of unmade Sci-Fi things to see what I could find of 'interest' (playing a game always has a certain stimulating effect ["like the smell of napalm in the morning"] of regenerating new interest in a previously dormant period/genre ... just to do a little bit of something). I am also in a 'take a break from painting mode', so the modelling knife and liquid plastic glue comes out looking for a relatively simple project. Target#1 is a Tau HQ Unit, hmm, a Crisis XV8 Battlesuit, or £15+ to GW for a robot looking thing to you and me (see below): 

It snips together quite nicely, but I decide to ignore the only mount three weapons of its "hard-points". It has 'five' sites so it gets five things attached (I am following on from the liberating viewpoint of my eldest but still pre-teen son - just make it look really good dad). After a short bit of mode-making frustration holding it together just long enough while the glue takes hold (Note: I just used normal Revell Liquid Poly in its construction) I finally set it down (see below):   

Not bad, but at that price 'one' of them will have to do for me. Also in the model pack was a couple of gun drones (see below, hunting a couple of ripper swarms) which is a nice add to my collection to make my "task force" up to group up to four.

Tau is nice kit, but hat next will attract my 'fiddling fingers' attention? I'll come back to paint it another day ;)

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Early Xmas present for Santa's list ... Perhaps

Psst ... Under the guise of a 'garden ornament' I want one of these ...

"It's a bit like a Roman 'bird table' dear" he said, stretching the bounds of credulity ...

Except until you see a Gaul or Celt ... when you can "unleash hell" ...

Boy can those things fly when they cranked up the torsion (originally a Greek idea that the Romans copied) and they only showed us a third of its potential power... Just think 54/55/56 of these (depending on who you talked to on the day) to a Legion. I think the Romans defined the concept of what "hard rain" really is ...

Somehow even if I am very, very good boy I don't think I'll get one ( but I really enjoyed the "Roman Weekend" at Hardwick Park, near Sedgefield [UK] this year :) A++, fun for all the family!