Saturday, 19 September 2020

Line Dancing

After a period of time that likely rivals the duration of the entire war, Pete and I have finally finished our Bolt Action campaign from the Germany Strikes! book. 

The finale was an attack by German infantry on the blockhouses of the Maginot Line. 

I'd been feverishly painting bunkers, barbed wire and mine markers, and was able to put together defences that covered the full 8' of the table quite nicely - although with more gaps in the minefields than I would really have liked.

We'd already played the first part of this scenario several months earlier, so I knew that I would have some reserves to arrive in the later turns. Things were pretty finely balanced in the campaign overall, so this game would decide things overall - which was nice. 

Here's a canter through the battle - I'm writing this a few weeks after it happened so it's what I remember happening rather than necessarily getting everything just right. Assume it's a report being written by a French commander who's well into the cognac by the time he's finished.

Also, I took a lot of photos, not all of them have been cropped to my normal standards as my phone didn't want to cooperate. Please try not to notice.

Germans appear at the treeline

Faaasands of 'em!

The defensive line looks perilously close to the attackers

The bombardment blew a couple of holes in the barbed wire...

...and pinned some of the defenders, which hindered their shooting

The aerial view shows loads of advancing infantry,
with the French backed up by a giant tin and some rulebooks

A combination of pinning and very poor
dice rolls stopped me from doing much
as the Germans reached the barbed wire

Germans get ready to assault the entire line.
At this point, things looked somewhat hairy.

Infantry cross the barbed wire and stream toward the bunkers. 
My shooting was still abysmal at this stage.

The central bunker braces for an assault as
an 88 shows up to support the German advance

Pete took care to avoid the minefields, which is unsporting

A flamethrower took out the artillery from the right hand bunker,
but an assault on the retractable turret failed and the
Germans started to take casualties

View over the sights of the French howitzer in the bunker on the left,
before it destroyed the 88, as soon as it unlimbered

The central bunker is assaulted on both sides by
troops that stayed out of sight of its weapons

The tide starts to turn - on the right flank,
the Germans are mauled by artillery fire

Out of sight of the defenders, a German unit tries to breach
the right hand bunker's walls, but never succeeds

More assaults, but thick bunker walls and strong turret
armour keep the Germans at bay

Finally some success for the attackers as a flamethrower takes
out the central French bunker

German artillery tows start to crush barbed wire, but it's more
of a gesture by now

Attacking squads take enough casualties on the left
that they can no longer actually damage the defences

A German howitzer takes a few shots but doesn't manage
to cause any damage

The French reserve arrives in the form of a single cavalryman,
who promptly machine guns the flamethrower team

At this point, Pete threw in the towel as he couldn't damage the fortifications through assaults (he'd lost too many men) and didn't have enough time left to get his surviving flamethrower to the other bunkers. 

I also had a random assortment of further reinforcements about to arrive, but by now it was all over anyway.

So, I'd won the game, and with it the campaign! Huzzah.

This was a decent set of games and the campaign tied it together quite nicely, but Germany Strikes! is an older supplement and it shows - some parts of it are hard to make sense of. So, of course, we're moving straight onto Battle of France and the campaign there.

And let's not forget, setting all this up meant I needed to get some barbed wire and mine markers ready. I've also been buying stuff (bad Matt! Bad!) so that's all affected the scores...

Painted: 148
Acquired: 145

Well, I'm ahead, but not by miles. I do have more on the way though, and at least for now have no further purchase plans. So things should improve! I'm sure you'll be on tenterhooks waiting for that.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Contrasting Opinions

I've been at the contrast paints again.

This time, I'm trying them out with some German grenadiers. I have a lot of these lying around the garage so figuring out a quick way to get through them would be very nice indeed.

Here you go - five grenadiers...

I painted these using the colour scheme from this post on Wargaming 3D. It was good to have a guide to work from, but these don't really match the uniform colour of the (few) grenadiers I've already painted. I know that there were dozens of possible shades of field grey, so I've no problem in keeping these and mixing them into my force, but I'd like something on the greener side to match what I have already. So I'm going to have another go with a different shade next time - I have a colour in mind so I'll try that out, and of course will thrill you with the results here.

I also found time to get started on the models from Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance. Here's the first set...

I had a bit of a dilemma around how to base them - a lot of the scenarios from the game seem to be indoors, but I also have my Terminator Genisys Miniatures Game stuff to match with, so in the end I went for the tarmac effect I've used for those.

It's this kind of fascinating insight that keeps people coming back here, I'm sure.

Any, score time. I've been given some 3D printed barbed wire thingies this week so the acquired total has gone up, which leaves me...

Painted: 118
Acquired: 118

... with a lead pile the same size as it was at the start of the year. Hurray!

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Walking the Line

For something like 600 years now, Pete and I have been either planning or actively playing through the Bolt Action campaign from the Germany Strikes! book.

We're reaching the end - the last game for us to play is the second part of a Maginot Line scenario. Before lockdown began, at some point in the mid-nineties, we played the first part which saw French relief forces trying to break through the German lines attacking the defences. I was able to get enough units through to give me some sort of relief force, so the next step was to actually prepare the fortifications.

To that end, I've pulled together an excellent set of defences, which will definitely halt the German advance in its tracks (so long as they don't do anything dastardly like sneak around the end).

Please advance on these from the front only

So, let's have a look at the details.

The slot of doom

The door of somewhat reduced doom

First of all was a Coastal Defence Bunker from Warlord. I thought this kit came out pretty well, although I took issue with the claims that the roof was removable and the doors able to open. In the event, I had to glue the roof on so that the bunker would keep its shape, and the doors ended up glued so that they'd appear to hang properly.

I then followed that with a Flak Bunker (also from Warlord).

Slot, and this time, roof of doom

Door plus ladder of lesser doom

Again, I like the look of the thing once it's done, but again the box claims you can open the doors and remove the roof. The doors, ok, I think that could have been possible but I didn't bother. But the roof can't be removable if you're going to glue on the ladder, and if you're not going to glue it on I think it's going to get broken and/or lost. Also, without the roof glued on the whole thing wants to bend out of shape. Anyway, long story short, I've glued the roof on.

Bunkers need weapons. On the Maginot Line this means cloches, so I have these:

Dakka dakka dakka dakka

Machine gun cloches that I picked up from Salute some number of years ago (told you this had been going on a long time). These go onto the top of above-ground blockhouses, so they'll sit on the roof of the bunkers. For the flak bunker that means I'll need to come up with some sort of cunning base arrangement, so I'll look to do that before we have the game.

Finally, some of the blockhouses on the Line are buried, and armed with big guns in turrets. I therefore needed some of those...

Boom boom boom
I got these along with the cloches. They're from a company called Last Man Last Bullet, which I can't say I'd ever heard of before I started searching for Maginot Line bits. At least some of them are in fact 20mm scale, but I can't remember which and I can't say that it matters. The important thing is the aforementioned big guns (twin howitzers in fact).

Right, that's some painting done, so we must inevitably come to some numbers. Here they are!

Painted: 99
Acquired: 108

This seems to show that I'm hovering around breaking even. Having spent some time this weekend contemplating the ridiculous pile of unpainted stuff currently in my garage, I really should try a bit harder on that... Keep watching to see if I develop any willpower over the rest of the year!

Sunday, 21 June 2020


The lockdown continues, in-person gaming is suspended, and I finished my secret Japanese project recently. This left me at something of a loss, in the mood to do some painting, but not quite mentally ready to start the next big queue.

The result was that things went a bit random, so here we go. I kicked off with...

Remember, Genisys is Skynet! Also, none
of this will matter when the next film starts.

Kyle Reese from Terminator Genisys! This is the metal "freebie" from the miniatures game box.

Since I still have the board game to go at I also have a less-well-cast plastic version of the same model to do as well, and I'm probably insane enough to actually paint that even though I have a better version of the same thing already done.

Anyway. It's a nice model and a fairly good likeness of Jai "clearly too beefy to be Kyle Rees" Courtney, which has been slightly lost under my ham-fisted painting. But he's done, he'll turn up on the table occasionally, and he's been sat in the paint station for ages so it's nice to have him done.

One thing I did find odd about this is that the base is part of the casting. Which is such a simple idea that I wonder why it's the first time I've seen it since some Lord of the Rings models I had about 30 years ago. I'm sure there's a reason. Anyway.

Next, I went for...

Stompy, stompy, slashy stabby
Some Shaltari Firstborn!

These were a secret Santa gift from Pete, I think from 2018? It might even have been 2017. They're part of a big pile of Shaltari stuff for Dropzone and Dropfleet that I never seem to quite get around to. I'm not actually sure how effective these will be in the game, as they are very close range fighters and getting anything close enough to the enemy to attempt that sort of thing has always resulted in lots of gates being destroyed. Still, got to be worth a try, and at least it adds variety to the process of losing.

And finally, these...

Dug in like an Alabama tic

Wait, they seem to have changed colours, like a chameleon, using the jungle. They're always doing that. I'll try again...
Not sure about the spear things to be honest
There we go. These are a set of Predators "Alien Hunters" from Copplestone Castings. I'm pretty certain I've had these for at least 10 years, and it might actually be more like 12. I honestly couldn't say why I suddenly rooted these out, but I went at them with contrast paints and I'm pretty happy with the result. 

No immediate plans for these really, but at some point I'm sure they'll turn up in a 7TV cast or something.

Right then, pictures displayed, time for everyone's favourite part, admin! Let's see what all that has done to the all-important numbers...

Painted: 90
Acquired: 77

So that's looking good, but I have just ordered some more so I need to keep at it if I'm going to stay on track. I'm sure you'll be able to watch me attempt that here, so you can look forward to that.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Pacific Gravity

I'm certain that there's a better pun available for a title here, I just can't work out what it might be.


All the way back in January 2018, Warlord Games sent me a box of Japanese tanks by mistake, and told me to keep them when they sent the replacement.

At the time, I thought that this was great customer service, but I now realise that it was, of course, the old dealer's tactic - the first hit was free, and so this was inevitable:

Yep, that's a full Japanese force for Bolt Action.

As a devious sort of fella, I've basically been planning this for about two years, while all the time pretending I wasn't. This basically consisted of issuing denials while doing things like using Japanese machine guns on other models, suddenly buying palm trees for flimsy reasons, and adding loads of models to my "acquired" total without explaining why.

Chi-ha - from the packing error that started it all
I picked up the army book early on, then got a few bits and pieces over time, but never really committed to the project - the Japanese force for Bolt Action benefits from large numbers of big squads even more than other armies, and I could never quite face starting the job.

Suicide anti-tank troopers - from the plastic sprues
This all changed fairly recently with the arrival of the Citadel Contrast paint range. This looked like a way to tackle an army without it taking me years to wade through, so I decided to give it a go.

A squad!
I started with a couple of models and straight away was impressed with the speed I could manage - finishing two models in a night doesn't sound like much, but realistically a night's painting for me is about an hour, so I was very pleased with that!

I was deliberately aiming for speed over a beautiful finish - so in places I've just ignored details. Part of the advantage with the contrast paints for me is that you're getting an ink wash with an appropriate colour at the same time, so you sort of get away with it. Certainly, to my eye there's nothing glaring, so for gaming standard I'm perfectly happy.

Another squad, having a lie down
The drive to do these quickly also led me to make a couple of decisions that I'd probably not make with other projects. First, on the banners for the squads - I'm never 100% happy either way, but tend to come down on not using pre-painted banners as it's so hard to get them to line up and they look a bit "printed".

The third squad, printed banner to the rear

This time though, I figured that making my own banners would take longer, and the printed ones from the boxed set were fine, so I've stuck with them. We'll see if I eventually get fed up and replace them! I'm thinking of using the banners as loaders for machine guns, so they'll definitely be used.

A pair of Chi-Ha Shinhoto variants - in flat green
Second, I decided against doing any shading or highlights on the tanks. I can never get these to work well on 28mm tanks anyway, and anything I might do takes precious time!

Kempetai officer
I also decided not do a camo scheme for them, sticking instead with a simple flat green colour scheme that was listed as an example with the instructions. I'm expecting that at some point I'll want to add other vehicles (I normally do) so having that be as easy as possible will help.

Sniper team

For the infantry, the colours I went for were:

Undercoat - Grey Seer
Skin - Darkoath Flesh
Uniforms - Skeleton Horde
Webbing, puttees etc - Aggaros Dunes
Boots, gun stocks - Snakebite Leather
Helmets - Militarum Green
Gun barrels - Basilicanum Grey

Not that anyone else will care, but writing that down will enable me to add new models in the right colours when I suddenly decide to add a second platoon in a year or something.

Flamethrower team
To be honest, I think this probably needs another box of infantry - the maximum size for each squad is 15 and I'm not there yet, plus at the moment I can only use one of the three tanks in a standard game!
This is definitely enough to let me start playing games with a new force though, and it'll hopefully spur on the creation of some Pacific-themed opponents (come on Kieron, get those Chinese started).

So, that ought to have helped out my painting scores, so let's have a look...

Painted: 73
Acquired: 77

I've still got an entire board game full of terminator endoskeletons to go at, too...