Friday 26 June 2015

A sudden burst of energy! FRENCH!

I'm becoming increasingly desperate with the post titles.

Anyway, last night I unexpectedly had a bit more time available for painting, and I managed to finish off the six infantry I was struggling with in the last post.

We've gone for a mysteriously pink landscape this time.
Also, I managed to finish another model I'd been sneakily working on in the background and not posting about - a second officer!

Can you get more French than casually waving men into
battle while holding a cigarette in the same hand?

With this remarkably casual-looking chap available, I'm able to either use two platoons in one force, or have a senior officer alongside the lieutenant to spur my units on.

To save Pete and Kieron the trouble:
"this is how he'll look when he's running away"

I'm getting very close now. Just 7 more infantry (including the mortar crew), the mortar itself, the Panhard 178, and, when it arrives, the medium howitzer to go.

Here's the all-important 2015 scores:

Painted: 64
Bought: 47

And so far in the challenge, I think I'm on:
Painted: 7
Jokers used: 1

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Irritatingly slow progress (Frenchy French French!)

Had to get a bit creative to work the crucial word into the post title there. Hey, remember those 6 partly painted French infantry I posted about a while ago?

Well, I'm still working on them, they've advanced approximately "a bit".

I've really struggled to get any time to paint over the last week or so, and this is as much as I've managed. Still, they're getting there, these now need some ink, and bases.

Just to make matters worse, the end of this project has retreated slightly! For our wedding anniversary last week, Mrs Matt very kindly furnished me with a Panhard 178, which will be very nice for this force in conjunction with my tank - I'm hoping to use one to pin an enemy in place and the other to flank it.

I also spent a joker for the Challenge, buying a medium howitzer from Mad Bob Miniatures. I sort of felt that I had to though - I check every so often and it's the first time that howitzer has been in stock. Medium howitzers are pretty powerful in Bolt Action and the French can take one for free, so getting hold of one is a bit of a no brainer. It doesn't come with crew, but thanks to the detachable crew on my light howitzer and mortar, I can crew the thing with those until I come up with something more permanent.

Plan is still to power through those before starting anything else, but we'll have to see if I stick to that...

Tuesday 16 June 2015

I'm running out of post titles that use the word "French"

Despite their suffering a humiliating defeat recently at the hands of Wes's Americans, I'm still keen on my Bolt Action French army.

This is a good thing, as I'm still painting them, too.

Here's the latest work in progress image for these guys...

I'd say they're about a third of the way through, and I've done the webbing and the backpacks, which are the most awkward bits for some reason.

As you can see I've doing a batch of six models, so when these are complete I'll have 4 more infantry, a mortar team and an officer left to do. The end is in sight!

Monday 15 June 2015

The French take the field again

Let's have a battle report! I took to the Bolt Action field again with my French army, this time against Wes' Americans.

 It's taken me a while to write this post, and in the meantime Wes has put up his own report on proceedings here.

I was using a "Defence of Vichy" list, reasoning that this game represented a what-if scenario where the U.S. invaded mainland France rather than attacking North African territory as part of Operation Torch. It almost makes sense.

Unfortunately, since the American list for Operation Torch uses inexperienced troops, Wes didn't really have enough available and so he used a Market Garden list - which has veterans instead! This was going to be tough.

Thanks to a trick of perspective, the R35 looks
almost comparable to the Sherman here.

We decided on the envelopment scenario, and I won the roll and chose to defend. Neither me nor Wes are fans of the "outflank at the end and score lots of points the defender can't do much about" tactic, so Wes sportingly said he wouldn't use outflanking at all.

We'd decided in advance that we were going to use the night fighting rules, something that we both forgot about during deployment! I suppose I might have deployed differently if I'd remembered, but I'm not sure how exactly.

In the event I split my forces to try and cover both flanks, with just my howitzer in the middle. My tank took the right flank behind the town, with a larger infantry force on the left among some hedgerows.

As we're both used to needing to keep our troops in cover, the extra options thrown up by night fighting caught us both off guard - Wes was able to move his troops in open in the earlier part of the game but his mortar was basically useless as he'd kept his observer too far back and wasn't able to see anything. 

French troops defend the hedgerow from... well, no one really

I suffered quite a lot of pins in the opening barrage, so the delay in hostilities was useful as it gave the French some time to reorganise themselves.

 As Wes' troops moved up into contact with my line, the game divided into two battles. Wes had obligingly sent his forces directly at mine on the flanks, rather than rushing the wide open space in the middle, so most of my force was able to fight.

On my right flank, Wes sent his Sherman, backed by an infantry squad, presumably with the intention of taking out my R35 and clearing a path off the table. My artillery observer called in a strike on the enemy tank - which was clearly misinterpreted by HQ as shells started dropping around the french tank and I was lucky to keep it in the game!

Fortunately the R35 commander was made of stern stuff and recovered to begin a cat and mouse game with the much larger Sherman around the buildings. 

The mortar spotter tries to make out US forces in the gloom

I was able to hold both the tank and infantry back for a while by keeping forces in ambush, but eventually Wes just drove the tank off the table and bagged some victory points, leaving my tank to try to find another target. It found one in the form of the infantry squad, but was able to achieve very little against it.

On my left, my forces holding the hedgerow were a bit more successful. As US infantry advanced toward them they were able to inflict a few casualties, and took out the attackers' machine gun before it could fire a shot.  The Americans kept coming forward, and although I was able to pile pins onto them, I struggled to inflict enough casualties on the veterans - rolling well under average most of the time! 

Americans obligingly line up in front of the French guns

I managed to double my victory points in a Geneva-convention-busting charge by my medic team into the American lieutenant, but that was how it ended for me - Wes got two more units into my deployment zone, although they were heavily pinned and in the open. 

At the very end the dice betrayed me by ending the game after six turns, denying me a chance to wipe out one of these units and turn the tables.

The game therefore ended as:

US - 7 points
France - 4 points

This game was a lot of fun, the night fighting rules add some uncertainty to the game which I liked. I think I should perhaps have been more aggressive though - I needed to wipe out units, but for the first couple of turns I wasn't shooting as I waited for Wes to come to me.  Still, the important thing to learn is that Wes beat me even though Pete can't, so Pete therefore sucks at Bolt Action!

Saturday 6 June 2015

The Challenge begins again - my goals

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, the 6 Month Mountain Reduction and Painting Challenge is now the Annual 6 Month Mountain Reduction and Painting Challenge, and it's starting up again, and once again I'm taking part. 

I'm going to set pretty conservative goals for myself this time around. This is because I just don't get as much time to paint these days as I would like (cue violin music), so if I aim to do more there's every chance I'll fail anyway. 

So with the inspiring build up to this complete, here are my entirely underwhelming goals: 

1) Finish off my WW2 French.  You can't have missed these if you've read this blog at all for the last six months, so I'll just say that there are only 14 models left for these now and I'm determined to actually start and finish a project in one goal for once. 

This will in fact be my first "project" for the challenge, and completing it will net me an extra joker, so here's the Before image as required by the rules:

2) Assemble and paint my Shaltari starter set for Dropzone Commander. I mentioned recently that I'd bought these, so I need to get them done! 

Right, so, err, that's it. Keep watching to discover whether I manage these - there's actually at least an evens chance of my failing at it...

Monday 1 June 2015

Variety, for real this time!

Last time I promised something new, I'll admit that there were still French infantry in the actual post, which may well have been a disappointment for some of my loyal fans, who are sick to the back teeth of the things by now.

Well this time things are different. I mean, it's still WW2 French stuff, but this time it's a tank!

Dinky tank!

A Renault R35 to be precise. This was actually a birthday present, which means it only took me four months to get around to painting it - pretty good going for me.

The commander searches the horizon for anything smaller than his tank

So, getting a tank done has to improve my painting scores, right?


Well never mind, here are the current 2015 scores anway:

Painted: 57 
Bought: 46