Thursday 30 July 2020

Sci-Fi Urban Terrain Project

Having finished snipping out my War of the Spanish Succession figures a few weeks ago. I have had a break from any modelling activities and focussed on wargaming with the Jacobite snakes and ladders campaign. This time gave me a chance to ponder what my next project would be, there were three possible projects:
  • Expand the French Indian Wars forces to Europe - I have a good number of plastic Spencer Smith models to paint.
  • Samurai armies - Old S-Range Minifigs.
  • Necromunda (SciFi gang skirmish)
The Necromunda project has been ongoing for a while. I treat it as my back burner project where I paint up a handful of figures every now and again when I need a change from whatever I was doing. However, this project does need some sustained effort put into the terrain to create more of a grimy cityscape. I have had two attempts at doing this so far.

Neither approach quite worked for me. The first attempt with all the bits added on to the wooden blocks meant the blocks were not modular enough for me to be build up however I wanted. The second attempt used Sci-Fi paper scenery which I cut up to stick on the wooden block. This second approach worked well from a modular perspective, but in the process, I had lost some of that Warhammer 40k look.

Then I read on The Stronghold Rebuilt blog how photos had been used to help create very effective looking bases for his fleet of galleys and ships. Link here:

This inspired me to have a go at photographing my existing Warhammer building features to create a set of photos which I could trim and modify before uploading in to Google Slides for final manipulation. This included pictures of individual girders, windows, doors and flooring tiles from the Warhammer building set. It took a bit of practice and attempts to get the right size.

Example slides

These slides are printed out, coloured, photocopied, cut out, and glued to grey painted wooden blocks. Once the glue is dry:
  • The whole thing is given a black wash
  • Chalk pastels are used to give a rusty and moldy look
  • The whole block is sealed in clear PVA glue.
Here are some pictures of the process and finished buildings.

Blocks getting a coat of light grey.

Once painted grey the cut out building features are added.

Caulk pastels are used to add rust and the odd bit of mould. The pastels are applied and smudged.

A close up photo of a building feature. Felt-tipped pens are used to do some of the colouring in.

An example of pastels used to colour a door.

As I progress with this terrain project I will be adding walls, elavated walkways, storage tanks, and anything else I can think up. The aim of all this terrain is to allow me to create different building arrangements, both tall and wide, for a variety of cityscapes.

A tower with walkways

Different options.

A larger building set up.

A few storage tanks have been recently added using cans and strips of card.

The can on the left is before pastels are applied and the can on the right after application.

Storage tanks all together.

Messing around with different options.

Storage tanks mixed up with buildings.

I expect this project will take a few weeks to complete.

A few more wooden blocks waiting for completion.

Monday 27 July 2020

WW2 Western Desert campaign turn 6 game 2

Campaign turn 6 has moved on to the second battle of a best of three battles. (Please note the campaign turn modifications mentioned in the last post will not come into effect until turn 7). The first battle had elements of the 21st Panzer division being repulsed by the South African infantry division. The second battle has the 15th Panzer division attacking the New Zealand infantry division.

Campaign turn 6 game 2 - 15th Panzer vs. NZ infantry division

The order of battle after units were removed for wear and tear...

15th Panzer elements:
  • 1 x PzII
  • 4 x PzIII
  • 1 x Armoured Infantry
  • 1 x 88mm
  • 1 x Wespe
  • 2 x Armoured Cars
  • 1 x Marder
  • 1 x 50mm AT guns towed
  • 1 x Air support
NZ Infantry elements:
  • 1 x Matilda tanks
  • 2 x Valentine tanks
  • 1 x 25 Pounder
  • 1 x 6 Pounder AT gun
  • 2 x 2 Pounder Portees
  • 1 x Armoured Cars
  • 1 x Armoured (Carriers) Infantry
  • 3 x Infantry
  • 1 x Air support
There were two objectives, both key hills considered important for the attackers to capture. The defending NZ division units are positioned across and around both groups of hills. The attacking 15th Panzer planned to focus their attack on their first objective of the central hills. A flanking force would arrive as early as possible with the aim of holding defending units in position and and not being reallocated to the support the centre hills.

Tabletop with objectives and planned attacking moves. The primary objective being the central hills. The secondary objective would be attacked after the primary objective is taken.

Initial deployments as attacking Panzer forces arrive

The initial phase of the battle had success going the way of the defending New Zealander AT guns and supporting infantry tanks who quickly blunted the attack. In an attempt to counter this the German commander called in air support which eliminated some tank units. This bought some time for the attacking units to reorganise and refocus their attack on the defending tank units which were neutralised.

AT shooting and supporting infantry tanks put a dent in the attacker's units.

German air support help eliminate some of the defending tank units.

Panzer forces reorganise and neutralise the defending tank units.

The middle phase of the battle saw the Panzer flanking units arriving and deterring the movement of any units away from their current positions to support the central hills. The main attacking force now concentrated all available units for a second attack on the hills.

Flanking Panzer units arrive

Panzer forces make a second assault on the central hills.

As flanking units gather Allied air support arrives and failed to cause any problems.

The final phase of the battle progressed very quickly with a successful attack on the central hills, and was quickly followed by an attack on the second objective. After some stubborn defence of the second objective it was finally overcome after the 88mm gun was moved up to support attacks.

The first objective is taken.

The attack on the second objectives is soon underway after the central hills are secured.

A victory to Axis forces and campaign turn 6 will continue with a third battle.

Saturday 25 July 2020

WW2 Western Desert Campaign Rule Modifications

For my WW2 Western Desert campaign I am going to be adjusting the campaign game set up after finishing this current campaign turn. As a quick reminder the old approach had all divisions lined up in a row with the defending division counters flipped, and the attacking army made up to three attacks with the best of three games determining the campaign turn's winner. If the attacking force won two games they advance one zone on the campaign map, and if the defending force won two games they would be attacking in the next campaign turn.

An example of the current campaign approach

The changes to the original approach came due to various suggestions and questions from previous posts about the campaign (thank you - comments and questions are always welcome). This got me thinking about modifying how the opposing forces line up and capture of supply dumps.

So here are the modifications I am going to give a try in the next campaign turn. Instead of one row, the divisional counters are lined up in two rows: a front line of three divisions and a secondary reserve line of two divisions.

Example setup where Axis forces are attacking

The idea with this approach is if the attacking army has a victory in attacking the first line of defence. They then can use a mobile reserve (armoured divisions only and not infantry divisions) to launch attacks on the second reserve line of defence. Should both attacks on the second line be successful, then this constitutes a breakthrough and major victory allowing the successful attacking army to move forward two zones rather than one zone.

The risk trade-off is it is necessary to have two armoured divisions held in reserve. Should a first armoured  attack fail to get a breakthrough, then you are reliant to achieve a second successful battle with the two infantry divisions in the first line. Not an easy task, unless the opposition are understrength.

An examples below...

The first attack is on the first line of defence.

If the attack on the first line of defence is successful, a breakthrough is achieved, which allows the mobile reserve divisions to attack the second line of defence. In the example, below Axis forces are trying for a major victory, both battles will be fought and if won by the attacker the major victory is achieved.

If there was only one armoured division in reserve then only one attack could be made. In which case a major victory is not achievable, but capture of supplies is possible. More about supplies later.

The reserve armoured divisions attack the reserve defensive line. Both battles will be fought to see if a there is a major victory.

If the initial armoured thrust is defeated and no breakthrough is achieved, then another first line attack must be made, in the case where the remaining armour is being held in reserve it will fall to the infantry divisions to make the next attack.

The first armoured attack is repulsed and the second attack involves an infantry attack.

In this case the infantry attack is successfully (presumably against a weakened armoured division in the above example) and the mobile armoured reserve can make an attack on the second defensive line.

What about supply capture? This a broad term covering supply dumps captured and the recovery of equipment from the secured battlefield. Before the end of the campaign turn after all the battles have been fought. The attacker rolls one D6 dice for each second line defending unit beaten, and on a 4+ they will get one additional supply point in the next turn.

Having now written up the changes, I hope this weekend to play the second game of the current campaign turn.

Sunday 19 July 2020

Snake and ladders Jacobite campaign ends

Action during the game

The snakes and ladders Jacobite campaign has come to a conclusion with the final pitched battle.
As the first to finish on the campaign board the Jacobite army gets an additional unit of their choice and also chooses from One-Hour Wargames (OHW) book scenarios one or two, both are pitched battles.

The campaign board with the Jacobite army being the first to get to the last battle square. After some early set backs the Government army was never able to catch up to the Jacobite army.

First up the battle report, then a couple of thoughts on the campaign itself.

Order of battle

Jacobite Army:
  • 1 x Artillery unit
  • 3 x Line Infantry units
  • 2 x Highlander units
  • 1 x Cavalry unit
Government Army:
  • 1 x Skirmish unit
  • 1 x Cavalry unit
  • 4 x Line Infantry
There are two objectives the crossroads and overlooking hill. The Jacobite forces have their artillery, an infantry unit and cavalry defending the hill. While on the other flank their highlands supported by line infantry are lined up to take the crossroads. While Government forces being outnumbered have chosen to defend the crossroads with all their available line infantry. Unfortunately they lack artillery which where left behind in the forced march to the crossroads.

Opening moves of the battle.

The battle begins with the Highlander units making a charge with their line infantry following up. Government troops mostly held firm with only one unit routed. They were then able to deliver a series of steady volleys into the Highlanders and their charge dissipated. The supporting Jacobite line infantry then moved up to engage the Government line. Meanwhile, Jacobite artillery annoyingly peppered any unengaged Government unit with shots.

Government reserves are used to hold the charging Highlanders.

The highland charge is stopped and the Jacobite line infantry engage the Government line.

On the far side a weak Jacobite cavalry unit flanks the Government line.

On the other flank a cavalry engagement saw the Jacobite cavalry come out on top and finally rout the Government cavalry. This very weakened cavalry force was able to move around to threaten the Government flank. 

Government skirmishers kept up harassing fire on units defending the hill throughout the battle. Eventually, once the battle was going against Government forces, the Jacobite infantry moved forward to drive off the tenacious skirmisher unit.

Out flanked Government forces are forced to retire.

Jacobite number finally told and Government forces exit the field if battle.

Government line infantry were putting up stubborn resistance, but were forced to give ground as Jacobite cavalry threatened to outflank their defensive line. Eventually their line gave and they ceded the battlefield. A Jacobite victory to top off the campaign.

Now the campaign is completed. Here are a couple of notes and thoughts on the campaign and what I may change.

When thinking about the snakes and ladders approach. I was originally thinking about a Necromunda (Games Workshop Gang Warfare) style campaign as gangs fight their way up the levels of the hive city, but the terrain hasn't been completed yet so approach was rejigged to the 18th Century. I will be undertaking a Necromunda campaign once I finally get my terrain sorted out.

The number of snakes and ladders misfortunes (snakes) and successes (ladders) seems to be about right. I had based them on an actual snakes and ladders game. There were a couple of turns where I though the campaign might go on for a while, but it all turned out well with the campaign providing a handful of battles. These were all randomly selected from One-Hour Wargames:
  • Scenario 11 - Surprise attack
  • Scenario 26 - Tripple line
  • Scenario 13 - Escape.
  • Scenario 18, - Counter attack
  • Scenario 2 - Pitched battle (2)
The selection of OHW scenarios for all the battles, all random except for the last pitched battle, proved very useful and always provided a nice (or interesting) surprise.

It has to be said this campaign approach is random and governed by the dice. I am not to bothered by this as it provides a narrative. It terms of narrative, in a future I may create two identical boards with a separate narrative tailored to the army using the board.

Other thoughts are not to use OHW scenarios and dice for the situation eg, surprise, flanking attack, ambush, etc. Then the higher the battle square up the board, the more open the tabletop terrain is. For example, a rebellion style game could start with mountainous, moving to more open and agricultural and finally more urban as the rebellion progresses.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Snakes and ladders Jacobite campaign progress and next game

A Jacobite campaign game underway

The Jacobite campaign continues on the snakes and ladders campaign board. Government forces roll a score of five and move into a battle square where they are obliged to cease movement regardless of the dice score rolled.

Campaign board.

The dice decided One-Hour Wargames scenario 11, surprise attack, was to be used.

The opening stage of the battle has a small Jacobite force of two units defending the gap between the wood and rocky hill which is impassible. They must hold and wait for supporting units to arrive and bolster their defence. All six Government units arrive with the objective of taking and controlling the crossroads. Fortunately for the Jacobites no Government cavalry have appeared, reducing the chance of their defensive positions being quickly flanked around the rocky hill.

The bulk of Government forces soon advanced upon the Jacobite defensive position supported by their artillery unit. Their skirmishers push up into the woods on the left flank. As forces closed musket fire was soon exchanged. 

Not long after the fighting began Jacobite units began to arrive in dribs and drabs and take up defensive positions at around the crossroads.

Opening positions with the strategic crossroads in the background.

Government forces advance upon the Jacobite line defending the gap between the woods and impassible rocky hill.

Skirmishers mack their way through the woods to flank Jacobite defenders.

After sustaining losses and coming under fire from Government skirmishers in the woods. The remaining Jacobite units from the first line of defence fall back upon the crossroads. Meanwhile on the other flank their artillery engage single line infantry unit which had marching around the rocky hill.

Remnants of the first line of defenders retire to the crossroads where other defending units have taken up position.

It was a slow march around the rocky hill to outflank the defenders

Government units continue their steady advance as casualties mount on both sides. The final Jacobite highlander units arrive. They are not ideal units to defend the crossroads, and the Jacobite commander makes the quick decision to have them charge upon the advancing infantry. The infantry hold steady, delivering accurate volleys of fire which eventually break the charging highlander units. Seeing the situation to be lost, the Jacobite commander retires with the remaining artillery unit.

The attack begins on the crossroads as final defending units arrive.

Highland units charge the advancing Government troops.

The highlander units are routed and the way is open to take the crossroads.

Finally, a Government victory, but the final battle of this campaign will be fought after the Jacobites roll a five on the campaign board.

The final campaign move.