Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Game Review 28th January 2012: Germans vs. Russians 1943

Last weekend we had our first event in 2012. Three friends of mine visited us at home and we wanted to play to small games. We usually don't play any officially published game but we use rules we sdesigned by ourselves. We started to generate our wargame in 1995 or 1996 and redevelop it from game to game.

However we planned to play two small scenarios start into 2012 and test some new rules for mortar fire, explosive rounds, vehicle damage and hidden units. Unfortunately my opponent cancelled our game on Saturday morning so only one battle was fought this day. It was a small scenario placed in Russia 1943 somewhere around Kursk. In the outskirts of a small village a small detachment of German troops met some dispersed parts of a Russian infantry regiment.

Another view onto the battlefield...

The game see-sawed from the very beginning to the bitter end. The Germans dominated the battlefield with their armoured force while the Russian mortars stamped to the ground every unarmoured German unit. I try to give you some impression from the game rather than giving a full play-by-play review.

The first German assault

The German squad disembarking...
Early in the game the Germans tried to push the assault forward on both flanks. In turn one they rushed forward with their whole force and tried to draw near the fields and the building in the south (1). Quickly a squad of grenadiers disembarked and tried to scurry into the field. Obviously they wanted to use the cover of the forest to get near the building.

But they didn't notice the Russian observers watching them hidden in the woods...

Simultaneously a German Panther moved forward in the center of the battlefield (3). Because the Germans spotted some unknown vehicle aktivity on the other side of the field his mission was to guard the open space with his mighty 75mm gun and take care of suddenly appearing Russian tanks. In addition he might be able to support the German infantry assault on either flank...

The Russians taking defensive position
The Russian mortars near the cottage.
Facing a strong German assault the Russians stayed back in defense. They setup a mortar group including three 82mm mortar near the cottage (2) and developed some infatry in the northern and southern parts of the battlefield. A platoon of three squads entered the battlefield carefully using the woods and building to advance in cover.

They held back most of their vehicles for a later surprising blow on the German forces.

Only a forward observer sneeked to draw a line of sight to the German squad near the southern field and reported the position of the German attackers to the mortar group.

Those adjusted their weapons and delivered three heavy granades with devastating precision. With thundering impact the three shells went down between the unfortunate German soldiers. The whole squad and their SdKfz. 251 were annihilated.

The Germans not hesitating / Russians counterattacking
But despite that drawback the Germans didn't lose heart and pushed their attack on the northern flank. They rushed foward with another grenadier squad and took position between the buildings near the crossroads (4).

But now the Russian counterattack was on its way. An armoured car sped along the road and engaged the German soldiers (5). The machine guns rattled but the Krauts were lucky enough to suffer no casualties.

Suspiciously the crew of the armoured car observed the German squad. They didn't seem to retreat but to setup a counterattack on the vehicle...

Anyhow the BA drove around the corner to able to get the infantry uncovered.

They didn't realize that two of the Germans were busy with a large can that resemblec an extinguisher.
Boy, oh boy! A flamethrower !

Seeing his vehicle covered with burning liquid the Russian driver goes into reverse gear and tries to get away... Too late.

But afterwards the Russians advanced with two infantry squads on this flank. They even managed to conquer the hill and therefor the heroic German grenadiers were forced to draw back into the shrubbery near by. They got supported by a Marder tank. He was sent there to cover their next charge and to take out the other Russian vehicles showing up in the North. A light BT-5 tank was his first and oly victim. After it destroyed the SdKfz. 251 which carried the grenadiers into battle earlier, the Marder hit the BT-5 heavy and killed all but one crew members. So the Russian tank had no further combat value.
The Marder rushing forward and taking target after the BT-26 destroyed the 251.

The mortars speaking again...
While infantry and vehicles fought for the set of houses, some unimpressive Russian reinforcements came near.
Their importance became clear when the leading NCO took out his field glasses and whispered some coordinates into the radio set the private nearby was carrying.

A well known whistling sound filled the air when the mortar group placed fire on the unfortunate German grenadier squad and the Marder. Three 82mm shells exploded between the doomed soldiers and killed each and every of them. One of the detonating granades smothered the Marder with shrapnels. His ammunition exploded and the vehicle was destroyed.

The deciding German approach
Both sides had taken severe casualties so far. Only fragments of infantry remained and the Russians tried to setup a last line of defense in the south-east of the battlefield (6). After their last vehicle (some light tank) was destroyed by the Panther the last surviving squad fell back and took the large house in the south. Only a small team of spotters were left outside. Those were the first to see their fate comming near...

The German SPG Grille had supported some infantry in the center before and now draw near the southern flank.

With a well aimed 155mm round it attacked the building and completely destroyed it. The whole Russian squad was lost...

The last few turn of the match went on rather uneventful. The Germans ran out of infantry and the Russians weren't able to destroy the Panther. The game ended with the last Russians (the mortar group) escaping from the battlefield to regroup at the divisional headquarter.

After the game some rumour arose that military intelligence might have influenced the progress of the battle...

The spy who loves me... And vice versa... Our daughter watching the battlefield and listening mindfully to the Russian and the German commanders...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tutorial: Bocages / Meine Wallhecken

A very busy week is about to end. Work was a hustle, my wife got ill yesterday, our daughter had to be taken care of and on Saturday we'll have our first little game in 2012. Lot of work to do, lot of things to prepare and so little time.

But no whining! Most of you share these problems I presume.

However I managed to get two prototypes of bocages ready for Saturday. I would like to share, how I made them since I'm rather satisfied with the result. Of course hints and advice are highly welcome.

Because this will be a rather long post I'll refrain from writing it in German and English. Most comments are English and most of my appreciated readers seem to come from the UK, the USA and Australia, therefor I decided to do it in English only.

Step 1:
Last week I cut some styrofoam boards as base for a new gaming board. I cut some of the cutt-off into strips as core of the bocages. I cut them about 3.50cm (about 1.4 inches) high and 2.0 cm thick (about 0.79 inches).

As base I cut 3mm "Architektenpappe". Unfortunately I don't know the correct English term. It's a thin layer of styrofoam sandwiched with to thin layers of cardboard.

I glued both parts with hot glue. (Beginners beware! That stuff has it's name for a certain and painful reason as I experienced several times...)
Step 1: The core of the boccage and the Architektenpappe to be cut.

Step 2:
I didn't want that pink styrofoam shine through the gaps of the stones or bushes later. Therefor I painted the upper part of the core dark green and the lower part dark brown.
Step 2: Undercoated bocage

Step 3:
Now I covered the lower part of the boccage with hot glue, spread some tiny pebble stones on it and pressed them into the glue carefully (!). I used pebbles which are sold as ground cover for fish tanks. and proceeded part by part because the hot glue cools down rather fast and gives you only a small time slot to add the pebbles. After taking a view of the finished stonewall I decided not to paint the pebbles. I like their natural look and favour it over that painted, monotonous look. And to be honest I'm too sluggish to paint each stone differently...

Annotation: The hot glue tends to dissolve the styrofoam a bit. I didn't care but it could become a problem when you use thinner strips.

Step 3: Pepples glued onto the bocage.

Step 4:
After the glue cooled down and hardened I proceeded with the upper part of the bocage. I used three colours of clump foliage (light, dark and medium green) and glued them onto the bocage rather at random. Again using hot glue but PVA glue might do as well but it has a much longer hardening time.

Step 4: Add clump foilage.

Step 5:
As finishing touches I glued some pebbles on the base and filled the gaps between the stones with small clusters of clump foilage and sand. To be honest I'm not that happy with the sand. It looks improper somehow. Probably I'll use more small pebbles and clump foilage only for the next bocages.

Finished bocage with two Britannia miniatures for size comparison.

Taken as a whole I'm really satisfied. It's a really easy and fast way to get some nice scenary. Anyhow I fear that the pebbles will drop off after some in-game use. Probably I'll cover them with a layer of PVA glue and matt varnish, but doubt wether that might destroy the natural look...

Last but not least many thanks to Ragnar and Mojo at Behind Omaha and "The Terrain Guy". All three made bocages by themselves and their different production processes inspired me.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

British Reenforcements arrived / Britische Verstärkung eingetroffen

Obwohl ich eigentlich noch genug Bausätze im Schrank liegen habe, um erstmal ausgelastet zu sein, konnte ich nicht widerstehen, als ich bei Amazon ein Päckchen der M3 Halftracks von Italeri fand.
Danach war ich schon so lange auf der Suche, denn ich musste sie einfach für meine Tommies haben. Baubericht folgt, sobald ich die Deutschen, die nach wie vor meinen Basteltisch besetzt halten. Ist ja nur noch ein rundes Dutzend...

Although I got enough kits in my cupboard to spend several days working I wasn't able to resist when I saw a box of M3A1 halftracks on Amazon fpr a really fair price. I had been searching these kits for a long time, because I really needed them for my Tommies.
I'll post a review here after I finished the dozen Krauts that keep my workbench occupied.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Krauts finished / Wehrmacht fertig (1)

Endlich habe ich es geschafft, meine ersten Wehrmachtssoldaten zu bemalen!

Die Figuren stammen von Britannia Miniatures aus der Reihe "WW II - Wehrmacht (classic)" und sollen Wehrmachtstruppen zu Beginn des Krieges bzw. für das "Unternehmen Barbarossa" darstellen.

Bemalt habe ich die Figuren mit Farben von Vallejo (Uniformteile) und Citadel (Haut, Base, Wash).

Anschließend habe ich sie mattem Sprühlack aus dem Baumarkt versiegelt.

Die farbliche Kante des Bases (hier schwarz) dient der besseren Unterscheidbarkeit der Gruppen auf dem Spielfeld.
Weitere acht Mann habe ich so gut wie fertig, da folgen in den nächsten Tagen Bilder.

Leider sind die Bilder nicht alle so toll geworden. Ich experimentiere da noch... Vor allem brauche ich wohl mehr Licht.

Finally I finished my first Krauts !

The miniatures are made Britannia Miniatures and belong to their "WW II - Wehrmacht (classic)" range. They present troops for early war and Operation Barbarossa".

I painted the miniatures with Vallejo (uniform, equipment) and Citadel (flesh, base, ink) paints and sealed them with matt varnish spray from our local hardware store.

Another eight men are nearly finished. I'll post pictures of them soon.

I use to paint the edges of the bases in different colours (here: black). That makes it much easier to distinguish the different squad on the battlefield.

Unfortunately not all of the picture are good. I'm testing it out... Anyway I need more light...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Projects and wilful intents / Projekte und gute Vorsätze

Wie so ziemlich jeder andere, habe auch ich mir gute Vorsätze für das neue Jahr genommen. Besonders im Bereich meines Modellbauhobbys habe ich einiges auf der Liste, das abgearbeitet werden will:
1. Einen Blog starten ---> erledigt ✓

2. Alte Modelle fertigstellen:
  • Achilles fertig: Eintrag hier 
  • einige in Wartestellung...   
3. Britische Infanterie:
  • Alte Modelle neu basen
  • Geschützbesatzungen ergänzen
  • Einen Zug Fallschirmjäger bemalen
4. Deutsche Wehrmacht
  • Einen Zug fertig stellen
  • Bedienmannschaften für Geschütze bemalen
5. Neue Modelle bauen und bemalen
6. Platte und Gelände bauen

Ich bin schon sehr gespannt, was ich davon wirklich geschafft bekomme. Alles vermutlich nicht, denn schließlich gibt es auch noch ein Leben außerhalb von Farbtöpfchen und Plastikkleber.
Meine Frau und unsere kleine Tochter erinnern mich Gott sei Dank immer wieder daran...   ;-)

Jedenfalls werde ich diese Liste immer mal wieder aktualisieren und mal zeigen, wie es so steht.

As most of us I kept some wilful intents for 2012. Of course some of them are related to my wargaming hobby:

1. Start a new blog ---> done ✓

2. Finish old models:
  • Achilles finished: Posted here  ✓ 
  • A lot of others left... 
3. British Infantry:
  • New Bases
  • Finish a platoon of paras
  • Finish gun crews
4. German Wehrmacht:
  •  Finish one platoon infantry
  •  Paint crews for guns and vehicles
5. Build and paint some new Kits
6. Build new table / scenery
I'm really excited how much I'll get done within this year. However there's life besides 

However I'll keep this list upobottles of paint and glue.
Thankfully Mrs. Monty and our lovely daughter bring that to my mind frequently...    ;-) 

However I'll update the list regularly and show how thing are going...

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

M10 Achilles finished ! / M10 Achilles fertig !

British 17pdr S. P. M10 Achilles (Model by Britannia Miniatures)
So... Es ist Zeit, mal die ersten Arbeitsergebnisse für 2012 zu präsentieren:
Mein M10 Achilles !
Das Modell stammt von Britannia Miniatures und ich habe es schon vor einigen Jahren gekauft. Irgendwie lag es immer hinten im Schrank und wurde nie fertig...
Es handelte sich um ein recht einfach (aber schön) gehaltenes Modell. Die Details wie Gepäck, Maschinengewehr, Abschleppkabel, Tarnnetze und die Staukiste habe ich selbst hinzu gefügt. Möglicherweise ist nicht alles ganz korrekt, aber ich habe mich an Bilder aus dem Buch "British Tank Destroyer Achilles" von W. J. Gawrych orientiert. Auf der Platte ist das ohnehin nicht so wichtig.
Das Modell habe ich mit Farben von Vallejo lackiert, mit matten Klarlack versiegelt. und hinterher noch etwas mit Pigmenten bearbeitet.
Insgesamt bin ich recht zufrieden, aber einige Verbesserungsansätze sehe ich schon noch. Vor allem beim Weathering...
Well then... It's time to present my first results for 2012:

My M10 Achilles !
The model is from Britannia Miniatures and I bought it some years ago. Somehow it rested in the deep of my cupboard and was never finished...

However it's a nice but simple model. I added details like camouflage, M2HB, the storage box and the towing cable.  Maybe not all details are absolutely correct but I looked up some examples in W. J. Gawrych's book "British Tank Destroyer Achilles". For wargaming it should do I think.
I painted it with Vallejo colours and sealed it with matt varnish spray.

Although I'm rather satisfied I know that there are some points to improve. Especially the weathering...

The camouflage net is made of gauze bandage and some chervil.

I made the towing cable of some kind of synthetic threat. The wheel was part of a broken Sherman-kit by Hasegawa.
The markings are largely correct but I had to collect them from other kits since the Britannia kits are delivered without decals as usual for those wargaming manufacturers.

Revell-Releases January - April 2012

Auch Revell wird uns in diesem Jahr mit neuen Bausätzen und Figurensets erfreuen. In der Release-Liste für Januar bis April tauchen u. a. folgende Artikel auf:
  • Japanische Infanterie im 2. Weltkrieg (1:76) (Matchbox-Wiederauflage, April 2012)
  • ANZAC Infantrie im 2. Weltkrieg (1:76) (Matchbox-Wiederauflage, April 2012)
  • 21cm Mörser 18 / 17cm Kanone 18 und SdKfz. (1:72, Neuauflage April 2012)
Dazu noch einige Flugzeuge, Hubschrauber und moderne Fahrzeuge in 1:72. Leider nicht so viel neues...

Quelle: Modellversium


Revell presented their releases for January to April 2012. Unfortunately there are only few release of interest for us:
  • WW II Japanese Infantry (1:76) (Matchbox-Re-Release, April 2012)
  • WW II ANZAC Infantry (1:76) (Matchbox-Re-Release, April 2012)
  • 21cm Mortar 18 / 17cm Howitzer 18 and SdKfz. (1:72 Re-Release April 2012)
Aditionally some planes, helicopters and modern vehicles.
Source: Modellversium


Waterliner hat ein Link zu einer kompletten Neuheitenliste von Revell für 2012 gepostet:

Waterliner sent a link to a complete list of Revell's releases 2012 on DPMV:


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Warum "Monty's Caravan" ? / Why "Monty's Caravan" ?

 Um das zu erklären, muss ich einen Schritt vorher anfangen:

Wie ich schon erwähnt habe, fingen wir in den 90er Jahren mit einigen Freunden an, ein kleines Tabletop-Spiel für den Maßstab 1:72 zu entwickeln. Dabei wurde natürlich auch abgesteckt, wer mal welche Nationen spielen möchte. Da ich schon immer eine Vorliebe für England hatte, ergab sich schnell, dass ich vor allem die Briten ins Feld führen würden. Da mich dabei dann die Feldzüge von Field Marshal Montgomery besonders interessierten und faszinierten, war der Spitzname "Monty" schnell geboren.
Montgomery jedenfalls hat während des zweiten Weltkriegs die Geschicke seiner Armeen immer von einem umgebauten Leyland Retreiver aus gelenkt, der ihm als Unterkunft, Büro und Gefechtsstand diente. "Monty's Caravan" halt.

Dazu gibt es übrigens ein sehr schönes altes Modell von Matchbox, das inzwischen von Revell neu aufgelegt wurde.
Hier auf der Homepage von Henk Timmerman ("Henk of Holland") findet Ihr einige Bilder dazu. Die Bilder lassen sich nicht direkt verlinken, so dass Ihr unter den Revell-Bausätzen etwa in der Mitte der Seite schauen müsst: Matchbox-Bausätze von Revell

Cover von Revells Bausatz "Monty's Caravan"
To explain this I have to go a step back in time:

As I already told you some friends of mine and myself started to create our own WWII skirmish. Each of us decided to care for a participating nation. Since I have always loved England I started to explore the British view on WW II. Especially the campaigns of Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery fascinated me and soon his nickname "Monty" rubbed off on me.
Monty however tended to use a modified Leyland Retreiver as quarters, office and command post. It was called "Monty's Caravan".

By the way there is a nice 1:76 kit of Monty's Caravan made by Matchbox in the eighties and re-published by Revell some years ago. 
On Henk Timmerman's hompage ("Henk of Holland") you find some nice pics of it. Unfortunately the pictures are not linkable. Therefor you have to search the linked homepage near the middle: Matchbox-Kits re-released by Revell

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Herzlich Willkommen ! / Welcome !

Willkommen auf meinem Blog !

Seit über 25 Jahren interessiere ich mich für Modellbau, Figuren und Tabletops. Es fing an, als ich als kleiner Junge mit meinem Vater einige Flugzeuge (u. a. eine F4 Phantom), Panzer (u. a. ein Crusader, glaube ich) und ein Schiff (Graupner Bugsier 3) zusammen gebaut habe. Seitdem ließ mich das Thema nie ganz los.

Über die Jahre bin ich dann immer beim Modellbau in 1:72 geblieben, habe aber einige Abstecher in verschiedene Miniaturenspiele und Tabletops gemacht. Aus dem Hause Games Workshop habe ich wohl fast alles mal ausprobiert, konnte mich aber nur für Bloodbowl richtig begeistern.

Daneben begannen wir in den 90er Jahren mit einigen Freunden, unser eigenes Skirmish-Tabletop für den "kleinen Maßstab" zu entwickeln. Das zweite System, dem ich nun seit über 15 Jahren anhänge...
Und genau diesem Spiel und diesem Maßstab bin ich treu geblieben. Deshalb gestalte ich meine Modelle und Figuren vor allem spieltauglich. Dabei dann so historisch korrekt wie möglich.

Hier in diesem Blog geht es mir darum, Euch die Tür zu öffnen und Euch in meine bescheidene Werkbude einzuladen. Ich werde hier meine Modelle und Figuren präsentieren und ein paar Sätze dazu schreiben, was ich warum wie gemacht habe. Dabei würde ich mich über nette Kommentare, freundliche Anregungen oder konstruktive Kritik sehr freuen !
Schwerpunkt soll der Maßstab 20mm (1:76 / 1:72) sein und eben das, was mir an Bausätzen, Figuren und News dazu die Finger kommt. Vielleicht auch mal der eine oder andere Spielbericht.

Da Tabletop-Spiele in England und in Amerika ein viel weiter verbreitetes Hobby sind, als bei uns, werde ich versuchen, diesen Blog zweisprachig zu halten.
Stört Euch also bitte nicht an meinem wackeligen Englisch oder weist mich auch die schlimmsten Fehler hin.

Viele Grüße


Welcome to my new Blog ! 

I've been interested in smallsclae modelling for over 25 years. It started when my father and me built together severals kits.  I remember a F4 Phantom, some tanks (an A15 Crusader I think) and a Bugsier 3 tugboat. Since then the fascination for smallscale models and miniatures kept me. In between I tried nearly every game from Games Workshop but none except of Bloodbowl really captivated me.

Therefor I never left the 20mm scale. At the same time during the nineties some friends and myself we developt a WW II skirmish for this scale. Over fifteen years ago but we still love to discuss and improve the rules...

This Blog is dedicated to the 20mm (1:72 / 1/76) scale and the tabletop games I play. I want to open you the doors to my humble hovel and want to invite you to share the output with me. I will present my finished projects and work-in-progress stuff alike and I hope you will find it interesting an might send me some friendly comments, kind suggestion or some constructive criticism.

Since 20mm wargaming is a much more popular hobby in the UK (which I love so well...) and Northern America (which I admire for the best hockey league in the world), I will do my very best to run this blog bilingually.
Please excuse my clumsy English and feel free to correct my worst mistakes.

Best regards