Monday, October 27, 2014

Hell Hath No Fury

Hell Hath No Fury (HHNF) is Two Hour Wargames' latest WWII rule set, encompassing tank vs. tank combat, none of those pesky infantry or anti-tank guns!  Lock And Load had done a fun little set called Tank Vs. Tank a while back, and I bought up a bunch of 1/144 tanks when Wal-Mart had them for $1.00 each.

Like all of Two Hour Wargames' rules, this one is based on reaction, so you never know whether your toys are going to do exactly what you paln.  Fog of War!

5 Shermans M4A4 Shermans with the 75mm gun were sent on patrol to see if the area ahead was clear for advance.  It wasn't.  And thereby hangs a tale...

In HHNF, each member of the tank crew has his own Rep which denotes his ability to perform his appointed tasks.  These are rolled for on a table.  So 3 of the Shermans had Rep 5 (very good) tank commanders, and the remaining 2 had Rep 4, not bad.  Gunners varried from Rep 4 to 5.  Loaders were mostly Rep 3 (low average).  This would be a factor in the game.

The game was played on a 3' x 3' table, lain out in a 3 by 3 grid, not visible on the table.  It's just for initially locating the PEF's, Possible Enemy Force, before they are revealed.

Here is the original layout with the Shermans coming in at number 8 on the grid.
I don't really have any 1/144th terrain, so I used a 15mm farm as the only building.  The green 3D clumps are representing trees.  The green felt represents hills and the tan felt a depression.  Two PEF's appeared in 1 & 3, out of the picture on the upper left and right.  The third PEF appeared in 5, where there is no cover.  PEF's normally appear in cover and continue to hide as long as possible, while advancing toward the enemy.
This was an unusual situation caused by my leaving a blank area in the center of the table.  The Shermans are numbered 1-3 in the front row, with 1 being the platoon commander in the center tank.  The second row are imaginatively numbered 4 & 5.  This is Turn 1 and the Shermans advance onto the table.  And immediately reveal the PEF in front of them to be: the worse possible roll, 6 more than your unit. (This is a BIG mistake.  Rolling 6 should only add 3 more than your unit!) The only German tanks that I have in that quantity are Panzer IV-H's with superior guns to the Shermans!
Luckily for the Shermans, they win the In Sight, allowing them to get off the first shots. (Normally, I would roll up the crews for each Pz IV-H, but with 11 of them, I just made their crews all Rep 4.  Fudging, I know!)  The Shermans disable the first 3 tanks in line with 4 shots, blocking Line Of Sight for the Pz IV-H's behind them.

None of the front-line Shermans were able to reload quickly enough to be able to return shots until their next activation (Rep 3 Loaders, remember?), and #3 couldn't even try again until the next activation. Tank #4 had no targets and #5 was able to reload quickly.  The Germans got no activation, due to rolling higher than their Rep.

On turn 2, the Activation dice were Germans 6 (no activation) and US 1.  Since standing in the open was not wise, they split up, the front row going left around the trees to their left, and the back row going to the right, also around the trees. Sherman #3 finally reloads when next Active, so is unable to shoot this turn, and remains in hiding.

Shermans 4 & 5 round the trees and win the In Sight with the few Germans who can see them. #5, with the best gunner in the platoon, hits a tank in the side and destroys it. #4 fires at another Pz IV-H, but his round bounces off, and the German destroys him.  When tanks are destroyed (exploded), any friendly tank within 4" must take a Crises Test, since seeing your buddies turn into pink mist can be unnerving.  1 tank in the second German platoon Ducks Back (hides from the destroyer, a temporary situation).  In the 3rd German platoon, another tank Ducked Back, and in the 4th platoon, 1 tank left the table. 

Turn 3 Germans 2 Americans 4
Tank 1 & 2 tie their In Sight with a couple of tanks on the Germans' right flank and #1 explodes another German tank.  Tank #3 still must reload. #2 has no target.  Here I made a mistake.  In Sights are not tied in HHNF, but are rerolled.  As a result, the destroyed German tank destroys Sherman #2.  Sherman #1 Ducks Back, but #3 is okay, but still unloaded.

On the right flank, Sherman #5 advances to the sand pit and again wins the In Sight. He fires again, and explodes another Panzer IV-H.  As a result of all the damage to the Germans, the remainders of the 3rd platoon Ducks Back, and both the commander and the remaining tank of the 4th platoon leave the battlefield.

Now the Germans activate.  The PEF on the right of Sherman #1 is revealed to be 3 more Panzer IV-H's.  Sherman #1 wins the In Sight and Ducks Back, since he doesn't like 3 to 1 odds.  The PEF on the left moves forward, but remains hidden..  The commander of German platoon 3 moves to the front of Sherman #5, who is not reloaded, so he Ducks Back.

 Turn 4  Germans 4 Americans 2
The commander of the new German platoon advances on Sherman #1, and loses the In Sight to him.  Sherman #1 fires, and his shell bounces off.  The German tank returns fire, and explodes Sherman #1, the platoon commander.  That's enough burning Shermans, so the 2 remaining leave the field on my decision.
Great fun, unless you're in one of the tanks.  The Shermans disabled or destroyed 6 tanks for the loss of  3 of their own.  They also ran off a couple more, and all stood firm when their buddies bought it near them.  It was my usual luck for the first PEF to be the worst possible roll.

Mistakes? I've made a few (hey, isn't that a song?).  I had an In Sight as simultaneous, which is wrong.  It should be a reroll.  I rolled doubles for activation twice, and forgot that could bring reinforcements, I think.  Can't find it at the moment.  My biggest mistake was when I rolled a 6 on enemy forces, I added the 6 instead of the 3, as called for. Oh, yes.  Since the Germans held the field, they could recover their damaged tanks, and two were repairable.  So the Shermans only destroyed 4 tanks for their loss of 3.  But we know that the Americans can replace Shermans much more easily than the Germans can replace anything.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Corvus Miniatures

I am beginning to reach the bottom of this bag of 128 Corvus Miniatures, consisting of Varangian Guard and Saxons.
First up are 6 Saxon spearmen.  I really like the helmets on these figures, as they are metal-framed with either horn or leather for the cao.  I chose leather.
Next are 6 Saxon swordsmen.  They will be used as unit leader figures for "Captains and Kings".
And 5 Varangian axemen, though they look like Normans with round shields to me.  The pack was missing an axe, so one fellow got a left-over spear.
And a banner man, who will indicated the leader of the battle.
This leave me with 15 heavily-armored axemen with the axe raised over their heads, and I will be finished with the Corvus Miniatures.

However, I can never seem to find the end of these old peasant figures.  Here are 8 more.  Sure they're primitive by today's standards, but I'm rather fond of old lead. (they tend to be easier to paint).  I know there are some more with glaives somewhere.
And last, and old fantasy figure that I've had around for a loooong time, but just repainted.
You can tell he's a fantasy figure by the use of buttons, which were not used to fasten clothing until the 13th century in the German area.

Being a bit tired of chainmail in 25mm, I'm taking a break and painting a "Rally Round The King" undead army before getting on with the last 15 Corvus Miniatures.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

British paras, Varangian guard, Saxons, and Welsh!

The first part of this post is about letting greed get ahead of your good sense.  A friend had a squad of British paras, command, and heavy weapons for sale for $1.00 apiece.  I snapped them us.  They are from Warlord Games.  So I ordered 2 more squads to fill out a platoon.  Then I realized that I had to paint the d$#@%^d things.

I hate painting camouflage.  Really, really!  It doesn't let the sculpture of the figure show through.  But I "endeavoured to persevere.", and finished what I had originally purchased. Now a word about Warlord Games metal figures. I have both ECW and, now, paras.  When figures are cast, there is the sprue where the metal enters the mold.  Each figure has to have tiny air passages cut from the parts which protrude the most on the figure to the outer edge of the mold.  This is a standard practice.  It is also standard practice for the caster to remove them.  Not so with Warlord.  So you open the package to find hedgehogs bristling with air sprues to prick your fingers.  You clean them in bare metal, and then find more when you prime, and still a few when you paint.  They tend to wrap around the figure in such a way that they aren't visible.

Here is a photo of 3 of the paras.
And how I paint them.  After cleaning them up, I superglue them to, in this case, 7/8" washers.  Then I use Elmer's Woodworker Putty to blend the base and the washer together.  I prime them with the cheapest grey primer that Wal-Mart has.  Then I paint the skin tone. And here is my painting diary for the paras, in the order I apply the paints.
Pants: P3 Gun Corps Brown
Denison smock: base Americana Pebble, swatchs of P3 Gnarl's Green & Deca Ceramcoat (hereafter DC) Cinnamon, Cuff DC English Yew, snaps Reaper Uniform Brown.
Webbing: P3 Khaki, water bottle Plaid Nutmeg, gas mask bag, Reaper Yellow Olive with strap of P3 Bootstrap Brown. Entrenching tool handle GW Scorched Brown with Black metal parts.
Helmet: base color DC Black Green, net Reaper Troll Green, tabs DC Boston Fern & DC Spice Brown, chinstrap, Reaper Troll Green.
Boots: Black, gaiters Tan
Gun stock: GW Scorched Brown, metal Black.
Scarf: Reaper Troll Green. (Yes, I know it is also camo, but too little shows to bother.)
Grenades: DC Gamel Green.
I then give the whole thing a brown wash, and because I wasn't satisfied with definition, a thin black wash.
Once that is dry, I paint the eyes DC Ivory, and the irises whatever.
Sten metal parts & Bren muzzle: P3 Pig Iron.
The bases were painted Am. Pebble, and while still wet, dipped in flock.
Then the figures are dull-coated.  Arms in WWII had as little shine as possible, so I do the metal before dull coating.The white area behind the Sten gunner on the left is a tag put on every base to identify the figure.
You will note that I do no shading or highlighting. I block paint and rely on my brown wash.

And here are some more of my Corvus Miniatures that were traded to me in a bag of 108 figures.
First off, Varangian archers who I chose to paint in cloth padded gambesons.
And now, Saxon archers (bit of a grab bag in archers)
And, finally, Welsh archers.

  The bows are strung with a model railroading product intended for stringing telephone poles.  It's called EZ Line, and is a very thin elastic.  I was seduced into using it by Mike Bobe of Bobe's Hobby House in Pensacola, Florida.
 It comes in 2 thicknesses.  Mike suggests the thinner for 15mm and the thicker for larger figures.  It is glued to one end of the bow.  When that end is dry, gently stretch it to the other end and hold it while it dries.  It is extremely fiddly to use, but the end result is great.  The reason the Varangian archers are not strung is because their skirts were in the way of a smooth bow line.