Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ahh, painting weather!

Here in Wisconsin (USA for those outside 'Murica), the weather is turning to winter much earlier than normal.  How do I know?  Check this out...  my Bernese Mountain Dog loving the weather!

Awwww...

So that means painting is in the works.  As is me actually writing a post!

I am hammering out the AQMF infantry, tanks and tripods.  I would like to get them table ready by next weekend, which is Thanksgiving in the States.  My dad will be in town and I would love to be able to push some toys with him.  And my son will be back from college, so he can join the fun as well.

With the imminent release of Fate of a Nation II, I am certain that my Arab and Israelis will get some attention.  Add to those, the Panzers and other Germans and I am now swimming in stuff that needs to get painted!

On the tournament scene, I finished the year ranked #4 in the USA.  I guess that means I have to change my blog title from a beginner to someone that is experienced.  Nah...  too much work.

That meant I received an invitation to the US Masters and for the second year in a row, I had to decline.  Work keeps getting in the way of my hobby!  That also meant I missed Fall-In this year too.

But I was able to get a few games in against Mike Jacobs to get him ready for Masters.  But what is amazing is that since July, I have only played 3 games of FoW.  Ouch.

But now the weather is turning and I can focus on painting and playing!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Update and Magnetizing All Quiet on the Martian Front Steam Tanks


Where has the summer gone?

So a quick update before the tutorial.  I went to Historicon and played in the Doubles Tournament put on by my great friends at I-95 (I am an honorary member).  Bill Wilcox and I partnered up and ran US Stewie horde and Recon horde.  The theme was MW and you had 1,000 per player, with a 100 point swing (I think).  Bill and I had three great games with Dominic / his partner in crime, Jesse Shaeffer / Kurt Reese and Joe Lewis / Gary Overmeyer.  Lots of fun!  Bill and I ended with three wins and we came in 3rd place.

I did not play in the LW Nats tournament, but congratulations to my amigo Mike Jacobs who finished in 4th.  Nicely done!

Bill and I did get a chance to play All Quiet on the Martian Front.  Bill got in at the beginning with the Kickstarter.  We had a great time and I ended up going over to the AQMF booth and just opening my wallet.  I ended up buying the Starter Box, a box of Steam Tanks, a box of Scout Tripods, 2 blisters of US infantry and a blister of Fleeing Civilians.

Due to life / work, I just now got around to opening up the boxes.  The Steam Tanks come 3 in a box and they let you build a Mark I, II or III tank.  Well, I thought I would pull out the magnets and go for being able to make all three!  But before I get into the details, one word of caution - magnetizing the Steam Tank is a royal pain in the butt.  I ultimately decided I would magnetize 3 tanks and build the remaining 6 as Mark III.  Your results may vary...

Anyway, on with the show!



Here is a Steam Tank cut from the sprue.  Notice the Tripod in the upper right?  I did magnetize those, but in the end you really cannot do it.  The Black Cloud gun thingy is too heavy and the magnet cannot support the weight.  But back to the Steam Tank.  What we are doing here is determining which parts need to be magnetized and which can be glued.


This what is glued so far.  The parts are the top hull, the bottom hull, the boiler cover, boiler stack, tow hook and the driver's area on the upper hull (lower left from this view).  The two track pieces have yet to be glued.  I also glued the upper hull for the Mark III together and the sponson holders.  Those can be seen at the top of the picture.

The first challenge to face is how to get the top hull for the Mark III and the flat cover for the Mark I and II to be magnetized and still cover the big hole.  I realized I needed to "lift" the magnet from the bottom of the tank.  To do that, I simply glued wood sticks together (sticks I use for gun pits) and created a platform.  See below:


Here is what they look like after gluing, but before cutting to size (and ignore the AIW stuff!!):



So I used wood glue, then cut them to fit the hulls.

The next challenge is how to magnetize the sponsons.  There are huge holes that they get glued into, but it is too deep for a magnet.


The answer is White Stuff!  Using the putty, I filled the holes.  Now I had to let his stuff cure overnight because you are using so much of it.  But by the next morning, we were good to go!


The next day, I glued all the magnets on.  Now be careful with polarity.  It isn't enough to just check the two that are actually connecting.  Because you have so many magnets, they get close to each other.  If you reverse the polarity, it can really stink!  Notice that I had to cut the grooves from the covers and the sponson holders.  You can also see the magnets under the hull cover and the Mark III upper hull.

So what does the final result look like?  You judge!


Mark III


Mark II

Not too bad!

You can see the next two magnetized tanks below and 3 Mark III that are not magnetized.


And finally, some love to the Tripods!!


Good luck and happy gaming!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Adepticon ARR / Update

So after taking a week and a half to get back into the swing of things at work, here is my update from Adepticon.  I won't go back over my list as you can check it out on my last post.

Thursday:

Mike Jacobs (Cornishkeebler) and I meet up at my house and drive down to Chicago together.  I have my trunk loaded with 9 six-packs of Wisconsin beer and a cooler with wheels.  As Mike said - I was trying to buy my way to a good sportsmanship score (didn't work!!).  We drove down and had lunch at Portillo's.  When I used to live in Chicago, this was my place to go.  We then headed over to the Convention and met up with old friends.  After checking in, we got a practice game in with our Minnesota friends.  I went up against Keith Gilmour and his Brits.  We rolled up Breakthrough and had a go.  NGFS did its thing and Keith did his thing.  We ended 4-3 to me.  After that and dinner, I headed to O'Hare to grab Eric Turner (Paw Paw) and brought him back.

Friday:

Round 1: Encounter (Fair Fight Mission)

I get Byron Sinor, who is the top ranked American right now.  He has the 80th ID from Citizen Soldiers.  While I like the PDF, getting to pay for Trained artillery that hits like Vets is a great bargain.  And that is what he ran.  So right away, I get Blue v. Blue with an excellent player.  Details aside, we play.  We arty each other.  We continue to arty each other.  I try a ballsy move that almost pays off for an early win.  He counters.  We arty each other.  3-3.  Byron goes on to win the tournament.

Round 2: Hastyattack (Mobile Battle)

I play Shane.  Great fun!  He runs German Grens of some type.  He waits for Reserves.  I arty him.  My Pios, Boat Section, both arty platoons and Towed TDs are on the board to start.  PSV lays wire to slow the advance.  I arty him.  He is able to get a platoon into my zone, which I promptly run.  I get him down three platoons and with no hope of securing an objective or doing damage, it ends 6-1 to me.

Round 3: No Retreat (Defensive Battle)

I play Jesse Shaeffer.  He runs a Hungarian Assault Gun Company.  Nasty list.  Heavy arty, Recon and air support.  We go something like 14 turns and it end with a 4-3 to me.  Basically, NGFS hits.  Jesse rolls armor saves and passed a lot of them.  He then makes guns and infantry evaporate with Breakthrough guns.  He plays a great game and it was close.  Jesse goes on to finish 3rd.

For dinner, Mike, Eric, Jeff Hady, Dan Larson and I head out to dinner at a nice Mexican place.


Saturday:

Round 4: Breakthrough (Mobile Battle)

I play Todd and his Hetzer Company.  With a large village in the center, I am able to use NGFS perfectly against his list.  In a very smart move, he puts as many Hetzers in Reserves as he can.  I wish I could say the game was close.  It wasn't.  Bad match up for him.  6-1 to me.

Round 5: Surrounded (Defensive Battle)

I play Charlie Clay and his massive Croc (6!!) list from Overlord.  Hard fought 3-4 to him.  It was bloody on both sides.  Charlie goes on to finish 4th in the tournament.

Round 6: Free For All (Fair Fight)

I play an old friend Paul Devolpi and his Soviets.  Yes, Soviets are back!  He led the tournament after Day 1.  Again, I almost pull off the Hail Mary play and get on an objective.  All I need to do is NGFS and arty his 1iC (bail would be perfect) to keep him from contesting.  I hit him and he rolls a...  6.  Saved.  Paul is able to contest and make my recon jeeps run.  3-3.  Paul goes on to finish in 6th place for the tournament.

Final Result - I finish tied for 8th (9th after tie breakers).  I go 3-3, 4-3, 3-4 and 3-3 against 4 of the top 6 finishers.  Brutal draw for me.  If you want any details on the scoring fubar at the end of the tournament, check out the forums at WWPD.

Saturday night, Mike, Eric, Chris Hecht and I head out to get some Hibachi, drink and watch the Badgers play in the NCAA Final Four.  I had a great time!


Sunday:

Mike and I team up and enter the Doubles Tournament.  700 points for each team member and you can share 50 points across.  We run cheesy Boat Weasels.

Round 1: Hastyattack (Mobile Battle)

We play two great guys - one of whom I played in my very first tournament at Adepticon three years ago.  We didn't play Nats, but the Baby Seal Tournament.  He runs Grens (Assualt variety) and his partner is running 2 King Tigers and a Grille platoon.  Mike basically arties him (Mike has the NGFS platoon) and I use the other arty and Towed TDs.  The game is over in 3 turns as NGFS takes out both KTs, and helps get the Grilles to die.  6-1 win.

Round 2: No Retreat (Defensive Battle)

Due to a scheduling snafu with Eric (he thought his flight was at 10am - it was 10pm), he and Jesse decided to enter the tournament.  Rematch for me against those damn Hungarians!!  This game was closer than the score indicates as they did a great first turn move to try and put a world of hurt on the TD Section.  I was able to disengage and leave enough room to pop.  Return fire and some arty took care of the Hungarian recon tanks.  But they pressed the objective and NGFS did its thing.  We were able to break the Hungarian Company (no 1iC to take the Company Morale Check).  6-1 win.

Round 3: Encounter (Fair Fight)

We play our good friends Chris Fretts and Andrew Hopson.  They are running mirrored US Tanks with Jumbos and Easy Eights.  One has armored mortars in reserve and the other has ARP in reserve.  Basically, it was a tough matchup for them.  Chris has posted an AAR over at WWPD in the thread about NGFS.  Game is over on Turn 4.  We NGFS Andrew's Company to death and he fails the Company Morale roll.  6-1 win.

Mike and I win the tournament going 6-1, 6-1 and 6-1.  NGFS (again) was the difference.  I have vowed never to run that list again.  Now, in what I thought was even cooler - Mike and I got "Favorite Opponent" form all three of our opponents!  That was pretty cool considering what we were running.  But since we won, the prizes went to another team - totally agree with that!

Last Night:

We are now trying to figure out a home for our group.  Our LGS has moved and essentially closed their retail operations.  Mike and I have run many games in my house (I have a good setup there), but we need a place to handle 3 or 4 tables.  We have been trying a location on the other side of Madison and we finally got 6 players to show up.  We played a 3 on 3 modified version of FFA across two tables.  Great fun.  Smooth Riding Americans did the job!  We each brought 1,000 points, so I went with two platoons of 2 E8, Jumbo and Sherman.  1iC in E8 and 2iC in Jumbo.  It was fun just to mess around.

So there is my update!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Adepticon LW Nats List and Thoughts

So, it is that time of the year where the first Nats tournament happens in the States.  This year, Adepticon will be LW.  I was expecting MW since 2012 was LW and 2013 was EW.  Oh well, LW it is.

The points were slotted at 1,650.  Last year was 1,780.  You wouldn’t think 130 points would matter that much, but it does.  My Canadian list at 1,780 did well – tied for 11th with over 100 people playing.  But to make that same list fit into 1,650 just wasn’t happening.  Now I could have tried to change it up, but I just wasn’t excited about bringing Canadians to two straight LW Nats.  So off to the drawing board I went.

I thought about going back to TFA.  I think folks have forgotten about the list and the potency of the list.  But 1,650 is too high of a point total.  TFA needs around 1,500 to really shine.  I thought about 2 ID, but that didn’t excite me.  I thought about a Citizen Soldiers list, but that too didn’t strike me.  Same for 7th AD with Patton (been there), Cromwells and a Stewie horde.

But I did think quite a bit about a Soviet list.  My favorite right now is something like this:

HQ – T-34

Platoon / Company 1: 10 T-34s

Platoon / Company 2: 8 T-34s

Platoon 3: Short Spetznaz

Platoon 4: 3 SU-100

Platoon 5: 3 SU-100

Platoon 6: 3 DshK Trucks (SPAA)

Platoon 7: 12 Zis guns plus Scout Cars with .50cals (13 of them)

This is a very good list and I believe I will see it at Adepticon.  Infiltrate 11 T-34s.  Use the Zis guns that Ed Forbes loves so much – it really is a great platoon.  SPAA to keep Rudel at bay.  This has it all.
But there is another list out there and one that I came very close to running last year.  Unfortunately, it is so full of cheese that it borders on offensive.  How’s that for an intro!

So what is the list?  US Assault Company out of Overlord.  Here is the list:

US Assault Company - Confident Trained

HQ: 1 and 2iC Carbine Team

Platoon 1: Boat Section (Cmd Rifle, 4 Rifle, 2 Bazooka, 60mm Mortar and a Flame-thrower)

Platoon 2: Boat Section (Cmd Rifle, 4 Rifle, 2 Bazooka, 60mm Mortar and a Flame-thrower)

Platoon 3: Mortar Platoon with 2 81mm Mortars and Cmd Carbine

Platoon 4: AT Gun Platoon with 3 57mm, 1 Bazooka and Cmd Carbine

Platoon 5: Recon Platoon with 3 Recon Jeeps and 1 .50cal Recon Jeep

Platoon 6: Cannon Platoon with 6 105mm Light Howitzers, Cmd Carbine and Observer)

Platoon 7: Towed TDs with 4 M5 3” guns, 4 bazookas, Cmd Carbine and 4 .50cal Halftracks

Platoon 8: Engineer Combat Platoon with 2 Bazookas, 2 HMGs / Pio Rifles (swap at game start) and Cmd Pio Rifle with Pio Supply Vehicle

Platoon 9: Field Artillery Battery with 4 105mm guns, Staff Team, Cmd Carbine and Observer with Jeep

Platoon 10: SPAA – one Quad .50cal and one 37mm Halftrack

NGFS: Heavy Cruiser

Air Cover: Limited P-47 (Air Cover mean they intercept on 5+, ground attack on 6)

AOP

10 Platoons at 1,650 points

 

My thoughts on the list:

First, NGFS is good.  Crazy good.  I can bring a Naval AOP or use a ground observer.  It is AT 6, FP 1+ on a doublewide template, with reroll misses.  Yes, you have to range in each turn.  Yes, the 1iC can spot, but no one else can do so.  Yes, you can’t combine it with any other arty.  But still…  The math is on my side.  Rerolling misses and you have to pass a Top Armor save needing a 6?  You roll a 5 and you are bailed, anything else kills you?!  Dead.  FP 1+ is a good thing…  Against open tops (TDs, Marders, Halftracks, etc.), you can only hope for a bail.  Dug in infantry will disappear (one out of three hits will fail the save).  And with the Naval AOP running around, I can find you pretty much anywhere.  Bringing AA?  Ok, either I use terrain to mask, go after your SPAA with everything I have, say forget it and arty the SPAA before it can shoot my AOPs or just bring the ground observer.  Lots of options!

Then I have my Cannon Platoon of 6 Light Howitzers.  How are they different that normal 105mm?  Slightly less range on bombardment, less range on direct fire and they don’t have a gun shield.  Otherwise, they are identical in every way.  AT 4, FP 4+.  And because they are a Cannon Platoon, any Platoon Commander can be a spotter.  And the 1iC does not have a +1 added.  And with 6 guns, that is a normal template with reroll misses.

Oh, did I mention the other artillery platoon yet?  The one with four 105mm Howitzers?  And the AOP to go with it?  Ok, so this platoon gets Time on Target.  Or I can combine with the Cannon Platoon and have another doublewide with reroll misses at AT 4, FP 4+.

And I have my Air Cover to protect the AOPs from enemy air craft.  If my opponent doesn’t have air, then I need a 6 to get a Ground Attack.  That’s ok because their primary role is to protect the skies.  Anything else is bonus!

Of course, I have to bring Towed TDs.  Dropping 8 AT 12, FP 3+ shots out of a mobile ambush and having bazookas running amok with .50cal halftracks is just too good to be true.

Then add the mobility of the Recon Jeeps – along with their limited ability to keep Spearhead and Recon moves in check – and you have a neat little platoon.

SPAA comes along for the ride to protect the artillery from air that get past my Air Cover.  Plus they can be used to help dig out infantry if necessary.  Sure, they are only two vehicles but they can pack a punch if necessary.

And my Pios.  My lovely Pios.  Facing an AA Mech or Armor list?  Drop three glorious stands of wire to slow it down.  Against tanks, lay down a minefield.  All I need to do is slow down the Spearhead and Recon moves and let the arty do the rest.

Am I worried about facing an AA Infantry list?  Not really since this list is AA against Infantry.  I could see a Brit player wanting to Night Attack.  Ok – we roll.  But most Defensive Battles have a 24” distance to the objective and moving 6” at a time will cause you to get there right around when night lifts.  I am ok with that.  And attacking infantry doesn’t bother me either.  I can close some distance and let the artillery take over.

What is funny (in a sad way) is that a friend of mine recorded over 60 turns in Free For All at Historicon last year.  It was arty fest.  I guess I am going to try to break that number.

So I ignore the first loss, I have great AT, I have four templates (air, FAB, Cannon and NGFS), I have two AOPs, I have two infantry platoons with zooks and flame-throwers, I have recon, TDs and Pioneers.  NGFS will be available every turn. You can’t pin it, kill it, smoke it, etc.  Sure, you could smoke the ground observer – if I bring it.  For half on / half off missions, I will have just under 1,200 points of my army on the table.

Yes, this is a silly list and full of cheese.  I know.  Effectively, I am bringing 22 artillery guns with only 10 of them being on the table.  A bit much, don't you think?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Magach 2 or 3? How about BOTH! Same with Sho't!

Here in the States, there is an old question that is asked:

Ginger or Mary Ann?

The correct answer is BOTH!

For Christmas, I got a boat load of AIW stuff (good thing I preordered it all).  I got 6 Sho't / Centurions, 6 M51 Ishermans, 6 Magach 2 /3, 6 AMX-15, Israeli decals and half track stowage.  Needless to say, I have been an assembling machine!

With both the Magach and Sho't boxes, you have to choose which version of the gun you want to mount.  Because I like to choose "both", I decided to magnetize the barrels for both the Sho'ts and the Magachs.

The Magach is pretty easy to do.  So let's tackle the tough one - the Sho't.

This is what the model looks like when you pull them out of the box:

The tracks are all one piece - including skirts - plus the hull and the turret.  Here is a closeup of the turret:

Notice the hull is flush - this allows the gun to be glued flush.  Take a look at this picture, which shows the back of the gun:
Ignore the magnet for now.  So you simply glue the gun to the turret and off you go.  But we want both barrels to work.

To do the drilling, you will need several different sizes of bits.  I went micro, then used three different bits - but only one was actually "drilled" with my drill.  Here are my bits and drill:

And my drill:


Ok.  Here are the steps.

Step 1 - Turret as is out of the box:

Step 2 - Micro bit

Using the small bit, find the center of the turret and make a small hole.  I found that being slightly lower than center was advantageous.


Step 3 - Next bit (I believe I used 9/32")

Using a normal drill bit and using your hand, slowly rotate the bit to make a larger hole.  Depth isn't important as you just want to expand the hole and take away the outer resin "shell".

Step 4 - Next, next bit

Repeat the exact same step as above, but with the next larger size bit.


Notice the hole is getting larger.  This is exactly what you want.

Step 5 - Drill Baby!!

Now, take the size bit that is needed to make the hole large enough for the magnets.  I used the same magnets that are included in the model for the turrets.  I just took those to my neighborhood hobby shop and found an exact match.  So I bought 30... or 60.

The trick is to start very slowly with the drill until the bit has shaved away all the hard resin.  Then increase the drill speed and apply a little more pressure to the drill.

This is what the turret should look like after.
I was a little "high" on this specific turret.  Now don't worry about it because you will just match up the location of the hole and where you will glue the magnet on the barrel.

You may want to check the depth by grabbing your magnets and making sure that two magnets can fit inside the hole.
You need two to fit inside - one for the magnet that will be glued inside the turret and one for the magnet from the barrel.

That is it for the turret!  Now, glue a magnet into the turret.  Oh, be sure to mark or know which side of the magnet you need to be facing out for the barrel...
So yours should look like the above.

Now, grab a barrel and place it over the hole and try to see where the magnet should be glued.  This is the tricky part.  I have no suggestion other than to eyeball it.  You could stick a piece of chalk to something that can hold ink, but that seemed more of a pain than just eyeballing.  And so far it has worked for me.

Here is the picture from above (again) showing the gun and the magnet:

And on the model:
Notice that those Sho't have different barrels!  That is what we want!

So now you have both barrels and can bring both versions of the tank to the game.


The Magach works the same way, except the whole drilling and gluing of the magnets is way easier.  Each Magach turret has a predrilled hole for the gun.  And each gun has a protrusion exactly where it would go into the hole in the turret.  Just expand the hole using the same process above and cut off the metal protrusion from the barrel.

Here is the finished result:
Now, notice that a portion of the turret bottom got chipped.  Do not worry!  It happened on 5 of the 6 models I have.  And you will not be able to see it when the turret is on the tank.  Want proof?

Here is the underside:

Here is the top view:
And on the tank:

And with the other barrel:



So if you take the time to drill and glue, you will have both versions of the Magach and the Sho't available for you.  I believe it is totally worth it and the results are pretty darn good!  Best of luck and drop me a question in the comments.

Oh, here is my table - just AIW stuff...

Enjoy!




Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas Season!

Of course, here in the States we do not get a two week break from work.  Nope.  But I am taking some time off from work next week and I have big, big plans for painting.

I have 10 Panzer IV, 5 Panzer III, 7 SU-100s, 6 AMX, 6 Ishermans, 6 Magachs, 4 Sho'ts, 2 Super Shermans, 3 Sherman 105mm, 10 T-34/85 for AIW (need to build) and a bunch of Germans too.  My idea is to get everything assembled so that right after Christmas, I can have a day full of painting.  I only hope the compressor does not burn out on the airbrush!

I hope everyone has a great holiday and safe travels to those that are on the road!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Current Update - painting and US Masters!

Well, the weather has changed here in Wisconsin.  Snow.  Grey.  Blah...  So that means...

Painting Weather!!


So here is a current status on my painting queue.  Truth be told, I have a bigger problem with stuff that is painted, but not decaled or totally finished.  Unprimed metal or resin is not the problem.  So this is where I stand right now:

I am almost done with my first company of Strelk.  33 stands of Soviet goodness!!  I just have boots and some SMGs to finish up, then on to basing!

I have 12 US arty guns (8 155mm and 4 105mm) that I need to base.  They are painted and on the bases, they just need flocking and grasses applied.

All my Shermans, Stewies and Chaffees are painted up.  The just need decals / a few Chaffees need details painted up.

Roos and LVTs still need decals.  I have 6 Roos that are totally done - I used those this summer at Historicon.  But the rest need decals.

Germans that I received from Wilcox for my son need a little bit of loving attention.

I also traded stuff with Joe for Germans and Crab Shermans.  Those need just a little bit of work.

But right now, my focus is on...

AIW!!  I have a bunch of boxes that I ordered for Christmas sitting in my house.  My lovely wife has not allowed me to open them early and get cracking on painting.  I do have a box of AMXs that I will start up on because they are rewards and not part of the Christmas loot!  Now I will be under the pressure gun here because Joe has scheduled an AIW game day at The Last Square for January 25th.  So one month to get a lot of Israelis, Jordanians and UAR tanks painted and ready for public viewing.

I also have some Soviets (SU-100), Germans (Panzer III, IV, Kubelwagons and Trucks) and a few Americans (Sherman 105s) that will need to be completed too.  I figure if I am going to airbrush, I might as well paint 40+ vehicles at the same time!!

I will get some pictures loaded up as progress is made.

On the tournament scene, I did not attend Fall-In this year.  I am bummed.  But, I was invited to US Masters!!  I was an alternate and several other guys could not make the event this year (Wilcox, Riha, Leland and a few others), so I actually got the invite!!  Wohoo!!

But...

I could not make it.  Yes, I know.  Unfortunately, while work trips can be convenient (see trip to UK and adding a visit to Wilcox) they can also get in the way.  And ultimately, that was the issue here.  I need to be in Salt Lake City, Utah on the Sunday right after Masters.  To change my flights would have cost me a lot of money ($500).  With such short notice, I just could not make that happen.  But I was totally excited about getting the invite in the first place!  I do wish everyone the best of luck and I wish I was able to attend!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Allen