Monday, October 31, 2011

PSC Shermans and Paint Storage Rack - Sentinel 15mm coming soon

All -

Update with pictures!

This past week, I received my paint storage rack from the UK and I purchased, assembled, primed and basecoated 5 Shermans from the Plastic Soldier Company.  I will review the buildings from Sentinel in a later post.  Here are my quick reviews:

Paint Storage Racks

Based on a suggestion on the WWPD forum, I ordered a paint rack that is specifically designed for Vallejo paints.  It would appear that the units are custom build on MDF using laser cutting.  They are also built to order because you could still smell the burn from the laser on the wood.

Here are a few pictures -

This is what you get when you receive the package.  The directions are simple and fairly easy to follow.  The nuts and bolts used to build the racks are rather clever.  You insert a bolt into the wood and the nut cannot spin, so it locks the bolt in place when you screw it in.  The picture is fuzzy, but hopefully you get the idea.

Half way through the build and it looks like this -

Final assembly and putting in the paints. 

I am very happy with the racks.  But I will say that they are a bit of a splurge.  With shipping and the exchange rate from pounds to dollars, they come it at over $50.  Nice, but not a requirement.  It does look good!

Plastic Soldier Company Shermans

I really have resisted plastic.  But listening to others talk about the benefits, I thought I would try out a box.  I grabbed the American Sherman box that lets you build the 76mm and the 75mm version.  To all the purists out there, yes it is the hull of the 76mm.  Anyway, you get 5 tanks for around 1/2 the price of BF.  But you get the turrets for both!  So you can switch as needed, effectively giving you two vehicles.  There is a caveat.  You only get enough hatches to build one turret.  What I did was go to the "bits" pile and grab some spare BF hatches.  I used white putty to fill in a hatch opening and put the BF hatch cover on top.  I will let you judge, but I am very pleased with the results.  I also added 2 pennies to each hull in a cheap attempt to add some weight.  It works, but I think you would get better results with the lead you can get for pine cars (think Boy Scouts).  The plastic is pink, which is a little strange.  The detail is fantastic.  Assembly was a little slow on the first tank because I was trying to figure it all out.  But after building one all the way through, I was able to knock the other 4 out in about the same time.

Let's talk abotu the pain - tracks.  I knew this going in and I will say that once I got the hang of it, I was very pleased with the tracks.  They are not as bad as what I have heard said about the T-34 models.

I really like these models and it does expand the use of my Shermans.  Plus I am guessing that we will see a full 76mm Tank Company in the upcoming Bulge books, so I can add vehicles quickly.  My only comment to BF would be to ask them to sell extra turrets.  I still like resin and if BF offered the turrets, it might make a difference.  But I am very happy with the results.

Here are the pictures:

One Sherman with both turrets.  You can see the BF hatch cover on the right turret.

I made this picture a little bigger, so you can see what I did.  I used White Stuff putty to fill the hole and put the BF hatch on top.  The scale is a little off (BF seems to be closer to 18mm than 15mm), but it works.  After priming, it blends in perfectly.

Here is the turret after priming.

For comparison, here are a few side by sides with a BF Sherman -
75mm turret above

76mm turret above

The tracks are pretty good.  Remember that I am looking at the model from 5 inches away.  After the prime and base coats, the seam blends in nicely.  Oh, the gloss from the glue disappears too!

I am very happy with the models.  I am thinking of starting Soviets (Red Bear!!) and PSC would be the way to go in creating that horde of T-34s.  Plus you get the turrets for 76 and 85 versions, so it allows for great flexibility.  I am a fan!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WWPD Dispatches are MINE!!! BOTH of them!!!!

Evil laughter is errupting in Madison!!

While I have a few ideas, I am welcome to any others.  I am a big fan of sarcasm, humor and smack.

One thought I had, which I am going to take a pass on is this one, read by Steve:

[In a voice like the "Most Interesting Man in the World" ads in the States]

"I don't always impregnate women.  But when I do, I prefer my wife Lydia."

Then normal voice:

"Brought to you by your friends in Madison WI!!  Best of luck with the new born!"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Update, Workspace and Computer

Had a very quick game on Wednesday.  We continue to practice running the Blind Domination mission published by I-95 and available at in the download section.

We have an upcoming tournament that is running LW 1,350 with 2 Blind Domination missions and 1 Domination mission.  The idea is fast, furious and quick games as these will be played on a Friday afternoon and evening.

Since I played Joe last week, I played Ben - a young player in the area.  Unfortunately, Ben can be easily distracted and that was the issue for the game.

I brought US Armor, including 2 Sherman 75mm (CiC, 2iC), 4 76mm Shermans, 9 Stuarts, Armored Mortars, Armored Recon and ARP.

Ben brought 3 King Tigers and 1 Stug platoon (3 Stugs).

The game was won before it even started.  There was no way that Ben could be everywhere on the map to get the Domination points.  To do so, he would have to isolate his KT and the 76mm would clean them up.

The game went like this:  I deployed.  He killed a few Stuarts and an M8 armored car.  At Turn 6, Domination points went live and I won with 8 pts.  One hour tops.

But the game did provide some good play experience for me and some intelligence around the mission, especially when combined with 1,350 points.  Here are my current thoughts:

1) Big guns are useless in "large" numbers.  One Tiger - good.  3 Tigers - bad.  This mission dictates the need for mobility and good shooting on the move.  So the balance is very important.  Light Tank Company will not win - not enough high AT weapons.  Heavy Tank Company will not win - not enough mobility or enough things that shoot (as Joe learned last week).

2) Recon, while valuable to get on the board turn one, shred too many points.  Yes, zipping to get points on turn one is great!  But they simply cannot hold on to the points for 5 turns.  They go "boom" too easily.

3) Infantry is pointless - in this mission with this number of points.  You have to be able to move and the mission states you cannot move at the double until turn 6.  So the points for the ARP are better put to use on armor - and medium armor at that.

We have a few more weeks to tweak.  But as Joe and I were talking, I think we came upon a great list that one of us will try next week - 31 T-34s out of Fortress Europe.  Comes out to be 11 T-34/85, 10 T-34 and 10 Stuart Lend-Lease.  Yes, Hen and Chicks will hurt.  But 31 tanks or 62 AT 7+ shots is compelling.  Mike is not as favorable on the list and believes his German list would eat them up.  I am willing to see how this would play out - it could be a winner.

I am also working on my work space in the lower level.  My son paints too (40k) and we are looking to make a better environment.  I got a huge bit of support from my wife, so we ended up making a "temporary" space that is actually quite nice.  So nice that it may delay the full "dream" space concept.

Which gets me to the computer -

I was going to post pictures of the space, but I need to destroy my computer.  I went ahead and purchased a new system, which is what I will be soing this weekend.  Once I get the new system up and running, then the pictures will flow (like the spice - obscure reference??).

Yeah, all weekend installing crap.  Fun!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wednesday update / Last weekend's "issue"

I will start with last weekend.

For those of you who follow the FoW forums, you might have seen my rule question.  What happened was that during a game on Saturday, I played a long-time and successful player.  I knew the game was going to be a tough win for me or my opponent.  All good there.

As we were in the middle of the game, there was a situation that was similar to the one below:

What happened is that my opponent grabbed some dice and rolled them all at once, scoring two hits.  I started to put both hits on Sherman C and he said I could not do that because you have to maximize hits.  I knew this, but since he grabbed the dice I said "how do you know the hits came from Panzer A or B?  I think they came from C."  I agreed that I will need to spead the hits out, but we did not know where the hits came from.  And this is when the yelling at me started.  My opponent claimed that shooting is platoon to platoon.  His platoon scored 2 hits, so place the 2 hits on valid targets.  Since all my teams are a valid target to at least one of his teams, they can all get hits.  I disagreed.  His voice raised again.  I still disagreed.  By this time, we had called Joe over and Joe's first reaction was to calm the situation down.  Joe "ruled" that in the situation that we had (I have changed the example and the units due to my attempt to keep the exact situation and player a bit confidential), either way of looking at it would have resulted in hits going on two teams.  I agreed with that, but I did not and still do not agree on the belief that my opponent was "selling."  In the game, we were able to keep playing and even had another rules issue that was incredibly esoteric.  In that last example, we spoke and worked together.  Joe came over and all three of us were saying "I have never seen this before."  We worked out a ruling that we all could agree with and I think it was the correct way to go - even though it adversely affected my position.  So what had me scratching my head was why the bombastic attitude in the first example and then such a turn around on the second?  At the end of the game (1-3 draw to my opponent), we shook hands and my opponent apoplogized for the first interaction.  Turns out he was on the receiving end of the same situation some time ago and lost his "appeal."  Since then, he has been feverishly defending his new view.

Well, turns out I am right.  He should have rolled Panzer C separately since that unit has different valid tartget.That makes me feel better about the situation.  But I have to admit that if I played this person again (that is basically guaranteed), I will have this experience going in the back of my head.  Maybe in time I will "build a bridge and get over it."

On to Wednesday:

We played a 1,350 LW force, using Blind Domination from I-95 group.  We have another tourney coming up in Novemeber that will be split into 2 events.  The first is Blind Domination, Domination, Blind Domination again.  All mobile battles.  1,350 LW.  Fast and furious gaming!!

So Joe and I went at it.  My list (and I feel really good about it) is US 3rd Armored.  The tourney rule allows for only one combat platoon.  Here it is:

HQ - 2 Shermans
Combat Platoon # 1 - 4 76mm Shermans
Platoon #2 - 5 Stuarts
Platoon #3 - 4 Stuarts
Platoon #4 - Armored Rifles (full)
Platoon #5 - Armored Mortars (3, 2 with .50 cal MG upgrades)
Platoon #6 - Armored Recon (1 Section)

Based on my reading and confirmed with our game, mobility is key.  Plus anything you can get as recon is at a premium in Blind Domination.

Joe put up German pios:
Pio Platoon
Pio Platoon
Heavy Mortars (KG'd with 2iC)
3 Brumbars
3 Tigers


I was able to grab 5 points and have a hold on them until the end.  I was able to run 1 Pio platoon and the mortars.  I was also able to kill 1 Tiger (at long range with a 76 Sherman!!).  But the pesky Brumbars kept him in the game by contesting the last 3 point objective (if I get the objective, I win).  We timed out after 7 turns, with me at a 3-1 draw.  Joe realized he needed mobility and will be re-working his list.  My issue is that I can get points and hold, but I cannot withstand sustained fire being Trained.  I need fast games.  Longer games will ruin me.  But I strongly recommend those missions - they are a blast!!

Next Wednesday is another go!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tournament AAR - Madison, WI - Oct 8th

Well, the big day arrived and we had a really long, but great day.  I will admit to there being a little damper on one of the games as a rules discussion got a bit heated.  And by heated, I mean my opponent was kind of yelling at me for basically daring to disagree with him.  That did not sit well with me.  When I am ready, I will share the details.  I believe in the end we were both correct.  It is just while I was willing to admit that he had a point, he was not willing to do the same.  Joe did intervene and by the end of the game, we shook hands.  After the game, my opponent did apologize, but the damage had been done.

Thank you for the couch, doctor.  Is our hour up now??

Back to the AAR -

I brought my Brit Para list.  To refresh, here it is:

HQ + 3 PIATS (spread among the platoons)
3 Para Platoons
1 Para HMG Platoon
1 Para AT Gun Platoon (6 pdr)
1 8 Gun Arty Battery (25 pdrs)
1,495 points

I felt good about the list, but I wish I had a few more games under my belt before I went into the tourney.

The tournament was 3 rounds, with missions being Encounter, No Retreat and a random draw between Fighting Withdrawl or Free For All.

Round 1 - Encounter:

I played a gentleman named Lysander.  He brought US Armored Rifles (ah, a man after my own heart).  I don't recall his full list, but I think he had 2 ARP, 3 M8 Scots, 105mm in halftracks, a SPAA (2) platoon and a Hero.  He might have had more, but they never hit the board.  We rolled and he was "attacker".

Here is the board, which was an "Italy" board:

Lysander put the Scots to my left and his arty in the back left.  One ARP was in the middle and another was placed far right (picture was taken during deployment).  I went with one para platoon left, one right and my 8 gun battery right.  I held HMG, one para platoon and AT guns in reserve.

In order to save the boring details, we swapped arty shots, the Scots moved up the left and killed a few stands.  My paras on the left (with my CiC) were able to assault following a smoke bombardment.  2 Scots killed, but the Scots didn't run.  Lysander pulled the last Scot back to the rear and the left became a stalemate.  On the right, he moved up the ARP (out of the half tracks) and was able to get reserves on turn 3.  They came on the right and he placed the SPAA.  The right became WW1.  I never got reserves and as you can see by the board, I really couldn't move up.  I did start moving the platoon on the left up the flank, but time ran out. 1-1.  Ouch.

This basically killed my tourney.  Due to the scoring of the tourney (extra 2 points for 6-1, 1.5 for 5-2 and 1 for 4-3), I found myself way behind the leaders.  The only good news is that there were a ton of us with 1-1.  Too bad 6 guys had 6-1.

My feelings on this match are tough.  There was nothing I could do to be aggressive.  I had 3 platoons on the table and only 2 could move.  He had 3 Scots, 2 ARPs, arty in halftracks and he got SPAA on the board.  Mech vs. infantry.  When mech isn't aggressive, not much to do.  I do not blame Lysander at all.  He asked me at the end why I didn't come to him.  I laughed and said "with what?"  He was so worried about Fearless Vets and worried about his Confident Trained guys gettign shot.  I mentioned that I thought it was a mistake to keep both ARP out of the tracks.  He could have swarmed one objective and held the other with the arty (they had machine guns on the tracks).  If I had reserves come on over on the left, I could have done something.  But 6" movement doesn't cover a lot of terrain (not like 12" or 16" halftracks).

Round 2: No Retreat.

I played Carley, who came down from Superior with her husband Patrick.  Both were very nice.  She brought 3 platoons of German Flaschirmjaeger (however you spell it!!) and even had some pios mixed in (they had flame throwers).  He had a Pak 40 platoon and a Tiger.

Here is the board after Turn 1:

All directional references will be based on the picture - I defended the top edge.

Carley put the platoon with flame throwers on the right (she marked them with the red), the Pak 40s on the right.  She had a HMG platoon in the middle and the 2 other FJ platoons on the left.  Kitty is middle right.  I put the 8 gun arty on the back right - just at the top of the picture.  The right objective (she placed) is on the road on the right side.  I placed a para platoon with 2 piats there.  I placed the AT guns in ambush.  My obbjective was back left in the trees.

Note about the terrain.  This was a "Finland" board.  All the white is snow.  If you had wide-tracks, you were good.  Otherwise they were suppossed to be bog checks.  Turns out not many people read the terrain sheet that Joe handed out, so this was scrapped because no one did it.  However, no double timing on the board.

On turn 1, I got reserves (yeah!) and brought a para platoon on the left side.  This was very fortunate as she had put two platoons on that side and I needed something to secure my objective.  She moved up slowly and was very conservative with the Kitty.  She knew she had to close the distances since concealed, GtG vets are mighty tough to hit.  I also started her death by arty in turn 1.  I ranged in on the Pak 40s and got one right away (Yeah British Special Rules!).

On turn 2, I got 2 more reserves and that made everything on the table for me.  In the end, this is what got her.  I was able to move HMGs up the left and another para platoon up the right.  On turn 2, her Pak 40s were destroyed (ran).  On turn 3, my arty got the Kitty.  That was luck and put the nail in the game.  Then it became her mission to kill a platoon.  She tried her best and almost pulled it off.  We entered into an assault.  With 5 Fearless Vet para stands, here was my role for hitting in the assault:

Yes friends, a two, another two, another another two, a one and another one.  We both took pictures of that roll!

I was able to break her company and that was the game.  6-1.  But with special scoring, I got 8 points total.  That put me to 9 and in the upper middle / lower top.

Round 3 - FFA

Joe had to roll FFA.  Then I got placed with an Armored opponent.  And I rolled to be "attacker".  And Dan rolled to go first.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Here is the board:

This is just after deployment.  Objectives for him are far left / just peeking above my Diet Root Beer.  The other objective was on the right - just right of the little building behind the line of trees.  I had the 8 gun arty on the left, with a para platoon and the HMGs intermixed.  I had the AT guns and a second para platoon in the middle and a para platoon on the right.  My thinking was to have the para platoon in the middle to act as a reserve to move either way.  The AT guns created a bubble in the middle.

Dan had Panzer IIIs and IVs and a hero.  He also had 2 8-Rads.  He moved on platoon of PIII towards the right objective.  He doubled the IVs, the hero and the Rads behind the trees to get to the left side (in between the trees and the river in the upper left corner).  He then moved another platoon of PIIIs up the middle near the church.  Oh, my objectives were at the top.  Like I was going to atatck! Oh, yeah, I WAS the attacker.  RRRIIIGGHHHTTT.

The summary of this game was my slow death.  We got in 8 turns.  I survived a Company Morale check (thanks to the mulligan die we got for getting our lists in) and held on to my objectives.  1-3 Fair fight rules (I think).  I did assault him when he closed on the left objective.  If not for a darn Warrior save, I would have nailed his hero, who was also the CiC.  That would have been 2 points (special scoring rules).  Oh well.  We timed out after the 8th turn.  Had we gone one more, I am not sure I would have hung on.  But I did not "turtle up" and even assaulted him in turn 8.  He did appreciate that.

So, I ended with 10 points.  We don't have the final results, but I think that will put me in the middle.

The event was won by Sean and Myles.  Sean also won best painted with his museum quality painting.

Here are a few random pictures:

The winners!

Joe did another great job!!  Nice picture!

Carley and Patrick.  She tied for Best Sportsmanship!!  Most deserved by the way!!

Sean's Alpini.  I cannot tell you how good these are.  They are simply the best painted army I have ever seen.  He custom made the different plumes that go on the helmets.  He can paint, he can play and he is really nice.  The Triple Threat!!

Now we get ready for Rock-Con with 2 FoW tournaments.  One will be LW 1,350 with Domination missions.  The Saturday will be 1,750 LW traditional.  Do I go Paras or head back to USA, USA!!!???

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Arnhem Para Pictures

Here they are - ready for next Saturday!

First, a little background - I went to Arnhem this past Spring with my family.  While there, I picked up a Brit Para Company, a Brit HMG Platoon, a Brit Para Jeep Recon Platoon and, of course, Lt. Col. Frost.  I also picked up some dirt from the shadow of the bridge and within the defensive perimeter (I did the same thing at Pegasus Bridge and Omaha Beach in Normandy.

The bases below are from King & Kerr, as well as Battlefront.  Each base also has a little bit of dirt from Arnhem.  Yes, these boys are Arnhem Paras!!

Here are the three platoons.  I did not include all the PIATs and all the commanders.

These are the King & Kerr Urban Bases.

Close up.

Another from behind.

BTW - The red is more intense in the pictures than on the table.
I will be loading many more pictures in the coming week, since I took a picture of just about everything I own.