perjantai 31. heinäkuuta 2020

Indian platoon for Bolt Action desert war - part 1


Bolt action has been my favorite game since I first time tried it way back 2013. Since that I've painted some ten plus armies for the game. So I really don't need any more to play the game, but that's not the point at all. I love painting minis especially historical ones and that drives me to paint army after army. Some which I seldom play. I have long time planned to make proper desert war army based on regular foot sloggers, and Indian army mainly based on Sikh -troops was my choice. Bit different and yet very same proud British infantry. And when Warlord games launched new plastic boxes for desert war everything I needed was there. When the order of plastic box of 8th army with support and Indian pattern armored car arrived, I started working
early July. This is first set of troops painted.


At first, every army needs a commander and he is stoic Sir Archibal Armitage-Shanks, with his second in command.   

Then two sections of brave Sikh infantry armed in -42 manner, but will pass also earlier periods just by leaving out SMG's and replacing with sergeants with rifles. 







I like to build my squads, or sections pretty identical, just for the ease of game. So there's only minor changes in equipment, mainly number of SMG's. 






Radio operator to keep in touch with HQ and artillery support.
Medium mortar is must for all infantry platoon.
Same goes with trusty Vickers machine gun.
Light mortar would also come handy in some instances.
AT rifle to boost the moral of the boys, though bit out dated against German armor in -42.











And then first vehicle Indian pattern armored car naturally. This is not the last vehicle to be but more of those in next post.

perjantai 24. tammikuuta 2020

Cruel Seas - Lost convoy

After having first starter of Cruel Seas game from Warlord games I was sold to this game. At first, those wonderful little ships drew my attention and were "must have" things. And after reading the rules and trying a game I was even more convinced. This was something else than "traditional" naval war game, where lines of battleships steam apart and exchange heavy gunfire, until one retreats. This was something I call "naval skirmish", a fistfight of small and fast ships at pretty close range. Action is fast and things happen, it's great fun. And by the way, those models are lovely, if I didn't mention that before.

This week we gathered again for a game at our club, and decided to have convoy attack game. We selected rule book scenario 5 "Destroy the convoy" as a base concept for our game. Then we just tweaked the game by selecting the ships we had available at the moment, and decide to play on larger board. Lastly we added one larger warship for both sides, a Flower and M class sweeper, just to get more nice models on the table. Normally we didn't bother much of calculating points, we just approximate the forces. That's because the drama and story is so much more fun, though it might be bit unbalanced sometimes. But still I have to state that Germans had bit stronger force, but they were the attacker, so that fits.

British navy was a freighter and two tankers, escorted by three Vospers and one Fairmile D MGB. One flower corvette was to join the battle later after being called for help. Germans attacked with four S-boots backed by R-boot. And there was also a minesweeper lurking around to join the fray at some stage.

Convoy started moving across the table from one end using slow speed, screened by the escorts. And at the same time the grey hunters appeared on horizon. The convoy was alerted and all ships put more speed to their propellers. The alerted Vospers prepared for a fight and Fairmile raised the speed up too.




After appearing on the scene German s-boots turned right and were clearly moving to better position for torpedo attack. Four fast and strong grey boat monsters were truly quite formidable opponent.






The Vospers fanned out to meet the Germans and ordered full speed for all boats. The aim was to raech and hit s-boots even before torpedoes were launched. S-boots lifted the speed too and fast they were. Convoy commander had spotted lone German R boot in front of the convoy on their course and Fairmile D was sent to deal the matching opponent.
After initial and not very accurate auto cannon shots from Vospers S-boots had used their stunning speed and moved on the port side of the convoy and turned for a torpedo launch. Germans also returned fire but the speed and size of Vospers gave very good protection for them. Germans were ready launch the torpedoes. As Vospers and S-boots passed by exchanging fire Germans launched first salvo of torpedoes.

The eals were on the water and moving swiftly to the convoy. The convoy was steaming full speed ahead and was just hoping for the best. Then the port side tanker took different decision and turned to face approaching S-boots and torpedoes. Maybe trying to give smaller target and pass between the approaching torpedoes. But now it had to face all those automatic cannons.


When MTB's passed S-boots one Vospers struck home with it's 20 mm cannon and the S-boot lost it's front gun and grew was badly shaken. This gave approaching poor tanker time, since Germans were not able to fire at all for a moment. But there was still other grey hunters to be faced.

Other ships of the convoy were watching helplessly approaching torpedoes and tried squeeze even more steam form boilers.

At the same time Fairmile and R-boot exchanged fire but both missed most of the shots and it seemed that R-boot was also more interested of the convoy than approaching and very strongly armed Fairmile.

Second wave of S-boots prepared for their torpedo launch.


Then the inevitable happened and torpedoes struck freighter port side the first torpedo nearly sunk the ship and then second one did the job. Freighters engines stopped and the ship became floating derelict for two turns.

This sinking time is a house rule we adopted when we felt, that shipwreck is cool to have on table for a while and then took off. So we decided that after dropping to zero hull points, ship will float D3 turns and then is removed from the board. This gives also a nice change to use those cool little lifeboat models I've done just for this purpose.

At this stage bigger ships entered the fight for both sides. German M -class minesweepers steamed on and immediately engaged Fairmile. But M-class missed heavy gun shots and MGB was saved for a moment. With it's multiple guns minesweepers sprayed fire also on Vospers hitting one badly.

And what's even more worrying, one tanker was steaming right towards the big German ship.



The Flower class corvette joined also the scene from other side of the table and opened fire on S-boots getting some good hits on nearest one. And then the course of the corvette took it straight on collision course with one S-boots which wasn't able to evade.

This collision caused some damage on Corvette bow, but the hit sunk the poor s-boot.






Then the Germans got their revenge when the other s-boot passed by the corvette and raked it with auto cannon fire causing great deal of damage and hitting the corvette three times critically. Badly damaged corvette lost it's bridge, ammunition exploded and one gun was lost. There was quite chaotic situation on the ship.





During this fight of warships one more tanker was sunk by the gunfire of multiple Germans ships and all but on Vospers were lost too.

Then the last tanker was trying to get away from this mayhem but was also struck heavily by the gunfire from minesweeper and R-boot. This was too much and last tanker sunk.







After realizing the defeat British escorts withdraw to save at least some ships and respect they had. Even though Royal Navy put up a brave fight Germans were too powerful and attacked with good tactics and the gun fire of Germans was amazingly accurate, many good hits and plenty of critical  hits. Vospers proved to be bit of outgunned in this fight. So there was many life boats to be saved after the fight was over.




Once again a very good game of Cruel Seas. Action packed and very dramatic, in some sense cinematic in some phases. The Germans won but it was no walk in the park for them. The Royal navy fought bravely till the end.



tiistai 15. elokuuta 2017

Bolt Action - Kuuterselkä,Thinking over a gaming table

After some twenty odd, almost thirty, years of war gaming, I have have painted miniatures more than enough. Recent years I have reached very good level of painting and I think that's the level I even don't want to improve much, even if I could. having reached this level of painting already some years ago, I'm able to paint quite a lot of miniatures for my hobby according the need. So I should be happy.

Some years ago I noticed sticking miss match of nicely painted miniatures and, frankly poor gaming tables we used to use. Our tables weren't the level of our miniatures and and especially not on the level I've seen in other clubs abroad. So more I was looking that more annoyed I became. There was something essential missing in this beloved hobby. Then after visiting Hamburger Tactica some years ago, decision was made. Next years should concentrate on making gaming tables up to a standard of our miniatures. And thus long term - strategic - objective was set, to make nice looking gaming tables in our gaming club with some like minded club mates. After all the hobby for me is about visual matters. About nice and well painted miniatures and lovely gaming tables, much more than just a game.

Previously I have published a story of making gaming table based on real scene of Continuation War battle Portinhoikka. This is now second table of the Continuation War series. Like the previous, this is also located in Karelian isthmus, place called Kuuerselkä. A place where Soviet attack on summer 1944 met strong resistance by Finnish jägers and assault guns. It was also a place where Finnish Stug assault guns saw their first action against Soviet armor.

This is a pictorical run down, how the table was put together with my club fellow, and put into good use in this years Ropecon gaming event.
Work starting, cutting, digging and planning.
Basic features attached and over all plan forming up.


Crass mats attached and painting on the way.
Table almost done, now some detailing...


Aerial view of the table.
Placing additional scenery.
Houses in the middle.
Detail of dried pond.
Detail of rock and flowers.
Center of the table with creek and little pond.
And then the table was put into a use to promote our gaming club and Bolt Action game in Ropecon gaming event 2017 in Helsinki.
Player brief of the game.
Some promo material of the game and the battle in question.
Finnish counter attack on the way.
Player pondering tactical moves.
Over all view of the dressed  up table.
Hard thinking over a tactics on both sides.
Once again great project with very pleasing results. This year we had probably nicest looking demo table in whole Con. With it's green field and forests it draw a lot of attention. And after that we were able to add beautiful new table in our clubs use. This was arguably the best table we've done so far, but not the last.



keskiviikko 22. maaliskuuta 2017

Pikeman's Lament - Finnish War battles of Pyhäjoki 1808

There has been quite a lot of talking about running a campaign of Finnish War 1808 -09. Quite interesting and eventful period of Finnish war history. Finland, or more precisely, eastern part of Swedish kingdom was a scene of one sideshows of Napoleonic wars. Related to peace treaty between Napoleonic France and Russia, Swedish part of Finland was attacked by Russian troops in order occupy it's territories and end Swedish rule in the area.  Swedes and Finns naturally resisted as much as they could resulting what we now know as the Finnish War. The war went from early 1808 until 1809, and there was quite many battles and skirmishes finally which give good base for campaigning the war. Despite heroic efforts of Finns and Swedes, more professional, bigger and better equipped Russian army won and annexed area of Finland into Russian empire.

Now roughly five Club members have started campaign aiming to go through the battles of this war, not all but fair amount of them. After some consideration I joined the team and took a role of Russian commander, since most player would like to play on Finnish side. But some one has be the "bad guy" also in order to have fights, so I'm went in for the Russians. Luckily I have quite good knowledge of Napoleonic Russian army from my previous painting project and our 1812 campaign.  The other good thing of "being a Russian" in this campaign, is there's no need to convert figures, there's some readily available in the market. The poor Fin players have to a lot of kit bashing, filing and sculpting in order to field a force.


So I only changed the scale of miniatures from 15 mm to 28 mm. Here's some first units I produced for this campaign.

The rules we use are fairly new set of rules called Pikeman's Lament from Osprey. It written by Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck. Very easy and straightforward set of rules created from Lion Rampart rules. The rule are quite simple (which I like)  and give good game play as well as smooth flow of action in the tabletop. The rules are set for Pike and shot period, but with some troops adaptation id can be easily used for black powder era too.

First encounter - The Battle of Yppäri April 1808

After enjoying appropriate beverages battle commenced.

When Russian started the attack in February 1808 Swedish - Finnish army decided to withdraw not giving a fight until Eastern time in April. The battle of yppäri was one of the first notable battles where Russian advance force intercepted withdrawing Swedes in Pyhäjoki Yppäri. Swedes decided to fight in order to cover their river crossing. And the fight erupted.

Russian started their assault along the road and the same time Swedes withdrew fighting trying their best to slow Russians. After a while another flanking force of Russian entered the frey and the Swedes were caught between two forces.


Finns are waiting for the Russian attack.
Securing forces at the crossing keep the keen eye around, there's nothing.
Russian line and hussars launch the attack.


Blocking force of Savolax infantry marching to secure the river crossing.

More Russians march on.

Hussars assault the gun, but are chased away.

Finnish jägers move to engage the enemy from the forest.

Stalwart Russian line marches on.

Russian light flanking force entering from the flank.

Light cavalry and jägers working together.

Some jäger action in snowy forest.

Russian win and after a hard fight Finns lose the fight.

Solid and strong Russian line firing salvos.

Flanking action on frozen riverbank.

Cossack advance into blocking position along the road.

Savolax infantry firing for their lives.

And Russian return with more muskets.

Flanking force is gradually closing the door behind withdrawing Finns.

Finns are now caught in crossfire.

Last remains of Finnish infantry trying to escape.

Chased hotly by Russian light cavalry.

Situation is desperate for the Finns.

Surrender you are surrounded.

Out of nowhere comes troops of Finish dragoons to relieve poor comrades.And are charged by the Cossack.

Dragoons are tougher and chase away Cossack.

Russian infantry advances steadily along the road.

The fight is over.
First fight goes clearly to Russians. Almost all Swedish-Finnish troops were killed in the fight and only some stragglers managed to escape by the help of lately arrived Dragoons.

Nice fight and very good test drive for the new rules. I liked the both. Next will be the battle of Viirret.