Tuesday, 29 October 2013

ARMY SPOTLIGHT - MID WAR OPOLCHENIYA BATALION

MID WAR OPOLCHENIYA BATALION
Soviet Militia

My force with Fortifications out front.
Another Flames of War Army spotlight to show, this time I want to share my Mid War Soviet Militia Force which I have used many times in the past and is one of my favorite Mid war forces. It was the first army of my own that I used competitively at tournaments, which I have taken to a fair few in the past including one Mid War Battlefront Grand tournaments way back in 2008. Its a somewhat forgiving force with it having rather large companies and was rather easy to learn playing with especially with rolling infantry saves, and with Andy diving into his Italians and Romanians as well at the time, it made for some interesting games on the home front.

The Militia force has its history based on the quickly raised civilian units which formed the initial defense of Stalingrad, effectively stalling the Germans before the regular Red army boys got there. So as you could expect it has a fair share of limitations placed within the army on what you can take - including limited tanks, very limited high end anti-tank and limited mortars and artillery to name a few, but what it lacks in these limitations it makes up for in lots of SMG's, anti-tank rifles, anti-aircraft guns, machine-guns and of course its large cheap Rifle platoons,

I have based all my Russian models around this force, having the majority of my models in the heart of a bombed out and wrecked city and other units setting up defenses on the edges. The cobble streets are just a poly-filler base with lines scoured through with a knife before it sets, looks good and easy enough to do.

Following some interesting history I looked up when making the army, I found that the burden of the initial defense of Stalingrad fell on the 1077th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, a unit made up mainly of young female volunteers who had no training for engaging ground targets, and with no support available from other units, the AA gunners stayed at their posts and took on the advancing panzers. The German 16th Panzer Division reportedly had to fight the 1077th's gunners "shot for shot" until all 37 anti-aircraft guns were destroyed or overrun. The Panzer Division was shocked to find that, due to Soviet manpower shortages, it had been fighting female soldiers. So with this in history in mind I did some minor work on my Anti-Aircraft platoon of 37mm obr 1939 AA gun crews, where as I sculpted them up as women, by extending their coats to look like dresses and filling out the chest area.

The sapper unit has options for unarmed teams within it, so seeing this I quickly converted some Peter Pig civilian miniatures I had so they carried shovels and picks and using hand carts, as if they were digging fortifications for the upcoming attack - very pleased with the result.

I have taken my Militia force with many different options, spanning from an offensive always attack force with a large blob of Shtraf and Flame-thrower tanks thrown in, a another variant with mass artillery batteries.

If this list was updated I would hope it would include some street barricades and trenches and other defenses, as the civilians were often put to work making these about the place. Also would like to see more options of taking unarmed teams in the rifle platoons as more often than not, the civilian units formed up with only half the men having rifles - the others would have to pick up the rifle from the fallen ones in the proceeding battle.

The best force for the Militia I took at a 1625 point army was the following and
I had placed rather well with it, being in the top quarter of the field.
All rated as Confident Conscript with all their support taken from the Red army which is rated as Fearless Conscript. All units have Kommissar teams with them except the AT-Rifle company

MID-WAR Infantry force
HQ - CO and 2IC Rifle teams with Battalion Kommissar Team

Combat - Opolcheniya Company with 2 Rifle platoons and 3 PTRD Anti-tank Rifles

Combat - Opolcheniya Company with 2 Rifle platoons and 3 PTRD Anti-tank Rifles
These form the core of the force with 18 rifle stands, commander and kommissar team and 3 AT rifles at their side.


Combat - Opolcheniya Mortar Company with 6x 82-BM-41 Mortars
These are dead useful - and six tubes for 65points are a steal, you get re-rolls or double width and if you decide to direct fire them you also get to use the volley fire rule if within 16" - so I tend to move them up behind the rifle platoons and do just that.

Weapons - Opolcheniya Anti-tank Company with 6x 45mm obr 1937 guns
These small caliber guns are the only AT asset the Militia get, but keep most light and some medium tanks at bay having ROF 3 and AT 7. They can not upgrade to 1942 model AT 8 guns.



Weapons - Opolcheniya Anti-tank Rifle Company with 12x PTRD AT Rifle teams
I usually combat attach these to the Rifle platoons and give some to the mortar platoon as well. With AT3 in assaults they comes in handy and keep little tanks at bay.



Weapons - Opolcheniya Artillery Battery with 8x 76mm ZIS 3 guns and 4x 76mm obr 1927 guns
This battery differs from the ordinary Strelkovy battery as it doesn't allow the option of taking the 122mm howitzer, switching it for the small regimental 76mm obr 1927 pop guns instead. So this means no steel wall rule either ! so the unit is rather limited, but still a good buy as it offers the long range and high AT of 9 from the ZIS-3 guns to the army. 





Support - Opolcheniya Anti-Aircraft Defense Company with 6x 37mm obr 1939 guns
I nearly always take this unit, offers good AT and high ROF and will keep all but the most determined planes away.Conversions on the skirts and chests.







Support - Sapper Company with 3 platoons - all unarmed and with supply wagon
These guys are the center piece for my army and captures the flavor of this militia force very well. Quite often get remarks "why on earth would you disarm them for... as you have to re-roll all your hits in combat" - cause it looks cool ! and it gets me the supply wagon for free. Rated as Fearless Conscripts as well.






Support - Heavy Tank Company with 3x KV-2 tanks
This is my favorite tank of WW2 - a beast with such a high and somewhat silly looking silhouette - looks awesome I think and was the main reason I take the KV-2 over others that are on offer.
Its a rubbish tank as far as FOW rules goes, with only ROF 1 and hen and chicks rule, its pretty bad, the only thing going for it is its AT 10, 1+ bunkerbuster ability. Rated as Fearless Conscripts as well.





So 9 platoons in total, but I often would of combat attached out the AT rifles so would be 8 platoons total.


some more photos of the army








Monday, 14 October 2013

PAINTING UPDATE : GERMAN GLIDER PLANES

I thought I would keep the theme going with painting FOW planes ... so over the weekend I had finished painting my four DFS 230 German glider planes.

They finished up looking quite good, and was fun to paint. Getting the colours right took a few attempts trying to get the right balance, especially the underbelly colour, as I had to mix them (not having the correct paints they suggested) but I think I have got them close enough.  Only painted up the 4 of them as that's all I need for my Early War German Luftlandersturm Force, as I am only going to have the one compulsory platoon, the rest being Pioneer Fallschirmj√§ger platoons.

I now only have to paint up the four 2cm Flak38 guns and their commander for this force now and it should be all ready to use for a tournament. But the AA guns may have to wait as I have a unit of Russian Cossacks next in line on the painting table.


Gliders safely landing in some crop fields





Wednesday, 9 October 2013

P-40 WARHAWK PLANE


P-40 WARHAWK PLANE


Got over enthusiastic last night and thought I would paint up my US Warhawk plane following the success of the recent Shturmovik plane I did in the weekend. Surprisingly it didn't take very long to complete.
The decals were a little easier on this one, and come up looking pretty good.
Will use the P-40 in my OSS American Mid war army no doubt.






Tuesday, 8 October 2013

IL-2 SHTURMOVIK PLANE


IL-2 SHTURMOVIK PLANE


I have had my FOW planes in the painting queue for a very long time now, so I thought it was about time I got them painted up. Never use planes that much in my actual games but I like the models and always good to have on standby if the need arises.

I finished off my Soviet Shturmovik plane last night, quite pleased with the overall look of it. It was fun painting on the black lines and took a while to get right but I like the result.
The decals were a pain to put on, never really liked using decals, having always opted to paint my own tank markings etc before now, but with these markings looking quite hard to paint I gave it a go. Stuffed up one of the numbers on the side of the plane where it folded back on itself as I slid it off the transfer sheet and try as I might, I just couldn't rescue it. So I had to paint it on, looks ok I think. Also based and painted my flying base to match my tanks with cobbles, so picturing the plane low flying down a street strafing transport teams as he goes.

If anyone has got any tips for me on using decals I'll be interested in reading them, as I am going to be painting up my P-40 Warhawk next.

Also if any one wants to have a plane swap I'll be keen, as I have another two P-40 Warhawks I cant do anything with. Need a German Stuka if anyone wants to swap for it. Already got a British Hurricane so don't need one of those.







Wednesday, 2 October 2013

10 BOARD GAMES I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY AT LEAST ONCE


Out of all the great board games out there, there are some that just stand out from the rest for me. For some, it’s because they are classics, others are memorable because they started an entire genre and some games are just so good at what they do, so it would be a shame to miss them out. So, here is a list of ten games that I think everyone needs to try at least once:



Ticket to Ride:
This game is elegantly simple and can be learned in just 5 minutes, and appeals to both families and experienced gamers. The goal is to collect and play certain matched train cards in order to place your pieces on the board, attempting to connect cities on your ticket cards. Points are earned both from placing trains and completing tickets but uncompleted tickets lose you points. There is a few expansion maps available now, my favourite is the Switzerland map, with its compact map and numerous tunnels. Also the Africa and Asia maps are equally good. Never played the America map but not sure I am missing much as this was the original game and has developed a lot since then.



Agricola :
I like playing this game, but have never manage to master it, as I always end up having problems at the end of each harvest as I get bogged down in certain aspects and forget others until its too late. The game is basically about players trying to use limited resources to build up their farms with fences, livestock, crops, and stables. While doing all this, they also have to make sure there is enough food to feed their families at the end of each harvest. It’s a bit more complex than most games, but it provides a great deal of depth and replayability. Agricola also appeals to most beginners, because even if you lose it’s just plain fun to watch your farm go from nothing to thriving business by the end of it.


Settlers of Catan :
The Settlers of Catan was one of the first German-style board games (Euro) to achieve popularity outside of Europe and if you ask most board gamers, they more than not state it was indeed one of the first Euro games they played, so for that reason alone I have nominated it, if you for some reason you haven’t had the chance to play Settlers, you owe it to yourself to at least see what the fuss is about.
The game is easy enough but has some luck with the dice needed sometimes to get certain building cards, players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players are rewarded points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points is the winner. And as with most Euro games these days at no point in the game is any player eliminated.



Twilight Struggle : This game is king in my opinion, ranked number 1 on the Board Game Geek site and I have no problem believing them as its my personal favorite as well - its a 2 player game that is all about the struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States after WW2 that lasted over forty years being the Cold War. . It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. As with other card-driven games, decision-making is a challenge; how to best use one's cards and units given consistently limited resources?






Puerto Rico: A highly awarded game that I frankly don't get to play very often, but love playing it when I do. Its a 3-5 player game but is best with 4 players. The game is essentially all about building up your plantation and selling the commodities to off shore shipping merchants. It looks rather complex at first but soon becomes easy enough to grasp. The game system lets players choose the order of the phases in each turn by allowing each player to choose a certain role from those remaining when it is their turn. No role can be selected twice in the same round. The player who selects the best roles to advance their position during the game will win. This was one of the first Euro games I had played way back in early 2000's.





Race for the Galaxy:
This is a great game, and can be very addictive to boot. If your new to playing board games its quite daunting at first with all the different symbols used in the gaming cards, but once you get the hang of it you will be playing over and over. It can be played within 1/2 an hour or less and has an excellent repayable factor about it, as you try to combine the different planetary developments with the different worlds. I have only played it with 2 players as such but would like to play it with more. Another game with the similar mechanics is Citadels and equally as good, with the theme set in medieval days. Not quite as complex as race for the galaxy game either, so good for beginners.




Carcassonne:
Love the simplicity of this game, can be played by all the family and is easy enough to learn. It came out in early 2000 and has had many add-on's since then, the best is the princess and the dragon as you get to eat other meeples. The game board is a medieval landscape built by the players as the game progresses. The game starts with a single terrain tile face up and 71 others shuffled face down for the players to draw from. On each turn a player draws a new terrain tile and places it adjacent to tiles that are already face up. The new tile must be placed in a way that extends features on the tiles it abuts: roads must connect to roads, fields to fields, and cities to cities.



Pandemic: This is an unusual game because it is one of a very few cooperative games, where instead of playing against each other, they are working together in an attempt to “beat” the game system. In this case, four diseases are spreading throughout the world, and it’s up to the players to find the cures. Each player has a different role that allows them to help in a specific way; whether it’s the Dispatcher who can move the other players around the board, while the Scientist can actually find the cures more easily. Pandemic is a must-play because of the great sense of satisfaction that comes with working together with a bunch of mates to accomplish a common goal.




Elfenland: This is my favorite 5 to 6 player game at the moment, The game is set in the mythical world of the elves. A group of fledgling elves (the players) are charged with visiting as many of the twenty Elfencities as they can over the course of 4 rounds. To accomplish the task they will use various forms of transportation such as Giant Pigs, Elfcarts, Unicorns, Rafts, Magic Clouds, Trollwagons, and Dragons. Players can play to help each other to set their goals but can very well turn against you the next turn if you seem to get in their way and backstabing can happen more often than not to achieve victory- which makes it a lot of fun.




Risk:  Well this classic board game has to be played and if you haven't - shame on you !
 I played this a lot back in my late 20's but now have moved onto the more recent versions such as Risk: Lord of the Rings and Risk :God storm which are interesting takes on the classic risk, they are both rather more complex than the original and if your not familiar with certain event cards they can be very cut throat gaming


So there you have it , feel free to leave any other suggestions you think are up there for great board games.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

PAINTING UPDATE - KV-1e tanks

Just finished painting up the last platoon of KV-1e tanks I have for my Late war KV heavy tank army. Also did the turrets of some KV-1s tanks I missed the last time.

I now only have to finish off the SMG platoon part of this army and its all finished

KV1e tanks


KV-1e tank commander

Also painted up my platoon of ISU-152 Heavy assault gun tanks I have had since ages ago.
Not sure if I will ever use them or not, but you never know !



Bad arsed assault guns