SS Tank Hunters

Here are some WIP shots of my SS Tank Hunters/Scouts.

I am still learning how to use the new camera.  Hint: I need more light.

Since I have wrapped up this platoon, I have begun on the army’s HQ section, and 1st platoon.  I have made the camo a bit more detailed, and covering a greater area.  I think its looking a bit more accurate than on these guys.  Not that I am disappointing with the results above.  These guys are going to be part of my army for Adepticon!

Base marking in Flames of War

Anyone who has played a handful of games of Flames of War has probably noticed that it is easy to mix up teams between platoons.  The problem is that when you are looking down at your infantry teams, gun teams, and in some cases even tank teams, everything tends to look the same (they are wearing something called a uniform after all).  This can cause issues in the game when you need to remove teams as casualties, determining which platoon has what weapon attachment, or how many teams are in a platoon when it can take it’s defensive fire shots against an assaulting platoon.  Most of these issues come up with infantry companies which have platoons which are deployed interwoven, or simply next door to another platoon.  It can be very easy to mix up which team is with what platoon.

There are loads of ways to mark your units to help alleviate the problems above, and here I am going to show you some of my favorite methods.  The easiest thing to do, and what I tend to do with each of my armies in Flames of War is to come up with a simple marking system for the edges of your bases.  I have seen some people put little dots on the edges of bases with permanent markers, the number of dots showing what unit a team is part of, but I think you can push this method a little farther.  I tend to paint a wide region on the back left side of the base with white paint.  I will put one or more colored dashes to illustrate which platoon the team belongs to.  The colors and number of dashes that you use to mark the teams can vary in any way you find appealing.  For example I will mark my combat platoons with red dashes, but a different number for each platoon.  1st platoon would have 1 red dash, 2nd 2 re dashes, ect.  A weapons platoon would get orange, blue, or other color dashes in the same way.

On the white background, these colored dashes really stand out, and are very easy to read.

Another step that I like to take is to make an additional mark, sometimes on the right side of the base to mark a special unit.  My PAVN Infantry Companies have many RPG teams in them, and it is important to me that I don’t position them incorrectly, or remove them as casualties before I want to.  These teams get an additional mark on the right hand side of the base to help them stand out from the rest of the company.  Teams such as command teams usually don’t get any additional marking as they are pretty easy to identify from a distance based on their base-size.  This method is very easy to do, and makes keeping your teams organized very easy.

US gun team with base marking
This infantry team is part of the 2nd platoon.
The dark blue dash next to the platoon identifier shows that this is a RPG team.

Another method, one favored by my good friend Jason is to give the bases some special detail which will identify them from one another.  His US Paratroopers combat platoons have either pumpkins (made from greenstuff) or tombstones (made from plasticard) which identify them as either 1st or 2nd platoon.  This method, while taking a bit of extra work adds a lot of character, and appeal to a platoon.  At 15mm, the base of an infantry team is effectively half the model, so extra work put into bases is never wasted.  This subtle method can also be used creatively to give an overall theme to your army, much in the way that Jason gave his US paratroopers a Halloween theme.

US Paratroopers (Tombstone Platoon) by Jason Misuinas

The two primary platoons of Jason’s US paratroopers are defined by pumpkins, and tombstones.  These simple thematic devices identify what platoon the team is in while giving the entire army its own flavor.

US Paratroopers (Pumpkin Platoon) by Jason Misuinas
Gasmask wearing Grenadiers by Jason Misuinas

Jason’s Pioneer Grenadiers are a very individualistic unit who’s base really causes them to stand out.  This unit is usually the lone infantry unit supporting his Panzerkompanie, but if he were to add more units, he could apply variations to the basing to both maintain uniformity, and give them some unique trait that he could use to help identify the unit.

One popular method for marking bases that I don’t think is very useful is to put a sticker on the bottom of the miniature’s base.  While marking the unit this way looks nice (because you don’t see the markings unless you look at the bottom of the base), it makes spot identifying the team impossible, and when it comes time to figure out who is who, you need to physically move the team.  This is usually not a big deal, but can occasionally cause troubles.  In a tournament I participated in an opponent needed to make sure that the command team that was between two platoons was his 2iC.  After picking the team up and checking out the bottom of it’s base, he put the team down around an inch closer to a neighboring platoon.  I don’t believe that he was intentionally trying to influence the game, but that fudge could have changed whether both units could link up to provide defensive fire or not.  This method is better than nothing, but not ideal.

Marking your bases is extremely important for your flames of war army.  It will help you keep the army organized, will keep you from forgetting to put teams down (I have forgotten an observer team on occasion), and will help maintain accurate gameplay which your opponent will appreciate.  On that last note, if  you are going to tournaments than this step is critical.  Nothing is quite as frustrating for an opponent in a tournament as when you can’t clearly tell them where platoon boundaries are.  Mark up your teams.  Its good for everyone!  🙂

Tanksgiving 2011

About three years ago, the Flames of War gaming group that I play with regularly started playing an annual, large format scenario called Tanksgiving. Its a giant team slug-fest featuring tank-heavy 2000 point armies for each player. In years prior I had brought to the field large Tiger units or US 2nd Armor. This year I am going back to the force that I started FoW with, the German Panzerkompanie.

This year’s list is built from Fortress Europe, and goes for quantity, more than quality. In contrast to some of the other lists I was tinkering with, what I am bringing to the table will be primarily older model medium tanks, StuGs, Panzer IVh, and Panzer IILs for example. This will be supported by a large battery of Hornisse  15cm self propelled artillery! I am taking advantage of the scenario’s employment of the ‘Across the Volga’ rule (Artillery units do not deploy on the board, but can still deliver a bombardment) to try out some artillery units that I have never used before. The high point value is also allowing me to a battery that would be difficult to fit in a smaller list.

Below are some pictures of the force that I am bringing to tomorrow’s game!

StuG Platoon Work In Progress
StuG Platoon Work In Progress

I have been working on some new StuG assault guns for my Panzergrenadier army.  These guys are the only models in the force that I am fielding tomorrow which aren’t complete.  I owe them some more highlighting, some detail work, and weathering.  I have 3 StuGs that I painted up several years ago as well.  I am trying to take this set of 5 a bit past where I had the previous 3.

My force includes 8 StuGs in total.  This is in addition to 5 Panzer IVh tanks.  The PzIVh platoon was also painted over a year ago.  Check out images here.

Panzer IIL image
Panzer II L recon tanks

I painted these Panzer IIL tanks about a year ago.  I have fielded them a couple of times with mixed results.  I really dig these models, and I think their paint job turned out great!  I have been trying to learn how to use recce in FoW, so tomorrows game will hopefully be a positive learning experience.  I am not sure how many tanks are going to be gone to ground (a platoon that is concealed, did not shoot, and did not move is harder to detect, but recce units can try to spot them and radio their location to friendly platoons), but their ability to prevent ambushes nearby may prove useful.

Tanksgiving 2011 Army
Tanksgiving 2011 Army

Above is a shot of my entire army (sans SP artillery battery) ready to go into the miniature bag.  I think this will be entertaining to run.  The VAST amount of Soviet T34s that I will inevitably encounter are going to be a hassle.  My plan is to have my units stay relatively hidden, and strike at whatever unit the artillery can break up with either smoke, or actual destruction.

I am going to attempt to take pictures and create some kind of simple battle report to illustrate how the game went.  If that works out I will post it here!

Hail Caesar – Dark Ages Campaign Round 2

We have been playing a bunch of Hail Caesar for a Non-historical Dark Ages campaign. Here are some shots of Saxons vs Arabians, and Normans vs An Army of Byzantium.

View of the Normans from the Byzantine line
View of the Normans from the Byzantine line
Normans prepared for combat
Norman line, waiting for the battle to begin.
Pike proxies
Heavy spear - proxied by Alexander's pike phalanx
Mr. Humphrey surveying the battlefield
Mr. Humphrey surveying the battlefield

The Saxons emerge from the village center to face the Arab cavalry.

Chris (Byzantium) faced off against my infantry heavy Norman army. We had an interesting game that was characterized primarily by a lot of maneuvering driven by a desire for our heavy units to find a weakness to exploit in the opposing lines. There were a few last minute charges that occurred before we had to call it a night. We kind of messed up terrain placement which made getting into combat kind of tricky.

Gaming table phase 2

I’ve used some lightweight spackling compound to patch up the gaps between layers of the hills, and have added some small stones to create a region of rough terrain on a steep area. This will need some sanding to clean up the spackle, and perhaps shape the hillside some more.

Next step will be to get a coat of primer on the board. I am going to use some leftover interior house-paint from when the girlfriend and I painted our living room.

Gaming table phase 1

Here is the gaming table that I am working on. Its a 2 part modular table with several built in hills. I may add some more variation to the surface in the form of the topographic hills, but I want to make sure that adding items like rivers, roads, and woods isn’t too difficult. This sucker is pretty big at 8’x4′. It will be set on the dining room table for games, as opposed to a dedicated gaming table frame. Next step is to model some rocky patches peaking out of the hills, and to patch the layers of pink foam hills with spackle wall filler.