Operation Sting 2015

OperationStingLogo

October has a lot going for it. The weather changes, apples happen, halloween, my birthday, and since last year a fantastic Bolt Action event called Operation Sting occurs! October has always been my favorite month, and this tournament simply piles more good on the good.

Have you heard the good news?

Operation Sting was truly fantastic this year. I did much better, had more fun, and really came to find an iteration of the Soviet Army which I very much enjoy playing. I’d like to share some pictures of the event as well as some stories and insights about my latest Soviet build.

The army which accompanied me to Operation Sting is based on the lead recon elements during the summer 44 offensives of Operation Bagration on the Eastern Front. The list is taken from the bog-standard Soviet selector from Armies of the Soviet Union and is built around a core of 3 Scout units, small panzerfaust tank hunting teams, and some Rota-Razvedki cruising around in their lend-lease White Scout car. This is the first Soviet Build I’ve taken to the field which didn’t include a tank, and I didn’t miss it a lot. I love tank duels in Bolt Action, but it really doesn’t fit the elite, raiding vibe of the list. That being said I did have some fairly conventional Red Army units in the list to bolster the veteran units. Here is a brief summary of what I took to the event…

  • Vet Junior Lt with a SMG friend
  • 3 Scout units, 7 strong with SMGs
  • 3 AT teams with SMGs and a single Panzerfaust
  • Artillery Forward Observer
  • Sniper
  • Tank Riders (representing Razvedki)
  • White Scout Car, Recce enabled
  • Inexperienced Rifle Squad
  • 45mm M-42 AT gun

The list was fun to play. I discovered that using a smoke bombardment to cover the advance of the scouts was pretty effective. The schtick of this army is that 8 of the 13 units can use forward deployment. This wasn’t some kind of overly leveraged special rule in my experience, but it did allow me to dictate where the fighting was going to happen and to have units ready to rock early in the game as opposed to being in reserve. I think that this could be a very powerful advantage once I learn how to use it. In several of my games I faced close-quarter badasses which outclassed my small vet units, SMGs or not. Ghurkas, large, tough fighting Senegalese units, and Armored Soviet Tank riders were tough to cope with and demanded more finesse to engage.

In the end I was pleased with my performance winning 2 games, drawing a game, and losing 2 – each one of these games was very fun, against great guys, and had their own challenges.

Some shots from the event…

Advance
Inexperienced infantry advance across the sub pen to cover the flak of the attacking scout units.
Attack
Game 4. Scouts advance through a smoke cloud (ring of white dice) to capture an objective covered by several SS Machine guns and units! Bloody and very historically accurate feeling game!
BT7
BT7 Tank
CloseUp
John Stentz’ objective for his British army which I faced round 1.
CoolSoviets
Commissar from an inspirational Soviet army
DesertTable
Jeremy Williams fantastic desert airfield board! I played on this several times now and its always fun! A good mix of open space and cover.
JohnsArmy
John Stentz’ British army. The two Ghurka units were a pain and a distraction while his arty and flame thrower managed to pin and punish my units. Great game and I want a rematch!!!
JohnsTable
This is the John Humphrey’s table that I helped a bit with and have played about half my Bolt Action games on!
MySub
“It is my submarine” The scouts supported by a tank-hunter team capture the sub which gave me some bonus points thanks to Operation Sting’s hidden bonus objective format.
OpStingArmy2
(I think) Jeremy Olsen’s Italian Paratroopers. I was stoked that he made it to the event! Visit his site… http://empireofghosts.blogspot.com/
OpStingArmy3
Charlie’s British army which I faced in game 5. Winning game 5 provided me some revenge after Charlie stomping me at Operation Sting last year!
ScoutsAdvance1
Soviet scouts ready to move to the objective to locate the intel… across the road is a line of Waffen SS just waiting to pour fire into my brave soldiers!
ScoutsAdvance2
Scout unit advances to objectives in the sub pen
SmilesAndSlaughter
John Stentz’ battle-smile.
SniperOnAmbush
Soviet sniper covering the road to keep the Germans honest. This was a bad play as they stayed shut up in their buildings when I should have been putting pins on them and robbing them of Assault Rifle troops. Live and learn.
SubPen
Shot of the excellent and very fun Sub pen board. I would like to get more games in on this.
Sweet Objective
Check out this amazing Objective marker! This Soviet army is one of my very favorites and has set the bar with what I hope to achieve with my own army eventually.

The TO approached me about making a show figure for Operation Sting as well. I was very excited to have this opportunity to get Horrorshow Miniatures involved in such a cool event! We decided to do something of a multi purpose Forward Observer character that people could easily use in their armies. I took some creative liberties with the character’s gear to keep him from being too clearly from a certain nation. A set of independent heads gives the modeler some options in this regard. This guy was very fun to sculpt and I really hope to see some of these models which were provided to the Operation Sting attendees painted and on the boards at Adepticon next year!!

green1
Forward Observer Green Componants
green2
British FO
green3
German FO

Eldar Autarch Work in Progress

I’ve been working on a new model for my Eldar collection. Eldar Autarch!

autarch2

She’s kitted out with a Banshee mask, power weapon (maybe Shard of Anaris), Fusion pistol, Hawk wings, and Faolchu’s wing. She has extreme mobility and can perform a couple different jobs on the field.

Her natural Autarch ability of governing reserves is handy for the Falcon Cloudstrike, but what she really adds to the army is mobile support for other units. She can combo charge with another unit to shut down overwatch. Her fusion pistol makes her a threat against armor and ICs. She could work as a hunter in the opponent’s backfield as well stalking weaker support units and chaff. She can practically get anywhere on the table in a turn or two with either her epic run move or deep-strike from ongoing reserves. Her threat range is massive thanks to the Swooping Hawk Jump Pack.

autarch1

She is a bit fragile, so that movement may be something used defensively as much as anything else.

Next step is to finish up the sculpting.  There are some rough areas on her legs which need to be cleaned up and some details which need to be refined. After that painting time.

Her CCW arm is magnetized so I can swap it with something else.  I am not certain that I am comfortable with her using a power halberd or some-such, so I may make a sword arm as well. The Shard of Anaris is fantastic for character hunting so I think that is something worth considering for her.  Its a pricey bit of wargear, so it may only appear in certain games.

I’m looking forward to getting this character onto the board.

Broken Contract Kickstarter in its last 48 hours!

The Kickstarter for ‘Broken Contract’ is in its last two days.  I was lucky enough to play test the game a little and get an opportunity to see behind the scenes of the miniature and component design.  Its a fun game which has a very unique setting and style for the miniatures table top gaming scene.  Here are some shots of some of the minis as well as a sense of what the setting is like…

bc3

bc2

Its a post apocalyptic skirmish game set in a bleak future where human colonies have been established, but often at the cost of the masses bound to a life of indentured servitude.  I am excited to see where this game goes.  Check it out!

Blog to check out: Demo Gamers!

I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m working in the studio. Lately as a lead up to Adepticon I’ve been listening to various Bolt Action podcasts while I put the finishing touches on my Team Tournamet Germans. The Ghost Army podcast guys mentioned this blog on their show: thedemogamers

The guys who do this site do lots of demo games at events in Austrailia, and much of the content of their blog is about the process of coming up with scenarios and terrain for these events. I get a lot of inspiration from folks pages on making terrain, designing units, and other hobby topics, so this site really works for me.  I especially love the comic book blurbs about various parts of the game…

http://thedemogamers.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/close-quarters-are.html

These guys are cpearly having a good time with this.

Check it out!

Panzer IV for Bolt Action

One of the units which I am running in my half of the Bolt Action team tournament at Adepticon is a Panzer IVh. This is my armor support for the list that I am running with John for the tournament. Its been performing well in recent games, I feel that I am learning how to run a medium tank in a infantry heavy list.

Some of you may recognize this from this post where I showed some work in progress on the modeling.

pzIV_5

pzIV_4

pzIV_3

pzIV_2

pzIV_1

Norman Warlord

Recently I dug out some Norman knight models that I had been using for Hail Caesar. The plan is to use them for SAGA. One of the models was a Norman leader made by Crusader models. The character’s horse had its weight on a single leg which was starting to bend. It was only a matter of time before the model collapsed entirely or broke so I decided to re-sculpt the leg.

norman_warlord_1

One thing lead to another and I ended up turning the model into a proper conversion. I’ve been doing lots of sculpting for Wreck-Age, and working on this guy has been a good way to use up excess putty, and to bide time while my freelance work sets up fully.

norman_warlord_2

Bolt Action Panzerpioneers

Last week I picked up the excellent Warlord games Pioneer kit based on the new plastic Blitzkreig kit.  These are a vast improvement over the previous plastic set. The metal parts that allow you to make interesting pioneer models as well are excellent.  These include more equipment on their backpacks, some new heads, and additional and more characterful weapon options. These guys are the latest addition to my force for the Adepticon team tournament which I am participating in with John at Plastic Legions.

I wanted to update the look of some of these guys to give the unit a bit more of a mid-war period look, with camo smocks, and helmet covers.  Three of the models which I modified are shown here to give you an idea what I have been up to.

engineer_pole_explosive_1

engineer_pole_explosive_2

I don’t know too much about the ‘pole explosives’ which some pioneers used blow up hard to reach places.  Some photo reference shows that it is essentially a box on a stick. I added some wiring to give an impression how a pioneer may set the explosive off after put into position.  This is largely my design, I’ve not found any examples of these sorts of triggers on these things, but I get the impression that they are sort of ad-hoc, so they may come in all shapes and configurations.

engineer_smg_2

engineer_smg_1

This guy may be a NCO, or simply a trooper with an SMG. He has the camo smock that the Panzergrenadier units were occasionally given, especially as the war went on.

engineer_flamethrower_2

engineer_flamethrower_1

Last but certainly not least is the flamethrower!  I also took some liberties with the design of this figure’s modifications as well.  Its only somewhat modeled after the flamethrower which comes with the pioneer kit.  I made some changes which suited me when modeling this. Now I can run two units with flamethrowers which should be pretty sweet in upcoming games!