A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Farewell to a Comrade

This is not the kind of post I would have expected to be making so soon... inevitably, in the future, somewhere down the road... but not now.

We are saying farewell to one of our comrades, Al.  He was a gamer, so I will remember him on my gaming blog, in a way that only other gamers will understand.

He was partial to sci fi, and fantasy, and steam and rivets... but he was willing to game with us in everything (except Battletech.. boy, did he hate heat sinks!).  As one of our club members recently commented... "What a guy. He suffered through Napoleonics for us".

Here he is, consulting with me (or maybe trying to tune me out...) about the Anglo-Allied left flank at Waterloo in our 2015 anniversary campaign of the famous 1815 campaign. 

Its good to remember working with him.
Group photo, Battle of Lutzen.... 


He was one of the first playtesters for one of my games, giving me some advice that I did incorporate... a slightly more "off track" game than Napoleonics, for certain.

He had a huge vocabulary, that he was unafraid of using.  He laughed large... something many others seem to remember.  Affable and intelligent and funny..... if only we all were!

Only fellow wargamers are likely to see this post... which is good, because to "outsiders" this may seem trite and shallow, remembering a man only through this one tiny facet of his life.  But to those of you on the "inside", you likely understand.

There will be games in the future, when I will look to my left and be saddened for not finding him there. 

- Chalfant

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Talisman: First Character Set Painted....

Howdie.

Talisman was / is one of my all time favorite games.  A mix of board game and role playing game, I found this to be perhaps the best of the Games Workshop systems.  That is just my opinion :) 

I bought the boxed set in the mid-late 80s and most of the expansions over time (Talisman Expansion, Talisman Adventure, Talisman Dungeon, Talisman Timescape, and Talisman City). 

Anyway, years ago, when purchasing a large estate of gaming material from a local gamer, I acquired many rare and wonderous things... including a number of Talisman miniatures.  Since then, every once in a while, I have managed to add a figure here and there.  I am still working on that.  My intention, obviously enough, was to paint a full set of miniatures for the game, except I never actually painted any of them (a frequent gamer problem, apparently).

That has changed.

Just finished the first set of 14 miniatures, plus a couple more.  Pictures are not great, my camera is failing faster than my eyesight, but hopefully the images convey my attempt to remain honest to the original art.

Here is a group shot of the 14 characters from the original boxed set....




In alphabetical order, here are the Assassin, Druid, Dwarf, Elf, and Ghoul (I have always had a soft spot for the Ghoul)....






Here are the Minstrel, Monk, Priest, Prophetess (my wife's favorite character in the game), and Sorceress....



And here are the Thief, Troll, Warrior, Wizard, AND the Toad!  Don't get turned into a Toad!

Now, I currently have some obligations for painting, including a bunch of 6mm Ancients, so I am not sure when I can get to the next Talisman set.  However, I did paint a couple of extras up, the Ranger from the Talisman Expansion, and the Astropath from the Talisman Timescape....

These were fun to paint, not always easy... the original art has certain colors repeated often, so it took a little effort to try and use slightly different shades here and there.  Overall, I think they turned out decent enough.  I will try to continue painting these (once I get some other projects completed)...I might use them for other games too.  The set, in full, really provides a broad range of miniatures to use as characters, or NPCs, in many gaming systems.  Just be sure to put them back into their Talisman storage when you are done.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you don't get the Horrible Black Void instead of the Crown of Command!

Chalfant

Monday, September 26, 2016

D&D: Experiments with 2.5D Dungeon Building

Howdie.

My kids have begun to express an interest in Dungeons & Dragons, most recently from watching the first episode of Stranger Things.  After all these many years, and collecting miniatures, I thought if I did decide to put some kind of game together for them, it would probably be the old Basic Set, and I would probably like to use mro tangible terrain with miniatures, rather than just graph paper.

There are MANY great 3d sets out there, and it is something I may collect some of.... however, I wanted a cheap and easy method to work up some terrain.

Enter The Dungeon Master G method of terrain building... I would link to him, but not sure if he would like that... but look him up.  I like his method, I like the looks of it, was not sure how easy it would actually be... probably easy.

Then I found the Crooked Staff Blog (again, no link, but you can look him up) who created some free pdf dungeon tile terrain, with methods for using it with the Dungeon Master G method... only without painting.

So....

... I super quickly, super sloppy, bashed together some dungeon tiles.


You can see in the example one way of putting stuff together, and how it looks with a variety of FINELY painted miniatures.  Now, to be fair to of the people I referenced, my terrain looks vastly inferior to theirs as I did not measure consistently, have pieces that do not quite fit together, and generally look a little crude.

It does demonstrate to me that this is a great method for creating dungeon terrain.... if I took a little more time, was a little more careful, this would look much better.  Easily.


One advantage of the original method is that the exposed sides of the cardboard would be painted black... though, you could overlap the "rubble" wall tops to both sides if needed, and it would infact look much better.  See here for the exposed sides...

I even started a more experimental tile, cutting into the floor of the double layered cardboard, and painting in a pool of dark or stagnant water... this tile is a work in progress, though already occupied by a Green Hag.

So, there it is.  My effort is acceptable for some quick gaming, though, hardly inspiring in its crudity... except to note that even with a little more effort, this would look pretty darn good.

I will try to find some time to make some terrain using the original DM G method and see if I like that better.

Thanks for reading, hope you find all the lightning traps before they find you!

Chalfant

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Persian Gulf Wars: Iran-Iraq War, Khorramshahr 1980

Howdie.

After many long years, I have finally managed to organize a game for the Iran-Iraq War.  The scenario I set up was loosely based on the opening phase of the Battle of Khorramshahr in September, 1980.  This battle was a brutal, vicious, engagement, that inflicted appalling losses on both sides, and the civilians living there.  After 34 days, the Iranian defenders had been nearly wiped out, the Iraqis may have suffered 35-50% casualties, and the town (eventually "won" by the Iraqis) was a wrecked ghost town.  In many ways this battle is a good example of the war at large.

My scenario is modified to incorporate the troops and vehicles I have available.  I chose to bring a vehicle heavy game onto our 6x8 table... which meant for deadly anti tank fire on both sides.  Probably, I had too many vehicles, but it does demonstrate incompetent use of armor.  You may notice palm groves on the battlefield, a feature of this region.

All of the infantry are 20mm Liberation, as are the BMPs and M40 portees.  The Chieftains are old 1/76 Airfix, the K-63s are resin (unknown).... the rest of the vehicles are either diecast or models.


The defenders were represented by an understrength Pasdaran platoon, supported by 2 M60A1 tanks [mine are M60A3s, but its what I have], 2 M40 106mm rr jeep portees, and 2 M113s.  Also, they were assigned several Mullahs to offer aid via religious fervor to the Pasdaran infantry.  An understrength Iranian platoon, supported by 3 Chieftain Mk 3/5Ps, and 3 M113s was also present... bringing with them 2 M47 Dragon teams.  The Pasdaran had managed to build some hasty emplacements, but the regulars made do by taking up positions on the outskirts of the town.

In the actual battle the defenders included a wide array of Iranian troops, including Marines, regulars, Pasdaran, Basij, gendarmes, and civilian volunteers.  Chieftains and M113s were certainly involved in the actual battle, though I am not aware if Pattons were.


The Iragi attackers began in "motor pool" areas, out of line of sight from the Iranian defenders.  This allowed the platers to "maneuver" onto the table without having to have everything scattered off table.  The Iraqi regulars were a full platoon, including an AT-3 Sagger team, supported by 3 T-55s, 3 K-63s, and 2 trucks.  The Iraqi "Republican Guard" [I am not sure they would have been considered this in 1980] were a full platoon, supported by 4 T-62s and 4 BMP-1s (one of the models is a BMP-2, fielded here as a BMP-1).  The BMPs were deployed without AT3 Saggers


The Iraqis quickly engaged the Pasdaran M60s, knocking out both very early in the game.
At the same time, their T-55s and T-62s were taking hits.... Republican Guard in BMPs were pushing through a "forested" area on the flank, trying to close with the Iranian regulars in the town.


The Chieftains had been very active, causing grief for the Iraqis... then, on the same turn, 2 of the 3 Chieftains were knocked out, catastrophically.
Sensing an opportunity, Iraqis surged forward.... an entire squad was mowed down in the grove by severely accurate Iranian MG3 and G3 fire, while the BMP was heavily damaged by an RPG-7.  End of surge.  The Iraqis had concentrated fire on the M47 Dragon teams, eliminating one by this time.
Iraqi T-62s... two destroyed, one heavily damaged and abandoned, the last damaged but still fighting.
The Iraqis continued to push the Iranian right flank, making use of a high stone wall to block Iranian small arms fire.  This was a real problem for the defenders.
The Iraqi attack on the Iranian left flank had stalled amidst the palm groves and other vegetation.    An unlucky K-63 had taken a Dragon early on, destroying it and part of the AT-3 team.... however, that AT-3 team was able to kill one of the Chieftains.  A T-55 burns in the grove, while the other hammers away at Pasdaran infantry.  Eventually, both the M40 portees were destroyed, as ere a number of Pasdaran infantry.  With so many losses, the Pasdaran force began to make morale tests every turn to prevent them from routing or surrendering.

We called the game at this point.

The Iraqi regulars had lost a T-55 and a K-63, with another T-55 heavily damaged and a number of infantry casualtied.  The Iraqi "Republican Guard" had lost 2 T-62s, with another heavily damaged and abandoned, and the last damaged, with one BMP damaged and abandoned.  They had also lost an entire infantry squad.

The Iranian regulars had lost 2 Chieftains with the third heavily damaged and immobilized, 1 M113, an entire Dragon team, and a couple of other infantry.  The Iranian Pasdaran, on the other hand, had been mauled severely.  They lost both M60s, both M40 jeep portees, an independent RPG team, and a number of infantry.  They had lost more than 50% of their force and were close to routing or surrendering.  Once thay had done so, it was extremely unlikely the remaining Iranian defenders ... about 2 squads of infantry, an M47 team with no more missiles, the nearly-destroyed Chieftain, and 2 M113s... would have any chance of holding off the continued Iraqi advance.

The fate of the city was still in question, but it seemed the Iraqis had gained a slight (and particularly costly) win at the opening of the battle.  It will be a surprise if their commanders survive the war with "victories" such as these....

OK, very bloody, but very fun.  I am just glad to finally game the conflict, with a few "period flavor" rules.  We had some talk of turning to micro armor for the big vehicle engagements... just not enough space for so much armor.  On the other hand, I'd like to follow this game up with a more infantry centric battle the the middle of Khorramshar with smaller forces.  We shall see.

Thanks for reading!

Chalfant

Monday, May 30, 2016

Age of Eagles: Talavera, July 28th, 1809

Howdie.

 I have stated elsewhere, what really got me into Napoleonics was the novel Sharpe's Eagle, which I first read when I was 10 or 11.  My mom bought it because that edition (1981) was marketed as a romance novel, she didn't like it, and suggested that I read it instead (since I read military history).  However, all these years later, I had still never gamed the battle of Talavera, July 28th, 1809, which is the major battle fought in Sharpe's Eagle. 

Until now....

My French opponent and I used the v.2 Talavera scenario from PIMM.  He set up the table faithfully, within the limitations of our terrain.... this is something of a difficult table to set  up with the very large hills.  We declared certain areas to represent the very high ground, a place for French batteries, and the top of the Medellin for a couple of British batteries.

We found that the Allied lines extended further than we thought, so the set up is not quite perfect, but we both agreed this would work.  We declared that Talavera was effectively impassable to the French, and any Allied troops forced into Talavera could not reemerge, though would not be counted as casualties.

A look from the French lines towards the Spanish in their fortifications on the left, and the British on the Portina on the right....

A look from the allied lines towards the French, with some batteries massed on the heights of the Cascajal (we declared that region to be higher than the surrounding terrain, except the top of the Medellin directly across the Portina)...

A look from Talavera as it sits on the Tagus...




The early turns found me trying to shake out my clustered British into a more flexible organization, as I attempted to move my cavalry to my left flank.  The French organized their troops for the initial drive at the British lines.  I was able to inflict serious damage on the French batteries on the Cascajal early on, damaging and driving off 3 of 4 batteries.  My Spanish managed to silence one battery on my right.


 The French begin the initial major attack.... you can see the three batteries damaged and driven off...

A brutal back and forth slugfest turned the Portina red.  A series of attacks, counter attacks, left both sides bloodied and in disarray....

Meanwhile, on the Talavera side of the table, the Spanish were reluctant to leave their fortifications (there were some Spanish infantry deployed on the British side of the table... they were used to attack the French and were destroyed over the course of a few turns).   The French in front of them remained, a demonstration to keep the Spanish in positions, but, when French reinforcements began to arrive, some were diverted to deal with the Spanish defenders in the groves forward of Talavera.
A Spanish infantry battalion, and cavalry regiment, were completely destroyed.  Another Spanish infantry battalion was damaged, and pushed back into Talavera, becoming part of the "garrison" ...

The French began their assault on the Spanish breastworks close to the walls of Talavera..
amazingly, the Spanish were able to repulse the French twice....



The situation on the British flank steadily worsened as the French made deeper attacks into the British lines.  They paid for this, but they outnumbered the British, and those numbers began to tell.  The British cavalry, thankfully, were able to be deployed to counter the masses of French cavalry on the far flank.   The steep slopes in this area continued to disrupt the cavalry charges, and neither force of cavalry was able to gain any advantage... while the British cav were unable to turn the flank of the French, the French cav were unable to turn the flank of the British... you can see the small remnant of Spanish in the hills.


The French, on their third assault, were able to gain a small foothold in the breastworks, using those reinforcements.  


There was a cost.... by draining off resources to breach the Spanish lines, their increasingly successful drive onto the Medellin was running out of steam as there were no good units left.... which was good, as the British defense was crumbling.  The French had been able to bring their damaged batteries back into line, to support their late game attacks.  Damaged, they were still able to add some firepower and inflict losses on the British.


A new line was beginning to form, angled 90ยบ from the left of  the Spanish fortifications.  However, the Medellin was close to being overrun.

At this point we called the game, mostly because of time.  It was apparent from casualties that the French were winning the battle, a minor victory, one they paid for, but a victory none the less.  It did not appear there was enough steam left in the French machine to drive the allies from the field, but it was certain the allies no longer had the ability to drive the French off either.  We presumed that the French might be able to whittle some Spanish away, but the greater portion of the Spanish infantry were still undamaged, in solid lines.  The French reinforcements, directed to attack the Spanish, MAY have been enough to crack the British lines... but by using them to batter a hole in the Spanish defenses, the French left themselves with very little to follow up their success across the Portina.

Casualties were high.  I may update with closer figures (my French opponent has them!), but it was something like 40 total bases of allies lost, and 2 damaged batteries on the table.... with something like 30 total bases of French lost, with 3 damaged batteries on the table.  About half of the allied losses were Spanish.

Edit:  the French losses were  4 cav, 20 infantry, 1 battery, and 3 damaged batteries.... or about 8000 French and 20 lost guns.  The British losses were a division commander, 1 cav, 17 infantry, 1 battery, and 2 damaged batteries... or about 6300 British and 16 lost guns.  The Spanish losses were 7 cav, 15 infantry, and 1 damaged battery... or about 6500 Spanish and 4 lost guns.  Considering that the Spanish may have only taken a base or two of French (though Spanish batteries did contribute some fire in conjunction with British batteries), the British portion of the Allied force performed quite well.  Unfortunately for me, the French did even better.... 8000 casualties and 20 guns, versus 12800 casualties and 20 guns.

Despite my loss to the French (or, rather, a well deserved victory for the hard fighting French), this was a very good game.  The scenario seemed balanced, and certainly it was possible for an allied victory... and also possible for an all out French victory.  The deployment for the allies, especially the British, is somewhat jumbled (historically accurate, it seems)... and boy, its just had to imagine trying to maneuver those Spanish in the open against the French.  No bonus for quality (all conscripts), no bonus for impulse... wow... very difficult to bring them back once disordered.  Very difficult to rely on them being able to move fully every turn!  But there sure were a lot of them... and the French showed reluctance to commit a major attack against them.

Again, a very well fought game, we had fun with this one, and I was glad to finally game Talavera, some 35 years after reading about it in a fictional novel .... 

Thanks for reading,

Chalfant

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Battletech: Jade Falcon and Smoke Jaguar

Howdie.

As I continue with my Battletech cataloging, I have come to some Clan forces.  Primarily, in the 90's, I chose Jade Falcon.  Why?  Well, everyone else was pretty enamored of Wolf because of the Lethal Heritage trilogy.  As time went on, with the Way of the Clans initial trilogy, and ongoing Battletech Universe "history", the Jade Falcons turned out to be a good choice.  They get stuck in very frequently, are a semi-bad guy clan, but are not pushovers.

Later I added to the Jade Falcons, but also developed a hankering for Smoke Jaguar, probably due in part to the Exodus Road series.  Also, if the jade Falcons are semi-bad guys, the Smoke Jaguars are actual bad guys in many ways.  And its fun to have two different Clan factions.

First up are my "newer" Jade Falcons... these are supposed to be Epsilon Galaxy, though, my green is not light enough and probably too bright.


What you see is is slightly over a mixed Trinary, with a Star of Elementals leading the way for (metal) Masakari, Kraken, Turkina, Madcat-Pryde, Thor, 2x Piranhas, (plastic) Daishi, Blackhawk, Uller, and Madcat.  Now, the Piranhas are pretty specifically not Jade Falcon mechs, but I like their design, and there is always room for them being captured.

Overall, a big mix of designs and weights, mostly on the heavier side.  I don't particularly care for the primary Kraken, not a fan of the Thor, but its better to have variety and not be all min/max on your designs.

Next are my Smoke Jaguars, painted as Alpha Galaxy, which is a flat grey with jaguar spots on the upper portions of the mechs.
What you see here is a short Trinary.  Now, the lone elemental stand is painted in blue-grey, making it more of a generic elemental, and is only a test piece.  Maybe I should try to paint the other four points.  Behind them are (metal) Loki, Vulture, Daishi, Ryoken, Thor (later design, customized), Masakari, Koshi, (plastic) 2x Madcats, Blackhawk, Diashi, and Uller.
Again, a good mix of designs and weights, though, I tell you that newer sculpted Thor is HUGE.  If I add anything, I need to try to use older models.

I decided to go ahead and include my older Clan stuff in this post, just because.... though the ones I painted all those years ago are not as nice as the later mechs.  This includes a number of mechs I bought from a guy in the club I gamed with in Florida, which I never got around to repainting.
The Jade Falcons I had were painted a basic green, with some highlights.  I really am thinking about modifying this into a camo scheme, and calling them Gamma Galaxy (perhaps even Falcon Guards).
These are all metal.  My old Jade Falcons are a Blackhawk, Dragonfly, Madcat, Vulture, Thor, Loki, Ryoken, Fenris, Gladiator, Man O War, Diashi, and Masakari.  I also painted the Behemoth.  Rounding out the group are 2x Warhammer IIC, 2x Marauder IIC, Rifleman IIC, and Galahad (all painted by someone else).  This would be a reinforced Trinary, though one on the heavier side, with 4 mediums and 15 heavies and assaults.

I think at some point I might catalog what I have not painted yet... but that might be too embarrassing.

Thanks!

Chalfant

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Battletech: Desert Camo

Howdie.

This is the third installment of my ongoing cataloging of Battletech miniatures.  What I have here are three different versions of paint schemes for a desert environment.  These are all Inner Sphere.
The first batch, on the left, is for an alien desert, with a variety of colors, and strange flora.  I currently have 11 mechs painted this way (should paint at least one more for a full company!).  In metal, I have a Stinger, Vindicator, Firestarter, and Grasshopper.  In plastic I have a Warhammer, Rifleman, Shadow Hawk, Wolverine, Blackjack, Trebuchet, and Valkyrie.

The second batch, in the middle, are actually all painted by someone else.  I purchased them as a lot on ebay, and they are all old, heavy lead, painted a dull brown for conventional desert environments.  There are six mechs,  a Warhammer, Battlemaster, Atlas, Shadow Hawk, Cicada, and Charger. It might be hard to tell in the photos, just how different the lead miniatures like the Warhammer and Battlemaster are from their plastic brethren. 
The third batch is another paint scheme, intended to represent a desert environment on very flat terrain with a thin atmosphere, however, this is belied by the green basing I used :)  These were painted right after the first plastic boxed set came out, though I added some from the Citytech set too, and one is a later metal miniature.  There are 13 mechs, a Hollander (the only metal), Battlemaster, Javelin, Wasp, Orion, Marauder, Wolverine, Griffin, Shadow Hawk, Archer, Rifleman, Victor, and Centurion.

Again, most of the time I just mix and match anyway, but its nice to have some variety in case you have to supply different forces of mechs.

Thanks for reading!

Chalfant