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Archive for February, 2012

It’s been something of a bittersweet week. The following battle report represents the last game of Flames of War I’ll ever play with 2nd Edition rules.

I’m not one to get sentimental about this kind of thing; when you put this into perspective, I’ve lost count of how many editions of That Other Wargame That Shall Not Be Named, I’ve seen come and go, but this is different. I briefly dabbled with FoW 1st Edition, but other than that, FoW2 is all I’ve really known for several years.

So, what better way to say goodbye than one final battle, featuring my first army, and first love, the 101st Airborne. I’m unashamed to say I bought into the whole Band of Brothers cool factor, hook, line and sinker, so what other choice did I have than to field them.

They’d be facing off against another favorite of mine, backed up by some serious artillery – German Grenadiers!

For the mission… who am I kidding, there was no mission! We just faced off toe to toe with Delayed Reserves – no objectives, just a last man standing kind of battle. We also deliberately went thin on the terrain, aiming for a quick, decisive result. Enough chat, on to battle!

The two opposing companies face off across the battlefield. The U.S. Para’s had plenty of infantry stands right off the bat, with the opposing Germans itching to drop their numerous artillery templates on them.

The Grenadier platoon, accompanied by the Company CO race for the cover of the bombed-out church, the U.S. armored artillery looming on the horizon.

With artillery shells dropping all around them, the armored Priests have no choice but to advance out of harms way.

The Priests lower their gun barrels to place direct fire on a closing group of Stugs. With only one assault gun bailed, it’s not enough to repel the inevitable…

Returning fire from the Stugs completely obliterates the US armored artillery. Still, the Airborne press on.

On the US right flank, two Sherman’s are knocked out, but move dangerously close to assault the German Grenadiers, with a Parachute Rifle Platoon in support.

With a roll of the dice, the tables are turned. A full platoon of Fallschirmjager appear from reserve, heavily supported by a King Tiger. Suddenly, the Germans are back in the fight.

Tenacious close combat between the Assault Guns and a platoon of paratroopers leaves one Stug smoking as the others break off. It’s still looking like a one sided fight though.

Reasoning the lone King Tiger can only inflict a limited amount of damage per turn, the US Shermans and Tank Destroyers resolve to pour machine gun fire into the more numerous stands of infantry, readying themselves for an assault.

Despite eliminating the Fallschirmjager, the American commanders gamble backfires as the King Tiger successfully destroys the remaining tanks.

With one last chance, the US Para’s are faced with a simple choice – assault or be assaulted. With bazooka’s leading the charge, the brave troops are cut down by defensive fire, reducing the Allied commander to less than 50% of his starting platoons. The Company Morale check is failed, and the Germans achieve the final victory of our FoW Second Edition experience.

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Pinterest – Axis & Aliens

I just took the dive into Pinterest. My profile still needs plenty of work, and obviously I need to start pinning cool things, but for now I’m just happy to be representing my wargaming hobby.

Go, check it out: http://pinterest.com/imaginaryeric/

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If you read my last post you’ll know that one of my new years resolutions is to build an urban city terrain board. I started working on this right after the holidays, and intend to share all the various components that are being put together to make the board.

The board is primarily aimed at representing a bombed out Russian city like Stalingrad, with ruined building’s, rubble piles, a factory and so on, but ideally it will be generic enough to represent a European city involved in the war such as Carentan or Eindhoven. I’ll also be creating hills and a water feature, like a canal.

So where to begin? This is my fourth fully realized terrain table, so I’d like to think I’ve become something of a veteran. I find the first decision to be made when embarking on a project like this, is whether to go with a modular table, that is, a board with the terrain directly attached and blended together, or a table with movable terrain. The former is nearly always going to end up looking better visually, but in terms of practicality, especially for gaming, having movable terrain allows you to move everything around for a variety of gaming scenarios, and is also a lot easier to store and transport. My poor modular Bocage boards attest to this, having moved house 3 times, once from coast to coast.

I decided to go with movable terrain, firstly because on a table requiring so many static features like buildings, fighting over the same street repeatedly would get boring fast, and secondly because I have dual purpose in mind for this particular project.

While I primarily want a Russian city to fight over, I learned a large amount of the fighting on the Eastern Front happened in rural areas. Couple this with another long term intention to get involved with FoW’s battle of the bulge when it’s eventually released, meant that I factored in having part of the table less urban and more snowy. If I can manage to have the board blend from urban to rural, I could potentially continue to build further table sections purely covered in snow covered trees and fields.

Enough with the planning, lets start shopping! I always find this part of the project to be a mixture of detailed planning, where I go to Home Depot with strings of detailed measurements in my mind, combined with a mixture of giddy impulse buying at Michaels craft stores, and the local hobby shop. I won’t bore you with a big long list of what I bought, you’ll see everything as a I go, and besides, I might not have bought everything yet!

Let’s start with the most important part, the base boards themselves. There are so many options here, that I won’t list them all, but really you’ve got a choice between one massive sheet of wood or foam, or several sections which you can link up. Again, mainly for storage reasons, I chose separate boards. 3 sheets of 3/4 inch thick MDF, measuring 4’x6′ in total, a typical, and not unmanageable size, which can be easily expanded on.

Once I had the material chosen, the next thing is to figure out how to give the base some texture. To do this requires applying either paint or adhesive, and both options involve moisture – the arch nemesis of any self-respecting terrain guru. The worst thing in the world is a warped table… And I don’t mean the Warhammer Chaos kind of warp! It’s critical to prime the table, ideally with a few coats, lightly at first and then more substantially to truly seal the wood surface. I ended up sealing my boards with three decent coats. Don’t skimp on this stage,  it doesn’t take long to dry, I promise!

Three boards primed and ready
I wanted to give a rough texture effect to represent all the stone and concrete of a city, so once the primer was dry, I took the boards outside and sprayed them with a can of texture paint. I won’t make that mistake again. Not only did  it spray in huge globs, it also ran out less than halfway through the amount of surface I needed to cover. Back to the drawing board.
Not wanting to invest yet more time, energy and money into getting the right texture, I went ahead with the oldest method in the book – mixing sand into my paint. The result isn’t perfect, in fact if I did it again I’d use finer sand, but it worked out okay.
The boards with a sandy texture
With the boards primed and textured, I brought them back in the house and planned out my color scheme. Two of the boards would be predominantly grey, and one of them would be predominantly snow-colored. I separated my paints into groups of dark shades, mid-tones and highlights.

These are the colors I used for the two urban boards.

And the snow board… I’ll eventually get around to blending one edge of it with the urban boards, so that they merge together more seamlessly.

The boards with two coats of their respective base shade. I made sure if I watered the paint down that the color was consistent.

Once the base shade had dried, I gave everything a heavy dry-brush with the mid tone. You might even want to do this stage twice, but be careful not to overpower the base shade too much.

After the mid tone had dried, I applied the final dry brush of the lightest color.

And with that, the basic boards were finished. I’ll come back and add some blending to the snow board later, and probably add some kind of varnish to avoid too much wear and tear.
Next I’m going to move on to creating some terrain features, particularly buildings.
Stay tuned, Comrade!

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