Monday 22 October 2012

15mm Dux Brit: Movement Trays

I had my first game of Dux Britanniarum with Bryan this weekend. I may post some photos I took of the game in progress on Bryan's nice new custom terrain board, but I don't have them ready quite yet.

One thing that became clear in the process of playing is that using some movement stands for my miniatures would speed things up a great deal. When you're shuffling 5 groups of 6 figures around, that's a lot of fiddly little men to have to deal with.


I got a 3/4" drill bit and used some styrene card to make 6 of these stands. I won't say the process was fun, as cutting the holes was really fiddly and clumsy, and I ended up with a lap-full of tiny plastic shreds that stick to everything with static. Hopefully they will be useful though.

Saturday 13 October 2012

Market Day II

I had to scramble a bit this week to finish up the market stalls I built for my Afghanistan games. I'm pretty happy with the result.

The wares for sale are various seeds and grains bought from the bulk section of the supermarket, plus a sampling of different seeds given to me by Bryan. The rug merchant is selling little paper printouts of various Afghan rugs I found online. The bits of machinery are extra bits and bobs from the 1/35th scale plastic Tiger tank I'm building.

Force On Force: Bomber In The Bazaar

I finally got my moderns onto the table and into action last night. I've been working on my Canadians and Afghans, and the terrain for them to fight over, for months, so it was very satisfying to have a war with them at last.

We played the Bomber In The Bazaar scenario from the Operation Enduring Freedom sourcebook for Force On Force. This was only my second game of FoF but I'm really into these rules. The game lasted the full six turns and was tense the whole way through, with hard decisions required for both sides every turn. By the end of the game there were a lot of dead and demoralized Taliban, but they had managed to wreak enough havoc that they won on points. The suicide bomber managed to make his way across the whole board and ran right up between two Canadian units and a group of civilians, but couldn't get his vest to detonate, and was subsequently gunned down.

The Canadians had a hard go of it, feeling very hampered by the rules of engagement. There were a lot of civilians stumbling around getting in the way, and the Canadian sniper team in particular had a hard time making the PID checks required to engage the Taliban. One of the few times they risked shots near the civilian mobs, they accidentally shot a civilian, which did not help either their mob dispersal checks or their victory points.

I only got a few photos before the game started, and then I was too busy trying to send the infidels to hell to remember to take photos.

A group of Taliban looks over the bazaar, with a few Canadian Forces soldiers and their terps visible beyond.

The Canadians form up in preparation for their COIN patrol into the bazaar. 

A slightly blurry view of the Canadian sniper overwatch team looking down on the bazaar.

Gamecraft Afghan buildings in progress

I have finally completed my full set of Gamecraft buildings for my Afghanistan table. I had to do a lot of experimenting with techniques and materials before I found a solution I liked. I think the result looks good, but each building required a fair bit of messy work, so I'm glad I'm done. The stucco gel is not much fun to work with - it's really tacky, and the sand gets everywhere.

My process was as follows:

1. First coat of Liquitex Stucco textured acrylic gel - this doesn't have to be clean or even or nice, it's just there to provide a gritty surface for the following coat.

2. Clean out the corners, windows and doors of excess globs of paint.

3. Let it dry thoroughly.

4. Second coat of Liquitex, with a focus on applying enough to get all the corners a bit rounded. The walls themselves look better if the gel is applied a bit unevenly.

5. With a very wet brush, I smoothed out the walls and roofs. I don't try to get them perfectly flat, just smoothing down the parts that stick up, so it looks like a mud wall.

6. Clean out the corners and apertures again.

7. Let it dry thoroughly again.

8. Paint - I used cheap craft acrylics, watered down and with a bit of Pledge floor polish added. The stucco gel I used is white, and I only did one coat of paint, so the buildings came out very light.

9. Wash - I used a thin black / brown wash over the whole building, which I then blotted with crumpled up paper towel, which gave a slightly mottled look to the walls, while leaving the corners and recesses fairly dark.

With several different stages to do, I had a bit of an assembly line going with 3-5 buildings at each stage of the process.

The mosque was a special case, because it came with a dome. The dome was a coarse foam half-sphere, so I gave it several coats of plaster, smoothed with a wet finger, to give it an even enough surface for painting.

In-progress photos:

First coat applied.

First coat applied.

Second coat applied.

Second coat after smoothing.

For photos of the completed, painted buildings, see my next post!

Monday 1 October 2012

Saga: Battle At The Ford

Saga: Battle at the Ford

I finally managed to get my 15mm Picts onto the table on Friday. Bryan and I have been making big plans for playing both Saga and Dux Brittaniarum with the Dark Ages figures we've been working on, so it was good to see them blooded at last.

I was in command of the Picts (using the Scots faction from Saga), while Bryan was in charge of the Anglo-Danes. We were "arguing" over a bridge and a ford that crossed a river.

Anglo-Danes arrayed for battle!

Picts arrayed for battle!

The starting dispositions - the majority of both forces set to contest the bridge on the right, with smaller detachments to attack the ford on the left.

We both weighted our forces more heavily to the bridge side than the ford side, maybe because the bridge looked more impressive than the ford. As it turned out, though, most of the decisive action was on the left, ford side.

The Pict left flank, with a large group of warriors skulking Pictishly in the woods!

The Anglo-Danes attacked across the ford first, which set the tone for the whole fight. The Scots faction in Saga is fairly defensive, and they can do a lot more damage when attacked than when they are the attackers. My warriors killed half the Hearthguard without suffering any losses, and pushed them back across the river. More back-and-forth followed in the succeeding turns, with that group of warriors suffering very few casualties but inflicting a lot of pain on the Anglo-Danes.

Anglo-Danish Hearthguard advance on the Left-flank ford, but are rebuffed by the Picts who catch them up to their waists in water.

On the bridge side it went the other way; I got the first charge in with my Thanes, but they got pretty badly beat up. The one remaining Thane ran away and hid behind the woods so I didn't lose his unit, which would have reduced my dice pool.

A lot more waffling occurred around the bridge until the final turns, when most of the Anglo-Dane manpower had been chewed up on the ford side and a crossing looked more possible.

The Pict warlord advances onto the bridge on the right, surrounded by his Thanes.

Anglo-Danes step forward to meet the Picts.

At the end of the fight both of our armies were still on the field, but I had a bunch of Picts on the far side of the river, earning me victory points, while the Anglo-Danes had none on my side. My warlord declared Pictory and we all had a feast.

Final dispositions: Pict Warriors and Levy across the river on the left, Thanes and Warlord across the bridge on right.