French FCM 36 tanks

During the Battle of France (May-June 1940), there was an amazing variety of vehicles on both the German and the French sides.  At this same time last year, I began putting together a collection of period 15mm/1:100 scale vehicles for this period.  These were discussed here.  I have previously posted about a couple of games (December 2018 and January 2019) that I ran using the What a Tanker™ rules from the UK’s Too Fat Lardies.  I have been hoping to return to this period and add more vehicles to both armies.  I am starting this augmentation by adding 3 FCM 36 light tanks to my fleet.

The FCM stands for Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, a shipbuilder in Toulon who manufactured this 1936 design – and delivered about 100 to the French Army up through 1938.  Cost and industrial manufacturing concerns limited further purchases.  They were a little more than 12 tons, with a crew of two.  The armor was fairly good – welded, and very sloped for tanks of the day.  It also had a diesel engine and reasonable range unlike many other contemporary French tanks.  However, like many other French tanks, it was armed with the weak Puteaux SA 18 37mm gun which definitely had challenges fighting German armor.  Notably, two battalions of FCM 36’s tried to repel the bridgehead that the Heinz Guderian had established across the Meuse, but they were too little and too late.  After the surrender of France, some of the FCM 36 chassis were converted to Marder I’s or self-propelled artillery.  Some of these conversions were involved in the Normandy Campaign of 1944.  Today, only one FCM 36 survives at Saumur.

I thought these would be a good addition to my French early-war tank collection.  In What a Tanker™, these are the cheapest tanks to buy point-wise.  The only source I found for these models was Old Glory.  They are metal, and quite small of course.

1 FCM 36 in package
The 3 FCM 36’s in the baggie.
2 FCM 36 before filing
I did need to do a bit of filing and cleanup of extraneous molding material and molding lines as you see here.  Yes, these are small!
3 FCM 36 before filing showing turrets pins
The turrets had a small molded pin for mounting on the molded hole on the chassis.  I needed to slightly elevate the turret or the underlying paint on the chassis would be worn off, even with a good varnishing.  I decided to drill out the pins and the holes with a 1/8″ drill bit.  I then used green stuff to fill in underneath the hollow chassis between the tracks and provide a “floor” for the magnets.  The magnets were put in place with Gorilla Glue in the chassis and the turrets.
4 FCM 36 after priming and base coat
You can see here my hodge-podge mounting scheme of the FCM 36’s for painting.  I used a 1/4″ square dowel and poster tack to mount the chassis for painting.  I primed these, and the used a German green-brown as a base coat.  This shot here is after the first camouflage color (blue green) was applied with my Iwata Micron airbrush.  Also, I only put the turrets on a tank when I am painting camouflage patterns.
5 FCM 36 after priming and base coat and more camo
Next, I applied the third color (brown) to the camouflage pattern.
6 Turrets after decal but before varnish
When I paint turrets, I find this helpful (as the magnets in the turrets hold the turrets to the magnets on the washers).  Also, I can easily apply the decals this way, and airbrush on the final two coats of matte varnish.

Lastly, I thought I’d share some group and individual shots and a bit about their debut on the tabletop the day after they were completed.

 

12 FCM top view
Top view showing the sloped octagonal turrets.

 

7 FCM 36 left sides
Left side of the FCM 36’s.
8 FCM 36 frontal armor view
Frontal view.

 

I used a blue diamond, a red heart, and a red club as decals which would also help identify these as different individual tanks on the tabletop.  From my research, FCM’s did not seem to have as many markings historically as other French tanks.

As stated above, these made their game debut this weekend at the December session of the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

13 First FCM 36 roll
My buddy Mike Morgan was on the French side, and chose the blue diamond FCM 36 as his tank.  He then rolled a perfect roll of 6 sixes!  The odds on that were 0.01286%!
14 FCM 36 Blue Diamond moves onto the board
Mike’s FCM 36 moves on the road.
15 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with a StuGA
His FCM 36 was stalked by a StuG A (player Chris), which kept missing it.
16 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with a StuGA, misses
Mike successfully maneuvered his tank to the German’s side, and shot point blank.  The dice deserted him as the StuG A took only minor damage.
17 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with two StuGA, who miss it
Smelling an easy kill, the Germans (Chris’s teammate Christine) brought up a second StuG A in the hunt.  It also missed the FCM 36.  Note – as there were only 15 StuG A’s in the German invasion force across France, this would have been highly unlikely!
18 Now the Panzer IIIE joins the fight
Then the Germans brought up even more to the hunt with a Panzer IIIE…
19 Panzer IIIE brews up FCM 36
And Mike’s plucky FCM 36’s luck finally wore out with the Panzer IIIE (Christine) knocking it out.

On the other side of the table, Mike’s teammate Tom managed to kill Christine’s Panzer 38(t) with a SOMUA S-35.  Mike got another FCM 36, and that was killed by Christine’s teammate Chris’s StuG A (in the shot below on the left).  Mike replaced his lost tank with an R35.  Tom drove his SOMUA around the building but frustratingly could not take a point-blank shot at the Panzer IIIE (as his dice roll failed him).  Mike had to leave, and my wife Lynn (no gamer just watching) took over the R35.  Lynn drove the tank to the side of Christine’s Panzer IIIE, and rolled three critical hits – and Christine failed to block any.  This knocked out the Panzer IIIE!

20 R35 avenges the FCM 36 after SOMUA misses
Lynn’s R35 avenges the burning FCM 36 (on right) by knocking out the Panzer IIIE.
21 Lynn is happy
Happy wife, happy life!  Tom and Lynn are all smiles here.
22 SOMUA is hit in rear by StuG A
In a final act, Christine maneuvered her remaining StuG A for a rear shot on Tom’s SOMUA S-35.  She successfully knocked out the SOMUA.

That ended the game, with the French winning a very narrow victory 32-31.  If Lynn had not rolled so well in killing the Panzer IIIE, the Germans would have won.  Thanks to the players for a great and fun game!

I have plans for more French and German tanks for this scenario.  I hope that you enjoyed this post, and feel free to share your thoughts and feedback with me in the comments section!  I have been behind on my blogging efforts and hope that I can share more with you soon!  Thanks for taking a look!

Also, as these were mostly done in November, I would add them as my contribution to Azazel’s MechaNovember painting challenge!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE VEHICLES:

  1. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  2. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  3. Gorilla Glue
  4. Poster tack and ¼” square wooden dowels on plastic plates
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  9. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Blue”
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  11. Battlefront “Black”
  12. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Dark Rust” (wash)
  15. Army Painter “Light Tone” (shade)
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Satin” (varnish)
  17. Microscale Micro-Set
  18. Microscale Micro-Sol
  19. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  20. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  21. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  22. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  23. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (shade)
  24. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  26. Vallejo “Pigment Binder” (pigment)
  27. Vallejo Weathering Effects “European Splash Mud”
  28. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

 

Allies Defeat Germans at Fort Devens Game Day

On October 19th, 2019, the Fort Devens Gaming Day was held at the Fort Devens Museum.  This was our monthly gaming day as an “away” game day for the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  Our club sponsored two games as Scott Howland ran a pulp game in another room which was very well-received. I believe it was similar to this one.

This was my second time attending this small convention and my first time as a game master there.  For nostalgia alone, I really looked forward to the event as I was stationed at the old Fort Devens before it was closed in the 1990’s.   It has since been converted to commercial uses and some US Army Reserve functions.  Running a game here was fun.

10192019 Normandy Breakout with contact info

Mike Morgan graciously helped me set up my game in the museum among the exhibits (as you will see below)).  Thanks so much Mike!  Mike also supported Scott as a player in his game, and that was very cool.  I ran my Normandy Breakout game for What a Tanker©.  We had seven players – including several from the Mass Pikemen.  On the German side were Chris, Peter, and Steve.  On the Allied side were Leif and Walter (US), and Evan and Alex (UK).

Both sides started with 150 points/chips to use during the game.  The Allies started with a 40 points worth of vehicles.  For the UK, they bought a Dingo scout car and a Churchill “TIM” (nicknamed for theimperfectmodeler aka TIM), along with an M5 Stuart, and an M8 Greyhound for the US.  The Germans spent slightly less, choosing to buy an SdKfz 231 scout car, a StuG IIIG, and a Panzer IVH for 36 points.

1 Set up
The players prepare for battle among the museum exhibits.

The Germans took up very good ambush positions – especially the Panzer IVH, which was hull-down behind a stone wall.  The M5 Stuart successfully reconned it, and the German fired point-blank at the light tank, missing it.  The Stuart then prudently backed up behind the hedgerow.  The Churchill “TIM” then moved up the road, to be also shot at, and again missed by the Panzer IVH.  Amazingly, the Churchill immediately reversed the bad German die rolls, and miraculously hit and knocked out the Panzer IVH for its first kill ring of the day.

2 Churchill takes out Pzkw IVH
The first exchange goes badly for the Germans as the Panzer IVH missed its first two targets (the M5 Stuart and the Churchill).  The retreating M5 is at top behind the hedgerow.  The Churchill “TIM” drives past the knocked out (with crew surviving) Panzer IVH.

The Allies then successfully reconned nine possible German positions at 2 points apiece, adding to their score.  They also successfully crossed the tabletop with an M8 Greyhound, gained the points, and respawned as another M8.  The Germans spent some points and respawned the destroyed Panzer IVH crew into a Panther D which drove up next to the burning Panzer IVH.  The Churchill “TIM” went Panther hunting.

Meanwhile, the Germans tried to put an end to the Allied reconnaissance successes.  The StuG IIIG ambushed both the M5 and the Dingo gaining them crucial points, which they used to buy a Marder III.  The Allies respawned both losses with similar models.

3 StuG IIIG takes out M5, while Churchill moves around Panther
The Churchill “TIM” at top maneuvers to attack a Panther in the rear.  In the foreground, The StuG IIIG takes out the M5…  

The Allies spent some chips to respawn the Dingo as a Cromwell IV nicknamed “IRO” aka imperialrebelork.  The Germans dropped some obscuring smoke in front of the Cromwell.

4 StuG IIIG takes out Dingo, while Churchill moves around Panther
…and then the Dingo.  The Germans dropped smoke to protect the StuG from the Cromwell IV “IRO”.  The Churchill “TIM” at top hunts the Panther D.

“TIM” continued its winning ways and managed a flank shot on the Panther D.  Its good dice rolling (and the German bad dice rolling) yielded a second kill ring for “TIM”.

5 Churchill gets second kill ring against Panther
The Churchill “TIM” takes out the Panther D.

The Germans were aghast at this expensive loss and vowed revenge.  The SdKfz 231 managed to call in a rare Luftwaffe air strike on the Churchill, which destroyed “TIM” after it had been so effective.

The British mourned this loss, and respawned it as an Achilles 17-pounder nicknamed “Per”.  The British also bought another Dingo and a Cromwell IV nicknamed “JNV” or justneedsvarnish.  The US bought an M10 Wolverine.  The Germans went for broke and bought a Jagdpanther and an SdKfz 233.

The StuG IIIG went head-to-head with the Cromwell “IRO”, and took it out.  The Jagdpanther caught the Achilles “Per” in the open and made short work of it.  In the meantime, the Allies successfully crossed a Dingo and an M8 Greyhound.  This resulted in denying the Germans any end of game bonus points for preventing more than two Allied vehicles crossing the table.

To make matters worse for the Germans, the respawned M5 Stuart knocked out a well-hidden Marder III with some help from a supporting infantry assault (see how I use bonus attack cards here) and well-placed 37mm rounds.  As the game was winding down, and it was clear the Allies had a commanding edge in the score, The Germans bought a Tiger I and converged all vehicles on the plucky M5.

6 Marder III taken out and other Germans seek vengeance
The Marder III burns, and the Tiger I and SdKfz 233 hunt the M5 Stuart… 
7 Stuart will not die
…and are joined by the Jagdpanther!
8 Traffic jam
This traffic jam at game’s end yielded no damage on the M5 Stuart – the dice had completely deserted the Germans.

At games end, the final score was Allies 193, Germans 142.  This game yet again delivered a different result.  Player choices, and player luck all made this game fun and unique.

This is my 12th post about my development and running of this scenario and the models that went into making it.  I started back in May 2019, so it’s been a lot of work, but one project that I really am proud of now.

I wanted to honor the history and the struggle of the Allies in the days after the D-Day landing 75 years ago.  I will continue to run the game, and at this point I really only need to add a StuG IV to be really complete vehicle-wise (and I have one to build!).  To read about previous games and related posts, see the following:

Thanks to the Fort Devens Museum, Peter Lowitt. and the guys at Fencing Frog Gaming Adventures for running the event.  I hope to see you next year, if not sooner.  I also hope that some of the players join us at The Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

I hope you enjoyed this post and would love to read your feedback!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Barrage 2019 Recap

The wonderful Barrage wargaming convention was held back on September 27-28 in Havre de Grace, Maryland.  It is run by the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKS), and I have attended the last few years and run a few games there as well as a GM.  This year marked the 25th Anniversary of the convention.

The trip was enjoyable – and even though it’s been over a month since the event – I wanted to share some of the pics and details of the event from my perspective.  It’s not an all-encompassing review – but hopefully it will give you a flavor of the event and some nice views of some worthwhile and visually interesting tabletop games.

29 My badges

1 Old Grads
Three only slightly aging West Pointers – Dave Wood (’84), me (’84), and Buck Surdu (’85).  Dave and Buck are in the HAWKS and going to the convention doubles as a mini-reunion for us.  Plus I get to see how much better in shape they are than I am.

I drove down from Massachusetts and arrived Thursday night (the night before the convention) to help the HAWKS set up.  As a bonus, we got to play a few turns of Eric Schlegel’s Antietam: The Cornfield game using the A Union So Tested rules set.  It was a fun start.

The convention started in earnest on Friday – and I got a chance to check out some amazing tabletops.  Bill Molyneaux had a brilliant Boxer Rebellion game that had incredible terrain.  I did not get to play this game, but would have loved to try it.

I walked around Friday’s game and took some pics of a few games I loved seeing (but did not get to play) before I got into playing a Feudal Patrol™ game.  Here you can see a Napoleonic game (run by Dave Wood), a Gundam game, and a really neat G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.  Sherlock Holmes themed game (run by Sam Fuson).   There was a Flames of War Tournament.  I have not played that game despite having (as regular readers know) a TON of FoW models.  The games looked a bit crowded figure-wise – and maybe that’s normal for that game.  Note the US TIE fighter (the gamer said he did not have a proper US plane so he painted this model)…not sure about that particular add personally.

I really wanted to try another game of Feudal Patrol™.  I had played one at HUZZAH! run by Duncan Adams earlier this year.  Feudal Patrol™ is a novel skirmish game (yet unpublished) and is similar to Combat Patrol™ – except it is for pike and shot periods and earlier.  I am hoping to write an Aztec supplement for it for Buck.

Chris Palmer ran a War of the Roses scenario involving securing an abandoned supply train of three wagons.   It was just the two of us, but as Buck came available, he joined in on Chris’ side.  I started off well, but in due course I got my ass handed to me by Buck and Chris!  Still, I was glad to try it and I feel confident that this will be another great system by Buck.

16 Feudal Patrol
Not the greatest sign up!  Too bad as it was fun.

17 Feudal Patrol

18 Feudal Patrol
My forces, with the enemy Yorkists across the table.  The abandoned wagon train (the objective) is in the center.
19 Feudal Patrol
The Lancastrians.
20 Feudal Patrol
Wagon train objective.
20a Feudal Patrol
Buck confers with Chris (off-camera) as the two forces cavalry converge.
20b Feudal Patrol
Chris moves his Yorkists up and takes two wagons.
20c Feudal Patrol
I moved a leader on top of the remaining wagon to seize it.  Unfortunately, the Yorkist crossbowmen ended that effort by turning him into a pin cushion, and pinning his subordinates in the process.

20d Feudal Patrol

After this game, I walked around and took some more shots of some cool tables.  There was a 54mm scale ACW game, and a 54mm medieval mayhem game.  Greg Priebe had a Poland 1940 Combat Patrol™  game for replete with an armored train.  Lastly, there was an Aliens-inspired scratch built table that was impressive.  These shots are below.

28 ACW2
Another ACW game, in larger scale.

The last game that I played on Friday was with Dave Wood and another player.  It recreated the scenario made famous by the events portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down.  The rules were Force on Force, which had an interesting set of mechanics, but very complicated for a short game.  We actually ran the game twice, with Dave and I as the Americans.  All agreed that the scenario was impossible to win for the US.  Still, the GM Carl Olsen made the experience enjoyable.

26aa Blackhawk down

26 Blackhawk down
The tabletop for the scenario.
27 Blackhawk down
Even with air support, the mission was too difficult for the US.

That finished off Friday.  Saturday presented an opportunity to play the massive Combat Patrol™ Star Wars Battle of Hoth scenario (from The Empire Strikes Back) of the Battle of Hoth that Buck and Greg Priebe ran at Historicon.  It was pure eye-candy (as you’ll see below), and a blast to play.  We had a full table of 10-12 players.  The Combat Patrol™ Star Wars supplement was used – and was easily picked up by the players who were new.  Buck and Greg did an outstanding job of running this massive game.

I played with several other players on the Imperial side with the goal of destroying the Millennium Falcon before it could fly out of the cave it was hiding in with the other rebel ships.  We succeeded in eventually knocking out the shield generator with an AT-AT.  Subsequently the Millennium Falcon was destroyed when our forces could get a clear shot.  A strategic victory was had for the Empire!

32 Buck Surdu and Greg Priebe Battle of Hoth
Scenario designers and GM’s Buck Surdu and Greg Priebe
30 Battle of Hoth
A view from the attacking Imperial forces side – the rebels and their spacecraft were in the cave on the far side.  The shield generator is on the far right.  The rebel trenches and positions were beautiful.  All the models were so fun.
31 Battle of Hoth
Imperial set up before the game.
32 Battle of Hoth
Rebel spaceships getting positioned in cave.  The Millennium Falcon was not yet set up on the top corner.
33 Battle of Hoth Speeders
Imperial speeders storm anti-vehicle weapons positions.
34 Battle of Hoth Inf carriers
A bloody affair.
35 Battle of Hoth
The advance continues.
36 Battle of Hoth
A very unique set of walker positions.
37 Battle of Hoth Shield Generator blows
Bye bye shield generator!

After the victory, I had some time before I needed to set up and run my Normandy Breakout scenario for What a Tanker© that I have previously run a few times.  I took a few more shots of some interesting games.  One of these was a Dungeon Crawl run by a gentleman (sorry as I forgot his name) who makes his own miniatures out of small bits of wood and paints them really well – check them out below.

After this, it was on to setting up and running my Normandy Breakout game.  I have really gotten this game to be a great gaming experience – based on both my opinion and consistent feedback from the players.  This time, I had between 9 and 11 different players as some came and went.

The Germans made some very good decisions on terrain use and vehicle selection.  The Allies did not choose enough reconnaissance vehicles, and were less effective using terrain as a whole.  The Allies did not do a good job at crossing the table – with only a M10 Wolverine (by Dave Wood) and an M5 Stuart (by Buck Surdu) crossing the board.  To be fair, the dice abandoned the Allies at a few critical junctures.

The Germans chose expensive vehicles, such as the Panther D (Greg Priebe), Jadgpanther (Andrew) and Tiger II (run by a woman known as April or “Queen Tiger” in the game), but used them effectively to stop the Allies.   This put them in a points disadvantage, that they made up with their kills.  Don Hogge’s used his SdKfz 233 very well to delay and harass the Allies.  The Germans lost no vehicles, and the Allies lost a total of 5: a Dingo scout car, an M3A1 Stuart, an M10 Wolverine, and two 17-pounder Achilles.  The Allies vehicle choices hurt them (not enough tanks and reconnaissance versus tank destroyers). This had not happened in previous runs, and is a testament to the German players having a good plan.  The final score was 160-123 in favor of the Germans.  I will continue to run this game – it has never been the same twice.

00 Chris Palmer pic of my game
I GM the mid game action (photo by Chris Palmer)
41 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
Players on the Allied side get ready to play.
42 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
Here the Americans smashed an M3A1 Stuart through a hedgerow – where it discovered a Panther D.  It took the flank shot and managed to do some temporary and permanent damage.
43 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
The Panther then turned and knocked the Stuart out – the black smoke indicates that the crew lived and bailed out, but the tank was destroyed.
44 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
With a burning Dingo behind him, a Jagdpanther confronts the Achilles “Tabitha” (named after my granddaughter).  German artillery-delivered smoke dissipates in the top of this photo.
46 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
The poor Achilles “Tabitha” is no match for the Jagdpanther, and is brewed up on the next activation.
45 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
An American M10 Wolverine gets a rear shot on the Greg Priebe’s damaged Panther, but not enough damage is inflicted… 
47 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
…and on the next activation, the Panther turned and knocked out the Wolverine.

After picking up, the last game I played in was a Roman Circus Chariot game with rules by DeWitt.  My chariot flipped and I lost – but it was fun!

And the flea market was outstanding!

Thanks to the HAWKS for a great weekend!

And thanks to you, dear reader, for looking – feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mind and The Macron, Archive Miniatures from 1978/1979 for the Board Game Cosmic Encounter

Back in 1978 and 1979, Archive Miniatures produced a line of figures for the board game Cosmic EncountersAccording to the Lost Minis Wiki, at some point Archive Miniatures produced a line of figures for the board game.    These included four catalog items: “Wrack” (#2101), “Oracle” (#2102), “The Mind and the Macron” (two figures for #2103) and “The Healer, Zombie, and Sorcerer” (three figures for #2104).  I am not sure if that was a limited release as the research I could find on the 1977 version of Cosmic Encounter seemed to suggest that there were many alien races available for the game – many more than this page from the Lost Minis Wiki suggests were made.  Cosmic Encounter continues to be sold and is available in its current configuration here.

In any case, I stumbled on the Macron three years ago, and managed at some point since to acquire a complete set including The Mind since then.  My goal back then in acquiring the Macron figures was to have basically a squad of giant cosmonaut zombies for retro sci-fi games of Buck Surdu’s Combat Patrol™.  Having The Mind as the unit leader controlling the giant zombie cosmonauts seemed to be a nice concept for a unit.  I wanted a unit of ten, and I previously posted here how I made a mold and recast many more.  I had since shared these with Buck and IRO as shown here and here respectively.   I also wanted to complete these in September as part of Azazel’s “Scenic and Squaddie September ’19 Community Painting Challenge” that I try to share in when I can. Amazingly, it has been three+ years since I recast these figures, and I thought I’d better do something other than tanks for a bit!  As an aside, this last month has been a bit crazy, as I had my 35th West Point reunion, job interviews, BARRAGE in Maryland, etc.  I am hoping to catch up on reading others’ blogs and posting on the events of September soon!  It’s been a while since I managed to complete a blog entry too.

Ironically, the Macron figures were sculpted by Nevile Stocken in 1979 – and the current president of France, Emmanuel Macron was born in 1977!  So of any of you thought I was making that up, I have provided the links.

Back to the project – I found my recasts to be satisfactory, but I needed to do a good amount of filing and green stuff repairs to bring the recasts up to a good standard.  The figures are large – about 2¼” (about 57mm for you metric types).  The Mind is about half as high, but bulky.  However, as these will be used as aliens, I can get away with them as giant cosmonaut zombies!  I also have been looking at many posts from folks trying the new Contrast paints from Games Workshop.  I thought this project would afford a nice opportunity to try them and learn about how best to employ them in the future.

1 Cleaned and ready for filing
The original figures (the darker ones) and the original package – along with my recasts before any filing or washing.  I decided not to change their poses as that would have been more work than I wanted to take on for this project – besides, the contrast paints would make them different enough in my opinion.
2 2103 or 2107
The bottoms of all of the original Macrons say Archive, #2107, and date from 1979.
3 2103 or 2107
Interestingly, The Mind says it was #2103, the same number as the package.  It also says Archive Miniatures, NS (Nevile Stocken), and dates to 1978.
4 The Mind with green stuff repairs
The front of The Mind.  The figure is supposed to be a floating brain with a hideous single eye in front.  I needed to repair the old figure as you see here.
5 mounted for painting
Now I have a squad!  The figures are all mounted on 1.25″ steel washers for painting – and the bases are mounted to the specimen jars with poster tack.  One new feature was that I added water to my specimen jars to prevent unwanted tumbling during the project – and that worked well.

6 Contrast Paint Palette

I made this color palette for my Contrast Paints – and it was helpful.

7 Brain in Volupus pink
My first try with the contrast paints was “Apothecary White” on the Macron figures.  That worked but “Volupus Pink” on The Mind was an instant reject (I kept hearing the dad in “A Christmas Story” saying it looked like a pink nightmare)  I redid it as you will see below.
8 The Mind painted
Redone – and all the paints I used are listed at the end of the post.  There were a LOT of paints used here – nearly 50.
8a The Mind painted
Definitely styled in the ’70’s!  I wanted the eye and the brain to be menacing and bloody – and the final product (not this shot) was acceptable.
9 Macron with Apothecary White
Early on I decided to give each Macron its own contrast paint color.  I wanted to see how that worked, and I wanted to make it easier for game play identification.
10 Macron with Blood Angels Red
The contrast paint “Plaguebearer Flesh” was effective as a base coat on the faces.  Clearly, there was need for more washes and highlights.
11 With respective contrast paints
Each of the Macron with the contrast paint used on their space suits.  My thought was they might have worn different colors in life to denote their roles before they died and The Mind seized and reanimated their bodies.

11a With respective contrast paints

12 Macron in Shyish Purple
This is “Shyish Purple” after a wash – I ended up washing and highlighting these a lot.
13 Macron in Aethermatic Blue
Mid-project – “Aethermatic Blue”.
13 Macron in Iyanden Yellow
Later after using “Nuln Oil” and other washes – this one was “Iyanden Yellow”.
14 Macron in Volupus pink
Later after using “Nuln Oil” and other washes – this guy was done with “Volupus Pink”.
15 group painted first base step
After highlighting, I used “Astrogranite Debris” on the bases and washed them with “Druchi Violet”.
16 Close up of Macron in BA Red
This one was done in “Blood Angels Red”.  You can see that I dry brushed the bases.  I used 4 different paints in that process.  This is before varnishing.
17 Close up of Mind
The Mind before varnishing.

So after varnishing – The Mind and The Macron – and their base colors – for your enjoyment:

And a couple of group shots:

18 Group shot front19 Group shot front

My take on the contrast paints is quite similar to that of Azazel on his blog – he has a lot of experiments (he’s up to 12 at last look) and I did lean somewhat on his experiences a bit.  I will use them as base coats when the figures need some pop – but I really think they are not a be all and end all line of products.  Like every other paint/wash/glaze/ink etc., the user can find a niche – or a broad use – depending on the desire you have for the final product.  I like what the contrast paints did here – but I don’t want to use them on a Tiger II!  So, another tool in the kit bag – but I really think I’d want to continue to wash, shade, highlight, etc. on future projects.

Thanks for looking and hopefully you enjoyed reading about and seeing these.  Let me know your thoughts, faves, (or least faves if you want!).   I appreciate the feedback as always, and will be catching up on my blogging this week (I hope)!

 

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE FIGURES:

  1. Gorilla Glue gel
  2. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  3. 1¼” Everbilt steel fender washers
  4. Poster tack
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  8. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Apothecary White”
  9. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Plaguebearer Flesh”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Steel”
  11. Polly Scale “WWII Luftwaffe Uniform Gray”
  12. Battlefront “Black”
  13. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  14. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  15. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  16. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Dark Rust Wash”
  17. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  18. Citadel “Bloodletter” (glaze)
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  21. P3 “Red” (ink)
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
  24. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Shyish Purple”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
  26. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  27. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  28. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  29. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Magos Purple”
  30. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  31. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  32. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  33. Army Painter “Quickshade Red Tone” (wash)
  34. Army Painter “Quickshade Dark Tone” (wash)
  35. Army Painter “Quickshade Purple Tone” (wash)
  36. Army Painter “Quickshade Blue Tone” (wash)
  37. Citadel “Coelia Greenshade” (shade)
  38. Citadel “Druchi Violet” (wash)
  39. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”
  40. Vallejo “Vermilion”
  41. Vallejo “Clear Orange”
  42. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  43. Vallejo “Dark Blue”
  44. Citadel “Contrast Medium”
  45. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  46. Vallejo Mecha Color “Magenta Fluorescent”
  47. Citadel “Astrogranite Debris”
  48. Citadel “Mechanicus Standard Grey”
  49. Citadel “Daemonette Hide”
  50. Citadel “Warpfiend Grey”
  51. Citadel “Slaneesh Grey”
  52. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish

GASLANDS brings Maximum Carnage at Mass Pikemen’s Johnny Cab Invitational

Last Saturday, September 7th, Scott Howland ran a very fun game of GASLANDS at our September gaming session.  We had several new players and some young players with their dads (which was cool in and of itself).  We had played this game a few times before, and Scott had some really cool new terrain for the race.  His scenario was the “Johnny Cab Invitational” as a nod to the Johnny Cab in the 1990 film Total Recall.  Scott plans to run this game at CARNAGE in Killington, Vermont in November.

As I got to play I got to take a few more pictures – the race was a real thrill ride (pun intended).

09072019 GASLANDS at Mass Pikemen
The flyer for the game
1 Scott briefs the gamers
Getting ready to play.  Each of us got a different cab-type vehicle for the race.  On the right, new player Steven (sitting) and his dad Steven (in orange hat) joined us for the first time with his daughter in tow. 
2 Scott briefs the gamers
Here you can see the tabletop – we had to cross 5 gates in the race.  The cabs had weapons that were not active until you fully crossed gate #1.
3 and the race begins
The start of the race – you can see the starting gate on the right.  Vehicles were assigned at random – I had the little Johnny Cab in the foreground.  Above me in this photo respectively  were Mike and Leif’s yellow cabs on the edge of the tabletop.  In the starting gate from top to bottom were Christine in a VW truck/cab, Jack/Jared in a tracked cab, and Steven/Steven in a motorized rickshaw.
3 Johnny Cab Open
Johnny Cab!
4 Mike careens into Leif
The wrecked tractor trailer was part of the game terrain.  I’m on the right about to take my first (of many) flip outs.  On the right, Mike attempts to crash into Leif.  This would go (at first glance) badly for Mike as he rolled badly and got turned around back towards the starting gate.  He would end up crashing into the wall behind it and surviving to turn around…eventually.  Note that Scott has two welded dice to denote turn and gear segments – very cool.
5 Trying to cross gate 1
I try to get through the gate after both Christine and Jack crash into me.  I ended up flipped over by the right barrier – safe but damaged.
6 Scott GM's
Scott effectively GM’s!
7 Leif's Car is torched
As I was already through the gate I had to back up to get aligned.  I used a Molotov Cocktail on Leif’s cab and caught it on fire.  It soon exploded and I avenged a past Bolt Action whupping that Leif had put on me earlier!  Jack’s tracked cab was run into a wall at the top, while Steven’s rickshaw was closing for a kill.  Christine’s blue VW also shot at Leif with a machine gun.  Mike was busy out of the picture hitting a wall in 4th gear!
8 Steven's Rickshaw dies
Steven’s attack on Jack’s tracked cab fails.  Jack’s tracked cab returns fire, and destroys the rickshaw.  Christine’s VW tries to go around away from Jack.  I’m just surveying the carnage from the safe rear.  Mike is still back along the wall in the rear of the starting gate. 
9 Jared and Jack plot next moves
Jared and Jack discuss choices with the dice, while Leif looks at his burning cab.
10 Jack wipes out and explodes
Christine turns the corner and shoots up Jack’s cab – knocking it out of the game.  She then dropped caltrops behind her.  This left the VW, my Johnny Cab, and Mike still in the game.
11 I set Chris on fire and move in
Johnny Cab turned on the gas, and attempted to shoot at Christine’s blue VW with a machine gun, missing.  I threw another Molotov cocktail and hit, catching the VW on fire.

At this point, I closed for the kill.  Nothing remained between Johnny Cab and the race course but Christine’s damaged and burning vehicle.  Mike’s cab was far behind.  My machine gun missed again – but my third Molotov cocktail hit and unfortunately caused a chain reaction with Christine’s own unused Molotov cocktails.  The explosion damaged my Johnny Cab and destroyed it and the VW.  At this point, Mike was just getting back to Gate #1 after getting off the wall.  As the sole survivor, he won!  Amazingly, he won our last GASLANDS game as a survivor as well – enjoy your prize Mike – a free trip to Mars!  Your second trip!

12 Mike wins again!
The game ends.  Both cars in the foreground are destroyed – in the right rear one survives – Mike wins!

The game went very quickly even with many new players.  Scott’s vehicles and board were fantastically fun!  I lent my new blast markers to the game and I think they worked well (and were very popular with the younger players to be sure).  Thanks VERY MUCH to Scott for a well-run and fun game.

Our next session is a road trip to the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th.  Scott will be running a pulp game there, and I will be running my Normandy Breakout game.  The November session for the Mass Pikemen will be on either November 2nd or November 9th from 2-7 PM, games TBD.

If you are interested in joining the Mass Pikemen, our Facebook group link is here.  Join us!

 

Normandy Breakout Game at Mass Pikemen

Last Saturday (August 24th) we had a very action-packed game of What a Tanker© using my Normandy Breakout scenario at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  I have been tweaking the scenario, some rules, and improving the terrain and markers – and I believe the gamers who played really noticed all of the upgrades and changes.  I have been fortunate to get valuable feedback from the gamers which has been invaluable, and this game was no exception.  I have acted as a Game Master for this game a couple of times (discussed here), and this, the third iteration, was another great game that had the players highly engaged.

For this post, I will show some of the photos that tell the story – though simultaneously being a photographer and a GM are not always easy.  I appreciate the generosity of both Chris Rett and Ted Salonich helping with some photos – as well as playing of course!

The game scenario is:

After a successful D-Day landing and consolidation, the tanks of the Americans and the British are stymied in the hedgerows of Normandy. German armor has set up effective defensive positions in favorable terrain. However, the Allies do not know the exact locations of the German tanks, and the Germans have limited knowledge of where the Allied armor will be coming from and the direction to which they will try to break out. New rules that allow reconnaissance and the effects of other combat forces will challenge both sides in this action-packed game.

The Germans are in secret positions (basically ambush positions) that they choose in advance of the Allies arrival – which is also secret in terms of the exact vehicles that the Allies choose.  Both sides get to secretly select their vehicles (with some restrictions), and poker chips are used for the scoring.  The Germans here did stop the Allies from breaking out – though the Allies were able to gain more points by both effectively recon of enough blind positions and knocking out enough valuable German vehicles.  The final score was 117-109 in favor of the Allies – with the game score turning on the Allies knocking out a Jagdpanther on the last turn.  The casualties were:

  • Allies – 5 vehicles:
    • UK – 3 vehicles:
      • 2 Daimler Dingoes
      • 1 Firefly
      • 1 M10 Achilles
    • US – 2 vehicles:
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart
      • 1 M10 Wolverine
  • Germany – 3 vehicles:
    • 1 Sdkfz 233
    • 1 Panther D
    • 1 Jagdpanther

Let’s see what the day looked like!

4 map at session
The Allies moved on from here.  The British had the far left road, and the Americans had the far right road.  The middle road could be used by both Allies.  The wooden discs are possible German positions to be reconned.
5 map at session
A side view of the tabletop that better shows some of the (blind) possible German positions.
6 map at session
The view from the German side of the board that the Allies needed to cross.
1 Me as GM
Your properly attired GM.  (Photo by Chris Rett)

The Germans effectively used a Bonus Attack card to draw first blood – calling in a rare Luftwaffe attack on a Daimler Dingo.

7 Dingo hit by Luftwaffe
The Daimler Dingo hit by the Luftwaffe – my new blast/knocked out tank markers looked pretty amazing (and I am biased of course).
4 Jagdpanther hunts Stuart
A Jagdpanther prepares to engage an M3A1 Stuart from an excellent ambush position.  The Stuart decided to run around the corner and recon the disc on the left…(Photo by Chris Rett)
5 Surprise!
… and the Stuart “successfully” reconned the position – it went around the bocage to find the Elefant in the room. (Photo by Ted Salonich)
5a Surrprise
The Stuart fired its 37mm at the frontal armor of the Elefant.  No effect.  The Elefant returned fire, and blew away the Stuart.
9 Firefly knocked out by StuG G
A Panther D and a StuG G combine forces to knock out a Firefly near the burning Dingo.
10 Panther D knocked out by Achilles
An M10 Achilles fires at and knocks the Panther D into a ruined building, damaging it.  It gets a second shot, and rolls well enough to torch the Panther.
11 M18 Hellcat moves up to help British
The Americans move up an M18 Hellcat to help the Brits – it ended up moving behind the Jagdpanther and was able to destroy it.
8 Gamers
The gamers ponder their moves.
13 Last shot
The Allies called in a lot of artillery-delivered smoke to protect their vehicles.  It was effective.
6 Panther burns and Tiger I arrives
Here comes the Tiger!  Note the StuG G that ambushed the M10 Wolverine.  The crew of the M10 survived – as denoted by the black smoke versus the fiery smoke.  Also shows the Allied smoke screen in front of the Jagdpanther.

As the German vehicles are worth, in general, much more points, the loss of their expensive vehicles made a big difference.  Both sides played well, but I have to say the Germans were not very lucky with their dice at times.  

I will be tweaking the game scenario in a couple of ways:

  • Adding stopping bonuses for the Germans:
    • A 20-point bonus for the Germans if no Allied vehicles are able to breakout across the tabletop.
    • A 10-point bonus for the Germans if only one Allied vehicle is able to breakout across the tabletop.  If 2 or more cross, no German bonus.
    • Award the Germans 2 points for each unreconned point.  This will incentivize recon, but force the Allies to choose what is most important.  (The Allies already get 2 points for each reconned point.)
  • Allow a “banked 6” to be used for either an advantage on the next activation (per the rules) or as an automatic “6” on the next activation roll (determined by the player on the turn he banks it). Thanks Ted Salonich!

Thanks again to the all of the players.  And for those who follow this blog who wondered if their named vehicle got fried, only one Cromwell (“IRO”) deployed and did not get into action.  However, the M10 Achilles “Per” (named for Per from Roll a One) did get knocked out by one of the StuG G’s.   Sorry my Swedish friend!

Hope that you enjoyed this – and I will be running this game on Saturday at BARRAGE in Maryland (September 28th) and at the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th.  I may also run it at other upcoming gaming cons if possible.  Thanks for looking!

 

 

Knocked-Out Tank Markers for What a Tanker

With my having committed to multiple upcoming games of my What a Tanker© Normandy Breakout scenario, I wanted to have everything as good as possible.  I made smoke/blast markers with tea lights in the past that I have used in multiple games.  They are great as mortar and artillery, especially with 28mm scale stuff, but not suitably-sized for use on 15mm scale tanks as markers.  In the game, I wanted to be able to designate a knocked out tank better – and if possible – differentiate between a tank that was just knocked out (where the crew survives) and one that was both knocked out and brewed up (where the crew does not live).  These are important distinctions in the game, as I allow crews that survive to get another tank and keep their training and experience (and bonuses) as they reenter the game.

I also wanted to have a better looking tabletop where the tank wrecks are more visible and frankly more realistic smoke-wise.  My older smoke markers are good for artillery-delivered smoke screens, but as you see below, I needed an improvement.

4 painted smoke markers lit up in dark
My tea light blast markers look great here…
1 current smoke markers
…but are way too big here – especially on even smaller vehicles.  Additionally, they do not stay easily on the vehicles due to their size.

I set out to create a new set of markers that would look better, stay on the vehicles, and differentiate between brewed up and just knocked out tanks.  As I use neodymium magnets in most of my tanks’ turrets and they are all similarly oriented in polarity, it was easy to devise a marker using a ceramic magnet as a base.  The magnets I used were small enough and heavy enough to stay on the tanks – even those without magnetic properties.  I used ½” ceramic magnets, #10-24 steel machine screw nuts, and more used ¼” (approximately) steel ball bearings from Jeff Smith’s broken fairway mower to build the core of the marker.  Making sure that the polarity was correct (markers that would be pushed off the vehicles would serve little purpose!), I used Gorilla Glue to fuse the magnet to the nut, and the nut to the bearing.    Then, I mounted the cores on screws and primed them.  I planned for 20 to be black and grey smoke for disabled tanks, and for 20 to be full-on flames.

After the primer had dried, I painted the flaming cores red, orange, and yellow with cheap craft paints to simulate a ball of fire.  Lastly, I applied gloss varnish to the cores to give more reflection.  The smoke ones just got painted black.  If interested, you can see a list of the materials I used at the end of this post.

2 materials
The ball bearings, nuts, and ceramic magnets I used.
3 magnet, nut, and ball bearing
The core.
5 mounted cores for painting
The flaming cores mounted here after red paint was applied.  Later coats would be yellow and orange to simulate a fireball.

For surface smoke, I went with pillow batting cut off in thin strips of 1-1½”.  As each core needed 4-6 strips, I cut nearly 240 strips.  I hot glued the strips in a flower pattern on the cores.

2a materials (batting)
“Limited only by your imagination” indeed!
4 cut up batting
Batting strips cut before hot gluing to the cores.
6 after batting glued
Here are the cores after hot gluing the batting.

Now, I used a different product to connect the batting in a smoky shape.  As I have built tanks, I have used decals.  The best way to revitalize decals is to coat them with Microscale’s Liquid Decal Film.  However, using this product on the decals as they are on your tanks themselves can ruin the underlying paint (unless used over varnish).  But, this stuff makes a solid protective and nicely tacky coat – as I learned making placards for my Attack of the Warbots game.  I applied the Liquid Decal Film to the strips, forming the small smoke shapes around the cores.  I let these set up and dry.  The stuff worked well, and I got the effect I wanted where you can see the cores on the flaming ones.

7 after batting assembled with liquid decal film
After the Liquid Decal film formed the smoky shapes.
8 close up of ready to paint marker
Close up of the core after the smoky shape was formed.

When I paint fire, I like to go from bottom to top with yellow, orange and red.  Here, I decided to use glazes and inks for these colors with my Iwata Micron airbrush at 28 psi.  This allowed me to really blend the colors –  which were Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (a glaze), P3 “Blazing Ink”, and P3 “Red Ink”.  I then used two Vallejo Game Air paints –  “Black” and “Wolf Grey” – to create a smoky effect.  I also used these latter two on the smoky black/grey cores.

9 completed markers
A view of the flaming markers and 3/4 of the smoky ones as they dried.  
10 using magnetic tacky sheets for transport
The new markers with one of the older (previously made) larger ones in back that I will only use as smoke now.
10a using magnetic tacky sheets for transport
These fit nice and snug on 4 Aleene’s tacky sheets in a 4-liter Really Useful Box.
11 Sherman comparisons
For comparison, these three Shermans have (l-r) a new smoky marker, a flaming marker, and the old large blast marker.  What you cannot see is how well the magnetic ones stay on the vehicles – and these are plastic.  The neodymium turret-mounted magnets and ceramic magnets attract well and effectively, which the larger one does not.
12 M10 comparisons
The M10 (Battlefront) on the left has a turret magnet, while the Old Glory type on the right is lead/tin.  The weight of the magnet keeps the marker on the Old Glory M10 very effectively.
13 light US vehicles
Even on smaller vehicles, these work well.  Here an M3A1 Stuart, an M8 Greyhound, and an M24 Chaffee are all well-marked.  The M8 has no magnetic turret, yet this works well here as well.
14 StuG G and Panzer IVH with knocked out markers
Some vehicles have no turrets like these plastic StuG G’s  – but the markers work great on the deck or the top.  The plastic Panzer IV H magnetic turret holds the smoke marker well. 
15 Tiger II burning
Last but not least, a Tiger II is brewing up.

I also participate in my Australian blogging buddy Azazel’s mothly painting challenges.  This month is “Awesome August” – and submissions were to be HUGE…or… as he wrote:

“If you really prefer to skip the biggies – that normal sized model that you’ve (ideally) done a job that you’re proud of converting or kitbashing, painted to the best of your ability. Remember, it’s not a competition – it’s a showcase – so your only competitor is yourself.  So, the TL:DR is that August’s challenge is to complete something big. Ideally, really big. Or something small that’s ideally converted – and painted really well by your own standards.”

I think that converting ceramic magnets, nuts, used ball bearings, and pillow batting counts as a conversion!  And not for nothing, I really like the paint jobs on these markers.  So, this is my entry for Azazel’s Awesome August ’19 Community Painting Challenge .

I hope that you enjoyed this and maybe got some ideas – please share your thoughts in the comments section, and look you can forward to seeing these used in my after-action battle reports!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE MARKERS:

  1. Magnet Source ½” “Ceramic Disc Magnets”
  2. Everbilt #10-24 Steel nuts
  3. Used ~¼” steel ball bearings from Jeff Smith’s fairway mower
  4. Gorilla Glue
  5. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  6. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  7. Americana “Primary Red”
  8. Craftsmart “Orange” (satin)
  9. Martha Stewart Crafts “Duckling Pearl”
  10. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish
  12. Loops & Threads “Classic Loft Batting”
  13. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  14. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  15. P3 “Blazing Ink”
  16. P3 “Red Ink”
  17. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  18. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”

Always love to get your feedback and read your thoughts?  See you next time!