Saturday, June 29, 2013

Of Soldiers, Rebels and a Kitten...

Hey there,

I´ve been practising a little more to refine my sculpting skills and after my African Officer has turned out quite good-looking with little effort, I´ve decided to stick with the quicker way of doing things, reducing the amount of layering on the sculpts. This has resulted in an increase in my working speed - or maybe I just hit a very productive phase, but somehow those are connected, as seeing (decent) results quickly is much more rewarding than fiddling around a long time to finish a figure of similar quality with much more layers. Now, instead of two minis last week, I´ve finished three and have another one almost complete, which is roughly twice the speed of my previous work.

First, I did an African rebel, eager to sculpt something with an RPG. That figure was finished very quickly, as it doesn´t have a great amount of equipment. Next, I expanded my range of NAM-Soldiers with another FAL-armed rifleman in a reloading pose. After those two, I prepared the next two dollies with two shooting poses, one of which is already finished, the other one halfway there.

And, to top all those off, I also did a little kitten for my girlfriend, as I asked her if I could sculpt something for her. In 1/72 scale, of course. Which means its very hard to get any details on it - getting the silhouette roughly right has been hard enough ;)

Thats it for today, more coming as I progress.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Operation Firefly - Mission 9: Death Valley

EDIT: I´ve just noticed that there´s an error in the numbering - its been battle no 9, not 10. 

Its been a while since I´ve published my last Campaign Battlereport and frankly, I´m not sure anyone of you even remembers anymore how the strategic situation on the campaign map looks. So, to recap on what has happened so far: 

Battles happening in El Qualed, the Hydroelectric dam and in remote greenzone areas along the river.
 US Forces have advanced into the valley after capturing Mayasaf, making headway into Mul Qasr and El Qualeed. Due to several setbacks and Taliban successes, the Insurgents gained lots of popular support and have been raising forces all over the valley to resist the Americans. So far, the loses of American personell have not raised too much public outrage, though questions are beginning to be raised by the Military how a remote little valley has become the graveyard for so many US Soldiers.

The next operation is aimed at capturing the Hydroelectric Dam to secure the power supply of the city and prevent any mishaps...


At the southwestern expanse of the valley, cramped between the slopes of two mounteains, lies the hydroelectric powerplant that provides the district capital with electric energy. Built in the middle of the last century funded by foreign aid, the technology is still ready to go for a few decades, though lacking maintainance has put a strain on the turbines. However, being the single powerplant supplying the city with energy, it is one of the most important facilities in the valley, for shutting down the plant means shutting down the city.
So far, the Taliban have been in control of both the city and the plant, but with US Forces advancing into the capital, control of the plant has to be secured in order to win the hearts and minds of the people.
However, Senior Taliban Leaders have recently announced that the infidel invaders shall never control the plant. Rather, they claimed, they´d blow up the machinery or even the entire dam and flood the southern half of the valley. Though Intelligence dismissed the latter claim as propagandistic threat - as the Taliban would prefer not to threaten the Opium yield and the lives of thousands of potential supporters – intelligence has obtained alarming information. As of late, Taliban have been gathering enormous amounts of explosives in the vicinity of the dam. Some Intelligence analysts theorize that maybe a radical, hardcore Taliban group is organizing around the dam, a group that does consider the potential damage of blowing up the dam worth the ends of expelling the foreigners out of the country.
In any case, before the final attack on the dam can be conducted, the Taliban ordnance must be found and destroyed. Our Intelligence has already narrowed down the approximate location of the explosives, it is likely hidden within a narrow, sparsely populated valley. Search the area, destroy the explosives and proceed to take the dam!
Mission Objectives:
-Find and Destroy the Weapon Caches. (3 caches   x 5 VP)
Deployed Forces:
2x US  Infantry Squad
1x unarmed UAV (aerial reconaissance)

Another Note - We´re playing with some modifications on Force on Force, which leads to different results of the game. Units are pinned (as in unable to move) easier than in standard FoF, insurgent mobs are no longer more powerful than multiple smaller groups and flanking actually hurts the troops. The Houserules are aimed at properly depicting the FFFF-Principles of Modern Warfare. Find-Fix-Flank-Finish. Isolated Troops are killed off easily, as we´re about to see...

Turn 1

Overview of the Battlefield - US Forces start south and have to sweep the valley for Weapon Caches

The US troops are deployed on the southern part of the map, deploying one team on Overwatch to cover the movement of the other elements. 

Team Blue stumbles into a Cache - Contacts are spotted on the ridge of the hill!

Searching the first house, Team Blue immediately stumbles upon a Weapon Cache. Happy about their early success, they prepare to blow it up, which will take them one turn. Red moves along the ditch between the two hills and observes contacts moving along the hill, who are pulling back out of sight.

Turn 2

Team Red comes under fire from unknown contacts in front of them, hiding behind a formation of rocks. One soldier is hit, the team deploys smoke and advances towards the compound to treat their wounded. 

Movement along the hill

Team Red under fire and pinned down behind a smokescreen

On the other side of the Map, Green and Yellow do not encounter any enemies.

Turn 3
 [Sorry, no Overview / Orders-Picture -  Blue advances onto the hill to attack the Taliban who are still firing at Red. Yellow advances towards the compound, Green tries to breach the compound on the right side of the map ]
Checking on their wounded, Team Red finds their buddy dead. Team Blue advances into the enemy flank, while Red attemps to retreat into the compound under the cover of smoke
Blue move into position to fire into the enemies flank...
Red moves into the compound, but finds no cache - Taliban pull back from blue, but get suppressed by Reds Fire.
Green attacks a Taliban Cell hiding in the irrigation ditch...
...but are subsequently attacked by a second group from the fields, taking a casualty.

A large group of hostiles move back up the mountain and open fire on blue, who are fortunate enough to spot the flanking move in time to prepare for it. They shoot three Taliban, but one of the remaining enemies tosses a grenade down into Blues covered position. The fragmentation causes two casualties among the team...

Turn 4

[Again, no Orders Pic]
Blue checks their wounded and has one Serious injury and one lightly wounded to take care of.
Yellows casualty is found to be lightly wounded, easily patched up and ready to go.
Red leaves the compound and advances  into enemy territory after silencing the two Taliban hidden by the rocks.

Blue suffers another casualty in the firefight with the Taliban at the hilltop.

Green breaches into the compound! But no weapon cache is found...

Yellow splits fire between the surviving Taliban in the ditch (two got back on their feet) and the enemies in the field.

Turn 5

The US Troops lose initiative and are forced to react.

Red suppresses an enemy group in the treeline ahead, killing several enemies in the process.
Blue is attacked into the flank by a small group with an RPG...
Due to its superior training, Team Blue is able to spot the movement in the field before they are able to lay down significant fire. They identify them as hostile and open fire, killing one of them. A badly aimed RPG swooshes in, but explodes on the rocks nearby without doing damage. The US team takes no casualties, but hunkers down and is unable to move off the spot.
Meanwhile, Team Red receives aimed Rifle fire from its flank, pinning them down along the wall. It takes a while until they spot the single surviving taliban in the rocks that takes shots at them, but they finally manage to take him out by a serious barrage
While fighting off the Taliban push, Blufor continues to advance on the right flank,  where things are more silent... up to now. Green checks the second building in the compound, Yellow advances into the field to shoot at enemies on the hill far north.

Turn 6

Order pic again - yay!
Red continues to push forward, Blue advances to the hilltop, attempting to charge enemy fighters. However, as they are not pinned in position, the Insurgents simply retreat from the charging forces and take a new position further down the hill. Taking cover behind the rocks at their new position, Team Blue spots a small tunnel entrance...

On the other side of the battlefield, team Yellow runs into serious trouble as they are advancing out of the field, into the firing zone of Taliban inside the compound up ahead. Two Soldiers are shot, a hasty smokescreen is deployed....

....but suddely, more Taliban troops emerge from the fields and start shooting into the flank.

Turn 7-9

Trying to disengage and retreat from their perilous situation fails, as Team red is pinned down by more fire. Two soldiers are by now seriously wounded, and one by one, the Insurgents pick the remaining soldiers off. Slowly the gunfire ceases over the field...

Later, after driving off Taliban forces in a struggle against the clock, Team Green finally reaches the fields... 

...finding only one survivor, critically wounded. 

In the meantime, Team Blue is still engaged in the battle with two small Taliban cells who have surrounded them. In the firefight, another soldier of Team Blue is shot dead. Subsequently, Blue disengages and retreats into the house where they found the first cache.

Team Red - after paying a visit to the house (finding no cache) - tries to cross the open ground, but gets shot to pieces from two directions after reaching the pickup:

In a final attempt to neutralize a second cache, Team Green attempts a close assault against the enemies in the white compound ahead. The Taliban simply evade again, as there´s nothing worthwile to defend in the building. 


After that, as time and ressources where exhausted, we called off the game with a Taliban victory. 
The US Forces lost half of their squads, suffering a total of: 
- 6 KIA 
-4 Seriously Wounded
-1 Light Wounded
On the upside (if there is any) the Taliban also lost most of their available forces - six teams count as destroyed, which equates to four cells on the campaign map. The entire Taliban presence on the dam is thus gone, disorganised and dispersed.
 However, the War Exhaustion has now significantly risen, as newsreport about 10 dead and critically wounded are appearing in the newspapers... 
Unfortunately, part of the disaster was the timelimit, which was set much too low for the distribution of objectives (both undetected caches where in the far north of the map) and not accomodated to our houserules, which extend the game somewhat. Under pressure to find the caches, the US troops where dispersed too much and subsequently picked apart by the Insurgents. So now we´re working on some method to adapt scenario time limits... which is why the next repot might take some more time! 
So far, so good. More sculpting coming soon!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

German Support Weapons

Today I took some photos of the two German Support Weapons that I finished earlier this week.

I don´t have much to say regarding there, not 100% satisfied with the Grenadier - while the AT-Soldier looks quite good in my opinion. The Panzerfaust looks a little warped on the picture above, which is mostly caused by the perspective of the picture - look at the pics below, its not that bad in reality.

If anyone has any idea what is wrong with the Grenadier, I´d by very happy - I cannot quite pinpoint whats the problem with him. My girlfriend says he looks fine, but I feel like something is wrong with him...

Monday, June 17, 2013

African Officer / NCO - Malongos Elite

Yesterday I took another dolly that I had prepared -  the one for my African Teamleader / Squadleader - and decided to give the quicker way with less layers and more rapid work a try. Letting the minis dry and harden for hours really annoys me sometimes, when I´m motivated to get things done but cannot continue. Somehow it worked for this mini - maybe the training and experience is slowly showig its effect. Anyway, I got this guy done from sceleton to head in a few hours yesterday afternoon (something like 3-5h, of course no working all the time). Today I only had to add the beret.

He´s a little on the short side of the scale, pretty much the size of a caesar mini -  so, nothing to worry about, pretty compatible with most 1/72 minis, but maybe a little short considering he ´s supposed to be african and those guys are usually taller. 

His Load Bearing Equipment is inspired by these guys (Congolese Dem-Rep. Soldiers) but he carries a FN FAL instead of Russian Stuff:

Here´s another angle, with a better view on the weapon:

And here´s the last pic for today:

I´m very satisfied with the result and happy that I was able to built him up from the simple dolly in one evening, avoiding the destruction of parts that I had sculpted earlier.

I also progressed on the Germans, the Grenadier is almost finished (just some minor tweaks) but I´m withholding him until the AT-Soldier is ready as well.

I´ve also got a special character in the pipeline, sculpted after a picture that has fascinated me for a while. But more on that later - maybe  ;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Angry Civilian

As I sideshow, I sculpted a civilian during the last few days, while the putty was drying on the other minis. As it´s a rather simple model, it was finished quite quickly. I think I learned some things with this mini though, sometimes less is more - I´ll try to reduce the extensive amount of layers I used on the last few minis and use fewer layers in the future and do whole parts of equipment at once.
It seems that adding things like pouches and small details onto hard putty is more hassle than sculpting the whole part of equipment in one go, e.g. trousers which pouches in one step - it does require more caution though, as you may not touch the freshly sculpted part at all.

Here is my angry civilian, who could also be used as a popular leader or with some imagination even as a suicide bomber during his last battlecry.

The hands are not perfect yet, thus he looks somewhat like a zombie - he is supposed to raise his fists into the air...

Meanwhile, I´m working on a Modern German Grenadier and an AT-Gunner with a Panzerfaust.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Marines and Insurgents

I finally found my motivation for painting again (thanks to Melvin and his nice Operators, which got me thinking that I should give the plastic minis another try...) and spent some time today working on Insurgents and my Marine Squad, whose last Fireteam was somewhere half-finished and waiting for completion. Here they are:

And from another perspective and with different lighting:

I also finished the first two insurgents, with more almost done but still waiting for some minor steps - most of the first batch of insurgents are conversions from the Caeser Urban Resisters pack, but most converted stuff was head- & torsoswaps or tweaks and modifications to the weaponry.

Nothing presentable on the sculpting front, but the German Grenadier is slowly taking shape.
I still owe you a battlereport from our Campaign, but I´m still not motivated to write it.
I should stop promising and anouncing stuff...   ;)

Anyway, sooner or later I will finish the other insurgent conversions and add Specialists to my USMC-Squad. Painting my vehicles proper is also on the list.