Sunday, April 27, 2014

SADF Leader

Aaand another one. Hope it doesn´t get boring by now.
I´m not very talky today and there are some pictures ahead, so I´m saving my talk to fill the space in between:


SADF Section Leader with ´80s Headphones as inspired by the picture in the FoF Bush Wars Supplement. This one is wearing a chestrig and takes a kneeling position to receive or send a radio message.

He has a floppy hat. I decided that I will do some spare heads for headswapping to provide the standard pose in the more common soft hat version (except for Trooper No. 1 who already has a helmet) and make a selection of heads with helmets to swap them.

Meanwhile, the Israelis have arrived from the caster and I have a lot of stuff on the workbench to get painted, so there is some serious tradeoff between sculpting and getting the stuff painted in order to set up the shop for the older casts. I wish I had more time for this, but tomorrow is monday and monday means work.

The R4 rifle prototype has also progressed to almost near completion, you should be able to identify the rifle by now - granted you know how the thing looks in reality :)

And that´s it for today, I´ll be back very soon with more pictures of little green men... and yellow men... and more grey sculpts I hope!


Friday, April 25, 2014

SADF Trooper No. 2

Hello guys (and girls, if there are any around ;) ),

after the very positive feedback on the last SADF Trooper, I´ve decided to do more in the same style, trying to keep my level. And of course, the next is already in line. I´m taking them bit by bit, trying to avoid falling into the "must get them done"-mode that usually grips me two thirds through the process - it usually leads to small errors here and there, which is not exactly what I need.

This guy wears the floppy head, after the guys at the guild have rightfully pointed out that the helmets where not commonly used due to the extreme heat of the theatre. Soldiers usually resorted to the more comfortable soft hat than collapsing from heat buildup underneath their helmets. So I´m making the majority of South Africans with those floppy heads, while providing some poses with regular helmets just because I like them. Under these circumstances, I´m thinking of providing a few spare heads to do headswaps, so anyone can create their forces as they please.

 I´m also preparing a prototype on the R4 rifle, which is a South African licence version of the Galil Assault Rifle designed in Israel. Through some tinkering, I discovered that these have some common points with the Negev SAW, which is the modern LMG used by the IDF troops.

So instead of building a weapon completely from scratch, I seized the opportunity to convert one of my Negevs into a R4 style Assault rifle. Still far fom complete, but the first prototype is ready and it already bears a basic resemblance on the original.

Not very catchy at the moment, of course there is still some polishing to be done. Weapons have to be built step by step - this I have learned by now. And they are SMALL steps!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Egg

Hey Hey,

back from the easter holidays, and as expected I couldn´t quite stand doing nothing at all. Having some downtime, I sculpted this little Easter Egg as a test figure, trying to incorporate the latest critiques on the East Germans.  So, smaller heads and special attention on the arms length.

Now, the feet and trousers are not yet quite finished, I´ll polish those as I base the figure. But the important parts are complete.

UPDATE: Now properly based and finished.

Please keep in mind that this is macro photography, the figures is  20mm / 1/72 scale as always.
 And here is a quick preview on the next figure in line, though not very impressive at the moment:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

East German Motorized Rifles - Almost finished

Still some work to do, but getting closer to completion fast:

Left Flank: Advance!

The subtitles on the pics are not entirely accurat of course, as Warpac doctrine used the Squad as their smallest element of maneuver, so no fire and maneuver on section level as implied here  ;)

Right flank: Covering Fire!

And another perspective:

The whole bunch:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Small steps

And another entry in my WIP diary on the east germans. Took some more time today to build some arms and noticed that I still missed a pouch, so I added it for most of the soldiers (some will have it added later as I didnt want to interfere with half-set putty on their arms)

The other group is also making some progress, but of course still a few steps behind.
These are taking slightly more time than usual, but I really like the results so far, so definitely a worthwile investment of my time. Still looking forward to doing something else for a change once the first four are ready :D 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Den Sozialismus in seinem Lauf...

hält wieder Ochs noch Esel auf!

Why do we need soldiers in that case? erm... 

Yes! Because they look cool! Even in their half-finished, rough state. Maybe I should release them as east german special edition - in a half-finished state, as scarcity prevents their completion? 

Don´t worry, the military was always well funded, so these will be completed ;)
Even the second half of the batch.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

More East Germans in the Making

It´s bad weather outside and as you might know by now, this means no painting on the balcony but sculpting more stuff.  I´ve been working on more east germans before the good weather hit and picked them up where I left when the weather deteriorated.

A total of 8 guys is in the works, this post will present the first half of work in progress figures.

Four 20mm NVA soldiers - about two thirds finished

I´ve noticed that working on figures in groups of 4 is much more convenient and motivating than doing huge batches. So getting the first four East Germans done is a priority, I like to have some variety in my projects, not always the same uniform, webbing an weapons for all of the guys, gets boring pretty quickly if you do 8 figures in an assembly-line style.

The figures are still missing another bag, arms (obviously) and final touches on the legs.  Should give you a good idea about the end result though, even if the arms will probably cover up some of the details.

So, more East Germans coming along (the other 4 guys) and after I finish the figures above, I´ll start new Africans or more Insurgents, not sure yet.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Damsels in Distress

This is another test game for FIMP, trying to polish and test version 0.46 before entrusting the rules to the inner circle of alpha-testers and proofreaders. The system is getting ever closer to a public beta test, where I will make the rules available to anyone who asks, fix the last few issues and then release them for public download.

As I had not yet played Irregulars, I decided to put a test scenario together that could play out in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else in the middle eastern world.

A group of two Western travellers/journalists or agents is visiting a local mosque. Unfortunately, the hostile forces have been made aware of their presence and are trying to capture or kill the hated infidels daring to step into their holy place. With enemy fighters closing in, the Damsels in Distress have called for help and a local patrol of US Forces is dispatched.

So, pretty similar to contracting troubles, albeit on a larger board with a more difficult route to the target area and active defense of the Damsels (TQ D6/ Morale D8). The Insurgents have the usual issues with their command structure, no leader is nearby to lead the attack on the mosque, the popular leaders are on the other side of the board. So the Insurgent player has to decide if he wants to take on and delay the Americans and attack the Mosque as secondary objective, if he wants to concentrate on taking the mosque and not seriously attempt to delay the rescue party, or if he wants to split is scarce command ressources.

The Board, unfortunately empty as I took the photo after the game was already over (forgot to take the overview on the start).

Mosque in the lower left, american entry to the upper left road, Insurgents primarily in the north-eastern section.

American Forces are a Rifle Squad (2 FT + Squadlead), which have to push through to the mosque and rescue the damsels in distress. The Insurgents have to kill or capture both of the targets and of course inflict damage on the Americans. This was a quickly thrown together game without serious thought into victory points.

The Americans started their advance by bounding overwatch down the road, while the Insurgents re-shuffled their leaders to the right units before making contact. First contact was made when Alpha Team was shot while advancing down the road. Alpha took a casualty and retreated into a nearby building, becoming pinned down.

To root out the building where the shooting came from, Bravo advanced while Alpha tended to its wounded and recovered from the shock. Bravo took out one of the attacking teams by initiating a close assault on the rightmost building. Alphas casualty turned out to be lightly wounded, meaning limited negative consequences. Nothing serious, fortunately.

Alpha patching together their wounded, Bravo after close assault with more enemies in the building nearby.
As a consequence of Bravos daring close assault, a bloody close quarters fight erupted with bullets and grenades whizzing through the garage of the little workshop. While the US soldiers where remarkably ineffective and caused neither casualties nor morale effects, they suffered their share and had two casualties and a pinned result!

Heavy Fighting inside the building!

To make matters worse, the Insurgents where ganging up on the Mosque and shooting the damsels.  One of the women went down, while their return fire was remarkably ineffective. They scored not a single success during the entire game...bad shots.

Things turned from bad to worse when more reinforcements popped up right in the rear of the US troops. Fortunately, they didn´t have a leader with them and with the next leader barely out of command range, it would take a moment for them to organize.

Meanwhile, the women in the mosque got pounded by fire and due to some bad rolls both where wounded within to subsequent turns - one seriously, the other girl lightly.

Enemy forces moving aroudn and shooting at the mosque.

The Americans finally rolled some better command dice and recovered from the slack off that had gripped them for two or three turns. They finally where able to take the offensive again and applied some superior firepower at the enemy, keeping two teams suppressed for a while.

Things where looking ugly at the Mosque, as more shooting took down the last defending chick. The Mosque was now ready for assault and the Insurgents where already moving in...

Thanks to treating the Insurgents with some serious firepower, keeping their heads down, the Americans could focus on covering the other part of the perimeter, enabling Bravo team to evacuate the garage they had taken by force earlier. They were taking and passing their bleedout-checks for the seriously wounded, but time was working against them and MORE Insurgents had popped up to their rear - this time including a leader.

Fire and Maneuver

On the next turn, the seriously wounded woman at the mosque bled out as I failed her bleedout check. I decided that the team at the mosque was doomed and that I had to get my guys out without any further casualties...

One Damsel dead  (bleedout), Insurgents closing in...

Pushing forwad, I ordered my boys to close assault the last contact in the house to their front (previously occupied by the mullahs) to get a good overwatch position.

First I tried to cover the mosque, due to the lack of command successes I couldn´t cover the advance of my own units properly.  My last attempts to protect the downed damsel.
Next turn, I was finally able to cover my team by overwatch and move out. The mullahs decided they didn´t want to shoot due to my overwatch team, which made the journey pretty safe up to that point.

Unfortuantely, I wasn´t able to keep up Overwatch for the final rush over the street. But the Insurgents where not interested in a firefight, as I could not possibly win the game anymore. Maybe they even wanted to isolate me in one single position?

Digging in and waiting for support.

So my troops reached a common, consolidated position and started digging in while waiting for Air support and a medevac crew. Up to this point the seriously wounded had made his bleedout checks. I hope he would have made it back to base.

The Damsels in Distress were lost and overrun. The survivor was killed on the spot (I asked the Insurgent if he was taking hostages).

Post-Game Analysis of the Rule System:

 Never play a squad level game with Platoon level reinforcements! Insurgents where popping up everywhere and without firesupport I could not possibly hope to keep them all suppressed or even kill them off. Fortunately, due to the limited command ressources, the game was not unplayable - but my chances to win where pretty slim.

Playing small units is possible, but can feel a little weird as your units don´t generate the command dice you wish for. I had two turns without any activations, but in hindsight it´s not really bad and just simulates that a lot of things might be going on on the battlefield, at places your units cannot look at. The commander might just haven taken a moment to observe and listen, or prepare the next step of his plans. I know these moments from my Arma experience and it makes some sense if you think about it.

Next time, I´ll give the US Forces a Marine Squad with 3 teams, which should make things easier due to more firepower, more forces to maneuver and more room to cover. With more command dice, you can execute fire and maneuver more reliably. I also noted that I made some mistakes. Sometimes, having a team fire at your opponents is better than putting it on Overwatch. Pinning enemy teams will either disable teams or force the enemy to part with activation dice to unpin. Applying firepower is always key, and Overwatch can only do that if your enemy acts on his own.

I also had some strange moments where units where sitting pretty close to each other, within Line of Sight, but no-one had the required command dice left to order them into a firefight. This didn´t make any sense to me, so I added a new rule handling close contacts (within optimum range), which allows any unit that is not pinned or suppressed to attack (fire or initiate close assault) any enemy unit within optimum range without requiring any initiative dice. Soldiers don´t sit around waiting for orders to attack the enemy right in front of them. So teams should now be able to clear out buildings on their own, resume a close assault if they got pinned and fight very close opponents on their own. Of course this counts as an activation and they may not execute any more actions in the turn.

So that´s it, game works for smaller games and assymmetric scenarios.