31 May 2016

The Grass is Always Greener - A FoW Pacific BatRep!

With Greg and Dan

This is it! This is what we've been building over the last couple of months toward and the guys were definitely excited to finally see armies on the table! Mike brought his mass of Pacific terrain around to the N00blair and got a massive Pacific table setup and ready to go for us. I may have played around a little with it as well...

(Watch this space, Mike and I might get some Fow Vietnam action going soon...)

So Dan and I were playing this game, 1500 points of Pacific ready to go. Dan's list looked something like the 1500 points in his last article, but for a refresher...

HQ 2 x 37mm LVT
Combat Platoon 3 x 37mm LVT
Combat Platoon 3 x 37mm LVT
Combat Platoon 3 x 75mm LVT
Support Platoon Full Marine Rifle Company with LVT transports
Support Platoon Marine Rocket Platoon, 3 Trucks with extra crew
Aircraft Limited Corsairs

My 1500 points of the Empire's finest read something like this:

HQ Hohei Chutai HQ with Regimental Standard and Sniper
Combat Platoon 3 Hohei Rifle Squads with Banners
Combat Platoon 2 Hohei Rifle Squads with Banners
Support Platoon Hohei Weapons Platoon with 2 x HMG and 2 x Anti-Tank Rifles
Support Platoon Battalion Gun platoon with 2 x Type 92 70mm Guns + Observer
Support Platoon 3 x Te-Ke (MG)
Support Platoon 3 x Chi-Ha
Aircraft Limited Zero

So, with armies painted and table set, we rolled a mission. Encounter would be the name of the game today. I could have taken the option to attack using the "Hell By Day, Paradise By Night" special rule, but I decided that I'd much prefer the Marines rolling in and waiting for them to try their luck. Defending the bottom end of the table, I have to choose 3 platoons to start off the table. I've decided to combat attach my Hohei Weapons Platoon to each of my Hohei platoons, so that will give me 2 platoons on table. I also decide, on Damian's advice, to place my larger Hohei platoon in Ambush.

Dan deploys his Marines in the LVT's and the rest of his Amtanks across the table, so it looks like the rush will be on. Typical.

The Buck Rogers men take shelter in the terrain beyond the rice paddies, lest they become an easy target for potshots from the Japanese or possibly harassment from Frank.

And so, with the battle lines drawn, deployment made and the usual crass mutterings that goes along with any game Dan and I play, we kicked into:

Turn 1:

The Marine air wing tried to get down and support their Marine brothers only to be chased off by their Japanese counterparts. The Marine tanks start their slow roll forward toward the Japanese lines. At this range though, they're unable to even get close to shooting so settle for calling on their rocket truck mates for a little help. The Buck Rogers men range in but their shooting is unsuccessful in dislodging any of the Imperial defenders.

Having chased off the Corsairs, the Japanese aircraft fail to turn up and assist in the defence, nor have the reserves made it to the battle as yet. Not willing to give away their concealed positions, the Japanese sit tight in their foxholes.

The Japanese sniper however has snuck into position and takes aim at the Buck Rogers men... and a perfect shot into one of the ammunition containers sees one of the trucks erupt into flames. First blood to the Japanese.

Turn 2:

The Marines are now crossing that river...a much easier task given they has amphibious vehicles! As the Amtanks start rolling forward toward the Japanese lines, they open fire. Canister and .50 cal filling the air...

And when the smoke had cleared...not a single shot had hit.
The Japanese tank support rolls on this turn, much needed as the Japanese air attack was chased off by the waiting Marine support.

With the Marine tanks now closer than they potentially should be, the Japanese launch their ambush! With their anti-tank rifles in range, they open fire. The result, 2 bailed Amtanks.

Much glory is still to be had...

Turn 3
The American air has suck past the waiting Japanese interdiction and has lined up on the Japanese tank support rolling toward the fray. This could get ugly...

Seeing the opportunity approaching, the Marine platoon in its Amtrack dismount into cover and start taking potshots at the staunch Japanese defenders...

And once again, it would appear that their sights are out of alignment. No shots coming close to hitting. Fortunately, the Marine rocket battery has ranged in and managed to keep some Japanese heads down.

Surely the mighty Corsair could score a kill for America?! It's ranged in and can see the tanks....the bombs fall and....miss. It's just not coming up Dan at the moment.

The Japanese counter offensive starts with all remaining reserves coming to the front. Infantry guns take up positions to unleash hell next turn while the mighty little Te-Ke's roll forward to offer assistance.

Go little tanks, go!
Chi-Ha's come forward in an attempt to offer assistance to their mates.

The Japanese infantry fail to unpin, but this will not deter them from opening fire on the Marine platoon lingering close. The Japanese have been waiting for this moment and take aim...2 Marine squads paying the price of straying too close. We advance the turn...

Turn 4

On hearing their brothers are paying the ultimate price, the Amtanks on the US left flank are poised to press their advantage. Seeing the Japanese AT capability here is non-existent, they push forward with the goal of assaulting and taking their objective.

The Japanese defensive fire is ineffective in driving off the attack and the US tanks roll in to squish, taking 2 squads in their wake. The Japanese counter-assault and score a hit but fail to penetrate the American armour. The Americans, secure in the metal boxes, immediately fail their morale check to come back and are driven off...BANZAI!

On the right flank, more shooting into the stoic Japanese line fails to dislodge them. The Marines, waiting to take the fight to the Japanese, don't dig in...

The Japanese tanks roll forward to bring their guns to bear in support of their honourable brothers. The invaders will pay dearly...

The infantry guns receive the call from their spotter to range in on the rocket battery and take aim. They hit and the battery is all but destroyed by the falling 70mm shells.

The Marine squads take more fire from the Japanese line and again, casualties fall.

Turn 5

Seeing the advantage still with them, the Marines on the left press forward again, this time removing the defenders standing in their way.

With their tank support gone, the Marines still try and dislodge the Japanese defenders managing to take a squad down.

Seeing the objective unguarded, the single Japanese ATR moves toward the building close and knocks on the door. It would appear that the guys inside locked it before they died though...they see no option but to fire. Bailing one of the tanks.

The Te-Ke's, seeing that the situation is becoming dire, roll into the mix knowing that it may well be a suicide mission. There is still time!

Having removed the impending threat from the right, the Chi-Ha's now roll ahead in an attempt to finish the Marine infantry. The Marine tanks explode and the remaining Marines are routed....
Turns 6 - 7
Much the same in these turns with the Marine forces attempting to remove as many of the defenders as they can. A mass of fire hits the Te-Ke's yet they still hold on and refuse to yield to the superior fire.

One of the tanks in the centre attempts to assault the remaining ATR, still outside the building, but is bailed from defensive fire.

Dan's Marine CO is destroyed by the Chi-Ha's and the rest of the centre tank platoon also takes a casualty.

If the Japanese can hold on the left and force a test, there could be a win here for them! They just need to destroy one more platoon!

Turn 8

The remaining ATR and Te-Ke's finally succumb during the Marine shooting phase, leaving the objective unguarded and open. The time is now...

FINALLY! FINALLY! The Japanese air gets through and dives in...

They survive the mass of AA fire heading toward them and range in...and the bombs fall...

The result is 2 destroy in the platoon and the 2IC is bailed. Dan rolled a lucky 6 for the centre tank meaning the platoon has stuck around and takes the objective at the start of Marine turn 9.

The Aftermath

A hard-fought 4-3 victory to the Marines and this one really could have swung either way.

Thoughts from the combatants:

Greg - As a first foray in FoW: Pacific, this was awesome! At no point, despite the superior Marine equipment, did I feel like the game was out of my reach and had Dan not made that final save, I think I would have gotten him on the next turn. There is definitely a great balance to the PW points and I'm really looking forward to the next game against Mike's Marines.

Dan - The battle was hard-fought from the start with the jungle proving too much for support aircraft. Hard-pressed, the lightly armoured LVT's made their way through the thick undergrowth and through timely use of canister and .50cal fire, the objective was secured. The Japanese infantryman is a tough rock to move and I was on a knife-edge for most of this game.

A massive thanks to Battlefront, once again, for providing us with both the opportunity and the armies to get stuck into Pacific, we really appreciate it.

All the terrain you see on the table comes from Mike's personal stash, and most of it was lovingly hand-crafted. Check out the tutorials he wrote!

Thank to Adam from Dice of War for the dice! The Japanese dice roll HEAPS of 6's!

26 May 2016

HIT THE BEACH!!!! Dan's 1500 Marines Ready to Rumble

Well I've finally finished and I'm going to play a game against Greg on the weekend. But first let's point out this beast and show you the pretty pictures.

HQ 2 x LVT(A)1 (37mm)   - 190pts

3 x LVT(A)1 (37mm)  - 285pts

3 x LVT(A)1 (37mm)  - 285pts

3 x LVT(A)4 (75mm)  - 205pts

Marine Rifle Platoon 3 x Rifle Squads with 2 LVT(4) Amtrac - 275pts

Marine Rocket Launcher Battery 3 x 4.5in Mk 7 with 5 crew - 105pts

Air Support Limited F4U Corsair - 150pts

So here we are ready to take the fight back to the Japanese this weekend wish me luck.

11 May 2016

Mike Paints! - Marines WIP

with Mike

Work's been nuts and my son's started to get really big into tanks, so as you can imagine, I've been pretty busy with those let alone giving my Marines the proper effort they deserve. Oh well, it's time to own up to my work in progress!

I feel as though I've broken the back of this project, with my main combat platoons and some critical support platoons done-ish. I say "ish" because I'm deliberately avoiding basing until I've got most of the project moved up to that point and I can then do them all in one go to maintain consistency and theme. So what's done?

Combat Platoons & HQ
I did these first because they represented the largest total WIP hours and the essential building blocks for whatever force I'll be making. I chose two full-strength platoons of 9x stands each (10 with HQ) so that I could take a section from each and merge them into a third platoon if needed. I also modelled them with the spare BARs which actually ended me up with something like six spare riflemen figures per platoon to use elsewhere (a pretty cool bonus).

Mortar Platoons
The USMC mortar platoon blister comes with the figures to make 4x mortar teams equipped with with either 60mm or 81mm mortars. There are unique loaders for the two tpes of mortars, but they share the rest of the crew figures. So, I grabbed a few spare US Army 60mm crew and three spare medium bases and made all seven mortars up.

In the foreground is the 60mm mortars with USMC loaders and "army" crew. The 81s in the back have all new USMC crew sculpts. The mortars themselves are on popsicle sticks until basing is complete.

Dog Handlers
These were a fun pair of teams to have painted up. They are three figures to a base, which will help them stand out when combat attached to the rifle platoons.

Combat Engineers
The USMC Assault Engineer pack comes with enough teams to field either the Assault Section (with 2x Bazookas, 2x Flame throwers, and 2x pioneer teams) or the Marine Engineer Assault Section with is 4x Pioneer teams and 3x flame throwers. So I'd recommend buying two of these packs to max out on flame-throwers.

The flame-throwers are two figures per small base, a departure from standard FoW flame-thrower teams. Like with the Dog Handlers, this will help distinguish them once they are combat attached out. Similarly, I only placed 3 pioneer figs on the pioneer teams so that I could identify them quickly as well.

75mm SPG half-tracks
These are my favorites so far! I used the current MW 75mm GMC pack for these models, added some stowage from my bits box and installed a bunch of extra machine-guns.

M5A1 Stuarts
These are the bulk of my tank assets until I get my Satans and M4A2 Shermans painted up. That said, three of these are well over 600 points! Again, I just used the standard US M5A1 boxed set.

All told the above rings in at: 1945 points (PW).

Where to from here?
Machine-guns, 37mm anti-tank guns, a couple of Shermans, and my LVT transports!

Oh, and my F4U Corsair, which is my prize at the end of the project!

09 May 2016

Damian Attempts to Paint Japanese Tanks

with Damian

So off I go- I’m actually pretty happy in this photo. No, seriously I am!
The hardest part about painting for me is that I’m naturally lazy and uninterested in the actual painting of my figures. To me, it’s all about getting the bare basics done so I can field a painted force on the table as quickly as I can. I love the assembly side of the hobby and playing is always a blast. But painting? Nope. However, I do have a few simple tricks and shortcuts to aid me when I sit down and paint my Banzai Sensha Rentai.

Now, as I don’t have access to an airbrush my painting will be sped up in the use of spray cans (As close a colour match as I can get to the recommended Vallejo colours), blutac masking of areas to get firm outlines when applying the camo patterns, light washes of either a watered down black or a light brown to simulate depth and a drybrush of a light almost white (or possibly bone) colour just to highlight the edges, and create an illusion of dust on the tanks.

In order to do this paintjob, I first referenced the painting guide on page 47 of the Banzai book. I like to have my options as varied as possible so I tracked down a few colour matches with the old range of Vallejo and tried to find a spray can alternative so I can simulate airbrushing! Another huge help was when a good friend David Greig sent me his link to painting his own Japanese tanks. I’m going to use it for inspiration and see how I go.

You can find it here- Dave's Sensha Rentai Paint Guide

Comrade khaki (326)-base colour
Old Vallejo= Green-Brown (879)
Spray can colour= SP06 German Armour Desert / Tamiya XF-60 DARK YELLOW

Boot Brown (323)-30% disruptive pattern.
Old Vallejo=Flat Brown (984)
Spray can colour=Tamiya X-9 BROWN

Army Green (342)-Third camo colour.
Old Vallejo=Reflective Green (890)
Spray can colour=Tamiya XF-58 OLIVE GREEN

1942- A simpler camo scheme was introduced to these tanks using the same colours without the yellow lines and utilising a larger proportion of green.

Cavalry yellow (361)
Old Vallejo= Flat Yellow (953)
Spray can colour= Tamiya XF-3 FLAT YELLOW
Sicily Yellow (362)
Old Vallejo= (Green Ochre) 914
Spray can colour=Tamiya XF-59 DESERT YELLOW

I like to have my platoon commanders, and HQ tanks easily recognisable so they will have a combination of exposed tank commanders popping out the top hatch and have the flat yellow wavy lines on their tanks to denote their experience. It will also make it easier for my opponent (and myself!) to identify the platoon commanders and cut down on any deployment and/or LoS issues that may arise.

Running out of German Armour spray after 22 tanks (out of 40+!) is not a good thing. Many, many swears later and I bit the bullet to hit the paintbrushes. Luckily middlestone from vallejo is a perfect match.

Good old Dan, He still hasn’t realised I have his magic wash. I brushed on this homebrew mix all over the tanks to “make them pop” and give them base protection. They are ready for camo and tracks.

Next steps-Do my tracks with GW’s tinbitz. (Seriously, no other paint comes close to this for tank tracks. I’m going to cry when my last pot and a half runs out.) I’m going to use the colour set I scored through Mighty Ape to finish em off. No airbrush, just good old fashioned paint strokes *coff* drybrush- will soon sort these out.

The ships from the axis and allies boardgame I stole from Paul make great little objectives (a couple of different junk blues I just splashed on the base- vallejo stone grey and a white drybrush on the weenie boaties and they’re good to go) and represent naval air and guns perfectly. I’m still undecided whether I go with a white zero or green… I’ll worry about that after I crank some more tanks out of the painting factory.

I’m very happy with the camo scheme as it happens on these tanks… only 37 or so to go… And I’m not going to do my zero till I complete the tanks as a prize for sticking to it. Further updates later.