26 September 2022

Armies on Parade

 Sorry it's been a while, but you wouldn't know it - I've actually played a couple of games for the first time in over 2 years!  Both were "introductory" Battlegroup WWII games so I won't be posting up any pics, but it was great to do a bit of painting, put the new table to the test, roll some dice and meet some new guys here in NZ.  New to me that is.

Before the games, and as I was sorting out stuff to put away into the display cabinet a lined up a few things to take some group photos. First up was my Soviets:

Still a few things to do here, and this doesn't include any unmade kits in the "stash".

Next up were the Brits:


Then the Americans:


Getting smaller and smaller.  Lastly the West Germans:

This really didn't seem like much in the West German department and I was scratching my head for a while as I put these in the cabinet - and went searching until I found all the missing vehicles.  No photo of them I'm afraid.

So that's the majority of my larger Cold War armies.  All in 20mm of course.  Still loads of work to do to finish them off.  Any questions, just let me know

Thanks

Richard

04 September 2022

Games Room Update Part 3 & a Step Closer to Ticking Off an Item on My Wargaming Bucket List

 So - lots of good news on the Games Room front.  Firstly, and somewhat most importantly from the whole "Games Room" point-of-view, I now have a 10 ft x 6 ft table top.  Beautifully crafted by my Games Room go-to-guy, Lawrence, it fits perfectly on top of all my smaller storage cupboards.  Here it is in possibly not the greatest angle:


This angle better shows the cupboards underneath the table:


And finally, this shot sort-of shows the batten under the table that allows it to sit solidly on the cupboards:


Unfortunately this exercise proves I am not an engineer...  I drew a picture, with measurements for Lawrence to show him what I wanted, and I showed the battens being 6" from the table edge - allowing me to open the top drawer easily and access it contents.  Of course I failed to take into account the size of the batten, which probably added another 3 or 4 inches.  You can still pull open the drawers - it's just a bugger getting stuff out of them!

The tabletop is not moving an inch as along with the battens, the whole thing weighs a ton!

Anyway - still extremely chuffed with the tabletop.  And of course I had to try it out with the ultimate test, and an item on my wargaming bucket list.  Playing out all four maps from GDW's Third World War series.  I certainly had not planned for this... but it fits on the table top!


With plenty for all the other bits and bobs that are essential for the game.  Super satisfied with that I had to try out the maps from a couple of other recent purchases.


The map for "Red Storm: The Air War over Central Germany, 1987" fits easily.  The next one might be more of a challenge.


Here's all the maps for the latest version of Thin Red Line Games "1985: Deadly Northern Lights".  Its a monster, but fits very nicely on the table.  Again with plenty of room for the heaps of stuff that goes with this game.

One of my plans - not really a bucket list item, but a solid plan nonetheless, is to play Deadly Northern Lights, along with GDW's "Arctic Front" - seen here alone


and Strategy & Tactics Magazine's "Nordkapp"


Now I have the tabletop to do it, I just need an opponent!

Then, with the maps put back into their respective boxes/magazines, I whiled away an hour or two setting up the table for a "proper" wargame - just to see what it looked like:



Finally, the next bit of good news I had, was the arrival of my built to order Glass Display Cabinet.  Again made by Lawrence - it is a wonder to behold (in my eyes).


And did I mention he added LEDs for me!


I'm so in love with this cabinet.  Due to putting our house on the market a few years back, taking it off again, then putting it on again, selling, moving out, moving countries etc, its been about 5 years since I've been able to display my models and figures.

Now I finally have a place to do that - along with the embarrassing incentive of displaying unpainted models, will certainly push my painting along.  

Most of my "hobbytime" has to date been spent trying to put the garage in order.  Now I'm finally getting to the pointy end where all that is behind me and I'll have not excuses to keep putting off actually painting something and hopefully getting in an actual game.

Thanks

Richard



24 August 2022

Luchs & Fuchs WIP

 No - not a rude phrase in German (at least not this time), this is a basic descriptor of how I have been keeping myself busy on some of the colder days we've had recently.  Consigned to one half of the house - the bit with the fire - I decided it was time to start my next project - some more German recon units.

Just as an opener, I've got to say the 1/72 Revell Luchs Spahpanzer 2 is a beauty of a kit.  At the same time, it's pretty easy to do your head in with the whole suspension.  Looky here:


While it was enough to drive me crazy - there is a real beauty to it at the same time.  Admittedly, I did leave a few bits off the suspension - but for me, this is meant to be a wargaming model, not something to make and look pretty on a shelf - so there is a limit.

I decided I needed something to differentiate the 4 different Luchs (I've already completed one years ago).  I designated 1 to be the Platoon Leader, and 1 to be a section leader.  The only negative I have with this model is that there are NO open hatches.  So I had to open a few:


... and add hatches, and some insides for the crew to stand on.  Honestly, I'm more than mildly chuffed with how these turned out.


After building 3 Luchs, I decided to build a 1/72 Revell Tpz Fuchs.  I had two previously built, so thought this would be a doddle.  And it only had 3 sets of wheels instead of four.  What could be easier.

Well, I can only say I must have been more than half out of it when I started the kit, and somehow managed to continue in that vein for the remainder of the build.  For whatever reason I had serious issues building this kit.  I even had to use a wad of green stuff when I realised that parts I had ready to add after the top of the hull had been added to the chassis, actually needed to be added before you had glued the top to the bottom.  Never quite done something that stupid before, but it fit the general theme so there you go.

Again I decided it needed to look different to the other 2 Fuchs I have, so after looking through the Tankograd book, I decided to add a Milan, from a Revell Marder kit.  It appears quite elevated in the pictures so I need to add some plastic tubing, which I jazzed up a little.  Here's how it turned out:


If you look closely you can see the green stuff near the front of the model.  Needless to say most of the front is going to get a cam net thrown over it!  I'm not going to say I'm chuffed with how this one turned out, but hopefully once cammed to within an inch of it's life, and painted, I should look quite good.  I hope.

So that's largely it for my model building.  Now it's starting to warm up a little, I hope to get onto the painting sooner rather than later.

There has also been some progress in the garage/games room.  More on that soon.

Richard


30 July 2022

Rapier SAM System

 It's been very cold lately, so any desire to go into my freezing garage and take pics has been easily squashed.  Today wasn't so bad, and I had found all the bits for this little Rapier SAM Troop, so I decided to give it a go.

Here is the Rapier in action:

This is an S&S Models Rapier SAM.  S&S can provide you with an entire troop, emplaced or in the open (like this one), including all the vehicles etc.  Here I have used the launcher (with 4 missiles as per the 1980s) which comes with a small generator and the Blindfire Radar - which also comes with its own generator.  I have both of mine in the deployed position, but you could easily have them made up to look like they are being towed.

Here's a couple of close-ups, along with the vehicle that would have towed them:


The crewed optical tracker and the chaps saying look over there! both come from Armybits and were provided to me, very kindly, by Keith Armstrong, the designer.  I fiddled with them to convert them from 15mm to 20mm, which was a bit of fun.  Here's a couple of close-ups of them:



Finally, I found a Rapier resupply trailer (here) on the Wargaming3D website designed by VJM787 - who I'll just let you know is also a lovely chap - and printed it and a couple of piles of missiles - to go in the trailer and in a neat stack on the ground covered in a cam net.  Here you go:


Here's the trailer being towed by a Land Rover FFR.

Finally the "squeeze together" group shot.


So finally I have a Towed Rapier system and a Tracked Rapier system.  My British battlefield SAM systems are complete!

Thanks for looking

Richard

27 June 2022

Games Room Update Part 2

 So I misspoke.  No new army list or miniature photos today - although I have been busy working in the garage/games room.

Now I have carpeted an area in the middle of the room.

And then moved the smaller cabinets which will form the foundation for the table top and handy storage areas, to the spot where they will sit.


This should give me a decent 10 ft x 6 ft table, and leave enough space in the room for a 6' x 4' table should the need arise.  There is also plenty of room under the bigger table to store all sorts of crap between the cabinets - as I already have!

So that's my progress.  Probably will give this topic a rest until the tabletop is sorted out.

Thanks

Richard


15 June 2022

F.A.Q. Part 2

 Hi everyone.  In FAQ Part 2, rather than providing all the questions and responses, like I did in Part 1, I've decided to simply list the topics and then provide the like to the pdf.  This is also available on the FAQ Tab at the top of the page.

The topics discussed are:

  • Main Gun Ammunition
  • Timed Strikes with Attack Helicopters
  • Repeat Attacks and Attack Helicopter Another Attack Run
  • WARPAC Attack Helicopters
  • Dual Purpose SAMs?
  • Special Forces in Lists
  • Terminology and Lists
  • How to add Support Units - Focused on Recon Units - it's a conversation...
  • Battle Drill - A series of questions
The is the link to the Complete FAQ

Next time - either some miniature photos or an updated Army List

Thanks

Richard

07 June 2022

Games Room Update Part 1

 So just a quick update today - to show I've finally made some progress in the creation of my games room.  From this


To this:

These are my new cabinets along one wall of the garage – our old TV will go in the centre – only about 4 days work off and on putting them together.  They each weigh about 45 kilos!  2 are for “The Stash” – the rest is bits and pieces – no terrain – that’ll go in smaller cabinets to fit under the table.

Second half of the FAQ coming soon

Richard


04 June 2022

F.A.Q. Part 1

 Here is Part 1 of my current F.A.Q. document.  It deals specifically with rules questions in no particular order.  Part 2 will deal with more philosophical style - what were you thinking - type questions.  My answers are in red.

I'll add these as a .pdf document into the FAQ tab at the top of the page once it is combined.

Thanks

Richard


AIRCRAFT

We pulled an aircraft chit for the Russians and rolled up a Su-25 Frogfoot with 2 AAMs with a Gatling Heavy Autocannon (Tankbuster) – No.6 on the chart.  We could not find any penetration values for that weapon or even any for NATO.  Do we use the weapons off the AFV list?  We got the part about upping the penetration table by 4 lines!

Yes, use the weapons off the AFV charts - in this case the 30mm 2A42. Most NATO planes should have the equivalent of the 20mm Vulcan Gatling Gun. The A-10 should use the 30mm RARDEN stats.

 Aircraft always hits top armour.  When your chose to introduce top armour in your Cold War variant, it meant that air support could destroy tanks too effectively. Bombs and Air-to-Surface Missiles have too high value of Armour Penetration while max value of top armour is 3. So practically any bombs and Air-to-Surface Missiles will destroy any tank (even the most armoured) on 4+.

I’m really not sure I have such an issue with this to be honest.  If an AFV manages to get hit by pretty much anything delivered by an aircraft, I can’t see much of a chance of it surviving.  However, jet aircraft appearing on the table should be relatively rare and not be game killers, as they typically attack one thing before flying off again.

ATGM

We have allowed ATGM's to fire using the Ambush Fire order.  Is that correct?  If so, can they attempt to fire again on Ambush fire if they failed to spot the first time?

I have no issue with a ATGM using the Ambush Fire order.  However, they only get one chance to spot as the "Shoot & Track" order takes up two activations.  If you don't observe the target – sadly you Ambush Fire order is wasted.

Reloading ATGM vehicles.  A non-specialist vehicle like the BMP is a 1/1. Having fired an ATGM on turn 1, we assumed it has to spend turn 2 reloading, before it can fire again in turn 3.

A specialist vehicle like the FV438 is a 2/5. Having fired in turns 1 and 2, we assumed it has to spend turn 3 reloading, before it can fire again in turns 4 and 5.
The questions are;
1) were we right it takes a turn to reload?
2) does it take a reload order or is it assumed the vehicle will reload using their own initiative?
3) we didn't use man packed ATGMs, but we assume once they have fired their ready ammo (3 shots) they can be reloaded from their transport vehicle - does this need a resupply order?

1) Under the new rule “Vehicle mounted ATGMs – Missile Ammunition” all vehicles mounting ATGMs take one turn, where they must remain stationary, to reload.  This does not apply to tabks that are capable of firing ATGMs or vehicles that have the “Fast Re-loader” vehicle trait.

2) In this case there is no “Reload” order.  In fact, the stationary vehicle cannot be given orders or activated.  It is just assumed that the crew knows what it's doing and is concentrating on reloading as quickly as it can.
3) Regarding man-packed ATGM you'll note the restricted ammo rule currently is an optional rule. The rule states that the team can be re-supplied from their attached (or parent) vehicle or if they don't have one - from a standard re-supply vehicle. Both these options use the standard resupply rules.

The BRDM-2/Sagger have an ammo rating of 6/1, this means it has 6 missiles ready to fire and when it has fired all of them, it can then reload all 6 missiles once in the game?
Yes that is correct

 Still referring to the BRDM-2/Sagger, how many missiles can it fire per "Shoot & Track" order? All 6 missiles or one per order?

Just one missile per Shoot & Track order - so one missile per turn. Assuming your BRDM-2/AT-3 doesn't want to move and has a target every turn it could sit there had shoot every turn for 6 turns.

Question about ATGMs with tandem warheads. The rules state that it ignores composite armour and ERA. I thought tandem charges were designed do defeat ERA only? The addition of a small initial explosive charge shouldn’t really affect the main HEAT charge's penetration vs composite armour should it?

Under Tandem Warheads in the ATGM section it states laminate and/or ERA.  However, in the next sentence I state “AFVs with the Advanced Armour trait do not get to add 1D6 to their armour value against hits by missiles with tandem warheads”.  This is incorrect – it should read “AFVs with the Reactive Armour trait do not get to add 1D6 to their armour value against hits by missiles with tandem warheads”.

Can passengers in an IFV, disembark at the same time as the IFV is using the “Shoot & Track - ATGM” order?

No it cannot.  An IFV could fire its main gun and disembark, or move and disembark, but Shoot & Track ATGM is a double activation order and it's pretty clear that whatever is firing and tracking the ATGM, be it vehicle or an infantry ATGM team, can do nothing else that turn.

LIGHT ANTI-TANK WEAPONS

Are LAWs one use only?  I know in real life they are and there is a brief descriptive mention that they are in the rules but we didn't notice a concrete ruling on it and we had a few thoughts - either they're unlimited use, representing the extras that may have been carried in transports or lugged around by other members of the section - or that they are realistic and single use, in which case we thought that they may be quite expensive in comparison to other NATO/Pact options such as PzF's/RPGs, etc.  What is the actual rule on this? Cause we could see it going either way.

LAWs are like Panzerfausts in standard Battlegroup.  Definitely one use only.

Options: May take a M72A2 LAW + 5 pts.  Does this mean I can take only one LAW or their number in a squad is not limited?

May take one only for +5 points

Not found in the Rules description, where can I find the mechanics of fire for a M72A2 LAW, AT 4 LAW, RPG or grenade launcher etc)?

Use "Area Fire - with small arms, machine guns & High Explosive Shells" from the Battlegroup main rule book or "Aimed Fire - with small arms and machineguns" from the Cold War variant rule book. The small arms and other weapons 'To Hit' table on page 8 and the LAW, RPG, MAW, Recoilless Rifle and Automatic Grenade Launcher Table on Page 9, along with the commentary below it should help. There is also information on Page 21 about all of those weapons, but in the next update I need to change some of the information in the little call out boxes which is no longer correct.

TANKS

I have a M60A1 RISE/PASSIVE.  It has the following weapons: 105mm L68A1 – Turret, MG - Co-axial, HMG – Turret. 

How many shots to infantry can be made from HMG – Turret? RoF 6

2) I want to fire on enemy infantry. Do I understand correctly that I can only fire from 105mm L68A1 or from MG.  That's the way I've always played it

3) The tank has a MG and HMG. Can I fire them at the same time, i.e. throw 3 dice per MG and plus 6 for the HMG?  I've always played it that you can't. You must choose one or the other. However, I could swear I’ve seen some commentary on Facebook commentary where it indicated it was possible to fire two MGs at a target. I’ll keep looking and come back with a more definitive yes/no.

ARTILLERY

Can I ask what the reasoning is for not including the BM-21 as on table artillery? Simply because their engagement range would put them as far away from the front at possible? I have seen them included in some other lists.

If you look at the Soviet lists all of them (except Soviet Naval Infantry) have had the BM-21s and a number of other high level artillery assets removed from the artillery section of the list and can now be found only in the additional fire support section. This means they are all now off-table.

I've left the BM-21 in the SNI list as it was found Regimental rather than divisional level. The SNI had no 2S1 batteries. Still, I'm sure it could be easily argued that even here they should really just be off table assets.

HELICOPTERS

A small mistake (?) in the capacity of NATO helicopters. Two Rifle Squads U.S. Marines 26 men, helicopters capacity of 24. Two man left at the base?
The two CH-46E are purchased for the Platoon. The Platoon has 42 men in it. Together the helicopters can carry 48 men. One squad can be split using the fireteam rule. The helo carrying the Platoon Command Squad and 1 Rifle Squad has space for up to 8 men.

Can I put the Forward Headquarters on the helicopter?
Can't see any reason why not. Using the USMC as an example - there is space in the CH-46Es for the Forward HQ. However, if you buy a bunch of Platoon Support options and you want to also helo-transport them, I'd just add another helicopter for 25 pts +2-r BR. That should work. Just work on what you and your opponent are happy with.


19 May 2022

FAQ

 Recently a reader asked if I had a list of Frequently Asked Questions.  Of course I don't!  However I aim to change that as of today.  I have created a new page (at the top of the blog) where anyone can come in and ask questions about my very unofficial Battlegroup Cold War variant.  Please feel free to use it.

I also have access to the old forum where my variant was openly discussed before PSC released NORTHAG.  I'll scroll through those threads and pull out any useful questions and put them into a pdf document and post it under the FAQ page.

Hope that is considered helpful.

Richard

17 May 2022

Ashburton Aviation Museum

I'm pretty sure this is a first for me - a blog post about a museum visit.  I'll be sticking to cold war aircraft only though.

Soon after we arrived in New Zealand we had to go to Christchurch to pick up our dog, who had travelled over separately a week or so after we had left.  A long story as to why that was the case.  Anyhow, we decided to stay in Ashburton, a small town to the South of Christchurch, and I ended up having a couple of hours to kill so I headed off to the Ashburton Aviation Museum.  I knew this existed from a previous stay, and looking at the brochure, it looked like they had managed to acquire a Harrier GR.3, so my incentive to go immediately tripled.

RNZAF Station Ashburton was a pilot basic training base during WW2.  Today it is still used as a civilian aerodrome and its a great spot for a small NZ aviation museum.

I had a very pleasant visit, chatted to a couple of lovely elderly chaps who knew way more about planes in general and aviation in NZ then I could learn in several lifetimes and took loads of photos.  So here are a few of the said RAF Harrier GR.3:




I of course walked up the stairs and had a close inspection of the rather cramped cockpit.  There was a lot of stuff in this hangar - so it was difficult to get a "distant" shot of the Harrier, hence these rather tight views.  The first and second photo show how closely it is packed next to a Korean War era MiG-15.  The Museum thinks this is the only Harrier in the Southern Hemisphere which they somehow managed to pick up for just over 5000 quid!

My next favourite was a fantastic RNZAF Skyhawk:





Years and years ago, one of the best flying displays I've ever seen was a group of RNZAF Skyhawks beating up HMAS Albatross, a Royal Australian Naval Base in  Nowra, NSW.

Hidden behind the Skyhawk was a RAAF Meteor F8.  Just the one photo:


And just the one of an equally lovely FB5 Vampire:


Obviously there are loads more planes, including a very impressive and grunty looking Aermacchi MB-339CB, which fell just outside my Cold War timeframe so I didn't include it above.  There was also a Canberra front section and cockpit which was extremely interesting to have a look at.  I was at the museum for well over an hour, just wandering about.  Apart from the 2 volunteers, I had the entire establishment to myself - indeed they had to open the second hangar and turn the lights on just for me!

If you ever find yourself in the South Island of New Zealand, around the Christchurch area, this little museum is well worth the visit.  Actually in Christchurch is the official Air Force Museum of New Zealand and further north you can visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre which just happens to hold Peter Jackson's WW1 aircraft collection amongst other things.  Very excited to see they have just gotten hold of a complete de Havilland Mosquito and a P-51 Mustang had had been sitting in a farmer's shed for decades.  See here if you are interesting in reading more.

Anyway - I'm waffling now.  Onwards and upwards - now Cold Wary stuff will resume in the next post.

Thanks

Richard

30 April 2022

I'M BACK!!!

 Well, well, well.  Finally I've made it back online.  The last 6+ months have been very interesting, a wee bit stressful from time to time, and a bit of an adventure too.  We have finally been able to move from Australia to New Zealand, fly the dog over, buy a house, eventually have all of our goods and chattels arrive, and start to get on with our lives for the first time really in a few years now.

I'm very excited to have the energy and headspace again to commit to the blog, and I hope it will become regularly updated again from now on.  On of the great things about our new home is that not only will I have my own office again (read, Modelling & Painting Room), and we'll have a room dedicated as a library - but I'll also get a "proper" gaming room (read, the garage!).

One thing I wanted to do before we left Sydney was to take a photo of all my gaming "junk" boxed up.  Of course that never happened, but I was able to take a couple of pics today.  Here it all is:



So this is not quite everything.  None of the boxes of books or rulebooks are in the shot, some boxed games are missing, all my paints are kind of inaccessible at the moment, my one battalion sized army bag full of my best painted minis are in another room.  My 3D printer is also out of reach right now.  Still it's interesting to see 30+ years of collecting bits and pieces all broken down and put into storage.

Right now I'm relatively sure nothing too important has been broken, beyond what I broke packing stuff.  Which was a bit!

So I'm now officially semi-retired, and once the house is straightened out completely, the library shelving built, a new office desk bought, my office sorted - I'll then be able to start to put together my Games Room.  A real project to look forward to.

So I hope you're all doing well and ready for some Cold War gamey goodness, plus some other wargames room related updates over the next few months.

Onwards and upwards

Richard