As part of a counter-attack that had already thrown the Germans back some twenty kilometres, the Polish 16th and 26th Infantry Divisions crossed the Bzura river near Lowicz on the morning of 14th September 1939, and the Polish 4th Infantry Division reached the road linking Lowicz and Glowno.
At this point, however, the retreating Germans were reinforced by the 4th Panzer Division, which had been withdrawn from the fighting in the outskirts of Warsaw, and launched a counter-attack of their own against the advancing Poles. This battle would recreate the encounter battle that followed.
A cracking game of IABSM in which a bold coup de main won the day. Click on the pic below to see all:
As Battlefront had another sale on their Arab/Israeli range (25% off this time) I thought I’d better take advantage and add the appropriate figures to allow my 1967 Six Day War Egyptians and Israelis to continue their fight into the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
First off the painting table is the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka": a lightly armored Soviet self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system.
These are lovely models that really take the paint well.
“The acronym "ZSU" stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka (Russian: Зенитная Самоходная Установка), meaning "anti-aircraft self-propelled system"; the "23" signifies the bore diameter in millimeters; the "4" signifies the number of gun barrels. It is named after the Shilka River in Russia. Afghan soldiers nicknamed it the "sewing machine" due to the sound of firing guns. It is also referred to by its nickname of "Zeus", derived from the Russian acronym.”
I’ve already got the ZSU 57-2, which has got two enormous guns rather than four little ones, and I was originally a bit confused as to why four smaller guns would be better than two big ones. The answer is that the ZSU 57-2 had no radar sighting system, couldn’t fire on the move, and couldn’t carry enough ammo to allow for worthwhile sustained fire. Obvious when you think about it!
Apparently the Shilka was very successful, and actually led to a change in NATO tactics. Let’s hope that holds true when I field them for the first time.
Finally finished the last of the Boontown Space Dwarves: a platoon of Clansmen.
Now if you remember, when I started painting the Boontown figures, I was quite disparaging about the quality of the sculpting. I felt the Shaker cannon was, quite frankly, not a very good model, and the crew figures very average if not poor.
I changed my mind a bit about the range with their T-26 walkers, and a bit more with their Hearthguard, but the Clansmen have definitely reversed my opinion.
These are great fun figures with nice, clear definition, especially on the faces/beards and their Schwarzenegger-like arms. Okay, so the guns are still a bit crap, but overall I like them. Not “recommended”, but still a worthwhile addition to any Space Dwarf force.
And that, for the Space Dwarves, should be that. As far as I know, I now have every 15mm Space Dwarf/Squat/Grudd etc figure out there in the marketplace. If I haven’t, please let me know, and I will remedy the situation asap!
Right: onto the Yom Kippur war figures forming a significant layer of the lead mountain…
Not sure if anyone saw this, but here’s a nice comment on my last AAR (see below: The Narew Crossing) taken from The Miniatures Page’s forum:
I don't mean to tell anyone else how they should or should not play their wargames …
But this AAR is a great example of how I LIKE my wargames to go!
Hardly matters what the figure scale is, or what the ruleset is. Maybe it matters a little, but not a lot.
What matters are the interests and spirit of the gamers … the game master more, and the rest of the gamers a little less but still to an important extent.
From the AAR:
The game was a screening mission. Provided the bridge remained in Polish hands (i.e. no German troops were in base-to-base contact with the bridge) each time the Turn Card appeared, Polish engineers would roll a D6. Once the total rolled hit 25, any Polish Big Man could order the bridge blown.
Kudos for a thoughtful construction of a scenario, with scenario-specific rules related to victory conditions.
Long range exchange of fire continued on for a couple of turns, until … the Germans, realised that (they) had no hope of winning the game at this distance, and would need to get up close and fight … through to the bridge the hard way!
These kinds of comments, which appear several times in the AAR, show how the AAR writer's (also game master's) thinking runs. The scenario was constructed, with some success it seems, to create tactical problems that the gamers would have to solve. More kudos!
That left the last remaining Panzer (a Panzer III) free to drive forward onto the bridge itself, scattering the Polish engineers still setting their charges. Although we did have a quick debate as to whether the Panzer counted as "troops", I conceded that it probably did (Bevan: "well you tell me: you wrote the scenario!")…
When I read this, it cemented my opinion -- these are guys I'd enjoy gaming with! Lots of competitive spirit in the play of the game, but no rules-lawyering or victory-conditions-maneuvering to gain an advantage.
Again, not meaning to tell anyone else how they should play, but for me, I find little interest in a parking lot of tanks and a bucket of dice, or in haggling over whether a single strand of barbed wire is an obstacle to AT cannons ("where in the rules does it say that barbed wire is a linear obstacle to infantry movement, but not to heavy weapons fire?").
What I do find interesting … fascinating … obsessively engaging … is just about everything we see in this AAR.
Seems ages since I last did one of these, but it’s probably only about a week or so. Entries from the regulars are a constant with, pleasingly, more of the more infrequent contributors also coming out of the woodwork.
And last, but by no means least, Mr Plowman has zombies
As usual, clicking on the name of the person in the list above will take you straight to that person’s gallery (opens in a new window).
We’re into the final quarter now, so I expect to see you all grabbing brush and camera and submitting away. Still plenty of no-shows so far this year: come on, you can manage at least one before now and Christmas!
It was back to Poland for our latest game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum and an extraordinarily exciting encounter that went right down to the wire.
On September 7th 1939, reconnaissance units from one of the Panzer Divisions of General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst’s XXI Army Corps captured Wizna after Polish mounted reconnaissance squads abandoned the village after a short fight and retreated to the southern bank of the Narew. When German tanks tried to cross the bridge, it was blown up by Polish engineers. This game would recreate the German attempt to force the Narew Crossing.
Regular visitors to this blog will know that my poor Hura (four-armed aliens from Clear Horizon) got resoundingly hammered by the Space Dwarves in our last battle, with most of the damage done by a Dwarf scoutship which kept flying down from the skies and blowing Hura hovertanks away! My Hura had no response, as the range is one of those tiresome infantry-only ranges, with no support elements.
I’d already given the Hura some Xarledi hovertanks from Brigade Model’s Yenpalo range, now it was time to see what Brigade had to offer in the way of something I could use for AA protection.
Brigade has a huge range of figures and vehicles, but the ones that caught my eye this time were from their sci-fi Polish range. These were sufficiently odd-looking to go with the Hura and Xarledi, so I quickly ordered a couple of AA half-tracks and another mounting a Multiple Rocket launcher System (MRLS).
I’ve now painted them up (they leapfrogged the last of the space dwarves) in the same colours as the hovertanks, and think they have come out very well.
Wilk AA Half-Tracks
Wilk MRLS Half-Tracks
As always, excellent service and models from Brigade. Recommended.
I’ve almost cleared all the 15mm sci-fi dwarves from my lead mountain! Just one more contingent to go, and I’m half way through them.
Meanwhile, here’s the last of the Grudd infantry from Onslaught Miniatures. They are the chaps who produce some really lovely (and complete) sci-fi ranges in 6mm, and a couple of lines of 15mm figures too.
One of those 15mm lines is the Grudd: effectively sci-fi dwarves. Regular readers will know that the basic infantry types (Clansmen, Demolishers, Siege Breakers) have already been finished and logged…so here are the Iron Lords in their superheavy armour and the Drudgers (militia types):
Iron Lords (left) and Drudgers (above)
I honestly can’t recommend these enough. Beautifully cast cubist space dwarves with a variety of very cool weaponry. Painting them as shown is easy: a metallic undercoat that becomes the top coat for the armour, then faces, beards and weapons in different colours. Highlight with some bright unit markings and you’re away.
As my recent painting has been almost wholly focused on clearing all the sci-fi dwarves from my lead mountain, I thought it was only right and proper to get them onto the table again for my next game of Quadrant 13. It would also be a good opportunity to give the Xar (six-legged “critters” from GZG) their first outing.
Our last game of IABSM was set in the Tuchole Forest in Poland, right at the beginning of the war. Today’s battle would directly follow on from that encounter, and represent the stalwart Polish defense of Grudziadz. Both scenarios were taken from The September War, Part One, one of the TooFatLardies scenario packs that I have written for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!
Grudziadz was a strategically important town as it housed an officer academy, a cavalry school and the several army staffs directing Polish forces in the Polish Corridor region. It was, however, only lightly defended, with its garrison made up of infantry and border protection corps (KOP) along with supporting artillery. The German attack was launched from East Prussia by 21st Corps, mainly infantry and the reserve 10th Panzer regiment (mainly Panzer I and II).
Things are all a bit scifi at the moment: mainly because that’s what tends to accumulate in the lead mountain. Figures for all the other periods leapfrog to the front of the painting queue, with poor old scifi left lingering behind.
But, as we all know, I’m trying to clear some of the lead mountain at the moment, and look what I’ve found and painted today: it’s the landing pad from Warbases 15mm scifi terrain range.
The pad is a laser-cut kit consisting of the ramp and the pad itself. It comes with no instructions, as Warbases assure their customers that the build is “intuitive”.
Well that may be so…but it still didn’t stop me putting the legs together incorrectly first time around. Note that the leg pillars have a top and a bottom (wider gap at the bottom) and that the feet go at the end of the legs not built back up to create a little moat around them. Confused? Look at the picture as you build the pad, and things should become clear.
Painting the pad was fairly easy: a grungy brown for the supports that was then scuffed with black paint, washed and then drybrushed. The pad itself was dyed black-ish with black ink, then highlighted with a grey colour. The red edges are because I couldn’t be bothered to paint every edge with black and yellow warning stripes. I’m sure you can buy thin hazard tape somewhere, but a quick Search gave me 25mm as the thinnest I could find.
As you can see from my last few posts, I’m on a bit of a painting jag at the moment.
I’d like to say that this is gradually clearing my lead mountain but, of course, every time I complete a unit, I check the range it comes from and usually end up buying more figures to either fill in the gaps of what I’ve got or to cover new releases.
This is certainly true of this last week. I painted the Onslaught Miniatures engineers and promptly ordered the new Iron Lords. I painted the figures below, and promptly ordered the previously-out-of-stock battlebikes. And don’t even get me started on the boxes arriving from Battlefront as a result of their 25% off Arab-Israeli sale! I think I’ve just go to come to terms with the fact that for every figure I paint I add a few more to the lead mountain…but at least it means that I’ll live for ever!
So on to today’s offering.
As I’m trying to collect every type of 15mm sci-fi dwarf out there (I know: not a good way to reduce the lead mountain), I duly ordered a couple of units of the Boontown Miniatures range as soon as it launched.
Good service, but not the sort of figures I usually buy: I like my figures very crisp and clean (but hard to paint well, especially with my rudimentary skills!) rather than the more normal Boontown range. Leaving that aside, however, I eased myself into the range by painting the artillery (Shaker cannons) and the walkers (T-26 walkers).
The Shaker Cannons are typical of what I mean. I didn’t like these at all. You’ve got a hi-tech rear end (looks a bit like the front of a VW Beetle complete with headlights and bumper) then an awful wooden chassis, awful crude-iron wheels, and a screen that looks like it’s been knocked together by orcs!
I quite like the idea of a hedgehog-like piece of artillery, but none of the four barrels are the same. Add in a couple of crew members that are not of the crisp and clean variety, and you have…yuk!
Anyhow, I’ve done my best and decided that these are knocked-together mining tools (presumably for lobbing explosives somewhere when strip mining or something) hence the reason for the crude construction and very bright white and red warning stripes.
In my humble opinion, these would do better as part of a low-tech sci-fi range, and don’t mix very well with the walkers:
These I like much more than the Shakers. Not quite sure why half the firepower points backwards, and why the gunner is unprotected in any way, but I do like the basic shape and stance, and the decided “chicken” look about them.
As I’ve decided that the Boontown dwarf base colour is brown, these are sprayed Mournfang Brown, then washed and highlighted, and with certain bits of equipment painted separately. I then added some decals I found in the bits box and off we go.
These are much more the thing, and have inspired me to have a go at the Hearthguard platoon, now drying after it’s undercoat.
This is really a post about the latest units that I’ve painted, but a post that also comes with two bits of advice.
The first piece of advice is “always buy those miniatures when you see them…as they might not be there later”.
This applies to the gruntling range from Cactus Games: space dwarves in 15mm. The standard infantry are okay: maybe a bit crude by some standards but at least they are properly dwarvish i.e. short. What are really nice, however, are the chaps in powered armour: very cubist in nature and some of my favourite 15mm sci-fi dwarf figures.
Cubist Exo-Skeletons from Cactus
I’m using the present tense here but, alas, Cactus have disappeared, taking their range with them. I mention this because searching through the lead mountain for something to paint whilst I waited for my latest Arab-Israeli figures to arrive, I came across two packs of Cactus miniatures that I hadn’t painted when I did the basic infantry and powered armour types: a set of motor-tricycles and a set of light support weapons.
The motor-trikes are great fun: very silly but full of character. They come in three bits: the front wheel and handlebars; the main body; and the chap in the turret with the gun. It was a little fiddly to get the front to glue properly to the back, but otherwise no probs.
And why is the lesson relevant? Well because I almost didn’t buy these when I bought the infantry. If I hadn’t gone for it then, then I wouldn’t have had these…ever.
The second lesson is “always put all your spare parts in a ‘bits box’”. This is because the light support weapon packs came with two crew figures but a very weedy-looking LSW on a very flimsy bipod. No matter: a quick dip into my bits box and I came up with enough meaty looking weapons to outfit the three teams. The guns are spare turret-mounted weapons from sci-fi vehicles, but I can’t remember the manufacturer. They do nicely as mining lasers adapted for combat.
The stands for the guns, btw, are hama beads. Always good to raid your children’s hama bead collection: they make very useful stands, dividers etc!
So there you have it: two more units for the space dwarves and two important lessons for wargamers everywhere.
Let me hear you say them again:
always buy those miniatures when you see them…as they might not be there later
If I played my sci-fi in 6mm, then Onslaught Miniatures would be my first port of call. A nice variety of figures with some quite deep ranges i.e. more than just one type of infantry and a support weapon: most of their ranges have got 20+ codes in them.
But I don’t: I play in 15mm…which is why it is so great that Onslaught have now expanded their collection to include 15mm versions of a limited number of their 6mm ranges.
Although I really liked the 15mm Sisterhood range (big women with big guns), they never really got going with it: releasing only a couple of codes and then seeming to go no further.
One 15mm range, however, that does have more than a couple of codes in it is their Grudd range. Whatever the official background, it’s obvious that these are normal-human-sized space dwarves.
The four-squad platoon above is a combination of their Grudd Clansmen, Siege Breakers and Demolishers and looks pretty spectacular, especially with all those outrageous power tools.
What I’m now hoping is that they expand their entire 6mm Grudd range into 15mm…
I only had time for a quick visit to Colours this year: a couple of hours first thing on Saturday morning.
Travel to and from Newbury was enlivened by the traffic caused by the Newbury Show, but I still made the trip in under an hour. The work on the racecourse/flats on the racecourse must be just about finished by now, as getting to the carpark was much easier than last year: no problems in parking and only five minutes walk from the stand where the show was based.
I got there at about 9.45am for the ten o’clock start and joined the back of what looked like a sizeable queue, but once it started moving, just before ten, it moved very quickly, so no complaints there. The price was only £6 to get in, so very reasonable.
As I was in nice and early, I had time for a look around before the crowds. The show followed the usual format of, broadly speaking, trade stands on the ground floor; food/drink and more tradestands on the first floor; and then competition games, demonstration games and the bring and buy on the second floor.
There were three Lardy games that I could see. The first was a What a Tanker! game set in the Western Desert:
This looked very well attended for all the time I was there, so kudos to the chaps putting that on.
The second was a large General d’Armee Napoleonics game recreating Plancenoit. There’s a full report on the game available here.
Finally, there was a very nice looking Sharp Practice game set in 19th Century Japan (the Boshin War):
There were also two other non-Lardy games that caught my eye:
Lots of beautifully painted tanks
Cold War turned hot!
The trade stands were, as always at Colours, excellent. I wasn’t buying anything this year (too much to paint as it is) but would like to mention one trader who did get some of my money: ABCbrushes.
This was a small stand selling…brushes…but selling them at excellent prices. I picked up a mixed pack of ten brushes (all usefully labelled “medium dry brush”, “stippling brush” etc) for only £12.50. No idea of the quality, but as I go through brushes really quickly, this seemed like a very good buy. Their website is here.
So all in all an enjoyable visit. I could have done with an extra hour or so, but other appointments called. A good show that I look forward to again next year.
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.