Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 Review

What can I say except that I'm glad 2016 is over.  It's been a busy 12 months and hobby time has been pretty slim.  I did find the time to play 21 games in total, down a little from last year, including large events in California and Arizona, and some smaller ones in New Mexico and Texas.  A new Flames of War venue in El Paso has helped establish a new gaming community of about a dozen players since last year, and its continuing to grow.  Here's to a renewed sense of hobby purpose in 2017!

I didn't get much painted for myself in 2016, but I did get one commission finished and delivered and another is very close to completion (Sam, I'm almost there, promise.)

StuG III A Batterie
Fallschirmjäger 2cm FlaK38 Batterie
Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha and Type 95 Ha-Go tanks

I made trips to Kublacon in California and Shifting Sands in Arizona, too.

Shifting Sands

Total progress for the year was pretty small, but I made my goal of not adding to my mountain of models.  I purchased or won a total of eight Flames of War models and two 28mm Samurai miniatures, while painting ten Flames of War models for a +/- of zero!

Shifting Sands is in a few weeks and I'll be trying my hand at Team Yankee for the first time.  Kublacon is in May and I plan on flying back for that, too.  I might even convince the wife to let me go to one more Historicon as well.  Happy hobbying everyone!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mid War in Albuquerque

Way back in October I made the trip up to Albuquerque for a Mid War event hosted by Active Imagination.  I brought my Fallschirmjäger, this time represented by the Tunisia/Sicily list in North Africa.

My first game was against Steven and his German Pantherkompanie.  He had lots of CT Panthers supported by two small infantry platoons.  The mission was No Retreat and I would be defending.

I would deploy my Fallschirmjäger in and around the buildings in the town, holding all four corners of the crossroads.  He would drive his Panthers straight in on Turn One.
With the panzers charging forward, I had no choice but to sit and wait for the ineveitable assault.  I had Marder IIs in Ambush, but wanted to wait for flank shots.
The first Assault by Steven would push back my Fallschirmjäger, though it would cost him three Panthers.  The FJs would retreat to the ruins in the bottom right of the photo.
With the Objective contested, I moved my second platoon of FJs to assist.
Steven tried to push them off again, but this thime the FJs stood strong, destroying all of his tanks.  He would concede here, 6-1 victory for me.
My second round would see me matched up against Eric's Soviet Strelkovy Battalion in Cauldron, and I would be defending again.  Mid War Mosters were allowed, and Eric had a pair of KV-5s that I had no real answer for.  Yikes.

Eric's random deployment would put one Strelk, the KV-5s, and his portee AA MGs on my left.  My FJs were deployed across the center.
These things are big and nasty, but the low ROF and slow speed helped me out.
My deployment.  Marder IIs in Immediate Ambush.
Eric's Strelk came right in, but the FJs were tenacious defenders.  I was just able to hold them back for the 2.5 hours that we played, 5-2 victory for me against the Soviet hordes.
My final round was against Derrick and his Gurkha Rifles in Hasty Attack.  This time I would be the attacker.

I deployed up front, but wanted to aviod the mostly open center of the table.
I sent my troops up early, setting up for an assault where I would have the advantage, but plans never quite go as they're supposed to...  The assault would get pushed back, even though I had them pinned down, 5 out of six shots on 5s!  After failing to break this platoon early, we would both stick around for another 2+ hours, as Derrick had 11 platoons of mostly infantry, backed by Honey Stuarts.  
I would just barely win this one an the last moment, earning a 5-2 victory even though half of my army was down to 1 or 2 stands.  FV troops stick around!  

Thanks to all of my opponents, fun as always!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

3 Month Mountain Reduction and Painting Challenge- It's Back!

Last year I had the pleasure of participating on the Six Month Mountain Reduction and Painting Challenge, and pushed myself to get a pretty decent amount of minis painted.  This year there's a three-month version, having started on September 15 and ending December 15.  I know I'm a week late, but I'm jumping in.  I'm not really sure what my goals are, except to actually sit and paint something, anything, really.  It's been difficult lately, to say the least.  Rules are similar to last year:

1. No purchasing of new miniatures, except if you use a Joker.  You get three Jokers to use on a miniature purchase.  Can be a blister pack, an eBay bundle, or a single figure.  The only exception is if you need to buy a single figure to complete a unit.  In addition, you can earn additional Jokers by completing an entire project, complete with starting, WIP, and final pictures.

2. Gifts do not count against you.  Holidays, birthdays, and gift cards given to you do not count against you.

3. Paint, terrain, and hobby supplies do not count against you.

4. At least one hobby-related blog or Instagram post a week.

5. Zombie-related stuff during October is encouraged.

So far, I think I'd like to work on a few odds-and-ends for my Flames of War Fallschimjäger, a few Star Wars Armada ships that need some paint on them, and a continuation of some commission work.  I've set aside Friday afternoons for painting, let's hope it sticks.

First up will be an Anti-tank Rifle team for my FJs.

Friday, August 19, 2016

1700 Mid War Event in El Paso

There was a Flames of War tournament a few weeks ago down in El Paso, 1700 points.  I ran a Tunisia Panzerkompanie out of North Africa.  Jon hosted it, and provided all of the terrain for six tables, supplied a few of the armies, and even helped develop the community there from two players a few months ago to more than ten.  Military Gamer Supply is a great shop, too.  We would get ten players from as far away as Albuquerque.

Fun list to play with a little bit of everything.  I would Kampfgruppe the Panzer IV F1s in each game to get to six platoons.

In the first round I was matched up against Blake and his Soviet Tankovy in a Free For All.  His list consisted of two T-34 companies, a Rota company in Universal Carriers, a battery of 122mm heavy mortars, and a patrol of armored cars.

Blake left his mortars exposed so I sent my Panzer IIs and Panzer III Ns up the left side.  He would be forced to divert some of his T-34s to defend them, or they would be vulnerable to an assault.
I moved my Panzer IV Gs into a patch of trees between my objectives.  Blakes tanks would need to get through them first.
Blake commited all of his T-34s on an attack up the middle.  With his side armor exposed, my Panzer IIIs would take advantage, knocking out a pair.
Blake continued to push his tanks forward, but the Panzer IVs would continue to thin their numbers.  
The Panzer IIs assault his heavy mortars, destroying the platoon and positioning themselves to capture the objective.
With nothing on his side of the board to contest, it would be an early 6-1 victory for me.  I expected him to send some of his T-34s back to defend it, or maybe for him to race his Rota platoon back, but he never did.

Round Two would be against Hayden's American Ranger Battalion in Hold the Line.  Hayden had two Ranger companies of two platoons each, a Rifle platoon with 'Commando' Kelly, a weapons platoon, a mortar battery, and a platoon of three M6 heavy tanks, as Mid-War Monsters were allowed.  He also had P-38 air support.  So much FT infantry!

My force was bunched up near the buildings, with my recon well forward to clear the trees.  Those M6 tanks were hiding somewhere in ambush!  Three Ranger platoons would be deployed around the objectives.
My Panzer III Ns moved in first to soften up the Rangers.  Hayden only had one bazooka in the list, so they only had the ambush to fear.  The Aufklärungs would follow while the Panzer IVs would keep to the rear.  They were all I had to counter the M6s.
Hayden sprung his ambush on the far side of this palm grove, just visible through the trees.  Once they were out, my Panzer IIs hit the end of the front Ranger platoon, thinning their numbers a bit.
Now that the M6s were out, the Panzer IVs moved to engage.  The langs would bail out the closest one while the kurtz barrels would smoke the remainder.  They would continue this tactic for several turns.
With the M6s distracted, my Panzer IIIs and Aufklärungs continued to work on the Rangers near the objective and also countered Hayden's reserves which were now arriving.
A series of mounted assaults and fire from the Panzer IIIs managed to force the Rangers off of the objective, but they usually fought to the last.  
A concerted effort by all of my forces led to another 6-1 victory, though FT Rangers are stubborn in defense.  Hayden's P-38s never once showed up, but most of my tanks closed quickly anyways.  Mounted assault can work wonders without any bazookas to ruin their day!  I asked him why he only had one, and apparently he hadn't built any yet.  Direct-fire smoke is a great tool to have, a rare treat for a German player, and it worked to negate the M6's 76mm guns very well.

In Round Three I would see more Soviets, though they would be Strelkovy backed by a pile of guns and assault guns.  Eric had two full Strelk companies, a company of six 76mm Zis-3 guns, a full company of PTRD anti-tank rifles which he would attach out, a 122mm heavy mortar battery, SU-85s, and SU-122s.  Each of his Strelk companies would have around thirty stands!  The mission was Breakthrough, and I would put my Aufklärungs and Panzer IV Gs in the flank attack.

Eric deployed his heavy mortars in a lonely corner, so I sent my assault Panzer IIs to get them, backed up by Rettemeier in his Panzer IV G.
My Panzer III Ns and Panzer IV Fs would move up the center, wary ofthe 76mm guns.  Eric moved one of his Stelk mobs to the objectives.  My nebelwerfers, which had been less-than-stellar all day, continued their poor performance, failing to range in on anything all game.
With the heavy mortars cleared, the Panzers tuen their attention on the Strelk in the trees.
My Aufklärungs arrive at the same time as the Strelk, killing about six stands, but it wouldn't even slow them down.
This picture sums up the rest of the game nicely, a handful of tanks vs. a giant pile of men and anti-tank rifles.  I was able to contest the objectives until the end, but couldn't break the Soviets.  I was able to destroy the heavy mortars and his SU-122s.
Eric would win 4-3.  This last game was a marathon, with several last-ditch attempts to assault his troops off of the objectives.  I managed to push most of them off, but Fearless troops stay around and unpin quite easily.  

Thanks to Jon for hosting a very nice event and thanks to all three of my opponents, who all drove the four hours from Albuquerque!  I would win the tournament on over-all points and come within a point for Best Painted, which went to my friend Alex and his German Tigerkompanie.