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Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Yanks are Here!

My American platoon is finally painted up and ready for the table. Fritz and I had a great game of Chain of Command yesterday, and I thought I'd share some pictures.   We played the Delaying Action scenario, which I think is easily the most difficult scenario available for the attacker.  We're tasked with taking a jump off point at the opposite side of the table (playing long ways), and ending the turn with a CoC die.  This is the only scenario I'm aware of where breaking the enemy would actually result in the attacker's defeat.  So it calls for patience and restraint, plus a fair amount of luck.

Taking a preliminary barrage as part of my 12 points of support, I decided to be aggressive.  A two man scout team rushed up to the farmhouse at the center of the board, neutralizing one of three enemy jump off points before it could be used to deploy. The early game definitely went my way.

When the Germans brought on a half track, the Americans responded with a tank destroyer.

Neutralizing the jump off point allowed a squad to move up on the right behind the house, but they were taking machine gun fire from the enemy half track in the distance.

Worse, the enemy was using a sniper to hunt officers.

I hoped an aggressive stance on the left would distract Fritz from the right side of the board.   It worked, but I just wasn't able to exploit it.

Cool pics though!

The Germans take the bait and deploy on the left, leaving me to deal with only the half track on the right.

AT fire from the Tank Destroyer is inaccurate, thanks to all the intervening terrain.

After about four misses, a shell connects, destroying the vehicle, but unfortunately not killing any passengers except the driver.

The Americans attempt to exploit the advantage by moving up their own half track, containing a machine gun section.

A German panzerschreck ambushes but misses its target.  The near miss was enough to get the machine gunners to dismount.

More Germans appear on the left. If I can get past them on the right, I have a chance at that far off jump off point, my objective, tucked into the right corner of the board.

Up until now the Americans had taken only light casualties, but even with one section pinned down near the objective and the two out of position to defend it, the sheer weight of the German machine guns was starting to tell. A squad leader wounded, then killed, another wounded, a senior leader killed outright by a sniper... despite their superior position and their overwhelming numbers, they simply could not manage to advance any further.  Making a desperate play, the machine gun squad mounts up into the halftrack and rushes forward, praying the Germans will keep their heads down. With one die, Fritz is able to activate a leader to take a shot with a panserfaust. It connects as the half track passes, destroying it and dismounting the passengers. The machine guns open up on the crew, wounding the last senior leader and breaking the American will to fight. The platoon retreats to regroup.  We'll find our way forward another time.

A great game, very tense.  Fritz and I both agree it is a really rough scenario but we're going to switch sides next game and see how the Germans do under the same conditions.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Operation Nordwind

My buddy Fritz just finished painting up a Jagdtiger, one of those impractical and unreliable late-war German tanks, or rather tank killers, and we both wanted to see it in action.

Time for a little CoC, now that the new PC game is scratching my Battletech itch so well...

Sadly my 17 pounder AT gun was not enough to save my British platoon, but it was a very close and very intense game.  Here are some pictures!

Friday, March 30, 2018

How long to paint a model?

Some of my friends outside the hobby have asked me just how long it takes to paint a single model.  The usual answer is "I don't really know", as I rarely paint just a single model, and when I do, it usually is not a very intense project and I usually spread the work out over weeks or even months. When I'm painting Battletech, which is much of what I've been working on lately, I tend to paint several units at once, so it's hard to break it down.

So when I decided on a last minute addition to my Smoke Jaguar force (I swore I was done with them...), I thought it would be an interesting experience to time each part of the process.

I'm not sure how accurate it is as an indicator of my usual time per model, as this particular piece is a bit bigger than most of my Battletech stuff, and it had some additional challenges (those propellers) that took more work than usual. Further, this wasn't "rush a model to a table-ready state" either, but an attempt to make it about as good as I'm currently capable of, in as long a time as needed.  Further, many of the steps involved stuff that would take the same amount of time whether I was doing one model or ten, and so my "average" time must be significantly lower than this. Further, I spent a lot of time on this one with unnecessary experimentation, so most of my models must have been a good bit faster. At least, that's what I tell myself in the cold watches of the night.

Here's the breakdown:

Day 1:
Filing and trimming, washing:  10 mins
Drilling: 10 mins
Assembly: 10 mins
Priming: 3 mins
Total for Day: 33 minutes

Day 2:
Airbrushing preshade, base coats: 26 minutes (incl cleaning between colors)  preshade black, dunkelgrau, barley grey highlight, us grey camo stripes, dunkelgrau corrections).
Airbrush cleaning: 3 mins (light cleaning)
Total for day: 29 minutes

Day 3:
Detailing: (base coat for all details – US light grey and gory red) 60 mins
Wash: “pin wash”, black into cracks only. 35 mins.
Total for day: 95 minutes

Day 4:
Glazing (part 1): red details and blue cockpit glazing – 30 mins

Day 5:
Glazing (part 2): grey/white, propellers – 25 mins.

Day 6:
Repair after unfortunate feline encounter – 5 mins
Shading correction on propellers – 10 mins (blending highlights more neatly)
Adding missed details: 10 mins (armaments) due to mistake and fix.
Reapply wash to propeller and a few details to deepen the shadows for contrast: 10 mins
Paint base: brown craft paint – 2 mins
Total for day: 37 minutes

Day 7:
Final blending on propellers and obsessive unnecessary corrections and highlights: 30 mins
Drybrush (white): 23 mins
Drybrush (steel): 2 mins
Stupid obsessing over the propellers: 15 mins
Basing: 5 mins (if that). Just flocking, a little bush and some pebbles.
Total for day: 45 minutes

Day 8:
Satin varnish applied via airbrush: 7 minutes
Gloss Varnish brushed on cockpit: 1 minute
Total for day: 8 mins

Grand Total: 302 minutes or just over 5 hours.

Based on this, I'd venture to guess that a Battletech model takes me about 4 hours if I go all out.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Trial of Possession

Clan Smoke Jaguar vs. Clan Jade Falcon - at stake, the rights to invade a particularly valuable Inner Sphere world.  For Fritz and I, a chance to try out some new clan hardware, including this Carnivore Tank and assorted battle armor.

The enemy is sighted! Jade Falcon mechwarriors supported by Elementals.

Long range shots mostly fail to connect as the Madcat tries to flank the concentrated enemy.

Relying on its heavy armor, the Carnivore leads the way, dropping battle armor into cover. 

The Dragonfly, carrying Salamander battle armor, bides its time. 

Meanwhile the Carnivore proves unlucky.  Damage concentrates almost exclusively on the left side, eventually wearing through the armor and knocking the tank out. Unfortunate!  I was counting on that tank to sit there for another round or two...

Meanwhile the Madcat gets into it.  Things get hot as the Falcons disregard Zellbrigen rules and go for back shots.

The Jade Falcon Warhawk takes a pounding but somehow hangs on...

As the Jaguar's Daishi advances supported by Battle armor, it's forced to back off in the face of enemy Elementals it can't cope with on its own.

Meanwhile the Dragonfly makes its move, dropping its Salamander riders into the forest the enemy is using for cover. They immediately turn the whole forest into an inferno.

The Dragonfly tries in vain to keep the enemy off the Madcat.

With the forest ablaze, the Salamanders turn their flamers on the two units of elementals, wiping them out.

Meanwhile, the other elementals supporting the Daishi tear up the enemy trying to transverse the open plain.

Damn that Daishi is pretty!  Some of my best work if I do say so myself...

With this, the enemy Elementals are wiped out to a man.

The enemy is finally falling before the Jaguar advance, but at some price. The Warhawk finally goes down in the face of the Madcat, but the Madcat isn't long for this world either. It's taken damage everywhere.

Finally, it's Gyros give out and it falls to the ground.  But dropping the mech isn't enough to save the Jade Falcons, which are forced to surrender in the face of the nearly undamaged Daishi with is now free to approach. The Jaguars have earned the right to take the offensive to the Inner Sphere!  Stay tuned to see how that goes.