Sunday, March 16, 2014



The title of this post should be, "The Wife is Going to Kill Me, and It Probably Wasn't Even Worth It."  What I mean is, the wife's pregnant, meaning she's even needier than normal ;)  And I have been a total @#$% by spending more time than ever painting and otherwise ignoring her and the kids...  I've been working on figures for small scale, skirmishy battles, and today I resolved to not paint, but spend my time playing some of these new, small scale, skirmishy games.

Ultimately this means today was a day to playtest some skirmishy rules.  Spoiler Alert: I can't seem to find/create a set of rules, at 1:1 where individual men activate and operate, that 'does it' for me.  Today I went upstairs and grabbed all the skirmishy stuff I needed, then set it up downstairs in the dayroom (at least in the same area as the wife and kids).  I had previously done up some rules, largely based on "Flying Lead."  I sat down, set up, and started playing.  I got about an hour into it and realized I wasn't having a good time.  I removed the men back to their start positions, re-worked the rules, and went at it again.  About another hour in I realized, once again, I wasn't having a good time.  Back to the start positions, totally changed the rules, and went at it again.  The rules were much better this time, though I still didn't have a great time, for a few reasons:

1) I was worn out from the first two tries.
2) I was feeling bad for once again ignoring my family to play with toys.
3) As it was a playtest, my scenario was sorta just thrown together (more on that in a moment).
4) As the scenario was just thrown together, it lacked my normal campaign background, meaning I wasn't attached to the troops, i.e., the units and men weren't 'personalized.'  My games (and battle reports, I believe) are at their best when I'm following the exploits of Sgt Snuffy, who we know to be a solid guy despite the fact he cowered like a girl in the last fight, and then it's awesome when he personally leads a counterattack that saves the day.  Stuff like that is really great to me, but this game didn't have it because I was playtesting...

So, I apologize in advance as this is not my best work...

You're probably asking yourself, why is the post titled "Grenada???"?  It's because when I grabbed forces I was looking for individually based troops, and I grabbed some Vietnam-era US troops and some Falklands-era Argentinians I intend on using as Cubans.  As I had also grabbed coconut trees, I figured the only thing that made sense was Grenada.  So, the set-up is that a squad of 82nd Airborne doggies is on patrol to secure a crossing over the Huevos River.  Defending is a squad of Cuban regulars, with their primary defensive position being a sandbagged emplacement holding a light machine gun, overlooking the bridge.

Let's let the pics tell the story:

The battlefield, with top being north.  The US forces are entering at the bottom left on the road, trying to capture the bridge (center) over the Huevos.  You can see the Cuban MG emplacement at top right, while there is an abandoned, bombed out stone house at center left.

The US squad.  The squad leader, Sgt Bilko, is at far right, and his squad is sub-divided into three teams: the first team (bottom), is four men, led by Corporal Beetle Bailey, and has an M-60 LMG and two rifles.  The second team is led by Cpl Snuffy and has an M-79 blooper and two rifles.  The last team is comprised of three scouts with M-16s, led by Cpl Klinger.

The Cuban squad, with squad leader Sgt Zorro at far right.  The bottom team, led by Cpl Doritos, has four riflemen, whilst the top team, led by Cpl Tostitos, has a LMG and two rifles.

 The Cuban MG position, with Cpl Tostitos and his men on high alert.  Through the trees at top you can just make out Sgt Zorro conferencing with Cpl Doritos.

 On the south side of the road, Cpl Doritos' team is at 25%, with one man on watch while the other three rest.

On the US side, only Cpl Klinger's scout team starts on the board.  This is from the US baseline looking east towards the Cubans.  Road at right is the US start position (where the rest of the squad will come on).

Initial dispositions, looking north.  You can US scout team at bottom left, Cuban MG team at top right, and Cpl Doritos team at bottom right.

Let's get started, shall we?

First thing at the gate, the 'lone sentry' on the hill, from Cpl Doritos team, opens up and puts Cpl Klinger out of action (bottom center).  One of the remaining scouts moves into the house and returns fire, while the other stands his ground (besides Klinger) and returns fire, putting down the lone sentry.  The M-79 grenadier and M-60 gunner both come on (on the road) and fire at the Cuban MG position, while the Cuban MG returns fire.  No one hits anything...

Sgt Bilko sprints up the right side, mounting the coconut tree-filled knoll.  One of Cpl Doritos' riflemen mounts his hill and fires at Bilko, but misses.  Bilko is soon joined by two riflemen, while another of Doritos' men pops up and fires at them, hitting nothing.  Cpl Doritos takes his leave of Sgt Zorro and sprints across the road to join his men.

Cpl Bailey comes on, joining the M-60 and M-79 on the road.  Meanwhile, Cpl Snuffy darts left behind the house, and is joined by two riflemen (I didn't make the teams stay together as they should have).  The Cuban MG opened up on Snuffy's team on the road, but didn't hit anything.  Sgt Zorro climbed the hill to join Cpl Tostitos' men at the MG position.

The Cuban MG again fired at the US M-60, and again missed, but the Pig returned fire and put the Cuban MG out of the fight.

This was offset when the Cubans on the southeastern hill fired at the Americans on the southwestern hill, putting Sgt Bilko down.  The Grenadier hopped the wall, climbed into the ruined house, and popped a 40mm grenade onto the SE hill, putting a Cuban soldier down.  One of the downed Cuban's compatriots fired at the US troops on the SW hill, missing, whilst one of the US scouts moved into the house and returned fire, also missing.  One of the US riflemen joins the scout in the house, firing at the SE hill and missing.

On the left, Cpl Snuffy moves past the house towards the NW hill, firing at the Cuban MG position, not hitting anything.  However, two of the remaining Cuban riflemen fired and put a big hole in Snuffy (bottom left).

On the right, Cubans on SE hill kept up a steady stream of fire on the US troops on SW hill, hitting nothing, whilst the Americans kept up a hot fire themselves, putting Cpl Doritos out of the fight.

Back on the left, one of the riflemen rushes past Cpl Snuffy and climbs the NW hill, opposite the Cuban MG position.  The last scout follows (both are on the hill at left).

Corporal Bailey, having seen Sgt Bilko go down on the SW hill, moves up, hops the stone wall, and climbs atop the hill.  Similarly, Sgt Zorro saw Cpl Doritos get gunned down and moved from the NE hill to the SE hill.

Cpl Tostitos, in the Cuban MG position, as well as one of his riflemen, fired at the US grunt in the trees opposite him, but both missed (not pictured).  The US M-60 (bottom right) and grenadier (in house) both fire at the MG position, but miss...

But their blood is up for the Cubans on the SE hill (top center), and they send out a wall of lead that puts Cpl Bailey and one of the riflemen down, leaving a sole US rifleman atop the SW hill (bottom right).  The remaining US rifleman calmly sights in on Sgt Zorro and puts him out of the fight.

 Meanwhile, Cpl Tostitos (at the MG position) fires at the US troops in the house, missing, while the Americans exchange fire with the Cubans at the MG position, putting Cpl Tostitos out of the fight.

The firefight between the two southern hills is joined by the two US riflemen in the building.  Both Cubans and all three Americans fire (one on the SW hill, two in the house), but no one is hit.

The US M-60 opens up on the two remaining Cubans in the MG position, to no effect, but their return fire is withering and pins the M-60 gunner (off camera to right).  The rifleman (just seen between the two trees on the left hill) and scout (base of tree on left) on left move up and fire, to no effect.

The Cubans in the MG position open up on the lead US rifleman, gunning him down.

But the grenadier drops a round into the MG position, putting another man down, leaving only one rifleman.

This is countered when the Cubans on the SE hill get in some amazing shooting, killing the remaining US soldier on the SW hill (top right) and the US grenadier (in the house at left)...

Which is in turn matched by the rifleman and scout in the house returning fire and putting the two remaining Cubans on the SE hill out of the fight.

The other scout dashes forward towards the Cuban MG position, where the last remaining Cuban soldier surrenders.

That fight was pretty fun and went pretty fast.  To be clear, I mean the last fight, not the first two :(  And that's what I mean by my initial remarks of "the wife is going to kill me, and it might not have even been worth it").  My gaming time took way to long to only come away with this one batrep, so I'm not very happy.  Furthermore, as fun as this was, I still have the feeling in the back of my mind that my KR-16-based rules (as seen in my popular "All Americans" batreps) could have done the job.

The only real problem I had with my last iteration of rules is that I wasn't getting any pins; guys were either being missed or they were going down (only one pin in the whole fight).  Without pins it's pretty much impossible to go into close combat, and you know how I like close combat.

My final aggravation is that I bought a bunch of new Minifigs Special Forces guys, and I did the Simple Green treatment on my old Minifigs SF guys, but I haven't gotten any of them painted yet.  When am I going to get them, and all my other 3mm and 10mm stuff, done???  I dunno...  But it felt good to get back to gaming.  I need to get into another campaign, it makes it so much more interesting to me.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

My 3mm Desert Force, So Far


After a bunch more painting, I'm ready to unveil my modern 3mm desert force.  I say 'so far,' because I'm about as done as I think I need to be with the bad guys (generic Arab forces using Warsaw Pact equipment), but I need to put in another order to Picoarmor to finish off my Israelis, and I have a boatload of US stuff yet to be painted.  Nevertheless, I've got quite a bit done so far, so I wanted to show it off.

The entire force.  What are you looking at?  The far right two rows are Israeli tanks, five M-48s and five Centurions.  The next two rows are 'good-guy' infantry, nine of them, just rifle teams so far.  The rest of the rows are bad guys: 15 T-72s, 9 BMP-1s, 6 BTR-60s, 3 BRDM-1s, one ZSU-23/4, one SA-13, three SAM-7 stands, three ATGM stands (they're actually dismounted US TOWs, but standing in for bad guy ATGMs such as Sagger, Spandrel, etc...), and 12 rifle stands.

 Israeli M-48s.  I'm showing them again, because now they're finished, that is, I've 'edged' them, and put unit identifiers on them, as seen at far left, with five blue dots.  I like it, much less visually intrusive than the sort of stuff I'd been doing.  Not sure why it hadn't occurred to me before...

 Israeli Centurions, AKA, Sho't Kals (or something like that).  There are five of them because I intend on going '1 to 1,' that is, one base is one tank, so this is a five-tank platoon.

 "Good-Guy" infantry, using Picoarmor's US infantry.  I think when I'm playing Israelis vs. Arabs these will be squad stands, but when I'm doing my USMC MEU-stuff they will be fireteam stands.  So far I've only done rifle teams.  I need to put in another order for more of these (I need to do up temperate climate troops as well), as well as mortars, machine guns, and more ATGMs.

A closeup of the good guy infantry.  My camera is pretty crappy, but trust me, these sculpts, at 3mm, are truly incredible.  The detail is there, the only question is if your eyes are good enough to make it out, and your hand steady enough to pick it out.  I know what you're thinking; "aww, you can never see that stuff on the table."  Yes, I can, because I'm going to be sitting down at the coffee table playing on a 2' x 2' or 3' x 2' board, where I can actually make out the different types of vehicles.

Bad guy T-72s, fifteen of them set up in five three-tank platoons (I'm not worrying about company commander tanks, at least not yet).  I've got two different types of T-72s in the force.

Here's a closeup of the first type of T-72 (forgive me, I can't recall which one it is).

Here's the other.  For my purposes they are identical in terms of how they're handled in the rules.

BMP-1s.  I thought long and hard about what to do here, that is, which type of BMP to order.  The issue is that I want to game from the late 60s to pretty much know (2014, for future prosperity).  I could have ordered several of all three, BMP-1s, 2s, and 3s, but that would have been a pain in the ass insofar as I would lose some versatility.  So, I did what I always do, and went with the 'close enough' approach: one type for the whole period.  It would probably have been more appropriate to split the difference and go with the BMP-2, but to me the BMP-1 is the iconic bad-guy APC, so that's what I went with.

 Close up of my BMP-1s.  As usual with small caliber weapons, I painted the gun barrel silver.  I wasn't sure what to do with the missile; I like to use big contrasts, so I went with a bright green, which actually stands out more in real life than it is in these photos.

BTR-60s, two platoon's worth.  

Closeup of the BTR-60s.  The blue really stands out in these photos, but it's not that bad in real life.  In any case, I like colors that 'pop,' particularly on these tiny vehicles.

BRDM-1s, comprising the three-vehicle reconnaissance platoon.  I may get some BRDM-2s to have mobile ATGMs on the table.

The anti-aircraft section, a SA-13 (left) and the classic ZSU-23/4 on the right.  


 Another look.  I was trying to show off how good these sculpts are.

And this is where my camera is really not going to do the little guys justice; the bad guy infantry.  I used the new generic NATO infantry, and the sculpts are amazing.  Here there are 12 rifle stands, three ATGM stands (actually TOWs from the US Inf pack), and three SAM stands (will double as HQ stands for Cold War Commander games).

There are actually two different types of rifle stands; here's the first one.  There are five guys with rifles walking with them at either port arms or at what we used to call 'the ready,' i.e., weapon in shoulder, looking over top the sights while advancing.  The 6th guy has an RPG.  If you look closely at some of these guys you can see skin.

Here's the other type of rifle team.  A couple guys with rifles and a LMG in the prone.

Closeups of the ATGMs.  Each stand has a prone, two-man LMG team, and one guy manning the ATGM, with a spare round lying next to him.  I painted the launcher/rounds a gray green then put a yellow band at each end of the round.

Closeup of the SAM stands.  Two sets of two guys on each stand; one set looks to be an officer talking on a handset and the other is his RTO.  The other pair is the SAM guy (looks like an SA-7, though that doesn't make sense for NATO infantry) and his number 2.

I took another couple photos of an ATGM team, just trying to show how good the sculpts are, though I don't think my camera was good enough to make it work...

Last one.

Well, no painting tomorrow!  I have resolved to play something, so stay tuned for a battle report in the near future.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm Back, with More Troops!


So, I have returned after having a bit of computer trouble...  Needless to say, this did not negatively impact my painting time, and I took on a pretty large project, managing to complete one large army, or, more appropriately, three battlegroups and a small skirmish force.

The figures are all from Pendraken's 10mm British Falklands range.  I plan on using them primarily as my Cuban Liberation Army for my "Cuba Libre" campaign (yet to be started).  The entire force is comprised of an airborne battlegroup (red berets), an infantry battlegroup (blue berets), and a mechanized infantry battlegroup (black berets), plus a small skirmish force of commandos (green berets).  Let's get to the pics.

 The whole force, a pretty ambitious project for me.  All told there are 18 officers, 18 weapons teams, 3 sniper teams, 36 infantry teams, and 17 individually based men.  Each of the three battlegroups are identical, with airborne (red berets) at top left, infantry (blue berets) at top right, and the armored infantry (black berets) at bottom left, with the individually-based commandos at bottom right.

The airborne infantry battlegroup.  Here you can see the elements comprising each of the three battlegroups: six officers and a sniper team (far left), two HMGs, two Milans, and two 81mm mortars (center left), then twelve rifle teams (right).

 The infantry battlegroup.  You can see that each battlegroup is divided about 50-50 between berets and helmets.  Though this group has green helmets, I figure the blue berets could allow me to use these as UN peacekeepers as well.

The armored/mechanized infantry battlegroup.

My commando force, with two sniper teams on right.

 Another look at the airborne battlegroup.

 The infantry battlegroup.

 The armored battlegroup.

 The commandos.

 Closeup of some of the officers (these were pinched from the mortar packs).

 Another set of officers.

The three sniper teams.

 Mortar teams.

 MILAN teams.

 HMG teams.  I'm not all that happy with these; they're good sculpts, I just mean that I would have rather had MAG-58s (or whatever the Brits call them, we call them M-240s) on tripods, but they haven't been released yet.  You gotta love .50 cals, but two per battlegroup is a bit... excessive.  But it's all I've got.

 A look at some of the rifle teams, these with walking MG teams.

 More rifle teams, these with prone MG teams.

 Last type of rifle teams, these without MGs.

 A couple commandos.

 Commando MG team.



Well, it's good to be back!  This force took me a considerable amount of time.  That was a lot of dudes to be putting camoflage on, as well as doing sand and grass bases (as opposed to the simpler flock).  I like the camo uniforms overall, though I think a bit too much yellow is showing, but it's not all bad as I intend on using these troops in temperate, tropical, and desert environments, so it was the best I could come up with for a 'universal' camo.