Monday, July 5, 2021

Some Blogging/Wargaming Stats


You may be aware that I've recently completed a bunch of different 15mm forces, and after playing so many squad-, platoon-, and company-level fights, I'm finally looking at playing some higher-echelon games, probably brigade-level fights.  I've mentioned looking at Rapid Fire Reloaded, Field of Battle WWII, and even a modified version of Fistful of Lead.  I received a comment here on Blackhawkhet that asked why I was looking at using different rules than my old reliable 5Core sets; this caused me to do a little (navel gazing?) thinking on how many fights I've actually played (at least since I began recording them), what rules I've used, and how often.  So, if you're interested, here ya go:

My inaugural blog post was 12 August 2013.  I began wargaming in 2009, and played my first games during the Christmas holiday of that year, then got in a lot of games in 2010, 2011, and the first month of 2012, usually two per weekend, cramming more in on holidays.  I played some Crossfire, some Cold War Commander, and a whole lot of Force on Force, I Ain't Been Shot Mum, and Bag the Hun.  I played a few games at a FLGS, some with friends and in-laws, but most of all I played with my father.  In early 2012 my old man was diagnosed with cancer, which caused us to stop playing, and by August he was dead.  I had all this wargaming gear but no one to play it with (my oldest boy was only 3 at the time, the youngest not yet born); and though I wanted to play, I didn't really feel like interfacing with anyone.  

Well, at least not face to face.  But I was hanging out on the internet, and there were some really helpful folks that got me started in solo wargaming and blogging, and this blog was the result.  The inspiration to play and blog came from these guys (in no particular order):

-Shaun Travers and his solo gaming in map drawers showed me that it could be done, and the idea that if you don't like something about a set of rules, then you should just change it, showed me how to go about getting where I wanted to be.
Shaun's Wargaming with Miniatures (

-Joe Legan and his Platoon Forward system gave me a framework for surprising myself whilst playing solo, and his character building and following helped me understand what I wanted out of solo gaming.
Platoon Forward

-Ronan was just a joy to talk to and read, constantly playing and posting.  I mean no disrespect when I say this, but his tables and minis were not the greatest.  They were small forces on small tables, with simple terrain, not going to win any modelling or painting prizes, but he was just playing and playing and playing and posting it for all of us to read, and he was having so much fun doing it that it made me stop thinking about it all and just jump in and start playing.  Even though some of you laughed at my buildings, walls, and emplacements simply spray painted khaki, and my hills made of cut up carpet ;)  Those were some of the best games I've ever played, and that's when I met most of my wargaming internet buddies online, just playing and posting and people enjoying them.
2 Dés à 6 faces (

-Jeff Butler - This guy came up with an alt-history idea he called "The 6mm Republic of Prussia," and my whole Cuba Libre blog and concept is nothing more than a rip-off of what he did.  It breaks my heart to know this, but it looks like he deleted the blog...  He was the one that came up with (or at least the first one I was aware of) a modern 'imagi-nation' that fit in with the rest of the real world, using small forces with named characters that you followed through multiple deployments, tracking their promotions and awards for valor.  This concept of gaming is literally what drove me to create a blog, play games, and post them, despite what my wargaming hobby has now grown into.

-And special mention to all the guys over at the Pendraken forum, who are too numerous to mention by name, but were so helpful and encouraging., literally teaching me how to start a blog and post stuff on the forums.
Pendraken Miniatures Forum - Index (

So I continued to paint and post stuff, and I began playing solo games and posting the 'battle reports,' or batreps, here.  I soon outgrew this blog, branching off, until reaching a whopping five blogs, including this one.  Here's what I've got:

-Blackhawkhet, the flagship, where I post all my painting projects and stuff I'm selling, as well as batreps that don't fit in the other blogs.

-Cuba Libre, my modern alternate history blog, where a 2nd Bay of Pigs invasion was carried out in 1989 and this time they succeeded in overthrowing Castro.

-Island Hopping with the Old (Lead) Breed, devoted to WWII in the Pacific,

-Little Lead Crusade in Europe, devoted to WWII in Europe, North Africa, and the Med.

-Sword of Gideon, devoted to the Israeli Defense Forces in the various Arab-Israeli Wars.

Throughout the various blogs I have posted a total of 839 times in the past (almost) eight years; 362 of those were miscellaneous posts, such as campaign plans, unit rosters, silliness like this, pictures of completed forces (everything from 3mm to 20mm), and items for sale, and a whopping 478 of my posts are batreps, about 59 fights per year.  Not bad, eh? ;)

But the point of the post was to take a look at the games I've played and the rules I've used.

Regarding the 5Core question, I've played 477 games since August 2013, and 259 of those used 5Core rules (either Five Men in Normandy, Five Men at Kursk, or 5Core Company Command).  That's about 54% of the games I've played.  Forgive me as I didn't separate out the 5Core rules, but here's a breakdown:

5Core: 259 games
Battle of Britain: 49 (very simple dogfighting rules, I found them last year and absolutely love them)
Some Corner of a Foreign Field: 21 (I was a playtester for Matt; he then sold them and I believe they are now called 'Danger Close')
Lacquered Coffins: 16 (nice rules, but I wanted even quicker)
KR-16: 14 (free rules by Michael Stockin, written for Sci-Fi but easily brought to WWII or modern)
Blitzkrieg Commander: 13 (these and Crossfire were the first rules I bought in 2009)
No End in Sight: 11 (another set of rules by Ivan, in addition to the 5Core sets)
Chain of Command: 10 (a nice set, but I have trouble with them solo)
I Ain't Been Shot Mum: 9 (I really like these, but they take me forever, usually 6-8 hours, so I don't play them as often as I'd like)
Bolt Action: 9 (these rules get a lot of grief from grognards, some of it well deserved, but my opinion is that this activation system is as good, or better, than anything else out there)
SOF Warrior: 8 (a set by my buddy Ben Lacey, these are kind of my go-to rules for modern Special Ops stuff, they do a great job at showing the qualitative difference between modern SOF troops and rabble, such as AQ or Taliban)
Squad Hammer: 6 (another damn set by Ivan!  These were a lot of fun, but not good enough to supplant his 5Core rules)
Combat Patrol: 6 (these were pretty doggone cool, but they just took too long for me.  I've had that same problem with all platoon-level sets that use singly-based figures, come to think of it)
Ambush Alley: 5 (I went old school and played five fights in Cuba Libre using the original rule set.  Lots of fun, but took too long)
One Hour Wargames: 4 (my older boy and I played some quick, fun Napoleonic games, not sure why we didn't keep it going)
What a Tanker!: 4 (I had big plans for these, and they were kinda fun, but I found myself in some very weird situations, even playing in 6mm)
Hell Hath No Fury: 3 (I had big plans for these, too, and they were a lot of fun, but just took too long)
Naval Unity: 3 (I liked the activation system so I took a Sci-Fi skirmish game and turned them into a WWII naval game)
Black Ops: 2 (Two???!!!  I can't believe it's only two!  I've got to get back to these, those two games were incredibly fun.  But they do take a long time...)
Nuts!: 2 (I had fun with these but, like Crossfire, I know lots of people that like them but I just can't seem to find the rhythm and get them to work)
Pz8 Dogfighting Rules: 2 (I used these a couple times and they were too simple for me, then along came Battle of Britan, which is pretty much the same thing, and I fell in love. I think it was BoB's campaign system that set me over the edge)
Crossfire: 1 (yeah, only a lonely playtest game with my older boy, still couldn't get it to work)
Black Powder: 1 (I really like the rules, just don't have any figures painted and based up for it)
Unity Field Agent: 1 (Holy crap, how many games has Ivan put out? These look nifty, but are skirmish rules and weren't going to move me off 5MAK)
Battlegroup Normandy: 1 (I know a lot of folks rave about these rules, and there's nothing wrong about them, but just not good enough to move me off some other sets I like.  I will say this: the Battle Rating and chit-pull for random events mechanism is pretty damn cool)
Final Combat: 1 (this set of rules is the WWII version of SOF Warrior, and I actually got to play them with the author, Ben, and his buddy, Roger, on the nicest table, and with the nicest figures, I've ever played on/with)

In case someone actually goes and adds them all up to see if the numbers match, they won't.  There are several cases where I tried to write my own rules (naval, skirmish, and dogfighting), playtested them 2-4 times, and none of them worked.

Further breakdown:

Modern Battles: 281
WWII Battles: 191
Napoleonic Battles: 5

Air Battles: 67
Land Battles: 407
Sea Battles: 3

Well, not sure anyone else will care about this, but it was cool to catalog everything for myself, and it was a great stroll down memory lane.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Rest assured I am going to play some games soon ;)  Man, I tell ya, I have been on a painting terror lately, just kicking stuff out left and right, and I'm so used to using all my spare time to get some painting or basing in that it feels strange if I'm not, even if I'm working to try and get a game in!  Add that to the 'one more thing' bug (that is, "I'm going to start a campaign here, but I just need this one more thing before I'm ready") and it's been tough to get going, but it's coming, I promise!


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

15mm WWII Japanese Forces


So here they are, I did it, knocked out the Japanese forces for WWII in the Pacific.  In record time, I might add ;)  Nothing special, but they look pretty good I think.  Like the US Marines, and in contrast to all my 15mm forces for Europe/North Africa/Mediterranean, these weren't built in accordance with Rapid Fire.  Hell, they weren't really built around any particular set of rules as I'm still trying to figure out what rules I'm going to use them with.  I keep looking at a modified version of 'Fistful of Lead,' which is the latest set of rules I've fallen in love with despite not actually having played them yet ;)

Here they are, the whole mess, all in 15mm.  The troops are all from Battlefront and Eureka, while the lone Type 95 tank is from Peter Pig and the five Type 97 tanks and two A6M Zeros are plastic or resin, manufacturer unknown.  I painted everything except the five Type 97s and the Zeros, which I picked up on Ebay (from the same guy who sold me the landing craft for the Marines).

The Japanese riflemen, four units (probably platoons) of three stands (probably squads) and a leader.  I can't really see doing it for the Pacific, but I've been looking at other rules to play higher echelons, where one of these rifle stands would represent a platoon, or even a company.

Yes, those are flags, and yes, they are poorly made by yours truly from some printer paper with a red Sharpie and some Elmers' glue.

So let's start by taking a look at the Japanese platoon command stands, each with a national ensign.  I have two stands where the sword-wielding wild man has a helmet (pictured), and two where he's wearing a soft cap.

Another look.

The soft cap.  His sword-holding hand is kinda big, but not bad otherwise.  All the troops on these stands are from Eureka.

A closeup.

A look at one of the rifle stands, where you can see the second guy at left is advancing with his rifle slung, carrying a "knee mortar," AKA Type 89 Grenade Discharger, in his left hand.  The rest carry the standard Arisaka rifle.

Another rifle stand.  I really love the dynamic pose of the guy furthest right, lunging with his bayonet, and I love how Eureka sculpted most of the helmet-wearing guys with their soft cap on underneath it, with the cloth hanging down to shade their necks.  

Another rifle stand, this time showing a 'knee mortar' in use.

Another rifle stand, showing a soldier wielding a Type 96 light machine gun, replete with bayonet (foreground, nearest camera).

A look at these guys from behind, showing their light gear and how I marked the bases for unit recognition.

The heavy weapons.  A platoon of four machine gun teams from Battlefront, a pair of 81mm mortars from Eureka, a pair of 70mm howitzers from Eureka, and two Type 98 20mm anti-aircraft guns from Battlefront.

Four Type 92 heavy machine guns from Battlefront.  I'm really a big fan of Eureka, but their MGs don't look right to me, the Battlefront figures look much better to me.  The only issue was that I had to add plinths to each to get the gun high enough to meet the gunners' hands, but I don't think you can really tell.

A closer look at the 'woodpeckers,' so nicknamed for the distinctive 'bonk-bonk-bonk' sound they made due to their extraordinarily slow rate of fire.  US Marines apparently often simply referred to them as 'Nambus,' as well.


And from behind.
Another team, this time with the gun set at center (whereas the previous team's gun was set on the right).  I really like how you can see the assistant/loader (far right) standing by with the next strip of rounds.

Another look.

And one more.

A pair of mortars from Eureka.  The tubes pictured are actually US Marine 81mm mortars, and the ones that came with the Japanese were really short.  Since I wanted the US Marines to have 60mm mortars, I simply swapped them with the Japanese tubes, and ya didn't even notice ;)

A closer look.  I really like the Japanese command figure (far left) with field glasses, sword in hand, resting on the ground.

So let's have a closer look.  Not sure what I did, but the colors sure got washed out in this photo.

Another look, from behind.

A pair of Type 92 70mm Infantry Guns.

A closer look.


A pair of Type 98 20mm AA guns, from Battlefront.  In all fairness, these were originally painted and based by my buddy AJ, but I totally re-did everything but the guns themselves in order to make them fit with the rest of the force.

A closeup.


And one more.

Japanese support, in the form of some engineers with pole charges (I see they called them 'lunge charges,' they are hollow charges for anti-tank work) and flamethrowers, and three stands of snipers, all from Eureka.

A stand of lunge charges.


And one of the flamethrowers.  Uncharacteristically, I painted them in rather subdued grays and browns.  You have no idea how bad I wanted to paint those tanks red ;)


And from behind.

One of the Japanese sniper stands.  I'm sure three stands seems like a lot of snipers, but with all the times you read about Marines running into light resistance, fight through rear guards, or having to mop up stragglers and stay behinds, I'm sure I'll need them.  

Reverse.  I really like the camo on these guys.

And one more.

Japanese command (excluding the Platoon Commanders previously shown, of course).  The overall force commander is at left (the three figure stand), while the three smaller two-man stands at right are designed for one of them to be a Forward Observer and the other two can simply serve as additional platoon commanders, as needed.  The two stands at top center are from Eureka, while the left and far right stands are from Battlefront.  Again, my buddy AJ did the left command stand originally, but I had to re-do them to make them fit in (not his fault, it was mine, I had bought them from him before I decided on how I wanted to do these guys).

A closer look at the Commanding Officer stand.


And once more.
The other Battlefront command stand, with grass sticking all over the damn place...


And a look at one of the FO stands, with command figure and radioman.

Another look.


Other side.

And once more.

A group of five Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks, bought off Ebay.

Not beautiful, but good enough for me ;)

And somewhere along the way I picked up a single Type 95 Ha-Go tank from Peter Pig.  Much smaller than the Type 97s.

A closeer look.

And lastly we've got a pair of Zeros.

It's actually kinda funny, because they're kinda photogenic, despite looking pretty damned ugly up close and in person.

Well, there they are, finished and ready to hit the table.  Well, almost.  I still need to do up casualty figures for the Japanese and Marines, and I need some air support for my Marines, as well as some more Amtracs, and probably another M-1 37mm anti-tank gun and 75mm pack howitzer...

So, let me know what you think, and with baseball finally winding down I'll see if I can actually get some games in soon.