Monday 27 February 2017

1/2400 Tirpitz and Friends

My WW2 Collections are all 1/3000 and are definitely too big for me to even consider a foray into 1/2400. However I was recently approached by a gaming chum to put these together and paint them up for a Raid on Tirpitz game set in late 1944.

I have painted Tirpitz in its final colour scheme which was considerably simpler (thank god) than some of the earlier versions. Gone was the giant red flag and in was a muted scheme, dark grey hull and light grey uppers.

The models are of course GHQ, the level of detail on these ships never ceases to amaze me, they can be a real pain to put together and some of the smaller gun barrels never seem to bend straight. These however are small quibbles they are just great, although with the drop in the value of the pound they are becoming a bit of a luxury item.

Also in the package to paint were these 3 Destroyers, I have given them a simple painted scheme, grey all over with mid brown on the decking around the guns and bridge.

The great Battleship was under tow or stationary in the intended scenario so I haven't done much in the way of bow waves, just adding a bit of white alongside the lower hull suggesting waves breaking against the ship.

Whilst I was painting these I had a rogue Merchant ship to get finished so I chucked that in the mix at the same time and got it finished.

The ship is sold as a WW2 Armed Transport / Liner however it is destined for my WW1 collection, I have been looking for something suitable for the likes of Otranto and this will do nicely.

Monday 20 February 2017

Yarkshire Gamer is 3 years old !

Happy Birthday YG

Project Jutland was 2016
So here we are once again at the end of my gaming year. Feb 19th 3 years ago was the day when I finally got round to starting this blog, I had the Name and even the front page done back in 2010 but just never got anything "out there".

The blogging is still fun, I really haven't found a better way of recording the little miniature adventures I take part in. The pages here act as a great reminder to me when it comes to uniform colour schemes, previous games etc. It's great to look back personally for me, a photo album of my gaming activities, if you like. An old friend from back in the day found some old photos of a Leipzig game we played in the 80s a while back and it brought back great memories of that time, the game and those people, some of who I haven't seen in years. Looking back how I wish I had pictures of all those old games.

28mm SCW game "University City"
Last year I failed again to get my 28mm Crusades project up and running, other distractions mostly Nautical got in the way again. The Jutland project was a massive undertaking, 250 ships in 1/2400 scale (one of which had to be home made) was no small ask but it's been great to have the whole collection on the table and couple of times.

The Jutland Project saw me being interviewed for a podcast and having my first ever figure pictures in a Wargaming Magazine, which was nice.

I have been involved in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge this year for the first time and that has been great in kick starting my painting for the year. I still haven't got going on the Crusades yet but have finished a large chunk of 15mm SYW as well as more WW1 troops for Mesopotamia and some SCW.

15mm SYW French Guard
2017s project will again be an attempt to get the Crusades going, that is until I am once again distracted. I have picked up quite a bit of weird stuff recently 7tv, Malifaux, The Walking Dead and the rebooted Escape from Colditz game so I would definitely like to try those out over the coming months.

Before I review the top 10 posts of the year I would just like to thank all those who have visited, commented on or otherwise contributed to Yarkshire Gamer this last 12 months and hope to see you all again soon.

All the titles on the top 10 link back to the original post.

Yarkshire Gamer All Time Top 10.

10. Battle of Newbury 1643 Scenario

Without doubt one of my favourite periods and collections I always try and get one big ECW game a year in, sadly a defeat for the Righteous King (how is that democracy thing working out at the moment ?) in our action but it was a great refight.

9. Prelude To Leipzig 1813

This post details my first foray back into Napoleonic gaming, my first love and biggest (6000 plus 15mm figures), it was a first attempt at General de Brigade rules and although not 100% happy (I miss my Quarrie National Characteristics and no I don't care if they are old school) it seemed to work well. We have had another couple of games and we are nearly there. My Figs are all based at 33:1 so its been a case of trying to shoe horn the Figs into the rules.

8. The Battle of Gaines Mill 1862 Part 1

This post has proved to be both successful and resilient, this was last years No 1 Post so although it's dropped 7 it's still hanging on. A tribute to the US following of YG who do like a post about the ACW.

7. The Walking Dead (Mantic) Preview

In at 7 is one of Yarkshire Gamers reviews, I was completely unaware of the Kickstarter for this Game and came across it by chance at the Recon show in Pudsey. A cracking game and one I have invested in further, just need the time to play the damn thing.

6. Project Jutland - A Grand Day Out

The first of two Project Jutland posts in the top ten for the year. This post covers the games first ever public outing, at the FIASCO show at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. It was a great day getting the project on the table and I can honestly say that I hardly had a moment spare when I wasn't chatting to someone about the project.

5. X Wing The Campaign Begins

Now this post is becoming a proper Klingon ! It's appeared in the top ten for three years running. Although the Campaign has slowed a little with my work commitments it's still going strong and Game 30 is due soon. All the individual games link back to this single post as it contains all the Campaign rules which are updated as the game progresses so no surprise that folk keep going back to it.

4. Project Jutland - WTJ and the Grand Fleet Review

This was the most popular Project Jutland post of the year, it came about mid way through the Project when I had just finished the last of the British Dreadnoughts including some ships for WTJ, a high water mark in the Project in many ways.

3. 28mm Princess Bride Style Miniatures Review

Another review grabs the bronze medal this year, just 4 figures this time but what a great set of figures.

2. Deep Cut Studio Mat Review

Second position is another review, this one for the latest "craze" amongst us gamers, printed gaming table "mats", great products simple as, however if they managed 10% sales on the back of visits to the review I should be due a discount.

And Finally......

Last years number 2 is this years number 1. My how to base and paint WW1 Naval miniatures,  remarkably popular still.

Thanks again for your continued interest and support.

Sunday 19 February 2017

28mm AWI Queens Rangers Hussars

More new additions have been made to my 28mm AWI Collection recently and following on from my British 17th Lt Dragoons I managed to get this small 6 figure unit of Queens Rangers Hussars finished, which means I have gone from no AWI Cavalry to 18 in a short time. I feel a game coming on.

The figures are from the fantastic Perry Miniatures range and if I remember correctly they were one of the first figures to be released when the range came out. I bought them shortly after release and my castings where nice and clean, with only a minimal clean up required.

Painting wise it my usual Vallejo Acrylics for the figures and oils for the horses with a sculpted base, basetex and grass tufts for effect.

No real challenge paint wise here, they are basically Green with a bit of black and flesh. I have seen various versions of the uniform especially the facings which I have seen both black or black with white piping. I never did manage to see a pic of the rear of the uniform so I guessed black for the turn backs.

For a simple looking unit they are quite eye catching, it will be good to get them on the table soon. The unit were part of my entry into the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and helped me get over my initial target with 6 weeks to go. The challenge has been a great help keeping the painting mojo alive.

I'm cracking through some 28mm SCW for our Jarama refight which is on hold for a few weeks whilst the Naval Campaign finishes. Also on the paint table are some 28mm WW1 Highlanders and some 1/2400 WW2 Naval, it keeps me out of trouble  !

Saturday 18 February 2017

WW2 Baltic Naval Campaign Game 1 : Daily Patrol

One of the yearly traditions here at Yarkshire Gamer along with the Xmas WW1 Mesopotamian game is the Naval Campaign, usually played around Easter Time it's always one of my favourite parts of the YG calendar.

Last year however with the madness of Project Jutland the Naval Campaign slipped out of the calendar as we had somewhat overdosed on the nautical aspect of the hobby. I had planned and half prepped a Baltic Naval Campaign set in late 1941 a while back and in anticipation I had built up 1/3000 (Our chosen WW2 Naval Scale) fleets for both the Soviet and German Forces.

So as 2017 rolled round it was the ideal time to brush off the blue cloths and get to sea again. The Campaign is played in a series of linked scenarios, which regular readers will know is my preference, I just can't be bothered with plotting individual search grids anymore.

German Airpower
So our intended area of interest is the Baltic Sea and I must give a big plug here for the Command at Sea PDF Baltic Arena which can be downloaded from the Wargames Vault for a fee, which even if you don't game is still a fantastic source of information on this neglected theatre of the war. This first scenario is very similar to one in the book.

The games would see our first ever use of both Submarines and Mines which proved to be very successful although they do require an umpire.

Historical Background of the Campaign 

Our series of games, as the title suggests are set in the Baltic Sea area during the late summer and autumn of 1941. We will be exploring the entry of the German Navy into the area and it's subsequent operations up to and including the entry of the powerful Baltenflotte into the theatre in Sept of that year.

I have attempted to put together a historically realistic Campaign but as always my emphasis has been on playability and enjoyability so if you are a purist please bear that in mind as you read on.

Each game will be presented in the same format including player Briefings which should only be read by that side.

Game 1 Background

It's July 1941 and the German Land Forces are racing up the Baltic Coast, the capture of the port of Riga is complete but the advance has stalled just to the North of the city. The Kriegsmarine have been tasked with escorting some Naval transports into Riga whilst the Soviet Navy are out and about on general Naval Duties.

Game 1 Map

One of the great things about Naval gaming is that the set up is usually quite straight forward, its usually just a blue cloth however on this occasion we really pushed the boat out with some hills masquerading as land masses. For those of you who know the geography, the location of Riga is representative.

The use of submarines and mines meant that I needed to work out a method of griding off the table into sectors, a number of methods were dismissed (tailors chalk, counters etc) before I decided on running thread across the table and holding it place with pins. I did try a dark blue thread initially but couldn't see the damn thing so I went with a dark red for the contrast. Our table is 12 x 6 ft.

Game 1 Soviet Navy Briefing

"Comrades, the glorious Land Forces of the Soviet are fighting bravely against the Fascist Pig Dogs, who dare to place their dirty paws on the hallowed ground of the party. So far the Glorious Soviet Navy have not had the pleasure of engaging the Nazi Lickspittle. 

We continue to develop our military capabilities in the area awaiting the inevitable arrival of the Kriegsmarine, your forces enter the table in square D1,

1) The Destroyers Serdity and Silly  (7U Class) have been stripped down to carry mines, they have no torpedoes and mines cover the deck, superstructure and Torpedo Tubes. Proceed to location A2 where you must lay the mines (2 turns in a straight line at 16 knots max). You are under strict instructions NOT to engage the enemy until your mission is complete, a Commissar is on board to ensure compliance.

2) The elderly Novik Class Destroyers Engles, Artem and Volodarski are on general patrol and enter with the 7U Class Destroyers.

You have two submarines on patrol, inform the Umpire of their location before the game begins. You also have two areas of pre laid mines which you may place in rows B,C or D.

Limited air power may arrive in support.

Team Soviet
Game 1 German Navy Briefing

"Our superior forces continue to smash the weak Communist scum back to their Moscow slums, the time for Schnapps and Medals is here.

Powerful Naval Forces are rumoured to be arriving soon and in preparation we are escorting two Naval Transports full of supplies to Riga, just behind the front line.

We have two minesweeper ships under command (MS1 and MS2) to aid our progress as intelligence suggests that we are likely to encounter mines in the area.

The Destroyer Z-20 and two Torpedo Boats are escorting the force with orders to get the convoy through under all costs. All ships begin the game in square A7.

The Luftwaffe is hard at work on the Land Campaign but we may receive some support during the action."

Team Germany Convoy
Umpire Notes

For the submarines I used the GQ rules which are nice and straight forward, quite abstract but enough for a campaign game without  bogging it down into calculating depths etc. There is a free flow chart HERE on the Naval Wargames Society site to download, I counted each square on the table as an operational area for a sub, it remained in its square for the duration of the game.

In the Baltic Arena book mentioned above, there is some spectacularly complex details on mines and their use in the theatre. I decided to opt for a simple method.

Only Mine Sweepers can detect mines (other ships can by exploding one of course) Each ship which moves in a mined square must roll a d100 to see if it sets a mine off, 20% chance for a Capital ship, 15 for a Heavy Cruiser, 10 for a Merchant or Light Cruiser and 5 for a Destroyer. Each turn a MS spends in the square the effectiveness of the field reduces by 20%. Basic stuff but I don't want to get bogged down with different types of mines etc.

Team Germany 2
A mine hit works the same as a Torpedo but roll 1d100, 0-33 full effect, 34-66 half effect and 67+ quarter effect.

Aircraft as follows roll 1 d20 per turn per side,

Germans receive 1 flight of 6 Bf109 F-2 on a 15-17 and 1 flight of 6 Ju88 A-4 on 18 to 20. German flights arrive in square A7. Fighters are free to act however Bombers will fly along column A heading for Osel and attack a ground target there unless they spot Soviet ships (using your normal rules) at which point they will deviate to attack those on a roll of 3-6 on a d6 (1 roll only per flight).

The Russians will receive 1 flight of 6 I15s on a 15 or 16 and a flight of 6 Tup SB-2bis Bombers on a 17 to 20. As with the Germans the fighters are free to roam however the Russian Bombers will fly from A1 down row A to bomb Riga, they will deviate on a 4-6 on a d6 if they spot German Naval Units.

Early in the game T1 is on fire.
Our Game

We managed four of us for the first couple of games so with me umpiring Andy took the Germans whilst Rob and Steve took the Russians.

The first 4 moves went relatively quietly, a dogfight was going on over the German ships between some 109s and some I15s but things quickly heated up on turn 5, a Soviet sub in square A5 had spotted the German ships the previous turn and had received instructions to attack. A quick roll of the dice and it was determined that the attack was undetected, as torpedoes sped towards the rear ship in the German line, the Torpedo Boat T1, breath was held, a cracking noise and an explosion was heard as one of the fish found its target.

First casualty of the Campaign on turn 6
There is not a lot to a TB and although it survived the initial Torpedo hit, it was on fire and the subsequent damage the next turn finished it off. The Germans had a problem however as they had an undetected sub lurking amongst their fleet. The first gun shots of the Campaign occurred on turn 7 with Z-20 trying it's luck at long range against Artem managing a hit the following turn.

Sub attack
It was then that the Soviet sub appeared again, this time it wasn't quite so lucky, it was spotted as it made its attack, put off as the escorts saw it the Torpedo attack was ineffective and the Kriegsmarine were able to drive the sub off. It clung to the bottom of the sea for the remainder of the game but survived to make it back to port for a well deserved pint of Wodka and a Hero's welcome. 1 - 0 to the Russians.

Russian Bombers approach Riga
The first couple of groups of Russian Bombers had reached Riga and dropped their bombs there, the next group however spotted the German Fleet, it quickly wished it hadn't as a flight of 109s appeared from out of the Sun and dispatched the Bombers in one turn.

Whilst the action raged in the southern end of the gulf at the Northern end the Russian 7U Destroyers completed their mission and laid their mines, foot to the floor they sped up to join the Destroyer dogfight.

The old Russian Destroyers had chipped away at the merchants with little success but were outclassed and outgunned by the Z20. A hand full of odds beating dice put 5 shells into the Engles setting her on fire and jamming her rudder, the Germans must have fitted a laser designator on their ship as 4 of the 5 shots hit the exact same spot on the Engles not bad out of a possible 32 different locations (odds anyone ?)

However it was the next turn that defined the game, the Z20 and the remaining Torpedo Boat launched a Torpedo attack on the three elderly Soviet ships, with her damaged Rudder Engles was always going to be at risk but with a spot of bad luck and some quality German dice rolling all 3 where hit by Torpedoes.

The Russian player was still relatively confident as Andy has a bit of a reputation, from our previous campaigns of rolling duds when it comes to Torpedo hits, but not this time, all three worked and caused damage.

With a 15% chance of sinking you could bet your house on a 16.
The photo above shows the last hope for the Russians but it wasn't to be, all three of the old Destroyers were sunk, the Project 7U ships saw the carnage and turned for home.

But that wasn't the end of the game, the German merchants still needed to get home to Riga, an easy job if there wasn't a submarine and a mine field between the cargo ships and their destination.

The submarine again managed to radio it's position , and get an attack away, one of the merchants was struck on the bow with a Torpedo,  it survived but only just, luckily the Germans managed to detect the sub and damaged it preventing further attacks, a final setback occurred for the Germans when the undamaged Merchant struck a mine. It was lucky though and suffered minimal damage.

So both sides completed their mission objectives  (the Germans just, one of the merchants was only just afloat). The Russians had lost three ships the Germans one, the Soviet losses were old obsolete Destroyers and there is plenty more where they come from, an explosive start to our Campaign.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Total Battle Miniatures 15mm Black Powder Terrain Review

Over the past few years I have been building up both my 15mm SYW Armies and adding to what was a mostly a Pennisular based Napoleonic force with more Central European troops. With this change of theatre came the requirement for suitable terrain for the tabletop.

I have been searching for quite some time now for something suitable, whilst being tempted by some of the MDF options available and having gone down that road for 28mm SCW, I still prefer a good resin cast if I can find one.

I came across from a generic Internet search and was sufficiently impressed to fire off a test order to see what they were all about. So for 26 of your English Pounds I purchased this, the 15mm Black Powder "Hamlet" set.

What I really liked about the set was the above base which comes with the Hamlet, made of a flexible latex type material. I was weary of it at first and kept waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats about flaking paint however the owners of the company were great and sent me an explanatory email which was a great help.

It has slots for each of the three buildings which looks great but also gives an option to exchange building models as they become damaged (hint hint !), there is a small stone wall at one end of the Hamlet and marker stones at the entry / exit points.

The secret is in using flexible acrylic paints so rather than my standard Halfords Matt black spray I went with a Vallejo Burnt Umber base coat on the cream colour latex, I used a watery wash of the paint to make sure it filled the indentations. Letting it dry thoroughly I used a heavy dry brush of Flat Earth and then a highlight dry brush of Tan Yellow.

In my standard old school basing method I add patches of dry brushed basetex to the groundwork however with the flexible nature of the manufacturing substance that would definitely not work here. At this stage I have gone for a simple painted option for the greenery, I may look at some form of flocking in the future. To finish the base off I have used some brown ink to make the suggestion of cart tracks through the model.

The main meat of the pack are these three buildings, from top to bottom, a single house, a terrace of 3 properties and a barn. I found the models, which are resin, well cast with only very minimal miscasting on the brick work. I used my standard painting method on these with my usual black undercoat.

So in summary an excellent purchase, I think I may well have solved my supplier problem for 15mm buildings and I will be definitely adding to my collection of these over the months to come, highly recommended.