Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wonder Woman in 1/32?

On Father's Day, through an act of cunning, I managed to schedule a trip to the movies to see Wonder Woman .

I have always liked WW, more so, than many other DC characters, and the issues of the comic that I have picked up in recent years have been good.  I'll spare you  an in-depth review.of the movie but  I came away thoroughly enamored of the character (despite some terrible dialog where my eyes quite nearly rolled out of their sockets) :

Wonder Woman is a bad-ass.



Now, you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with wargaming?

The movie is set during the late days of WWI. Every WWI scene cries out 'you can wargame this!', well it does if you're a wargamer - I suspect non-wargamers were not inspired in that way.

 And so, dear reader, that is how I found myself searching the web over the last few days for a suitable Wonder Woman in the appropriate scale.

For the more traditional forces, Armies in Plastic, has a suitable WWI line for one-stop shopping, including the necessary - for this project - WWI Germans in Stahlhelm Helmets, WWI British Army in Steel Helmets, WWI Highlanders (if you want to field that character) and importantly, a German A7V. You can also, if your wallet allows, field W. Britain and other collector-type soldiers.
Our heroine, however, is not so easy to procure.

As I see it there are two possible options: find an actual Wonder Woman figure and work with that or find a toy soldier that can be made to stand in for her.

There was a not-too-surprising lack of suitable toy soldiers in this scale. And no matter the case, a good deal of green stuff would be necessary for her outfit. Seeing as how many of the female figures are topless and wear skimpy outfits (particularly in the Fantasy genre), they do lend themselves to customization. Nude "dollies" for figure sculpting would work as well.

I am not afraid of trying this, but I'm also lazy and cheap frugal.

Instead, let us bring on the actual Wonder Woman figures.

This was more of a struggle than I thought it would be (now, if I wanted a 6" or 12" tall figure I'd have an embarrassment of riches) but I finally found this:


They are described variously as 2.25" and 2.5", and even as 2.75" on one site. They are  DC "figurines", although one site described them as cake toppers. Their intended purpose is of no consequence of course.

The Wonder Woman in this set has the advantage of being clad in an outfit that is close to matching Gal Gidot's (I would repaint the bodice, and use green stuff to add a skirt to the shorts, and dress up the boots a little). Her left arm is in the perfect position to mount a custom made shield, if so desired. And so that is the figure I will start with.

My project forces - using the GASLIGHT rules as a model since they're easily ported to various periods:

The Good Guys:
Wonder Woman (hero - in GASLIGHT i'd give her a couple of special abilities and hit points)

Optional:
1-2 10-figure unit of British (regular)
Small unit, or group of unattached, main characters: Highlander Sniper, the spy, the actor, the scout (holy crap, I just realized they're the A-team!)

The Bad Guys :
1-2 10- figure units of Germans
1 German tank
1 unattached German officer

Optional:
Ares (either metal or one of the cheap 60mm Supreme Greek Hoplites. He's a hero as well and would merit hit points and abilities)


The spear is not traditional for the comic character, but I like the pose.
So while the paint isn't even close to done on my VSF project, I'm starting another one.

That's how you know you're alive right?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Morschauser Modern: American and German forces clash at Hook's Farm!

Both sides descend on Hook's Farm, cottage, and the Firefly Church in equal measure.



American tanks coordinate their firing effectively and manage to bring down one of the German behemoths. 

Meanwhile, across the field of battle, an American tank drives back the opposing German armor. German infantry storms the church unopposed.


The farm is easily taken without a shot fired by a US platoon with a gun in support. So, too, goes the cottage.


German forces continue to hold the church and their armor mounts attacks on the Americans in the cottage, while a German squad(bottom right-ish) rushes to the aid of the HMG team pinned down in some ruins.


Having repelled an American infantry assault on the church in a vicious melee, the Germans focus their efforts on the isolated American tank.

box of dice? no no. it's a monolith.
Under fire from the church and from armor to their front, an American infantry bravely withstands it all from the disintegrating walls of the cottage. With their anti-tank grenades they eliminate a 2nd piece of German armor.


An aerial view shows the disposition of the forces, with most infantry in cover. Note that the tan k on the American right has taken out some of the infantry that had been harassing it. A frantic commander orders the tank crew turn its focus to the church to assist the gun team and infantry squads in clearing out the pesky Germans.


The American left begins to sweep one of its tanks and a gun around to the German right flank. The Germans respond in a desperate attempt to stave off defeat.


Suddenly finding itself in the sites of the German Jagdpanther, the Sherman on the hill retreats for safety.


With the American squads in the cottage and behind the stone wall eliminated, the Germans try to press home their assault on their left - focusing on the isolated tank - in an attempt to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.


Furious shelling from a gun and a Sherman take out the Jagdpanther. It is the deathblow for the German attack force.


Having suffered 50% losses, the German commander orders his troops to fall back.

Total turns: 7

*** Some notes that probably belonged on the last post ***

Initiative was card based - borrowing from a method used in old Two Hour Wargames rules. If the suits match, that side goes first. If the suits don't match, higher card goes first.

The ATG/field howitzers and mortars rained down their terror with impunity.

Melee with the roster system is 'interesting'.

Tanks are Solido and Rocco(?). Guns are CTS and Britains. Figures are Britains, Toy Soldiers of San Diego, Matchbox, 21st Century, and Airfix.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Morschauser Modern and Battle of Hook's Farm

As mentioned here, I had decided to try my hand at the esteemed Battle of Hook's Farm, set in WW2 rather than the more traditional Horse & Musket period, owing largely to an abundance in my collection of the former, and a dearth of the latter.

Before I get to the game proper, it seems wise to at least mention some of my pre-game decisions.

A map of the battle field from Little Wars: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks15/1500571h.html#sec4
First, how to convert Wells's tidy "a compact little force of 3 guns, 48 infantry, and 25 horse" to the period?

I opted for the following: treat this as a 1:1 type game and thus 48 infantry is roughly 5 infantry squads/sections in WW2. However, given the very close to 2:1 ratio of infantry to horse, I decided on 6 infantry squads/sections as 1 under-strength company if you will.

Why as 1 under-strength company?

To justify the use of armor in place of 'horse'. Of course, one cannot justify 25 tanks on the battle field, no matter how much fun that would be, when fielding only 48 infantry. A company could well be supported by a limited amount of armor however.

Following the same line of thought for infantry,  I decided 10 horse is roughly 1 vehicle, or 2.5 vehicles total. Rounding up, thanks to the 2:1 infantry to horse ratio, I get 2 sections : 1 vehicle.

Why 'vehicle' and not 'tank'?

While in the original, Hook's Farm is, despite the reports by the blue army commander, a battle between two exactly equal forces, I thought variety, being the spice of life, after all, was a better option. And given the make up of my toy soldier WW2 forces of 3 tanks, 1 jeep/kublewagen, and 1 APC for the US, and 4 for the Germans, some randomization could be entertained.

For the US: Roll 1d6, 1-4: tank, 5: jeep, 6: APC
For the Germans: Roll 1d6: 1-3 tank, 4: kublewagen, 5-6: APC

In the event, each side ended up with 3 tanks

As for 3 guns, I opted to stick with the number but again, randomize the exact conversion of the word 'gun'.

Roll 1d6: 1-3 ATG/Field Howitzer, 4-5: Mortar 6: HMG

The US ended up with 2 ATGs/Field Howitzers and a mortar. While the Germans acquired 1 ATG, 1 mortar, and 1 HMG.

So, to summarize the OOB:
Americans:
6 infantry squads/sections
3 tanks
2 ATGs/Field Howitzers
1 Mortar

Germans:
6 infantry squads/sections
3 tanks
1 ATG
1 Mortar
1 HMG

I had some issues translating the map in Little Wars to my table. I had originally planned to play on the floor, which would have allowed some more maneuvering but the presence of company in the living room prevented me from taking it over. As such, 'the country', was a bit cramped.

There were some modifications to be made to the rules: 6" for infantry, 9"for tanks, taken from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames WW2 rules, the 12" sighting rule from the same, and the weapon ranges also borrowed from those rules.

Morschauser's 'roster' option was employed with 4 points per infantry unit, and 2 points for everyone else.

Other situations were dealt with on the fly -occupying buildings is something Little Wars forbids and Morschauser doesn't really seem to address, so I left it to my gut as it occurred.

After setting out the US per the description of the blue army deployment, I mostly randomized the German force layout and started to play.

For a victory condition, I went with the first side to take out  >= 50% of the enemy would win the field, or at the end of 10 turns, I would count roster points remaining.

Next time, for real, the battle report.


Turn 1: The armies begin their advances.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Send in the Cavalry!

As mentioned previously, my war camels aren't needed in my One Hour Wargames Saracen force (I already have 4 bases of "knights") but I thought they, along with the unused foot soldiers would make a good skirmish force, of use in medieval, fantasy, and VSF games.

Unfortunately, the bases on all but 2 of the 12 camels were wonky as all get out - meaning any attempt to stand all but two of them was a failure.

Enter boiling water. A quick dip softened the bases and camel legs enough that I could shape them into upright camels of the finest sort.

Since they will likely be pitted against my pseudo-British force, I thought a picture was in order. It has the added bonuses of showing off my lancers again, as well as indicating the substantial differences between roughly 1/30 scale and nominally 1/32 scale figures (which seem more like 1/35 to my eyes):

"Tally hoooooo cr*p!"

In addition, I managed to put paint to my AIP Highlanders, but they have a way to go yet.

I also managed to play a game on Sunday night: a WW2 Battle of Hook's Farm. A report to follow later in the week as time allows.

"Two armies lay opposite and ready"

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Some Updates from the Administrative Offices

My new Saracens arrived yesterday, but I was on my way out the door to go to rehearsal (I play rhythm guitar in a swing orchestra), and so had little time for more than a cursory examination and sadly, no pictures.

Some quick thoughts about the Supreme Saracen figures:

  • they are BIG. I mean, I knew they were billed as 60mm so I expected some difference. I was thinking it'd be comparable to my Toy Soliders of San Diego Germans vs Airfix Germans, but it's much more noticeable. The new Saracens will have to be on their own sabots. 
  • the silver/red/blue figures are kind of garish, but the gold/red/green figures look the part to my mind.
  • The horseback archers stand just fine as foot archers, and so no conversion necessary - just some blu-tac to hold them to the sabots.
  • A small (3 or so) figures are suitable as levies for Neil Thomas's OHW army lists.
  • The war camels are pretty cool but, fresh from the package, only about half of them could stand on a flat surface without toppling. I have no need for cavalry in my OHW Saracen army, so I expect to put them to use in my VSF game.

Speaking of the VSF project:
  • Armies in Plastic Highlanders have been primed with white gesso. After I primed them, the mold lines seemed omnipresent and, while I ordinarily try to avoid cleaning such things off of figures (I do a horrible job no matter which method I try), I couldn't let them go. I did my best to trim them away and then gave a second coat of gesso. Now if only I could figure out what color their coats are supposed to be!


  • Of course, a day later, the Britain's Seaforth Highlanders over which I drool regularly, were available on ebay for an astoundingly reasonable price, including the shipping. I am fighting with all my will to not make the purchase.
  • I have decided upon the AIP Northwestern Indians from the French & Indian War line to act as yellow martians.
  • Technolog orcs - if I can acquire them priced reasonably - would make nice green martians.

WW2 and Hook's Farm

Although I started wargaming largely because of a chance read through of Wells's Little Wars, I have never tried to play out the Battle of Hook's Farm. So, given the strength of my WW2 collection, I decided to update the period and give it a try.

I made a post about this over on Little Wars Revisited. The short of it is that I will probably randomize forces by letting dice determine what "3 guns" means for WW2 forces.


My son's clone troopers man a very badly damaged PAK-40. The victim of a crushing blow from a giant's foot. These are the hazards of letting children play with your toys.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

VSF Project Begins

The first troops of my Victorian Science Fiction project in 1/32 have arrived!

I split the difference and decided to purchase Britain's set 8806 (from Ebay at a steal of a price) and use AIP Highlanders (although, of course, some 5188 sets have appeared at reasonable prices now).

Yes, the flag thing on the lance is upside down. I was too excited by their arrival to rotate it. The guns are firing Britain's models and are for my WW2 games. Pretend they aren't in the picture.
I don't think I've ever been as excited by any figures as I am by the set of lancers. They feel like proper toy soldiers, if you will - heroes of another age, full of lead and derring-do .

Here we see the first unit of 10 Highlanders mustering for basic training. Uniforms will be doled out as time permits.
The glue is intentionally sloppily applied at this stage. I swear.
I'm am as undecided on the color of their coats as I am the name of these fictitious units and their fictitious country.

Possibilities, unsurprising if you have read any of my WW2 blogs entries, revolve around characters from As Time Goes By, Are You Being Served?, and Keeping Up Appearances. So we have things like the Queens Own Fighting Pargetters, the Hardcastle Highlanders, The Hyacinth Bucket Brigade (pronounced 'bouquet brigade'if you please), etc. running about my brain.

If the Brits or Scots had a suitably named wine, this would be a lot easier (see my Riesling and Sauvingnon-Blanc forces, for example).



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Airfix Battles Scenario #3 and Morschauser

In addition to painting MDF coasters and basing my medieval armies, I re-based my WW2 Germans and Americans on 3" squares of card, painted the same Ceramcoat Green, and mounted 3 figures to a base (inspired by a re-reading of Morschauser). As with all things basing related, it remains to be seen how permanent this is (I used blu-tac, which probably says more about my level of commitment than I'd like it to).

Much to my surprise, the universe aligned and I had time to put toys on the table last night. Since I have an order of Saracens on the way to fill out some of the medieval ranks, the WW2 forces were chosen to break in their new bases. And as I had recently perused the free Airfix Battles Scenarios PDF and was intrigued by the 3rd scenario, with its abundance of armor on the table, it seemed like as good a decision as any.

You can download the PDF and read the scenario set up for yourself. What matters here is that I opted to play what is, from my limited understanding of Airfix Battles, a 1:1 skirmish, using Morschauser's Modern rules. I used 1 base per squad - which arguably looks a little skimpy, but not unlike a typical Neil Thomas OHW set up.

Initial deployment of Allied forces - randomized placement.

Morschauser might not be the obvious choice for such a game, but if using the roster system, its not much different than hit points in RPGs really. Or, at least, that's how I rationalized it. Treating them as abstract measures of combat effectiveness and not casualties helps.

There were some modifications however to make the scenario work.

First, I set the turn limit to 10. I have no idea about Airfix Battles rules, but the four rounds specified would hardly yield a game with Morschauser.

I went with my usual one-die per unit for attacks rather than one per strength point. Mortality is too high in my opinion when you have so few units on the table - this is the reason I have adopted this procedure whenever playing a One Hour Wargames scenario.

The part that required some serious thought was how to handle the fact that the Tiger I needed to be superior to the Shermans (they make a big deal about it in the scenario set up). Fortunately the simplicity of Morschauser's rules means modifications aren't difficult to bolt-on. I opted for three modifications to address this.

1) Instead of giving the Tiger a roster strength of 2, as standard tanks are given. I gave it 4, making it the equivalent of two Shermans.
2) The superior gun on the Tiger could hit on a 2, 4, or 6, the same way MGs do,
3) Any shot at the front armor of the Tiger would only score a hit on a 6.

In this way, the Tiger would be a force to be reckoned with but the Shermans would still have some chance of eliminating it.

In fact, if you look closely below, you'll see the topmost  Sherman managed to score a hit on the Tiger early


The Tiger responded in kind, and thanks to winning the initiative on the next turn, brewed up the Sherman in payback.


The PZ IV and Shermans were equally matched so it wasn't too surprising when the two leftmost Shermans coordinated to take out the PZ in a single turn.


One thing that flummoxed me was how to handle a tank overrunning infantry.  When a stand takes a single hit, it's an easy thing, but what about with the roster? I decided the overrun would have the same effect, but I'm not sure that's the right decision.

I really thought I could get the infantry close enough to use bazookas or AT grenades. SMH,
As the game began to wind down, a showdown took shape.

The German infantry AT weapons were useless against the Sherman to their left (I rolled 1s several times in a row) - leaving the Tiger to deal with both of the Allied tanks.


It took a few rounds but in the end, the Sherman's prevailed:


Anti-personnel MG fire took care of the remaining squad on the 2nd half of turn 10.  The Allied possessed the objective and had destroyed the Tiger for a decisive victory, despite the loss of 1 tank and 2 squads.