Base(ing) Instincts & Emplacements

The new AQMF tank sprues come able to build the basic Mark II tanks and the larger Mark III tanks that have a bigger superstructure. Obviously theis leads to lots of redundant/spare parts. My brain cell had a brain wave on Saturday when I was building more tanks as to what to do with the spare parts.

I had already ditched a number of the spare parts, but had retained enough to make 5 turrets, four with cannon, one with an HMG as a “command” turret.

I remembered that the French and Germans in WW2 used dismembered tank turrets as static defenses.

So I chose a 60mm base to mount them on. These are by co-incidence the same size bases that I use to base support weapons (HMGs/Mortars) on for my AVBCW and BoB units.

I’d started off a few years ago using the old GW bases that their WH40K heavy weapon teams came on, but they phased these out. So I did some scratching around on evil-bay for them, but they are few and far between.

In this picture, the top left one if a GF9 60mm base that is magnetic, I picked it up in a store in Cardiff, but its heavy, expensive and as you can see twice as thick as the GW 60mm that is lower right (upside down with the circular pits).

Doing a quick search, I found a new company called Hurlbat that now do 60mm bases as cheap as chips. their only downside is that they are “shiney”, and have no surface texture so you need to spray them before trying to paint them with a brush and normal paint.

By using this regular size of base for support weapons I can use my CD scenery bases and design some so that you can place the support weapon actually in the cover, rather than balance the weapon and crew rather inelegantly on top of the scenery.

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The turrets mounted on the bases, just the right size !

the turrets painted up easily. Same as the tank:

  • black undercoat;
  • Foundry Moss Shade;
  • GW Camoshade wash
  • GW Leadbelcher silver;
  • GW Nuln Oil black wash.

Now I have a static line defence to use in AQMF.

Obviously with a little bit of imagination similar bunkers and scenery pieces can be made – loading bays for instance – camouflaged redoubts and so on. Therte are some rules for fortifications in the rule book so I’ll be offf working out what these items really represent.

AVBCW: Big Game Hereford 27th September 2014

Byakhee JP & I are planning our next Big Game, provisionally 27th September. So if you’re interested send me a post a comment and I’ll get back to you.

JP has posted the basic details on his blog.

As you will read, its about the Golden Valley Railway, so yet more railway induced madness. The initial plan is for two tables.

The first is the very obvious fight over a railway station.

I bought the Sarrisa Wild West station, ostensibly for the BoB game, but it didn’t arrive until the preceeding Friday lunchtime, and with all the other stuff needing to be done I decided not to try building it in a hurry. Having jogged my memory, I’ve just taken a look at it, and my decision was spot on. It’s not terribly complicated but it is going to be a bugger to put together. It’s a nice generic wooden railway station, which a few appropriate British railway signs will fit the bill for what we need.

The second table will be a more generic table with forces fighting for the railway line. Roo has volunteered to do a special bit of terrain for us – and this time with more time to do so he’s hoping to get the soil colour right. 😉

A Grave Situation

In many AVBCW scenarios and games tables is a church. Unlike reality they are rarely circled with a graveyard.

So I have determined to resolve that. I bought a pack of the Renedra gravestones.

The set should do four of these bases (7×6″) to give a good amount of open space that is not plain green grass, provides some cover and makes the scenery, ahem, come alive. It will also make the Church much more of an objective, with plusses and minusses for the various factions to use and abuse.

I’ll add some flowers to the next couple of pieces.

Of course this meant I wondered what a Russian graveyard looks like for my RCW/BOB games….

Passport to Pimlico

One of the free DVDs I got was Passport to Pimlico, so with my interest in AVBCW I watched it last night. Its an old film from 1949, b/w filmed after WW2 and clearly taking advantage of the war torn London streets.

Its obviously dated, everyone is SHOUTING their lines, because that makes them more FUNNY, and everyone LAUGHS OUT LOUD and have loveable COCKNEY accents. But hey its still a good watch for a change from CGI car chases and the like.

What makes it relevant to AVBCW, is the disintegration of a nation, and its supply lines. The Pimlico/Burgundy enclave soon gets cut off from food, power and water. That;s something we haven’t really played out yet in AVBCW, so its very useful ffrom that point of view in stimulating some of the more basic issues AVBCW would throw up. However, as always, we tread a fine line between AVBCW’s practical aspects and its more gentler aspects.

Anyone for tea ?

AVBCW: The Hereford Campaign

Byakhee JP has posted some of the outcomes following our latest Big Game – The Second Battle of Foy.

The BUF (Cavalry under Captain Arrowsmith’s command pictured), along with their nominal allies the Royalists having been disarmed and ejected from Foy, there was a wider pattern of allegiences being forged.

JP has diligently updated the map of Hereford parishes and their allegiences, and added a narrative that helps take forward our Herefordian campaign.

This year, I hope to have some more games, where I actually get to play “my” faction, the Malvern Hills Conservators (MHC), so I’m eyeing those white patches of unaligned Parishes on the eastern fringes of Hereford. I can feel a good scrap or two being fought over them between Royalist, LDV, BUF and the MHC.

Threats of intervention from Shropshire have been made by several of those local factions, along with insinuations as to the nature of the relationship between Sir Gilbert, his wife, and his secretary (Miss Sweetmeat), and others.

The (newly installed) Suffragan Bishop of Ludlow rejoices at the return to the true faith of certain parishes in Herefordshire.

Contemplating the future from the highest tower of his HQ (and transport park) , Ludlow Castle, however, a burning question remains.
In fact, two.

Where now is the Archbishop of Herefordshire ?
Has the dastardly Foy regrown his moustache ?

The Suffragan Bishop is now regretting placing his intelligence gathering machine in the hands of a local farmer, Bartram Simpson, as not even considerable expenditure at the crowded bar of The Feathers Hotel over the last few weeks has resulted in any useful snippets of information. Bart would find answers on the back of postcard a real face – saver (and job – saver).

Meanwhile, Arthur Snout, the fiercely independent proprietor and editor of “The Ludlow Leader” is not interested in the answers to either of the above questions (although he will devote a column or two to the answers if they arise). True to the traditions of Fleet Street, the editor seeks to fill his (wartime reduced – save paper !) pages with an even more pressing regional (not to say, national) issue : what are the precise domestic arrangements of Sir Gilbert ? Was Miss Sweetmeat really an exotic dancer in the nightclubs of the Turks & Caicos Islands before taking her Pitmans Shorthand Course (by correspondence) and being engaged as Sir Gilbert’s secretary ? Has Lady Hill really taken refuge (together with considerable solace) in the arms of not one, but two, of Sir Gilbert’s gamekeepers (Messrs Mills & Boone) or is she party to an exotic continental arrangement with Sir Gilbert and Miss Sweetmeat herself ? Opinion at the bar of The Feathers Hotel is divided : the presses of “The Ludlow Leader” cannot long stand idle….

More is to be revealed…

In the face of this anarchy and aggression, the MHC under the tender stewardship of Sir George Moonbat and Sir Johnathan Porridge have decided to make a move to secure the western flanks of the Malvern from aggressive factions in Herefordshire and Shropshire in order to extend their warm and welcoming embrace of environmental concern and ensure stability and conservation of the natural order are continued.

AVBCW: Here’s one I did earlier

For the Big Game last Saturday I did a couple of new scenery pieces, and bought some bocage style hedges from Jon & Diane Sutherland.

About 2 years ago I bought some buildings on e-bay from a dodgy vendor who shorted me out of over £100, but about 2/3rds of the goods did reach me, and to be fair they were very nice. I had long planned to put a couple of these very British terrace houses together and make a country Post Office. I’d even got an appropriately sized piece of MDF cut as a base, but I just never got round to it.

Well having to dress a third table, concentrated my mind ! So I dug out the pieces and started work. The MDF board has the dolls house paving glued to it. I had envisaged the base would have a pavement out the front of the buildings, around the side and a paved yard behind the P.O.

The two (resin) buildings were assembled and glued to the base.

The edges of the base were painted in – a small but noticeable flaw if you don’t do this. (Or is this just me being obsessive ?)

Then the back garden was flocked.

By now it was Friday lunch, the static grass was added, and I left it on the kitchen window sill for an hour to dry out – the extra wamth from the sun helped dry it all out ASAP.

Because I needed to add the brillo pad hedging ! Yes simple brillo pads chopped up, sprayed a darker green and then highlighted with Foundry Forest Green and Moss.

The only thing I didn’t have time for was to add the lettering on the front of the shop !

Very simple to do, but makes it stand out as a more important “objective” and makes it useable in urban locations as well as rural.

AVBCW: A Royal Mitre Exchange 2

Soon the first exchanges of fire started, except strangely on Table 2….

The BUF moved their French tankette towards the level crossing towards the Anglican League, but the driver or machine seemed strangely inept and kept stalling. This obviously inhibited the advance of the Nice South African Royalists.

A BUF unit did manage to cross a hedge on the second go, and then stood around a lot not doing much before eventually sidling along the hedge at the bottom of the embankment towards the railway crossing.

NB: We were using some rules modifications to test for entire units crossing obstacles not model by model as this tends to slow down play in large games like this.

On Table 3, the BUF were not hanging around.

Captain Arrowsmith’s motorised cavalry column stormed up the road towards Sir Gilbert and the Anglican League. He had got all but his cavalry in soft skin transport. He was flanked by Captain Arnett who deployed a field gun to ensure that the AL and Sir Gilbert’s gangsters brave LDV could not get past the BUF.

Sir Gilbert and co ready themselves !

On Table 1

The Royalists fail to break through, and turn tail before the Red Menace.

Phuttt, Fizzle !!!!!

On Table 2, lots of strange roadside items were laid out, barrels, a strangely large number of Post Office Boxes, and unmarked vans. Just as the Nice South Africans passed a barrel, there was a strange sound, and it was revealed to be a roadside bomb !

All the present factions (BUF, AL, Royalist) immediately sought to find and destroy any other such cowardly and wretched items, targeting the suspicious post boxes, vans and so on. It was soon revealed many of these items were indeed similar booby traps and were swiftly dealt with. Strangely, the post boxes seemed to be genuine, so a few letters managed to get damaged with anti tank rifle rounds. Now who had carried out this act of indiscriminate destruction ?

Back on Table 3

The BUF de-train…

And promptly shoot up the (corrupt) local Police that were obviously acting in collusion with Sir Gilberts gangsters LDV. Captain Arrowsmith had at least resisted temptation to shoot up/bomb/burn the buildings he’d passed, but the Policemen were a provocation too far.

Sir Gilbert and the AL responded in kind, shelling and mortaring the closely packed BUF infantry that came off the worse for the wear, losing a third of the infantry in one turn.

On Table 2, the terrorists who had planted the IEDs revealed themselves from their hiding spots, two units of the Red Menace – Socialists – pounced on the hapless AL troops and opened fire at close range causing chaos and confusion ! One unit ran away (aided by a chance card)

The BUF under Major Campbell pounced (ponced?) in a lugubrious fashion with their French tin can finally getting into gear, and getting out of the way of the Nice South Africans. Just then a fog descended reducing shooting ranges and allowing the BUF through the gap…

AVBCW: A Royal Mitre Exchange 1

Fourteen gamers, three tables, and a shed load of troops. Yes, JP & I staged another Big Game following on from the Battle of Foy.

We had set up Table 1 (last post), we set up Table 2 on the day once Roo had delivered the wholly unexpected railway embankment sections which proved a real psychological barrier. Yours truely had to stand in for Roo in the morning due to Roo’s daughter’s Willy Wonka party so for once I actually got to “play”.

Table 3 was set up late as well once Byakhee Richard arrived with his gaming mat, and was set up as generic Herefordian countryside albeit with a defensive line for Sir Gilbert and the Anglican League.

Three tables all 8×6′. The hall just about had enough room, and tables to cope with this.

Leadboy, one of our newcomers set up on Table 2. At first no one twigged about the numerous post boxes, unmarked vans and bafrrellas littering the table, but it soon became apparent the dastardly Socilaists were planning to wreck the planned hand over of the captive Bishop of Hereford to the Anglican League. As you can see in the photo, the unmarked blue van was dangerously close to his forces and took a lot of effort to eradicate !

Mort’s Anglicans were well dug in.

The BUF under Baron Foy delpoy along with their Royalist allies.

All on Table 2.

Whilst on Table 1, the Royalist column moves in to deliver the Bishop as part of the deal.

On Table 3, the BUF deploy and move in to deliver Sir Gilberts a stern warning !

To be Continued…..

Subject Salad

A bit of a mish mash today.

Another picture of Byakhee Stuart’s brushmanship:

I mentioned.ages ago I was doing a joint painting project with my 8 year old daughter. She did the basic colours and chose them and I just tarted them up a bit. I took a load of snaps today but they’re all pretty terrible apart from the Lothern Sea Guard.

He described them as “fruit salad Elves”.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing some projects for Saturday when Byakhee JP & I are holding another Big Game.

A set of gravestones for a graveyard. Renedra pieces assembled, nice and cheap but good value. These will be ideal for AVBCW games, and will compliment the Hovels Church I have.

Byakhee JP posted his version of our two games from the week before last claiming it was “the dice wot done it”, what is it about workmen blaming their tools ?

Talking of workmen….

The state of the utility room for much of the preceeding weeks. The fridge/freezer, washing machine were sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor when this photo was taken.

The boiler broke down, so an insurance claim was filed, the floor ripped up etc etc etc. Its been a major headache since October 2013. The first floor that was relaid (kitchen, utility & WC – the tiles were all the same and the insurance policy called for a ‘like for like’ replacement) broke up, so for the last month the builders have been back relaying the floor after a four way bun fight between the insurers, builders, tilers and suppliers. The plumbers (sub contractors to the builders) have been back 5 times to variously fix radiator leaks, boiler leaks etc.

Due to all of the mistakes and mishaps, the builders have ended up having to redecorate all three rooms even though the actual leak only marginally affected the utility room. They finished yesterday. This is why I have not been as productive as normal in painting figures – early starts to accommodate the builders, negotiating what needs to be done etc….

My cleaner, Val, insisted that I take a picture after her efforts to put the kitchen back together again today. On top of this I have been preparing for the next AVBCW Big Game on Saturday (8th March), thankfully JP has stepped up and taken on a lot of the preperations during the last two weeks (thanks Jon).

Meanwhile, one cat has got stressed and is suffering from Psychogenic Alopecia but his brother doesn’t care…

AVBCW: The Welsh Invaders of Longstreet

For the second skirmish game using Brink of Battle, we opted for more buildings. JP laid out a single central road, hence the name of the fictional hamlet of Longstreet.

JP chose to deploy his Welsh militia – an elite force all tooled up with ‘traits’ such as Marksman, sharpshooter etc, so there was only 5 of them. Yours truely took the cut and paste approach and did the same 7 guys just in black.

I set a couple of guys out across the left hand field.

The other five lead by my commander went up the road – and the commander promptly got knocked down (luckily not dead) by one of the Welsh marksmen.

The rest of the troops made better use of ‘concealment’ and ‘cover’, which when we read the rules properly are two different factors. The Welsh militia and BUF then exchanged fire whilst inching forward down the centre of the table.

JP tried a falnk attack, but we both learnt one key issue – the order in which you command your men. His guy out in the open had a very close shave, got behind the hedge before eventually being bumped off by me using the turn sequence tactically.

Ultimately my firing line behind the stone wall proved too much and the Welsh militia was driven off.

God save the King & Mosley ! The BUF Three Counties League will have to retaliate against the separatist Welsh and bring them to heel !

What we learnt:

  • Cover, and Concealent are dealt with differently in Brink of Battle
  • Though we still have enough Action tokens to command all our troops in these small battles, the order in which you activate your troops is very important.
  • Don’t stand out in the open !!!!!!!!
  • JP really had bad dice rolls
  • Traits are really important and make a real difference.

Looking back at an earlier posting, many of these points were noted before, but not rammed home until the rules are actively used in anger so to speak. They remain a fun set of rules for real low level skimishing. JP is considering a horde of ill equipped farmers to test things out further.