Friday, 30 June 2017

Big Game Terrain Mats

Regular followers will know I have been using my current terrain boards in the dungeon since before the blog started. They draw lots of positive comments, are hard wearing and reasonably flexible. However, they have a couple of draw backs. They are not as flexible as I would like and as I game in several scales I anpm always slightly cross with the compromise around roads. They are heavy and a pain to transfer or carry about, the road structure due to the "square" construction means they are occasionally a bit limited in options. I have also been pondering what options I have for putting on larger games, it is not bad putting  4 of the squares in the back of the car but if you wanted to do a big game say 12 or 14 x 6 no chance.

So I have been looking for something else and the obvious option is Terrain base mats or cloths, which I already have for my desert terrain. After a lot of eBay and Amazon hunting I found the following.

I am always looking for a cheap option and these come it at £14.99 for the king size which is conveniently pretty close to 6x8 feet. I bought two. When they arrived they are a little on the pale side, and although they are olive green it is quite dependant on the light ? so I purchased a couple of tins of green paint and set too last weekend.
They have a sore but subtle cropped grass texture on the rear side which was the reason for getting them in the first place. As you can see they are quite big 6x8 I pinned them up to spray them.
Some blotchy dark green
Then some lighter bright green
Then on one of them I worked up one half of  the blotches into some more coherent field shapes. I am about 85 % happy at this stage but want to actually try them before I do any more work if at all....so here are some test photos quickly run of in the dungeon, this isn't using the full lighting in the dungeon, which will give a different feel altogether I suspect..

At 28 mm scale it looks and feels like cropped or grazed grass, it will work well for big countryside battles, should be fine for future ACW as it has that summer burnt feel. Possibly not as lush as it could be ?
For 6 mm eastern front it has turned out fanatastic and makes a huge difference allowing a much more flexible terrain setup as I can incorporate a more natural feel to hills and valleys and not have oversized roads. I really like this look of the Russian Steppe ๐Ÿ˜€
I messed about trying some other shots...here are a couple of fields on top of the first cloth
And a second shot showing some 20 mm Napoleonics on some hills...you get a sense of the hills here, they work brilliantly for unit based troops but not for single figure skirmish games, where they are slippery.
A wide screen shot just waiting for Russian cavalry or tanks 
Ignore the fact the colour looks completely different for the second mat it isn't but it shows what the impact is of different lighting, again I quickly put some old hills at the end and they are great ?
With the addition of hedges you can very quickly build up a countryside effect
Two final shots of the two mats spread to their 8 foot extent, they are not quite the full 8 which is a tad annoying, but close
This leaves me with a number of thoughts, I need to make some roads and I have these in hand, I can now cover a much bigger area with games potentially upto 6 x 16' with a reasonably pleasing and consistent, easy to carry base. I plan to make some more hills to go under the cloth and I am rationalising the fields which sit on the top to ensure a good overall look. I need some more hedges and want to make the ACW fences I already have to see how they look. I won't be ditching the previous basing system which will still see lots of game play in a range of  games.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Hawkinge Airfield Taken : Operation Sealion

Pretty exhausted now and back at home from today's show on the edge of the Lake District.The battle of Hawkinge seemed to go down well, I think I played through 6 times, the Germans winning every time. This is a feat of carefully planning, a bit of play testing and understanding what punters want. The format, developed from last year placed each participant as the German commander, with a single unit of eight Fallschirmjager who have landed on the edge of the Airfield. Their objective is to destroy  four key targets. Although nobody actually destroyed the Hurricane which was a tough ask, most blew up two, and most people were able to kill off the defenders.
The final set up at the start of the day, happy with the overall effect 
A couple of closer shots....Hawkinge village really just for show
The Eagle has landed...this is the starting place for the Fallschirmjager, Glider through the fence
The defenders starting from the other end of the Airfield by the Hurricane
A shot of the airfield
Game in play.....I managed six games I think and all participants seemed to have enjoyed it ๐Ÿ˜€ if you are reading this any feedback would be good as I am always looking to improve the experience ?
And in the occasional lull I did manage to pick up a few bits.....after all it wouldn't be a wargame show otherwise. Although I didn't really get to to see the bring and buy, I,m just glad I didn't get any more ACW figures ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday, 23 June 2017

Battle for Hawkinge : Pheonix Lakeland Wargames Show

Just finished packing for the show tomorrow. The game which is very much a participation game introducing gamers to Sealion and Bolt Action is focussed around the early morning paratrooper attack on Hawkinge Airfield. This is obviously an important target and the Fallschirmjager have been ordered to destroy key targets at the Airfield. High command are keen to keep the Airfield intact for later use so they have avoided pre invasion bombing.
I have also finished a couple of details off.....
Aircrew, Airfield Sign and I have added the details to the bus ๐Ÿ™‚
Out of interest I have also been thinking about terrain and base cloths for larger games, a bit more work to do but the cloth above definitely has promise.
Finally today, I am not letting my wife know just how many ACW figures I now have in the plastic mountain ๐Ÿ˜€

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Battle for Burmarsh : Operation Sealion

For our next battle we have moved back to the gradual inland movement of the main German forces the 109th Infantry Regiment in the area around Dymchurch. With the main beach landing area secured but the unloading of forces inevitably being disrupted, small ad hoc  Kampfgruppe  are being pushed forward to secure the route inland. One such group has been ordered to probe and secure the hamlet of Burmarsh just a mile or so inland from Dymchurch where fighting and resistance is still taking place.
 
The front line as it currently is since the landings early morning, previous battles marked in orange
German Infantry spread out across the fields, supported by a single Panzer II which is advancing towards the Church
German commander has jumped out of his Kubelwagon to watch the attack. Whilst the infantry have dragged forward a 75mm gun which they are preparing to fire
Infantry to the west of the road set up heavy support weapons and start to bombard British artillery on the other side of the pub
Looking down the road towards the church
On the allied side British infantry have arrived and are pushing forward through the church grounds
They have also set up a strong point at the road junction where they have pulled a 2lb antitank gun into position, they are also supported by two Vickers tanks, one of which can be seen heading towards the back of the pub
But for the British things go bad early......the Panzer II takes out their second Vickers as it pushes forward in front of the church, it can be seen burning above
The Germans continue to advance and are able to pin down the British defenders whose fires gradually slackens
One unit of the defenders has at least made it to the shelter at the back of the bus, hoping to rush down the road, but the machine guns of the Panzer turn towards them and without the covering fire of their Vickers Tank the infantry are doomed
The British antitank gun kept up a steady fire through out but pretty much to no effect, eventually though they managed to knock a track of the Panzer, it could still fire but was now immobilised unit the repair crew could be brought forward.
The german commander remained close to the road, a fierce fire fight takes place across the pub garden but the german eventually get the better of it
By the church the british have been gradually taking losses and are unable to make any significant impact on the advancing enemy
At this point after the allotted time it was a clear victory to the Germans, whilst only a few units had been completely knocked out the British units were close to collapse and they could hold the road junction no longer.

A very fun game, introducing a new player to bolt action within the context of my ongoing campaign ๐Ÿ˜€

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Battle for Scruton : VBCW

I was invited over to the Old Guard Wargamers club in Scruton to play a VBCW game at the weekend. You can see more detail on Martin's28mmheros and Dave's blog One man and his brushes I received a very warm welcome and we had a good time and whilst my small force of Cumberland Royalists didn't make many friends across the Pennines it was nice to play a game where laughter was in much evidence. Here are a few shots of the game. I hope to be back soon ๐Ÿ˜€
The lads from Cumberland arrive...looking for allies and the promised beer !
A mixed force of thirsty men !
A shot from behind Lord Scruton's position the objective, the pub is half way down the table beyond the terrace block
Advancing across the fields but coming under fire from a mixed force of cricketers and local sportsmen apparently unhappy that we might steal their beer !
Having built an alliance with Lord Scruton's local Facist force they go and double cross us a lucky shot taking out our armoured car 'Bessie'
No mans land is no place for a game of football despite the offer of the PortVale Football team !
Much fighting was going on around the whole table, mainly monks, postmen and a range of Communists
That ploughed field is where the Penrith Militia had once been ! Wiped out from behind by Lord Scruton......revenge will be had !
By the end the Cumberland forces were dwindling and although the mortar was very effective at hitting the pub it repeatedly failed to kill the occupants
The objective, being filmed during the battle ! Eventually the sportsmens wife's snatched the pub resumably Gin and tonics all round ?
We had a great time, Martin had pulled out all the stops to put on a great game........I will be returning across the Pennines later in the year ๐Ÿ˜€