Monday, 25 April 2022

20mm BG Pacific game

 I played my first game of BG Pacific last Thursday.  Will set up the table and all the terrain and models are his - and very nice they are too.  We played one of the island hopping scenarios, taking the point or getting the point.  This pitted a US marine platoon in Amtraks (in this case LVT-4s), landing on beaches in front of a rocky plateau lined with Japanese pillboxes and armed with two 47mm field guns, an HMG and two LMG teams, guns and HMG with loader teams.  The Japanese also gained a reserve platoon on turn 3 coming on from the right hand table edge (in the photo above).

First turn, Wills marines stormed ashore with two Amtraks scuttling out of the surf and crossing the beach, only for one of my 47mm guns to open up.  A spot, lucky to hit throw of 6 and AP roll of 8 meant one of the Amtraks brewed up with lots of pinned and broken infantry teams bailing out.  This worked quite well as Will dismounted his 60mm mortars from an Amtrak at the edge of the surf and they advanced up the beach, under a timed 81mm mortar strike pretty much on the destroyed Amtrak - more pinning and more misery for the bailed out teams.  Luckily for Will, his second Amtrak on the beach got a successful beyond the call test and motored up to some shelter from the jungle before dismounting his troops.

Pinned survivors of the destroyed Amtrak.

Reinforcements arriving on the edge of the surf.

Survivors of the brewed up Amtrak mill around ineffectually, while infantry from another Amtrak in the surf push up the beach on the left.  Yet another Amtrak dismounts its infantry in the surf on the top right.  Wills infantry in the jungle push forwards and secure one of the objectives marked by the star (the other is on the heights behind the Japanese pillboxes).

The defenders with their commanding positions on the bluffs overlooking the beach.

Some of the plucky defenders, the lucky 47mm gun crew that picked off a fully loaded Amtrak.

More American marines advance into the jungle and work their way forwards, taking out a sniper team in the process.

American infantry starting to concentrate for the push into the jungle.

Japanese reinforcements advancing in a skirmish line ready to meet the American infantry as they push forwards.

Sadly, we ran out of time, with the Japanese having taken 8 BR losses out of 27 or so, while the Americans were in the mid-20s with a BP in the mid-30s.  Still lots of hard fighting to go, but with so many American infantry units pinned down on the beach and kept there by mortaring pre-registered target points, it seemed only a matter of time.  Not a lot of decisions for the Japanese player in this one, which would make the scenario quite suitable for a solo practice game, basically, the Japanese shoot at anything with a sensible target priority and push their infantry as far through the jungle as possible to prevent the Americans getting up the flanks of the plateau.  Choice of PRTPs is important - its tempting to put one in the jungle rather than having both on the beach.

Lots of fun, thanks to Will for laying the game on and providing such a determined US Marine force.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Saturday, 26 March 2022

15mm WW2 British desert vehicles

 More of Bergman's STL files, this time for the desert war.  All need decals to finish them.

A Dorchester ACV.

Bedford MW 15cwt trucks, an MWC water carrier on the left and an MWR radio communications truck on the right.

Another view of the Bedfords, MWR on left and MWC on right.  I'll add some regular trucks as infantry transports for the desert army and for the NW Europe British.

Austin Tilly light van.

A pair of jeeps, one open, one canvas covered.

Jeeps again.

I printed off some Dingos, a troop of M3 Honeys and a pair of Bishops to fill some gaps in the British ranks for the desert war.  More on those later.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

15mm WW2 US vehicles 3D printed

Most of these are Bergman STL files from Thingiverse, possibly with one or two from Tigerace1945.  Pictures haven't come out too well here - lots of reflections.

Three jeeps, can't remember where the armoured jeep STL file came from.

Dodge staff car.  One of Bergman's 1:200 offerings scaled to 1:100, so not as detailed as others.

Dodge ambulance, again an upscaled 1:200 model.

An M4A3E2 Jumbo assault tank - uparmoured Sherman.

A pair of M4A3E8 (easy 8s) to make my Sherman platoons more suitable for 1945.

 All need decals adding, especially allied stars and US vehicle numbers, plus I'm sure the tanks will be named at some point.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, 21 March 2022

15mm WW2 British vehicles 3D prints

Having a break from churning out 3D prints, it seemed appropriate to actually paint some of them.  Sadly, I can no longer remember the source of all the STL files, most are from Bergman's Thingiverse site, but one or two are Tigerace1945.  All need decals to finish them off.

Transport for an infantry platoon, three 3T and one 30cwt trucks.

Transport for an engineer section in a Chevrolet 3T open backed truck.

Chevrolet 3T office body as a radio communications truck.

Unusual, for me at least, a Terrapin Mk1 amphibious truck, as used at Walcheren and for the later Rhine and other river crossings.  Not so well detailed or proportioned as this was a 1:200 model scaled up to 1:100.

Ram Kangaroos, enough to transport an infantry platoon plus some supports.

A pair of M10 Achilles 17pdr SPAT.  One of these is causing an issue as it is leaking resin, despite the base being well perforated during printing and a number of drill holes added when I became aware of the leakage.  Will have to have another try at this one I think.

A pair of jeep transports, one open topped and one canvas covered.

Finally for now, an M5 for use as an alternative transport for an engineer section.

 Lots more British vehicles for the desert in the pipeline, along with an eclectic mix of US and German kit, plus Cold War Brits, US and Soviet kit.  I've also tried 3D printing an LCAC for my 6mm US Marine Amphibious Group, plus some 6mm M60A1s to go with it (only one needed for payload for the LCAC though.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

6mm Soviet megalomania

In a strange twist of fate, I found myself, like a certain presidential figure yesterday afternoon, reviewing my former Soviet equipment.  This for me was ahead of a game in a week or so of Battlegroup Northag using some modified stats for US Army and Marine Corps taking on Soviet VDV and a Motor Rifle Division.  The need for some BMD-1s meant I was looking through various boxes of vehicles and figures.  Unlike my real world counterpart, I put them all back in their boxes and went off to cook some dinner.

The results - all my Soviet kit is aimed at generating forces for the 1980's Cold War, specifically around 1985, although a lot of older kit and some newer kit inevitably have crept in.

BTR-50s, mainly, for Soviet engineers and doubling up as Polish Topaz apcs for their marines, until I pick up enough of the new H&R models. 

Various Soviet and NATO air assets.

BMP-1s and infantry, plus some MRLs.

T-62s and T-80s (at least I think they are T-80s), plus some bridging vehicles.

T-64s, BTR-50s and some VDV or Polish marine special forces.

BTR-60s and Tunguska AAD vehicles.

T-64s, mostly.

T-62s and various command options.

Various engineers vehicles and some assorted radar vehicles.

Infantry and more ?T-64s.

BMD-1s and ASU-85s plus assorted artillery and apcs.

Now, when I've plucked up the courage, I shall have a look through the unpainted lead pile of shame, which I know contains a lot of Soviet kit, plus more Brits, West Germans and US equipment.  Then, of course, there's the new pile of 3d printed kit, which has again come to a temporary halt while I overcome the next challenge of resin curing on the LCD screen, although output up to last weekend has tripled the amount of unpainted resin I have waiting for attention.  I have made a start on painting some of the prints while I explore methods to get the resin off the screen.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Something of a pleasant distraction

 I lost the painting mojo before Christmas and was quite wrapped up with getting some games in at the club, including a big Saturday gaming day, as well as attending the Recon show in Pudsey, Leeds.  Having seen the output from my chum Will McNally's 3D printer, I decided to take the plunge and rather than asking for models this Christmas, I asked my wife for a 3D printer.  She managed to get me an Elegoo Mars 2 during one of the periodic/episodic Amazon price reductions, plus a bottle of grey resin.

Christmas morning, I opened the box, read the instruction manual and carefully placed everything to one side until I'd picked up some isopropyl alcohol and borrowed a uv resin curer from work.  This weekend I was ready.  Friday afternoon we set up the machine - looks more complicated than it turned out to be, 1/3rd filled the tank with resin and loaded Chitubox (or whatever its called) on the PC.  I'd already farmed various sites for stl files, mainly M Bergman and Tigerace1945, both of which produce some seriously useful files.

I then started producing 15mm armour, faster than the tractor factories of Chelyabinsk.  We have played a lot of Battlegroup Northag at the club recently, which encourages whole companies of T-62s and T-64s to be deployed.  I started out with a test T-64B hull and turret, which came out very nicely using the stl file and autoplatform and supports using Chitubox's default settings.  Sadly, I forgot to print the little MG cupola, so finished up batch printing a few of them.  Full of confidence, I then sliced two hulls and turrets, printing them in pairs, which also worked well.

That gave me a troop of T-64Bs in 15mm scale, so I got to work on a platoon of BMP-1s for infantry support.  Hull and turret, these were formatted for two of each on each print run.

I then experimented with a few WW2 models in 15mm, an early or mid-war Dorchester ACV, an SdKfz 9 Famo recovery vehicle, an armoured jeep and a Pz-35t.  Still some clean up of the supports needed on the Dorchester wheels.

These French Somuas were upscaled to 1/72 from 1/100 using an online scale conversion that I found on Google and seem to have worked out well.  Another two part model, hull and turrets.

Finally, for now, I decided to try out the 3D Breed WW2 infantry and bought their set of winter British and Commonwealth infantry.  Each set comes with 15mm and 28mm figures with supports already added, as well as a set of 28mm figures without supports.  I found that I preferred cleaning up the figures when I'd allowed Chitubox to add supports, rather than those that came with the figures.  Below is the HQ set at the back (officer, kneeling RTO, and medic), back left is the spotter for a Bren gunner (sadly the bren gun snapped and I couldn't repair it, so he will be part of a mortar/artillery spotter team).  In front is a sniper team and PIAT team.

So, what did I learn?

Setting up the printer was a lot simpler than it appeared.

Don't overfill the resin tank, the plate drops into it when the printing starts and if over a third or so full, the resin can spill over the edges of the tank.

If the resin runs low during a print, there is a pause option, the model rises out of the resin and there is space to top up with some additional resin, but don't overdo it - see point above.

Cleaning up is hard in a domestic environment when you're spraying isopropyl alcohol everywhere, when the civil power comes in and says "what's that smell?".

Freeing the models from the base and supports is a combination of skilled snipping and brute force ripping, best done before the models have time to fully harden off.

Freeing the models from the base plate is best done with a plastic spatula before the models harden off,  The models often ping off unexpectedly and can fly a surprising distance, while the edge of the base plate is surprisingly sharp when contacted by unwary fingers!

Models need to be well washed, so water soluble resin is more practical.

Resin curing time makes a huge difference to print rates and can make printing 4 or 5 times longer with slower curing resins.

As the uv source can access the whole of the print bed, there is no difference in print times between printing one model per run and multiple models - as many as can fit on the bed.

When adding multiple models on the bed, it is better to allow enough separation for the supports, so that each model is separate - if they are too close, they print as one large piece of plastic, which means more work to clean up.

All snipping off of supports is best done before hardening, as the resin becomes quite brittle and can easily snap in the wrong places.

Final hardening was done using a very inexpensive uv source sold as a curing station for acrylic finger nails.

Bergman's model tanks are lovely, but you either have to slightly reduce the turret size before printing or file them down, which is what I did, but filing releases resin dust, which I wouldn't want to encourage without suitable protection.

I intend to minimise the amount of clean up, especially of the resin tray and its thin clear plastic film base, by planning batches of printing to make use of rainy weekends and bank holidays.  Resin can be left in the tank for short periods, but the longer it is left, the more likely it is that the resin will start to cure on the liquid, or even worse, adhere to the thin film on the base of the tank.

Thanks to all those kind souls who have shared really cool stl files for such a wide range of things, many of which aren't made by commercial manufacturers.  If anyone has a link to an Achilles SPAT stl file, that is one that I couldn't track down over the last few weeks.

As ever, thanks for looking and a belated happy new year.

Monday, 1 November 2021

15mm Battlegroup Northag club game

Saturday saw a club gaming weekend organized by Dave.  Ben, Mick and I were Soviets, exploiting a breach in the British (BAOR) lines stormed in a game at the club a few weeks back.  Soviets were advancing on table from the bottom of the view shown, crossing the fordable stream and attempting to push off the opposite table edge.  Lots of open ground to cross but precious few places for the BAOR to hide (Ian, Piers and Phil).  A pair of timed artillery strikes were positioned on the red X's on turn 1, in an attempt to catch any forward screen ATGMs or tanks deployed in the woods on the right or around the crossroads.  As it was, these strikes killed a Scimitar recce tank and pinned a deployed Milan team and Blowpipe team, and spilled some tea in dug in Chieftains.

An SAS demo team had wired the bridge with C4, but the British CO obviously didn't trust his specialists as he made the bridge the scene of a timed Harrier strike, which gapped the bridge arch and pinned the SAS team.  As the Soviet horde advanced, the SAS recovered morale and bugged out, just before a Jaguar strike aircraft dropped its load or iron bombs on the far side of the bridge, KO'ing a recce T-62 hiding there.  Meanwhile, the Soviet vanguard wasted no time in closing up to the river and wading through the gravel and mud. 

BAOR CO looking worried.  His 3 forward screen Chieftains nearest the road have been reduced to 2 through a catastrophic breakdown, while his vanguard Chieftain troop has moved and fired, with very limited success.  In the distance (off camera to the right) the Soviet T-80 vanguard rumbles forward.

T-80s catching up with their older, less capable T-62 buddies.

Two of the vanguard Chieftains are burning, taking tank losses to 3 for the BAOR.  Any further losses will equate to 2 chits per vehicle rather than a single chit.

Moving in for the kill, T-80s and BMPs cross the stream en mass.  ATGM armed BRDMs wait on ambush fire on the hillock to the right and take the opportunity to fire at the BAOR CO when his Chieftain attempts to engage - BOOM!  2 chits for CO loss and 2 more for 4th Chieftain destroyed.

Soviet reserves in the form of a Hind flight arrive.  In the first round, ATGM fire brews up another Chieftain, as does a long range shot from a T-80.  A BAOR reserve mechanised infantry platoon rushes forwards in the far distance and disembarks into the little patch of woods next to the road, clearly forgetting the need to disperse in case of artillery or air attack.  The Hinds punish them with rocket pods, destroying them as a fighting force and bringing the game to an end pushing the BAOR through their break point.

So, the Soviet war machine continues to rumble forwards having KO'd two troops of Chieftains and a full mechanised infantry platoon, plus some odds and ends of recce vehicles.  Admittedly, the T-62 company has been reduced to a platoon and one of the T-80s was lost, but the Soviets considered casualties light given the amount of open ground they needed to cover.  For big games, the points for a recovery vehicle could be well spent and artillery, air and helo assets are worth their weight in gold when up against a Chieftain heavy opponent.

A great game, looking forward to the next one in December.  Thanks for looking.