Saturday, May 19, 2018

Death in the Marshes

Following their successful defense of their base in the last German assault,  the Red Army decided to push forward to reclaim the ancient wooden cathedral of Korbyn on the Pripyat river.

No sooner did they arrive in the center of town that they learned a new German column was advancing in their direction.  Unlike the advance guard which had previously been turned away, this group had heavy artillery, mobile assault guns and battle hardened veterans.

This did not leave the defenders much time to prepare their positions.  They hastily set up a perimeter around the church, leaving much of their own heavy weapons behind.  Those would have to catch up in time before they themselves would be encircled by their enemies.

The Soviet troops did attempt to conceal themselves using all the dense foliage in the heavily wooded landscape.

No sooner did they complete this process than heavy shells began to rain down upon them!  Perhaps their mastery of camouflage caused many of the shells to miss their marks...

While a few of the more nervous squads and weapon teams were pinned, most simply shrugged it off.

However, one shell landed right next to the church, killing Commissar Royitski!!  The inexperienced squad now found themselves wearing what little remained of the dreaded political officer, but it almost seemed like a relief for the raw recruits.

They had heard many stories whispered among the survivors of the last battle of Comrade Royitski shooting several members of the unit to "encourage" them to continue moving forward.

The Soviets were stunned to find that they now would have to protect their command post in the church from the Deadly 88, and a Stug.  Their anti-tank rifles would do very little against such weaponry, so they had to place their trust in the Anti Aircraft truck to keep the Luftwaffe at bay...

The Red Army commander Major Albertovsky did not panic, however, and instructed his anti tank units to set up in ambush on one flank to discourage any transports or light support vehicles from moving in to surround them.

This was a crucial position which must be held, for if the Germans could race across this bridge they would be well on their way to Minsk!!

Angered at the death of Comrade Royitski, the NKVD units started to rush across the river to engage the German infantry.

It became apparent quite early that dislodging the fanatical units from the command post in the church would take drastic measures.  The crew of the 88 flak gun was ordered to fire directly at the wooden cathedral, and turn it into firewood if necessary!

The ancient church did not fall, but the ensuing fireball killed an entire NKVD unit attached to Major Albertovsky... this left him with little choice but to evacuate the position with what remained of his command staff.

While the Stug pressed its advance toward the river, a few of the Red Army reinforcements arrived.  They immediately took aim at the German weapon teams placed on the left flank, wiping them out.

It was hoped that this action could draw the approaching veteran units as far away from the abandoned command post as possible.  The Major could not be allowed to fall into a Wehrmacht prion camp!

No sooner did the inexperienced units on the flank dispatch all German resistance on their flank than they heard the terrifying sound of aircraft overhead!

Much to their disbelief, the plane soon caught fire and crashed harmlessly in the woods outside of town.  They had been saved by the Quad Maxim truck, which had come from reserve not long before.

The celebrations were cut short when a German armored car zoomed out from behind the smoking church, putting a well placed autocannon round into the soft skinned truck.

Yet another noble sacrifice by the Red Army, who had already suffered horrendous casualties.

Seeing that the Soviet defenders had been severely ground down, the German commander personally led a last minute outflanking maneuver which placed a full squad of Heer soldiers right behind the evacuated command post.

Major Albertovsky attempted to use the river itself as a hiding place, as he found himself completely surrounded by German armor, artillery and infantry.

After a few games of cat and mouse, and more artillery rounds, the Axis invaders decided that a dead enemy commander was better than an escaped officer!  The Stug drove towards the hidden officer team and fired a howitzer round into their position, killing all of them.

Life is certainly proving hazardous for Red Army officers in the Marshes.  Who will take Comrade Royitski and Albertovsky's place?  The Stavka High Command is already sending a replacement, and perhaps some more armored support to the area.

It is vital not to allow the rampaging German army group free access to the approaches to Minsk...

Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mob Rules

Time to see some finished images of the Gangs of Rome figures!  This is one of the "mobs" which is part of the game.  It seems that these folks can influence what is going on quite a bit, as they have random reactions to the street combat going on around them.

These will be on display at the Warlord Games convention going on this weekend in Oklahoma City... all three mobs and all of the gladiators as well.

Here is a link to a step by step that I made a few days ago for those who missed it:

I also have a mosaic tile basing video that was made during the Painting Pyramid tutorial series.  The folks who are part of my Patreon Page (with a $5 pledge) have been checking that out this month.  I really love basing, as it tells a story about each miniature.

Normally I don't get to create little dioramas like this, so I thought it would be fun to take advantage of the opportunity these unique "units" provided!

On to the individual minis...

As you can see, the trickiest part of the mosaic design on a "multibase" set such as this would be making sure the individual bases still have enough of an interesting design on them.

This influenced the overall designs a great deal.

I had to make a lot of adjustments here and there to be sure that each figure had a decent chunk of the design... and that it didn't detract too much from the actual figures.

It was really neat to see these guys off the multiple base design.  I was very pleased to see that each one had just enough of the design to make the figure look like it was on a mosaic floor!

I will try to do more tutorials on mosaic tiles in a facebook live session, and eventually another round of recorded videos for the Patreon supporters.  Here's a link to the page to get in on the action!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Road to Arras: a new terrain board

As I lead up to the Battle of Arras report, I wanted to show you what the newest terrain pieces looked like on the Ardennes board.

I am still using the forest matt from TableWar... and this time around you will be able to see a lot more of it!

Here are the road sections, which were profiled in a few different step by step tutorials.  Here's a link for you:

I made a number of road sections of various lengths.  My next task will be to make some curved sections and a few more that are at an angle.

Once the roads are in place, I can start to "build" the rest of the terrain around it.  Unlike the large hills that I used for the first two battle reports, I wanted this one to represent the flatter areas of northern France.  The idea is to represent the temporary German line that was assaulted by the British troops at Arras.

All of my new forest sections were utilized for this report... here's a link to the lest step by step:

I wanted there to be a few areas where line of sight would be almost continuous, so that it would be more hazardous for approaching tanks, as it should have been from a historical standpoint.  However, I have to make sure that all the tanks are not taken out by the 88mm gun in the first few turns!

The goal was to remain within the usual parameters of a two platoon selector, and not use the Tank Wars supplement.  There will be other battles where I will go ahead with that rules set, but this one was more about Rommel's actions in regards to targeting artillery, not Panzer vs Matilda!

The road presents a few options for rapid movement... if that is something you can associate with a Matilda.  Since the Allies get more Victory Points for getting vehicles off the board (by the Axis side) than anything else, covering these roads will be very important.

To prevent this game from becoming a pure defensive struggle, I added some modifiers to my "trigger" of when the French reinforcements would arrive.  There will be a series of telephone poles along the road, and if the German infantry can take down 3 of them, they will not only score 3 Victory Points, they will potentially delay the French entry onto the board!

The whole point of this "what if" scenario is to see what might have happened if the French commander had not died in a car crash, and his troops had gotten the orders to advance on Arras with the British.

Here are a few peeks at the British forces, which will make their debut on the battle report videos!

There will be a few Matildas, supported by a limited amount of infantry.  They will have 1250 points to work with.

On the German side, they will have Rommel himself, and he has some special abilities for this game.  He will add a +1 to shoot to any artillery piece which is within 3 inches (this only works for one at a time, so no placing two guns right next to each other!).

He will also negate the possibility that the 88mm flak gun will accidentally target the airstrike which will be coming into the game in the final stages.

Here's a link to the last video battle report, which was also a "what if" scenario called Sickle Stroke:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Earlier this year, I did an experiment painting a unit of Clan Escher on a facebook live session to show how you can try to utilize that extended drying time to your advantage.

The technique has developed a lot since then, with new colors added, and even new jars to put my "remodeled paints" into!

Here's a link to that original session:

I am trying to create my own bottled versions of the Mig Ammo Oilbrushers.  I really love those, so I am trying to expand on that range by making my own.  It is relatively simple, as I already know the colors which I want to create... these are colors which I use the most, or ones that I would like to try more often.

Using my high quality white spirits, I think I can make something close enough, although I will be most curious to see if the drying times also come a bit closer.

As it is now, the Mig Oilbrushers can dry in about 4-5 hours.  Standard oil paint takes longer, especially if it is thicker.  So, we shall see what happens when the mixture contains more of the white spirits.  I don't expect it to dry that much faster, nor do I really need it to do that.  more of a curiosity than anything else :-)

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mosaic Tile Basing

As I was finishing off the rest of the mosaic tile bases, I tried to snap a few images to show you how I make the initial design look more like mosaics than a painting.  That is not very complex, just a little more tedious!

It starts with brown liner paint from Reaper, which is perfect for so many things.  You can thin it down so that it flows incredibly easily, but it still maintains much of its color integrity.  You can see how I moved the brush around to make it seem as if there were a myriad of individual tiles.

On some parts of the pattern, I had to make sure that I "followed" the texture of the design, in particular the more angular or patterned sections like those around the outer edges.  Straight lines in particular are very important, as you will see in each one.

After the lining was done, I went back in with slightly lighter versions of each color that was done in a particular section and "picked out" random tiles.  When the mosaics are created, tiles are not placed evenly.  Some are placed at slightly different angles so that the catch more sunlight and sparkle a bit!

This had to be done to every single base, and this version had a lot more 'pattern' to follow.  That is, lining up those tiles one by one following my initial design.

I had to work my way across the more open surface, which will be accented by a few different colors which are very bright.

Eventually I worked my way around the ship and the wave design, trying to follow the curves of each one.

As you see in this image, picking out the lighter tiles on the more intense patterns is quite dramatic, and makes what might otherwise be a boring area of color have some extra interest.

I think this view really demonstrates that principle.  This tends to show up more on the geometric patterns as opposed to more organic portraits. 

This pattern was very challenging, as I had to "square off" circular shapes, with 4 parallel stripes no less of different colors.  As with the other complex pattern, adding a few "highlight pieces" really helped to make it take shape.

You don't want to get too crazy with that, as it might start to detract from your miniatures.  I will also be putting a dusting of weathering powders on these to tone that down.

Here's a link to the filming of the original basing video that I made as part of the Painting Pyramid series.  It was one of 12 different basing techniques that I filmed!

I have already sent the link to the YouTube instructional video that I created for the Painting Pyramid series to the patrons who subscribe $5 or more to the patreon page.  I have much more under way at the moment, and I want to have that ready for the patrons to see as well!