Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Egawds! I'm going to paint!

Yes, you read it here first. I'm actually going to give painting miniatures a try!

Years ago. No, decades ago. One of my best and childhoods friends was very skilled at model building. His models always turned out the best. These days, we'd call his models professional quality. On the other hand, my models were a monument to a lack of patience and talent. I stopped building the models and started giving them to him to build. At least this way, my WW2 or WH40K miniatures were presentable on the battlefield.

I haven't picked up a paintbrush in decades. I had no intention of doing so, until I attended an expo and saw a demonstration of Army Painter. I saw an amazing demonstration of a WH40K orc army assembled and painted in less than 48 hours! It wasn't a sloppy paint job. Each figure was completed and painted in high quality.

I was inspired. I've decided to build a Lend Lease Russian FOW army based around M4A2 Shermans and ISU-122 assault guns.


I placed an order with the WarStore.

Here's what I got:


The Quick Shade is the key.

You apply the base coat primer in the color you want -


This brings out all the detail. I call it Dip-and-Rinse. For someone like me who doesn't have the skills to do the highlights and detailing, the Quick Shade might just be the trick.

I ordered a single M4A2 "Emcha". It'll be my test vehicle. I'll post the progress when the paints and models arrive next week.

Monday, April 20, 2009

River of Heroes


Here it is! It's the third and final Bagration book - River of Heroes.

My local gaming store or LGS obtained a preview copy of the book, which is due to hit the stores in mid-May. Here are the highlights:
  • Assault gun company - Fearless Trained
  • Sappers - Fearless Trained
  • 3rd Tank Corps T-34/85 company - Confident Trained
  • SS-Totenkoph - Fearless Veteran
  • SS-Wiking - Fearless Trained
  • 501st King Tiger - Confident Veterans
Russian engineers are nasty. They get to use panzerfausts to bunker bust and have a variety of equipment available to them.

The Russian hero, S.A.Rat is a nice one, in my opinion. He developed a zig-zag tactic, which allowed his unit to approach defended areas and not get picked off by the long-distance gunnery skill of the Germans. Rat thought that since the German were very disciplined with their gunnery, they would have a hard time with vehicles moving in unusual patterns. Apparently, he was right because many times his unit suffered little to know casualties, while other tank assault regiments were gutted. S.A. Rat's unit gets a die roll when hit to see if the zig-zag tactic works and forces a miss. S.A. Rat himself is able to move and shoot at full ROF. Sweet.

Now some might say, who cares about CT T-34/85 company. Remember, the Hammer & Sickle T-34/85 company was a Guards company. Now, Russians players can field CT units with the great T-34/85 tank and at less cost then a Guards company.

King Tigers? Wow. Tiger-philes will be rejoicing. They have been clamoring for this tank for years and now they get their hands on it.

They also get their hands on the Sturmtiger! 12/8/2 of nice armor and AT 6, FP 1+ of boom boom goodness.

I think folks will find the Totenkoph Biermeyer Hero interesting. There is an option to field a Panzer company that is reckless and daring. However, if the Hero is destroyed, their rating starts to decrease. Biermeyer and his platoon is hit as if he was Trained. If he goes poof, then the whole platoon goes from Fearless to Confident Trained. Biermeyer's platoon must assault if they can and if they can't, must stormtrooper as far as they can towards an enemy unit or objective. These guys are nuts! The platoon Biermeyer panzers costs less than normal because they are madmen.

Oh yeah, if you think Kommisars are harsh when they start shooting stands, wait till you see what Totenkoph infantry will do when forced to take motivation checks. Oiy!!

For Wiking, they don't have a specific hero, yet their panzer platoons get to roll for Ace skills. They are called Panzer Kanones, because there were several tank aces in Wiking. A Panzer Kanon replaces a panzer platoon's command team.

All in all, I'll rank Hammer & Sickle, River of Heroes, and then Stalin's Onslaught as my favorites in the Bagration series of books. There are some that say a year's worth of Russian books is too much. I say, it was well worth the time and shed light on an important campaign. C'mon, D-Day got 6 books. Less than half that number devoted to the Eastern Front isn't asking too much.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

All about the photos

As I hinted at with my last entry, I found a picture that threw a monkey wrench into my planned FOW army for the 11.PD.

Here is the culprit.


caption: Capt Finkelmann in ation with his panzer III.

Originally, I had decided on being somewhat of a lemming and equipping my Panzer Kompanie with a mixture of Pz IV F-2's and Pz IIIN's. And why not? Upgrading to Pz III Ausf N's costs an additional 15 pts, compared to the whopping 60 pts for an Ausf F-2. What is there not to like with a short barrel 75mm? FA 6, AT 9, RoF 2, FP 3+ and range of 24". Plus, I was going to equip all the N's with schurzen (skirts) to make on heck of an infantry assault force.

Just one problem....the picture shows a long (lang) barrel 50mm on a Pz III.

Okay, alright, we can handle this.

I'm not a panzer expert and can't snap identify a tank by just looking at the photo. The best I can do is see the long barrel and know it's not a Ausf G or Ausf N. The Pz III Ausf J (late) was known to the "Mark III Special" by the British troops in North Africa.

On the other hand, the Pz III Ausf L were introduced in June 1942 and served until December 1942. Front armor increased from 30mm to 57mm. Many of the L's received turret and hull sideskirts. Now we're talking!

Here's a link with nice Pz III info:

By going with Ausf L's, I'm giving up FP 3+ and going to FP 4+. I'm assuming, I don't know, but can hazard a guess that FOW does the FP rating on the size of the shell. 75mm has more explosive charge than a 50mm shell. Makes sense.

I can't argue with AT9 for either the 75mm KwK L/24 or the 50mm KwK L/60. Check the armor penetration table here:

Switching to Ausf L's changes the upgrade value from +15 pts to +25 pts. Ouch! I had to change my recon element to 8-rads from Luchs. I think this is a good thing since I haven't found any source that says 11.PD had any Luchs. I believe Luchs were with the 4.PD. I did find info on WWII message boards saying that by the start of Barbarossa, 11.PD had retired its 6-rads and went with 8-rads.

Next entry I'll post the Panzer Kompanie. It's not point efficient, but I like it and it fits the historical 11.PD, which is what I'm going for.