Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Painting a test squad + some weapon teams

 I decided to go for the 'base first - paint second' approach.  I tested whether the individual figures remain accessible, and that seems to be the case, so I glues the figures and put some texture on using cork, grit and some vallejo sandy paste thats is way past its date.  Seemed to work nonetheless.  Here are the miniatures, after priming with Army Painter Army Green
Second step is the base colours.  I used a mix of GW colors and Vallejo (FOW Range) but the FOW US set seems to have no para uniform green, so I mixed that up using catachan and green grey with a hint of knarloc green.  I'll see how it looks once it's dry.
Back row is a leader (non marked as yet) and a bazooka team.
 After getting some feedback I corrected the base colors of the weaponry,  painted the boots in red leather, helmets in catachan (olive drab wannabe), and repaired some basing holes where a chunk of grit fell off.  Then onto step three: washing everything with a dark brown dipping wash.
 Fourth step involves painting on some detail, adding highlight to the uniform, using a khaki + 20% olive to get the typical off-khaki of the M42 airborne uniform.  Or so I hope.
 Here are the units after flocking, I though about going back in to correct some small details, you keep seeing stuff you can improve when you're painting through a 2,4x magnifier lens, but on the table I think they look just fine.  Not bad for a first set.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Prepping US D-Day Paras

 Here are all the para units, minus the infantry support weapons, cleaned up as well as I can without magnifying glasses.  Before priming I'll do a second check under the mag lamp.  I'm gonna prime in US Green.
Detail of a para armed with a M1 para carbine.  I wonder what is on the helmet.  First aid kit?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

German tank cards

I'm preparing everything to test the tank rules.  I do not expect a lot of difficulties, although we will have to determine all the hit modifiers while testing: we will start with the following:

Range modifier: as indicated on To Hit Table
Size modifier: as indicated on tank card
Changing firing arc:
Normal turret: -1
Slow turret: -2
No turret: -4
Moving target ≤ 10 cm: -1
Moving target > 10 cm : -2
Dashing (defense fire, target start out of sight): -2
Partially visible: dice roll determines hit location

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10 mm windows

I have acquired some windows from houses in HO scale that I have been using, and it kinda works, but I want to try and make my own.  For this, I'll need a two part cast, and 10 mm windows are small!  THe size I'm going for for a full size window is about 6x9 mm.  That means the woodwork is made in 0,5 mm evergreen strips.
It took me the better part of an evening to finish one window, partially finish another (in another style) and finish one window frame, all of those without gap filling and sanding.  On the plus side I have finally found a good use for my 5x magnifier glass.

Not so brilliant mould

I tried to make a mould from a piece of wall with the exact size of a two floor terrace house, and although the borders are now a lot better than the first time around, I failed to notice a dent – not enough putty – in the stone texture.  I’m gonna make some casts in ceramofix, zellane and resin to test the detail and smoothness, but after that, this mould is gonna go where all the others so far have gone: in the bin.  That’s another 5 Euro.  I’m gonna stop using the paste, and start using the liquid version, I expect better results with that, once I have found the perfect container to make moulds in.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Falaise Gap - BKC rules - 15 mm

This is the setup of the game.  I'm playing the Germans, nearest, and have set up 2 Mortar units on the small mound on the right, intending to advance the third.  Bad call to start with, I would have been better putting the FAO on the hill on the left, and the three mortars all together.  On the other hand, that just might have attracted a bit more artillery.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

German Tanks in version 0.1

Here is the Tank ID Card which will be used in game.  The player has a card for every type of combat vehicle in game.  The cards feature all relevant info needed in game: Tank name, main gun type, rate, penetration and ammo types, machine guns, armor on turret and hull front, side and rear, movement allowance, crew survival, and smoke availability.

And these are the tanks available at the outset.  Evidently, this list will grow, and more obscure vehicles will be features eventually, but these 5 offer a good starting point.

 PzKpfW IV F2/G (rare by D-Day)

 PzKpfW IV H/J (common)

 PzKpfW V G 'Panther' (quite common)

PzKpfW VI E 'Tiger' (quite rare)
PzKpfW VI 'Königstiger' (rare)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some terrain impressions

This is far from final, just an impression of how the terrain - homemade and from a variety of suppliers - is coming along.  I definitely need bases for the houses, with hedges and grass on them, to get a realistic impression for houses with gardens.  I also need a system that keeps the roads in place better, I hate it when they are not flat on the table.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First 10 mm building casting attempt

Given the limited choice in 10 mm WW2 buildings and the poor coherence between different suppliers' models I decided to try and cast my own.  This means build the original. make a cast, and cast different units.  Of course, I want some variety.  I decided to go ahead and attempt a row house front first.
 I started out by making a complete 10 mm two store building in Normandy style.  That was my first mistake.  I had to rip it off of the plastic board, and the glued construction is far from stable, considering you need to exert some serious pressure to get your detail in there.  The second mistake is the use of architect board.  Way too soft, impossible to smooth before casting, so you have a lot of cleaning up to do afterwards.
I tried to make the edges are clean as possible, added a little frame for the door, and then started mixing the silicone paste.  This is a putty version, that goes very soft when mixed together, and is really easy to blend.  The detail is superb.  That was the first problem with the mould.  I cut out the holes for the windows without taking into account the depth.  Some of the shutters are not perfectly against the wall.  Not a problem for a one off, but a big issue for a mould: putty creeps between every nook and messes up the finer details.
Another issue: the edges.  You really need a box to push your putty and original into.  I grabbed a bit of flat board just to make sure I have a straight bottom on my mould, but that's only 50% of the story.  First impression the mould looks great, but on closer inspection there are a lot of areas where the putty crept into small crevisses.  I tried to repair this but obviously this wasn't easy.

Nevertheless I cast a row house front in my new mould, and the result was not too bad.  For row houses, you just need fronts and rears, the rest can be architect board.  If you zoom in you'll see the zones where I had to perform repairs, some missing detail, and some bubbles (I forgot to take care of these) but it is also clear that if you have a good original, the mould can be amazing.  I'm gonna paint this one anyhow just to see how it looks.
So from here, the next step is making some clean originals.  I am thinking about making parts that are multi-use, like two windows, a window and a door, a shop window, three windows, so that I can assemble houses with little effort.  In order to have clean edges, I'm gonna look for 3 mm thick plastic board.  You can get a perfect edge on those, they can be sanded, scratched into, and so on.  Alternatively, I could use 2 mm board and put a nice flat layer of white milliput on it, so that I can sculpt in brick details and textures.  That should keep me busy for a week or two.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pendraken 88 mm FLAK 36

I received all my pendraken stuff, so I'm unpacking everything and looking at putting it together, how to base etc.  This is the German 88 FLAK 36.  One of the things I had to do was bend up the tubes as illustrated below.
That way the barrel and the tubes run parallel.  This is how they go together.
Add the gunshield like this.  Careful, the opening in the gun shield is just a little to small, you have to make it bigger to allow for the tubes to come lower, if not the base will not fit properly.
I put it together and on a 40 x 50 base, that's ample room for the gun plus crew.  Bases are 0,6 mm galvanised steel, they are strong, thin and attracted by magnets!
You can also point it upwards, it's an anti aircraft gun after all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pendraken models arrived

4 Battlepacks and some assorted goodies, mainly US airborne and German Wehrmacht.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

HE Fire Effects table, version 4

After some intense simulation and modification this is the table that we are going to be using for the version 0.1 rules.  They work OK, we had units going from green (Q3) over average (Q4), hardened (Q5) and elite (Q6) with leaders (Q4 to 6) with modifiers ranging from +1 (very poor commander) up to -2 (excellent commander).  Although luck still plays a role, the general feel was just right, and it will probably be even more so when more units are in play and luck evens out.
The pinned | retreat | rout | surrender system seems to work to satisfaction.  The baby dice are a simple way of keeping track of suppression per team.  One thing still to look into is how leaders react to suppression.

S-n / S+n: defender performs a suppression roll with a -n / +n modifier
n: defender automatically suffers n point(s) of suppression
E: defender is eliminated
*: doubles creates fire in target hex (woods, buildings)

Attacker leader modifier:
Shift the number of columns to the right for a negative modifier (better leader)
Shift the number of columns to the left for a positive modifier (worse leader)
Attacker has the high ground: shift one column to the right
Target is in:
Soft cover, Tank rider, Soft Top vehicle: shift one column to the left
Bocage, ditch, entrenchment: shift two columns to the left
Wooden building, wooden wall: shift two buildings to the left
Armored Vehicle, Gun shield: shift two buildings to the left
Stone building, stone wall: shift three buildings to the left
Attacker Pinned: shift one column to the left
Attacker Retreating (defensive fire only): shift two columns to the left

Suppression roll:
The defender rolls one die, adds the indicated modifier and the leader modifier to the roll, and compares the result with the unit quality. If the roll result is equal to or lower than the quality the target unit does not incur suppression. If the roll result is higher than the unit quality, the unit suffers one point of suppression. The unit's suppression is indicated with a baby D6.

Unit suffers suppression:
This result omits the suppression roll and the target unit automatically incurs the indicated number of suppression points. Effect are identical to suppression incurred via suppression rolls.

Suppression effects:
When a number of suppression points equal to half the quality (rounded up) is reached, the unit must check quality. The roll is modified by the difference between quality and suppression. If this fails the unit is pinned, it can no longer move towards the enemy, but can still fire normally. If the check is successful, nothing happens.
When a number of suppression points equal to the quality is reached, the unit must check quality. The roll is modified by the difference between quality and suppression. If this fails the unit retreats: it must move away from the enemy, and can only perform defensive fire. If the check is successful, the unit becomes / remains pinned.
A unit that is retreating and that incurs additional suppression points, must check quality, again with the difference modifier, and rout when the roll fails.
When retreating is impossible because of enemy troops, the unit remains pinned instead.
When routing is impossible because of enemy troops, the unit surrenders or is eliminated if unit type does not allow surrender.

The targeted team is eliminated. All units that are adjacent to the eliminated unit must perform a suppression roll.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

HE Fire Effects table, version 3

We did some simulations with the previous HE FE Table, but the D6 rolls make it too random.  I hope the bell curve of the 2D6 die roll will flatten that out a little.  On this table, 2 out of 3 times the result will come out of the middle 5 rows, but exceptionally good or bad results are still possible.

Also, rather than working with modifiers, I intend to use column shifts.  So a fire team delivers 1 Fire Strength, but good leadership, elite troops, close range may cause right column shifts (increasing the damage) just as good cover, long range or being suppressed may cause left shifts, and therefore less damage.

The thing I worry about is whether it will be useful to form fire groups: Will two teams with a good leader prefer one roll on the 2+ column or 2 rolls on the 1+ column?  It will probably depend on troop quality, I still have to do the maths on that.  32/36 chance on a S-1 or S?  Or 16/32 chance on a S?  Will a leader influence only one team?  That would even the odds somewhat:  In order to have more units benefit from leadership, they would have to form a firegroup.  Then the result would be 2 S-1 results versus 1 S result.  For a Q3 target, two times 33% chance they incur suppression, or one 50% chance, plus a small chance of fire.  Or do I change the suppression checks to 2D6 as well?

I hope to get some units ready after Nikfest in December, so we can test a bit more thoroughly.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

10 mm WW II Terrain: French country house and factory

Here's another piece of terrain ready: I acquired a bag full of railroad leftover bits and incomplete kits, and I scrounged some of the bits in order to make houses in an appropriate scale, with decent detail.  For some reason, the pictures didn't perfectly focus, but I'll be buggered if I descend the stairs into the cold again now that I'm sitting here warm and cosy...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Some thoughts on basing

Basically, the idea is to play on a scale of one base = one team or one squad.  After an afternoon of trying and messing about with bases, rules, and so on, things are becoming clear:  Although I would like the squad per base scale, there are some things to be said for team per base as well:
  1. Accurate representation: one base has 3 soldiers on it, being spot-on for a crew and not too bad for a 4-5 soldier team.
  2. Squad leaders can become independent leaders, which has been the idea from the outset.
  3. If a squad operates as one unit, they just remain in base contact, but in case of a loss one base can simply be removed.
The tests we have been doing seem to work well with this.  We have to decide whether we dump the squad - from a game mechanics point of view - which means version 3 of the HE table is coming up.  That's not too bad.
If we do dump the squad, it will be the number of NCO's that determine how many squads are actually in the game, be it 2 team squads, 3 team squads or 2 team plus support squads.

Considering the firepower of a team is 1, this means a lot of the rolling will take place on a column that cannot yield an 'eliminated' result.  So in team vs. team fire combat, all combat will be resolved by suppression.  When grenades, MG's and other small ordnance comes into play, this will change.  This is the next thing to test, once I return from my trip to Germany this week.

So in regard of all this, the base of choice would be the 20x20 base, with three soldiers, or a support weapon.  Leaders are based on a 1  Cent piece (the cheapest base known to man).  Headquarters could be based bigger, like 40x40, considering there will only be one or two in a game this scale.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The new HE table

We started testing the game dynamics based on the new HE table.  A few changes from the old one, the most apparent being that we went for lower is better in order to conform to the suppression check roll.
EE: Eliminate 2 teams (if available)
ES: Eliminate 1 team, suppression check for whatever is left
E: Eliminate 1 team
S: Perform a suppression check
S-x: Perform a suppression check with a -x modifier

Target in cover: +1
Target ambushed: -1
Good Leader: -1
Short range fire: roll 2D6, count lowest die
Long range fire: roll 2D6, count highest die

Roll of 1: roll again, ambush if possible on a roll of 1-3, leader bonus applies

That's gonna be it for now, we'll start fleshing out some basic German and Us units in order to get the unit stats working, then we can test the new HE table over the next week or so

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thinking about the die rolls

A game system.  For miniatures, often it is centered around tables, which dictate what can happen in the game world, and die rolls, which will determine what will happen at a given time.  Events that are not catered for in the tables will not take place, it's obvious enough.  Also, the choice of what die rolls are performed when will strongly influence what happens in a game.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some concept art for terrain

I'm always struggling with windows in 10 mm scale, so in order to have some guideline as to how the finished item should look, I did some research and drew a series of typical 40ies windows from Normandy, Belgium, and Germany.

I'm also working on some main terrain features to give a game table that je ne sais quoi feel.  Here are the initial drawings of a church I am planning to make.  AT the moment I think I am going to manufacture the main structure out of foam board.  We'll see where it goes from there.

Effects of HE Fire on infantry

While thinking about and working on my HE effect table, I realized that before I can finalize said table, or even do the maths for the dice rolls, I have to determine what the possible effects are, how they come to pass, and how they interact, if at all.
My initial idea was that units can break, and broken units that re-break take losses. Added to that, units can get suppressed. However, on second thought that seems a bit weird: incurring suppression and breaking are definitely related: it is the overdose of suppression that causes a unit to break. We also want a system that requires little bookkeeping, while still keeping the detail.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prototype of the HE Fire Resolution table

One of the most important mechanics is going to be the fire resolution, of course.  We want a system that is simple and fast, yet that takes into account firepower, distance, cover, attacker quality, and type of fire.  That definitely means a table with modifiers.  This first version is a starting point, and we have made almost no statistics calculation so far, this table is just based on a hunch.

First Post! 10 mm bridgehead

These are my first steps in the 10 mm domain:  the first terrain finished that actually looks good enough not to throw into the bin straight away.  It still needs a bit of roughing up, and I'll improve the water once I start on my river beds, but for now it's the proud start.