There is about to be a flurry of activity for the REGIMENT in terms of events. (pardon my punny picture) It is looking to be an exciting season to be sure! We kick things off in Regina on April 23-24th. This looks to be a fun event though it does have many of us extremely nervous with the 2 hour time limit at 1775 points. I am a fast player and yet this still makes me nervous. However, it should make for a lot of fortified and tank lists. Time will tell, stay tuned for an after action report on this one!
Next we have the REGIMENT invitational on May 7th which is going to do LW this year as opposed to our usual MW. This one should be interesting as it will be most peoples’ first tournament in Western Canada at the new 1420 points total. This one is a bit out of season for us since Kelowna has folded into Attack-X this year and so we are trying to fill the spring void that was left. It is a preliminary trial though so who knows what will happen in 2017!
Then we have DDay which is a two part thing this year. One of our Club members, Al, has been working on some boards for Pegasus Bridge and the Merville Battery. These will be fought the week before the Juno landings (most likely May 28th) and will directly influence the scenario for Juno beach (most likely June 4th). This should be exciting as there are going to be mechanics that allow the German defenders of Juno to get the Merville battery for a set number of turns or even perpetually depending on when the British airbourne silence the battery. The crossroads and bridges may also allow the Germans to receive some armoured reserves depending on how this battle goes. The pressure will be on for the British Horsa assault troops, paratroopers and commandos to hold their objectives! Finally we fight Juno beach on the 16′ by 6′ recreation that one of the club founders, Dave, made years ago. This is a massive 12 player, 20 000 points a side battle that takes the entire day and playing space at our LGS, Imaginary Wars who graciously hosts us for this magnificent display.
All in all it is a fun season we have ahead as we head into the summer. This spring should be a fantastic one as far as miniature soldiers are concerned!
Stay tuned for a post about my list with more pictures.
The tournament in Edmonton was a 5 round two day event with blind missions. We got to find out the missions right before we played them, about the same time we found out what table and opponent we had. They also used the ETC “Big points, Small points” way of scoring which was a nice break from the usual. They provided T-shirts commemorating the event (which I forgot at the venue oops) as well as lunch on the first day and some continental food throughout the entire event.
We have two events in November at the REGIMENT. We have a Remembrance Day(ish) tournament that the crew at the Edmonton Fusiliers puts on which is coming up this Saturday and Sunday. The second is US Tanksgiving. Because the tournament is later we are pushing our tanksgiving event to December 5th.
Howard Nason is one of The Calgary Regiment’s founding members. He recently completed his project on his German BP-44 Armoured Train force that he took to Kelowna. Here is the tutorial on how he made this beautiful model:
This was a treat that I bought myself back in 2013, and then decided that my goal was to get it ready for the 2014 western tournament season (which is really just ours and Kelowna’s tourneys, but “tournament season” sounds so much more impressive!) Nonetheless, there’s some stiff competition for the Best Painted Army trophy in our crowd, so I knew I had my work cut out for me this year and needed something to put me over the top.
Enter the BP-44! This is a seriously impressive model for Flames of War in its own right. I got all the options for the train, so it’s a locomotive, two artillery cars, two artillery & AA cars, two staff car models, two AT cars (with Panzer IV turret) and two Panzer 38T tanks to ride along on each end.
Fully assembled on tracks, it’s about 44” long! Considering a typical table is only 6×4’, this will be a serious ‘platoon’ to deploy in a game, and will be a huge challenge for some armies to face and a giant bullseye for others.
I’m never a threat for the Best General trophy, that much I am sure of. But doing an armoured train is all about painting up such an impressive centre piece and having some fun with it. I expect that it’ll probably get torn apart in a tourney, and that’s okay, because I hope people will just enjoy playing against it! It’s something totally new and different and I hope it gets a good laugh in all my games. So that’s the theme of the army – eye candy > function. 🙂
First phase was assembly, which was pretty time consuming and required some heavy filling and sanding, especially on the locomotive, which would have been better served as just one all resin casting, in my opinion.
My biggest delay has been in getting up the energy to tackle the radio aerial on the staff car. I’d already decided that I would only do one, which will help me differentiate between the staff car and the infantry car. But it’s a fiddly little piece that Battlefront does not provide. I decided to use brass rod to shape the aerial itself while using the BF pieces for the support struts.
Battlefront also published a PDF sheet that you could print out with a template for the antenna, which was actually quite helpful. I used that taped over a piece of wood, hammered finishing nails into the template and bent the wire around the form until I had a shape that I was satisfied with. It took two tries to get a good shape and then I soldered it together at the join.
First attempt at the antenna; not good enough!!
After some fiddly work, I attached the antenna to the car using the BF mounting struts and got it base coated. Result is OK I think. Barring a drop, it seems sturdy enough for play as well.
I really debated this for a while, having seen the gorgeous work that Warpaint Brother (WPB) and others have posted on the forums. They cut open doors, had guys sitting inside and hanging out of roof top hatches etc. But ultimately I just didn’t have the energy to get into that! LOL And besides, since they’ve already done it and done a smashing job, I’d probably only be disappointed with the results. So the train is pretty much intact an
d built out-of-the-box. a.k.a The Cop Out!
I sculpted a tarp on one of the AA cars which was more about covering up a broken piece of the side shields on that car than anything else. I sculpted a jacket draped on one of the AT cars just for fun, which will be painted up in Splinter pattern. They’ll be some of the last things I get around to painting, when I deal with crew figs and stowage to ‘dress up’ the train.
This was something that I really wrestled with for several reasons. First off, I’ve done enough of the ‘traditional’ German tri-colour camo pattern that I’d already decided I didn’t want to do any more of that! But it begged the question, if not tri-colour, then what??
At this point, I looked around for historical paint schemes and considered options there. I considered all grey, or doing Dunkelgelb with green stripes, which was another typical German pattern, but what I really wanted to showcase was some airbrush shading and weathering techniques that would (I hope) really show well on the Dunkelgelb base colour. So I needed something that would give the effect of camo without covering up too much of the yellow’ish base colour.
I wanted to use those huge slab-sided train cars to really go to town with some colour modulation (something I don’t have much experience with, and definitely not in 15mm) and chipping / scratching / weathering. My background was 1/35 scale modeling years back, and many of those techniques will work well on the train.
So I’ve accepted that I’m not g
oing to worry too much about historical accuracy in favour of picking a camo pattern that will ‘show well’. J In the end, I’ve opted for green ‘blobs’ scattered around the train, which is I think the technical term for it. ‘Blob pattern 3 Mk II’… or something… <cough>
I’ve also been having some troubles with my airbrush lately as well (some sort of air flow issue I haven’t nailed down), which isn’t giving me confidence in any really fine line work, so blobs actually work well with that!
First stage is to do some shading/fading work. I think it shows well on the locomotive which has so many small panels. (edit: okay I took a little hiatus from the documentation of my progress, so I’m lacking in some progress shots. Whoops!). From this point all photos already show the camo applied after my fading/shading efforts.
In all honesty, the engine looked pretty good but the other cars were so much surface area that I psyched myself out and ended up toning down my efforts so they’re much more subtle. I was just too nervous that it would look odd if I over did the effect of the shading and object source lighting. So most photos probably won’t capture much at all. But it does show up well especially
as the weathering starts to happen.
After I was satisfied with the effect of the shading and my camo pattern, it was time to get into the weathering.
Stage 1: paint chipping and wear & tear
This was…tedious LOL, but well worth the effort I think. I’d say I probably spent 1.5-2 hours per rail car doing paint chips. So that’s probably close to 20 hours or so invested in
this step when all was said and done.
It’s broken down into two stages. First is to use Vallejo Black Grey paint and basically work around all the high-traffic areas where people will touch, walk, or crawl, or where things open or close, slide against other parts etc. I try to put a lot of thought into how guys will move around on the train, how they’ll climb over areas etc. and then reflect that with wear and tear on the paint that shows traffic patterns.
The key is to keep the paint the right consi
stency – too watery and it just beads off the brush and makes a mess. Too dry and it doesn’t leave the tiny chips and scratches in the effect you want. So it’s important to stop and clean the brush constantly. Also keeping the paint free-flowing on the palette is important, and I usually squeeze a drop or two of water on top of the paint.
Second phase is to use Vallejo German Camo Black Brown, which is a very deep rich brown colour. I go over much of the chips and worn off areas again which gives it greater depth and imparts a rusty look to it all. I think it was “WPB” on the Battlefront forum that recommended that colour or something similar, and it was an instant win when I tried it – I was immediately pleased with the results. I was heading in the wrong direction, looking at more orange rust tones.
Again, it’s all about paint consistency and managing the tip of your brush for this effect. It takes practice to make it look like a chip through the actual painted steel and not just a sloppy streak of paint that’s not convincing. There are definitely some areas that didn’t click, and had to be worked on much more to get the effect right.
Stage 2 is an artist’s oil paint pin wash
This is always a satisfying phase. I use odourless turpentine and squeeze out some artists oils (see pic). My pallet is a ceramic tile because there’s no absorption, and when I’m done
for the night I put it into a big Ziploc bag. Oil paints will keep for days or even weeks and you can keep ‘reactivating’ the paint with the spirits.
A warning though. You need to seal your project between the layers of oil products, otherwise the next stage will simply end up wiping off the previous stage as soon as you start painting.
So for the pin wash I just mixed up the brown and black to the shades I liked and then made a big puddle of wash on the tile. I load up the brush and then touch it to all the rivets, panel lines and corners on the car. If you’re not happy with the result when it dries, you can wet a brush with turpentine and tone it down afterwards, which is a great feature of oils. They also give just a wonderful overall appearance to the model that I don’t get with acrylic washes.
Once dry after a day (a wash like this dr
ies pretty quickly because the turps evaporate), I dull coat the model.
Stage 3 is rust streaking
I tried a new product that I found just for this project. “AK rust streaks“. After a really good shake I dip the brush into the cap and try to get a good load of pigment. Then I use a dry flat-headed brush to pull the streak downwards to represent all the rain streaking the rust down the side of the car. Put some thought into what areas will rust, how the rain will run across the roof and down the side and where it will sit and pool at times. Again, dull coat the model to protect this layer from the next stage.
(Sorry I forgot to get a shot after the pin wash and rust streaks, but in the next photo you can see the wash around all the hatches etc., and the rust streaks are pretty evident.)
Stage 4 is general grime streaking
Again this was an AK product I’d not used before. I used the same method above to create streaks but made wider paint streaks and
used a wider flat head brush. For this effect I wanted to try to show the rain washing dust and grime off the roof and down the sides of the car and then drying in streaks. Also, I used a heavier application around the underside of the train, where all the grease, soot and grime from the rails will be picked up a
nd deposited on the train.
It’s not terribly evident in the photo, but had I remembered to take a before/after shot, it definitely adds to the ‘griminess’ of the train.
Finally we enter the final phases which revolve around finishing the crew figures off and adding stowage. Realistically I felt there wouldn’t be much stowage visible on the exterior of the train. Unlike a tank, the train should have ample room inside to hold kit bags, helmets, weapons etc. But one key area where I figured there would be loads of gear was on the Anti-Tank cars on each end. They’re basically handy little flat bed cars, so I used some old wood pieces I had that matched the approximate size of the track ties on the Battlefront pre-painted train tracks. Cut to size and painted a dark grey/black with a lighter drybrush, they make a good start for the stowage; surely the train would carry some basic supplies to repair damaged road beds!
The Anti-Tank cars got special treatment on the flat beds with excessive paint wear, lots of grime and oil stains as well. I wanted to have lots of chains piled up and stored in bins on the AT cars (seems like another handy thing that would be kept on board), so I picked up some scale model ship anchor chain a
t the hobby shop. It was a shiny new chain, so I also used a product I picked up ages ago for my 1/35 Panther kit, which has after-market metal tank tracks. This product is a chemical solution called “Blacken-It” which basically oxidizes metal –perfect for making real metal tank tracks look all blackened and rusted, and just what I needed to tone down that crazy shiny copper chain.
Quick word of caution, this stuff is nasty with a big ‘Poison’ warning on the side, so handle carefully.
So weathering for each rail car is basically a 4-5 night process because of the drying time between layers of oil-based paints or the matt varnish.
I cut sections off the chain and dropped it into the solution for about 2 minutes. The reaction is pretty quick, and as you can see in the photos below it’s a dramatic change. I rinsed them in water after and then let them dry out. Once dry, I spread a little super glue with a toothpick and then piled the chains up where I wanted them. I’ll do some oils and pigments on them (I have some rust pigment I want to try out), so help weather them some more and also make sure none of the shiny super glue is showing up around the edges.
The rest of the chain is still in the package and compare that to the chains on the AT cars and a bit hanging off the tender car. You can also see the railroad ties on the back in the one shot. So I’m very pleased with how things are moving along on the AT cars. Still have to finish the crew figures and add some Jerry cans and other items, but so far so good.
I also got a great suggestion from my buddy and club member Geoff that I should include shell casings around the AA guns, so I used the stretched-sprue technique on some bl
ack plastic I had lying around. I stretched out two thicknesses that looked appropriate for scale 20mm and 37mm guns, painted the strands brass and then used a sharp knife to cut off appropriate lengths to represent empty casings for the two AA cars . Results are farther down in the finished pictures (note the two different sizes), but I loved the result. Thanks Geoff!
Below, the locomotive, pretty much finished. I found an Afrika Korps figure that looked just perfect to chop up and fit in the window for an engineer, and glued together a smoke plume as well.
Saturday, 1 British Para companies, an Airlanding company, a Polish para company and a company from the 82nd airbourne dropped behind enemy lines in Holland in order to attempt to loosen Germany’s grip on the low countries in Northwestern Europe. The defenders consisted of two FJ companies, a fortified company and a plethora of ersatz panzergrenadiers trying to hold back the airbourne forces of the allies. It was set up to be a long and bloody day. The Paratroop forces would land at night, then attempt to seize the bridges at dawn, clearing the way for the British 30th corps moving up the road.
The event itself was broken into three phases, requiring players to all have three lists. One for each mission or phase. Players were not competing against one another in single combat in the tradition sense (they were still playing one on one) but competing as a team. The axis and allies players would win or lose together as a team. This helped to promote theme and entertainment over intense competition, our goal was to be more light hearted as we tend to have a fair number of competitive tournaments already in Western Canada. The event itself was meant to simulate very loosely Operation Market Garden.
The phases were the paradrop (Death From Above Mission), followed by the assault on the bridges (Seize and Hold mission) and lastly a fighting withdrawal by the German forces as the British 30th corps came up Hells Highway. Allies had to pick paratroop lists from Market Garden for mission 1, This was opened to other parachute and Glider lists for mission 2 and finally a mechanized or armoured list from Market Garden for the fighting withdrawal mission. Germans need to have a fortified or infantry list for the paradrop, they could also include mechanized lists for mission 2 and for the final Fighting Withdrawal they were able to include armoured lists but could no longer take fortified companies.
Now on with the event itself!
Death From Above
It was going to be a long night for both the Airbourne forces and the German defenders. Even if the German defenders didn’t know it yet as the Horsa gliders silently floated towards their destinations, full of eager and nervous Airbourne forces. Soon both sides would be locked into combat that would last the night. The first mission was a literal para drop with a modified version of Death From Above being used for LW.
The British para forces landed over the most heavily fortified German defenders of all the drop zones. This resulted in one platoon landing literally inside one of the German defensive positions, of course this mean that they were wiped out. They had, afterall, landed in between the fortified companies 2cm Flak guns and MG nests. However, the rest of the troops, including the airlanding Coup de Main support landed closely packed around one of the objectives.
The British Airlanding force with a dual coup de main assault took up positions on the east end of town (over one of their objectives) which meant the Germans were now on the counter attack. Unfortunately one of the Gliders crash landed with only a single survivor, (the commander, Lucky Charles), there will be more on Lucky Charles later. Even the parachute mortars and Parachute platoon ended up landing just to the east of the village that they have been ordered to seize. This meant that majority of the British force had landed on target and was now securely holding 2 streets to the German defenders 1 street. Things had been looking good for the British, until Hummels trained Tigers with an ersatz panzergrenadier platoon showed up on the east side of the village, threatening to encircle the British airlanding and para forces. Luckily the British 6 pounder AT showed up just in time and Hummels Tigers got caught up in the mess of Horsa Gliders to the east of the village. This lead to Lucky Charles killing the first of the 3 Tiger tanks (spiked after the Tigers retreated from an assault) Later in a move of desperation the remaining two tigers would assault the British forces along the street securing the objective, bogging one on the way in, Lucky Charles then bailed the remaining Tiger and in turn spiked the remaining two. Lucky Charles not only survived the crashed glider as the lone survivor, passed his moral checks, but also took out three separate Tiger tanks! (now he has support from the other airlanding platoon, 6 pounders, mortars and parachute troops but you will never hear about that from him, after all Lucky Charles was the one standing on top of the Tigers at the end of the battle!
The Polish forces landed with their containers on the other side of the entire German defensive FJ army. Their machine guns landed among the German positions losing half their number before their feet even touched the ground. The Polish were certainly having a rough landing in mission 1.
The US forces met a similar fate, landing many of their troops onto the river and two platoons missing the landing zone. As a result the FJ defending these positions was able to attack the US airbourne a single platoon at a time and take them apart. The final parachute platoon did show up just in time to turn tail and run to fight another day. It would seem that the FJ defenders were the tough nuts to crack on the initial landings, we would have to see if they continued their defensive dominance as the paratroopers organized themselves for the assault on the bridges.
Seize and Hold
The night had been tough and both the Germans and Airbourne forces had been bloodied. As Dawn began to break the two sides would clash again over the all important bridges that the 30th corps required in order to continue their advance.
In this mission, the British forces continued to grab their objectives, especially with the help of the coup de main airlanding assaults. The British para’s managed to take the bridge from the FJ that had given the US paratroops so much trouble during the landings.
The airlanding forces pulled off an incredibly daring landing with the gliders landing right down main-street and behind main-street. Managing to clear out the Ersatz FJ that had fought off the Polish paras. With two platoons of airlanding troops landing their gliders on top of the objective the FJ would be on the counter attack against the dug in British. The FJ had a moment of respite as their Stug support showed up behind the British forces. Luckily the British 4, 6 pounders showed up behind the Stug and managed to bail all three. The command teams then ran in to desperately and heroically spike two of the bailed vehicles, the third realizing the situation fled the field, leaving Oberstleutnant von der Heydte to finish the counter attack alone. Von der Heydt ordered the retreat soon after.
The Polish paratroops managed to force the Ersatz panzer grenadiers to continue to be bruised and battered by the Allied parachute forces. They were able to destroy yet another of the Tiger tanks that the panzergrenadiers had been using as an armoured reserve. In the end the Polish forces were able to defend the guardhouse holding one of the bridges from the German counter-attacks, securing their victory.
Lastly the US forces were pitted against the stern fortified commander Euling. Euling had fortified his bridge positions with 6 minefields barb wire and continued to use his armoured cars and armoured infantry to counter attack the airbourne troops. In the end the mines slowed down the US forces too much, Being the only commander to hold he Bridges, Euling (aka Ryan) was given Tiger II tanks with which to cover his retreat as the British 30th corp rolled through Hells Highway.
Since the allies had managed to secure three of the four bridges they were given two extra reconnaissance moves for any forces in their companies. This represented the fact that little to no repairs were needed to bridges as the 30th corps just rolled on down the highway towards the German positions. However, the Germans had also had time to bring in their armoured reserves. StugGs, StuHs, Panzer IVs, Panthers and even Tiger IIs had been called in to help cover the German retreat.
The British para forces (Dave) had been reinforced by an armoured company complete with armoured infantry, universal carriers, Shermans and Sherman Fireflies not to mention the heavy 5.5 guns that had been supporting his para’s pack howitzers all through the night. He would now be battling against the Ersatz FJ (Howard) who had been supported by a StuG company. In the end the British would cause the StugGs to break just before they were able to retreat (remove their objective) allowing the British to narrowly defeat the German defenders, but not before the StuHs had completely wiped out their heavy artillery support.
The Airlanding forces (Me, Bradford) had been supported by a Guards lorried rifle company equipped with a company of 25 pounders (10) and some universal carriers to lead the charge against Eulings (Ryan) Tiger IIs and StuHs. Even though they managed to drop countless 25 pounder shells on the Tiger IIs, (bailing one almost every turn) they never manged to kill them until the assault pioneer platoon and three Rifle platoons were able to close and spike three Tiger IIs right after the fourth KT had been withdrawn. However, this was not before the StuHs cleaned out half of two rifle companies and the universal carriers. Again the British were able to just clutch victory in the final hour (again right before the objective was pulled)
The Polish para forces (Alex) had been supported by a Guards armoured car regiment. The fought hard against the stubborn FJ (Rob) defenders. They manged to clean out the right flank and seize the objective. Unfortunately before they could seize the victory the German counter fire managed to rattle the armoured car defenders, forcing a platoon moral check which then caused even the unflappable guardsmen to flee. Leaving the victory just barely in the German hands. Definitely a nail biter in this one!
Lastly we had the continually beaten down Ersatz panzergrenadiers (Curtis) who had been supported by Panzer IIIs, IVs, and Panthers against the bloodied US paratroopers (James) who had been supported by the British armoured forces with plenty of Shermans, Fireflies and the bulk of the Typhoon close air support. It was a bloody battle and both commanders had been feeling the combat loses sustained in the night and morning fighting that had already happened. The Panther ambush managed to clear out a Sherman armoured platoon, but then having given up their positions were annihilated by the Typhoons. In the end the Shermans just couldn’t quite get the job done fast enough and the Ersatz panzergrens were able to retreat fully without receiving further punishment from the allied forces.
The event was a huge success and I believe everyone enjoyed it a ton. It was great to play with themes and not placing emphasis on the results but rather on the results of the entire team. We didn’t keep track of points other than victories, not the degree of victory. In the end the Allies managed to just barely wrestle a victory by a single battle in round 2 when they were capturing the bridges.
I have decided that we will flip things next time and give the FJ a chance to invade Crete by means of air-power. It should be a fun role reversal for everyone. From there maybe an Italy themed event. Although first things first, the Massive DDay battle (Juno beach of course!). Dave has built a 16 foot scaled recreation of Juno beach that we partake in every year. It is a massive 10-12 player, ~15000 points a side battle that we do on whatever weekend works that is closest to June 6th. So for now, be sure to watch for our write up of that event!