Sunday, 23 October 2011

Armourfast Achilles WIP

I thought I would post some WIP of the Armourfast Achilles that I have been working on & off at for some time. The Achilles was sent to me by Dan Dunbar in a swap of miniatures we did. Dan also provided some inspiration on his blog for what could be done with this fairly simple model here. Now it has to be said that my attempt is not as detailed as Dan's, particularly the interior, but then my plan is to put a couple of AB figures in there too. So here are some pictures of the work in various stages, during which I ended up taking it apart and then sticking it back together again before I reached where I'm up to now:
This is where I got it to before I took it apart and started again......
In bits. The turret floor has been cut away to help accomodate figures, and a false floor will be added underneath this- used a bit of plasticard.
These are some shots of the turret being revamped. I have cut away the front top section to get better access of the breech area, cut out a section at the front where an mg might go and have added some other details. I got hold of some 17 pounder shells from Peter at Battlescape , from the Sgts Mess range. Note my fairly basic breech that I made from plasticard, wire & part of a Sherman gun I had kicking about- Dan's is better, but hey, I had a go.
This is the turret at the next stage with my basic breech installed. I have added the camo net, made from surgical gauze and strips of paper then coated in watered down white glue. The backpacks and stowage on the Turret is from Andy at Grubby Tanks apart from the balsa/plasticard box and a helmet & canteen which were cut off a plastic figure.
These two shots show the turret back on, but with some stowage on the back still to be painted and weathering to be done.
So here you see where I am up to so far. The weathering has been done and rest of stowage painted, now I have to finish the two figures I plan to squeeze in there. I don't have any plans for markings at the moment, I would want them to fit with my 43rd Wessex blokes- an Achilles that supported them somewhere between Hill 112 & The Island - any suggestions?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

AAR- A Recce & some Wrecks- Normandy 1944

Huzzah, finally had a game with my friend the Red Rajah, and so I present to you my first official After Action Report.
We used a set of rules something like Frankensetin's monster- bits from here and there. First there was some very amusing character creation using Platoon Forward, then we adopted blinds like those used in IABSM & TW&T, for all the other stuff we used the reference sheet I downloaded for Kampfgruppe Normandy (I'm waiting for the real thing to arrive from UK), and some gentleman's agreements as to what seemed plausible.
The cast was as follows:


Lt Algy Farnsworth

Pltn Sgt Bert Bristow

Sgt Bob Abbotsford

Sgt Derek Perry

Sgt Eric “Chalky” White (Tank Commander)

Germans (Kampfgruppe Bosche):

Oberleutnant Hieronymous Bosche

Unteroffizier Hans Bratwurst

Obergefreiter Gotfried Fechner

 Obergefreiter Walter Hoffmann

Feldwebel Adolph Ostermann (Tank Commander)
This was the layout of the battlefield:

It included lots of hedgerows for cover, a hill, wooded bits, small orchard, marshy ground and a Normandy farmhouse.

Lt Farnsworth had been charged with doing a reconnaissance in force- to see what the Germans had in the area and then withdraw to call up reinforcements or artillery support if needed. He was supported by two Shermans & an Achilles Tank destroyer (model not quite finished but was rushed onto battlefield for much needed support), commanded by the inept "Chalky" White (as deemed by Platoon Forward character creation).
Here we see the blinds placed by the Germans and British. Each side has one blind for their armour, two for the rifle sections, one for platoon HQ section plus some spares to throw in the element of doubt:

The empty battlefield....what have those jerries got up their sleeves?

Lt Farnsworth sent Sgts Perry & Abbotsford’s sections up the left flank, the tanks probed up the road & Farnsworth moved up to the second hedgerow on the right flank. Lt Farnsworth thought it might be wise to avoid a frontal assault on the farmhouse, but had Bosche the German commander forseen this and laid a cunning ambush?
Chalky White thought it might be good to throw a bit of HE into the top story of the farmhouse in order to blast out any German MGs or snipers, but staying true to his character, both the Shermans failed to score a direct hit where it counted, and just sent showers of stonework and tiles all over the place.

According to the temprament check Sgt Perry was feeling reckless today and decided to dash to the top of the hill and lay down some supressing fire onto the enemy who he felt sure would be on the other side. They weren't. Now he had really drawn attention to himself.

Sgt Abbotsford's section, still concealed from the enemy, positioned themselves more sensibly at the base of the hill (see above).
Now it was Oberleutnant Hieronymous Bosche & his Unteroffizier Hans Bratwurst's turn to give the Tommies a surprise. German mortar rounds rained down on the exposed British section causing the loss of one of Perry's men.

At his next opportunity Sgt Perry withdrew from the exposed position of the hilltop and found cover near the hedges & trees to his rear. Meanwhile, Chalky White decided to swing his tanks off the road and attempt to provide some support to the infantry to his left.

Sgt Abbotsford, feeling encouraged by the supporting armour, decided to make a dash for the low lying marshy ground which would provide some concealment in its reedy depths. Chalky White drove his Shermans over the crest, leaving the Achilles on higher ground.

A clever flanking move? More like a cunning trap:

Concealed behind the farmhouse was Feldwebel Adolph Ostermann in his Tiger I (a man not well liked by his comrades owing to his obnoxious demeanour and cultural snobbishness). Bosche had also lined the hedgerow with not only his HQ squad but another squad. It looked like Sgt Abbotsford was in trouble and the game could be up for Chalky White.
The Tiger opened up on the nearest Sherman and amazingly failed to take it out! The jerries in the hedgerow sent a hail of lead into the marshy ground where Abbotsford's section were desparately trying to conceal themselves, resulting in one of his men copping a packet.
Now it was the Brits turn to give the jerries what for. The Achilles swung its turret in the direction of the Tiger and sent an AP round at it- it hit! Ostermann was ousted, much to his consternation (he actually survived). Shermans & Achilles then turned their MGs onto the Germans behind the hedgerow, resulting in.....nothing (actually I stuffed up the dice rolling because I misread the charts).

After this success things went badly wrong for Chalky White.
Bosche's veteran Panzerschreck man, let's call him Gunther, managed to take out two Shermans from his concealed position in the hedge. To make matters worse, Gunther's mate Stefan on the mortar, managed to land one right in the open turret of the Achilles. From victory to disaster in such a short time, Chalky won't be too popular with the lads for this one.

At least Sgt Abbotsford's men managed to extract themselves from the swamp and get safely behind the hill.

At this stage Lt Farnsworth decided that enough lives and equipment had been lost and a withdrawal was deemed appropriate. He had discovered a significant German force in the area and would be letting his Company Commander know that an artillery stonk could be helpful before further assaults are attempted.

The Germans still held the farmhouse too:

At least there was one less Tiger to worry about in Normandy-

Bosche considered nominating Gunther for the Iron Cross for his work with the Panzerschreck, and
Chalky White actaully managed to escape alive from his wrecked tank.

A great game was had by all, and I am looking forward to getting hold of the full ruleset for KGN.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Churchill III & KH Stretcher bearers

Finally another post. This time I have pictures of a recently completed Churchill III, an Italeri model (ex-Esci I think), plus a Kelly's Heroes British stretcher team- not a huge amount I know, but my output has been rather slow of late on the painting/modelling front. I have managed to read three WW2 history books since my last post, all centred around the Normandy campaign- very enjoyable.
With a birthday coming up and Warhammer Historical having a half price sale, I have ordered myself a copy of Kampfgruppe Normandy plus the decal sheet- so my wife will have something to give me :)
Even if I don't get many opportunities to play these rules I shall enjoy the pictures and reference material.

Now, about the pictures- the Churchill III has had little done to it out of the box apart from an aerial and some different markings- oh and of course the crew member who is from AB. I recently received my first bunch of AB miniatures for use as tank crews from Milicast- such lovely sculpting & enjoyable to paint.
The stretcher bearers and the wounded chap are splendid figures from Kelly's Heroes, I really like them even if I had a little trouble gluing them together.
Apologies for the colour saturation on some of the photos- I was experimenting with some of the settings on our little camera.

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