Tuesday, December 15, 2015

So you want to play Bolt Action?

When playing Bolt Action, there are many times when you have on lookers that sit and watch you play and start asking questions about the game.  And like myself, you will run a Demo from time to time and let new people tryout the game.  Then the inevitable question comes:

"What is the best army to play?"

I am going to break down each army into it's national rules and the pro's and con's to each force as a reference for myself and many like yourselves, who wonder yourselves about the different factions and would like to tell people where they can go to get information on the various Nations represented in Bolt Action.

The Pros and Cons listed have been collected by the men and women on Bolt Action Internation and Bolt Action Facebook Pages.

National Rules:
Communication Breakdown
Forward Artillery Doctrine
Hurriedly Conscripted Reserves

National Rules:
Artillery Support
A National Characteristic (Choice of 1)
-- Up and ‘at ‘em
--Blood Curdling Charge:
--Tough as Boots:
--Rapid Fire:

pros: Artillery is cheap thanks to free observers ect, lots of variety when it comes to elite units (gurkhas, paras, Chindits, commandos ect), 
Cons: lack of heavy infantry firepower, (no HMG or heavy motors, PIAT only has 12" range so anti tank guns are vital), please note I havent really found many cons to Brits as my first games have been against Brits so if others want to add feel free

Pros : Fire support, Free Arty Observer, re-rolls on Bombardments, abundance of the D6 75mm, Cheap mobile Medium Howitzer with the Cromwell CS.
Infantry: good adaptability with the national characteristic rules, Commandos and Gurkhas are quit
e good value for points.
Armour: a good range of tanks that fare well over all time periods,
lots of useful Armoured Cars and the only Allied Super Heavy Tank (other than the Ostfront IS3) . The only Allied Super Heavy AT Gun both on a tank and as an arty piece. Heavily armoured transports in the Kanagaroos. Churchill AVREs can be devastating (but probably not worth the points)
Cons: No multilauncher and pretty ordinary PIAT

National Rules:
Axis Allies
Counter-Partisan Experts

Chinese Nationalists
National Rules:

Chinese Warlords
National Rules:

Chinese Communists
National Rules:
Sparrow Tactics

National Rules:
Waiting in Ambush

National Rules:
Trained Huntsman

National Rules:
Communication Breakdown
Forward Artillery Doctrine
Hurriedly Conscripted Reserves

National Rules:
Hitler's Buzzsaw
Initiative Training

Pros: Assault rifles, early & mid war tanks are awesome, flak 88s are fun, Panzerfausts for all. 
Cons: Late war tanks are very expensive points wise, too much abuse of assault rifles(!), FJ aren't all they are cracked up to be.

Pros: Lots of medium and heavy armor with big AT guns or big howitzers, Infantry machine guns benefit from an extra die roll, NCOs get the chance to stay alive when getting hit by exceptional damage ( Brian Ward always seems to save his), lots of assault rifles, the Sturmtiger (never actually used it myself but I've seen Brian wipe out 6 squads in 7 turns with it)

Cons: Lack of national rules is about the only con for the Germans

Pros: Natty uniforms, fancy tanks, funny names. lots of options and nice guns. Useful LMG and MMG's.
Cons: can be perceived as bland as lacking in special rules points heavy, Elite units nothing special. bewildering array of uniforms and equipment

Pro:  An advantage is that they have so many variant vehicles they can always have the right tool for the job.

Con:  their infantry can be very heavily tooled up, with AR, 2 x LMG and Faust's in one section. You could even add fanatics. German players invariably load up with these nice toys which all cost. Nearly always outnumbered. 

National Rules:
Communication Breakdown

National Rules:
Axis Support
Experienced Officer Corps

Pros: None. Maybe getting a single non-veteran German unit that is outside of the platoon selection is okay, but the lack of decent infantry outweighs that and the other national rule is completely useless.
Cons: Germans do it better rules-as-written. Missing 6-8 unit choices that existed in the real army, even simple things like their Jeep equivilent 

National Rules:
Avanti Savoia
Defensive Strategy

Pros everyone underestimates them
Cons lack of heavy armour and anti tank

Pros: everyone underestimates them. Paratroopers are amazing 
Cons: with avanti savoia without the right list synergy and pre determined strategy things can go very bad for you.

For Miniatures:
Black Tree Design - Italians

Warlord Games - ItalyWestwind - Berlin or Bust - Italians

National Rules:
Death before Dishonor
Banzai Charge
Ambush Tactics
Show your Loyalty

For Miniatures:
Warlord Games - IJA

National Rules:
Communication Breakdown
Forward Artillery Doctrine
Hurriedly Conscripted Reserves

National Rules:
Communication Breakdown

For Miniatures:  I would recommend WW1 Austro-Hungarians in field caps
Brigade Games

National Rules:
Hidden Bomb

National Rules:
Communication Breakdown
No Hope, No Retreat
Elite Officer Class

Pros:  can have huge squads (mine are 10 man...but 11,12 would work well. Cav...just bad ass kraut on a stick machines...I field 2 squads of 10 one vet other regular. 20mm TKS nice against both a/c's and infantry. I also have a med howitzer for them...it makes up a little for the Cons 
Cons:  no real anti tank...and not surprising late war krauts w/ assault rifles tend to kill them fast...but as I said not surprising there.

For Miniatures:
Gorgon Studios - 10th Cavalry
Warlord Games

National Rules:
Axis Support
French Artillery Doctrine

Soviet Union
National Rules:
The Great Patriotic War 
Quantity has a Quality all its own
Not One Step Back
Massed Batteries

Pros: Cheap Cheap Cheap, lots of dice and lots of troops. Need to be played aggressively. 
Cons: To get the above, they have to be inexperienced.

Pros: A lot of their AT guns and tanks can be pretty versatile against vehicles and infantry, the free 12 man inexperienced squad with the green rule, lots of AT, body armor
Cons: playing as Russians the only con I've really found is that i love to run airborne squads which use up to many points lolPros: lots of options for any type of unit. Flexibility and flavour. Free 12 man unit.
Cons: can't think of anything tbh because of the flexibility of the choices you can take.

For Miniatures:
Warlord Games

United States
National Rules:
Fire and Maneuver
Air Superiority
Modern Communications

Pros: when played aggressively they are almost historical if the dice cooperate. 
Cons: No BAR's and expensive point wise

Pros: National rules, most of their tanks get the HE D6 rule and gyro stabilizers, Marines are packed full of firepower, BARs, US snipers can be equipped with SMGs should someone come to close

Cons: Besides the Veteran Infantry squad getting tough fighters the American infantry units don't benefit from any special rules like stubborn or fanatics or anything

For Miniatures:
Warlord Games

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Speed Painting Russians

Hello Folks!  Long time since the last update.  I was on facebook and I read that something that the company 1stCorp were at a tourney and had a squad of British Airborne stolen from them.  (Sorry guys)  I went to look at their miniatures and saw they sold a 12 man unit of SMG armed soviets. Now my soviet army is very lacking in various units, mainly SMG equipped guys and Armor.  So 1stCorps crappy advertising, via a stolen blister, lead me to buy a pack of guys from them to augment my soviets.   Now the pack of guys came in a padded envelope and at first glance I thought there were not 12 guys in the bag, and when I counted them, I thought they were more on the 25mm scale and not as tall as the 28mm miniatures.  Boy was I wrong, they are a lot chunkier and thicker almost like Crusader miniatures lines of models.  Anyways, on to the speed painting.

 Here we have the Automotive gray primer on the Squad NCO.
 I painted on a couple thin coats of Middlestone on the whole model.
 Heavy wash with Agrax Earthshade, left to dry in front of my table fan.
 On these, I wet brushed (like drybrushing but a big brush that is noticably still wet) vertically on the miniature to leave the dark in the recesses.  ONLY VERTICAL brush strokes here.
Here is the back of the wet brushing. 
Not I painted the wood bits with brown, the straps and packs with the same brown. The gun barrel with a mix of black and gun metal.  The skin tone I use a color from walmart called light mocha. Boots I panted black and highlighted the edges with a dark grey.
Rhieklander flesh wash on the flesh parts and agrax earthshade wash over the wood stock and the packs.
And Ta-Da you are basically done. 
All twelve models batch painted this way and done all the way to sanding the bases in a little over 2 hours.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Army Blog #1

I am starting a new ALLIED army for once.  Thought I would do a step by step on how I create, assemble, paint and play a new force from scratch.

Today we will be doing Greeks.

Greeks you say?  They were only in the war for like a 3 weeks!!!  I know I know, but I like the idea of taking a seemingly under powered army in Bolt Action and try to win with them on the table.....and have fun doing it.

So here goes.. playing around with http://boltaction.easyarmy.com/ I have come up with this two platoon mirrored list consisting of:

1 2nd Lt with a SMG (borrowed from the Italians of course)

8 x Reg Infantry all rifles and Tough Fighters (representing mountain troops)
8 x Reg Infantry all rifles
8 x Reg Infantry all rifles

1 x Reg Medium Mortar

1 x Reg Light AT gun

1 x Reg L3/35 Tankette with Dual MMGs

1 x Veteran FT-17 with Turret MMG

1000pts even, 16 activations

So using this resource from my buddy C-Bax of the WWPD pages, I used his articles on HIS Greeks and used it as a base start.

My package has arrived in the mail, from Black Tree Design, I picked up 48 Italian Riflemen, and a pack of 4 Italians with SMG.   These will fill in as my Greek infantry.

Next blog, I will have these cleaned up and ready to go...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Warlord Conversion - 251/1 Ausf. D to a 251/21 Drilling

With the release of the new Sd.Kfz 251/1 ausf. D kit from Warlord Games, I made a suggestion on the Facebook Pages about converting one up to an Sd.Kfz 251/21 Drilling.  I was contacted by Warlord Games PR Monkeys asking if I would do the conversion myself.  I have never done any “fabrication” conversions before, but the staff at Warlords threw down the gauntlet, so I agreed.  

 Let’s go into the history of the beast.
The difference in the new 251/1 ausf D chassis:  From early 1943, the D model was developed with the purpose of halving the number of angled body plates, simplifying the design and thus speeding up the production. D models can be easily recognized by their single piece sloping rear (with flat doors). The 251/21 Variant was the Sch├╝tzenpanzerwagen (Drilling MG151s). Anti-aircraft variant equipped with a triple-mount ("Drilling" in German means "triple") of MG151 autocannon; early version being MG151/15 mm cannon, later being MG151/20 mm Luftwaffe cannon.  This was a stop gap measure to help with the overwhelming allied air superiority.  The Drilling cannon were adopted and put on a number of vehicles ranging from Opel Blitz trucks, to Horsch Field Cars, and even some Panzer III chassis.

In Bolt Action game terms:

Cost:        116pts (inexperienced), 145pts (regular), 174pts (Veteran)
Weapons:  Three Turret Mounted Light Autocannon with 360 degree Arc
Damage Value:  7+ (Armored Carrier)
Transport:  None
Special Rules:  Open Topped, Flak

So, bear with me, this was a learning experience for me as well.  First out of the box, I assembled the Ausf. D, except I didn’t glue the top of the chassis down.  Here is the Ausf D on the left with an earlier war model of the 251 from my collection.  They are nearly the same size, the slanting rear area making it seem longer, but it does have more open area on the top.  I did not put the rear seats in at this point as I wanted a clean slate to work with.

Step 1: I shaved off the ridge in front where the front MG42 would have been mounted to make it flush with the chassis.

Step 2:  Using plasticard, I created the raised “shielded” area where the turret will go.

Step 3:  Using Brass rods (I actually used 3 of the Polish Lancer Lances from Warlord Games) I made, what looks like something inappropriate for the internet, but alas, I was just making the conical gun housing and the bulk of the MG151 using green epoxy.


Step 4:  Using a plastic tube as the base, I wrapped the pedestal with green epoxy and pressed in three sections of leftover sprue from the Ausf D kit.  At the top, I placed a magnet.  Now the actual gun mounting attached directly with the gun, but for the purposes of this conversion, I put a base platform below the guns with a magnet on top so the turret would be a little more robust for gaming purposes.   Using a piece of paperclip and some plasticard, I added an attached gunner seat to the turret platform.

Step 5:  trimmed down the gun flanges, and filed the bottom of the guns flat and mount them until they were all flush and in line with each other.  I test fit the turret for sizing purposes and cut the gun barrels with a side cutter to the appropriate lengths.  I cut the stock seats in half and installed them in the back of the ausf D interior.

Step 6:  Using Plasticard, I created the “turret” and drilled out the holes for the MG151s.  I cut small strips of card and added to the top of the gun to add some “details” to this small gun trio.  Once again the paperclip was used as a brace at the back of the turret, and lastly I added the small angled section to the back of the turret as in the pictures of the Drilling.  While not completely accurate, the effect of the turret is pulled off effectively.  ( I think!)

Step 7:  Primed and painted the chassis (still not glued together) with Middlestone with my Airbrush.  The MG151s were now painted in black and the front of the guns were painted in matching Middlestone, as per my reference pictures.

Step 8:  Painted the wheels and tracks a flat black, then I hit the entire model with a flat varnish.   After it dried, I used a Burnt Sienna oil wash over the entire model.   At this point I also glued the top of the chassis to the base of the chassis.

Step 9:  After the oil wash dried, I hit the model again with a flat varnish spray.  I added the Decals that came with the Ausf D.   I then hit the model with some pigments powders (of my own creation) to add some dust and grime.  I sealed it once again, and my 251/21 Drilling was completed.  The turret is magnetic and freely spins around the model, even with the attached seat.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

WC51 - Dodge Weapon Carriers - Westwind Berlin of Bust

I  recently got my hands on a pair of Dodge 3/4 ton trucks from Westwind Miniatures Berlin or Bust range.

Out of the package, they look like this:

While looking intimidating, the truck went together without glue like this:

The truck included the driver, a ring mount for a .50cal, and wooden fence/railing on the back.  I decided that I wanted to use these trucks for a winter force, so I decided to take some paperclips and make the ribs of a canopy on it.

I sprayed these with grey automotive primer and them some olive green paint. for the base colors.  Here is a shot of the WC51 in it's base green and put next to a BTD german and a Warlord Games Hanomag, for scale.

I cut some napkins to size and applied it as a canopy for the trucks, leaving the front for later as I needed to paint the cab and driver before I finished.

Next I put the cabs together and added the rest of the canopy.  Next I applied paint to the canvas and the truck, and modulated it a little with a lighter green and lighter canvas color.

Finishing the trucks, I used some pigment and dirtied the trucks up a little. I am awaiting decals for the hood and it should be finished.  Here is the results: