Monday, 24 April 2017

Battlegroup Tobruk over view

As a fan of WW2 gaming in the desert campaigns of WW2 (You can see my 28mm Perry DAK force here), one of the most anticipated gaming releases for me this year has to be the Tobruk supplement for the excellent Battlegroup rule set. For those yet to be initiated into Battlegroup, I've written a handy introduction to the game. 

Battlegroup: Tobruk, covers the period 1940-41, from the Italian campaigns in East Africa up to the Operation Crusader and the Gazala line, as well as Operation Mercury and the German invasion of Crete. 

Tobruk follows the now familiar format of a big hardback book, consisting of just under 200 glossy paper pages with a blend of photos, art work, history and gaming information. Special mention must be made of the photos however as the lads have put some time into finding previously unpublished photos.






 Not massively important from a purely gaming perspective perhaps, but certainly adds massively to the feel of a high quality book.  Bindings feel sturdy too, and the book should stand up well to the rigours of handling and transporting to games. 

No index is included, however the contents page is very thorough, and the end of the book contains a quick reference sheet, pull out sheets of vehicle cards, and then appendices of references for vehicles and weapon stats making finding the information you need a simple process.











New Rules
The initial part of the book covers the history of the eaerly desert campaigns, before the reader is brought to the special rules for playing games in the desert, to differentiate these from the other supplements. Briefly, these are;
  • Combined operations for Afrika Korp and Italian forces.
  • Mobile Warfare, where in meeting engagements infantry and gun crews need to be transported.
  • Vehicle Wear and tear, reflecting the effects of the harsh desert conditions on the maintainability of equipment.  
  • Desert Dust Clouds, fairly self evident! This represents the increasingly poor visibility through an engagement. 
  • Low on Fuel, representing the logistical difficulties presented with desert warfare.
  • Mandatory infantry restrictions are lower 
  • Rules for Portees ammunition capacity.
  • Rules for raiding forces and paratroops
  • Rules to represent the difficulty in communications, and adjusting artillery bombardments. 
  • Reproductions of other rules such as communications, mortar spotter, dispatch etc for ease of access. 
Army Lists

Army lists come next, with lists for British Infantry and Armoured division battle groups, these are similar to those in Blitzkrieg, however come with updates and extra units suitable for the desert war. Particularly exciting (To me) are the addition of LRDG patrols to the reconnaissance section. Amendments are also included for playing the East African campain. 

Italian armoured and infantry division battle groups are also included, and the infantry list provides options for regular infantry, Black Shirts, or Colonial infantry platoons, as well as an amendment list for the East African campaign. 
The Italian armoured platoon provides options for both truck and bike mounted Bersaglieri for it's infantry support

The DAK platoon list is similar to the Blitzkrieg panzer grenadier platoon, though with less half-tracks, and some options for cool toys and lots of machine guns and anti tank weaponry. Options for captured equipment are quite prevalent too, with captured artillery, armoured cars and tanks available. 

In addition to the previously mentioned British and Italian platoons, LRDG and Auto Saharana patrols also get army lists for light, raiding formations, these are designed to be used in games of 350 points or less. These offer some very interesting and exciting gaming options for light vehicle fun, as well as a scenario for a meeting engagement between a patrol of each. 









For Crete, 2 further army lists are included, the first, unsurprisingly covers the 7th Flieger division full of air portable Fallschirmjager options, with a few Gebirgsjager thrown in too for a bit of extra fire power. These are very light infantry forces, but also highly motivated and quite tough.


Final army list is for the defenders of Crete, and covers both Cretan and Greek local forces, as well as supporting commonwealth troops. The force has a good selection of artillery and fire support, however armoured support is quite restricted.

Scenarios 
Tobruk comes with 3 scenarios featuring historical re fights for the desert war in general, including one raiding force scenario for the LRDG and Auto Saharans. a 5 scenario mini campaign following the Tobruk siege, and finally 2 more for the Battle of Crete, though the Airlanding scenario and rules could be translated easily into other forces with a little light lateral thinking... 

On Episode 20 of the Brit, the Yank and the hobby we chat to Piers Brand, one of the dark and devious minds behind the book, and you can find where to listen to it here. 

Overall, this is a magnificent book, and a fantastic tool for desert gaming in the early part of WW2. I'm looking forwards to getting some games in, and am currently assembling some 20mm Afrika Korp at the moment... 

You can find Battlegroup Tobruk, and the rest of the Battlegroup range at the Plastic Soldier Company site, and see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Services.




























The Brit,TheYankandTheHobby, Salute 2017

This week Andy has been off to Salute, head over to the facebook group to see all the pictures as you listen in. I've sorted them into gallery by manufacture, so you can see all the things I managed to get round to viewing.

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The Brit, The Yank and the Hobby Episode 20, Battlegroup Tobruk

This week Piers from Battlegroup fame joins us to discuss the new Tobruk supplement and talk about all things Italy in the desert. 
You can join the discussion at our facebook group, or listen directly to the show at the links below. 

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Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Brit, The Yank and The Hobby epiosde 19, Roman Britain with Simon Elliott






Episode 19 of The Brit, The Yank and The Hobby is now out, and this time we're joined by author of Sea Eagles and military history book of the year nominee Simon Elliott who talks to us all about Roman Britain. 

You can join us for the discussion and links at The Brit, The Yank and the Hobby Facebook group, or you can listen to the episode from the following links.


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If you're inspired after listening to the show, Simon's book Sea Eagles of Empire: The Classis Britanica and the Battles for Britain can be found on Amazon

 

Chillcon '17

Something slightly different today, my buddy Spud Tate contacted asking if I could put a shout out for the upcoming event in Sheffield named Chillcon.

Asylum Wargaming and Chilling Wargamers bring you Yorkshire's new must-attend event, ChillCon! Sponsored by S.L.A. Industries: CS1 and Word Forge Games, ChillCon brings you the U.K.'s premier vendors of wargaming goodness.

The event is being held at Ecclesfield school, Sheffield on the 27th of May, and doors open at 10:00, with refreshments available.  Tournaments for both Bolt Action and Kings of War are being played, as well as a bring and buy stall.  

An impressive list of traders rounds out the day. For tickets or more info, head on over to the Chillcon website, for what is looking to be a great day of gaming. 


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Warlord Games Test of Honour Podcast Episode

On Episode 18 of The Brit, The Yank and the Hobby, we talk to Andy Hobday, who along with Graham Davey created Warlords new Sengoku Jidai era game, Test of Honour. Andy tells us a little of the history of the period, and then goes into detail about the new game.






 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Brit, The Yank, and The Hobby, The Dark Ages with Footsore Miniatures





Our latest episode is now live! This time we talk all (some), things Dark Ages with Bill Thornhill US owner and sculptor of Footsore Miniatures.

Join us at our Facebook group to join the discussion and to share hobby ideas, or listen directly from one of our feeds.





Enjoy the show, and we should have our next out in around 2-3 weeks



Saturday, 25 February 2017

Footsore Miniatures 28mm Late Roman Elite Infantry review

I've long been a fan of the figures produced by Footsore miniatures, however had never taken the plunge into painting any (I do have a pile of Saxons accrued over the years waiting for colour...).


 




 Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and one of the new UK owners is my friend Andy Hobday (along with Mark Farr in the UK, and Bill Thornhill in the US). When he asked if I'd like to review some of the Late Roman range, I couldn't say no really!








 
 Being a fan of the period in general, and anything Roman specifically and was very kindly supplied with the figures shown in this review, and a few more to come...











 

To start with, I've painted two packs, Late Roman Infantry Command, as well as late Roman Elite Infantry. Both packs contain 4 white metal figures, no spears or bases are included, however shields are included.












Casting is first rate, any flash or mould lines are minimal, and also positioned in places that will not be too noticeable one the model too. 














 
A pin vice will be needed to drill a hole in the hand for the spears, I've used Footsores own brand of shield, using the 50mm spear/javelin pack. The Draco does need to be fitted to a spear tip or length of wire too.













Detail as exceptionally crisp, and clothing and cape folds are beautifully subtle and realistic. 

 













Apart from shields and spears, all the figures are single piece castings too, so require very little work to get ready for painting. 


Painting was a pleasure, I'll probably do a write up either here or for Footsore themselves listing the colours I used, however it's too many to list in this review.



 



 Basing however, was done using Games Workshops Valhallan Blizzard, and Warlord Games Forest Ground Cover. Shield designs are decals from Little Big Man studios, and work very well with the Footsore shields. 








At £6.50 for the heavy infantry, and £9 for the command pack, with spears in packs of 20 at £2.75 prices are around average to slightly more expensive than other manufacturers, however in terms of detail and quality these are stunning figures, and I  wholeheartedly recommended these models.





You can get some Late Romans, or any other of a range of Dark Age miniatures from the Footsore Miniatures website, and shield designs can be found at Little Big Man Studios, finally, to contact me regarding any aspects of the figures, or to ask me about commissions, please check out my work facebook page, Volley Fire Painting Service.

 As an added bonus to this review, we've been joined by Bill Thornhill on The Brit The Yank and The Hobby podcast. To listen, either join us at our Facebook page, or check us out on iTunes or our RSS and Libsyn feeds.
 





 

 



















Thursday, 2 February 2017

Warlord Games 28mm 1/56 Stuart Review

Todays review is Warlord Games new M3 Stuart, kindly supplied by them for me to take a look at. 





This kit is part of their continuing partnership with plastic kit manufacturer Italeri, and follows the norm of that range of kits by being relatively complex for a war-gaming model, but also superbly detailed. 












There are some smaller and fairly fiddly parts, so this may not be to everyone's taste. Personally I like it and prefer the fidelity this approach offers, however if you're looking for a quick bash together model for the tabletop there could be some frustration. 



















Instructions are a massive leap forwards to most war-gaming kits, being clear 3D renders, with relevant parts labelled by suitable symbol, so the Soviet star for the Lend Lease variant, the Desert Rat for the Western  Desert British vehicle, and so on. 


 





Each variant possible is identified at the start of the instructions too, and the instructions suggest dry fitting before applying glue, which is nice to see. 






The kit includes parts to build a British M3, a Soviet lend lease M3, a British M3A1, an American M3A1 in Tunisia, and finally a USMC M3A1 with hull flame thrower.





 
 Also included are 3 commander figures, one British, one American and finally a Soviet one. These figures are ok, but I'll be replacing mine with a metal one at some stage. 




 


The set is rounded out with a  nice little decal sheet and quick reference cards for Bolt Action, as well as a set of smoke markers. No stowage is included, and I found quality of moulding to be excellent, with a nice slide moulded main gain.





 The  only real imperfection was a sink mark in the centre of the hatch, which I only noticed once painting was complete, hence the map... 


 






The only other addition I made to the kit was the addition of an aerial made out of jewellers wire. 









Assembly was simple, and took me around 45 minutes to put together. It pays to go through and highlight the stages relevant to you before starting building. 









Also, use a good plastic glue or solvent, such as Plastic Weld or Tamiya liquid thin, as super-glue will be an exercise in frustration. The new instructions served to make assembly relatively easy though, and fit was good.





 

I've prepared a painting guide for the model which should appear on Warlords website in the not too distant future. Overall I found the kit to be very well designed and an enjoyable project, and at £18 is pretty good value.









I look forwards to adding another 2 to my collection to make a troop.  As ever you can find more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Service, and you can get your own M3 Stuart at Warlord Games.

For more on the war in the desert, or historical gaming chat in general, come over and join us at The Brit, The Yank and the Hobby Podcast