Detour: Wayne vs Chris, a WWIII: Team Yankee Battle Report

For the launch of the WWIII: Soviet book, Wayne and Chris went head to head in a nail biting game. Wayne’s latest army (a Soviet T-80 based force) took on the Studio West German army.

The first half of the game was played and shot in advance, with the exciting conclusion live streamed over on the Battlefront Twitch channel. Check out the two halves below…

(sorry about the low audio levels in the first part…)

We’ve already started discussing how we can put a few more of our games up on Twitch in the future. Stay tuned…

~The Big Four Of Late War

Detour: Wayne’s WWIII: Soviet T-80 Battalion

With the new World War III: Soviet book out I have an opportunity to try a few things out with my Soviet forces. At the moment I have a bunch of T-72 tanks, a large BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company and a mix of supporting elements painted up. At 100 points I’ve been running my T-72s in to companies of 6 or 7 tanks with a BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company, a pair of SA-13 Gophers, two Shilkas, some more BMP-2 scouts and a battery of three 2S1 Carnations. I been playing with some sort of combination of these since Team Yankee first came out, so I thought it was time to change it up.

I plan to put together a force based around the new T-80s. These are better protected than the T-72s, more mobile with their Advanced Stabiliser, and can also fire the AT-11 Sniper gun launched anti-tank guided missile. The AT-11 is particularly impressive with a range out 120cm as well as being able to fire on the move, as long as to keep your tactical speed under 10”/25cm.

The other new things I’m tempted by are the new 2S6 Tunguska AA Tank, BM-27 Hurricane rocket launcher, and the BMP-3. With the BMP I just gabbed three to get me started, which I can either mount some of my already painted infantry in, or use them as a scout unit. As a scout unit they also make quite good tank destroyers with their AT-10 Stabber ATGMs.

This is my initial 100 point force.

The Big Four Of Late War have also been discussing playing some large point games, with the idea of focusing of the more expensive tanks and playing with a decent number of them. With this in mind I also made this 150 point force.

With the T-80s being quite meaty and expensive it won’t take me long to paint the 11 I need altogether. I’ve so far painted six and have another five sitting on my painting desk at home. I also already have my BMP-3s assembled. I just need to grab the BM-27 Hurricanes and the 2S6 Tunguskas.

I’ve done my T-80s in a camouflage scheme, which is probably post-cold war Russian rather than Soviet, but I wanted them to be completely different to my T-72s.

I’ll try and keep you up to date on my progress.

~Wayne

Detour: Victor’s WWIII: Soviet T-80 Battalion

With this force I toiled for a while about whether or not to do camouflage or plain green. There are some really cool camo schemes out there for Soviet tanks, and it was very tempting. However when my army lists started to contain more and more vehicles, I settled on plain green to ensure I’d get them all finished in the time frame. But what shade of green?

As you may know there no one green to rule them all. I’ve painted plenty of drab olive greens before, so I aimed for something more vibrant.

I started by airbrushing a dark green, and then panel fading with a pale green, intentionally going quite light. Next was a dry-brush and a wash to tone it all down, followed by a second dry-brush to bring back the edges. This is a really quick way to get a lot of tonal depth on your tanks quickly.

The result is quite an intense green, more towards blue than yellow. It won’t be for everyone tastes, but I’m quite happy with it and it pops on the table.

I chose to paint the rubber parts to add another colour to break up the green. In reality they would likely be painted the same time as the tank, but there are examples with bare rubber. Same goes for the wooden un-ditching logs, tools, and exhausts where paint might have come off and rusted over time.

Another additional colour I used was an olive drab, which I used for anything consumable (MG ammo tins, fuel drums, missile canisters, etc).

So even with a “green horde” I’ve managed to get some other colours in there which hopefully add some visual interest without looking too patch work.

That’s 34 vehicles completed in 18 evenings, the largest army I’ve ever painted, and the fastest. Time for a break before I work on the infantry to ride in the BMP-3’s. I’m looking forward to using these all in a game soon!

~Victor

Detour: Casey’s WWIII: Soviet T-80 Battalion

Like most of the Big Four Of Late War I was super-jazzed with the T-80 arriving in the WWIII: Soviet book, and decided to join in the fun and paint up a new army for the launch (evil glares at Chris for not participating).

Now I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to painting which means I’m normally a slow painter, so I thought I would just this as an opportunity to challenge myself to pump out an army quickly.

Rather than noodling an army list to build my army around I decided to just paint some of the new models that I thought looked cool, points and army composition didn’t really make me decide what to paint.

The core of my force are some T-80s. I figure 10 should be enough to cover me for most situations. Next up are some BMP-3 Scouts, again because they are new plastic and look super cool.

One of my favourite new units in the book is the TOS-1. I have been badgering Wayne, Phil, Chris, Evan, and Pete to make the TOS-1 since the start of our WWIII journey, so now that we have it I thought it would be rude not to paint some. As well as looking cool, game-wise I think it will be a good choice to have available to my Soviets since I tend to run tank heavy armies and struggle to deal with infantry. Their Brutal bombardment will certainly help with that.

Lastly, I’m painting a platoon of 2S6 Tunguska AA tanks, mainly due to rule of cool, I just think they look awesome.

Plugging this into Forces it comes out to an inconvenient 101 points, so I’d probably have to drop a BMP-3 if I were to take it to a tournament.

Amongst the Big Four Of Late War we have been discussing playing big boy games of 150 points using the more modern equipment that has started appearing (T-80s, M1A1 Abrams, Challenger I’s, Leopard 2’s etc). Luckily I can make this a 150 point list just by making them Heroes and adding the Mi-24 Hinds that I have already painted, a few infantry stands, and a pair of Gophers for a bit more AA. The TOS-1s are probably a suboptimal option given that none of the guys are going to go particularly infantry heavy for these games, but sometimes you don’t always get given the tools that you need to do a job and just have to make do with what you have available.

As far as the fast paint challenge has gone, I’m about 3 weeks in and I’ve managed to finish the T-80s apart from the tracks and the rest of the army is not far behind. With another week I think I’ll have the army completely finished. The army is definitely not painted as well as I would usually paint, but I’m pretty happy with it, and I think looking at effort vs reward it’s pretty good. I’m just looking forward to putting it on the table for a few games.

~Casey

Churchill By Name, Churchill By Nature!

Very early on in the Big Four Project I painted up a platoon of Crocodiles for my British army. They were a great model to practice my technique on but ever since they have been crying out for some friends. After our first Lockdown period I managed to squeeze in a little garage time and get these big boys painted. With an HQ and two platoons, along with the obligatory AVREs (and Crocodiles) I feel like I have the start of a decent Churchill based force. For completeness sake I would like to paint a third Platoon and a Company of the earlier Churchill III tanks, but that’s something to aspire too….

The “Army”

The HQ Platoon

First Platoon

Second Platoon

AVRE Platoon

One of the things I really enjoyed, and you may not be able to see it from the photos, is that each tank is different in the two platoons – one uparmoured “late” Churchill, one 6pdr armed Churchill and one 75mm armed Churchill. This means I can run the platoon with all the options, but I don’t feel like the complexity I can keep it to myself and not worry my opponent. I will say though, if you plan on doing the same thing, to be very diligent with your planning and assembly… lets just say I may have gotten mixed up at least once and had to remove parts and glue new ones on…

~Chris

 

 

Daimlers and Dingos Lead The Way

What can I say… these are truly one of my favourite units in Flames Of War, both on the tabletop and as a painting experience. I couldn’t be happier with how this unit came out. What are they? Daimler and Dingo Armoured Cars and I love ’em!

So why do I love them so much? First things first, assembling them was super easy and they just look cool once built. Painting was easy –  I love not having to paint tracks! Plus the abundance of cool decals that just add colour and interest to the model. Then there is their performance (and points cost) on the table top. They are cheap, pack machine-guns for hunting infantry, and some little pop guns (on the Daimlers) that let them harass enemy armour. Throw in Scout and Spearhead and you have a perfect little package. They really are so much fun I am tempted to paint a 3rd Platoon for my Armoured Car Company (a Command Card option in D-Day: British).

1st Platoon (with yellow Air Recognition Panels)

2nd Platoon (with Allied Stars)

The Complete Company

Are there any downsides to the unit? Probably… having to ride in to battle would be one of them, but commanding them from the back of the table seems like a pretty good deal to me!.

Left – The Company Commander

~Chris

FlamesCon 2020: Chris’ Weekend

Rolling in to FlamesCon this year I was very excited to be getting out to spend some time with the wider gaming community, put some figures on the table, and have a great weekend with friends. I had been painting like a mad man (even taking a week off work to complete some elements for this army and a WWIII: Team Yankee force that has been on a slow burn) and was keen to see how the force went.

As Wayne mentioned in his article, a friend of ours, Phil Petry, had passed away just days before the event and for many it was still quite raw. Coming together as group, laughing and sharing some thoughts no doubt helped with the process. In his honour his friends Ian and John ran his army during the tournament and it was nice to see his latest army on the table.

Most of the elements in my army had never hit the tabletop before and I was looking forward to seeing how the various elements would perform – more on this later…

Round 1 was verses my old mate Ray and his Soviet assault guns. It was a bit of an odd match up as my recce was able to pin his forces in place lest the they sneak in and take the objective. Combined with both of us having units in reserve meant he had to play quite defensively, allowing me to pick off units one-by-one. My M10’s proved the value of 17pdr guns by knocking out everything from a captured Tiger to an SU-100 platoon and his commander in a T-34. 8-1 to me.

Round 2 I found myself up against Brent in a game of Breakthrough. He found himself attacking whilst my recce were pushed back and on to the defensive, dashing around the table trying to stop him from breaking through. He aggressively pushed a big group of armoured PanzerGrenadiers, supported by mortars and SP guns up through the middle of the table, along with his recce. This forced me to counter them with my 6pdrs and M10’s, effectively removing them from the upcoming fight for the rear objective. Luckily it paid off for me with the push being blunted thanks to massed firepower. On the back objective the Panthers came on and took control of the game, whilst having to keep a wary out for flanking recon units with their 2pdrs. I managed to whittle down the Panthers and Crocodile flamethrower his second infantry unit, but couldn’t seal the deal… 3 all for a mutual loss.

Round 3 and another first-time opponent with Andrew and his Beach Defenders in Dust Up. Now I’d like to say I had a plan in this game but his Pak40s and Pakfront 88s combined with an open-ish table threw me. I YOLO’ed forward and rushed the near objective with my recce and M10s, putting him under enormous pressure. With no German forces near the objective and elements of 3 units (and my HQ) now contesting it, I challenged him to shoot me off. Unfortunately, thanks to a combination of poor planning by me and some reasonable dice he managed to kill or bail everything, before finishing off the survivors in the next turn. We ground out a few more turns for VPs before I conceded. 6-3 to Andrew.

Round 4, a new day but an old friend, Scott, with his FE German Grenadiers supported by a Ferdinand, Marders and range of guns. Despite feeling fresh I was struggling to come up with a plan for Scott’s army and decided to split my force a little, to keep control of my objectives and then push the rest in through the centre of the table, allowing me to pivot left or right and strike an objective from there. That is where the plan and the actual result parted ways. Taking a serious of calculated chances I found that the dice just didn’t want to go my way with Scott’s PaK40s earning the player of the day award – not for performing better than average, but for consistently doing what was asked of them – need 3 hits, get 3 hits, need 1 kill, get 1 kill. The Ferdinand that scared me ended up with (possibly) one Dingo kill, whilst the rest of the force just got the job done! In the end I couldn’t even count on my air support (which had earned the “Rare As Fairies” title across the weekend) to help me finish off anything. A disappointing, but very fun 8-1 to Scott.

I still blame Simon McBeth whom I later realised was the source of my terrible dice. Each time he passed by during the day they would roll badly!

Round 5, and whilst I was keen to finish the weekend, I was still feeling energised for my final game. I found myself up against Julian and his Soviet Engineer Sappers, IS-2s, captured Panthers and SU-76s. Defending in a game of Breakthrough I pushed a unit of recce with infantry towards the back objective, whilst I focussed everything I had on his initial infantry, SU’s and Panthers, knocking everything out over a couple of turns. The risk I was taking was that I would have too much invested in blunting his initial push and not enough to stop the IS-2s when they turned up almost proved too much. Julian’s IS’s came on at the first opportunity and cleaned out the objective, pushing the few surviving infantry teams away. Luckily for me the long-range firing of the M10s meant he was under some pressure and the slowly advancing 6pdrs eventually gained a line of sight to the tanks, and the Typhoons even made a few appearances. Thanks to a little luck and a lot of firepower I neutralised the tanks and with the infantry under mortar MG fire he was unable to secure the objective. 8-1 to me.

With the weekend finished I found myself somewhere in the bottom half, but with a strong sense of satisfaction that I had really enjoyed myself, played people that I rarely get to play, or have never played, and managed to get a lot of fresh models on the tabletop.

I did learn a few things about my force.

  1. Daimlers and Dingos – yeah boy! These are golden and I will be painting up a 3rd platoon in the future!
  2. .50cal Carriers – I think that the Command Card upgrade will be on my “to try out” list as I could have done with a little heavier firepower in these platoons.
  3. Typhoons – look great… not sure they were worth the 8 points, but will persevere. Luckily with our local meta (only 3 players using air support at the event I think) there was virtually no AA.
  4. Churchill Crocodiles – great when they actually hit.
  5. 3” Mortars – invaluable, but better in 4’s or 6’s

If I were to rock the list out tomorrow at 100 points I might try something like this:

And with that in mind… back to the brushes!

~Chris

FlamesCon 2020: Wayne’s Weekend

Another Flamescon has come and gone. This year’s tournament started sombrely with a moment’s silence in the memory of Phil Petry who passed away suddenly the Tuesday before. He had entered to play his Soviet IS-2 Heavy Tank Battalion. In his honour his friends Ian and John ran his army during the tournament.

I can’t claim it was a success for me with only the one win, but I had fun. My Panzer IVs usually managed to hand out a bit of damage before they eventually succumbed to return fire.

This first game had me pitted against Kit Goldsbury who I play on a regular bases as he is one of our playtesters. We both took the manoeuvre stance, myself because he had a Ranger infantry force and I thought he would defend. The mission rolled up was Dust-up. His reserves turned up before mine, threatened the objectives and my reserves had to scramble to hold him off. Eventually he took the rearmost objective with his Stuarts after I failed to destroy them with fire and they had eradicated my Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop. The 88s got nailed by mortars early on. 2-7.

Round Three: Jason’s Tiger Company

I had a second game, I played Chris Otton’s Desert Rats Cromwell Squadron, despite a good start I could not finish off a couple of units. The weight of fire told and I lost 2-7 again. The 88s knocked out half a troop (Cromwell and Firefly) at the very start of the game, but I lost a whole Panzer IV Tank Platoon trying to finish off the other two tanks. Incredibly I lost two Panzer IVs to frontal fire form Cromwell CS tanks (that’s anti-tank 8 folks!) A general failure of Firepower tests. I think the mission was Free-for-All.

The last game of day 1 was against Jason Scudder, one of the visiting Invercargill contingent. We played Contact. He had a Tiger Tank Company and I started the game with a general sense of foreboding. However, my cautious approach was to stay back and wait for my reserves to arrive. Once they had arrived I punched forward on the right flank with my HQ and two of my Panzer IV Tank Platoons. Buy keeping my Panzer IVs at close range I was able to peck away at the Tigers. If you can get three or four hits on each Tiger eventually the armour saves will produce a 1. In the centre I pushed my scouts up to threaten the Nebelwerfers and objective. I also committed my last Panzer IV Tank Platoon when it seemed the objective they were guarding wasn’t under threat. This gave me just enough firepower to finish off the Tigers, but it was a close run thing. The 88s’ impact on the game was so little I can’t actually remember what they did. 6-3.

Round 4: Alex’s StuG Company

Their true test came when they faced Fallschirmjäger StuGs from D-Day: German as the first game of Day 2. Despite out numbering them 13 to 10, the extra one point of Front armour on the StuGs made a profound difference between the vehicles. We played Free-for-All. My opponent, Mr Alex McEwen from the Wellington massive, was able to make more of his armour saves which eventually rendered my numerical advantage moot.

The last game was against Ben Fouche who was running a SS-Reconnaissance Company. We ended up playing Breakthrough with me attacking. I boldly made a bid for the closest objective which was being held by a Reconnaissance Platoon in a wood and an Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop in another wood behind it. Ben had some StuGs in Ambush and Panzer Vs that were coming from reserve. I managed to assault the Reconnaissance Platoon in the wood, with three tanks (the fourth was not close enough), but one failed it cross so on two made contact. I previously destroyed two team with fire, leaving only three teams who were Pinned Down. I survived the defensive fire and kill one in the assault. The counterattack bailed out one tank and I failed my counterattack, then failed my cross, leaving the two tank in the platoon to break off. They then spent the rest of the game dealing with StuGs and Sd Kfz 250/7 (7.5cm). While the rest of the force had to contend with the SS Panzer IVs and Sd Kfz 251/9 (7.5cm) assault guns. Despite my 88s and Panzer IVs taking out Ben’s Panzer IVs my force eventually broke. 3-6.

Round 5: Ben’s SS Reconnaissance Company

I hoping that sometime in the future I can actually play in the tournament here in NZ at 100 points. While I enjoyed my games I felt an extra 20 points would not have unduly extended any of my games. In fact I think games going to time have a lot more to do with the players than to the size of the game. A couple of conversations during the tournament also got me thinking about terrain density and table sizes. At Flamescon we were using large fold up tables with 6’x 4’ terrain mats or cloths to mark the table size, but then could have easily been played as 7’ x 5’ or similar. Something to consider for something a bit different in the future.

 

As I mentioned before, all in good fun.

~Wayne

Road to Flamescon 2020: Wayne

 

With Flamescon only being 80 points Late-war I was pretty well set for it a few months ago, having completed my third Panzer IV Tank Platoon. With the Bagration: German release still a few months off, I’ve selected my force from D-Day: German. It’s a simple force based on a Panzer IV Tank Company. I’ve got 13 Panzer IV tanks split over an HQ and three units. They come to 71 points.

To add a bit more anti-tank I’ve selected an 8.8cm Heavy AA Platoon. Phil asked me why I went for these rather than the long 8.8cm Anti-tank Platoon. My straight-forward answer was because they are painted! Though the extra two points of Anti-tank might have been useful, it would have robbed me of the three points I used to get my Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop. These guys will give me a Spearhead for those missions with a bit of extra space in which to use it.

Probably not the most balanced force, but my games should be fast and fun, and that’s all I’m looking for.

Wayne

Road To FlamesCon 2020: Chris

It probably comes as no great surprise but I am going a little stir crazy. I don’t make it to as many events these days as I used too – things like kids, work and just “grown-up life” seem to get in the way. This means that when I go, I am always excited to be out of the house and playing. Needless to say, this year has been filled with disappointment and disruption for everyone, with events, tournaments and outings cancelled. That is why I am so excited to be heading out to FlamesCon this weekend with Wayne!

The event is clocking in at 80 points rather than my preferred 100 points but I guess variety is the spice of life. Since I strongly believe that a fast game is a good game, I’ve compiled a list that is aggressive, mobile and with a couple of exceptions, fully painted as part of my Big Four Project.

Starting out the list is my British Recce Squadron. The Daimler and Dingo armoured cars were finished over the lockdown and are yet to see the tabletop (more photos of them next week) but should be a lot of fun, zooming around the table and causing mischief. Backing them up are Universal Carrier Patrols, Motor Platoon (still on my painting table as I write this!), 6pdr anti-tank guns and 3-inch mortars. The last two are being borrowed from our Studio collection as my models were lost by DHL on the way down from the factory….
To support this velvet glove, I have the steel fist – 3 Crocodiles, 4 M10s with 17pdrs and a pair of Tiffies (Typhoons). Hopefully they bring enough tank-busting goodness that I can smash my way through enemy armour. With the exception of the M10s none of these models have found their way to a battlefield yet so round one is likely to be a learning experience!

Stay tuned during the weekend for some more images from the event over on our Instagram page, along with an event report next week.

~Chris