Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello Kitty joins Daniel and Friends- in Pomerania!

We had another game of Blitzkrieg Commander this past Sunday, and it went a lot smoother than the first. 

Since my last post, Giovanni received his copy of the new edition of the rules the week before our second game, and after looking through them I realized that they were different enough in detail so that it would be pointless commenting on what we learned from the first try as the new version would play out quite differently.  

For example, differences in troop quality are now accounted for, and there are separate factors when firing at armour and when firing at personnel.

In the event, Sunday's game was a combination of continuing on with the old set's mechanisms, but trying out some of the more obvious  changes we could glean from the second.  Once we have  all had a chance to digest the new rulebook we'll give BKC2 a go as written.

This time it was Germans (Daniel and Sam) pitted against the Russians (myself and Dai).  Until game day I had no idea what everyone had available in the way of terrain pieces, so just minutes before the game started I came up with a pretty much slap-dash, ersatz scenario that saw the Germans trying to escape from the Soviet armoured clutches over a bridge to safety.

This they managed to to with flair, despite fielding what was largely a force of conscripts.  It didn't help the cause of International Socialism that the Soviets couldn't pass more than one friggin' command roll in a row to save their worthless hides, which made mockery of their planned "hammer and anvil" tactics to squeeze the Germans between a holding force of infantry and a swift flanking movement of a battalion of T-34's.  

I tell you, the commissar's nerves were pretty well worn out by the morning after the battle- as was his pistol!

The only real Soviet achievement was when the tardy T-34/85's managed to sneak behind a Hun armoured car and send it to Valhalla with a concentrated 85mm-shell enema.  Big deal, as by this time the Germans were busy chopping up some Russkis who had managed to get themselves caught in  the open in a potato field.  

Otherwise the Germans seemed to be quite enjoying their scenic- and largely undisturbed -stroll to the river.  

To add insult to injury, the Russians had a considerable body of infantry safely ensconced behind a brick farmhouse, where they unhurriedly dined on sausage and vodka without feeling at all any need to get off their collective duffs and do something- anything!

Lesson learned; Soviets, with their lower command values than the Germans, need to concentrate forces and to attack quickly and en masse.   We shouldn't have split the command as we did.  Had  both command stands been available within command distance it would have increased our chances; if the HQ failed a vital order, then the C-in-C could have diced to see if he could get the job done.  As it turned out, splitting our forces was just inviting the Dice Gods to punish our hubris with dreadful dice rolling.  They duly obliged.

As far as forces were concerned, we used the BKG army builder online program for two opposing forces at around 1500 points each.  As far as models were concerned, in addition to Giovanni's collection  I added a 120mm mortar, another MMG stand and some A/T rifles to the Soviets (the second version actually covers these battlefield wonders!).  I was able to get my Tiger 1 at least base-coated to gaming standard as some extra muscle for Giovanni's collection of Germans.  

On the aesthetics front; although it did not prove the battle winner (it hardly had the opportunity!),  the Tiger always looks impressive.  One of the guys at the game was getting rid of some old paints, including Citadel ink washes.  Now I've never used Citadel paints before, so when I tried some on my Tiger after the game I liked the effect, so that before I knew it I found myself finishing the Tiger the next day!  

Here's what Kitty looks like now.  This model from Fujimi was a real joy to build. 

I undercoated it using a very good general-purpose acrylic flat black that is available here, and than took a can of Tamiya Dark Yellow and sprayed it on in several thin coats.  

After applying a few thin washes of the inks, I painted in the details such as the engine grill recesses with flat black.  Next, I wet-brushed the vehicle again with Ceramcoat Light Olive, which is bang on being the exact same shade as the Tamiya dark yellow.  This was followed by highlighting edges with Ceramcoat's Parchment.  The tracks were given a heavy coat of the Citadel brown ink, and then dry brushed in gunmetal. A bit of chipping and rust streaks here and their and it was done.

I'm quite proud of it, although for this one I decided to leave it in a plain dark yellow paint scheme.  Once I get my airbrush out I'll try my hand at some camouflage for the second tank in the pair.

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