Monday, May 30, 2016

Bolt Action Battle Report: USSR vs USA

Been a while since I have posted up some battle reports.. mostly cause it has been a while since I have played any games.

But thankfully new blood is getting into the game, and thus new opportunities to play ( and not having to resort myself to going to tournaments to play more games ).

This time is was a new Russian force vs my American force. My Americans force was basically the same list I had taken to a recent tournament in Brighton where it got a tied 6th placing with 2 wins and a third game loss.

It consisted of:
- 2x 2nd Lieutenants Reg
- 2x M16 Reg
- 3x 8 USMC w/3 SMG, 3 Shotguns, 2 Pistols, Reg
- 8 USMC w/3 BARs, 1 SMG, Reg
- 9 USMC w/3 BARs, 1 SMG, Reg
- 2x Wardog teams
- 3x Jeeps with MMGs

All in 1000 pts.

The Russians had:
- Junior Lieutenant, w/2 troopers, inexp.
- 3 units of Inexp.
- 2 units of Veterans
- 2 Anti tank rifles
- 1 sniper
- Medium Mortar
- Armored car with Light AT gun/LMG, and LMG
- Tank with Medium AT/Light Howitzer

The mission was Top Secret.. a great one for us as neither of us had any transports. So this was going to be quite the bloodbath in the middle as infantry units scramble to kill each other to capture it. The big blue dice being the objective here, and turn counter at the same time!

Since everything is in reserves, it makes things more interesting to see how it all comes out on the table. For me I focused a lot of troops on my right, behind cover where possible. My Jeeps trying to set up to make some good fire lines as well, and my M16 that did get on the board ( the other had engine troubles apparently and stayed off a turn ) would attempt to hold things down near the objective.

Problems arise right in the beginning though with the AC from the Russians immobilising my M16 where it was and putting quite a few pins on it.

The Russians were for the most part unscathed, except for a pin or 2 on the mortar team from the MMG Jeeps.

Turn 2 saw a lot of advancing. I had a plan on how to deal with this, as I have played this scenario a few times now and seen the best ways to approach it. I knew I would need to swarm the objective as much as possible, and to create levels for him to go through to grab it. That and being able to hand it off between units later on would be required as well.

So my Marine units on my right move up, supported by the dog, and Lieutenant. My second M16 rolls on, and another unit sits between them. The Bar unit in the middle displaces itself from cover, and the last Marine unit hops into the next building closest to the objective. With the dog team and commander creeping up on the objective to nab it in turn 3.

For the Russians, he is still a bit a ways back, which is smart. He is setting up some nice gun sightlines to the objective and waiting to cause maximum damage to me when I pounce on the thing. though his shooting is largely ineffective at this range with all the inexp troops he has, and his veterans being also out of range for the most part ( many SMGs and Panzerfausts kicking around there ).

Turn 3.. the trap is sprung! My boys race towards the objective, swarming all angles around it. Creating a nice opportunity for him to kill a lot of things.. however he then brings his AC a bit too close and blocks a lot of the firing chances here!

My newly brought on M16 did go boom however from his AT guns, while my Jeeps whittle down his right flank slightly. Not enough to do a lot of damage but enough to cause some issues.

And my Marines set up for a huge game of pass, with the hopes for a Turn 4 victory. Lieutenant to BAR unit, to SMG unit to off the table is the plan for Turn 4.. and one that my opponent is only beginning to realize the idea of..

Turn 4.. plans are put into motion.. but as soon as the first hand off occurs.. my opponent realizes in fear what I have set up, and scrambles to get them stopped! Pumping a lot of shots into the furtherest unit but only after they received the objective there. Putting just 1 pin on the unit.. which turns out to be just enough to make them fail their ability to move, and going down instead! The Russians have ensured that the objective is no longer going off on Turn 4, and have pushed the game to a potential tie now..

So in panic mode I began to pile even more troops into the middle to try to create a way to block him from getting to my units, and am hoping that I can find a way to get that unit with the objective moving once more.

Turn 5.. Well seems the Russians were a bit overzealous in their attempt to add more pins to the unit with the objective, and instead of adding pins, wiped them out completely. Leaving the objective now in the open near 3 full units ( 1 USMC unit, and 2 Lieutenants ) to pick up at the end of the turn.

A mad scramble to block his troops further goes into play here, with us checking if his Armored Car could run me down, but alas it was not to be. Though it didn't help any that the M16 just put 5 pins on it thanks to a lot of glancing hits and shaken results...

It was at this point that although there as much blood spilt in the center, it was just a point of moving my unit off the table with the objective on Turn 6, to which I received the first pin.

A very close game, and a nice back and forth happening there. Looking forward to the rematch tomorrow.. but will be bringing out the Canadians at the Russian players request. So should be seeing a few more veterans on the table, and a lot less troops.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rubicon Stuart Painting...

So after spending a bit of time away from the painting table doing actual painting, I figured it would be good to get back at it. And the urge to paint came quick and fast this last week, and with the Rubicon models in arms reach they were the first victim.

I will preface this with not only were they within arms reach to inspire me to paint them, but watching how the Rubicon Community Manager had gone and painted up the M10 Achilles on YouTube was also motivation to do mine up.

Now I do not have all the colors nor paints ( regular or special ) go along step by step with Jamie here. Though I did have some greens, and some of my other armor books to make a go at it.

One of the biggest advantages on this vehicle compared to the others was mentioned in the Stuart review already here.. and that was that it is built to be painted in parts. Which is great for me as I love the ability to get into some of the harder to reach places at times, but only if I can do it without having to worry about glue lines to fix later on.

No worry with that here, and so i was able to prime up the vehicle in a dark grey, and white overspray to each part. Jamie had used a pure grey on his, but I liked that this would give me some extra contrast to begin with, or at least that was the plan.

I then tackled all the lower edged areas with a darker green. Can't remember the color, but it was darker except on the white sections obviously. Already I am messing up the painting of this tank, and I have just laid down the first color.. typical Mr Lee approach :D

Here I skipped one of the chances for a photo, but you can see that I laid down a brighter green in the areas that were left before. And then all the rubber, or grates, or metal areas were laid down with some Tamiya Grey. I normally would have gone with a straight black, but more and more I am seeing people use a dark to mid grey here and darkening them up later on. So I thought why not attempt to go the same.. worst case I mess it up more later on right? :D

The 2 tones were not as good as I had hoped at this point so I would attempt to add a bit of Sunny Skintone to the green to brighten it up for a highlight.. it didn't work really... But the theory behind it is still sound though :D

So to correct some of my issues with the color modulation that I was attempting here, I layered on some gloss varnish, and then began to apply some oil paint. First my notorious black oil wash. Which darken up the sections between panels, and the grey areas quite nicely.

I then pull out the brightest yellow I have in my oil collection, and begin to place dots of it onto the upper most top sections of the vehicle where it would be bright anyways. And then took a big flat dry brush and rubbed it into the paint. Much better result here for me and gave the look I was aiming for. And the black wash helped to dirty up the grey sections like the tracks and rubber on the track wheels.

I had left it for a bit, and then re-varnished it to seal in the oil colors. Letting that all dry up before attempting the decals. Something that I normally avoid like the plague, but this time thought why not give it a go. This was a test tank anyways to me, but it was coming out much better than I thought it would be going, so best to keep it on going.

The stars came out ok, but the first Vehicle ID tag got all tangled up and muddled before it even left the sheet.. I should have stopped there and picked another one, but I kept on going with it. Meh.. It was looking very very bright to me though at this point, and I was not sure if I liked them, but I was willing to give them a go anyways.. so why not.

After yet another layer of gloss varnish to seal in the decals, Including some additions like the one on the turret and the weight number on the front left corner, I could begin to weather it up a bit.

Idea here was to begin with some chipping using a sponge. Starting with some German Camo Brown, and then some black to give it a bit of variation. I even put in some Black Metal from Scale75 to the last bits to give an extra rubbed metal look to the section.

Once this was a bit more dried up, I then was searching through my boxes for some sort of enamel paints to add a bit more weathering to the piece. I know that Jamie had used MIG for some rain marks on it, but I don't have any MIG products ( terrible I know.. ).. but I did have some Humbral Brown Enamel paint kicking around. So I began to streak that out over the sides, and move it into the crevices throughout the piece. Again taking a flat splayed brush to rub it in so that it was a bit more worn instead of fresh looking. Am quite happy with this part, and it helped to cover up the muck up of the decal, and tone them down a lot more also! Huzzah, result!

I still need to add some weathering to the tracks with pigments I believe, but I am holding off on that at the moment as I am not sure how I want to tackle it just yet.

After all is said and done though, I think I am enjoying doing the vehicles once more, and might even attempt to update or correct some of my older American vehicles which do not look as good as this one at the moment. Which is not surprising considering that I painted them all in 2 days compared to the 4 nights on this one single vehicle :)

Hope you enjoyed this.. and catch you all in the new week!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review Thursday: Rubicon Sherman

POW POW! Last tank up for review now.. this time the M4A3 Sherman Tank from Rubicon. A vehicle that if anyone from my club knew I had another one of these up to be painted, then they might be getting more than a bit upset. Considering how powerful and versatile they are in the game, and more so when upgraded to a veteran level.

Triple sprues, instructions and transfer. Not surprising after all the kits now. And quite the variety of parts available within.

Not surprising we can see that there are 2 separate turrets, and 3 options for which barrel it has. Making the Sherman as expected, the most versatile tank available for the Allies ( in my opinion at the very least! ).

I built up the 76mm turret first as this is one of the few that I do not already have ( running 4 75mm Shermans is already impressive ), so a 76mm even more powerful version is even cooler!

However I then see the first problem with the kit. There was only a single turret ring, and commander hatch. So although the options exist to make 3 different versions of the tank exist, you are stuck with only a single version ( unless your good with plasticard to make both missing parts ).

As far as putting the body of the Sherman together, it was a lot simpler than the warlord one. Though with less details, and I suspect that the version of Shermans are a bit different.

Though I did like that the lights had grooves cut into the hull for them to sit on instead of having to drill holes to get them to fit into on the Warlord.

I will acknowledge that I made a mistake on the assembly, but also that it didnt seem to fit the other way. The front sloped section is actually upside down in the photo. Not the end of the world, as I will probably add some extra stowage around it as well. I will load them up like the Warlord versions, but will stock up the front also.

All up together with the 76mm turret in place.. quite lovely tank, and one that will be popping Axis tanks soon enough if all goes well ;) Though I might paint it in Africa campaign colors instead of Pacific or European camo. And if doing so, then I guess wooden sides will not be needed as much..

The immediate things I can see differently between the Rubicon and Warlord plastic Shermans, is that the Warlord one is wider. The turret is also thicker on the warlord version, but I chalk that up to it being a different variant overall compared to what Rubicon had decided to put together.

But looking at the resin version from Warlord compared to Rubicon they seem to be similar variants of the Sherman. Though the biggest difference between them ( and this is suffered with the Warlord plastic also ) is that the resin version rides higher. Mostly due to the way that the tracks are cast up and made to attach to the hull.

The Rubicon Sherman has some extra stowage for the back compared to the Warlords resin. And the plastic has no spotlight unlike the resin copy on the 75mm turret. And the front MMG sticks out more on the plastic than on the resin.

Overall I think I prefer the Rubicon Sherman ( again ) though the fact that some conversion work is needed to make it more modular is a bit of a let down. Though considering that Warlords sell each tank individually for the variants ( 75mm ver 76mm ) this is kind of a moot point ( but one that Rubicon have done well with in the past on other kits like the Crusader or Stuart ).

There is no price difference between the plastic kits ( both retail for 20 GBP ), though the resin version is still going for 23 GBP. So if you want to compare them I would do it as such:

  • Plastic to plastic, same cost, but the Rubicon is miles easier to assemble. 
  • Plastic to Resin, Resin is easier to assemble, but costs 3 GBP more
Therefore for me, the Rubicon wins due to being the middle ground for ease of assembly, and for being the same price point as the cheaper Warlord option. All this not taking into considering any local club or store promotions or discounts that may or may not be available on any or all of the above kits. 

Overall I hope that you have enjoyed this mini-series of Tank reviews from Rubicon. I have had a good time putting them together, and realize that I need to take more breaks while doing so as so not to mess up or seemingly glue random parts in the wrong order ( even if the instructions are easy to read ). 

If I were to pick a favourite out of the bunch it would be the Stuart overall. Ease of use, cheapest to buy, and just a lot of potential on it there. If the Sherman is ever to get redone ( as to make it so that multiple turrets are able to be assembled and used with it ) then I suspect many more of them might be picked up at some point. Though I did hear a rumour that the M10/M36 kit has the ability to create both turrets, and that the M36 turret might fit nicely on top of this here. Of course this might be a rumour so I guess I might need to pick one up to just confirm that as much as I can :D

Any other tanks or vehicles out there that you think I should pick up for my Americans, Canadian Commonwealth or Japanese forces? Let me know, and I will add them to my list for potential reviews in the future. But for now.. off to go POW POW with my latest editions and see if the rest of the club likes the new armor :D
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