Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fulda Gap - Optional Rules: NBC Environment

A major conflict between NATO and the WarPac could have led to the deployment of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. Even if not, a battlefield might be covered in smoke and fumes from burning chemical plants or refineries, or a nuclear power plant went critical during the chaos of the fighting.
NBC environments demand troops to wear specialized personal protection gear and gas masks, significantly affecting their ability to fight. Additionally, a “hot” battlefield put increased psychological pressure on the combatants.

I therefore wrote some rules to represent these circumstances which can be used if both players agree.
If a scenario takes place in a NBC environment, the following rules come into effect:

Decreased visibility
Billowing smoke and protection gear make it hard to see.
All weapon and command ranges are halved.

Strained Nerves
The increased threat of a horrible death makes even hardened veterans more cautious.
Every unit that received three or more pin markers in one turn must go down, or if that is not possible (for example because the unit already received an order in this turn), receive another D3 pin markers (only apply additional pin marker once, i.e. every time a third pin marker is given to a unit and it can't go down. Subsequent pin markers do not trigger the effect again unless the unit has recovered to less than three pin markers in the meantime).

High Mortality
Even a close miss that breaks the seal of a soldier's gear might prove fatal in such a hostile environment.
All attacks gain +1 on to wound rolls. This does not affect penetration against vehicles or structures.
HE weapons cause one additional hit for every die they roll, (D6+1, 2D6+2, ...)

Button Up
The additional protection of an armored carrier looks way more promising than the hell outside.
Infantry must pass a morale check to dismount armored transports. Armored transports must pass a morale check to allow infantry to mount.

I haven't tried these rules so far, but I think they will change the dynamics of the game towards a more "cat-and-mouse"-style.
They should also work quite fine in a "What-if" game of Bolt Action in which one side decided to use chemical weapons. For such a game ignore the "Button Up" rule because there are no armored transports.

Some of the phrasing about artillery might sound weird, but it will become clear once I've posted the updated artillery rules later this week. 

In other news, I almost gave up on the Team Yankee novel. Only 25 pages to go, but I haven't touched the book in days.

I hope the weather will be fine today and I can spray paint some of the 15mm miniatures.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

15mm SciFi Display - Part 1

For quite some times I was playing around with the idea of building some kind of display. A couple of weeks ago I received my 15mm Ranger Project Salamander Mech, but at that time I wasn't too keen to do anything with it. Now I was rummaging through my hobby room (in fact, my significant other pointed out that it is in utter need of being tidied up...) and I found some more 15mm miniatures and terrain. So instead of doing my chores I started toying around with these things ;)

First, a closer look at the Salamander. The Kickstarter was kind of a disappointment with long periods of total silence, kits showing up on ebay before they were delivered to backers and at some point the general assumption that the caster run with both the models and the money. So I was rather surprised to actually finding the model in my mailbox.

The Salamander has some 20+ parts, including about 5 for which I couldn't figure out where they are supposed to go:

I also got some alternative weapons and the sniper head:

The quality is okay for a small-batch production. There is flash and some bubbles, but nothing broke and details are generally sharp:

Assembly is straight-forward. I washed the parts in warm soapy water and used liquid superglue:

But as expected the skinny legs are a problem, as well as the small feet. Those are made in a way that only 3 of the 4 toes touch the ground. It took some support to put these parts together, and the finished model is very top-heavy and prone to fall over backwards.

I decided not to use the hands of the kit. The lower arms look like weapons and I think it adds to the martial appearance of the Salamander. Despite its flaws I am very pleased with the look of the finished model:

The other 15mm sets I have are tanks and infantry from Darkest Star Games and modular buildings from Tehnolog. Here is a first rough set-up for a display board:

Next I'll have to find a good picture frame that can be used for the display and decide on a color scheme. At the moment I think of concrete for the terrain and urban camo for the troops, maybe splinter pattern.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fulda Gap - Heavy Sniper and Designated Marksman

sorry for the delay but I thought I'd get the Team Yankee book review done this weekend. Sadly the book turns out to be a much less exciting read than I expected and it will take a couple more days.

Therefore I thought I introduce two new rules Fulda Gap instead - heavy sniper teams and the designated marksman.

Heavy Sniper Teams
A heavy sniper team is armed with a large calibre anti-materiel rifle like the Barret M82 or the venerable PTRS-41. They function just like sniper teams, but have a Pen of +2.

Designated Marksman
The designated marksman (DM) is embedded in an infantry squad to supply accurate fire on enemy targets at ranges up to 550 yards (500 m) with a semi-automatic rifle equipped with a telescopic sight. Whenever a squad or fireteam with a designated marksman receives a Shoot or Ambush order, the designated marksman can decide to fire a single aimed shot. If this option is chosen, roll separately for this shot. The designated marksman gets a +1 bonus to hit. If he rolls a natural 6, the shot automatically causes exceptional damage.
 I hope you like these ideas. The Team Yankee review should be up in a couple of days.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Magyar Steel

Today I received my Hungarian tanks from the Mad Bob Miniatures Kickstarter. Let's have a look!

First of the lot is a CV33 (or L3/33) tankette. It comes with three weapon options (MG, twin MG and AT rifle). Sadly, it is also the only model that was damaged during transit, as you can see the MG barrel is broken in two places. I don't mind that too much, it will easily be fixed and I am not sure which option I will use eventually - I am not even sure if I'll use it for my North Africa Italians or the Hungarians:

Next up the food chain is the light 38M Toldi I/II, which came with two crew miniatures:

The 40M Turan was the other mainstay of the Hungarian tank forces. I got a couple of extra turrets to be able to use all three variants:

I am very impressed by the spaced armor for the Turan III variant:

Here we have two hulls for 40M Nimrod, based on the Toldi which itself was a licence copy of the Landsverk L-60B. It was supposed to act in a combined Anti Aircraft / Tank Destroyer role, but the 40mm Bofors gun proved to be no match for heavy soviet tanks. The second turret is for a Finnish L-42 AA-tank which I will add to my Winter War army. Turret number three is a Nimrod 80mm, or Szebeny's Tank Destroyer project, which never went into production:

And the Nimrod and Nimrod 80mm ready for action:

Staying with designs that never made it off the drawing board, this is the 44M Tas. It was planned as a homegrown copy of the German Pz Kpfw V Panther and armed with the same gun. Only one prototype was built:

The 44M Rohamlöveg (literally "assault gun") didn't even get a prototype. It was again designed close to the German Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer, and was supposed to use the same 88mm gun:

 This tank is massive, with proportions and dimensions very close to its German counterpart

I'm going to play them both using the rules for the German tanks.

Last, but not least: every vehicle came with a decal sheet!

In conclusion, these models are not only the only 28mm Hungarian tanks I am aware of, but also of very good quality. I'd consider the casting to be well within the upper third of what you can get.

My biggest problem now: Where do I get Hungarian infantry?

If this tickled your interest, visit Mad Bob Miniatures.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Road to Infamy

A couple of days ago I received my miniatures from Infamy Miniatures "Welcome to the Big Smoke" Kickstarter - let's have a look!

My first impression is very good. Great details and quality!

The first one is the Kickstarter exclusive Nikola Tesla:

Another Kickstarter exclusive is Princess Outis (also the Dark Age and Wrath of Kings crossover):

Then we have the Dimension Hop Tesla:

This is Captain Brindie with his mechanical monkey:

And my personal favorite, Small Futura:
Fritz Lang would be amazed!

I'm really looking forward to painting those. Excellent miniatures!

And in other news: some additional "source material" for Fulda Gap arrived ;)