Wargamming, Painting, and More… 

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Dropzone Commander PHR WIP

 

I finally got my Dropzone Commander minis in after nearly a month of waiting. First thing I did was pop them out and inspect them for air bubbles like the pictures I’ve seen online. My minis were better than most of those, but there are numerous small bubbles. I only had one complete miscast- an Ares main gun. I also got a Janus scout walker with a broken leg. Most of the bubbles will be simple fixes, but there are plenty of them on the end of lenses etc that wont really be repairable.

I don’t think the minis are badly cast. I just think there are a couple of things working against it. First its resin. Even though it looks like a spin or injection system you won’t get perfect bubble free molds without a lot of pressure like plastics. Second is that the minis are very detailed. You don’t normally see this level of detail on this scale. Third is that the scale is simply so small. What would be an unnoticeable defect in even 15mm scale becomes an issue in 10mm. The casts are really quite good for resin, its just not perfect. Continue Reading

 

M7 Priest Artillery

The priest is another one of those units that never really found a permanent home in my army lists. It hits reasonably hard, doubles as a tank destroyer in Mid-war, and still can bombard while pinned. However the points cost for a battery of 8 is pretty rough in Mid-War. I haven’t played them a ton in Late-War, but I’m usually trying to get the ML5.5 artillery in the list. I usually can’t justify the extra cost vs towed guns.

The one neat thing I’ve found with priests is that you can do a rolling bombardment when you have the full 8 guns. All guns that can bombard, must bombard.  Gun that move don’t bombard. So you move the last two guns up while firing the other 6 to keep your double wide template. This isn’t really unique as towed artillery can do this too, but priests can move a meaningful distance in a turn. I’ve used it to good effect to move out of LOS of an enemy observer while still maintaining fire, or just moving out from under a ranged in template.

The models here are all Command Decision. Painting by me.

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OQF 6pdr Portee

The 6lb portee is a bit of a tricky animal. They have great punching power for Mid-War but are pretty much the definition of a glass cannon. In ambush they’re great with their high rate of fire. They can get around the battlefield quickly to support the flank that needs help. However they also drop like flies to MG fire and have a pretty low 24″ range that puts them in harms way more often than I’d like.  Of course you can dismount them to order to increase survive-ability but then you lose the benefits of being able to move quickly.

Under v3 they improved substantially. Portees now benefit from their gun shields while mounted. This is an enormous help as they can shrug off the handfuls of MG fire that used to kill them. Anti-tank weapons still make quick work of them, but at least I don’t lose the platoon to the first half track that manages to get in firing range.

I have magnetized my 6pdr guns on the back of the trucks. I have a set of bases I can use with them while they are dismounted. Models by Battlefront, painting by me.

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British ML 3″ mortars

I’ve had these 3″ mortars for ages and always hoped to get more use out of them. Under 2v they were sort of underwhelming. Short bombardment range, no ability the defend themselves at short range, and little to no ability to hurt armor. Heck, if I could combat attach out the platoon to infantry they would have been semi useful at least. Under 3″ they got a bit more useful. Now they have a potent direct fire capability to knock out gun and infantry teams directly. That actually important for the Brits since so many of their tanks have no HE.

I’m not sure why I have two different paint jobs on these guys. I think I may have got one with my motor platoon company and the others are a blister I bought. In any case all of the models are by Battlefront. All painting is done by me Continue Reading

 

OQF 25pdr Artillery

The OQF 25pdr Artillery is the backbone of British infantry forces. Nearly every formation I run is backed by 8 of these artillery pieces. You can take them in groups of 2, 4, or 8 though the special rules make the 8 gun battery the best choice much of the time.

Artillery has a hard time actually killing targets and these guns are even worse in that respect. They have mediocre AT and below average firepower. However the OQF 25pdr has a incredible range and some good special rules to make using it more flexible. It is great for putting smoke anywhere on the table and discouraging the enemy from clumping up too tightly. In Mid-War they even make a respectable anti-tank gun and turntable makes them hard to flank. Under v3 they have lost at bit of their shine. You no longer get to ambush with the guns, the double wide template has been given to far more armies, and their deployment now can leave them scattered. The greatest thing is that now you can use them as combined bombardment with the BL 5.5″ Artillery.

I have a battery of 8 guns. Four of the guns were painted by me. The others were done by Jeff Cohen. Assorted support is my painting. All models are by Battlefront.

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Dorchester AEC ACV

The Dorchester ACV is a really odd duck mini. I got it as a birthday gift long ago, but I’ve never had it on the table. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to find any rules to use it in Flames of War. I assumed it was old stock from v1, but apparently they still sell the things. I looked through all the hero rules but didn’t see it there. If you know the rules for these things, let me know! Model by Battlefront, painted by me. Continue Reading

 

M3 Grant Tank

The Grant tank is a bit of an odd tank, both in real life and in Flames of War. It was built as a stop gap measure while the Sherman was finalizing design. It has a 75mm sponson mounted gun and a 37mm turret mounted gun. It is one of the very few tanks in flames of war that has two main weapons and really makes you learn all the rules of how various vehicle machine guns work with the different types of gun mounts.

The British version is only available with the short 75mm gun which results in adequate, but anemic penetration rating. The 37mm is mostly useless due to the no HE rating. The American version gets the long 75mm gun with the same penetration as the Sherman. The low mounting of the main gun means you usually have to expose the tank in order to fire. Hull down is much more difficult with it. On the other hand if fighting in a city the mount far to the side can allow some fun corner shots.

I think its a neat looking tank, and like many of the earlier mid-war tanks its a shame that you don’t see it on the board more often due to the meta game in tournaments. I own a total of 7 grants. The one at the top of the article is the hero commander “Pip” Roberts mounted in a grant. The other grants I have are all Command Decision. The camo schemes are all authentic as near as I can tell. Unit and number markings I never researched. In this case I like the Battlefront grant substantially more than the Command Decision model, but then again they are about 1/3rd the price for a model I use rarely.

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British ML 4.2″ Mortars

The 4.2″ mortar was my go-to artillery weapon for a little while. They pack a pretty good punch vs dug-in infantry, have just enough AT to make tanks wary and enough range to cover most of the board without explosing themselves too badly. Best of all they can still throw smoke bombardments and are cheaper than 25pdr artillery to boot. This was all back in v2 where the special rules for the Brits made buying only 4 gun 25pdr artillery batteries a pretty bad deal. v3 has changed up the rules a little bit and I’ll have to re-evaluate their value again.

I painted these a little later in my Flames of War career. I had the ability to do a better job at the time, but stopped short in favor of having them match my previous British forces a little more closely. The models are all Battlefront. Painting is all by me.

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Universal Carrier (UC)

Ahh The venerable universal carrier. It was the jeep of the British forces and adapted to a multitude of role throughout the war. It could be found as a scout, observation post, mortar carrier, transport, machine  gun carrier, flamer, and more. I love the UC. Its quirky and unique British unlike so much of the lend-lease equipment.

I love to use the UC to harass the enemy back line. They’re quick enough and can be well enough armed to cause some serious hurt to artillery batteries or infantry camping on an objective. I’ve had opponents turn things like panther tanks around to chase these down in the back field rather than stay focused on the threats to the front. Great thing is they are dirt cheap as well.

All my universal carriers are by battlefront. The crews of a couple of the early ones were done as part of the commission my Jeff Cohen, but all the vehicles and the rest of the crews were done by me. I have the Early War scouts, the Mid War scouts, observation posts, and the machine gun carriers.

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M10 ‘Wolverine’ Tank Destroyers

The M10 tank destroyer was the answer to my disappointment in the OQF 17pdr. I bought these for use in Mid-war, but they’re painted green since they would have mainly seen use in Tunisia and Italy. The M10 and M10c are quite a potent force in Mid War, being able to knock out just about anything, ignore small arms, and get around the table reasonably quickly. The downside of the British M10’s is they they don’t get the ambush special rules so you have to be much more careful about placement. Of course the Brits get the M10c with the OQF 17pdr gun instead of the American 3″ gun.

The M10 you see above is modeled as a M10. The M10c would have a muzzle brake. The paint job with the flames and the shark’s teeth was done as a joke originally and I intended to repaint it later. It got so many positive comments at the first tournament I took it to that I decided to leave the paint job as-is. Later research revealed that there were some American Tanks painted with outlandish designs. However this is probably really pushing that limit and it would have been a very very very unusual sight.  The model here is Command Decision. No crews were supplied, and modeled without the .50cal AA gun since I thought it too ‘fiddly’ at the time. I regret not having crew for them. I should add them some day. Paintwork by me.

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