Thursday, 22 December 2011

Santa, Me and Brixia 45mm light mortars...

Hi The Teston Rifleman. You are my tenth follower! Many thanks and welcome to my blog.

I popped out for a haircut yesterday and upon my return my wife told me of a phone call I had missed. Seemingly, Santa had called me to discuss my position in the whole 'good boy / bad boy' stakes. Due to many passed instances of naughty, my account remains in defict despite my recent efforts, and, therefore, I would once again not be receiving any gifts this year; just the annual carrier bag of reindeer poo strewn over the car.

The news was not all bad though, Maria was good enough to fill out the required yearly report form and it seems I could be back into the good book within a few years; of course I was happy to pay santa the required £25.00 form fee. I didn't want to appear ungrateful and Maria was good enough to pass it on for me. I have to say Maria has been very helpful on this issue and I will buy her something special as a thank you for looking out for me.

Given this news I decided I should buy myself a little something. A browse through ebay found a Warlord Games 28mm Italian Para Brixia mortar to add to my Operation Squad unit. I won the auction and got the still packaged unit for less than a fiver including postage, a good saving on the £7.00 list price. The figure quality is good, I do like the Bolt Action metal ranges, but the mortar itself is going to be a pig to build.

The pic above shows a replica weapon, you can imagine the fun I will have sorting out the support structure! The pieces are tiny and I can see me using language during the build that may well keep me in Santa's bad books for a while longer.

The Brixia is an odd weapon, quite ahead of its time in concept but complicated to manufacture, prone to breakdowns and used faily under-powered shells. That said, it was very portable and could lay down an impressive amount of fire. The firing mechanism used a magazine of charges (the rectangular box sticking out of the top of the barrel) to launch the shells, meaning that the team could very quickly saturate a target area and then move away, advance etc.

In the Operation Squad list for the Italian Para unit (these, and others, can be found on the Operation Squad website and forum) the two man mortar team costs 100 points but increases the breakpoint by one. The weapon gets two shots per fire but with a grenade sized template for the area of effect, unlike the mortars of most other nations that get one shot but a double sized effect area. I have a feeling that that the two shots may be more adventageous in game terms but only time, and my dodgy dice rolling, will tell.

I shall post progress updates for my Italians as I can. I am having issues with the camo patterns due to my colour blindness issues (stupid WW2) but my good friend Mark is helping identify the right paints. Looking forward to this project, just got to fit the damn thing in amongst all the others!!!!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Infamy at Christmas!

Welcome new followers Geordie and Norman!

What follows is a tale of infamy so appalling in its appallingness it will leave you all aghast and shaking your heads in disbelief....and just before Christmas too!

The club Christmas game was set to be a jolly affair, a few survivors desperately searching for car keys in an underground car-park full of zombies. The first player to find a set of keys, locate the car they fit and that could then drive that car out of the car-park would be the winner; and get a tin of 'Heroes' sweeties to boot! Who knew that such a bounty (different tin entirely) would cause friends to lose themselves and turn to the dark side of wargaming....stitching up your mates, leaving them stunned and imobile whilst surrounded by nasty zombies????

Well......all of us would obviously, we are gamers after all and a little odd at the best of times.....

Me - light coloured base with yellow stunned marker, surrounded by nasties and only narrowly missed by a swerving car!

My plan was to make my way towards the car-park exit, search the few not-yet-zombie bodies for keys, search for the right car at that end and thus need a shorter drive through less bodies to escape. Simple. My character was a 'Heavy', which I am told was pure chance and in no way meant to be a reference to my size, a character that was reasonably good at stunning zombies and quite hardy. My plan was good, I made my way a good way up the car-park whilst others floundered about and generally got in each others way. I found keys quickly and was making my way towards a few cars, minding my own business, when I was brutally...and with malice aforethought...attacked by a fellow character after my car keys!! I know! Alex had found a fire extinguisher and used it to keep me from escaping...then viciously attcked me leaving me stunned...both physically and emotionally...It was only the arrival of several zombies looking to take advantage of my static state that drove him off. Stunned as my character was, he was defenceless and before you could say 'Look out! there are several Zombies behind you...doesn't the one on the left look a little bit like Barry Washboard from when we were at school? I wonder what he is doing these days, I had a crush on his sister you know, even though she had that odd squint and only one ear.........', I was feasted upon!!

Me, with hat made by Alex...the smile masks my tears!
This caused no small amount of merriment as you could imagine, I was even made a hat with 'I'm a Zombie' written on it but, I would have the last laugh! I would be resurrected as a mega zombie and could have my revenge, once I had shaken off the stunned marker, obviously. All I needed to do was roll a 6 on one of two d6.....five bloody turns and not a single six! The best part of ninety minutes spent stuck in one place and letting everyone else come close to getting free and winning the game (like Millwall). By now, four players had found cars and were driving like maniacs for the exits, crashing through zombies, losing control and missing the exit ramp. At one point my mega zombie was in great danger of being run down by one of three cars all heading in my direction! I was only saved by one car crashing and Alex...YES ALEX...jumping into a car and casually reversing his way onto the exit ramp and heading for the win. The final insult was that I was asked to draw the tokens to see who went first in the last round...given my lack of movement and luck, and guess what? It was I that drew Alex's token first and allowed him to win with no impediment. Bugger.

This was, despite my understandable angst, a great game that everyone really enjoyed. It was fun and engaging, allowing everyone to get involved as a club. I must thank my good friend Clint for organising the game for us. He built the car-park, using a paste board table (brilliant), painted all of the figures and created the scenario all with a few weeks. I did have a lot of fun as I am sure you can all tell; Alex was a worthy winner in the finest traditions of the club.

For a less biased account of the game, take a look at Clint's own blog

Thursday, 8 December 2011

WW2....what on earth am I doing????

Three more followers! Welcome, welcome Ray, Mark and Brummie!!

Dear follower, you may have read an earlier post here regarding Operation Squad. WW2 has never really been a wargame interest for me but of late I have found myself buying figures, albeit a few at a time as my ebay account allows. This is almost entirely due to the Operation Squad rule set, I like the mechnics, the scale of game, the interactions between the players.....and I appear to like them enough to have ended up with several forces. Each squad consists of up to a dozen figures and operates as a true squad, no tanks or planes or other out of scale complications; this is a true skirmish game.

My metal Fallschirmjager squad is now complete with four extra anti tank figures I got for my birthday still to do. I am not entirely happy with the painting, sort of got the camo pattern wrong...a bit anyway...but they work. I recently found some undercoated German infantry figures on ebay and picked them up for a song. The seller seems to have sold off the extra figures he had left over from a project, most being the plastic Bolt Action ones, so no fiddly figure making first! I am not in love with them though, they fit in with my metal figures size and heft wise but the weapons are very skinny. A quick look through the Operation Squad squad lists soon highlighted the issue of weapons, my new figures were mainly armed with KAR98's and not enough of the MP40's and stuff. But that is OK, Warlord games sell a sprue of extra weapons that I can use to outfit a squad to the required level for just £4.00, I shall order one straight away, I paid so little for the germans that even with this cost I am still well ahead.

........except......with Warlord Games an order has to be a minimum of £10.00! RUDE WORD.

A look at my ebay account showed me that I had just a few extra pounds left available, I could buy something else and build up the order. Long story short...I ended with ordering a squad of Italian paratroops as well.......I know, I know.........lets not even get into the number of figures I already have to paint, Ancient Greeks, Marlburians, Pirates, secret project figures.......

But the worst of it? I have absolutely no idea how to paint Italian Paratroops! I have trawled the internet and found a few examples but nothing helpful. The Warlord Games site has a picture of ready painted figures but none close up enough to really be much help....add to that my colour blindness issues. Again, I know, I know.

Has anyone got and ideas for me, all help greatfully received!