Thursday, June 20, 2013

Finished Khurusan T-90A platoon

Finished up the T-90A platoon for Khurasan, gonna sell these boys now, as I have no need for them.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review: S-model BMP-1

So I bought two boxes of the new S-model BMP-1s from The Hobby Den and they turned up a few days ago.

To my utter amazement I cracked them open and discovered not one, but TWO models per box. This left me with a grand total of 4 BMP-1s; enough for an entire platoon!

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The kits are designed for rapid assembly, with the tracks and wheels already mated together. In total, there are only around 20 parts in the entire kit, with an incredible lack of flash and a ridiculous amount of detail. I was able to throw one together in around 20 minutes. Coming from a generation who had to contend with ACE kits for our Russian transport, this is a welcome, welcome change.

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Quantity AND quality is not limited to the kits themselves, however. Also included is a set of brass etched details for those of a more masochistic nature. These details are already moulded onto the kits themselves - and for wargaming purposes are neccesarily more sturdy - but for modelers who want precision scaling on firing ports, Fagot stabilization wings etc, your prayers are answered.

Also included are two sets of transfers with a wide array of nationalities, including Soviet, Czech, DDR, PAVN, Soviet, and an older Syrian flag with three stars. A minor niggle here, especially since I am using these for Syrian forces, is that the Syrian decal appears to be from the 1960s period, after where it adopted a two-star configuration. I'm not an expert on flags by any means, so an expert out there might like to elaborate on this? Easily fixed with a spot of white paint, me thinks.

There are also enough numbers to make a Forgeworld decal sheet weep! If only there were some actually Arabic numerals smile.gif

Further adding the abundance is another decal sheet with more Guards markings.

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Heres two I prepared earlier. Note, the BMP-1P is my own conversion using an AT-4 from Elhiem and a smoke launchers from Zedval. They aren't part of the original kit.

I've really been blown away by the quality, ease and pricing of these kits. It seems like S-model is trying to exploit a gap in the moderns market in similar fashion to what Plastic Soldier Company has done with WW2. I'm now eyeing their BRDM kits, too. With similar offerings now on the way from Zvezda, its a very exciting time for moderns war gaming.

And just in case you thought I hadn't been working on anything, heres an EasyModel KA-50 I cheated with and weathered the crap out of for my modern Russian forces smile.gif

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Abrams Bane

As any Russian armor aficionado will know, the Russian MBT has been at a severe disadvantage to its Western contemporary since the early 80s. The latest generation of T-72-derived platforms has sought to close this gap with the T-90MS

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This beasty takes an entirely new armor package (Kaktus) and combines it with a new engine, FCS, gun and a variety of other features.

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Given the future look to this guy I decided to go with a digital camo pattern utilizing the usual colors applied to Russian woodland. The end result looked a tad 'PLA' but I'm very happy with the outcome.

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This is a Cromwell model I managed to wrangle through my 'source'. So nice to be able to finally get my mits on this stuff.

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For my Syrians I put together an 'Afghanskii' Shilka by S and S. This is a Self-propelled anti air gun converted by the crew for urban warfare. In this capacity I left off the radar mast and put some 'redneck' armor along the sides in the form of pillaged construction material to help better fend off errant RPGs

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I really love the Shilka, sadly its poorly represented in 1/72

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I also added some crew and bases to my other Syrian tanks

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Monday, June 10, 2013

super alpha micro force on force rules

 I've been a fan of Force on Force since its inception. Despite its blemishes, the system brought a fascinating and hectic dynamic to wargaming in the form of reaction that makes discreet turns a thing of the past. Unlike in a system such as 40k, you don't get a free card to run your unit of mans through an open field  in front of a machinegun nest without any sort of reprisals. Instead your opponent may attempt to interrupt any of your actions at any time, as long as you have strayed into their line of sight.

This dramatically altered decision making in games and forced a large amount of tactical conservatism onto the board. No longer could you simply charge your power-armored bezerkers into a gunline haphazardly, because that gunline would likely open up - along with all its buddies near by - and reduce you to paste. 

Despite this, however, FOF has its flaws. The system is, if anything, too detailed. Games with a mere 50 - 60 pieces can drag on for extremely long times, leaving players fatigued and confused as they try to keep track of all the variables, tokens and events going on around the battlefield. This issue is further compounded by the fact that every piece on the board has unlimited range. As long as they can make eye contact with an opposing unit, they may engage it. This may sound cool and realistic in principle, but in practice it can impact upon the fun factor.

At the same time I have long had a passion for the aesthetic and practically of microarmor. The easy logistical factor in getting it to my local club, combined with the teeny tiny sports car I drive and the image of hundreds of riflemen on a single table has always been quite appealing to me. Unfortunately the system of FOF, with its aforementioned clunkyness, simply can't handle this sort of scale.

This posed a question: how to take the best elements of FOF and streamline them to make a system that was fun and quick, while still retaining the hectic dynamism of the original framework?

With this in mind, a colleague and I began a slow brainstorming session. After demoing the new rules last week, we found the following adjustments really help the system in a microarmor setting.

TINYFOF rules version 2309809734027340273409

Command ranges – 

Units must maintain cohesion within their platoon if at all possible. Units outside of a chain leading to their command unit receive a -1 to all quality/morale checks to represent the breakdown of cohesion and chaos of combat.

Cohesion ranges for infantry are based on their quality level, vehicles double this value. Post-RMA armies receive an addition ‘increment’ of this value, so a post-RMA M1 Abrams would receive a cohesion range of 3X its base quality level.

Units with the special rule ‘Independent’ ignore this criteria.

Due to bronnegruppa doctrine, Russian mechanized units may effectively split their infantry from their transports once they have disembarked without penalty.

Engagement ranges – 

Infantry units have an engagement range of 5 X their quality level. Optimum ranges still apply as normal.

RPGs have an engagement range of 2 X quality level.

Sniper rifles and crew-served weapons have an engagement range of 10 X quality level and always count as being in optimum range. 

Vehicles have an engagement range of 10 X quality level and always count as being in range.

Vehicle Rules

Damage -

Vehicles that have been penetrated must take a survival check based on their quality level. This reflects the general training of the crew in such factors as positioning, emergency drills etc. A failed role equals a knocked out vehicle, ignore all damage charts.
Additional penetrations beyond the first add a -1 modifier to the role. So a D8 quality tank with three penetrations must role a 6+ to survive. Only one role is made per round of fire, regardless of the amount of penetrations.

Vehicles with the special rule ‘Lifesaver’ receive a + 1 to roles; vehicles with the rule ‘deathtrap’ receive – 1.

Vehicle and weapon classes also impact on the role, depending on how they compare to one another. For example, a light gun penetrating a heavy tank would give the survival role a + 2 bonus, given that it is two classes away. In contrast, a medium gun penetrating a light vehicle will give the survival role a – 1.

Vehicles that survive a penetration must make a bailout check on a single dice. If they fail, the vehicle will be unable to take any actions for the remainder of the turn, including return fire.

Infantry Rules

Casualties –

Any failed saves against enemy fire are automatically counted as a casualty for infantry units. Each casualty bestows a – 1 FP/- 1 defence dice token on the unit. When the amount of tokens exceed the amount of actual individual infantry units on the base, the unit is removed.
Any casualties cause an automatic morale check taken on a single dice.

Suppressive fire –

Regular infantry units do not receive the suppressive fire/intimidating weapon special rule.

Sniper Teams – 

Snipers are the dodgy trolls of the battlefield. Snipers always count as hidden, and may ambush at any range. A unit that is shot at by a sniper who fails their ambush check may attempt to spot the sniper unit and fire back with a successful quality check. This round is purely between the sniper and their opposition; overwatching units may not attempt to intervene. Once a sniper is spotted, they may be fired on in subsequent turns by other units if they do not move, as the spotter relays the position to his or her comrades.

All sniper teams are ‘independent’.

Base infantry team statlines and special rules –

As a general rule of thumb, a four-man fireteam has a base stat line of 6 firepower/4 defence. This value varies between nations, depending on training, equipment and doctrine.

All units are considered to have some form of AT. This weapon depends on nation, and may be used once per turn against any vehicle in range.
Variables include:

Body armor, + 1 defence: the unit is equipped with some form of armor that increases survivability.
Good logistics, + 1 firepower: the unit is part of a larger force that excels at getting things where they need to be when they need to be. Their cup overfloweth with ammunition, allowing them to expend it at a particularly high rate.
Poor logistics, - 1 firepower: high command has never heard of this unit and doesn’t know why they need what they are asking for. Ammunition is scarce and forces them to scrounge and make due.
Run heavy, - 1 firepower while moving, + 2 firepower when stationary: The unit has an exceptionally high machinegun-to-man ratio. While moving this is something of an impediment, but while stationary the unit is a veritable bunker unto itself.

                British Fireteam: D5-8/D5
                Unit size: 4 men
                Special rules: Body armor, Run Heavy

A medic unit adds + 1 defence to every unit within their optimum range.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saudi/Iranian cityfight

So Dan and I tried out some TINYFOF; a modified ruleset for bigger-sized engagements with a simplification of some of the heavier dynamics and a few added elements, like range.

The settup was pretty simple, with an Iranian force of 2 tank platoons and a mech platoon facing off against a Saudi tank platoon and a mech platoon in Genericsville, UAE. The objective was to capture a key junction.

We also got to use the 10mm drop zone commander city in a box set, which is boss as tits.

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The Iranians naturally got the initiative and headed up the side, with the two tank platoons fanning out ahead of the BMPs. In response, the Saudis began to maneuver their M60s to best cover the main road.

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As the T-62s began crossing the park ahead of the infantry, the T-62M platoon engaged in a brutal, rapid fight with the M60s along the main road. At the end, two m60s burned in exchange for the entire Iranian tank platoon.

Meanwhile the Saudi infantry began to crowd around the main buildings north of the junction, while the Iranian infantry dismounted and began humping it through the urban jungle further north. The T-62 platoon headed down past the central park and began exchanging fire with the remaining M60s. Oddly, the Saudis weren't up to the task, and the remaining armor went up in smoke. Desperately, a couple AMX-10s tried to lend their 20mm cannon fire to the fight, but results were predictable.

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The Saudi infantry stormed into the building and began pouring it on the advancing mech platoon. Despite several attempted RPG shots, a much-hated Iranian BMP stood its ground and the Saudi resistance was slowly worn down. At the same time, the tanks flanked around, positioning themselves dead centre in the junction, out of range of Saudi RPG fire. With little chance for survival, the battered Saudis surrendered to the mercy of their Persian foes.


Things that were learned from tinyfof:

Limiting ranges is cool and adds an interesting dynamic to the FOF reaction rules.

Unit cohesion rules give more of a sense of order, rather than just having a bunch of fire teams and tank running around doing whatever the frak they want.

simplified armor and casualty rules allows for a very rapid and yet satisfying progression to the game.

dropzone commander tiles are the beezneez