Sunday, 19 May 2019

Kriegfischkutters Ready For Action

If have now finished the little Kriegfischkutters and suitably dirtied them up for the North Sea. I really like these little models, they show just how high a standard can be achieved with top quality 3D resin printing. They are eager to have a pop at some Vospers (but hoping they don't run into Dog-boats instead).

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

German Convoy Action

Henry and Colin came around for another day of Cruel Seas gaming. I wanted to give the Vospers an outing for a change, so we had two groups of 3 MTBs conducting a raid on a German coastal convoy. I took the convoy, which consisted of a merchantman and a tanker, escorted by a Vorpostenboot and a torpedo boat. The Germans also had the possibility of some air cover, at the end of each turn the German player rolled a d6, if they scored equal or lower than the current turn number a stuka would enter the table in the following turn.

As the Vospers are spotted the convoy speeds up to full speed whilst the torpedo boat heads towards the nearest group of British boats. A lucky shot from a forward 4" gun knocks a big hole in one of the Vospers and took his forward 20mm gun out.

The damaged Vosper launched torpedoes while it still could.

The MTBs veered off from the big torpedo boat. Unfortunately I'd forgotten to allow for the minimum range on the 4" guns and the Vospers were too close for my big guns.

So I fired at the more distant group, but missed. The Vospers were putting multiple torpedoes in the water in a wide spread in front of the convoy. I now rolled a 2 at the end of the turn, so I had air support during turn 3.

My air support turned up and despite taking one hit the pilot pressed home his attack, hitting one of the Vospers and badly damaging it.

I pulled the torpedo boat across the front of the Vospers, intending to run over the torpedoes before they had gone far enough to arm. I took two of them out but an unexpected bonus was that the MTBs were all moving too fast and despite taking evasive actions two of the slammed into the side of the big boat. They badly scratched my paintwork. but both of them exploded into matchwood!

That's a lot of fish in the water! In the meantime a lucky hit from one of the twin 20mm cannon took out one of the forward 4" guns on the torpedo boat.

Two torpedoes hit the Vorpostedboot and a third hit the tanker.

Checking results, one torpedo missed the escort but the other two were on target and both ships took heavy damage.

Despite my best attempts the merchant men dodged one torpedo, but took a hit from the other.

The next wave of torpedoes smashed into the Vorpostedboot,which broke up and quickly sank beneath the surface. Still afloat, the merchant fired at the nearest Vosper with it's machineguns and managed to sink it (the earlier hit from the 4"gun had left it with about 3 HP left).

Game end, the last wave of torpedoes run harmlessly by the tanker. Moments later a salvo from the torpedo boat hit both of the Vospers, destroying them both. A German win, the merchant and the tanker were still both afloat (all be it only just!).

After lunch and a beer, we tried the scenario again, with Colin and myself swapping sides. This time the British had better aim with their torpedoes. One MTB launched torpedoes at the big German torpedo boat, which it avoided, but in so doing was forced away from the convoy. In the meantime the MTBs dumped all their fish and sunk the Vorpostenboot and both merchant ships with multiple torpedo hits (one did need finishing off with guns), for the loss of only one Vosper. The survivors then legged it off table before the torpedo boat could bring all it's guns to bear.

One All!

In our after game discussion we agreed that we were not really happy with the damage that the torpedoes caused. It seemed impossible for a single hit to sink a merchantman, which didn't seem right to us. Admittedly, historically there were occasions when a ship did survive a torpedo hit, but equally lots of times when a single hit was enough to send a ship to the bottom. I've seen some ideas for making torpedoes more effective online, so we will try some of those out in future games.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

New Toys for Cruel Seas

I just can't seem to stop picking up new bits for Cruel Seas at the moment!

At the Milton Keynes Wargames Show I got some new splash markers from Peter Day of On Target Markers. I've been impressed with Peter's explosions and when I found he now made naval markers, I just needed to have some!
A near miss for that Vosper!

I also picked up some superb little Kriegfischkutters for my German fleet by Black Hussar Miniatures in Germany. He had put this model out a 3D print stl file for home printing. But as I do not have a printer I contacted the manufacturer and he was happy to provide printed versions for 6 euros apiece....bargain!
The guy obvious has a very good quality printer as these resin models are the nicest 3D prints I've seen, plus they came with a choice of weapons, a 37mm, 2 x 20mm, a twin 20mm and 2 different versions of a quad 20mm.
 As they come out of the box!

 Close up of one of the ships and it's weapon selection.


....and undercoated.

Finally I picked up a mdf harbour set on Ebay. As it's a modular set there are almost endless configurations I can use, depending on the scenario. It's probably much larger than I will every really need, but at just £15 why not?

Finally I grabbed one of the bargain packs of WW2 Battle of Britain aircraft the Plastic Soldier Company were selling off. Yes, they are bendy plastic not rigid and the details not brilliant, but I got over 100 6mm planes for a fiver!

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Frostgrave Lich Lord game 4

Mark, Henry, Colin and myself have been working our way through the Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign book in our monthly Frostgrave gaming days. We had retired our wizards after the previous campaign and started again from scratch, which might not have been the best idea as we seem to be encountering some tough monsters. Mind you that's our own fault as we play that every treasure generates a monster in our games.

In the end this game was a bit of a blood bath all round. Things started off OK, but you just know that's going to change at some point.....

The table at the end of the first turn, the skeletons in the centre are, as yet, unanimated (inanimated?). With 4 players we have started entering from the corners, which makes the treasure placing less cramped and gives the warbands a bit more elbow room at the start.

Henry's new toy, his Wizard's Eye!

Henry's wizard sneaks a treasure out of the centre with telekinesis. The fog was cast by Mark's wizard to blind the Wizard's Eye. In fact all the wizards took to lobbing fog about in the open central area to cover themselves, it looked more like a British assault in Normandy!

The first monster to turn up is a Giant Worm! Right in the middle of Colin's party as well.

Next up, another Giant Worm, this time right behind Henry. How I laughed.....

....until a flippin' Frost Wraith showed up just by my apprentice. My captain (with his Vampire Sword) rushed up to engage the spirit. Unfortunately he was dead in two rounds of combat!

At this point my battery died! I'd committed the cardinal sin of not charging it before the guys arrived.

I managed to avoid the Frost Wraith who wandered off to a distant corner and stayed out of the rest of the game. Both Henry and Colin were able to see off the worms with minimal casualties.

My warband moved up under cover of fog to grab a couple of treasures. With the fog blocking LOS and all ranged attacks on a -4 because of the snowstorm, Mark decided the best thing to do was charge in and get up close and personal. Seeing our two warband charging each other, Colin thought it was a good idea and also charged into the middle area. Henry saw him coming and chickened out! While Mark and my warbands were battering each other, Henry ran away conducted a fighting retreat from Colin's blood crazed mob.

Mark and I both lost men, but I got his captain and my man-at-arms managed to catch his apprentice. He'd got a bit too cocky and strayed too close to the "grown-ups" melee, so I split his head open like a watermelon. Not a good look for the next Young Wizards convention!

What was left of Mark's warband legged it (they had been able to snaffle 3 treasures) with my lot in close pursuit. He got two treasures off but my bowmen managed to down the third treasure carrier close to the table edge, despite the snowstorm. Greed made Mark keep his wizard on a bit too long to try and save the treasure and my infantryman caught up with him. This was the time I rolled a 20 in combat! Another dead spellcaster.

Despite the high attrition, most characters survived the post-game checks to fight again. Mark had a soldier killed permanently and another will be missing the next game. My captain was, sadly, also proper dead, so I had to spend all the cash I picked up in this game to hire a replacement for the next game.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Emperor of Ice - Sellswords Campaign Chapter 1

Book 2 of our Sellswords and Spellslingers campaign.

We left our Heroes at the end of the last book relaxing after their brave excursion in to the Deserts of the East. And then a messenger arrives…He is a lowly acolyte looking for Brother Christos. The High Arch-Priest has summoned him!
Our brave band are required to help Christos find Father Brennan who has been on a secret quest. Brennan has sent word he has made an important discovery, but someone is trying to stop him reaching the Temple.

Chapter 1 – Bandit Pass

Part i. Rendevous (4XP per player).
Brennan enters on the northern side of the table, the party must meet him by crossing the table from the south and escort him back. Brennan will always attempts 2 actions. He will move straight towards his destination, unless he needs to defend himself. (Brenan is an experienced fighter with level 2 armour and a 2-handed axe).

When the AMBUSH! card is drawn, 1 Bandit jumps out of the closest bush.

Bushes are tall enough to block LOS.

Traps:  There are no traps.

Deployment: Deploy all PCs 2” from the southern edge, then deploy foes randomly but not closer than 2” to any PC (if a foe appears closer than 2” from a PC, place it 2” away).

1 Bandit Leader (Armoured Guard);
6 Bandit Thugs (Armoured Militia)
2 hordes of 3 Bandits

Victory Conditions: Play until all PCs are dead or manage to move off the Southern table edge with Brennan.

Complications: None.

Wandering Monster: If a wandering monster card is drawn, roll a d6. On a 1-4, a Bandit Thug appears from a random table edge and charge the closest PC. On a 5-6, a Bandit Leader appears instead.

Other individual rewards: A PC carrying an out-of-action PC off the table gains 1 XP.

Most of the starting bandits were to the west of the PCs, except for two thugs who were immediatly in front of their entry point. Brother Christos rushed forward and took one of the thugs down whilst Sir Robin engaged the one farther away.

Unfortunately an early failed activation drew the reinforcements card. Six bannits showed up at exactly the same spot that Father Brennan had entered the table (they must have been lying in wait just off the table edge!).

It's not looking good!

Having dropped Brennan in it with his failed activation, Sintamo the Ranger picked off a bandit with his bow and moved forward. With no foes in their vicinity the Eduardo Wizzard channelled the mystical energy of the Feathered Serpent (the magical benefit he gained at the end of the last campaign, on this occaision it increased his manna by +2).  Eldarondo the Elf and Gunnar Lanlarolilson the Dwarf just advanced!

By the end of turn two Brennan had killed all his opponents, but had been wounded several times and was not looking healthy as a bandit thug approached.

At this point Eddie gathered his magical energy to launch a blazing fireball....phutt! Rolling a 1 for the spell meant his magical energy was depleted for the rest of the game, bugger!

The PCs shake the lead out and get going. On the other side of the table Brennan kills the thug and moves toward the rocks in the centre of the table.

Gunnar cuts down the thug baring their way but Brennan is ambushed from the rocks. But Eldarondo casually drops the bandit with a long range shot.

The PCs join up with Brennan and heal one of his wounds. They conduct a fighting retreat but easily take out the bandits that try to stop their escape.

Travelling to the High Arch-Priest the party camp for the night. Suddenly Sintamo and Eldarondo both hear a muffled chink in the darkness beyond the firelight..........

Part ii. Camp 4 XP per player
The Party camps for the night. In the centre is a ½ inch diameter fire. Marked is a circle of firelight that extends 3” radius from the fire. The PCs start in the firelight.

Ranges outside the fire light count double (eg 2” to the edge, then 4” into the dark = 2+8 = 10 inches).

Traps:  There are no traps.

1 x Bandit Leader (Armoured Guard) – if not killed in the last game .
2 x Bandit Thugs (Armoured Militia).
4 x hordes of 3 Bandits.
The bandits don’t appear as normal. Instead they start 6"+d6 past the edge of the firelight in a random direction.
Every time a 20 is thrown, a count is kept. When the count reaches  10 no more attackers will
At this point all monster appear etc cards that are turned up are rolled for. 1-2 Frenzy, 4-6 closest Foe.
Victory Conditions: Play until all PCs are dead or manage to move off the northern table edge.
Complications: None.
Wandering Monster: If a wandering monster card is drawn, roll a d6. On a 1-4, a Bandit Thug appears, on a 5-6, a Bandit Leader appears instead.
Other individual rewards: A PC carrying an out-of-action PC off the table gains 1 XP.

The initial deployment.

Bandits creeping up on the party. This time Eddie's magic is working and he swiftly roasts one of these groups with a fireball!

In the darkness the PC's archery is not as good as usual and several bandits manage to get into close combat. Gunnar rashly charges out of the circle of firelight and cuts down a group of 3 bandits, but receives two wounds doing so. Turning to return to the party id trips over a tree root and crashes to the ground (failed his one activation and drew a Loss of Balance card). That's usually the Ranger's trick!

Yet more bandits arrive to try to upset the party. FIREBALL!

The final situation when the countdown reaches 10. There is just a bandit leader and two thugs left to deal with. They are taken down with no further loss to the PCs.

Having completed their task, the PCs retire to a tavern outside the Temple, but Christos is summoned to the High Arch-Priest for a secret meeting.
Brennan had brought word of an ancient fabled city of wizards, frozen under an ice sheet thousands of years ago. According to rumours, parts of this city were now emerging from the ice and contained a great mystical secret of vital importance to the Order. Christos was charged to investigate the rumours and report back to the High Arch-Priest.

All he needed to do now was sell the idea to the rest of the PCs.....!

He had Eddie at "ancient fabled city of wizards".
"There with be great glory to be won, songs will be sung of the heroes that dare the perils of the frozen north" Christos added.
"Glory, I'm in!" announced Sir Robin.
"I always wanted to be in a song" mused Gunnar.
Eldarondo and Sintamo looked at each other and sighed.
"We can't really let then go off on their own, can we?"
"With Eddie's sense of direction they'll end up back in the desert"

"Oi! I heard that."

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

British Steam Gun Boat for Cruel Seas

Here is the latest addition to my Cruel Seas collection, a Steam Gun Boat (SGB). The British had 7 of these built between 1940 and 1942, originally intended for escorting the North Sea convoys, but ended up being based in the Channel.

I've been really interested to see the large number of suitable ships out there designed for 3D printing, especially covering those not available from Warlord. I wanted another escort for my British fleet and really fancied the SGB, but I don't have a 3D printer. Looking around online there are various companies that will print your files for you, with prices ranging from very expensive to quite cheap. The best deal I found was Treatstock, which is an umbrella company who take your order and deal with the payment, then pass your order on to a more local, small business to print it and post to the buyer. So I downloaded the file from Wargaming 3D and placed my order for printing.

A couple of weeks later, the boat turned up in the post. The printer had been in touch a couple of times to discuss a couple of small problems before printing, he was worried that the gun barrels were too fragile and might break off. I said to go ahead, if they did break I could easily fix that with a bit of brass wire and this was really an experiment on my part anyway. In the end all the barrels remained intact.

So here are some pictures, firstly straight out of the bag.

Then with a light grey spray undercoat.

And the finished result, it could probably do with another wash of dirty rust, it looks a bit too clean still in the pictures.

With a couple or Warlord plastic models from the starter set for scale.

So what are my thoughts? I was really pleased with the model, some of the detail is not as crisp as the resin & metal models from Heroics and Ros or the Warlord plastics, but perfectly adequate for a 1:300 wargaming model.

Good value, considering it's quite a big beast, slightly longer that a Fairmile D. It cost £9.60 including shipping, so that was about £6 for the boat. That compares nicely with £5.50 for a Fairmile from H&R and much better that £15 for a Fairmile from Warlord. Obviously it would have been even more economical to have bought 3 or 4 boats in one order, as the postage would have been the same, but this was a trial run for me, in future I'll order several boats at once.

The process itself was good, very easy to upload the file to the Treatstock website. I was then offered a variety of printers and their respective charges to chose from. I went for Seaside 3D because I had read a good review of their quality, but there were some even cheaper printers available. I may give one of those a try in future.
Communication through out the process was excellent as well.

I will definitely be getting some more 3D printed models. Will I be getting my own printer? Not at list stage, I know printing my own models would bring the cost down to pennies each, but I don't see myself getting enough use to warrant the investment in a machine. Of course that may change in the future.

After being directed to some superb contemporary images of SGBs, I've added a camouflage scheme.