Sunday, December 09, 2018

Remember December

On Saturday we had the club's annual Remember December event. This year it was Team Yankee, based on a 45pt Firestorm Red Thunder campaign. I ran Afgantsy, which was a change of plan from my original East German intentions.
Air Assault Battalion - Red Thunder
Battalion HQ - 1 x AK-74 team
Air Assault Company - Minimum size plus AGS-17 and AT-4 Spigot
Air Assault Company - Minimum size plus SA-14 Gremlin and AT-4 Spigot
Hind Assault Helicopter Company - 2 x Hind
Hind Assault Helicopter Company - 2 x Hind
T-64 Tank Platoon - 3 x T-64
Shilka Platoon - 2 x Shilka
BMP-1 Recon Platoon - 3 x BMP-1 Scout
The thinking here was that the infantry is really good, with Spigots and plenty of RPGs for dealing with light armour spam, T-64s are really good, the Shilkas are needed to protect the T-64s, and the Hinds are a potential game-winner. On the whole, I thought it was a pretty decent list.
The List
I won't subject you to a blow-by-blow account of the day, but it didn't go well for me. I was run over by LAVs in a Free For All in game one, had to attack Dutch YPRs and Leo 2s in a failed Counterattack in game two, and was unable to hold off a very well-executed attack by West German Marders and Leo 2s in a No Retreat for game three.
The Afgantsy come under fire from a Spectre
I still think the list was good. In the first game I struggled with rallying the infantry (on 2s and 3s), which crippled my AT-4s, and the rest of my infantry had too short a range to avoid being shot to pieces by the LAVs. 

In the second game I failed to concentrate my attack on one objective. The Dutch didn’t have huge numbers on the board, and their reserves were coming on from miles away, so I should have been able to use my infantry to overrun the objective while my armour watched their back. 

The third game was the one my list was designed to play, but my opponent exploited a flaw in my deployment and slipped a platoon each of Leopards and Panzergrenadiers down the flank and onto the back objective. I was annoyed at my stupidity, as this was absolutely a game that I should have won, but on reflection it showed exactly what is so good about 45pts on a 6x4: you simply couldn't pull that kind of attack off against the density of units that you get at 100pts.

The top Warsaw Pact list was ten T-64s, which I did not expect. The first few times I played TY, helicopters dominated tanks because we didn't have any air defence units. Here, it was a brilliant play to the meta: 45pt red-vs-blue games, and NATO helicopters are expensive. And it paid off, with only one NATO list having a pair of Cobras.

In terms of list breakdown, we had a really good variety:
  • 1 x Afgantsy battalion
  • 2 x T-64 battalions
  • 1 x BMP-2 battalion
  • 1 x Soviet T-72 battalion
  • 1 x Polish T-72M battalion
  • 1 x West German Leopard 2 company
  • 1 x West German Marder company
  • 1 x Dutch YPR company
  • 1 x Marine M60 company
  • 1 x Marine LAV company
  • 1 x British Mech company (the competition winner)
No M1s or Leopard 1s. No French, Canadians, Australians, East Germans, or Czechs. No strike aircraft.

The Firestorm format worked really well, and it's something that I hope we will use again for both TY and FOW. A huge thanks to Pelarel from The Regiment for pulling it together. A possible refinement might be giving the sides a choice about what posture each of their lists should take, rather than attack/defence being decided by random draw. The aim would be to get a bit more teamwork going into building lists, planning the strategic element, and picking matchups.

Next week: I look ahead to summer painting plans. I have some reflection I need to do about where to next with TY, but that will be a post for later in the summer.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Soviet Anti-Aircraft Options

I was in the middle of assembling a platoon of Gaskins, feeling disappointed that I only had 16 wheels to clean up, and started wondering about the relative effectiveness of the different anti-aircraft options available to the Soviets in Team Yankee. In the past I've typically run two Shilkas and two Gophers. Is this the best way to spend four points, or is there another combination that would be more effective? To answer this, I did what any normal person would do and built a spreadsheet.

Which Soviet AA option is the most effective?
The spreadsheet looks at ROF, To Hit, Save, and Firepower ratings, and allows a comparison between  the chance different weapons have of shooting down aircraft. It does not factor in range at this stage. The results are presented as the probability of shooting down 0, 1, or 2 of the attacking aircraft.

The first thing I looked at was the effectiveness of full-sized platoons of four flavours of anti-aircraft vehicles in Red Thunder: 2pts of Gaskins, 4pts of Gophers, 8pts of Geckos, and 4pts Shilkas. The target in all cases was a typical NATO jet flight of two aircraft with a To Hit of 4+ and a 5+ save.


For the SAMs, it comes as no real surprise that the effectiveness is strongly related to price: Geckos are better than Gophers, which are better than Gaskins. The standout is the Shilka, which is as effective as a Gecko at half the price, albeit with a much shorter range. The key lesson here is that there is no point trying to bomb a target that is protected by four Shilkas, as you only have a 6% chance of getting through unscathed, and a 75% chance of losing both aircraft.

The next thing to consider is cost-effectiveness. Two points can get you two Gremlins, four Gaskins, two Gophers, (hypothetically) one Gecko, or two Shilkas.


Once again, the stand-out performer is the Shilka, being far and away the most effective weapon for the points. Those Tornados will only get past two Shilkas unscathed 25% of the time. Do you feel lucky?

It surprised me that the Gaskin is the next best option. All of the SAMs have a similar chance of bringing down one of the attacking aircraft, but the Gaskin has a higher chance of killing two, with the eight shots you get from the platoon making up for its lower firepower. The other three weapons all have equivalent cost-effectiveness.

SA-9 Gaskin: Punching above its weight
A four point platoon gives similar results, with the Gecko and Gopher being equally cost-effective, but both are left in the weeds by the performance of the Shilka. What is interesting here is that for four points my initial combination of Shilkas and Gophers is not that much worse than straight Shilkas, but replacing the Gophers with Gaskins would give it a slight bump in effectiveness, at the cost of kicking myself every time I roll a 4 for Firepower.


Given other factors not included here such as range and the advantage of having two AA platoons instead of one, I would argue that if you only have four points to spend on air defence, the best option is the Shilka/Gaskin combination.

Having settled which weapons are the most effective, I decided to answer another question that I've had: is it best to shoot at Hunter Killer helicopters in their turn or your turn? In their turn, they are Concealed and Gone to Ground, but you have a chance to kill them before they smoke a couple of your tanks. In your turn, the damage is done, but they only count as being Concealed. I have looked at a pair of Cobras being shot at by four Shilkas.


With the most effective air defence unit the Soviets can field, if you try and shoot at the Cobras while they are still Gone to Ground, you have a 60% chance of bagging at least one. Those odds jump dramatically to 84% if you are prepared to wait until after they have fired. When shooting at them with four Gaskins you have a 25% chance of killing at least one while they're Gone to Ground, vs a 50/50 chance if they're only Concealed.


In future I will try to be patient and let the Cobras shoot first. It's far better to lose two tanks and then take them down in your turn, than to shoot in the enemy turn and probably still lose two tanks.

How will this affect my future list builds? For a given number of points to be spent on air defence, I would look at the following:
  • 1pt: Go back and try to find another point from somewhere
  • 2pts: Two Shilkas, the bare minimum
  • 4pts: Two Shilkas and four Gaskins to give a mix of power and table coverage
  • 6pts: Four Shilkas and four Gaskins
  • 8pts: Four Shilkas and four Gophers, although I'm not sure what size game would justify spending this many points
I would probably only use Geckos in large multi-formation games on a table larger than 8x6, where their range can come into play, in addition to each formation having its own anti-aircraft units. I will have to rething this for the Czechoslovaks as they did not have Shilkas, instead using the M53/59, an armoured six-wheeled vehicle with twin 30mm cannon.

Next Time: Hopefully one more practice game before Remember December, and a few more units being painted.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Thoughts on the Warsaw Pact lists for Team Yankee

Now that the new Czech and Polish lists have been published for Team Yankee, I thought I would take a look through the four Warsaw Pact nationalities that are now available. On the surface they are all very similar, but there are some differences that will affect the way they play on the table.
Infantry

The easiest comparison between the lists is on a BMP1 company, being an option in all four . All four nations have the same unit structure and a To Hit stat of 3+. All have a different combination of skill/motivation stats, and there are a couple of minor weapons stat differences as well.

Warsaw Pact Infantry Unit Stats

Soviet East German Czechoslovak Polish
Courage 4+ 4+ 5+ 3+
Morale 3+ 3+ 4+ 4+
Rally 3+ 4+ 5+ 3+
Skill 5+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Assault 5+ 5+ 5+ 5+
Counterattack 3+ 4+ 5+ 3+
Weapons Difference FP5+ AK-74 teams - - FP 5+ AKM teams,
No RPG-18s or AGS-17
Mid Size Price 14pts 14pts 10pts 16pts

To summarise what this means on the table, we have:
  • Soviets: hard to break, rally easily, good at clearing out entrenched infantry due to their ROF3 FP5+ AK teams and good counterattack rating, but poor at skill-based orders.
  • East Germans: hard to break, but otherwise average.
  • Czechs: poor in assaults, don't rally well, but are significantly cheaper.
  • Poles: Aggressive due to passing Follow Me orders on a 3+ and having FP 5+. Hard to keep pinned, reasonable in assaults, but expensive and lacking the AT14 RPGs and AGS-17 grenade launchers of the other nations.
In all cases, you need numbers due to the poor To Hit and Assault ratings. A minimum sized company only gives you four teams with Assault 5, and the rest either Assault 6 or Heavy Weapons teams. Full size companies seem quite unwieldy, particularly as they result in units of  12 BMPs running around, so the mid-size two platoon option seems optimal.

Looking at the transport for the infantry companies, the Soviets are the only nation that can take a battalion of BMP2. The others get the option of a company of BMP2s as part of a BMP1 battalion. The Soviets also have the most flexibility for transporting the infantry supporting their tank battalions.

Warsaw Pact Tank Battalion Infantry Support

Soviet East German Czechoslovak Polish
T-64 Any - - -
T-72/T-72M Any BMP1 BMP1/BMP2 BMP1/BMP2
T-55 - BTR BTR/OT-64 BTR/OT-64
T-62M Any - - -

My favourite infantry option is still the Afgantsy, with Assault 4+ and a consistent 3+ across all motivation stats. If running a BMP company, the choice between nations will be influenced by game size: I would only run Czechs in larger games where I can make the most of their lower price, while probably favouring the Soviets in smaller games due to their Firepower and motivation.

Still the best Warsaw Pact infantry, limited only by Formation size
Tanks
A major difference between the Soviet and other lists is the tank technology. The Soviets have the better equipment, while the others have the lower-quality T-72M and T-55AM2. This has changed slightly with the release of T-62M cards, giving the Soviets a cheaper option (six for the price of four T-72, or seven for the price of four T-64). It's an interesting call: a few extra dice that are almost as effective as those of the more expensive tanks, but vulnerable to AT19. I'm not yet sure what my opinion on it is.

Warsaw Pact Tank Stats
T-64 T-72 T-72M T-55 T-62M
Front 17 16 15 14 14
Side 9 8 8 9 9
Top 2 2 2 2 2
AT 22 22 21 17 21
Tactical 14" 10" 10" 10" 10"
Terrain Dash 16" 16" 16" 14" 14"
Crosscountry Dash 24" 24" 24" 20" 20"
Cross 3+ 3+ 3+ 4+ 4+
HEAT Protection BDD Armour BDD Armour Bazooka Skirts Bazooka Skirts Bazooka Skirts
Point of Difference Advanced Stabiliser, Brutal Brutal Brutal Slow Firing No Stabiliser
Optional Extra AT-8 Songster - - - AT-10 Stabber

The T-64 is much more effective while only being slightly more expensive than the T-72, so would be my preference for Soviet lists. I haven't used them, but on paper I don't rate the T-55. Sure you can get huge numbers, but unless your fighting Leopard 1s or AMX-30s, they need to get into the flanks to do any damage, and Slow Firing really hampers them there. My pick of the bunch is probably the Volksarmee T-72M for the overall package of armour, gun, price, and motivation stats.
A good all-round performer, at three for 7pts, then 4pts each.
Support

The Soviets have the most complete range of support, with the Storm, Acacia, and BMP2 scouts, plus the option of having tank and infantry companies as support units. The East Germans are hardest done by, not having the Gecko or Acacia due to the order of product releases, despite having used both.

The support unit most obviously missing is the towed mortar battery of eight 120mm tubes that each Motor Rifle Battalion included. For some inexplicable reason Team Yankee occurs in a universe where mortars do not exist unless they're bolted to an M113. This lack of cheap and historically plentiful indirect fire support is a fundamental flaw in the lists.

Looking at the artillery options that they do have, all of the lists have access to a regimental battery of 2S1 Carnations, plus support from a battery of heavy artillery (except the poor East Germans), and a battery of rocket launchers.

Warsaw Pact Artillery Stats
2S1 Carnation 2S3 Acacia DANA BM-21 Hail RM-70
Front 2 2 1 - 1
Side 1 1 1 - 1
Top 1 1 1 - 0
Artillery AT 4 4 4 3 3
Artillery FP 3+ 2+ 2+ 4+ 4+
Direct Range 24" 16" 24" - -
Direct AT 21 14 14 - -
Direct FP 2+ 1+ 1+ - -
Point of Difference No AA MG Optional
Krasnopol
Autoloader Salvo template,
No AA MG
Salvo template

In the small 45pt games we are playing a the moment, I wouldn't take any of these. Dual-purpose everything is absolutely the name of the game there, and artillery is too specialized and sinks too many points to be viable. Far better to take an extra tank or two. I've tried a trio of Carnations in a small game before, but I lost them to infantry due to their lack of a self-defence MG. At 80pts I would look to take a full battery of six of something. Infantry hasn't been a huge part of the local meta so far, but it will come, and at that point I'll need to consider whether a second battery can be justified.

The most intriguing artillery option is the DANA. The Autoloader rule gives them a -1 to hit, which, combined with Skill 4, FP2+, and a further -1 for being in a unit of six, makes them a great antidote to Milan spam: veterans are being hit on 2s, at best 3s if they are gone to ground. The DANA's performance will be even better, edging ahead of the French AuF1 and British eight-gun M109 batteries, with the expected changes for next year's 2nd Edition. Rocket batteries will also become better, and it will be an interesting decision between a 10" template with FP4+, or a 6" template with FP 2+. Compared to how ineffective I see it as being now, artillery will become a thing to fear and will jump up the list of priority targets to be second only to air defence assets.
Arguably the best artillery in the game
For anti-aircraft, the Gecko is potent at ROF 3 and FP 3+, but with the advent of the French 'Gun Slinger' Gazelle they're terribly vulnerable, and the points are probably better spent on twice the number of Gophers.
Gun Slinger: Shoots before AA.
All of the other support options are pretty similar: Hinds, Frogfeet, Spandrels, and BMP1 or BRDM scouts, with the same variations in skill and motivation as discussed earlier. It would have been nice for the other nations to have the option of MiG23s or SU22s rather than being limited to Soviet SU-25s, but that's really just cosmetic. The only really differences would be worse save and a slightly less effective cannon, for a small points break.

Summary

I couldn't quite understand why the internet seemed so keen on more Warsaw Pact lists, given how similar the equipment was going to be. But now that the books are out, I appreciate the new models that have come with them, and the way that we have been given variety in the unit stats to create a number of distinct choices:
  • Do I want the better tech options? Then I have to go with the Soviets.
  • Do I want to build a list around the most effective (and best looking) artillery piece? It's a choice between the Czechs and Poles.
  • Do I want to pay a premium for an aggressive list? Then it's the Poles.
  • Do I want numbers, on the understanding that they won't hang around once they start to take damage? That would be the Czechs.
  • Or if I am happy with middle of the road stats and prices, at the cost of a reduced variety of units to choose from, then it's East Germans.
I can seriously see myself playing lists from all of these nations from time to time. I definitely plan to get a couple of boxes of DANAs in the near future, but don't think I'll go down the path of T-55s, T-62s, or BTRs. A little way further over the horizon is 2nd Edition, which is likely to move the timeline along and open up an even wider range of options than we currently have, and I am looking forward to that.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

First Run with the East Germans

On Saturday I took my Team Yankee 45pt East German list for a run at the club, against Che's Dutch. With my Gaskins still winging their way over from the UK, I swapped them out for two Gophers, who weren't needed anyway as Che didn't bring any air support.
T-72M Tank Battalion - Volksarmee
Battalion HQ - 1 x T-72M
T-72M Company - 4 x T-72M
T-72M Company - 4 x T-72M
BMP1 Motor Rifle Company - Minimum size plus AGS-17 and SA-14 Gremlin
BRDM-2 Scout Platoon - 4 x BRDM-2
SA-13 Gopher Platoon - 2 x SA-13 Gopher
Spandrel Platoon - 3 x Spandrel
Hind Helicopter Company - 2 x Hind
Che's list was based around a YPR-765 platoon backed up by PRATs, PRTLs, Stingers, M113 C&V, and a pair of Leopard 2s. We rolled up No Retreat, with the Dutch defending a village.
The table viewed from the East German end
Che put his Leopard 2s, PRTLs and M113 C&V units in reserve, with his PRATs in Ambush. The infantry held the front objective in the village, with his HQ sitting on the rear objective and the Stingers lurking at the back.

I pushed my infantry through the middle, with one T-72 company on each flank. The PRATs popped out of ambush on my left, but completely missed with their first round of shooting. The Leopards arrived from reserve, and made up for it by killing two T-72s, again on the left.

Turn 2, I decided that I needed to commit the Hinds before the PRTLs arrived from reserve and made air operations impossible.  They made it through the Stingers and bailed out one Leopard, forcing the platoon to run. They then pushed their luck too far and were shot down trying to strafe the PRATs, but for the second time in two games the sacrifice of a unit of Hinds had brought about a huge return by taking out a platoon of Leopard 2s. Meanwhile, the infantry cleared the Dutch pickets out of the first line of houses, and prepared to push on through the rest of the platoon to the objective. Everything appeared to be going according to plan.

Turn 3 saw the PRTLs arrive, who demonstrated how big a threat they are by killing a T-72 with flank shots. The East German infantry set up for another assault, hoping to push on rapidly while the defenders were still pinned, but were driven off by defensive fire. The next turn was huge, as the PRTLs killed yet another T-72 breaking the platoon on the right, the PRATs finished off the last T-72 on the left, while the Dutch infantry rallied and counter-attacked, clearing my infantry out of the village. By the start of turn 5, the East Germans had no offensive capability remaining, having been reduced to the Battalion HQ, Spandrels and Gophers. We called the game at this point as I wouldn't be in a position to be within 8" of an objective by the end of Turn 6 to keep the game going.

The game turned quickly. I was well-placed at the end of Turn 2, had the table position I wanted, had drawn out the Dutch TOW ambush away from my main attack, and through some good fortune had eliminated the Leopards. But the Dutch infantry proved to be tougher than expected, and I possibly should have taken an extra turn or two to set up properly to reduce them before throwing in another assault.

A few thoughts from the game:

  • The game confirmed that 45pts plays really well on a 6x4. The model density was good, and we were finished in about 90 minutes.
  • 45pts is a very difficult size for 3rd Generation MBTs. They're still scary, but in two-tank platoons  they are incredibly fragile.
  • The minimum-sized motor rifles aren't a great assault force, only having four teams with Assault 5+, and everyone else sitting at Assault 6.
  • The PRTLs taking out T-72s from the flank was a nasty shock, and they deserved greater respect than I afforded them.
  • I really need to take more photos during my games.

The game also served as an opportunity to use some minefield templates that I had made the night before. CDs are the perfect size, so I covered a couple of spare CD-Rs with basing material to match my army, and the hole in the centre covered by the official token.
In other news, the Czechs are now up on Forces, and my list above comes to 38pts. The gain of 7pts through the reduction in motivation stats would be enough for an observer and three DANAs, or a couple more T-72Ms. I am tempted to remain with the East German stats, however, as Rally/Remount 5+ units are going to be so much more difficult to use. More to ponder over the next few days before the lists needs to be locked in.

Monday, October 22, 2018

List for Remember December

This week I’m sharing the list I’m planning on taking to Remember December, an upcoming 45pt Team Yankee day at the club. I have decided to take a T-72M battalion from Volksarmee, as a change from the Soviet lists I've been running to date, and as a stepping stone towards running them as Czechs.

I couldn't quite see the reason for the demand on the internet for adding other Warsaw Pact nations to the game, as any new lists were still going to be based around T-72s, T-55s, and BMPs. However, now that they are on their way, the Czechs and Poles are welcome as they provide variety in ratings, and add DANAs and OT-64s to the range of models.

One disappointment with the Volksarmee lists is that you cannot take T-72s with BTRs without running multiple formations, and from the spoilers it looks like the Czech lists will be the same: if you want BTRs or OT-64s, you are limited to T-55s.

Back to Remember December. The basis of this East German list is T-72Ms, backed up by all the BRDMs, and a platoon of infantry in BMP1s. I expect the Czech lists will become available in the next week or so, so I'll have a decision to make then: stay with the Confident Trained East Germans, or see how many points are freed up by moving to Reluctant Trained Czechs, then finding things to fill the gap.
T-72M Tank Battalion - Volksarmee
Battalion HQ - 1 x T-72M
T-72M Company - 4 x T-72M
T-72M Company - 4 x T-72M
BMP1 Motor Rifle Company - Minimum size plus AGS-17 and SA-14 Gremlin
BRDM-2 Scout Platoon - 4 x BRDM-2
SA-9 Gaskin Platoon - 4 x SA-9 Gaskin
Spandrel Platoon - 3 x Spandrel
Hind Helicopter Company - 2 x Hind
Most of the list is painted and ready to go, just needing to paint a platoon of East German infantry, and wait for a box of Gaskins to arrive in the post.
I've arranged to take the list for a run next weekend, so my next post will be a review of how it performed.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

New Project - 1938 Czechoslovaks

Early War has always been my favourite period of Flames of War: the wide range of nations involved, their different ideas about how a mechanised war should be fought, and tanks they built to implement those ideas. It has huge variety to it, making it far more flavourful than the other periods. Unfortunately, that is exactly why, according to comments at the Battlefront Open Day earlier this year, Early War won't get the full V4 treatment: it requires too large a range for shops to carry, and probably lacks the broad appeal of Late War. The suggestion was that the period would come out as Osprey publications, as have Vietnam and Fate Of A Nation. This would probably be fine for those of us with existing armies, but I wonder if the availability of models is going to cripple the period.

Back to the point. In the days of V1 when the Early War lists were free PDFs, I wrote up a set for 1938 Fall Grün Czechoslovaks. I can't remember whether the list ever made it onto the FOW website, but in any event I never progressed to the point of assembling an army. That work has been lost to the sands of time and archaic storage media, however Early War Slovak lists were published as part of the Barbarossa digital release, and on that basis I have decided to jump into the project.

I bought the models last year with the intent of taking them to ValleyCon 2018, but that ended up being a Mid War event so they've sat in a box waiting for a reason to start painting them. Normally it's competitions that provide that impetus, but as it's unlikely that we'll see another Early War competition until the period is rereleased, the aim of posting weekly updates to this blog, combined with McZermof having a bunch of Panzer Is and IIs that could do with a run sometime, will be the motivation.

I'm working towards 1100pts based around a LT vz.35 company, and will chip away at them between now and the end of the year. The Slovak list can be used directly with only minor additional restrictions, such as no LT vz.38 tanks (available for service from 1939), and of course no German equipment or allied platoons. Models are available for most things in the list, with the exception of softskin transport and the 3.7cm anti-tank gun.
Obrnený Rota - Barbarossa Digital
Obrnený Rota HQ - 2 x LT vz.35
Obrnený Platoon - 3 x LT vz.35
Obrnený Platoon - 3 x LT vz.35
Armoured Car Platoon - 3 x OA vz.30
Motorizovaná Pechota Platoon - 8 x Rifle/MG teams
Artillery Battery - 4 x 10cm vz.30 howitzer
Anti-aircraft Platoon - 2 x 2cm vz.36 gun
Sporadic Air Support - 1 x Avia B-534
This week I had a go at painting the first tank platoon, using the Battlefront Panzer 35(t). The tank commander is a steel helmeted US figure, being the closest I've found to the Czech tankers' uniform. I'm not totally happy with how they've turned out, and will have another look when I start working on the next batch.
In other events this week, I had another 45pt game of Team Yankee with Scott. This was using More Missions, on a 6x4 table. I ran Afgantsy for the first time, defending in Bridgehead against West German Panzergrenadiers, and was pretty happy with how they went.
Air Assault Battalion - Red Thunder
Battalion HQ
Air Assault Company - minimum size plus AGS-17 and AT-4
Air Assault Company - minimum size plus SA-14 and AT-4
Hind Assault Helicopter Company - 2 x Hind
Hind Assault Helicopter Company - 2 x Hind
BMP-1 Scout Platoon - 3 x BMP-1
T-64 Company - 3 x T-64
Shilka AA Platoon - 2 x Shilka
Scott elected to attack at dawn, making the most of his tech advantage. Being required to put everything that wasn't Afgantsy in reserve, I had to play a waiting game until the cavalry arrived. It was going well for him until I realised that even with radar, night limited the range of his AA umbrella to 24", allowing me to Spiral his Leopards with relative impunity, killing one and causing the second to flee. I lost the Hinds the following turn, but it was a good trade. The Panzergrenadiers pressed on and made a good fist of it, clearing out my right hand Afgantsy company and closing in on the objectives, but then my reserves arrived and the West Germans ran out of steam.

The game itself played much better than the same number of points on a 4x4 from three weeks ago. The table wasn't overloaded with models, and Scott wasn't forced to charge a wall of ATGMs and RPGs. There were Marines on the table next door, and even with the number of LAVs and Hummers involved, it looked good.

This coming week, I'll be back to painting more Soviets. It's now only eight weeks until Remember December, so in my next post I'll outline the list I'm proposing to take, and provide a BRDM update...

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Czechoslovakian Hinds

The plan for this week had been to paint BRDMs and two Hinds, but in the end it became painting one Hind, then repainting a second one because I decided I didn't like the colours I'd previously chosen for the scheme. More on that in a bit.

Here is the finished product.
These Hinds are a 1/100 Aoshima kit, which is a reboxing of a Revell Mi-24D.
I'm using them for my Czechs, as the differences between this and the Battlefront Hinds I've been using for my Soviets are enough that they don't sit nicely together. Apart from its slightly larger size, most notable is the difference in armament, with the missiles being AT-2 vs AT-6, and the rocket pods being B8V20 vs UB-32.
The Aoshima kit is okay, it certainly looks like a Hind, but as a gaming piece the Battlefront one is far superior. While the BF kit certainly has its flaws, it has fewer pieces, has been thoughtfully designed, has nicer detail, and goes together well. An example of the difference in detail is in the photos below, of the main rotor hub. The Battlefront kit is in green on the left, while the Aoshima is the black one on the right. Then again, I'm not totally sure that the assembly of the Aoshima 's rotors is quite correct. I followed the kit instructions to the letter, but I'm pretty sure the blades are upside down.
The reference for the colour scheme came from an Eduard kit, whose instruction sheet is on their website. Unfortunately, the only colour references are to Gunze paints, so I had to guess at the Vallejo equivalents. And this is where the repainting that I mentioned earlier comes in: I had previously painted one of these kits and estimated that the closest colours were 885 Pastel Green and 823 Luftwaffe Camouflage Green. I've since changed my mind and am now going with 886 Green Grey and 830 German Fieldgrey. The 886 is probably a bit dark, which is mildly annoying as the new bottle of this colour I have is a much darker shade than my previous one.
It just didn't feel right.
Both of these are 886 Green Grey, yet very different shades
This is also an opportunity to show how I'm storing and transporting my Soviet Hinds. It's a Tactix storage box from Bunnings that I attacked with a multitool and lined with strategically cut pieces of foam to allow it to carry four Hinds and my two SU-22s. The rotors attach to magnets glued to the lid. I'll do the same thing for the Czechs.
Helicopter transport. Hind quarters.
So still no BRDMs, but this coming week I think I'll take a break from the moderns and head back to 1938.