February 28, 2013

FOW Bridge by Bridge Lists - the wierd & wacky

Got a few solid hours reading time in on Bridge by Bridge last night and there are some seriously strange lists in that book.  Some are horribly one dimensional and would be a nightmare at tournament level but definately fun to play.  Some I can't figure out at all.  The Warriors in the book are also a highly divergent lot and offer some pretty good options.

Among the stranger lists in the new source book are:

Kampfgruppe von Swobada
A reluctant trained battlegroup whose combat platoons consist entirely of 88mm Flak guns.  The support options also lean heavily toward gun teams with minimal infantry options.  Reluctant Trained is not the kind of company I would want to take but at 1750pts you could kit out something quite nasty (odd) if you wanted.  I came up with the following:

Sturmbannfuhrer Hans-Georg Sonnenstuhl - 75pts
- allows multiple artillery batteries to combine fire and gives you the US time on target rule
Company HQ - 25pts
Combat Platoon - 180pts
w. 3 x 88m with ROF 3 and gunshields
Combat Platoon - 180pts
w. 3 x 88mm with ROF 3 and gunshields
Schwere Panzer - 580pts
w. 4 x Tiger IE (Hummel CT no Tiger Ace Skills)
Artillery - 180pts
w. 3 x 10.5cm
Artillery - 180pts
w. 3 x 10.5cm
HMG Platoon - 270pts
w. 3 Squads - total of 12 MG42 (each squad deploys as a separate Platoon)
AA Platoon - 65pts
w. 4 x 2cm Flak 38
TOTAL 1,735pts

Just trying to imagine the look on a Russian T34 horde players face when you plonk down 6 x 88ms and 4 x Tigers and then start ranging in all that Artillery with the time on target rule.  You could be nastier to and take 2 units of 6 guns and move them upto 15cm.  Hans-Georg is a pretty worthwhile Warrior who replaces the staff team on one Artillery Platoon.

SS Fortified Company
This one I really couldn't figure out.  The idea of hiding behind all of those defences seems like fun, its a bit like the FJ list from Cassino on steroids.  Each combat platoon can take 3 squads of 2 MG teams each.  Each of these has a trench line and an HMG nest.  You can then get additional minefields and barbed wire entanglements - 50 & 10pts each respectively - with no limit on how many.  Other options are OK but limited armour wise to Platoons of 3 x PzIV's, RT/CT 88mm Flak platoons and the artillery options that seem to dominate all of the BbB lists.  And just for fun you can stick in some FJ as well.   I worked out the following

Company HQ - 75pts
Stutz Platoon - 360pts
w. 3 Squads, 1 x Minefield, 1 x Barbed wire, HMG Nest & 3 trench lines
Stutz Platoon - 420pts
w. 3 Squads, 2 x Minefields, 2 x Barbed wire, HMG Nest & 3 trench lines
Flak Platoon - 130pts
w. 2 x 88mm with ROF 3
Flak Platoon - 130pts
w. 2 x 88mm with ROF 3
Artillery - 180pts
w. 3 x 10.5cm
Artillery - 180pts
w. 3 x 10.5cm
FJ Platoon - 275pts
w. 3 Squads

TOTAL 1,750 with total of 10 trench lines, 3 minefields, 3 barbed wire entanglements & 2 HMG nests.

Then there are the more standard options that are less one dimensional and which would give you a fairly well balanced force, albiet without the Veteran status you usually expect from German troops.

559 Schwere Panzerjager Kompanie 
Definately one I would consider taking and I might actually take it to NATCON if I can source the Wibel mobile AA vehicles or buy some in the interim.  The list is a good counterpoint to the PDF Normandy based Schewere PzJager briefing and offers something a little different. 

Company HQ - 190pts
w. 2 x StuG G
PzJager Platoon - 705pts
w. 3 x Jagdpanther
PzJager Platoon - 285pts
w. 3 x StuG G
FJ Platoon - 275pts
w. 3 Squads
AA Platoon - 165pts
w. 3 x Wirbels
Artillery Platoon - 115pts
w. 2 x 10.5
TOTAL 1,745pts

Not bad, bit light on bodies but theres enough there to keep you going and 3 Jag's are going to ruin a lot of peoples days.

Heavy Tank Company
Yah King Tiger tanks what fun pity they cost so much - 345pts for a single CV example.  But still this could be quite nasty.

1 x King Tiger - 350pts
1 x King Tiger - 345pts
1 x King Tiger - 345pts
Scout Platoon (2 squads) - 115pts
Pioneers (PF/SMG, 3 squads, RSO) - 270pts
3 x 10.5cm - 180pts
3 x 88mm - 135pts
TOTAL 1,740

Kampfgruppe Hummel
Confident trained Tiger Tanks anyone?  Want to field 10+ of them?  Want them dirt cheap but without Tiger Ace skills?  Then this is the list for you.

2 x Tiger IE - 290pts
3 x Tiger IE - 435pts
3 x Tiger IE - 435pts
SS Gepanzerte Grenadiers 3 Squads - 300pts
3 x 10.5cm - 180pts
Sporadic Air FW190 - 110pts
TOTAL 1,750

So a lot of choice there and I haven't even looked at the standard Grenadier options, KG Grabnaer or the other SS lists.  These ones kind of stood out for me as being entertaining but of them probably only Hummel and 559 Schwere would be lists I would take, although the King Tiger list would allow you to use the same models as part of a KG Pieper list for Battle of the Bulge lists.

So many choices... and I have some shopping to do...

Need 88's for my DAK MW list at least two, 1 for my LW FJ so I can field a Luftwaffe Flak Platoon and at least one box set of the PSC Tigers. 

February 27, 2013

FOW Bridge by Bridge Review - its awesome!!

My copy of Battlefronts latest effort Bridge byBridge arrived this week representing the German half of its updated Market Garden compliation.  I only had a couple of hours to peruse it last night and first impressions are that its a fantastic book and a major improvement on Hells Highway.

Hells Highway was a good book and one that I enjoyed using but historically it wasn't very accurate particularly when it came to the German force compositions and kit outs.  Bridge by Bridge rectifies this in spades with 19 - thats right - 19 lists to choose from.

These are based around a more detailed and far more historically accurate analysis and description of each stage of the Market Garden campaign.  Forces are provided for each section of the battle and cover not only the major divisional/regimental groups that were involved but also the large number of kampfgruppes.  While my primary interest was in the Fallschirmjager lists the new ones offer a huge range of options and to my mind make BbB one of the most versatile books I've come across.  One of the best things about it is that you now have the ability to build a force that is themed far more narrowly than before.  My HH 6FJR list was largely based around the regiments operations during the battles of Eerde and Veghel 24th - 26th September (see my unit history).  But this had to compromise due to the divergence of HH from actual events.  The new book fixes all this and allows you take both a general Market Garden themed list while also letting you theme a list around a specific action within that wider campaign.  Modelling wise you could really go to town here by basing your models around that particular action.

The new hardback format is also a big improvement as my copy of HH disintegrated not long after I got it from overuse, the glue binding not holding - in much the same way as the new v3 mini-rulebook.

So how have the Fallschirmjager changed???  Battlefronts own design notes cover the details in broad detail, along with the rest of the new lists available to you so I won't repeat that information - you can read it here.

Fallschirmjager composition changes
Updated historical information aside the most basic change has been to switch from the 6th FJR/ 3rd FJD split into a Veteran FJ and Ersatz (FT) FJ one.  This doesn't really affect you though until you look at how the composition options for each of those lists have changed.

In HH running the 6FJR vs. 3FJD lists were a lesson in compromise as both offered options the other didnt particularly in relation to armour and artillery support.  BbB makes some large scale adjustments here.

One of the subtelest changes has been the inclusion of a Scout Platoon option for both the Veteran and Ersatz list.  At 140 or 110pts for a 3 Squad Platoon they offer a good option, and one that is good counter to the only Recon option offered in HH the Half-Tracked Heer Recon Platoon.

Both lists also get more Artillery the 6FJR or Veteran list in particular, something it was lacking in HH.  While I'm not a fan of artillery due to my Mortar fixation, I can see the benefits.  Most of the artillery options are Heer but there are strong SS options as well including SP SS Artillery equipped with Wespes.  BbB in this respect seems to allow gamers to cross over units from other books far more easily.
Panthers are now available for your Fallschirmjager
But its in the new Panzer or Armoured Support options that the lists offer something really different.  Now both the Veteran and FT companies can take Jagdpanthers vs. only 6FJR in HH.  The Veteran company also has the option of Stu42's, while the Ersatz company can take Panthers (representing the Pz Brigade 107).

Points Changes
Not immediately noticeable in the new book, probably because of all the shiny new toys each list contained, were the subtle points changes made to the FJ lists.  In general FJ infantry costs more but support options cost far less, and with the plethora of Heer support options available 1750pts goes a long way.

The main points changes I picked as affecting any FJ list I run were:
  • CHQ Panzershreks +5pts.
  • FJ Platoon w. PF/SMG & 3 Squads +15pts.
  • FJ Pioneers +15pts.
  • FJ HMG's -15/20pts depending on Veteran or Trained option
  • FJ Mortars -15/20pts
  • FJ Light Guns -15/20pts
  • FJ AA -15/20pts
  • FJ Heavy Mortars -30/45pts
  • FJ Paks -10/15pts
The increase in points cost for the compulsory choices hurts a little bit as does the slight increase in points cost of the Panzershreks, but this is more than made up for by the huge points reductions for the other options.  FJ Light Guns now cost 55pts which is a damn good deal for a reasonably effective Platoon, the drop in the cost of Heavy Mortars also makes them a more attractive option and the AA points decrease means that what is now a compulsory v3 selection doesn't limit you too much in other areas.  Artillery and Herman Goring Panzers are also slightly cheaper.

Final impressions and list changes?
Simply put the book is great, but its going to take me a while to read it through and really figure out what it contains and to make best use of it.  But a couple of ideas have already sprung out at me, particularly with NATCON fast approaching - the 5th March deadline for list submission in particular. 

The 559. Schwere Panzerjager Abteillung list looks very interesting, and is one I could take with practically no new models required. 
Hmmm a company of these looks like fun

SS-Kampfgruppe Graebner is also appealing mainly as his attack over Arnhem Bridge is one of the standout moments of the movie A Bridge to Far (which they really should remake). 

Then of course there are Jagdpanther or Panther supported Fallschirmjager and the numerous Heer options. So many new toys....

Oh and if you want to have a go at the list the wonderful resource of FOW Lists has all of them up and running for you, Easy Army hasn't caught up yet though.

Initial List ideas

Veteran Fallschirmjager with Von der Heydte

Von der Heydte - 170pts
w. 4 x PF Trap Teams
Company HQ - 135pts
w. 2 x PF/SMG upgrades, 2 x Panzershrek
FJ Platoon - 275pts
w. 3 Squads
FJ Platoon - 275pts
w. 3 Squads
FJ Scout Platoon - 100pts
w. PF/SMG + 2 Squads
FJ AT Platoon - 240pts
w. 4 x Pak 40
FJ AA Platoon - 80pts
w. 3 x 2cm Flak 38
Schwere Panzerjager - 470pts
w. 2 x Jagdpanther

TOTAL 1,745pts

This is basically the same list I took to CTA last year but with the Scout Platoon in place of the Mortars, which to be honest were not worth their points.  While many players don't seem to like the PF Trap teams I rate them particularly when you use them to hunt down opposing gun teams rather than seeing them as tank killers only. 

Veteran Fallschirmjger without Von der Heydte

Company HQ - 65pts
w.1 x PF/SMGFJ Platoon - 275pts
w. 3 Squads
FJ Platoon - 255pts
w. 2 x PF/Rifle/MG Squads
FJ Pioneers - 370pts
w. 3 x Squads, Supply Truck
FJ Scout Platoon - 100pts
w. PF/SMG + 2 Squads
FJ AT Platoon - 240pts
w. 4 x Pak 40
FJ AA Platoon - 80pts
w. 3 x 2cm Flak 38
Schwere Panzerjager Platoon
w. 4 x Stug G
TOTAL 1,750pts

More bodies on the ground for this list but a weaker AT component with the absence of the Jadgpanthers.  In HH only the FT 3rd FJD could take StuGs and these would be of the FJ FV variety.  Here you can swap them in for the Jags or take SS Jadgpanzer IV's - but as I have StuG models thats what I would go with.  Scout Platoon stays in as its helpful.  Pioneers and PF/Rifle/MG platoon add some useful CC AT firepower as well as strong anti-infantry support.  Basically dig everyone in, concealed, GTG and you need to get within 16" to hit me and even then your doing it on 6's.  Supply Truck means I can re-roll the dig-in tests I always seem to fail in Turn 1 as well. 

February 25, 2013

Fallschirmjager @ 1750pts for NATCON March

The big gaming event of 2013 is a little over a month away now.  NATCON 29th-31st March will see the normal tournament standard 5 games extended to 8 over a 3 day periodI always find 5 games at standard tournaments mentally draining so 8 games is really going to take it out of me.

I opted to play FOW for the event primarily as I dont like the inclusion of Special Characters in the WHFB composition rules.  Army for the event will be my Fallschirmjager and luckily the tournament rules mean that I will be able to use the updated Hells Highway rule set in the new Bridge to Bridge bookThe list of allowed source books was limited but did include those published prior to Jan 30th, which includes BTB as part of the compilation.  A quick check with the event umpire confirmed it was OK - so once my last 4 Open Fire Shermans are done I am to touch up my Fallschirmjager over the next few weeks.

While Hells Highway and the whole Market Garden period is my preferred option I'm also considering Fortress Europe list and going with something left field - well left field for me. Not knowing what the new BTB book does to the HH lists makes the decision hard, but it arrived today so I can start prerusing it tonight.

The Fortress Europe list would be something like this though

Company HQ
w. 2 x SMG, 1 x Sniper
FJ Platoon
w. SMG/PF + 3 Squads
FJ Platoon
w. SMG/PF + 3 Squads
Heavy Tank Platoon
w. 2 x Tiger IE
FJ Tank Hunter Platoon
w. 4 x Stug G
FJ AA Platoon
w. 3 x 2cm Flak 38
FJ Mortar Platoon
w. 2 sections GW42

Its a big departure from my VDH + Panzerfaust Trap team list, but im looking for something that can take on Soviet armour a little better.  Pak 40s are great but immobile and bad deployment mean I couldnt always use them and PF Trap teams were fantastic but costly.

Plus this list gives me an excuse to buy a couple of Tigers :)

February 20, 2013

2nd & 3rd British Armoured Platoons finished

12/16 Open Fire Shermans finished and I have thoroughly enjoyed painting them.  The new plastics (assembly problems aside) are great to paint and I'm enjoying painting British Armour far more than my German stuff, not sure why I just do.  Once the remaining four are done I'll stick some aerials on them and get some decals in - although this last step depends on what force I want to build Canadian or Irish Guards. 

Just remembered to that my army list for the LW-FOW competition at NATCON is due on 4th March so I don't have much time to get things sorted.  Definately going with Fallschirmjager just have to choose a list - most likely a variation on the Hells Highway one I took to CTA last year, but we'll see what the new Market Garden book has to offer first.

Finally some shots of all 12 completed Shermans together - not too bad at all.  Think I am going to enjoying using these guys.  One of those strange things where the models you like assembling and painting also turn out to be the models you like playing.  Bit of a contrast with the PSC PzIV's I put together last year that while nice models I just haven't warmed to.

And if anyone is planning on painting some of these guys up I strongly suggest you go to BF YouTube channel or their website and few the Open Fire painting tutorial videos.  I followed that pretty closely and it worked a treat.

February 13, 2013

1st British Armoured Platoon complete

Got some more painting in this week and finished up the 1st of my 4 British Armoured platoons from the Open Fire box set.  Only missing the decals which I haven't got and a redo of the commanders beret (as I wasnt sure what colour it should be).  Overall pretty happy with the final results although the stowage has come out looking too glossy and I'm not sure how to fix it up - hopefully the application of Moana Vale will dull it down somewhat.

Also need to figure out how to make Hessian strips as in the pictures of Shermans in Hells Highway - thinking green stuff is the only way as BF don't seem to sell them as a stowage option unfortunately.


February 9, 2013

WIP - Open Fire British Shermans

Painting even one little part of 16 Shermans takes a while but after only a couple of steps they look pretty good.  So far I've undercoated them with GW Chaos Black spray, added a basecoat of BF British Armour Late (spray) and a layer of GW Nightshade (Black) wash - using the BF Video tutorials as a guide I also tried to clean away as much of the wash as possible from the flatter areas. 

Next step - probably Sunday night - will be drybrushing Russian Uniform and the detailing e.g. ammo boxes, tracks, tools, machine guns and sand bags.


February 1, 2013

No NZTC for me :(

Just checked my email and got a message from a very apologetic Pete Dunn that due to a bit of a stuff up our team of "Orphans" is no longer needed to get the number of teams competing at the New Zealand WHFB Team Championships up to an even number, so we are no longer competing at the event. 

Suffice it to say I am disappointed but not that put out as the late call up came as an extremely welcome surprise and originally this wasn't an event I had seen myself being able to get too.  I was looking forward to giving my Ogres a good run particularly against what was going to be an extremely strong New Zealand and International field of players though.

But things like this happen and you have to feel for Pete who has done a fantastic job coming up with the idea, putting the event together, and attracting a solid field and I wish him and the other players all the best for Feb 16th/17th. 

As recompense I expect everyone involved to post a lot of pictures and battle reports and I also expect that people will be extremely nice to any Dwarf players who may have entered.

Looks like I'll be playing cricket instead :) 

WHFB Swedish Comp system 8th vs. 7th Ed

After reading a post relating to Swedish Comp (used I believe in the ETC) on Joel's blog I decided to do a bit of research into it and understand how it was developed and why its used.  Despite my initial reservations (proving that first impressions/rants online should usually remain unshared) it seems that its actually pretty good.  While I dont understand why some magic items or combos are not included I do like its ability to give you a good measure of how hard/easy your army might be - however the system is predicated on the idea that you can bring Special Characters something usually banned at NZ events.

Link to Joels post and to SCS ruleset

As an exercise I decided to copy Joel and put all of my lists through the SCS test including some of my old 7th Edition army lists, the results were interesting.

Swedish Comp Scores for my NZ Teams Champ Team

Working through our teams armies you get the following values:
  • Bo Patterson (Lizards)  - 6.6 making it powerful but not overly so.
  • John (Me with Ogres) - 8.1 which reads as balanced leaning toward powerful.
  • Stu Robinson (Beasts) - 11.6 a very balanced middle of the road army, surprised by this actually.
  • Matt Hassell (Dwarfs) - 15 so a "friendly" army leaning toward balanced.
That gives us an average score of 10.275 making the team, overall, balanced leaning toward powerful.  Would be very interested to know what the average scores of the other teams are on SCS.

My Ogres scored 8.1 because of my decision not to take certain meta-items that are in favour with a lot of Ogre players specifically:
  • Crown of Command - did think about it
  • Hellheart - never figured out how to use it properly
  • Dragonhide Banner - overpriced IMO
  • L4 + L2 magic combo with Lore of Death
  • Leadbelcher spam - don't really like the models so not something ill really use.
  • Maneaters - would if I could
  • Double Ironblaster - would if I could
As for Matts Dwarfs - thats much higher than I thought it would be.  Whats missing from his list that would lower his score appears to be:
  • MR Challenge & multiple Spellbreaking/Eater runes
  • Big block of Miners
  • Multiple runed up Grudgethrowers
  • Multiple Cannons
Very strange though that the comp system assigns no value whatsoever to Dwarf Rangers and runes such as RO Might (doubles S vs. T5 or greater), RO Resistance (re-roll AS, strange when Dawnstone is comp'd) and others combos such as Longbeard Rangers with GW.

SCS scores for my Dwarf Tournament Lists 8th vs. 7th
First up is my bog standard 8th Edition Dwarf army list that I basically don't see myself changing, except maybe to swap the Gyrocopter for one of the warmachines.

8th Edition Dwarfs
w. Shield, RO Resistance, RO Stone, MR Balance, RO Spellbreaking, RO Furnace (-36)
w. BSB, MR Gromil, RO Fire, RO Resistance, RO Furnace (-13)
30 x Warriors
w. Full command, GW (-16)
30 x Warriors
w. Full command, GW (-16)
16 x Quarrellers
w. Musician, Shields (-6)
30 x Hammerers
w. Full command, RO Battle (-40)
20 x Miners
w. Full command (-20)
w. Engineer, Pistols, RO Accuracy, RO Penetrating x2 (-7)
w. Engineer, Pistols, RO Forging, RO Burning (-10)
Organ Gun (-5)

And (-16) for Warmachine Points and I get a total of 185.  Subtract from 300 & divide by 10 = 11.5 - so balanced apparently.

Now compare that to the Dwarf List I managed to finish 9th with at Skitterleap in 2009 under 7th Edition and the number changes dramatically.  That list was:

7th Edition Dwarfs
Dwarf Lord
w. Shieldbearers, RO Resistance, RO Stone, RO Cleaving, MR Swiftness, RO Might, RO Warding, RO Furnace (-8)
w. Shield, RO Spellbreaking x2, RO Furnace, RO Stone, RO Fire, RO Striking (-24)
w. Battle Standard, MR Gromil, RO Furnace, RO Cleaving, RO Might (-13)
20 x Longbeards
w. Full command, Shields, RO Stoicism, RO Battle (-5)
10 x Warriors
w. Musician, Shields (-1)
10 x Warriors
w. Musician, Shields (-1)
10 x Quarrellers
w. Musician, Shields (-4)
10 x Quarrellers
w. Musician, Shields (-4)
18 x Hammerers
w. Full command, shields, MR Grungi (-17)
18 x Hammerers
w. Full command, shields, RO Courage, RO Sanctuary (-17)
Organ Gun (-5)
Gyrocopter (-2)

Very, very different list all about points denial and anti-magic.  All up this 7th Ed list comes in at 19.9 which makes it as friendly as they come almost slap me in the face with a wet bus ticket while I bend over and let you give me one friendly.

I posted a while ago on what 8th Edition has done for Dwarfs and SCS seems to bear that out although I assume that the scoring system has changed since 7th Edition.

Read my thoughts on how Dwarfs have faired under 8th Edition WHFB here.

Looking forward to the NZTC - but quietly trembling at the pain and cheesy broken hurt that is going to come my way from some quarters.