Friday, April 20, 2012

Black Powder AWI Battle Report

After months of conflicting schedules and just general busyness, I was finally able to get to my friend David's house last weekend for a bit of wargaming. He invited another gamer, his neighbor Stephen, and we enjoyed a day of Black Power action, recreating a British raid on a colonial stronghold during the Revolutionary War.

When we arrived, we found that David had already set up the field of battle, and prepared the forces. Stephen and I would command the British troops, and a band of privateers, while David led the colonial rebels.

On the left flank, Stephen was in charge of the privateers, accompanied by some Royal Marines. They would assault the rebel fort. On the right, Stephen led a column of infantry, while I commanded another column of infantry and a small detachment of cavalry. Stephen had played using Warlord Games' Black Powder rules before, so we let him control the bulk of the British forces, while I concentrated on learning the rules.

Here you see the peaceful village, unaware of the destruction that is about to visit them.
 The British forces begin the advance along the right flank.
An overview of the field. The privateers and marines are at the top, assaulting the fortress. The advancing infantry and cavalry are at the bottom.
In the middle of the field, some hearty militiamen wait for the inevitable...
After burning the first home (which unfortunately turned out to belong to a local royalist... ooops!) the cavalry advance on the next homestead.
Some natives gather and concentrate behind the woods, waiting for the moment to strike.
Meanwhile the cavalry torches another home, this one at last belonging to a rebel. But the forces of independence have a small unit attempt a counterattack.
In the center, the British forces finally arrive at the wall. Natives wait in the cornfield as the militia prepares to receive the attack.
To the north, the Royal Marines have made landfall, but find their way across the bridge blocked by a ragtag unit of rebels.
Meanwhile, the privateers (really no more than a bunch of pirates) assault the fortress.
The natives must be driven from the woods - whatever the cost.
The British are charging in multiple locations as once, as the center column makes contact with the rebels - driving them off!
On the bridge, however, the marines are driven back. Cowards!
This overview of the right flank shows the successes of the British advance. Three houses are burning (though only one belonged to a rebel... someone is sure to file a complaint!), the natives are close to being defeated in the woods, and the left column has beaten back the militia, taking a solid defensive position along a road.
One unit of rebels rolls a blunder...
... which moves it into the perfect location to be charged in the rear by the cavalry and destroyed!
By the time we had to stop play, the right side of the board was solidly in control of the British, with four houses burning (50% of them rebel) and the American colonials in retreat.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable game. I like the way the Black Powder rules flow. I will need more practice with them to feel fully comfortable, but it was a good first game for me. David did a great job of hosting and teaching the rules, and it was good to have Stephen on my side to keep David honest. :)

I don't see myself getting into Napoleonics and large scale horse and musket gaming in a big way, but I am looking forward to some more Black Power at David's in the near future.

'Til next time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gruntz Transports from Matchbox Trucks

Well, it's been a bit since I was able to post. Real-life family issues have kept me occupied, but hopefully things have settled down now enough for me to get some more hobby and modelling projects finished.

Last week I was able to finish up a couple more GZG Colonial Legionnaire squads for 15mm science fiction gaming, particularly Gruntz.

Painting up the squads was pretty straightforward, I used the same color scheme I used for the earlier troops. The only difference is these guys had helmets. I must say I prefer the legionnaires with the kepis, and will be getting more of those to flesh out my units.

In my eternal search for cheap gaming models, I came across a Matchbox truck that looked promising. It's their version on an International CXT, which is apparently the largest pick up truck in the world.
It looked to be about the right size, and at 98 cents it was worth taking a chance.  Once I got it home I checked it with some 15mm GZG UNSC Marines.

It looked okay, but I wanted to check the actual dimensions. I measured it and compare it with the real truck. The Matchbox is a little oversized, but well within what I'd consider reasonable tolerances.

International CXT Actual and Scale Dimensions

Actual1/100 ScaleMatchbox Model
Length21.5 feet (6.6 m) 2.58 in2.8125 in
Width101 inches (2.6 m) 1.01 in1.125 in
Height9 feet (2.7 m) 1.08 in1.1875 in.

The next day I picked up a few more, and began the conversion process. I began by disassembling the truck into its component parts. This required drilling away the rivets that hold it together, but was pretty straightforward.

I wanted to enclose the truck bed. The model comes with a covered bed, so rather than cut through the metal, I just added another surface and some side panels from styrene. Yes, technically not realistic, but otherwise it would mean a lot more cutting and filing than I wanted to deal with. It's a compromise, but one I can live with.
I made two open-bed trucks, and a third with supports that can hold a canvas canopy.
One other change I made was to cut the window out of the back of the plastic insert that represents the glass. On the left is an unmodified window insert, and the truck on the right has the rear window section removed.
The reason why I did this, is that without the rear window, I can fit two troops on penny bases in the bed of the truck.
Here you can see one of the converted and primed trucks, beside an unmodified one.
I spray painted a sand basecoat on the trucks, then added some rust, a little brownish wash, and a light drybrush. I also masked off where the wipers would clean the windscreen, and then dirtied up the glass. Also, I added a drop of glue to the wheels to lock them. Otherwise, when placing the trucks on a slope or incline, they'd roll right off!

The end result, sitting beside the regular, unmodified truck:
Here is my current fleet of three. The only thing I may still do is add a canvas cover to the truck with the cover frame.
And finally the transports with their accompanying squads:
I must say, I really enjoyed making these. First, the price was certainly about as good as it could get. $3 for the fleet. And I really do like the look of them, if I do say so myself. They are generic enough that they could almost pass for anything from a vintage truck, to a modern truck, to a near future sci-fi or post apocalyptic setting. I have one unmodified truck left, and I am not sure whether to convert it into a vehicle for a post-apocalyptic warband, or maybe a command truck for my Gruntz force. When I decide, I will certainly post it here.

'Til next time.