Thursday, 16 June 2011

Painted Russian 45mm AT Gun

Following on my post on the release of The Plastic Soldier Company Limited 1/72nd scale Russian 45mm AT gun, I have managed to get the first of the guns and crew painted up.

I've said before, I'm no Golden Demon winner and have no aspirations to be one either, but I do get a huge kick out of seeing this -

become this

I did toy with the idea of not sticking the gun down on the base and thus being able to swap it with the 76mm infantry gun that the kit also provides but to be honest, with the low cost of these kits I would probably just end up buying another box and use that for the 76mm version.

As it is, having previously no interest in putting together a Russian WW2 army, the stuff that Plastic Soldier Company are putting out is making it very difficult to resist....

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Battle of Cannymaka Sound - Uncharted Seas Battle Report

Next time I play any type of game against bro, before the game starts, take his bloody dice off him!!!

So after a bit of a late night/ early morning shift I managed to get my bro's Shroud Mage Cruisers completed on Saturday, so his fleet was now complete and perhaps not surprisingly, he was keen to see how his new charges would perform in the heat and terror of combat on the Uncharted Seas.

Angus Wargames Club, had a meeting on Saturday night and so it was that we duly turned up at the club, with Ruarok once again bringing his Orcs and Cammie successfully deploying the sniffer dogs to locate his Dwarven fleet from the bowels of his bedroom. With my Dwarf fleet in attendance the scene was set for the Dwarven Alliance to cleanse the sea lanes of the strategically unimportant Cannymaka Sound from the pestiliance of a Combined Orc/ Shroud Mage task force.

Cannymaka Sound, looking North. 
The might of the Dwarf Alliance stand ready to engage the Enemy More Closely.

Looking South East, wind blowing North Westerly (which was just as well for the Shroud Mages as it meant they didn't have the whiff of Orc Flatulence in their faces).

 The Shroud Mages -
 deployed in my bro's classic "I don't what I'm doing so I will set them up like an inverted "L" " formation.

I thought Cammie and I had a plan on how to counter the oncoming menace. Cammie thought he and I had a plan on how to counter the oncoming menace. Problem was we both had different plans. Cammie claimed we had agreed that he would sail his fleet in to the Southern part of the Sound and take up a gun line covering both entrances while I would sail straight ahead and engage the Shroud Mage Fleet head on. I claimed that he would guard the Western part of the Sound, while I would swing round to guard the Eastern part. Clearly, my plan was tactically much more astute and out of the Nelsonian hand book of Naval tactics.

You see the problem with Cammie's idea of me sailing forward and engaging the Shroud Mages head on tactic had a couple of flaws in it. Firstly, the Dwarf Cruisers have no forward firing weapons. Secondly the Shroud Mage Cruisers and Battleship have pointy bits at the front of their ships so they are quite good at ramming.

So I set forth with what I thought was the agreed plan, and Cammie set his plan in motion too. The Shroud Mage Battleship, "Big Bertha" (most original name of bro's - not)  opened up at long distance and scored the first hit of the game on my Dwarven Cruiser, DS "Invincible Hammer Blow of the Dwarf Hegemony" (my names are much more inventive).

A mere scratch on the paintwork.

Soon the Shroud Mages would feel the fury of the Dwarven firepower and a rain of shells rained down on a poor Shroud Mage Frigate and scored - 1 hit.

The Frigate's end was only slightly delayed and another merciless salvo from the Dwarves resulted in the predicted (by me) demise of the hapless craft - cue the cotton wool.

It was at this point that my bro emptied out his dice bag and started picking up his cubes in anticipation of firing his Cruiser gunline at my gallant Frigate DS "Thou Shalt Know No Fear In The Face Of The Enemy".

Nasty bullying Shroud Mage Cruisers, about to gang up on my valiant Frigate.

Okay, if I'm honest, I did expect my Frigate to die. It only has 2 hull points (meaning it takes a total of 6 hits before sinking) and the firing Cruisers could bring down 9 attack dice on it, needing 5's or better to hit. Yes, okay I know that according to the law of averages that rolling that number of dice needing 5's should only have resulted in 3 hits for 1 damage point in total, but have you seen my bro roll dice????

As it was, the Frigate, didn't just suffer 3 hits, or 6 hits but instead took a massive 15 hits (if you roll a 6, it counts as 2 hits and you get to roll the dice again and so my bro did, and again and again)

A suitably large wad of cotton wool to emphasise the complete overkill of the Frigate

Okay, a set back, but that only levelled the losses at 1 Frigate each but I should have seen it as the foretaste of what was to come. In the meantime on the opposite side of the sound Cammie's Battleship and Cruisers were gliding serenely into their gun line while his Frigates sailed fullsteam ahead to where I was intending to go.

The Orcs were about somewhere....

The Orcish Fleet, timidly tacking past one of The Uncharted Seas mystical fog banks.

Big Bertha had paddled her way into a position which gave her what I thought would be a Range 2 attack on the Cruiser at the end of my gunline, the DS "Bringer of Woe Upon Her Enemies". Okay, range 2, not good, but not the end of the world. Then the scumbag, sorry I mean my bro, plays a card from his hand (each fleet can have a hand of cards which can bestow a variety of boons on the fleet) which allowed him to reduce the range to Band 1, which meant he was firing with a full battery on the unsuspecting Cruiser. 22 hits later, this happened -

However, the misery didn't end there. 22 hits meant that in fact the Cruiser had also suffered 3 Critical Hits. As you would expect, Critical Hits are not good. But the ship was sunk anyway, so really it was going to be another example of overkill on my bro's part and so it was with the first 2 rolls, which killed some crew and then took out a battery of guns. Then he rolled for the third time

I quote the appropriate entry from The Uncharted Seas Critical Hit Table -

"2: Magazine Explosion: Ship turns into a ball of flame before sinking - ships within an 8" radius of the centre of the exploding ship are attacked with a number of D6 equal to DOUBLE the Hull Points of the exploding ship i.e the bigger the ship, the bigger the bang! Affects ALL ships - friend or foe"

As you will have seen Dear Reader from the pic of the exploding Cruiser there were several ships within close proximity of the fireball and unfortunately most were mine and Cammie's.

At that point, I thought I would make myself useful and take some pics of the other games going on in the Club that night.

Afrika Korps deploying for some Blitzkreig Commander II. The Brits were hiding at the start of the battle but were then pummelled by some disasterous Command Blunder rolls and Axis air strikes.

The Shermans never got a chance to take out the half tracks, these were just put on the table to pose for the photograph!!

Some Early First World War combat, with the German Uhlans charging across the green fields of France using "Home for Christmas" rules and 10mm figs.

The British RHA running away! No spirit of Nery here boys!

British Regulars about to teach some Mohican savages how to dress appropriately for dinner

I gather the savages were having none of it however!

Some very old Seven Year War figures, showing that despite their advancing years they can still line up with the best of them.

The Austrian Cavalry with a +2 strength bonus on the charge due to being a good 5mm bigger than their opponents!

Well I eventually went back to our game. We had agreed that prior to the start that whenever a fleet was reduced to 50%  of it's starting strength that the game would finish at the end of that turn. The fireball conlflaguration ensured that the Dwarves were only 2 ships away from that breaking point. The Shroud Mage Cruisers moved in looking for any vessels that had survived the fireball

While Big Bertha and my Dwarven Battleship, DS "Immense Pride At Being Such A Big Vessel" traded shots and scored some ineffectual damage on each other.

The Shroud Mages, however, took the easy option and took out my last remaining crippled Cruiser, DS "We Shall Not be Sunk By An Inferior Enemy" and my Frigate, DS "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" (okay yes, that isn't very original but by that time in the game, I was out of inspiration).

The scene at the end of the game. Ruarok's Orcish fleet can be seen at long last getting into the fight.

So a triumphant first outing for the Shroud Mage fleet, with Ruarok's Orcs clinging on to the Shroud Mage coat tails to claim some of the glory for the Victory.

If Cammie had stuck to my plan, then we wouldn't have had so many of our ships in such a small area of Ocean when my Cruiser blew up. Court Martial hearings have been duly set by the Dwarf Admiralty for the respective Commanders of the Dwarf contigents to hear the explanations for the debacle (and in the meantime, I'm going to "lose" my bro's dice bag"!)

Friday, 10 June 2011

Plastic Soldier Company 1/72nd Scale Russian 45mm Anti Tank Gun kit

Well, this is my 100th post. Hard to believe I have wittered on so much since the very first one back on the 31st of January 2011. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with it so far.

So, this post highlights one of the latest releases from those very industrious chaps at The Plastic Soldier Company Limited, ("PSC") the 1/72nd scale Russian 45mm Anti Tank Gun.

The box comes with 4 of these -

And 2 of these -

Which, when put together will allow you to build 4 gun models and 16 crew figures. No instructions in my box as to how the parts all fit together but to honest there isn't really much to building the gun model - there are a total of 7 parts to each gun and it is fairly easy to work out what goes where, though I swithered a bit as to which way up the trail legs would go.

And although, the box describes the contents as a 45mm Anti Tank Gun kit, the parts available allow you to build the M1937 version, the M1942 version or the 76mm Infantry Gun. When I first posted this review I was concerned that this model might have caused some of the purists issues, given the shape of the gun shield that is provided with the kit.

The 76mm Infantry gun option in the kit.

From a quick scan of the interweb, I had found this picture of the 76mm Infantry gun-

And as can be seen from the picture the gun shield is quite different and I had thought that this might annoy those who like their ordnance to be just right. However, thanks to Mserafin and Dom Skelton on the thread posted on TMP here they have pointed out that the photograph is of a 76mm M1927 version which is the early war version and that in fact PSC have got it spot on for the M1943 version, so thanks for clearing that up chaps!
The 45mm M1937 version

And a real one!

The 45mm M1942 version


All 3 versions

The 2 crew sprues build up 4 sets of 4 crew figures

Commander, loader, assistant loader and "extra guy"

Not much scope to vary the poses with these guys. The loader figure is a nice pose, caught as he is in the action of about to shove the round into the breech of the gun. Not sure what role the "extra guy" is supposed to perform. I gave him one of the rifles that comes on the sprue (there is also a PPsh 41) but the weapon doesn't really sit in the hands of the figure, so looks a bit clumsy.

The figures are all clean, with no flash and what mould lines there are (mainly on the helmets) can be easily removed with your craft knife. Detail on the figures can be a wee bit soft in places. I found that on the loader, the detail on his back between his pack, bed roll and water bottle just a bit indistinct. The hands on most of the figures also lacked any real definition, and too thick a coat of flesh paint will hide any finger detail on the hands. The faces are well done although, with my sausage fingers I found attaching the heads to the torso just a wee bit frustrating!!

On the gun sprue, there are also provided extra shell rounds and ammo boxes with which to add some clutter to your bases - you will note though that no bases are provided for either crew or gun model, but I suspect this will suit most people who would prefer to be able to base these models with their own basing style.

The main selling point of these figures, as with all the range produced so far by PSC, is the price of the set. Ordering from PSC direct will cost you £12.50 plus Postage and Packaging. They have now, at least, dropped the £0.50 surcharge for "low value orders". The equivalent cost of getting this amount of kit in metal is, for example, buying Reiver Models from Under the Bed Enterprises would be £23 plus Postage and Packaging, so the PSC figures definitely have the advantage on the price front. So a good set, well executed and my initial concerns about an iffy gun shield for the 76mm thankfully unfounded.

For some excellent pics of Russian Artillery at the Museum of Artillery in St Petersburg visit Carlo Antonio's blog Military Miniatures, where he has snapped dozens of pics from his visit there with various types of Russian Artillery on display in their 40 shades of green.

The PSC Panzer IV's have arrived, so hopefully I will get a review of these up soon.