Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Bolt Action: Battle of Mutanchiang 1945 AAR

For our latest game of Bolt Action, Art and I decided to fight the Battle of Mutanchiang from 1945. The Soviet Union had declared war against Imperial Japan and launched an overpowering night assault against the city of Mutanchiang, which was being used by the  Kwantung Army as a base of operations. The Japanese army decided to fight a rearguard action, leaving a skeleton force to slow the Soviet advance while the majority of the army evacuated to Tunghua.

For this scenario, The Soviets had to get at least half their units across the table and through the three available exit routes before time ran out. The Japanese were dug into the ruins, with additional fortifications of barbed wire, minefields, anti-tank ditches, and a roadblock. We also used the "Flare!" night fighting rules, so visibility varied from round to round.

Round 1: 

Flare were sent up by the Soviets, illuminating the city ruins. However, the Japanese chose to remain hidden.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The Soviets launched a preparatory bombardment of the city prior to advancing. Many of the Japanese units were stunned and received pin markers, but all survived. However, the roadblock and a section of barbed wire were destroyed.


The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.



Round 2:

As the flares faded, the Soviets began advancing in earnest. 

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The darkness prevented any accurate exchange of gunfire, with the exception of the Soviets' Katyusha rocket launcher, which attacked the large ruins seen the previous round. A flamethrower team was killed by the explosions, but the rest of the entrenched Japanese survived the attack.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The Japanese used the rest of the round to rally troops and shed pin markers.

Round 3:

Another round began in darkness. The Katyusha launched a second rocket barrage against the ruins, this time killing the Japanese Major in charge of this sector.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

A Soviet Sherman tank and the entrenched Japanese Chi-Ha tank exchanged fire in the dark. The fortifications deflected the Soviet shell, and the Chi-Ha's round was too weak to penetrate the Sherman's armor.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

A second Soviet Sherman approached the Japanese defenses, wary of a patch of freshly dug earth in front of the barbed wire. It opened fire on the shadows moving behind the barricades, but was ineffective.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

A Japanese machine gun team spotted arriving Soviet transports, opening fire on one.  They managed to hit a fuel tank, destroying the truck and killing some of the infantrymen.  The survivors scurried into the underbrush, their morale shaken.  

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Round 4:

More flares went up from the Soviets, A Japanese sniper team worked to pick off the survivors of the burning truck.
The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

A third Soviet Sherman arrived and quickly decimated a squad of Japanese infantrymen.  The lone survivor quickly fled into the dark. To patch the gap in the defenses, another infantry squad arrived, along with a suicide anti-tank hunter.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Soviet infantry arrived at another Japanese barricade and were quickly run across the disturbed earth by their commanders.  The lack of explosions showed there were no anti-personal mines, but likely anti-vehicle mines. With the support of  the Sherman's machine gun, a firefight broken out with the Japanese infantry.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Another unit of Japanese in the adjacent building prevented a second Soviet squad from completing a flanking attack. 

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Round 5:

Under the continued light of the flares, intense fighting raged on in the roadway, while a Soviet tank destroyer also arrived on the scene. 

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Hand to hand combat broke out between the second Soviet and Japanese squads, with the Soviets eventually taking the upper hand and entering the building.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

With the clock ticking, the first Soviet Sherman chose to bypass the ineffective Chi-Ha and brave the anti-tank ditch.  In their haste, the Japanese had not dug deep enough, and the Sherman successfully crossed it.  The tank also spotted the suicide anti-tank hunter hiding on the other side, and gunned him down before he could run in for the kill.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Defeating the Japanese on the street, the Soviet infantrymen made a run for their exit point while dodging shots from the ruins.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The second Soviet squad eliminated another suicide anti-tank hunter lurking behind a truck.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

As the Soviet tanks prepared to exit through the breached Japanese defenses, another Japanese infantry squad and suicide anti-tank hunter exited the ruins to launch a flank attack.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Round 6:

Before the Soviets could react to the new threat, the tank hunter launched himself against the rear of the third Sherman, blowing the tank and himself to pieces. 

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The surviving Sherman quickly dashed down the road before the other Japanese infantry could catch it. 

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The Japanese infantry pivoted in their target, and instead went after the Soviet tank destroyer. Despite their banzai passion, the attack was ineffective against the tank destroyer's armor.  However, the tank destroyer chose to beat a hasty retreat.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

With time almost out, the Katyusha tried to find an exit that would keep it away from the main battle.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The surviving Soviet infantry units quickly ran past the last of the Japanese defenses to their exit point.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

At this stage, not enough Soviets had made it past the Japanese defenses for a victory, so Art's only hope was for the dice to give him an extension and get one more unit off the table. Would there be a ...

Round 7:

Yes.

The last of the Soviet Shermans was unwilling to risk crossing the minefield, so opened fire on the Japanese machine gun team.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

With the tank destroyer too far away for a second attack, the Japanese launched an unsuccessful attack on the Sherman. The Soviet survivors of the burning truck managed to launch a counter attack on the Japanese infantry. 

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Additional Japanese reinforcements arrived, but could nothing more than man the barricades again.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

The tank destroyer and Katyusha were unsuccessful in exiting the battlefield.

And with that, the battle was over. Despite inflicting heavy casualties on the Japanese and moving several units past their defenses, the Soviets were still one unit short to declare victory.  The Japanese rearguard had held on long enough to get the bulk of their forces out of the city, and the war would continue.

The Battle of Mutanchiang: A 28mm Bolt Action wargame between the Imperial Japanese and Soviet armies.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Into the Wasteland: Fallout Inspired Red Rock Khans and Deathclaws

Ok, back with another Fallout inspired warband for the wasteland. As mentioned previously, I'm not much of a fan of the overpriced offical miniatures and the associated game, so have decided to use alternative figures.  As before, these are 3D prints designed by Vermillion Miniatures and purchased from TeenageWastelandUS.

This time I went with the Red Rock Raiders, who make fantastic proxies for the Great Khans.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland.  Red Rock Raiders as proxies for the Great Khans

Papa Khan and his main squeeze Pink.  The hands are sperate on these figures, so you can mix and match weapons.  I decided to give Papa Khan a rifle for a more dramatic pose, but klutzy me has managed to break the barrel twice now, so not sure I'd recommend that option to others.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland.  Red Rock Raiders as the Great Khans

A few other tribe members, including Mama's Boy with a modified chaingun.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland.  Red Rock Raiders as the Great Khans

Some rebuilt and modified power armor.  I used a lot of bare metal, rust and some random paint bits to emphasize the scavenged nature of the armor. The suits also come in pieces, so you can do a bit of part swapping if you're so inclined.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland.  Red Rock Raiders as the Great Khans in Power Armor

The figure set also included a couple of Deathclaw proxies. As you can see from the comparison with a human figure, they are big brutes (The photo also gives you a good look at the logo printed on the back of the raider vests). Looking online, there seems to be some variation in the skin colors from game to game. I went from a chocolate brown down into green-browns and green-greys rather than the red-browns that also seem common. 

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland.  Red Rock Raider (Great Khan) versus Deathclaws

The adult Deathclaw.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Deathclaw alternative proxy

Juvenile Deathclaw.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Deathclaw alternative proxy

As before, another set of well-designed prints that were a lot of fun to paint.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Into the Wasteland: A New Fallout Inspired Project and a Tale of Good Customer Relations


So after watching the new Fallout series on Amazon Prime, it got me interested in skirmish gaming that post-apocalypse world.  I am already playing Zona Alfa in a desert setting, so have a lot of terrain (and mutant creatures) that could preform double duty and mostly just needed some appropriate miniatures.

I looked at the official game and miniatures from Modiphius, but they mostly left me cold. I prefer rule sets that don't require managing a lot of cards nor needing lots of proprietary dice and other equipment (I'm mostly a beer and pretzels kind of gamer) . I also have heard mixed reviews of the figures, and for the premium price they want, I'd rather look at other options when possible.

I've seen other Zone Alpha players using the rules for Fallout and will likley start with that, but I'll also see what other options may be out there. For the new figures, I found a few people on Etsy selling prints based on Vermillion Miniatures that looked Fallout enough to meet my needs, but most of them were pricey as well. However, there was one shop, TeenageWastelandUS, offering really good deals.  I have to admit I was a bit nervous at first, as they were a newish shop with not a lot of sales yet, and I was worried the lower price could be reflective of the print quality.  However, as the father of two teenagers, I liked the idea of a young man starting a shop to help pay for school (the story is on his site) and decided to try a smaller test order of 3 warbands: Bearforce, Steel Rising, and Rust Reavers. And I couldn't have been happier with my decision.

The well-packed figures came promptly and the print quality was as good as I've received from other printers (the standard faint layer lines on some spots, but overall crisp details), with a good quality plastic that didn't seem too brittle. Jack, the owner, nicely included a few freebies and a 20% off coupon for my next order, so I went full hog and ordered a ton more figures and scenery items. I also ended up getting into an online discussion with his dad about painting figures, and when I mentioned I'll be posting my finished pics online and would link where I bought my miniatures, he very graciously offered a standing 15% off code (WASTELANDCOMPANION24) for me to share here as well.

Ok, so now the good customer service part of the story. While the vast majority of the figures were top notch, I had one figure with a printing defect that prevented full assembly, and a few others missing parts (two figures had two right hands instead of a right and left, and there were a few missing shoulder pads). Not the end of the world and something I experience fairly regularly when ordering from small 3D printers.  I let them know and asked them just to throw the parts into the next shipment, expecting that to be the end of it. But while I was satisfied, TeenageWasteland US was not. Not only did I get profuse apologies from both Jack and his dad, but they insisted on sending me additional free warbands with the replacement parts, despite my protests that it was too much for such minor issues and that I didn't want to take advantage of a small business. So I will now be drowning in post apocalyptic miniatures, which I guess is not a bad problem to have (though my wife may disagree from a storage aspect). And it was great to see a young man working so hard to establish his reputation and ensure his customers were happy as he pursues his goals. Though I don't generally endorse vendors (and I am in no way affiliated with this shop),  I'd tell others to give Jack's shop a look if you're looking to populate your post-apocalyptic wastelands.

Ok, enough of my rambles. Time for some glamour shots of my Bearforce figures, which I'll be using to proxy the New California Republic. The majority of the figures are multi-piece, so there is the ability to do some part swapping if you are so inclined. They also come with printed bases, which is a nice bonus.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Bear Force as  New California Republic (NCR) alternative proxies

The design of the first figures is a bit of a mashup of the NCR Ranger and Recon trooper styles. I'm going to classify them as Recon for my purposes.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Bear Force as  New California Republic (NCR) recon proxies

There is also a recon trooper in power armor (T-45ish) for support. I went with the weathered dark green/grey common in a lot of reference images, but I'm not 100% sold that it translates to the small scale. If I did it again I think I'd use a lighter green to help with contrast.

  32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Bear Force as  New California Republic (NCR) recon power armor proxy

A couple of  law and order cowboy types to function as NCR Rangers.  That handgun definitely gives off a Dirty Harry vibe.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Bear Force as  New California Republic (NCR) ranger proxies

Standard NCR troopers.  I'm still trying to get used to the M-16 equivalents having wooden stocks, but that's they way they appear in the video games, so I've stuck with it.

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Bear Force as  New California Republic (NCR) trooper proxies

My mutated, two-headed bear standing in for a Yao Guai. They come in a few color schemes, but I couldn't resist giving it some glowing, radioactive pustules. 

32mm post-apocalypse  miniatures from Vermillion and TennageWastelandUS  that are compatible with Fallout Warfare Wasteland. Bear Force mutant bear as Yao Guai proxy

 With that, I think I'm off to a good start.  I still have a lot to paint (and that next shipment will be a killer), but I think these figures have a ton of character and will be a lot of fun to work on. I'll be posting more pics as the figures come off the painting table.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Outskirts of Tanga 1914: A WW1 Skirmish Game in German East Africa

My WW1 African armies haven't seen the table in a while for lack of opponents, but last week my friend Steve passed through town and brought his Germans for a quick game at the local shop. We decided to try out the 3rd Ed of the Setting the East Ablaze rules and used a scenario from the Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914 book. 

For this battle, my forces (British) needed to cross the table in the allotted time on their way into Tanga, while Steve's Germans were tasked with laying in ambush and slowing my advance. Each side got a set of prescribed units and one generated at random. We didn't have any bees to add to the battle, but included a roaming rhino for a bit of potential chaos.

The British began their trek at a ditch (I didn't have one in my terrain collection, so we used some sections of road as a substitute) which ran along their entry point on the table. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The Indians on the left flank, along with the company commander and his Masai runner, managed to make steady progress from the outset.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

However, the right flank bogged down when the rhino wandered into the area.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The machine gun team also ran into trouble trying to get the gun out of the ditch. While they struggled, the platoon headquarters moved up to begin scanning the environment for hidden German askaris.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The left flank managed to dash across the open grassland unharmed and into the relative safety of a tree line.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

On the right, troops still had to wait a bit longer for the rhino, but it eventually wandered off the battlefield. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The machine gun team also managed to extract themselves from the ditch and the British as a whole were finally moving at a reasonable rate. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The British platoon headquarters managed to spot a squad of askari waiting in ambush on a hilltop. The Indian troops on the right flank took cover behind another hill and began maneuvering into position for an attack.   

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

On the left flank, the company commander climbed a hill and scanned the freight depot for signs of life, but all seemed quiet.  Perhaps too quiet. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

With the mission clock ticking, the Indians on the left flank took the risk of charging across the open grass in hopes of quickly reaching the depot.  Unfortunately, the company commander had missed the ambushing party of German askari.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The askari were crack shots, killing the majority of the British squad outright, with the few survivors fleeing for their lives.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The platoon headquarters took cover in the tree line and began exchanging fire with the askari on the hill, while the Indians prepared for their assault. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The machine gun team also finally made it to a useful position and began setting up behind the trading outpost. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The gunfight between the askari and British continued, with the British platoon headquarters losing one man. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The Germans sent out askari from the freight depot in hopes of capturing the company commander. Not one to fear a fight, he stood his ground and managed to pick off one of the advancing askari.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

On the right, the Indians began their assault on the hill, but another group of askari sprung from ambush and countercharged. 

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The resulting melee was bloody for both sides.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The Indian machine gun finally entered the battle and attempted to provide cover to the company commander, but only succeeded in killing one additional askari.  

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

The Indians fought valiantly, but eventually there was but one brave survivor left.  He sounded his bugle in defiance and then nothing more was heard from him.

A 28mm WW1 skirmish game set in Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa) using the Setting the East Ablaze rules and Skirmish Elite: Tanga 1914

With that, there were not enough British to complete the advance and the few survivors were forced to retreat. So a very historically accurate outcome. 

We both had a lot of fun getting back to this theater and are hoping to fight another battle from this scenario book when Steve next passes through town.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Early Italian Wars: More Command, Pikemen and Artillery

I'm back with more figures for my Holy Roman Empire army for the early Italian Wars.

For some reason my phone camera had issues capturing the appearance of the flags on the command stands with my normal photography setup; to give a more accurate assessment, I've also shot the figures against a white background under normal lighting. 

Command Stand 1: Count of Württenberg with the Reichssturmfahne. Figures by Front Rank.

Count of Württenberg with the Reichssturmfahne. Figures by Front Rank.

Count of Württenberg with the Reichssturmfahne. Figures by Front Rank.

Command Stand 2:  Elector of Saxony with the Reichsrennfahne. Figures by Front Rank.

Elector of Saxony with the Reichsrennfahne. Figures by Front Rank.

Elector of Saxony with the Reichsrennfahne. Figures by Front Rank.

Pikemen from Hamburg. Figures from Perry (plastic) and Crusader Miniatures.

Pikemen from Hamburg. Figures from Perry (plastic) and Crusader Miniatures.

Medieval Artillery. Figures and large cannon from Front Rank, small cannons from Old Glory.

Medieval Artillery. Figures and large cannon from Front Rank, small cannons from Old Glory.

Medieval Artillery. Figures and large cannon from Front Rank, small cannons from Old Glory.

Medieval Artillery. Figures and large cannon from Front Rank, small cannons from Old Glory.