Victor Consolidates and Paints Panzers

with Victor Pesch

The first Flames Of War models I ever painted were Panzer III’s and Tigers from the 1942 list in Ostfront. They were very much a beginner painters army, so Iron Cross presented the perfect opportunity to revisit Midwar Panzer Grey.

I wanted to pick a composition of tanks that would work for both FOW and TANKS!. I settled on 5x Panzer III’s and 1x Tiger, with the aim to work on some Assault Pioneers at a later date to create a Flames Of War force.

TANKS!
Tiger I (early) – 29 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Total – 99 points
(this leaves me with 1 point spare to pick an upgrade later)

Flames Of War
Grenadier Company
HQ – 2 points
Assault Pioneer Platoon – 14 points
Assault Pioneer Platoon – 14 points
Panzer III (uparmoured) Tank Platoon – 40 points
Tiger Heavy Tank Platoon – 29 points Total – 99 points

Time to get to work!

—DAY 1—

Assembly went fairly quickly, and more time was probably spent deciding how much extra stowage to add. In the end I decided to keep it pretty minimal as I already have an Afrika Korps force festooned with stowage. However I did modify some mudguards to be missing to add variety.      After lunch I tested out some colours and decided to start with a fairly dark blue-ash grey, and work it up by adding white. I did about three stages with the airbrush. I purposefully went brighter than I usually would, knowing that it would likely get quite dark again with washes/weathering. This brought me to the end of day one. I was happy to get to this point and pleased with the results so far.

—DAY 2—

The next step was to add some definition to the details. I did this with a dry brush and selective highlight with a pale grey blue.

To start to tone everything down and blend in my highlights, I coated everything with a very thin Panzer grey filter.

To cap off the day I applied some chipping using a fine brush and sponge. I used a red brown to simulate red oxide primer.

I feel like I’ve good headway with these, and can hopefully get them finished in the not too distant future. After painting in the details and decals, all that will be left is some weathering.

Then it’ll be time to plan the Pioneer platoons…~Victor

Forces Of War Comes to V4!

For many years people have been using Forces, the company builder for Flames Of War. We are excited to announce that we have a completely updated version for Version 4.Forces takes the heavy lifting out building an army. With a few clicks you can begin building an army, confident that you have built a legal Force. Once you have finished building you can easily print out (or PDF) a list, perfect for submitting to tournament organisers or to give to your opponents. It even provides the card reference information to help you track down the appropriate Unit Cards from your collection.Because V4 Flames Of War works a little differently to previous versions, there have been a number of changes made to how Forces works. Even if you are a veteran of Forces should take a few seconds to read the basic primer over on the  Flames Of War website.

Make sure you also take a look at the Sample (Free) Panzer III Company listed in the Quick Links section as this will give you a chance to try out Forces before you buy.

V4 Forces Primer…

Check out the V4 Flames Of War Forces website…

Please note that Command Cards are still to be integrated with Forces and will be added as soon as possible

Tanks at the Door (Part 2)

with Phil Yates

Picking a Force
My basic force will be a 100-point Mixed Tank Battalion:
KV-1 Tank Company – 5x KV-1 tanks (40 points)
T-34 (early) Tank Company – 10x T-34 (early) tanks (52 points)
T-60 Tank Company – 9x T-60 tanks (8 points)
With fifteen 76mm guns, and twenty-four tanks in total, this force has a lot of firepower, as well as a lot of armour. It’s more suited to attacking than defending, appealing to my more aggressive side.

If I have to keep some reserves, they will be the KV-1s. That puts two big units on table at the start of the game, and hopefully, the KVs will arrive where and when they are needed (although historically, their slow speed and tendency to break bridges with their immense bulk made that a dubious proposition!).

This force doesn’t have any HQ, but I’m not too fussed about that. My tanks all have a reasonable Remount rating and a good Last Stand rating, so even if the enemy does smash through my thick armour, my tanks will fight to the end anyway. If I need to launch an assault to clear infantry off an objective, the big KVs are both motivated and equipped (with their turret-rear MGs) for the job.

Going a Bit Lighter
If I feel like something a bit speedier (well not that much speedier, the Valentine’s still pretty slow!), I can also field a T-34 Tank Battalion:
T-34 (early) Tank Battalion HQ – 1x T-34 (early) tank (5 points)
T-34 (early) Tank Company – 10x T-34 (early) tanks (52 points)
Valentine Tank Company – 10x Valentine II tanks (24 points)
T-60 Tank Company – 10x T-60 tanks (9 points)

That’s only 90 points, so there’s room for a bit extra. Some of the things that appeal are:

  • An SMG company – get rid of one T-34 and I get 16 teams of close-combat infantry.
  • A 76mm anti-tank company – four 76mm guns for fire support fit perfectly.
  • A Katyusha rocket battery – the new model is awesome, and a bit of artillery would be good, especially with a Salvo template.
  • A Shturmovik assault company – armoured aircraft dropping anti-tank bomblets, what’s not to like.

I’ll work out which of these (or perhaps go for all of them!) once I’ve finished the tanks.

What I like about this force is that it has a whole 31 tanks, most of them heavily armoured, to simply roll over the enemy. Having faced it in playtesting, it’s a scary lot of tanks to see coming at you. What I need to watch out for though, is a disciplined opponent who avoids letting me pick on part of their force, and focuses their fire on knocking out one of my units with focused fire before moving on to the next. Once I lose the T-34s, things get a lot more tricky as they have all of my big guns.

Preparing For Battle
My progress from concept to the battlefield is still progressing as I write this, but here’s a quick photo survey of my progress so far.

Stay tuned for a complete army photos on the Flames Of War website (once everything is done).

~Phil

Sniping On The New Double-sided Gaming Mat…

Painting has stopped for a little while whilst the guys gather for a little sniper on sniper action. Sounds pretty compelling, I reckon they could make a movie about that….

Mike and Sean have laid down the new Urban Mat, covering part of it up as they don’t need the full 6’x4′ for Sniper Wars. Adding some of the buildings Evan quickly spray painted up and there you go, an urban table ready for some sniper action, or even a bigger Flames Of War game.

Check out the photos for some close-ups of the new mat. Lunchroom lighting isn’t the best but we wanted to give you a first look at the mat anyway.

~Chris

 

Building My Sniper Hide

with Chris Townley

When Mike first suggested the idea of playing some Sniper Wars, I thought this would be a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone

  1.  Paint up a Sniper for my Germans (as I don’t have one).
  2.  Have a go at painting up one of our new plastic buildings as a test.

I started out with quite an ambitious plan where I was going to build my sniper nest four stories up in one of the new plastic buildings, on a small base that plugged in to a large base. I felt that due to the weight and height of the building I’d need to have it “nest” inside something that was a bit more stable. Looking at the picture to the left you can see how I came to that conclusion.

Like all great plans I hit a few snags… primarily that time is always my enemy when it comes to hobby projects. Thinking a little smaller I cut my idea down (literally).

I grabbed a couple of the test resin building sections that were cast up as part of the design and approval process and chopped them down to size with my trusty bone saw.

With the building now a slightly more manageable size I am hoping to get it painted up over the course of the Live Launch, or worst case, in the following weeks. Either way, with The Block: Stalingrad looming in my future it is certainly in my best interests to make the time to finish up this small test piece!

~Chris

Human Waves to Storm Groups. What to Buy

with Chris Townley

Enemy at the Gates has a wide variety of platoons for a Soviet player to field. Nowhere is this more evident than the range of infantry options you can pick from. To make it easier for new players looking to build their armies I thought it might be a good idea to write a short run down of each of the platoons, and how to build them.

Rifle Company
These companies are the backbone of the Soviet army. Each company can have up to 28 DP MG and M1891 teams, along with a Komissar. You can also add in a variety of support weapons including Maksim HMG, PTRD AT rifle, 50mm mortar and Flame-thrower teams.

The Rifle Company Box (SBX50) comes with enough DP MG and M1891 teams for a minimum strength company (that’s still 18 teams), along with all the Command and Komissar teams you need. It also has Maksim HMG (x5), PTRD AT rifle (x2), 50mm mortar (x2) and Flame-thrower (x2) teams. With this box you have enough teams to build an entire Rifle Company, or multiple Hero Rifle Companies (more on this later).

Penal Company
Filled with ‘soldiers who have been guilty of a breach of discipline due to cowardice or bewilderment’, the Penal Company is always in the thick of the action. Like the Rifle Company these large units are filled with M1891 rifle teams and a single Komissar. To build this you are going to use the same box (SBX50) as the Rifle Company.

SMG Company
Armed with PPSH-41 submachine-gun these teams can lay down a tremendous amount of firepower. A company can have up to 22 of these teams, along with a Komissar and a pair of optional Flame-thrower teams.

To build this company you are going to want to look at the Soviet SMG Company (SBX51). This box contains enough models for a full-strength company along with the optional teams.

Hero Rifle Company
The Hero Companies in Flames Of War have benefitted from their previous combat experience with the survivors learning some cruel lessons. Each company is much smaller than their non-Hero version with only ten DP MG and M1891 rifle teams and a single Komissar. Like their larger brethren though they can be supported by Maksim HMG, PTRD AT rifle, 50mm mortar and Flame-thrower teams.

Looking back at the Rifle Company Box (SBX50) that we talked about above, you can make two full strength Hero Rifle Companies, each with ten DP MG and M1891 rifle teams and Komissar. You also have enough support weapons in the box to almost max out your options.

Storm Group
The Storm Group is an SMG Company but with a lot more punch! To make it easier to build these specialist platoons there is a single box (SBX52) that has all the options you need inside.

Hero SMG Company
Just like the non-Hero version the place to go to build your company is the SMG Company (SBX51). This has enough teams in it to build your Hero SMG Company and still have teams left over for a Scout Platoon.

Hopefully this short article helps you to work out what you need to build your army.

~Chris

Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down On Friday

It is Friday morning here in NZ and as usual there are a few odd jobs that need to be taken care of before we get fully in to the swing of the launch. The guys have been busy though…

  • Mike continues to live the StuG life, making good progress. He may have been heard mentioning that assembly lining 10 of them was taking a toll on his sanity,
  • Phil is chipping away at his T-34 turrets,
  • Andrew has gotten distracted by something shiny,
  • Chris has started his pin washing (in between trying to cough up a lung),
  • Victor is experimenting some some seriously high contrast highlighting, and
  • Evan quickly spray can painted some buildings for our Sniper game.

Almost time for lunch…

~Chris

M3 Lees with Yellow Stars?

with Chris Townley

As I mentioned in a previous article I don’t have much to do for my Soviets under Enemy at the Gates so I’ve chosen to use the Live Launch as an opportunity to chip away at my M3 Lee Tank Company from Fighting First.Like a number of my colleagues I was quite taken with the US forces in Fighting First and there is something appealing about applying a large number of yellow decals to a tank. I am sure Soviet players get the same feeling when adding big red stars to their tanks.

My army is completely painted, excluding detail work like stowage, tools, wheels and vehicle interiors – so using the term completely is probably a little misleading? Over the launch I’m working in finishing up the decals – each Lee has something like eight different decals that need to be carefully attached. Next up is tools and stowage. I can never be sure how much I’ll actually achieve during one of our Live Launches as I seem to spend more time behind a computer screen than behind a paint brush.

I am really excited to get the army finished and on the table. It has been spending too much time sitting in limbo slowly being painted rather than running around the table shooting up Panzer IIIs (or whatever else my friends choose to throw at me).

~Chris

Tanks at the Door (Part 1)

with Phil Yates

(or, Phil talks about his On Again, Off Again Relationship with the Red Army’s Tanks)

One of the great things about Enemy of the Gates is that it’s finally given me the impetus to finish a tank force for the Red Army!

Long Long Ago…
My first Soviet tanks were five Valentines – the original sculpt from very long ago. I don’t recall the reason for painting them (it might have been a game against Pete using Battlefront’s infantry to bulk out the force), but for a long time they remained my only Soviet tanks, in fact my only Soviet forces at all.

Then, about five years ago, I built a bunch of the brand new plastic T-34 tanks in a big rush for a Kursk campaign at CanCon – during which I seem to recall I lost an entire tank brigade’s worth of tanks!

This was never really a complete force, as I borrowed bits and pieces to make up the numbers whenever I used them.

A New Beginning
With the arrival of Enemy at the Gates, it was time to finally commit to the Red Army and the liberation of the Motherland from the hated Fascists! I’ve always had a fascination with the odd mixed tank brigades that formed the Soviet Union’s tank forces in the darkest days of 1942. Each battalion combined KV heavy tanks with T-34 medium tanks and T-60 or Valentine light tanks in an attempt to simplify the assignment of tanks as the Red Army relearned how to conduct sophisticated operations after the disasters that had destroyed the pre-war army in 1941. With every battalion essentially the same, there was no need to decide what type of tank should go where!

KV-1
The new KV-1 kit made that part of the force and easy decision – this just so big and ugly, I had to have as many as possible! While personally, I have a preference for the later, sleeker, and faster KV-1s, I decided to make mine the earlier KV-1 themed for the fighting around Rzhev. 

The KV-1 has plenty of armour and a deadly 76mm gun, so it’s a bit of a beast. My only concern is that they are so slow that they need to keep rolling forward as fast as possible if they are going to get anywhere, and even then, they will be out-paced by my light and medium tanks, making coordination tricky.

When Red Banner (the Kursk-era Soviet book) comes out, I think I’ll make some KV-1s as an alternative choice to my KV-1s for a later version of the force (I don’t need many, and they are an easy kit to put together and paint, so it won’t be any drama). The KV-1s is much faster (it’s speedier than the German Panzer III or the American Sherman!), but still has thick armour and the same 76mm gun, with improved layout giving it a better Cross rating and more accurate shooting on the move.

T-34
Since the early T-34 differs from the later ones I already have, I just painted the turrets of the new ones to go with my existing hulls to get my force into action quickly. Once everything else is done, I’ll paint up the hulls as well to double the size of the T-34 force!

I really like the T-34. It looks sleek and fast, and it is. It has the same 76mm gun as the KV-1, and almost as much armour as the KV-1s. This combination gives it plenty of options. Against light tanks (up to and including the short-barrelled Panzer III!), they can shrug off the enemy shooting while sitting in an advantageous position and blowing them away. Against heavier opposition, they can use their speed to overwhelm a part of the enemy force, flanking them if necessary to punch through their thinner side armour!

T-60
The final part of my force was planned to be the T-60 light tanks. These are an amazing piece of engineering. They are the size of a British Universal Carrier, and like them are powered by a truck engine (based on the famous Ford Model A!). Unlike the open-topped Universal Carrier, they are a proper tank with a turret mounting a 20mm gun and co-axial machine-gun, and for something so small, quite decent armour.

The role I have in mind for the T-60 is similar to how I use my Universal Carriers with my British. They’ll probe where the enemy is weak, either drawing enemy forces away from the main battle, or potentially taking an objective and winning the game!

Help! I Can’t Stop!
At this point, I should have moved on to painting my force, but the new Valentine models are so great that I just had to replace my old Valentines as well to give me more options.

The first tank I ever saw and climbed inside was a Valentine, and I’ve always had a soft spot for them. NZ had 255 Valentines, and used them to equip its Territorial armoured regiments until 1960, as well as using them in the Pacific during WWII, so there’s a connection there too.

With the Valentines, I can either replace any other the other types. While the idea of replacing the T-34s to create a mix of KV-1 heavy tanks and lots of light tanks is popular, it doesn’t appeal to me as I view the T-34 as the mainstay of my force. Replacing the T-60s with Valentines is a better idea, but the increased cost means that I have to reduce the number of heavy and medium tanks to do this. The trade off is good in some ways, as the Valentines can stand up to a lot more punishment (their armour is thicker than a T-34!), but it changes their role as they have to achieve more to justify their points.

My personal preference is to replace the KV-1s with the Valentines. This gives me more tanks and frees up some points for a bit of support.

Stay tuned for part two….

~Phil

From Ostfront With Love!

with Casey Davies

One of the lists that I loved from Ostfront (that was the old Eastern Front Compilation from V2 ~editor), but never got around to making, was the Mixed Tankovy Battalion. The main reason I never built the list was that I was always too busy painting infantry. Since I don’t need to paint any infantry for this release, this is definately an army that I’m going to collect and add to my painting queue.

This formation gives you a way of fielding a little bit of everything, which is how I like to field tank armies. It helps that all of the tanks in the army are tough as nails as well. Its an unusual formation, in that it doesn’t have a Battalion HQ, however what it does have are some of the toughest tanks in the game.

KV-1 Tank Company
5x KV-1 tanks 40 points
Running total 40 points
The KV-1 is one of the toughest heavy tanks in Mid-War. With front armour 9 it is almost immune to all but the heaviest dedicated anti-tank guns. This comes at the cost of some speed, as its also one of the slowest tanks as well.
The other option is the KV-1s, which gives up some armour to gain a bit more speed, making it a heavily armoured medium tank, rather than a heavy tank. It also has a better designed turret, meaning that it shoots better on the move than the KV-1.

Either way you go, the KV is an assault monster. With top armour 2, an assault buff (due to its turret rear machine gun), and a good morale rating, this tank is going to roll over any infantry it comes up against. I’ve chosen to go with the KV-1 as I prefer armour over speed.

T-34 (early) Tank Company
7x T-34 tanks 37 points
Running total 77 points
The T-34 is the workhorse of the Soviet army. They have good mobility, motivation, and armour. The only drawback is that it has a two man turret, so has the overworked special rule, making its shooting less effective on the move. The plan for these tanks is to move them into position and blaze away with them.

Valentine Tank Company
7x Valentine tanks 17 points
Running total 94 points
The third option box has Valentines, Stuarts, and T-60s. While the T-60s might be the most common option historically, I’ve gone with the Valentines. The main reason I have gone with the Valentine over the T-60s or the Stuarts is the armour. Those tanks are cheaper, however, the lighter armoured vehicles just become a soft target for the weapons systems that can’t hurt the KV or T-34 tanks. It also means that the lowest armour in my force is the 5 side armour of the T-34s. I’ll be using the Valentines as dedicated assault tanks rather than as gun tanks. I’d actually like to take more than 7 Valentines, however the points are adding up quickly.

Hero SMG Company
7x SMG teams 6 points
1x Komissar team
Total 100 points
I like to include infantry in every army for flexibility. In this army their main purpose is to dig in on an objective to free the tanks up for attacking.

Like all paper lists, it will be interesting to see how the theory plays out on the table. I’d like to add some artillery or anti-tank guns, that would mean dropping one of the KV-1 tanks. The other thing to concider is missions with reserves. The easiest thin to do in this situation would be to have the KV tanks in reserve, at which point it may be better to replace them with the KV-1s tanks that will get into action faster once they arrive on the table.

Food for thought.

~Casey