More rules, less progress, but finally more landsers.

Five German rifle squads and one antitank team ready for the table (except I have to round up a truck for the ATG). Sorry for the lousy pic quality, they're from my cell phone, and I could barely see the screen in the bright sunlight I wanted for photography. Camera problems - the Fujifilm digital will no longer work with batteries, and keeping it plugged in to take shots outside is problematic. Time for a replacement, but it has to be cheap because this is not a priority.

German 1st Rifle squad

On the original batch of Germans, I uniformed them entirely in Tamiya Field Grey, which is green with some gray in it, which is correct. But the Germans also wore a shade of gray that had no or very little green in it, so I mixed up some gray with a hint of blue in it and painted all the helmets that gray, and them varied the shirts, tunics, and trousers, some with all green, some with all gray, sometimes mixed on the same figure. It gives a little variety and is not inaccurate, although it doesn't show up well in the pics because a) they're crappy pics and b) my grunts carry a lot of mud with them, as do my vehicles.

German 2nd Rifle Squad
"Good enough for wargaming." Besides the 2nd-gen Afrika Korps Airfix (because of the soft caps), my favorites are the Imex for their poses. I still have a soft spot for the old Marx HK knockoffs, because back when I first got them, the only German troops I had were 1st-gen Airfix German Infantry and Afrika Korps -- all unbelievably flat and almost cubist poses. Check them out on www.PlasticSoldierReview.com. The Airfix Russian infantry were fine, and still stand up reasonably to newer figures (except for the inexplicable percentage of figures on one foot), and it was nice to have some more believably-posed Germans. Plus, the guy I got them from had done a passable imitation of SS camouflage on them, so they were the bad-asses of many battlefields for a long time.

German 3rd Rifle Squad

These guys were all intended to be finished by mid-July, along with the next batch of Soviets I have yet to complete -- although those are all cleaned, de-flashed, assembled where necessary, and mounted on cardboard bases and/or just washers. Next is spackling the bases/washers, then a coat of diluted Elmer's glue as primer. Then painting, a dark wash, Dullcote, and finally highlight metallic objects again (the Dullcote really does). And their magnetic stands are already painted and waiting for them.  Slow progress, at times no progress as I just can't get motivated.

German 4th Rifle Squad

I have obtained more WWII rule sets in the meantime, which I need about as badly as a couple of extra ani. I got the latest version of Hail of Fire and the latest intro version of Fistful of TOWs 3 for WW2. I also bought Brigadier General, a solo set of rules where each stand is about a company-sized grouping, and FiveCorps' Brigade Commander (and an older version of their skirmish rules, plus a lot of add-ons too).
So far the Brigadier General rules have held my interest because they are designed for solo play. But today I want to talk about the FiveCorps products. I haven't tried them yet, but they do look interesting/promising; but the most striking thing so far is their flexibility of modification. Let me try to explain.
Back when we rode Brontosaurii down to the hobby shop in Springfield 20 miles away to see if any new Airfix, Roco, Avalon Hill, or SPI products had come in, I wanted a set of rules that covered everything and left no room for interpretation -- this is how this works, period. Even though they had flaws, there was not much argument about Panzerblitz' rules or WRG rules.
When I encountered (hand over heart) Donald Featherstone (Solo Wargaming, 1973), he always said more or less that these are not dictates but guidelines to be adapted or replaced altogether as and when desired. Which is one reason that, while I enjoy re-reading his books every few years, I have not used his rules much.
But when I stop and think about it, I have rarely used a rule set without tinkering with it to some degree after a game or two (even WRG, I changed infantry move from 50 to 75mm). The folks at FiveCore accept this concept up-front and cater to it by not only providing a lot of optional add-on rules to pick and choose from, but also providing alternate usages of the existing fundamentals. For instance, instead of using a d6, providing a 33% chance of one of their 2 special types of turns, they say "hey, if that's too random for ya, use a d10 and have only a 20% chance," etc.
Even now, with my enlightened view of the mutability of wargames rules, I get a slight twinge deep inside when I encounter the "do it this way or do it that way if it suits you" attitude. I guess I have never given up looking for (or trying to write) that holy grail -- the one set of rules that hits all my buttons just right without modification.

German 5th Rifle Squad

I am not that much interested in skirmish-level gaming, although if I enjoy the NT rules as much as I suspect, I will be using them for quick games when the feeling strikes, and for smaller actions during a campaign. I will also probably try out the Too Fat Lardies basic Chain Reaction system, and the FiveCore skirmish system, just for comparison.
Mostly after that I will be doing games where a stand is a platoon or company, just because it makes the outcome more significant. I know you can posit that if you had the ultimate supercomputer analyzing all the data, including all the data that we haven't even acquired in this plane of existence, then it could determine that it was actually the action between Hauptmann Steiner's reinforced panzergrenadier company and the forward detachment of the 91st Tank Brigade that ultimately decided the outcome of the battle for State Farm 86, which in fact directly affected the outcome of the fifth battle for Kharkov, so giving this little action an impact far beyond appearances. But it feels a little strained (even though this is exactly the approach I intend to take -- did I say strained? Ha! I sneer at such pretension, while embracing it wholeheartedly).
Historical Note: that is why I finally abandoned Advanced Squad Leader: it was taking 4 hours to resolve an action that actually lasted 15 minutes. Now I would rather play Clash of Heroes (Awakening the Bear or Storm of Steel) 2 to 5 times in that 4 hours, with far far fewer references to the rulebook (or tome, in the case of ASL).

Per the NT Wargaming: An Introduction WWII OOB's, the gun should be an 88, but I can't find my only 1/87 scale 88 Flak 36, and then it has to be painted. Besides, I have since realized I painted up the wrong gun crew for an 88, so for now I will be using a Pak 40 (75mm ATG) -- in 1/72nd scale.
Why does my brain only work part of the time?

German Pak 40 and crew

Man that is one fuzzy pic. Anyway, it represents some kind of progress, and I may even get this stuff onto the table this year.

1 comment:

Peter said...

The Imex do provide some nice figures. I managed to get one box to mix them in with other WW2 figures. Good luck with your WW2 rules journey, I will be following any updates with interest. Regards, Peter