Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thinking About a New Flames of War Army, Part 3

Collecting the Army

So now that I have decided on an early war French Escadron de Fusiliers Portes army at 1625 points I can turn my attention to collecting the models needed for the army.  You can review the list for this army in the previous post.  One of my, previously unstated, goals for this project was a desire to build the army as an entire Battlefront army.  This is not for some fan-boy satisfaction but merely an attempt to make the army as consistent look as possible.  I knew that going all Battlefront miniatures was going to add a bit of additional cost to the army an I was ready for that.

Luckily, all the models that this army requires are still available from Battlefront.  As I was conducting my research into the models needed I was very surprised at the amount of early war French stuff that has already gone out of production.  I really could not understand this as the Blitzkrieg book is only a couple of years old.  I guess the early war period is a whole lot less popular that I thought.

Anyway, starting with the Company HQ the following models/packs are required.
  • FR701 Compagnie de Fusiliers-Voltigeurs - $12.50
  • FR400 Fusiliers Motorcycle Squad (2 models used as tranports for the HQ) - $12.50
  • FR420 S20TL Trucks - $12.50
  • FR160(x2) 25mm SA-34 Portee - $12.50 each
The HQ comes to $62.50 + tax!  Ouch!  With this I will have 2 extra 81mm mortars, 1 extra S20TL truck and 2 extra motorcycle teams.  Not to worry, however, as the extra truck and motorcycles will be used for later units.

Next up are the combat platoons.  First we have two Fusilier Portes platoons.
  • FR702 Fusiliers Platoon - $23.00
  • FR420(x2) S20TL - $12.50 each
This comes out to $48.00 per platoon and the army will have two of these.  I will have a few extra infantry from each platoon but not too much waste.  This is already getting expensive -  $158.50 for 415 points!

The third combat platoon is a Machine-gun platoon.
  • FR704 Machine-gun Platoon - $12.50
  • FR420(x2) S20TL Trucks - $12.50 each
So far this is the cheapest unit in the army at $37.50.  This gives me another extra truck.  Now I am up to 520 points for the small price of $196 + tax.  I am really starting to get scared.  This army is shaping up to be as expensive as a new 40K army.  So much for Flames of War being a cheaper hobby.

Now we move on to the weapons platoons.  The first is a another MG platoon.
  • FR704 Machine-gun Platoon - $12.50
  • FR420 S20TL Trucks - $12.50 
OK, now this is the cheapest unit at only $25.  Since I have some extra trucks at this point so I only need to buy one package which saves me $12.50.

The next weapons platoon is the Fusiliers Mortar Platoon.
  • FR705 Mortar Platoon - $12.50
  • FR420(x2) S20TL Trucks - $12.50 each
This completes the weapons platoons.  I am not even going to add this up as my heart can't take any more.  Now a balanced FOW army must contain some recce elements.  This happens to be an aspect of the game that I still not very good at but I know I need to have some in this army.
  • FR011 AMR-35 Recconaissance platoon - $29.00
Since everyone who plays Flames of War seems to be hooked on tank armies (well, not everyone but a lot of players) you must have lots of solid anti-tank options and the French have them.

The first anti-tank unit is the Cavalry 25mm Anti-Tank Platoon.
  • FR500(x2) SA-34 25mm gun (since this is a three gun pack I need two for a 4 gun platoon) - $26.00 each
  • FR410(x2) Laffy W15T trucks - $12.50 each
Wow!  Another $60+ unit! This may be the most expensive 70 points I have ever had in any army. This unit will use one of my extra motorcycle teams for the HQ transport. The two extra guns will be used for the dismounts for the HQ portes so they will not go to waste.  But this is still not enough AT.

Divisional 47mm Anti-Tank Platoon
  • FR510 47mm AT gun platoon - $21.00
  • FR410 Laffy W15T trucks - $12.50
This unit will use the last of the extra motorcycle teams for the HQ.  Now we move on to the artillery support for the army.  I really love the French artillery options but for this army I will keep things simple.

First All-Terrain Towed 75mm Artillery Battery
  • FRX07 Tirailleurs 75mm Artillery Battery - $45.00
  • FR400 Motorcycle Squad - $12.50
  • FR420(x2) S20TL Trucks - $12.50 each
The second battery is the same but does not require the motorcycles as I will use the extras.  I am going with the Tirailleurs because they already have the all-terrain guns in a box set.  If I was going to do the crew in the great coats I would have to purchase the Tirailleurs and I would have to purchase the French Artillery Group for $29.00 for each battery.  This is just way too much extra.

This brings up and interesting item.  The difference between the Fusiliers and the Tirailleurs is that one has the great coats and the others do not.  This means that you can freely mix the two in your army to give it a less uniform, more campaign worn look.  I may end up mixing these up as I go.

There you have it.  This is a big army with nearly 30 trucks.  These truck eat up nearly half of the $540 price tag of the army.  That is a lot of money for transports that rarely, if ever, get used.  I may end up skipping a lot of the trucks.  I have done a lot of research to see if this army can be built cheaper.  In some ways it can be but it would require cutting some corners.  The two main options for cheaper models, Peter Pig and Old Glory, both have significant gaps in their lines that would be hard to fill.  Neither makes the VB grenade launcher figures nor the artillery staff figures.  While these figures could be converted I am not sure (right now) that it would be worth the trouble.  Neither company makes the trucks which is the biggest part of the cost of the army.  French figures in 15mm are pretty hard to come by.

So, for now I will stick with my plan of building the army as all Battlefront miniatures.  I do not have an extra $500 laying around so I will have to do this in small steps, perhaps one unit at a time.  This will not be a bad way to go and will soften the impact of the price.  I have already started to collect the HQ units so I am on my way.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thinking About a New Flames of War Army, Part 2

In part 1 of this article I laid out my ideas and thought processes around creating a new army for Flames of War.  I decided to do an Early War French army of some type (if you want to review this interesting mental exercise see Part 1).  Now I need to dig into which French army to build and decide on the point level target.  Finally, I will have my planned list.

Army Type

The Blitzkrieg book has several options for the would-be French player.  You can choose from the Compagnie de Combat (Tank Company); the Escadron de Combat (Tank Company Cavalry); the Compagnie de Chasseurs Portes (Mechanized Company); the Escadron de Fusiliers Portes (Infantry Company Motorized); the Escadron de Reconnaissance (Mechanized Company Recce); the Escadron de Fussiliers Motorcyclistes (Mechanized Company Motorcycles); and finally three different Compagnie de Fusiliers-Voltigeurs (Infantry Company).   That is a total of 10 different companies to choose from.

Where to start?  I have always loved the French S-35 Somua tank would really like to do an Escadron de Combat force with all S-35 tanks.  Since my friend Mike already has a French Tank Company I think I will put this idea on the back burner for a while.  I tend to be drawn to infantry forces more than tank forces.  There is something about the gritty infantry holding out against all adds that I find appealing.  The problem is I have two armies already that are foot infantry armies so this really wouldn't have the 'new' factor that I want.

This basically leaves me with four options - Compagnie de Chasseurs Portes, Escadron de Fusiliers Portes, Escadron de Reconnaissance, Escadron de Fusiliers Motorcylistes.  I really have trouble with the nuance of the recce rule so I am not ready to run an entire recce army.  That eliminates the motorcycles and the recce company.  So the choice is between the Campagnie de Chasseurs Portes and the Escadron de Fusiliers Portes.  The main difference between the two is the Chasseurs are in armored transports and the Fusiliers are in trucks.  That is not much of a difference.  The nice thing is if you build one all you have to do is change he transports to have a different army.

Since I like the look of the trucks, and the platoons are slightly cheaper, I am going with the Fusiliers.

Point Level

This one is easy.  Since the EW nationals events are 1625 point this year this is the natural level to shoot for.  I will be building this army in phases so there is room for me to adjust the final level.  I will try to collect and paint so that I can build a valid army at various point levels along the way.

The Army List

Here is the list I have come up with.  I wanted an army with a solid core of troops, good anti-tank, recce, artilliery, and some anti-aircraft.  I think this list does all these things.  Thanks to FOW Lists for the help putting this list together.

Escadron de Fusiliers Portes

Compulsory Fusiliers Portes HQ - 1x CinC Rifle, 1x 2inC Rifle, 2x Motorcycle and sideCar (25 pts)
- Mortars - 1x 60mm mie 35 Mortar, 1x Lorraine 38L (20 pts)
- Anti-tank - 2x 25mm SA-34 portee (40 pts)

Compulsory Fusiliers Portes Platoon - 1x Command MG, 1x VB, 1x Laffly S20TL Truck, 6x MG, 2x Laffly S20TL Truck with two MG (165 pts)

Compulsory Fusiliers Portes Platoon - 1x Command MG, 1x VB, 1x Laffly S20TL Truck, 6x MG, 2x Laffly S20TL Truck with two MG (165 pts)

Fusiliers Machine-gun Platoon - 1x Command Rifle, 1x Laffly S20TL Truck, 4x 8mm mle 1914 HMG, 2x Laffly S20TL Truck with two MG (105 pts)

Fusiliers Machine-gun Platoon - 1x Command Rifle, 1x Laffly S20TL Truck, 4x 8mm mle 1914 HMG, 2x Laffly S20TL Truck with two MG (105 pts)

Fusiliers Mortar Platoon - 1x Command Rifle, 1x Observer Rifle, 1x Laffly S20TL Truck, 4x 81mm mle 27/31 Mortar (95 pts)
- Transport - 4x Laffy S20TL Truck (5 pts)

Reconnaisance Platoon - 1x Command Renault AMR-35 (7.5mm), 1x Renault AMR-35 (7.5mm), 1x Renault AMR-35 (13.2mm) (85 pts)

Cavalry 25mm Anti-tank Gun Platoon - 1x Command Rifle, 4x 25mm SA-34 (70 pts)
- Transport - 4x Laffy W15T Truck (5 pts)

Divisional 47mm Anti-tank Platoon - 1x Command Rifle, 2x 47mm SA-37 (120 pts)
- Transport - 1x Motorcycle and sideCar, 2x Laffy W15T Tractor (5 pts)

All-terrain Towed 75mm Artillery Battery - 1x Command Rifle, 1x Staff, 1x Observer Rifle, 1x Motorcycle and sideCar, 4x 75mm mle 1897 (290 pts)
- Transport - 1x Laffy S20TL Truck, 1x Laffy S20TL Truck per gun (5 pts)

All-terrain Towed 75mm Artillery Battery - 1x Command Rifle, 1x Staff, 1x Observer Rifle, 1x Motorcycle and sideCar, 4x 75mm mle 1897 (290 pts)
- Transport - 1x Laffy S20TL Truck, 1x Laffy S20TL Truck per gun (5 pts)

Air Support - Sporadic Moraine Saulnier MS 406 (25 pts)

1625 Points, 10 Platoons

In the next installment I will look at the daunting task of collecting this army.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thinking About a New Flames of War Army, Part 1

I have been thinking about starting a new Flames of War army project for a while.  I already have several armies either 'done' or in progress but I am thinking about is a totally new approach for me.  You see I build all my armies, no matter what game they are for, the same way.  I generally start with a very basic idea about the army I want to build and then I start collecting models.  I buy whatever I can find from any source available, generally with the idea of getting stuff on the cheap.

Once I have collected a bunch of stuff I then start the process of building an army.  Since this approach is model and collection driven rather than army list driven it is not uncommon for me to have a fairly crappy army when I start out.  Over time I will then add more models to try and fill the gaps.

This time I want to start with the army that I would like to build, and I think can get the job done, and then start collecting the models.  Since this new project will be based on a new concept (for me) I would like to build an army that is completely fresh and new.

My approach will be to follow these steps.
  1. Determine the period
  2. Determine the nationality
  3. Determine the army type
  4. Set a point limit
  5. Develop the army list
  6. Collect and paint the army

The first thing I need to do is to select a period.  As we all know FoW is divided into three periods of the war - early, mid and late.  My collection is currently focused on mid war armies set in the Mediterranean theater.  I currently have British Infantry Company (Africa), British Infantry Tank Company (Africa), Panzer Company (Africa), Schwere Panzer Company (Sicily/Italy), Fallschirmjager Company (Tunisia/Sicily), US Tank Company (Tunisia/Sicily).  In addition to all this I have also collected some Soviet tanks for some kind of army as well as some Gebirgsjagers.  With this major mid war focus I really need to switch periods in order to do something new.  Now some of the armies I already have can do double time as either early  or late war forces.  My British work for early or mid and my Fallshirmjagers can work as early, mid or late but both of these armies were originally built as mid war forces that as evolved over time.

So the decision is between early and late war for the period.  For a lot of people this might seem like a no-brainer, late war is way more popular with FoW players and has the most army and list options available.  There is also more models in production to cover this period.  Battlefront has produced several hard back and soft back books to cover the late war period and most theaters are now done.  It turns out that this large volume of work is actually a negative for me.  You see, in order to make a proper evaluation of my late war options I need to purchase 4 hard back books as well as a couple of soft backs just to see what is available.  That is nearly $300 that could be spent on models.

Early war has a few advantages for me.  The first is my local likely opponents have early war armies already built or in process.  But a few of them have yet to move to late war so I have a better potential player base.  I also already own all three books for the early war period so I can make a better evaluation of my options.  Fianlly, late war is a bore...Tigers and Panthers...dull.

So early war it is!


There are several nationality options available for the early war period - Polish, British, French, German, Italian and Greek.  Each of these nationalities has several special rules and army list options.  In the effort to do something 'new' I will not be building another British force.  There just is not enough differences between early and mid war British for this to be interesting.  That combined with the fact that my collection can already be used for an early war list takes the British off the table.  Poles would be interesting but two of my friends either already have Polish armies or are planning to build one.  Three of the same army in such a small group of gamers is not a good idea.  The Italians and Greeks are Mediterranean armies and I want to move away form that theater for a while so they are both out.

That leaves Germans and French.  Germans in the early war period have some cool equipment that is not available later in the war.  Their special rules are basically the same as mid and late war so playing early war Germans is similar to later periods.  The grey paint scheme for vehicles and lack of camo give early Germans a unique look.  My friend Tim is working on a Czech Panzer Company so there is some overlap within my group but not enough to be an issue.

The French are a very different army than just about anything in the game.  All their gear is new and interesting as really no one else in the game uses it.  The paint schemes are also different and interesting.  The French special rules, such as High Command and Trench Warfare, make playing the French a new experience.  The prevalence of one-man turrets means that French tanks are unlike anyone else's.  My friend Mike has a Compangnie de Combat (Tank Company).  I don't get to play against Mike very often and if I did I would likely bring my Fallschirmjagers so overlap here would not be an issue.  The French have another advantage - I have always wanted to do early war French for WW2.  This not just true of FoW fbut for any WW2 game I have played.  I started collecting French in 28mm but never had enough to play a game with.

I am going with French.

Now I need to spend a little time thinking over the various army and list options so that is all for now.  Check back in for part 2 at some random point in the future.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Flight of the Dakkajet

 After my first game of 6th edition last week I knew I had to get a flyer on the table.  Flyers are the new cool thing with this edition and the models are amazing.  In fact, this might be the best GW model I have ever built.  But it was a major pain in the ass to paint.

Every Dakkajet pilot's dream!  I hope things turn out this way for me.

I just know I will be buying several more of these kits.  I want all three versions and at least one (maybe two) more Dakkajets.  Why do I get the feeling that when the new Ork codex comes out these will be squadrons?