Wednesday, October 30, 2013

French Fusiliers Portes Platoon with Laffly S20TL Trucks

My 1940 French Escadron de Combat continues to grow.  This installment is for the Fusiliers Portes platoon.  These guys are similar to German Panzer Grenadiers.  Each team is an MG team which give them amazing firepower for their size.

These guys ride into battle on Laffly S20TL trucks.  These are very cool looking models that help give the French army a unique look.  I really like the fact they when mounted these trucks count as having 2 AA MGs.  I have a feeling this might come in handy.

This unit has already seen a couple of battles and did well both games.  In the first game they fought dismounted and proved to be a very tough unit once dug in.  The ended up fighting a few close combats with some panzers and were ultimately destroyed, but no without taking out a platoon of tanks.  In the second game they never dismounted.  They supported an attack by tanks and armored cars.  Having them in close support forced my opponent to make hard choices - kill the dangerous stuff or go for the easy VP and shoot the trucks.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

French Panhard AMD-35

The Escadron de Combat project marches on.  Here we have the Deep Reconnaissance Platoon of 5 Panhard AMD-35 armored cars.  These are some really cool models and they really make me want to do a full recon army.

This takes me to 5 platoons and just about 1200 points.  I have some infantry in the works as well as artillery to finish this out to 1500 points.  Then it will be time to put this on the table.

Friday, October 11, 2013

French Hotchkiss H-35 Cavalry Tanks

Here are a few more tanks for my Escadron de Combat.  This bring me up to 4 platoons so far.

Inspiring People

It is a good feeling when something you do inspires others.  The main reason I blog is to document my thoughts and hobby activities as a way to track my progress and interests over time.  It is also to share what I do with like-minded people.

Five years ago I did a quick post on some scratch-built higgins boats that Tim and I were going to use for some 28mm WW2 beach assault games.  At the time we were planning an Italy campaign that was going to start with the Salerno landings.  For this we need landing craft. This post did not generate much interest and it really lacked much usable information.  It was basically some pictures of the unfinished models.

Fast forward 5 years and up pops this thread on The Miniatures Page.  Another gamer had found my old post and was inspired to build some landing craft based on my ideas.  It was really cool to see this!

Now I just wish I had put more effort into the original post...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

French Hotchkiss H-39 Cavalry Tanks

The next installment to my 1940 Escadron de Combat is a platoon of H-39 tanks.  My plan with this army is to model the 2nd DLM at about the time of the Battle of Hannut.  Naturally, I made this decision after I had already built some tanks.  Turns out the 2nd DLM had no H-39 only the older H-35.  Oh well, per the rules they are basically the same tank so no biggy I guess.

These are very neat little models.  They have excellent armor for the period but the guns are not so good.  I am not sure how these will actually work in game terms but they are cheap enough to bring lots.

More to come on this project very soon.

Monday, October 7, 2013

French S35 Somua

 The first batch of my 1940 French Escadron de Combat.  This is the base of what will eventually be a ridiculously huge French army. 

This is the Company command tank.  I can already see an issue with this army.  There is no 2iC so if the CO gets it there is no back-up.

These are some of the best tanks in the early war but they do have their drawbacks.  The one man turret rule will really slow down the army but this seems to be a fact of life for French tanks.  They should be fun and a real challenge to play.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Life Without Games Workshop

Hi!  My name is Robert and I have not played a GW game in about a year.  That was a game of 40K against my friend Lonnie.  I wrote about it last December if you are interested.  At the time I did not know it would be the last GW game as I fully expected that Lonnie and I would get together again.  I did realize that my GW days were numbered.

Over the years I have played lots of Games Workshop games and purchased huge amounts of models, both new and used.  I started with Necromunda back in 1996 and collected and painted nearly every Necromunda model made.  Next I moved on to Warhammer 40,000 and started a small Dark Angels army.  I really loved the models and the gamer were fun.  GW games helped to rekindle some old friendships and start some new ones.

In 2001 the Lord of the Rings game first appeared.  My friends and I were really excited about the movies and the game and by 2005 LOTR:SBG became my main GW game.  I spent thousands of dollars over the years amassing a huge collection of Lord of the Rings models. Much of which did actually get painted and used.  During this time I continues to build armies for 40K and upgrade the rules through four versions of the game (Lord of the Rings went through the same number of versions over the same period).

In March of 2012 I played my last game of LOTR:SBG.  For several weeks prior GW rolled out new versions of the army list for the games and repackaged long released models in smaller model count packages.  This had the effect of doubling the price for models that GW had already made massive amounts of money off of.  This was about the same time that Finecast was released and the new FC versions of the hero models were more than doubled in price.  Combined with the damage the new army lists were doing to the game I could see the writing on the wall.

Even with the death of LOTR:SBG I still was not ready to completely drop GW games.  The 6th edition of 40K was released in the Summer of 2012 and I (grudgingly) dropped the $75 for the rules.  At the same time I purchased the new Ork Dakkajet.  I really loved both purchases and have no regrets for them.  At the time I did not know they would be the last GW purchases I would make.

The last few years has seen some real changes in the GW hobby.  The cost of the hobby is one part of this.  Prices are sky high and are actually quite ridiculous.  I make more money than I ever really thought I would and in the last 10 years my income has roughly doubled.  In that same period the cost of playing a GW game as quadrupled or more.  Their prices are increasing much faster than inflation even while the company outsources production to cheaper locations.  This has not gone unnoticed by many gamers.  I have seen lots of people leave the GW hobby and move to other games or even out of miniatures altogether.

Now consumers and gamers in particular love to bitch about price but I really believe that GW has priced themselves out of reach for their target market - teenage and preteen males.  GW has also done huge damage to their brand with their pricing policies in different markets.  I don't claim to understand the ins and outs of how things are priced in various places but I can say it is nuts that an item in, say, New Zealand, can cost twice what the same product costs in the United States even though the currencies of the two countries are near parity.  To then rub salt in the wounds of these gamers by setting policies that prevent them from making purchases from a country that can offer a better deal than they can get locally is plain profiteering.

Then we come to GW and how they protect their IP.  First of all, let me say that I believe they have a right and a duty to protect their IP, but they have a lot to learn about the best way to do this (their PR department must hate their legal department).  The internet is filled with stories of GW sending letters and threatening various websites with legal action for things that seem to be fair use and within the scope of legitimate news.  But GW seems to think that, since they have money, and most of these websites don't, they can just do whatever they want.  Well, they are right, they can do whatever they want.  But I don't have to support a company that treats it customers and best fans as if they are all criminals looking to steal from them.

In the end, I miss playing 40K and Lord of the Rings, but I don't miss all the baggage of the GW hobby.  I have moved on to companies that appreciate my business and make a real effort at customer service.  This is a great time to be a miniatures gamer as there are so many options available.  Now I just need to decide whether to keep all this stuff or sell it off....