31 Jan 2015

Fireteam Drava

 Hello guys,

It took me longer than planned to get this batch painted. I started working on them some three weeks ago, as I have put my hobby on a side rail for a while.

Fourth letter in a Slovene alphabet is actually Č (ch as in cheese), but I decided to skip it as it wouldn't be used in international codes I presume. Drava is a river, so there is not much to add here.

This is my fourth and last fireteam, and as Empress miniatures only sell three packed teams, this one was built from various packs.
From left to right there is a grenadier (command pack), SAW gunner (support pack, sniper), rifleman /AT gunner (support pack AT4) and another rifleman (EOD pack).

 The conversions are mostly the usual addition of canteens, slight alternation to helmets (elastic strap for grass) and, naturally, weapon swaps.

Sniper-to-SAW-gunner conversion also included broadening of the pouches to make them a bit more accurate. Below is a sniper miniature before it was converted, with my dead-end sniper project next to it. While using sniper as a SAW gunner allowed me to get another fire team (and with that another full squad), I won't have a suitable sniper miniature until I buy sniper/ATGM teams pack in future.
Below are miniatures at an early conversion stage (Weapons in place, but hands haven't been sculpted except at SAW gunner that was done way earlier). As you can see AT4 gained some bulk, but I feel it is a tad too short. He had his right arm completely cut off and repositioned at a different angle (with AT4 he held a tube, while RGW has handles). He also had his rifle pinned to his hip, but I didn't bother sculpting straps - they are a nightmare!

This is it for today. I have 4 more miniatures to convert and paint and I will be done with what I currently own for moderns. I plan on purchasing more packs in future, but probably not in the first half of the year. After those are done, I will tackle my unpainted pile (either medieval fantasy I started a while ago or even finally paint survivors I owned for years) as I do not plan on ordering anything new.

Thanks for looking,

11 Jan 2015

Moderns AAR: The Assault on OP Taiga

Hello guys,

here is another game I played this week. In the last AAR, International Forces managed to capture a rebel. He is still being questioned and IF Command still hasn't assigned an all out assault on a rebel camp/high valued target capture (I am still painting missing forces and coming up with a proper scenario).

Instead, I decided to switch to another gear and play a scenario with a bit more fighting involved (so I can actually shoot at something and use some support fire etc rules).


The insurgency is rising and the rebel army is getting bolder and bolder. They are trying to gain ground and control of governmental institutions. While they are still avoiding any major attacks, the ambushes became very popular. To help secure the local population (and it's own interests!), the Joint International Command ordered a set up of a network of observation posts, that would help locate the insurgent's nests that could then be cleared.

One of them is Outpost Taiga, located in an abandoned suburbia of Evergreen Fields. This area was being modernised, turned from rural area into a flashy high class neighborhood. The plans failed and the area was since abandoned. There are still remains of rural architecture (abandoned farm) and there are some half-built modern structures as well (abandoned houses). The prominent structure in the area is a derelict supermarket, that has been turned into an observation post.

Troops on board:
SAF Fireteam, veteran quality.
MAG Team, veteran quality

They are manning the outpost, observing the local countryside for rebel activity.

Available support:
A SAF Squad (two fireteams, veteran quality) is patrolling the local area and could rush to aid the OP in case of attack. They will arrive on roll of 6 (before initiative rolls), with +1 every turn that SAF wins initiative.
Close Air Support is available on call.
Bomb squad is on a stand by as a standard.

Expected opposition:
OP Taiga is under attack!

Attacking forces were calculated according to this event:
10- All-out assault. D3+3 groups of D3+3 rebels enter the board
Roll of 5-6 support weapon (1-3 RPK 4-6 RPG), 1-4 AR
One group is automatically either a sniper (1-3) or a PK (4-6) team.
D3 groups start on table. Every turn (before initiative rolls) rolls 3+ another D3 groups arrive until all are on board.
I will roll for insurgents' skill randomly on group basis (to make tracking easier) with 1-3 being militia, 4-5 fanatics and 6 mercenary.

Insurgent attack party:
4 groups (roll of 1 + 3)
PK team, fanatics quality
4 men: 2 AK, 2 RPG, fanatics quality
4 men: 4 AK, fanatics quality
4 men: 3 AK, 1 RPK, fanatics quality

Random events generator
This time, REG was left out, to avoid further complications, but I will probably include cover bonuses and the like in future games.

SAF MAG team is observing the area, while Fireteam is located in the living quarter. When attack starts, they will run out and...well, do something about it.
Two rebel groups start on table. I decided it would be RPG and PK groups as they'd trigger their attack with their best weapons. Using houses and vegetation for cover, they crept really close to the OP (which makes me doubt in outpost's  recce abilities!)
I was debating giving the insurgents the first turn initiative (they are attacking, after all) or rolling for it (they came close enough to be spotted). I decided they should have the initiative as the OP crew could not determine if they were civilians or foes!

The board. OP Taiga is in the white building to the right. Insurgetns are attacking from black building to the left.
SAF MAG team on sentry duty.

Insurgents have the first initiative. Roll of 6 brings another group to the table.

PK team did not move as it was in a suitable position before the attack was triggered.
It fires at MAG team. It needs 5 to hit, based on distance, +1 for target in cover, +1 for being fanatics (bad shots). This makes it 7, which means they lose 1D6 of their burst and hit on 6+. They've hit nothing.  Because the distance is over 50cm (approx 70cm), MAG team can not react to this volley.

RPG group moved forward as it needs to get closer to have any hopes of firing shots.

Newly arrived RPK group rushed in cover of walls closer to the outpost.

RPG group is behind the bushes to the left, PK team is on the balcony with RPK team to the right.

Insurgents win initiative (14 vs 13)
Another insurgent group arrives
SAF reinforcements do not arrive

PK team fire another burst, but keeps missing the well entrenched MAG team.

RPG group runs forward and gets in range for an RPG volley next turn. Unfortunately, this also gets them in range of SAF MAG team. As a reacting side, MAG players needs 6 to hit (5 for range, +1 for cover) - it fails.

RPK group continues it's advance and reaches a house that will provide them with a solid cover.

Newly arrived AK team (lead by the notorious Yellow Jacket) follows the path of the RPK group.

The self-proclaimed King (in Yellow) leading his bandits forward!

Insurgents win the initiative yet again! (12 vs 7+1) (plus one for every turn that insurgents hold the initiative).
This is quite a problem as SAF fireteam in the post hasn't yet had the chance to rush out and help the MAG team!
SAF reinforcements do not arrive  (rolled a 5!).

PK team keeps firing, it's bound to hit something sooner or later! It misses.

RPG group fired its rockets!
They need 6 to hit (5 for range, +1 for being fanatics). Both RPGs missed (rolled two 5!) and they both hit left of the intended target (3cm for every die point they lacked (1), direction rolled randomly). The blast radius (5cm) still caught both members of the MAG team.
At this point, MAG team needs to roll to save. Veteran's save on 3+, but the bonus in rules is +2 for speculative fire or +1 in another section. I assumed the speculative fire rules are correct (+2) and +1 would be granted in other instances (as in cover). This means they save on 1+, but 1 is always a wound. As luck would have it, assistant gunner got wounded and died on spot (rolled 1 or wounded or dead roll).
AK armed group members fired their shots and managed to hit a MAG gunner, but it just grazed him!

This movement, however, brought RPG group in range of MAG opportunity fire, who scored a hit on one of the riflemen, killing him instantly.
As a result of RPG group's fire, MAG assistant gunner was lost and the gunner himself was suppressed (yellow beam) and automatically hidden (blue beam). On other hand, RPG team lost a rifleman.

The trouble were not over yet for the MAG on the roof top, as RPK group settled in the near-by house. RPK gunner was able to squeeze some shots in the direction of a Slovene and managed to hit once, but the shot did no damage.

The AK group continued closing up the distance, they know they must get closer for their fire to be effective!

Morale is a bit odd, again it's not clear if it's side or team based (especially as every miniature can be used on its own), so I decided to include them on a group-by-group basis. This means that this turn, morale check would have to be done by RPG group and MAG team, but as they lost one member each, they have to roll at least 1 on a D6, which is an automatic pass.

The dice indicate the location of a RPG hit. I really like the missed shot rules!

After the RPG salvo, gunner was left alone and suppressed.
RPK group on the positions in house, with the AK group following closely.


SAF finally wins the initiative (6 vs 9+2)!
SAF reinforcements arrive (roll of 6)!

While situation looked grim for SAF units, it looks like the battle luck is changing.

MAG gunner successfully gathered himself (passed suppression test) and is out for blood! Deciding that RPG group carries the most firepower, he fired a burst their way and managed to hit a RPG gunner! The latter failed his save test, but was "only" heavily wounded by the shot - I rolled for 5 turns of live for him, but as I don't have any medics, nor do I calculate WIP points, this changes nothing and I just removed him from play.
As part of their opportunity fire, RPG group fired another couple of rockets (shooting is simultaneous) and an aimed shot from an AK. They all missed and rockets both flew to the right of the target this time (12 and 9 cm this time!), where they did no damage.

Fireteam Ankaran finally got a chance to leave the market and move out to defend their outpost! As this is their turf and the fortified rooftop offers the best protection (and line of sights!), I started moving them up.
Newly arrived Fireteam Bled and Celje pushed in the area close by and will carry on with the offensive action if needed.
Their movement was reacted to by the RPK team. RPK and two ARs could fire on Fireteam Celje - they managed to get one hit, but it was saved, suppressing the grenadier!
RPK team's two riflemen could react to Fireteam Bled, as with Celje, one hit managed to suppress team's grenadier!

Fireteam Celje was shot at in their moving phase, so when it came to their shooting, they could not used the grenadier. The rest could still open fire on the RPK group in the house. Riflemen fired to no effect, while SAW gunner has outdone himself and managed to score two hits (three shots, hits on 6!). He could only hit a rifleman and a teamleader, killing the latter!

FT Bled (behind a car) and Celje (forested area) under fire.
This turn, two insurgents groups had to pass morale tests (roll of 3 for RPG group (2 for teamleader +1 man), roll of 2 for RPK (teamleader).

Insurgents win the initiative (11+1 vs 7)

Boy, SAF seem very reluctant to fight today - their initiative is superior to that of the insurgents, but rolls haven't been the best ever.

The arrival of SAF reinforcements changes things for insurgents, as they have plethora of new targets to fire at.

PK team continues peppering SAF MAG team, waiting for a lucky hit.

RPG group is a bit too far to fire at the team Bled that is grouped together behind a car and fires another rocket at the MAG. The insurgent fired two rockets already and is taking an aim...controls his breathing, squeezes the trigger and...nothing happens. The rocket doesn't move an inch!
Rifleman tried firing with his AK, but did not manage to hit a well protected MAG position.
As part of his opportunity fire, MAG fires a burst (albeit shorter as the death of his assistant had a negative impact on his firing rate) with no effect.

RPK team had to divide its fire between teams Bled and Celje because of the planked fence obscuring the view. 
One of the riflemen fired at the team Bled and scored a hit, suppressing Bled's team leader! A few more turns like this and whole SAF squad will be keeping their heads down!
He did not enjoy his little victory for long, as the rest of team Bled unleashed a hail of bullets, with SAW gunner landing a deadly shot.

With team Celje's grenadier suppressed, only an AT rifleman could fire shots in return, but he couldn't hit a thing.

Insurgent's AR group rushed through the building and to the forward positions behind the wooden fence. They were greeted by team Bled's sharpshooter (I decided his optics let him hit with a chance for one distance less - so on 50 cm distance he hits as up to 25. This means his optics give him no bonus on distances under 25cm, which feels about right) and SAW gunner, the former scoring a kill on the slowest of the team members.
This turn wasn't too successful for the insurgents - they had the initiative and forced some more Slovenes into cover, but they lost two of their own!

RPK group had to make another test, this time on 3 (2 for leader, plus one), AR group's casualty did not affect their morale (1 for rifleman).

SAF regain the initiative (11 vs 16)
Team Bled's leader and Celje's grenadier passed the suppression test and can act as normal, but Bled's grenadier didn't and remains hidden behind the cover.

Team Ankaran continued it's climb on top of the outpost, but they could not do anything beyond taking up the positions.

MAG gunner is still on a vendetta against the RPG group and fires yet another long burst in their direction. It scores a hit and picks off the remaining rifleman, leaving the RPG gunner on his own.
In return, the latter sends yet another rocket flying and scores a direct hit.
Ankaran's team leader and SAW gunner are also caught in the blast.  MAG saved good enough, but the other two only made it out alive thanks to the protection of cover!

Fireteam Bled had to adjust it's position to give a sharpshooter a chance to fire, then fired with all three unsuppressed members. Their two hits resulted in two suppressed riflemen, but no kills. In return, Yellow jacket's team also managed to score two hits, that both resulted in suppression.

Fireteam Celje moved half of it's members forward to gain a position to fire from and thanks to accurate fire from the teamleader, managed to kill the RPK gunner. RPK group (or what has left of it) returned with inaccurate fire and did no damage.
RPG blasts force Slovenes into cover.
 RPG group needs a morale on a score of 4 (2 for leader + 2) and passes.
RPK group needs a morale on a score of 4 (2 for leader +2) and passes.

Insurgents win the initiative (11+1 vs 10)
Yellow Jacket passed the suppression test, but his companion did not.
With a large part of SAF suppressed, this is a good time for insurgents to make an impact, as their actions will not be met with much opposition. On the other hand, SAF members that are suppressed count as hidden and are harder to hit.

PK team, a team I had a high hopes for, but that wasn't used properly, fires yet another volley, this time at the team Ankaran's unsuppressed members. Gunner still hasn't quite figured out his weapon and misses completely yet again.
In reaction, Ankaran's grenadier lobs a grenade at the machine gun, which fails short and does no damage. Ankaran's sharpshooter is just as inaccurate.

RPG group, now down to a single launcher, fires at Ankaran's grenadier, scoring a direct hit. A blast caught Slovenes to left and right of the target, but they have all managed to hit the dirt soon enough. Still, this leaves Ankaran fully suppressed.

RPK group's sole survivor fires at team Celje but scores no hits. In return, Celje's grenadier lobs a grenade his way. It falls a bit short, but still catches him in a blast and suppressing him.

While a lot of SAF troopers hit the dirt, Yellow Jacket's AR group can not afford to rush out of their cover as team Celje would simply pick them off. Instead, they concentrate their fire on Bled's sharpshooter. Their fire is not accurate, but sharpshooter's is and it results in suppressing Yellow Jacket himself.

RPG gunner and a PK team (whose gunner really needs a repaint, pyjamas pants aren't working too well!)

SAF forces mostly suppressed.

Insurgents win the initiative (10 vs 8+1)

Luck is on Insurgent's side today, as they keep having the initiative while keeping a large portion of SAF suppressed.  On the other hand, little can be made out of the situation, as AR group's two suppressed members failed their test.

As troops on the rooftop of the observation post were now hidden, PK team had nothing to fire at. Other fire teams were not in it's line of fire. I thought about relocating it, but decided against it for the benefit of any future firing.

RPG gunner relocated a bit, so he could aim easier on team Bled, hiding behind a car, as firing on the suppressed troops on top of the outpost made little sense. Rocket flew a bit to the left (rolled 5 on 6 to hit, so only missed for 3cm), so that Bled's sharpshooter was still caught in the blast radius. Soldier that got hit was not damaged, but he had little wish to poke out of his cover now.

With MAG team and fireteams Ankaran and Bled fully suppressed, there was only team Celje to worry about. Unfortunately, insurgent were way too battered to effectively use the advantage they now had.

RPK group's survivor and the unsuppressed member of AR group repositioned out of sight, hoping they could perhaps overtake the Slovenes in close combat.
RPG gunner in the forested area, RPK group's rifleman behind a building and AK group taking cover behind the planked fence.


SAF won the initiative, only thanks to the bonus for not having it in a while (7 vs 7+2)
This gave them a chance to regroup and deal with the attack once and for all.

Some soldiers managed to pass their test and fireteam Ankaran, in combination with MAG gunner started firing on the surviving insurgents in hope of suppressing them to let teams Bravo and Celje proceed with the counter assault.

Ankaran's sharpshooter and teamleader fired shots at RPK group's rifleman that came rushing from around the corner. Sharpshooter scored a killing hit.

MAG gunner was still occupied with the remaining RPG gunner, but he failed to hit him. In must have distracted RPG gunner enough that he missed, his shot landing 9 centimeters short of the target, doing no damage.

Bled's sharpshooter and SAW gunner could not find the exact position of AR group (hidden, as they were suppressed in cover), so they fired some speculative shots their way. They scored one hit, but the rebel managed to save it.

Celje's grenadier fired a grenade in the yard, near AR group, hoping for the blast splash to do some damage. A direct hit caught all three rebels in the blast, killing one (Yellow Jacket got saved by a +1 for being a team leader!)
The rest of the team moved forward, with teamleader getting close enough that he could throw a grenade over the fence. A direct hit resulted in another kill, leaving only one rebel alive.

FT Celje's team leder throwing a grenade over the fence.
This massacre left AK group with a morale check (4, 2 for teamleader dead, plus 2 more), that was barely passed (rolled 2,3 and the saving 4).

At this point I decided to end the game, the result is obvious. It took me some 4 hours to play it and it got really dark in the mean while.


As you might have noticed, I did not use my mortar support. The rules for off table support are vague. The shots land a turn after they are called, but it doesn't say who calls it, who has to see anything, can it be done by reactive player etc. I am not sure what to do (I suppose any team leader in the regular army could request it, even as a reactive player). Being reactive player means you don't do anything but react to what enemy is doing, but surely they don't just stand and watch - so at least some shells could be firing.

I also noticed later in the game (after turn 4) that RPGs don't get negative modifier for being used by lowly trained insurgents, so they should be a bit more accurate! They are a very potent weapon indeed and I think I should be happy I only ever made three of them!

Furthermore, I was limiting myself with opportunity fire and teams only reacted to the actions geared towards them. I forgot to realise MAG had a REALLY beneficial position and could react to fire of most enemy groups inside his opportunity fire distance. This improves his deadlines a lot, but above all, it shows me I really need to game more often.

I am not too satisfied with the +1 to die roll for cover save as this means house's walls, wooden planks, mesh fences, cars, sandbags and so on all provide the same bonus. I am thinking instead of +2 for heavy cover, that a whole extra die would be added. So someone hiding in house or behind sandbags would gain +1 on die roll and would roll two dice with one needed to pass. The thing is +2 on a roll means SAF veterans (3+ save) would save on anything but one that is a natural fail.

I would lie if I'd say I was not afraid that the observation post might be over ran and that there were too many insurgents, but it turns out the groups should've kept coming (perhaps the starting troops plus the possibility of reinforcements via generator) as they stood no chance against the far superior SAF. Keep in mind RPG is a potent weapon and in Breaking Rules, grenade launcher is not much less lethal.

Groups of insurgents should probably be larger, with 5+D3. I will implement the changes when I'll play another game.

Thanks for looking,

3 Jan 2015

Fireteam Celje

Hello guys,

I don't know if it is all this New Year's magic or just a coincidence, but my mojo is returning (*cheering sounds*). I painted this fireteam in just a few days and while I can't put my finger on it, I think I have been sloppy.

Moving on with naming them after the Slovene phonetic alphabet, enter Fireteam Celje, named by a city that was a home of Slovenia's most famous aristocratic family known as the Counts of Celje. As a side fact, three starts from their coat of arms are featured in our flag. Keep in mind, after Carantania lost it's independence around 8th Century, Slovene aristocracy was slowly Germanised and it is hard to tell who was of what descent, because Germanised names were used in the high circles.

On to the modern times, this fireteam is different to the two previously shown as the rifleman with the optical sight is replaced by a rifleman carrying "ordinary" version of the gun in addition to a disposable anti-tank launcher.

Now obviously, depending on a mission a squad could carry more or less of the launchers and for the gaming purposes, I decided to include one "protioklepnik" (the anti armour "guy") because they look cool.

Other than usual weapon swaps and inclusion of canteens, they are an out of a box pack of Empress US infantry "on patrol".
I can only apologise for bad photos, and I really think they look better in person. I don't know why I am unable to paint a decent face lately and their vest came out way too dark. Other than that, they will look okay on the board next to the rest of the guys.
From left to right there is a team leader, carrying an FN F2000S on his hip, talking on the radio (he is not smoking). Then there is the SAW gunner, the grenadier and the AT specialist. I was working on that bloody tube for about a year (on and off) and I was still not really happy with it in the end, but now that it is painted it looks just fine.

I have one more fire team (the one that was built up with "leftovers" from other packs) in need of basing before I can start painting it and I am already working on the command pack as well. If I keep the momentum going, I should have them all painted by end of January!

Thanks for looking,