Monday, May 7, 2018

FOW Early War France vs Germany

This weekend Michael, Grayson and I were able to get together and play some Flames of War. We played an Early War game with me fielding two 1500 point German Panzer companies and Michael playing a 1500 pt French Infantry company and Grayson playing a 1500 pt French tank company.

The Germans were breaking through the French lines. Michael deployed his French Infantry on the board while Grayson's force was in delayed reserve. I deployed a German medium panzer company on the board and left the Czech panzer Company in reserve.

The board from the German side.

Panzers pushing forward with the 8rads.

French infantry on the defense.

Three Hotchkiss tanks supporting the infantry.

The biggest danger, three Char B1's.

The Germans were trying to stay in cover.

The 8rads had shown the way.

The Panzer III's felt a little inadequate against the Char B's.

The French in the churchyard were hammered by MG's and autocannons, but were dug in deep.

The recon commander pointing the objective out.

In came the Luftwaffe!

The shot of the game, the last active Char B ran! Too many 1's for armor saves.

With the Char B's demises the panzers rush forward.

They contest the right objective.

The French infantry hunker down.

The SP 45mm guns spring their ambush.

But have middling results.

The 2nd company of panzers start to come on and engage the second French infantry platoon.

The 2nd French infantry platoon had be very aggressive and was now caught in the open.

On the right the arrival of the Somua's changed things.

The H39's had held the objective just long enough for support to arrive.

The Panzer II's don't want anything to do with the Somua's.

The French infantry had been pushed back in the center.

Czech panzers pushing foward.

The Panhard armored cars rushed around the German flank and were met by Panzer II's.
A wild tank brawl around the right objective.

The light vehicles were fighting it out on the left.

However the German big guns had just arrived.

But more French tanks came on against the German right.

The 8rads suddenly felt very exposed.

That is bad!

The two French 75mm field guns were a huge concern for the Panzer 38t's in the center.

But the Panzer II's had cleaned up the Panhards on the left and now went for that objective.

The Germans were being ground down on the right.

They were running out of Panzers.

The command 8rad trying to stay alive.

The Panzer IV's just could not kill the Somua S35's.

A very disappointing showing for the Panzer IV's.

The French tanks finally break the Germans on the right.

But the Somua's that rushed to the left didn't survive fifteen 20mm autocannon shots all around it.
The Panzer II's killed the last French infantry and Somuas to hold the objective.
A wild and crazy game! I really like early war with all the low AT weapons and low firepowers, the games last much longer. In the end when the Germans had to fight a stationary slugging match on the right they lost, but were saved by the mobile elements racing around to the objective on the left.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Everything has changed! 3D Printing

3D Printed Tabletop Miniatures

To start off with, I am well aware of 3D printers and what they can do, I am in the Industrial and Graphic Design department at work so I see 3D printers at work daily. But somewhere in the last year or so I missed the excellent SLA printers becoming so much cheaper (I mean relatively speaking, as they are still pricey).

However a friend of mine, Ray, recently mentioned that he had been printing some amazing 3D models and while I was somewhat skeptical, I couldn't resist when he offered to print me a few as a test. I have purchased 3D printed miniatures in the past from ebay and also shapeways. The results were always fine, but the print lines really take away from the detail on such small miniatures (10mm to 15mm). Also some of the material had proven difficult to clean and have paint adhere to.

Ray sent me a list of tanks to choose from and I had him print me some Hungarian tanks in 15mm. The list was from Thingiverse, a place where you can download free 3D files for about everything under the sun, and as fate would have it, someone had put together a huge collection of WWII vehicles. 

Ray is using a Formlabs Form II 3D printer, which shoots a laser into a vat of liquid resin to harden it. It almost appears as if the printer is pulling your model out a vat of liquid. Here is a neat video review that shows the process!

Fast forward a week and Ray brings me two Turan tanks and two Toldi tanks, that are amazing! You can see them below. There were no visible print lines even in 1:100th scale and the resin is tough and light. The barrels were not warped and are just a strong as any plastic. This resin is not brittle at all, as a matter of fact you really can't tell that the miniatures are not plastic once they are printed. The blue material that this first batch are made of is a strong dental resin so are nearly unbreakable, yet still clean up easily with a hobby knife.

That does bring me to one big point, there is a lot of clean up with these printed tanks. More on that in my second post.

A 15mm Hungarian Toldi I tank.

Hungarian Toldi IIa tank.

Hungarian Turin I tank.

Hungarian Turin II tank with sideskirts.

A painted Turin II tank!

Even painted up quickly, these came out great.

So after this first batch of tanks I was hooked! Just imagine a print on demand catalog of nearly every tank and vehicle you can imagine. I talked with Ray and agreed to buy a container of resin material and he would print tanks for me, the container is around $150 US dollars but with that he is able to print around 100 tanks, depending on the size of the vehicles! I bought a slightly cheaper grey resin that holds detail at an amazing level.

So far I've had Ray print everything I needed to finish my early war German tank force (10 Panzer 38t, 4 Panzer IV's), then 10 French FCM 36 tanks, some late war Japanese tanks (see below), and the great thing is I can pick and choose. For example I've been able to buy some French Char D2 tank miniatures online, but the turrets are pretty bad. What I did was just grabbed a file for the Somua S35 turret from Thingiverse and added a peg in a 3D program I have, then Ray printed just the turret and now I have the perfect D2's I wanted!

A German Tiger I tank.
A Japanese Type 3 Chi-Nu tank.
A huge Japanese Type 5 Chi-Ri.

Look at the 37mm and MG on the front. It printed that, no problem.
For my next post I'll cover some more of the miniatures I've finished and go over the cleanup process to get the miniature ready to print.