Wednesday, May 27, 2015

No love for LAV-R - a Skirmish Sangin battle report & initial thoughts

This has been my first try of the Skirmish Sangin rules as well as my new gaming table (at a very early WIP stage). All the figures (current proxies before I buy a bunch of packs from Elhiem figures) are 1/72 (20mm) Zvezda snap-it modern US soldiers (tan yellow plastic) and Russians (acting as Taliban soldiers).

The LAV-R is a Trumpeter 1/72 kit straight out of the box far from a finished state - just the two halves of the vehicle put together.

A lone LAV-R has been ambushed on its way to the base and a lucky RPG shot made it un-operational.
The USMC squad has left the vehicle to locate and neutralize the attacker.

USMC crew consists of 1 veteran NCO and 3 average gunners - one with UGL, one with LMG.
The insurgents led by a Warrior Imam Adiz, are 6 men strong with one of them wielding an RPG.

Skirmish Sangin games start with the character creation and here the Marines weren't particularly lucky, resulting in a number of low rolls, which meant later activation during the round. Talibs were the opposite, with most of them rolling a pretty high score.

The character creation is an interesting aspect of the game and has a great RPG-like feel to it.

Onto Deployment. Here I decided to put all the USMC boys next to the LAV-R behind a stone fence. The game was set to start immediately after the vehicle was hit and the Marines have disembarked it.

Probably due to the aftershock from the attack on the vehicle, they did not hit the ground immediately, but kept standing ("we're in cover, that's OK") - this mistake turned out to set the tone of the whole encounter and proved to be a costly one.

Taliban forces were mostly spread among the village rooftops, with one lookout kneeling in the bushes close to the Marines, 2 shooters watching from a first floor room windows, and Adiz, the Imam, one other guy and the lucky RPG shooter on the far roof.

Goals were as follows:

USMC locate the shooter and eliminate him
Taliban - finish what NAME RPG started and kill them all!

The Taliban started the game with Adiz, the leader advising everyone to stay calm, "let them come to us".

Or that was what he had hoped for, but as the rest of his comrades were novice soldiers, they did not listen. Malik, one of the two in the first floor room, attempted to spot Ding - and succeeded on second attempt, so he tried to shoot the infidel. This was a miss, but a Morale test for Ding nevertheless ("they are shooting at me!"), Atash, the lookout, heard the shot and immediately decided to follow, "if Malik can shoot, why shouldn't I?". Due to the fact he was kneeling, he had a nice bonus to spotting and shooting. Success, Aim and Shoot - a hit resulting in 2 points of damage - a Light wound.

Unfortunately, in the next combat round, Ding failed his Morale check - resulting in him dropping prone and losing all the actions this round.

In the next round, the NCO, Deks, finally enters the battle - he spots Atash kneeling behind the bushes, returns fire and down goes the insurgent!

As one of the Talibs was shot down, all his comrades within 12" needed to pass a Morale check - one of the two in the 1st floor room, Daoud saw his dear friend Atash killed and, boy is he stressed - Morale test for him the next round!

Pretty much immediately, Clown (the Minimi Marine) gets hit by a shot from the window - this time a Medium wound (worth 5 points) and loss of conciousness - the situation starts to deteriorate pretty quickly for the Marines. This also changes the objective for the USMC - no more shooting the insurgents, they need to provide first aid to the wounded soldier.

After this frantic start, things calmed down a bit, or not. Clown is wounded and unconscious - meaning that at the end of every combat round he loses one more point of health. Well there are 3 other soldiers, who can tend to him, so that shouldn't be a problem should it? As it turned out, it was. This simply wasn't the best day for this squad and it took multiple rounds to successfully make that 40% First Aid roll (there were couple of failed Motivation rolls as well, meaning a loss of the full round). Clown ended up almost bleeding out with 11 points of damage (13 means you're dead).

Rest of the unit dropped prone and became a squad of sitting ducks - the stone wall protected them - for now.

In the village, Daoud failed his Morale test (remember, his buddy Malik just got shot in front of him) and it really shook him - if he failed the subsequent test, he would retire!

Luckily, he was able to get himself together and decided he wants to avenge his friend, so he started running towards the Marines - eye for an eye!

He wasn't the only one, pretty much everyone started to leave their positions and moved towards the enemy - if they are so foolish and instead of returning fire they focus on reviving one of their own, we have a great chance to actually make them pay big time!

Here I struggled a bit with how the evacuation works (no idea!) and in the end the Marines somehow managed to hide behind/inside the LAV with Bunny getting shot (another Light wound) in the process as the Insurgents were getting closer and closer.

This was also the moment I called it a day - I would call it a minor victory for the Insurgents - they lost one soldier, but they were able to push the assault back and inflict some serious damage.
The Marines were in the end lucky - considering the number of mistakes they've made, it could have ended much, much worse for them.

Of course the mistakes the Marines made were all mine - I'd say it is easier to play the insurgents, as you don't have to worry that much about casualties, you have more bodies... With USMC, you need to be careful, cautious and you can't just stand behind a 1m wall thinking you're well covered - you're not!

Again, this was an introductory, learning the rules game for me and I'm pretty sure I made a couple of errors in the process, but boy, I had fun!

How does Skirmish Sangin play solo?

Even with a very brief planning stage (setting the goals and objectives for both of the sides) it worked pretty well. Next time I will think about some sort of aggressive/conservative roll based on the experience level (here I used a 1d10 - for 7+ the soldier would listen to their leader and wait for the USMC to come closer, needless to say both times, they failed and went berserk). It was pretty much me as a player playing the USMC team against the "AI" Insurgents.

The rules (172 pages) will cost you £7.50 for a PDF or £22.50 for a softcover book (PDF included) and they are actually pretty simple, although it might seems there's lot of bookkeeping, that's not that the case - it's definitely something that would annoy you as you play - the game flows really well.

There is also a "try it before you buy it" introductory rulebook available with a simple scenario walkthrough available from here:

The whole systems puts a lot of focus onto the storytelling aspect and it really does have a strong RPG feel to it - something that is not limited only to the character creation, but present throughout the whole game.

I already have a couple of possible scenarios I plan on trying and the LAV-R, UAZ Technical will definitely play a part in those.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

UAZ 469 Technical 1/72 MAC Model build log Pt. 1

Soon after discovering the Skirmish Sangin ruleset for modern Afghanistan skirmish battles I knew that I needed to get myself some Technicals. Luckily I discovered this lovely little kit from MAC Model.
It's a shortrun, so you have to expect some amount of cleaning and adjusting, but honestly, the model went together pretty well, with the only issues arising when the bodywork was put together - thicker super glue is your friend here.

The critical part of construction

The whole model took me just two evening sessions to complete, so a nice little project.
As a bonus, the sprues contain two types of weaponry - the advertised KPV 14,5 mm machine gun and also a 106mm gun, so if you're building this for gaming purposes you get two options in one.

The model comes with a tiny photo-etch sheet - some minor details on the outside - here I would probably welcome the dashboard, since the plastic one is a bit rough.

The tiny car is ready for painting!

Painting started with a layer of AMMO Black Primer followed by a mix of  US Olive Drab Post WW2 (Ammo 081), Dunkelgelb aus '44 (011) and IDF Sinai Grey (066) - a very odd mixture, but the only Ammo paints I have at the moment and I was lazy to clean the airbrush for Vallejos. The idea is to have an ex-Soviet, banged up car and even now, pre-weathering I like it.

Base color applied, onto weathering!

To be continued...

Let's get this party started!

When I'm not at work or with my family, I like to build models and preferably play games with them.
It all started with Flames of War (15mm company level WW2 ), Star Wars X Wing (no modelling, just playing), then came SAGA (28mm Dark Age skirmish) and most recently Skirmish Sangin (20mm modern Afghanistan skirmish).
For most of these games I tend to build my own terrain pieces and buildings.
Apart from models and figures for my games, I do build an occasional bigger tank or two in the 1/35 scale, although these take me ages to complete.

And that's pretty much it, you can expect some build logs, WIP posts and hopefully even AARs.

Here's one of my older models, 1/100 PzKpfw III N in winter camo made with the hairspray technique.