Monday, June 13, 2011

Paper buildings everywhere!

I believe the best looking Western Europe or even Eastern Europe battle terrains for WW2 should have lots and lots of destruction. That means ripped up fields, buildings in ruins, and your basic war garbage everywhere.
Okay one thing at a time. How do I create a shelled out Normandy village with minimal cost? Why it's paper buildings of course! On the Miniature page I discovered an ad for a shelled out building you can order online and download a PDF copy. The actual site of the creator of such products is
Dave Graffam's paper models.

Now you can buy one building as a test for on the cheap but I was fascinated with his product so I bought the bundle pack that contains 17 structure kits.
Dave's instructions state that you should print off your building parts on card stock to attain a level of rigidness you'd need. There's still one problem with this. The building walls still look too thin BUT if you want a quick building then follow his instructions. I decided to take it one step further. I'd print off my building parts on regular printer paper and glue the cut out parts onto foam board. I decided to use peel and stick floor tiles for floors, bases, and roofs. The reason for this is I didn't want the building to start looking like a thick bunker and I figure the thin floor tile will be easy to fasten to the build walls by cutting slots in the foam board and still offer a level of strength needed.
For my demo here I was planning on building one of the large buildings. The shelled out church. I print off the brick type I wanted. This document comes in 3 brick pattern types.
One thing I have to comment on with these PDF documents is that Dave has taken advantage of multi layering. What this means is before you print off the page you can chose what brick type or other building attributes you want to use. You can add windows or doors or my favorite, burn marks! The other point I'd like to mention is that in the instructions a scale chart is provided so can adjust the image size to your game scale. In my case my WW2 figures are 1/72 so the 20mm or 65% of original size was I thought a little too small. I settled on 75%.
Now everything is printed off and ready for cutting.
The tools of my trade are an exacto knife, ruler, glue stick, white glue, white wood filler, and a hot glue gun. The floors and roofs as I mentioned are placed on floor tiles. These can be cut using scissors or tin snips. I found the foam board can be cut with an exacto knife. I use the hot glue gun to glue all the walls together and fasten the buildings to the bottom floor. I also use the glue gun to fasten the roofs to the buildings. One thing to take note on is when I put two walls together at a corner I will cut one of the walls the thickness of the foam board and remove only one side. This will give you a clean corner to glue together. For the exposed edges of the foam board I give it a coating of white wood filler. You can get wood filler in a squeeze tube at building centers in numerous colours but found white was the best because it will take any colour you decide to paint it with.
The artist's rendering from the instructions

My finished building

From the opposite side

So with the multi layering function in PDF the volume of different buildings is huge. In a about a months worth of construction I've put together about 13 different structures. Below are a sampling of some of them.
The Tower Ruin
From the other side.
The Wrecked House
From the opposite side
These wall sections didn't come with bases. I added some print outs of rubbled roads. Another download that can be found on at Wargame Vault wargaming site.
The Sniper's wall
The Split Ruin
I'll be doing a post later when I use these buildings in my first game with them.

So to conclude I highly recommend these building PDF's. For the amount of buildings you can create they're relatively inexpensive. The 17 document files you get in the bundle works out to $2.35 USD so with materials your building costs are below $4.00 for each structure. Finally the most important feature of these PDF's is you can change the look of the structure before you print them off. They can be adapted to numerous scales and they look great.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ASL hybrid game

This past Saturday I had a couple of friends in from London who were itching to show me their Advanced Squad Leader rules adapted to gaming miniatures. Using 1/72 scale figures and armour we did a late 1944 Eastern Front scenario. Because ASL is a very detailed rule set my friend Greg (big ASL nut) sort of dumbed them down to a faster playing concept. He's already tried them out at a couple of Hotlead gaming conventions.
We set up the table with Rich's terrain and Greg's figures. The scenario was for a platoon of Germans holding a key crossroads from the Russian hordes and hoping for reinforcements.
The Russians advanced with 2 SU-122's and heavy infantry support.
A squad of Germans with a medium machine gun manage to hold off the Russian infantry while a Stug IIIG get's a hit on the 3rd try on one of the SU-122's. Eventually the Russians close on the German squad in the house and start a melee. While in melee the rest of the Russian forces fire at the wrestling mass and wipe them out. Friendly fire be damned!
The hill to the left of this ruined house is another key objective in the Russian's path. They manage to scare away a Panzershreck team but before they do the Panzershreck team takes out another SU-122.
Of the 4 objectives the Russians manage to get control of 3 of them. 2 hills and only 1 of 2 ruined houses near the crossroads.The photo below shows the view from the Russian perspective.
The German armour never made it close to the crossroads but did manage to knock out 5 Russian tanks.
The Stug III G seen in the photo above got 3 kills in the game before a T34-85 nailed it. A T34 made it to the base of the second hill to secure it. I don't think this tank would have survived much longer. There were 2 Mk IV's who acquired it and it was only a matter of time before it was a smoking ruin. The game ended after about 4 hours of play with a Russian victory on points over the Germans. Even though the Russians captured 3 out of 4 objectives they barely squeaked out a victory. They had lost a lot of armour compared to the Germans.

So how were the ASL rules adapted to miniatures? Well having 2 people playing who knew the rules inside and out helped. They even knew from memory the 'To hit' chart! I'm not sure if I like these rules or not. In other words the jury is still out. My current skirmish level rules use single figures rather than a base containing 3 figures. I still like the 1 figure equals 1 man theme. I did think the mechanics worked well. They had a nice balance of complexity over simplicity. I think though this game maybe a little too detailed for gaming conventions.