Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Consistency discussion

You’ll have seen Col Winterbourne’s post on consistency of finishacross the collection.  Quite an article, which does have links back to where I spoke about “army photos”, IMHO.  Do please disagree, or just tell me that I’m being self-aggrandising.

So; when I started my guard army it was DKK and Valhallans.  These guys, possibly still the lions share of my infantry (although only just) are guys in brown greatcoats.  I was aiming for total consistency of theme and colour from the outset.

But then I added some Cadians.  Still in brown uniforms, but with green armour and Cadian Gate transfers.  Still a reasonable level of cohesion.

But then I added another few units – the penal unit in orange jumpsuits, the Kasarkin in the funky dark camo, some Vostroyans in red coats with green trim and then ASL in their GW colourscheme as well.

The late additions; Mordian 7th, Blue DKK and Woodland camo “Cadians/Corbanians” add further diversity, which some commenters (commentators ?) have pointed out, nicely describes the fluff of a large, necessarily diverse, Imperial Guard Army Group. 

So this diversion from my brown greatcoat army is not necessarily a bad thing; I could play a >2000 point game with either brown greatcoats, Blue Krieg, Camo dudes or multi coloured allsorts.

Consistency of quality of finish is why I outsource nearly all of the mini painting – I’m happy batching working on the vehicle fleets on the odd occasion, but I look at my infantry and generally prefer other people’s work.  They look more ‘finished’ than my efforts.  I just don’t have the inclination to make the time to improve my painting, paying for my idleness by having having to pay for my armies to be painted, but the pay-off is an army which doesn’t look unfinished.

Another consistency point is that all of the armies (including the forces of freedom/chaos, who I haven’t really considered whilst drafting this) are all supposed to be based on grey rubble.  Plain grey rubble.  Thus matching my grey tables and urban terrain.   Some figures (Black Templars, I’m looking at you) have come back with brown sand and the odd tuft of grass, but I did send these back once to be corrected and they came back untouched.  Maybe some-day I’ll run a black marker pen around the bases and slop some grey over the sand, but at the minute there are more pressing things to be finished.

So yes, consistency is important, but I’m not going to get too excited whilst there is still so much to be done. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


The 22nd Inf Div, a large part of the armoured strength of XVIII Corps, was the spearhead unit for Operation Dragonfire.  40 Kloms east of Fort Nuttar is an area of wadis almost 600 Kloms square, it promised 300 Kloms of hard wadi bed, allowing 72AGs armoured might a swifter journey than one over the dusty, soft prairie.

In the event the rocky sides of the wadis had been well prepared with crew served weapon emplacements, hidden from aerial surveillance.  Veterans of 2/99 Regt of the Separatist PDF bide their time. 

30th Pardus Armoured Regt, nearly 200 Leman Russ, with their attached Cadian Superheavies and a battalion of Brimlock Dragoons as their anti-infantry screen, set off just after midnight.  Along the hills and ridges the scouting parties from Sarainian 30th that had been dropped off by Valkyrie, were quietly and efficiently swept up by the PDF’s Special Forces who were expecting them.

22 Inf Div were blind, but the clock had been set and Operation Dragonfire would proceed to timetable.   Gen Pandovic (Narmienia), the Divisional Commander, informed Corps HQ of the deficiency in reconnaissance and information and was told to proceed regardless. 

Delta Company of the 30th Pardus Armoured Regt was allowed to advance to a point where it could not turn around, indeed,  it could hardly manoeuvre at all.  A pinch point in the wadi system limited was allowed to be passed; keeping some distance between sub units, Delta Company was allowed through the pinch point in its entirety.  The interlocking fields of fire of the Separatist PDF’s Las Cannons and AGTW hit every vehicle within the first two minutes of the engagement, still an hour before dawn.

Number 7 Platoon of the Brimlock Dragoons did force their way into that part of the wadi system, however, not being as heavily armoured as Leman Russ’ their Chimerae were also swiftly knocked out.  

Delta Company’s Officer Commanding, Major Rotick, had his tank knocked out.  Not a soldier who gives up easily, he jumped to another (working) tank in his company, forcing it’s commander to walk to the rear.

He directed the fire of the remaining Pardus assets to all fire on the northern wall, as splitting fire between multiple targets did not appear to be having any effect at all.  In the event, survivors do report that return fire from the northern positions slackened off.  However the enemy was too well sited and dug in; after seventeen minutes all of the tanks and Chimerae were knocked out and the survivors were making their way out of the wadi, back the way they came, on foot.

A similar story unfolded along all of the chosen lines of advance that day; there were only a limited number of wadis that would facilitate an armoured advance and it was no real trouble for the enemy to set ambushes therein.  The lack of reconnaissance was a major factor.  In their haste to push a greater part of their armoured strength eastwards, they had squandered a part of it (and more importantly, perhaps, experienced Pardus tank crews[1]) in an ill-advised manoeuvre.  

An entire Brigade of Rough Riders had landed two days before[2].  Postponing operation Dragonfire until it could have become available to Operation Dragoonfire as a reconnaissance asset would have saved resources and ultimately time. 

The wrecked vehicles had to be recovered, assessed and then either repaired or put beyond use[3].  Another complication for 22nd Inf Div's planners. 

The PDF had already planned their escape routes, largely using the smaller wadis and occasional prepared tunnels.  Any weapons or equipment left behind was either booby trapped or wrecked.  Relatively few bodies were discovered. 

Dismounted infantry from 23rd Inf Div, most notably the 8th and 9th Vitrian Highland Regiments, deployed into the ambush sites by mid-afternoon and cleared them, making the are safe for the vehicle recovery teams.

On day two, vehicle availability was an issue; The 30th Pardus Armoured Regt was at 54% and the 2nd Brimlock Dragoons were at 22%.  The 3rd Narmienian took over the lead and moved cautiously, allowing the now largely dismounted Brimlock Dragoons to keep pace.  The wadi systems opened out, allowing more room for manoeuvre; on day two, 22nd Div was confronted not just with ambush by dug in and camouflaged crew served weapons, but also detachments from the PDF’s 73rd Tank Regt.  

The PDF tended to use their formations mob handed, allowing for a greater concentration of force; they were able to do this because they knew the wadi system well and had hidden tank formations in prepared positions, as per their planetary defence plan.  They were able on one occasion to charge through the screening Narmienian tanks and engage one of the Cadian Baneblades at extremely close range (10s of meters), resulting the destruction of “Cadia’s Wrath” with all hands.

Tank battles were fought all day.  General Pandovic had four tanks shot out from under him during the day.  The first time his command tank was knocked out, he re-mounted and ordered the survivors from C and D Companies to assault the dug in positions whilst the rest of his command kept the PDF tanks away from the fight.  Unfortunately the crew served weapons drew the rest of C and D Companies in like fly paper and took a heavy toll on the armour, quitting only where the accompanying infantry caught up.

The Baneblades proved to be a liability in the wadis overall[4].  They could not use their range or firepower as their field of fire was extremely restricted.  Any attempt to go near the wadi walls would result in the wall collapsing and the Baneblade eventually bogging in the soft running sand that inevitably flowed in.  Similarly, neither airpower nor artillery would be used as this was likely to block the required tank routes with soft sand.

General Pandovic pulled muscles in his back and knees jumping from the fourth knocked out ‘Russ that day.  This mishap would leave him in severe pain for days, still commanding his Division and the Narmienian 3rd.  Pain and sleep deprivation did not make Day 3 of Operation Dragonfire any better.  The Narmienians availability was at 58% all vehicles.   Colonel Eatuthor, XVIII Corps COS, Ensured that 1st Division[5] took over on Day 3 and that Day 4 would mark a consolidation of gains and review of progress against the plan.  

In the event, the inability of armoured formations to exit the wadi system once they were in it was deemed sufficient reason to abandon Operation Dragonfire after 4 days.

[1] By now, Comptroller Bellormus had built up a stock of Leman Russ types as replacements.  Almost all of them were on Acre, but some were already committed to the supply chain and therefore less than a week away.
[2] The Macharian Thunder Guard; at this point a Brigade sized formation, as yet unassigned to any Corps.  Their mass conveyor, the Optime III,, dropped them directly at Fort Nuttar.
[3] There were still guerrilla bands at large so all abandoned resources were put well beyond use.
[4] There were several places where the superheavies blocked the wadi entirely, preventing advance, reinforcement, resupply, retreat or evacuation. And they used fuel which could have kept three or four ‘Russ running.
[5] 1st Division was Vostroyan, Volpone and Valhallan units and also included two tank regiments. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Black Ops

Not all the units deployed to Devos IV are a part of the formal ORBAT, or even listed anywhere.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

CO 11Bn 157th Firstborn

This is brevet Colonel Machalovski; CO of 11/157 (Firstborn) Infantry Regt.  And members of his command team, including his Adjutant, Kaptain Ilic.  Their Divisional commander, 3* General Tolstoy, rated Kaptain Ilic, to the extent of making him the first Imperial Guard Officer on Devos IV as part of Operation Tranquillity.

Body guard, Col Machalovski, Kaptain Ilic

The 157th Firstborn was for a long time the only Vostroyan Regiment in 72AG.  As such, it’s 12 battalions were split up amongst various headquarters and formations in order to provide some commonality of Standard Operating Procedures for 72AG as a whole.   The first four battalions are now part of XVIII Corps 1st Infantry Division. 

11th Battalion was designated as HQ Bn for XVII Korps.  It’s Companies and platoons are deployed alongside their non-Vostroyan brothers in arms in order to provide understanding and interpretation  of information and instruction passing between the formations of XVII Korps.  Additionally, the designated close protection company for the Korps HQ is also under Col Machalovski’s command.

With the rest of the team (minus standard bearer)
Whilst not exactly an opportunity for eternal glory that being in the line would be, 157th Regt’s role on Devos IV (battalions one to four excepted) offer an able officer a chance to position himself as available for a staff role, should such an opportunity arise during the campaign.  This would a coup for (substantive) Lt Col Machalovski who is not really entirely used to his new augmatic leg.

3* Gen Tolstoy, the Divisional commanders and indeed, Kaptain Ilic, have changed the way Col Machalovski approaches command of his regiment.  Doubtless he would revert to type in an instant, but then, it would likely be in his interests to do so.  His subordinates have no exposure to his new found pragmatism, being dispersed across the Korps, so his career within a Vostroyan formation remains safe and/or his opportunity to move into the wider command of Imperial forces is becoming available.  The future looks rosy and he is in good humour for a man who lost a leg less than a year ago[1].

Kaptain Ilic is keen to continue to perform well under 3* Gen Tolstoy.  Should the campaign be successful, doubtless there will junior staff opportunities.  If not, then a good write up in his annual appraisal will do no harm.  Kaptain Ilic continues to work hard.  He is learning more about SF Operations as they are largely planned and launched from Korps HQ.  He is learning more about the Inquisition as there is normally one or more Inquisitors passing through Korps HQ each day.  He is learning more about the workings of Divisional and Corps HQ as he sees more of them.  All this on top of his own job and the occasional date with Commissar Pymarett as well.

[1] Not even in combat.  He was run over by a cargo lifter in transit to this warzone. 

Monday, 9 March 2015

Mini in the box dot com

Hello Paypal.  I've been trying to track back four unexplained payments to someone calling themselves 'miniinthebox'. In order to do this, I've had to open an account on their website (after they've billed me for things I've not ordered !?).  This account still won't recognise me as a buyer or allow any query to be lodged.

As far as I know, their intention to permanently deprive me of my money by randomly billing me is theft.  Please look into it and let me know what you're going to do about it.

This is a transcript of the email I sent to them on the afternoon of Mon 09 Mar 15.  The auto reply to this e-mail is reproduced below that.


My pay pal account shows four payments to you that I have no recollection at all of placing.   And they were made when I was on holiday.  And the URL attached to the pay pal invoices doesn't go to a proper web site.

So, what exactly do you think I've ordered ?

Invoice ID: Mini-1503080718651662
Invoice ID: Mini-1503080618651513
Invoice ID: Mini-1503080618651453

Looking forward to hearing from you.

(I signed this and left my cellphone number)

Dear Customer,
We're sorry that this email address is no longer used because we need to record all communication messages in system to assure the service quality. Please contact us via opening a Ticket on our website according to the steps in the following link:
We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The road to Xyphonica starts here.

Fort Nuttar is the official designation for 72AGs staging ground half way across the prairies of central Benq.  The Nuttar is a small bird that feeds on the seed and flocks in great numbers in the vicinity.  You can imagine what the soldiers say.   Staff Officers at sub-ordinate headquarters shake their heads at the wisdom of their superiors.

The hiatus in the war gives time for re-organisation and reinforcement; even without combat, the journey across this relatively benign terrain is still taking its toll on serviceability of tanks and APCs.  Superheavies seem to wear out a little less, but when they do, they are off the road much longer.
Lager points for Divisions are set up radiating out from Corps locations, XVII Korps to the North, XVIII Corps to the South and XXXVIII Corps to the West.   Each is then like a spiders web of haul roads radiating out to the Division Lagers.  Military Provost troops have their time filled by recovered vehicles and stragglers rolling in over the two months and being directed to their appointed place.  For some units, this is the first time they have all been co-located since Operation Tranquillity, over a year ago.

There are some probing attacks by platoon sized formations of PDF Separatists, but nothing to really bother the whole Army Group.   Air assets are concentrated within the boundary of Fort Nuttar itself.  More soldiers jokes about birds of a feather flocking together.    The Navy’s mass conveyors ‘Castlemate’ and ‘Garden of Hiber’ land reinforcements for XXXVIII Corps – The Fantoma 313rd and Harakoni 22nd arrive and the 3rd (Devos IV) Infantry Division becomes 3rd Airmobile Division.   On one level this pleases 4*Gen Zukhov as he now appears to have a massively increased military capability.  But neither regiment arrives with its organic transport.  The problem, like so many others, is passed back to Comptroller Bellormus.

72AGs Headquarters ground appreciation deliberately placed the understrength XXXVIII Corps to the west, back along the route of the railroad.  Using the Airmobile assets that 1st (Airmobile) Division does have, units are deployed to patrol the railroad and ensure security .

72AG Headquarters, half a world away on continental Acer, signs off the travel warrants allowing Ecclesastical and Inquisitorial representatives to travel to the front.   Sword Cardinal Pielaide leads the Synod of St Josephine and a contingent of confessors and lay preachers from the Tree of Man to the front.  Bishop Popper remains on Acer as a guest of Gen Zukhov.

After two months, XVIII Corps, with 23rd Inf Div, led by General Robbeme (Cadia) in the van, prepare to resume the advance.  The route chosen by 3* Gen Romos (Macragge) is through a series of dry valleys running east to west.  These routes are pretty close to bedrock at on the valley floor, promising less dust and harder (ie better for armour) going than the prairie above; but are known to be defended, possibly in depth.  And the PDF has also had two months to reorganise and prepare. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Inquisitorial Conclave of Dinterra Minor

The Conclave of Dinterra Minor is a subordinate branch of the Ordos Kelestor.  The Conclave is responsible for coordinating the activities of the Holy Ordos between Hydraphur and the Dinorwic Cluster, including administration of collecting the Emperor's Due including the Black Ships and the Gene Tithe of Space Marine Chapters based, stationed, operating or transiting their area of responsibility.

Following the heretical declaration of secession (and execution of Inquisitor Vincorum), provision of asylum for the known witch Apocrypha Quinelle, coup against the Imperial Governor (Maj Gen Marcus Firth III [Cadia]) and denial of the imperial creed*, the inquisition is anxious that the rot does not spread to the rest of the Dinowic Cluster.

Lady Inquisitrix Josephine Hellmwr's network of agents had already been watching Inquisitor Vincorum's pursuit of Apocrypha Quinelle.  The Lady Inquisitrix did not appreciate Inquisitor Vincorum's high handed unsubtle methods. His Mono-dominance is not a problem, but his bombastic style and inability to see anything beyond the obvious has wrecked more than a few ongoing clandestine investigations.

She has positioned this matter in the Conclave's order of business.  The consequence of this is that Conclave lent Inqusitorial support to the Imperial Guard's Kelestor Sub Sector Command's campaign to restore Devos IV to the Imperial fold.  One result of this has been that she has been instructed to take an interest in the campaign.  To this end the Conclave has commissioned the rouge trader Corinthian Summer, under its master, Amicus Falco Darke, and assembled an all volunteer force of Inquisitors to oversee the campaign.  Another has been the re-routing of a detachment of the Legio Astoria to the war zone.

ISTs.  Sixty of these took the statport.

Whilst the Corinthian Summer has been shuttling tank regiments from Agripinna to Devos IV, the Inquisitors have been assembling at Borin Majoris.  One of those coming along, Inquisitor Hallas Blingnor, has close ties to Castellion Brodeep of the Black Templars.  Independently and without letting anyone else know what he was doing, he has asked Castellion Brodeep to meet him at Devos IV. Inquisitor Blingnor was an Interrogator under Inquisitor Vincorum.

In all eight Inquisitors from all three major denominations of Holy Ordos join the Corinthian Summer at Borin Majoris, along with two ecclesiastic representatives. These are Sword Cardinal Pielaide who is a crusading missionary with a writ from the mother church to lead and assist the Synod of St Josephine and Bishop Popper of an order called the Tree of Man, the Ecclesiasty's official programme of religious support for 72AG.

*a catch all offence for anything from minor blasphemy to arson.