tiistai 25. marraskuuta 2014

Painting Challenge preparation

With the start of the fifth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge drawing closer preparation is ramping up. I haven't picked up the brushes for over a week, but that doesn't mean nothing has been happening. Last week I got a game of Flames of War in and on top of that I've been prepping quite a few minis.

I have two main projects that I'm trying to tackle during the challenge. A Barbarossa era German Panzerschützen army for Flames of War and 28mm Napoleonics for Waterloo. Roughly 1800 points of Flames of War and 8 battalions of Napoleonics with some cavalry regiments should keep me occupied quite nicely indeed. After learning from last year I'm not going to really plan what I'm painting as I'll get frustrated with some project anyway and things will get pushed back :)

To counter this frustration I've prepped quite a few other random projects as well like a band of Samurai to use in Ronin, some more SAGA  miniatures and 28mm German Bolt Action minis. With the fortnight challenges this should definately keep me busy and give some variety between the two main projects.

Before the challenge begins there are some projects to finish up so I can have my table emptied. I have a bunch of Pioniers for Bolt Action about 80% finished as well as some single minis like the Helbrute that I used for Airbrush training. Somehow these seem to take ages, but hopefully they are finally gone soon :)

torstai 20. marraskuuta 2014

Finnish Jäger movement 100 years anniversary

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the formation of the Jäger movement in Finland. The movement and the men who took part in it proved to be instrumental in Finlands struggle for independence from the Russian Empire and later during Second World War fighting against Soviet Union.

The Jäger movement began in late 1914 from University circles in Helsinki with the aim of providing military training for Finns to aid in gaining independence from the Russian Empire. Although Finland had broad autonomy as part of the Empire tensions had been rising since the beginning of the century with tightening Russian control and what was considered oppression by Finns. The birthdate of the movement is usually considered to be 20th of November 1914 after a meeting by nationalist university students and lecturers where it was decided that passive resistance was not enough anymore and treason was the only way forward. Thus a people's army was needed to enable Finland to gain independence.

The Jäger sign

The movement was aligned towards the West and especially towards Germany as was much of the University circles at that time. As military training could not be conducted in Finland the movement started seeking ways to enable for Finns to take train abroad and if possible gain combat experience. Talks were held secretly with both Swedish and German representatives and finally in January 1915 Germany announced that it would train 200 Finns and the recruitment process began. Recruitment was carried out in great secrecy and 200 men moved secretly to Sweden and through Sweden to Lockstedt Lager in Holstein, Germany to participate in what was in the beginning called Pathfinder training to mask the true purpose of the camp. This was further enlarged in the Autumn of 1915 to include roughly 2000 men and recruitment started in earnest. The unit was to be of battalion strength and consist of 4 rifle companies, a machine-gun company and a pioneer company.

Jäger recruiters pose for a group shot sometime in 1915.

This increase in recruitment also changed the demographics of the unit from a mainly university educated force of men who were able to speak German into a truly mixed group with personnel also from the working classes. With the growing number of men in the unit and the lack of German language skills with most new recruits it became obvious that instruction manuals would need to be translated into Finnish. This would result in the formation of the Finnish military lexicon with terms being decided that are still in use today. As a result even today our rank system is mainly German and many of the terms are based on German terms of the time.

Jäger battalion marching in Libau, Latvia during 1917.

At this point the recruitment also became known to the Russian authorities in Finland. The authorities naturally started a crackdown on the movement and many recruiters were captured and jailed. There were also some shootdowns between Jägers and Russians soldiers and policemen coming to arrest them. Some prominent members were also jailed including Aarne Sihvo who would later on become a General and the Command of the Finnish Armed Forces.

Machine-gun training somewhere on the Eastern Front in 1917.

The unit would end their training period in May 1916 and it was designated as the Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27 and given the German green Jäger uniforms. As the goal was always also to gain some combat experience to aid in gaining independence the unit transferred to the Eastern Front to fight the Russian army. The battalion spent the years 1916-17 on the front in Latvia around Riga and Libau and took part in the fighting. Casualties were fairly light with only 14 dead and roughly 40 wounded. This was partly due to the fact that the unit only took part in smaller fighting and defensive actions to limit the risk of personnel losses and spare the unit for fighting later on in Finland.

Finnish Jägers somewhere on the frontlines in Latvia.

With the Russian revolution in 1917 and Finland gaining independence on the 6th of December 1917 members of the unit started returning to Finland with the first 60 already arriving already in 1917. They had trained to fight against the Russians, but the situation in Finland quickly started changing with a Civil War breaking out in early 1918. The jägers found themselves fighting against not only the Russian troops still in the country, but also against newly formed Red Guards consisting of mainly workers etc. With most of the Jägers being with a university background or independent landowners and farmers they sided with the Whites that included the government and White Guard. However due to this situation roughly 900 Jägers chose to stay in Germany and only returned to Finland later on.

Jägers on parade in Vaasa during early 1918.

The arrival of the Jägers on the side of the Whites is usually considered to have been a turning point in the Civil War as they provided some much needed professionalism on the side of the whites in a conflict that was mainly fought between amateurs on both sides. In the end the civil war ended in May 1918 after roughly 4 months of fighting. This fighting took a heavy toll on the Jägers as roughly 10 percent of all the Jägers were killed and about 20 percent wounded in the fighting.

The frontlines at the beginning of the Civil War.

In the years following the Civil War and independence many of the Jägers went on to study more in foreign military academies and many would rise into prominent leadership positions both in the Finnish Army displacing the officers trained in Russia and also in the Finnish society as a whole. There were 49 Jägers who reached the rank of a General and most of the command of the Finnish Army during Winter and Continuation wars in 1939-1944 had a background in the Jäger movement and the education received in Germany.

A memorial stone for the Finnish Jägers in Hohenlockstedt in Germany

The movement is still seen in the traditions of the Finnish Army with units being designated as either infantry (Jalkaväki) or Jäger (Jääkäri) with the Jäger units usually being better equipped and often having more specialized training like the mechanized infantry (Panssarijääkäri), airborne (Laskuvarjojääkäri), border guards infantry (Rajajääkäri) etc. Jäger is also being used as the lowest rank of enlisted personnel instead of private in most peacetime infantry units.

The Jäger March composed by Jean Sibelius. It is the honorary march of most Finnish Military units and also the first song to be played at the Independence day reception. Version performed by the Polytechnic Choir from Helsinki University of Technology.

perjantai 14. marraskuuta 2014

Saga: Clash of Warlords

Preparing for the Painting Challenge is going forward fast with many miniatures being built up and a lot fewer being painted. I've been finishing a couple of projects that have been in a semi-finished state for ages. I finally got around to finishing the roofs of my 4Ground buildings and painting the doors for Gripping Beasts Dark Age Church. All in time for a game of Saga this week!

It's been a while since the last game again, but as a fellow club member wanted to try out the rules I was happy to oblige. He'd been building up a Viking force and was sort of familiar with the rules, but just hadn't played the game yet. I decided to leave my normal Anglo-Saxon list of Alfred, a bard and 5 points of Warriors home as it's a bit cheesy and opted to try out the Jomsvikings for the first time. I've played against them quite a few times, so I'm pretty familiar with how to beat them, but not really with how to play with them.

Anyways I went with a Dane-axe wielding Warlord and 4 points of dane-axe carrying hearthguard backed up by 2 points of regular warriors. All this was split into 2 groups of 8 hearthguard, a group of 8 warriors and two groups of 4 warriors to give me command dice.

My opponent Jaakko played regular Vikings with a Warlord, 2x6 hearthguard, 2x8 warriors and 12 levy with bows.

The mission was Clash of the Warlords and we set up the table so that it would be centered around a Saxon village which had become the battleground for two groups of marauding Vikings. I piled all my forces on one flank to concentrate my smaller forces in one area and hopefully pick out some lone units on the way.

My initial moves were to rush the unit of Warriors on my right flank in a bid to quickly get them killed and to remove some Saga dice. However everything went to hell and I lost 6 of my Hearthguard taking out the unit. Not a very good trade. On the following turn the remaining two were wiped out by attacking Viking Hearthguard. However they were then in turn left vulnerable to a combined attack by my Warlord and Warriors.

On the other flank the levies had moved up to shooting positions, but only managed to get out one round of shooting the whole game, which ended up in one dead Warrior. I did need to reposition my forces a bit though as I couldn't just rush them either as they were well supported.

The Vikings then made a bold dash towards my two small units of warriors who had been bravely hiding behind the building only to lose the fight without killing a single warrior. As revenge I used the Jomsviking board to pull out his Warlord from any entourage and bravely attacked him with my own Warlord and 8 Hearthguard. The end result was quite predictable, but he didn't go down without a fight and took two of my guys with him.

I'm not too impressed with the Jomsvikings. I didn't really help myself by telling my opponent that he probably should avoid giving me Wrath whenever possible, but it was a practice game for him so maybe it was in place. Still without Wrath a lot of the abilities become pretty much useless and the most effective way of gaining Wrath "Northern Tempest" is pretty much negated if there are Levies on the board. Still quite fun to play, but I think I'll stick to Anglo-Saxons and Norse Gaels.

At the same time two other club members were playing Bolt Action, this time with a Pacific setting. There's been a build up of both Japanese and USMC to give some variety in addition to the regular Western Front games that are running around. Anyways splendid basing on the Japanese with small palm trees etc. going around. Really makes the minis stand out.

lauantai 8. marraskuuta 2014

Painting Challenge Vol V

Winter is arriving again and with it Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge with it's fifth edition suitably announced on Fawkes day or the 5th of November. I'm joining the fun for the third time. Last year I ended up with something around 1300 points, but this year I'll be aiming for a slightly more modest 1000 points.

This year the entrance fee is an "Anti-hero". This will need some figuring out. Thinking of a good subject and finding a suitable mini will definately be difficult this time around.

I need to start putting together minis to paint during the challenge. The bulk of my entries will probably be an Flames of War Barbarossa era German Panzerschützen force and 28mm Napoleonics for Waterloo. Just the 28mm French would get me some 700 points already and the Germans another 300-400 points, so I guess that should be already quite close to my target and probably a lot more than I'll be able to paint up in the space of three months.

The bonus rounds also make a reappearance again with new categories. Some will need some thought as I really want to try to stick to some projects that I'm already doing instead of painting something completely random for them.
  • December 14: Cold - Some final Winter War Finns. A boring choice, but hey it's probably the only way I'll ever get them painted :)
  • December 28: Mount(s) & Rider(s) - Cavalry would be obvious, but boring again. Modern cavalry in the form of Panzergrenadiers might do the trick or some aircraft in the form of "Knights of the Air"
  • January 11: Victorian - Steampunk would be another pretty obvious choice here for me. I've still got a few minis for my Gentlemen's Club INHM group lying around.
  • January 25: Myth - I have both Chimera and Dragon models lying around waiting for paint so maybe along some of those lines.
  • February 8: Hot - This one will be quite difficult. Though what's hotter than a dragon. Hell it's a 80s era classic Citadel Dragon :)
  • February 22: Comedic - Another difficult one as I don't really have anything "Comedic" immediately. Maybe some sort of a diorama. Last minute panic will be needed again to find a suitable subject :P
  • March 8: Anti-Hero - As with the Comedic thing, I really have nothing readily available so this will need some inspiration again.

torstai 6. marraskuuta 2014

Crisis report

Well I've finally managed to go through all of the pictures I took during the trip. So much to see and so little time so I missed quite a bit and forgot to take photos of a lot more.

All in all a great trip and a great show. An epic effort by the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp. Everything went super smoothly if you don't count the main lights sometimes going out in one hall, but that didn't matter too much anyway.

This was my first Wargaming show outside of Finland so I didn't really know what to expect from it. The one day nature makes the whole thing a bit hectic as there's really just too much to do in just one day and maybe the emphasis turns a bit more to shopping, but still it was a great show with loads of great looking games going on everywhere. It was nice to see some of the faces from other blogs and see the games some of them were hosting. Anyways ramblings aside, let's let the pictures tell their tale.

Arriving 20 minutes before the show left me with roughly a 150 meter queue in front of me. Luckily everything went quite fast and I got in about 15 minutes after the show started.

Some Space Marines were patrolling the halls. Judging from the amount of sweat that was dripping from their faces, I'd hazard a guess that those suits are pretty darn hot :)

 Immediately when the Bring & Buy opened up there was a mad rush when everyone wanted to get in there first for good deals.

Burkhard of DHC Wargames fame was hosting an excellent WW2 game. Those firing Panzerwerfers really add a lot of dynamism to the table.


 The THS club table that ended up winning the Best Presented Game Award. A really nice choice of subject with the Maximilian in Mexico theme. Superb looking terrain and minis too. A well deserved award indeed.

I'd really been wanting to see this Battle of Keren table as there had been tons of images going around the internet after other shows like Salute. The vertical nature of it really makes it stand out from the rest. Epic stuff indeed.

There was a nice Arab-Israeli war table with the hosts dressed accordingly.



This snowthemed table was really an eye-catcher even if the game wasn't exactly my taste. Superb work all around.


A nice Saga Crescent & Cross table featuring a siege battle.

 Some 40k to be seen also in the form of one pretty darn big mega-battle featuring Imperial Guard and Space Marines versus Orks and Tyranids. Some nice custom built vehicles on the orks especially.

This table with Orky WW2 planes was one of my favorites. You can't go wrong with Orks flying stylized versions of WW2 planes.

The South London Warlords who are behind Salute were running a large Bolt Action table with British troops making a two-pronged attack agains the Jerry.



There was a really nice looking D-Day table next to the Warlord stand. Too bad it didn't seem to see too much gaming and I never really saw anyone hosting it.

And last, but not least a collection of pictures of different tables in no particular order.