Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Return of the Flintloque

It's been a while since my last post, but now as more of my long-awaited miniatures are arriving, I've had more chances to game.

One of my new projects has been a return to the very first miniatures game I played back in grade school, Flintloque by Alternative Armies. A fantasy game set in world loosely based off of Napoleonic Europe, I've always found the cartoon-style figures appealing and the creative backstory engaging and entertaining. Since two of my three current gaming mates come from a fantasy background and I was really wanting to do something Napoleonic, so I thought this would be a good fit.

First, a bit on the figures. I've been taking a greater interest in the German armies of the period, so I knew I had to get some of the game's equivalent, the dwarves of Krautia (Prussia) and the Confederation of Finklestein (the pro-French German states). I asked my wife what force she'd like to use as her own, and she instantly fell in love with the dogs. Like the dwarves (and ogres), the dogmen fight for both the factions in the game, the Elven Ferach (French) Empire and the orc-led Grand Alliance (the Coalition). She didn't want to be on the same side as pesky orcs, so Finklestein dogs it was - and we opted to go with a unit based off the Saxon hussars. To serve as their adversaries, I opted for a group of Prussian landwehr-inspired dwarves. Upon asking my two regular gaming mates for their preferences, I also ordered Krautian dwarf jaegers and Ferach marins de la garde.

Alternative Armies offers a rather affordable in-house painting service, and since my commute is leaving me very little time to paint, I decided to take advantage of it and was very pleased with the results.

Saxhunde Dog Hussars - I had them paint some dog line infantry to use as dismounted troopers

Dog hussar officer (painted to look like my own dog)

Krautian Dwarf Landwehr - based on the Prussian Pomeranian Landwehr

Krautian Dwarf Jaegers - Uniformed as Silesian Volunteer Jaegers

Ferach Elf Sailors - Based on the Marins de la Garde Imperiale

Marin Officer
Marin sergeant

Marin drummer
The Flintloque rules have gone through several editions, and while fun, can get bogged down in charts and percentage calculations (besides a decent amount of of my least favorite things in gaming). A while ago, my wife and I played a game using the free Flintloque "Lite" rules which we enjoyed, but it definitely dragged at points.

In a search for a game with some more fast play mechanics, I stumbled across the Songs series by Ganesha Games. The series started with Songs of Blades and Heroes, a fantasy skirmish system and includes a Napoleonic variant, Songs of Drums & Shakos. Some discussions I had seen online indicated that gamers have been taking elements of those two rules sets and combing them for use with their Flintloque miniatures. While that is my ultimate goal, I first wanted to master the core mechanics, so I played a game of Drums & Shakos with my friend Chris using our Elves and dwarves as stand-ins for the Prussians and French.

We played a standard meeting engagement with 400-point forces and set up the terrain using the random scenery generator in the rules and our battlefield featured a farm house, ploughed fields, and some fencing around an intersection. Activation is determined by die-rolls, with a player rolling 1 to 3 dice and scoring and gaining an activation for each die roll that is higher than their figure's quality rating. As long as the play rolls more passes than fails on the activation roll, they may continue activating figures. In our game, Chris rolled so effectively (as he typically seems to), that he activated all of his dwarves before I had a chance of to bring any of my elves into combat. When I finally got a chance, I had one of my marins fire his musket, but missed and I proceeded to roll a double failure. Chris responded by shooting and incapacitating my NCO.

Our elves and dwarves moving into combat
Thankfully, I soon regained the initiative and pushed more elves forward to open fire, causing one dwarf to recoil. By this time, Crhis regrouped his jaegers into small groups, pushing one straight towards me and moving another around the building to threaten my flank. Unfortunately, my luck did not change as my next three attempts at firing were all misses, and two attempts resulted in the firers running out of ammunition (to be fair, a figure suffers ammo depletion with a roll of "1" on a d6....which seems a greater odds for that occurrence than there should be).

More dwarves move into the fray

A firefight erupts near that fenceline
At this point, Chris started getting a bit more aggressive and had one of his jaegers charge into combat with one of my elves at the fence, but the diminutive warrior failed to get the upper hand and was knocked down. Around the same time, the dwarf flanking force started running out of ammunition. Hoping to finish me off, he sent a few more into dwarves into hand-to-hand combat, but lost two wounded and another recoiled.

The first of several fierce close combats
My elven reinforcements coming up for the rear

A violent scrum ensues
By this point, the hour was growing late and both of our squads were nearly out of ammunition, so we called it a draw.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Looking Forward to 2018

Overall, 2017 was a very good year of gaming. With my schedule free from the confines of graduate school and my job situation becoming a little more stable, I have been able to game more regularly for a change. I was also able to attend four miniatures games conventions, a personal best, where I both ran a handful of games and tried my hand at a few as well.

On the purchase front, my endeavors were mostly focused on scenery as I bought terrain pieces for my pending projects. Lots of buildings, trees, hedges, and bridges now sit in tubs in my gaming room waiting for their triumphant debut on the table. There's been a lot of building, gluing, sealing, and some painting (much of which has been highlighted on this blog), but I'm generally pleased with the results. I've also backed a few Kickstarters, ordered a large World War II collection, and picked up a few packs of unpainted miniatures.

Most importantly, I have finally been able to form a semi-regular gaming group. We started off strong, meeting weekly to play either a minis game or some type of strategy board game, but as two of our number are ministers, the holidays slowed us down a bit, but we're hoping to hit the ground running this month.

Currently, our gaming options include:

  • SAGA - This has proved to be a crowd favorite and the interest inspired me to pick up a Saracen warband from Footsore Miniatures a few weeks ago (a review to come soon) and has made at least one of my mates consider buying his own. I'm excited for next month's release of the second edition of the rules, which promise to breathe some new excitement into this old favorite.
  • Force on Force - As I mentioned in my first post, this was the ruleset that really got me into serious miniatures gaming, and so I'll always have soft spot for this game. It's a fun one to pull out on occasion, but as often happens, the actual gameplay has gotten a little stale for me. I've occasionally used my 20mm modern warfare collection for games of Skirmish Sangin, but that system has never really excited me. I haven't run it for the new group yet, but I might in the future if we want some variety.
  • Andy Callan's Paper Soldiers rules - In an effort to fly the flag at some of the local shows for Helion & Co., I was gifted a set of American Civil War paper soldiers by Peter Dennis (the illustrator of Helion's great paper soldier series). The figures came with two simple rules written by Andy Callan. We've played one game so far and had a lot of fun, so I can see us setting up some more games in the future. I might just have to pick up the AWI book...and perhaps the upcoming Jacobite one, too!
We also have a few irons in the fire, that should sprout into real games soon:

  • World War II skirmish games (Chain of Command/Disposable Heroes 2) - Many, if not most, of my blog posts have referred to my drawn-out build up for a World War II game. I purchased enough figures to play through two of the Chain of Command pint-sized campaigns in September 2016 and gave them to a friend who has previously painted all of my minis. His own wargaming business and some unexpected real-life issues have delayed his progress and I'm still waiting for the Tommies and panzergrenadiers to return to the depot. In the meantiem, I put in a large order with Britannia in November for some painted miniatures and vehicles and expect to receive my GIs, British paras, and Fallschirmjager (which will allow me to play another five pint-sized campaigns) within the month.
  • Blood & Plunder - Several months ago, I backed the Kickstarter for the expansion for this hugely popular game. I had missed out on the initial release, but had heard nothing but great things about the minis and rules from some friends and when I found out the expansion would feature the Dutch American colonies (which I spent a large amount of graduate school researching), I was sold. The figures were supposed to arrive in March, but we're now expecting a May arrival. The few turns I played of the game at Historicon really impressed me. It's a simple, yet elegant, game filled with well-researched period flavor.
  • Song of Ice & Fire - I backed this game on Kickstarter and the modest pledge came with a massive amount of well sculpted figures (in colored plastic...which at least won't mean I have to rush to the painting table). Though what I've seen of the gameplay for the included rules have not impressed me much, I'm willing to give them a try. Just in case, I've also purchased a copy of Dan Mersey's popular Dragon Rampant rules and enough extra minis to play a proper game with that system.
  • Star Wars Legion - Since the rest of my new group members are new to historical gaming, I've been trying to find more game options that will have a wider appeal to all. The Song of Ice and Fire game will certainly fit this bill (and also to leave the magic aside for some generic medieval warfare if we'd like), but when I first heard of the upcoming Star Wars Legion game, I knew it would definitely be another great gateway project for my novice gaming friends (all of whom are Stars Wars fans). I've pre-ordered the starter set and now just need to get some terrain pieces sorted!
  • Flintloque/Songs of Drums and Shakos - Lastly, I've recently gotten back into one of my most favorite historical conflicts - the Napoleonic Wars. Waterloo was the first battle I ever really studied and the era has fascinated me off and on since. Besides burying my nose in a few new Napoleonic books, I've also been keen to get a Napoleonic game on the tabletop. A few weeks ago, I picked up copies of the Blucher and General d'Armee rulebooks, but I don't think I really have the time or, most especially, space to undertake either of those projects at present, so I figured I needed to turn elsewhere to scratch my early nineteenth-century fix. Considering the limitations of my schedule and gaming room, as well as the interests of my club members (none of whom are particularly interested in the Napoleonic Wars), I decided to return to the first miniatures game I ever had - Flintloque. Set in a world which mixes fantasy races and the coalitions against Napoleon, the miniatures are fun and full of character, and the game's narratives are always light-hearted and entertaining - all in all, great ingredients for a casual weeknight game. I've played all three editions of the Flintloque rules, and while they are serviceable, they are very chart heavy and can be a bit cumbersome in some of the mechanics. After poking around some other blogs and at conventions, I've heard of people using the Flintloque miniatures with Ganesha Games' Songs of Blades and Heroes and Songs of Drum and Shakos skirmish rules (or some home-brewed concoction of those fantasy and Napoleonic sets), so I picked up copies of both and have been rather pleased with my readthroughs. They present quick, but exciting games and should fit Flintloque exceeding well. I've also gone ahead and ordered a few units of figures pre-painted direct from the manufacturer - a service that made the game even more appealing. I'm hoping that once my collection is built up a bit further, that we'll be able to move up to larger battles using Dragon Rampant or some other ruleset.
Lots of plans floating around, but I'm excited to make them realities and to share them in this space.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Fall In! 2017 - Part II: The Rest of the Show

The craziness of the season and work has prevented me from updating the page as much as I'd like, but I'm going to try to catch up.

When last we left my Fall In! AAR, my friend Chris and I had just finished a game of Chain of Command. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the vendor area and the exhibition halls before we grabbed dinner and headed off for our second game of the day: a playtest of the World War II company level rules, Hail of Fire. I had seen this game being run at the last couple conventions and was curious to try it (at some point I'd like to get into a non-Flames of War company-level WWII game) and so I convinced Chris to give it a whirl.

The rules themselves are only a few pages, so it was a nice, quick pick-up game after a long day of wandering around the show. The German side was commanded players experienced with the rules, while the Allied commanders were all green, so it might have been helpful to have a little more explanation of the rules before we dove into the game. That said, once we got the hang of it, it ran fairly smoothly, though there were a few times were we were missing stats or some rules didn't quite make sense, but having run playtests at shows myself, I think the GM (Brandon) did a commendable job of running a fun game!

As for the engagement itself, Chris and I found ourselves commanding two wings of attack made up of a company of US paratroopers and a squadron's worth of mixed British tanks (primarily Shermans and Cromwells) and a few other support units (including an American recon troop and off-board artillery). We were facing off against a German panzergrenadier platoon supported by a mixture of anti-tank guns and armored vehicles.

The battlefield from our right

The field from our left
The battlefield presented to very different tactical challenges. Our right flank was densely packed with hedgerows and a small village, while the left was largely open with a smattering of thin tree lines. Our objectives were two of the farmhouses on the left, the triangular, hedgerow-enclosed field, and one of the buildings in the village. We decided that our best way to approach the hidden enemy was to launch a pincer assault/double envelopment. I would lead a platoon of paras, the recon platoon, a squadron of tanks forward in the center to discover the whereabouts of some of the heavier German assets and put pressure on the central objective, while the two flanking wings (commanded by Chris and another player) would mount swift flank attacks with their armored squadron.

My paras and recon teams inching forward to sniff out the Germans

The recon platoon and Para .30 cal setting up shop
I advanced a few of my para teams through a wheatfield just outside the village while my recon platoon and .30 cals took up position in a grove of trees atop a small hill overlooking the triangular field. There were joined by a friendly FOO from the right wing units, and together the began laying down some fire on German units that popped up in the center. They had some initial success, but return fire began to decimate the recon teams and killed the FOO, ending the barrage. Meanwhile, a multitude of German teams opened up a galling fire from the cover of the village and started ripping my paras apart. As the recon teams began to fall back, the surviving German infantry got rather ambitious and surged across the road and charged the paratroopers, getting the upperhand in short order.

While the fortunes of war were stacking against me, the Germans were unaware that they were sealing their fate. The game gives each side a finite number of activations per turn, which can also be used to react to enemy actions. In this case, since the German players were burning their activations left and right to respond to my platoons' actions, this left them with few actions of their own, and very little chance to react to our flanking forces. This meant that the para platoons and support tanks in the wings had a much easier going toward the objectives. The right wing advance almost unopposed into the village, while Chris's men on the left found themselves engaged in a duel with some dug-in anti-tank guns but not much more. While I was fretting that my line was going to collapse...our forces were launching assaults on two of the objective houses.

The Germans in the village began launching counterassaults against the flanking intruders, but could not overpower the hordes of Shermans. Chris's skillful maneuvering soon had his infantry in strong positions and had what was left of his tanks were threatening to hit the immobile Pak guns from the front and flank simultaneously. I decided to lend a hand at this point, and brought up my platoon of Cromwells to overwhelm the two gun platoons.

My tanks getting the first batch of AT guns in their sights

Going in for the kill against the second gun platoon
When bad things happen in the game (platoons break, objectives are taken, turns pass without retaking lost objectives, etc) each side pulls cards called "crits" which have random numbers assigned to them. These are kept secret, and when a certain number is reached (in this case, 18), the game ends. With the defeat of the AT guns on the German right, Chris was able to take our third objectives and the Germans were drowning in crits (we later found out that they had 17 points to our 1) and so we called it. Brandon, our gamemaster, was greatly impressed and told us in all the previous playtests the Allies had never taken a single objective, let alone three! All told, a fun evening.

As for Saturday, I had initially planned to meet up with my father who was planning on coming to the show for the day, but he had to bail at the last minute, so I wound up wandering around on my own. Besides exploring the vendor and game halls and flea market, I also helped staff the tables for the store where I work part-time by showcasing the line of paper wargaming soldiers from Helion Publications (expertly illustrated by the talented Peter Dennis) - for more info see my previous post.

Keith Stine runs a demo of his Disposable Heroes 2 rules

A beautiful game of 1870
A close up of the latter

Met set-up of a (brief) demo I played of the "By Fire and Sword" Eastern Renaissance rules -
don't my Ottomans look pretty?

Since I had off that Sunday, I made a rare third trip to the show, which involved some more poking about and selling some old gaming stuff to make way for new toys.

Overall, my haul included some modeling supplies, storage boxes for figures I'm expecting soon from Kickstarter, and a stash of the old North Star Muskets & Tomahawks minis. Overall, not a bad show!

See you at Cold Wars!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fall In! 2017 - Part I: Chain of Command Game

Earlier this month, I attended Fall In!, one of the Historical Miniature Gaming Society East's annual shows, held in nearby Lancaster, PA. While I always enjoy going to these shows, I was especially excited because one of the guys from my new gaming group (who is totally new to miniature gaming) was tagging along on Friday.

In addition to making several trips through the vendor area and flea market, Chris and I were able to play in two participation games on Friday. The first was a spirited round of Chain of Command that was part of the Two Fat Lardies Day(s) run throughout the weekend. I'm still waiting on my British Infantry and SS Panzergrendiers (my painter's had a lot going on outside of the hobby...but they're coming), so haven't gotten to play CoC at home yet, but I thought the convention would be great way to show Chris the ropes so he could help me teach the others in the club.

The field of battle
The scenario was set shortly after the D-Day landings as a group of British Commandos, having captured some German entrenchments outside a small village, now must hold onto their dearly-won real estate against a counterattack by a platoon of Heer grenadiers with some captured R-35 tanks and an infantry gun in support.

The first few phases were pretty uneventful as I got both my commando rifle sections, Vickers team, and sniper team deployed in cover and on overwatch by phase three, while Chris's Germans began trickling in and working their way to favorable positions from which to lay down some fire before their assault.

One of my sections deploys along a hedgerow...

...while the other, along with the platoon sergeant and a Vickers team occupy the captured trench.
The Germans opened up with some rifle fire on my section behind the hedgerow and inflicted some shock, but it wasn't until the German infantry gun deployed and started firing that the men started to worry. Two were killed in quick succession and the shock began to pile up.

The pesky German IG with a friendly tank rolling up in support
At this point in the game, the dice gods began to smile on Chris, as he got a couple of back-to-back phases which allowed him to bring up more units and lay down some heavy fire, while I kept rolling lots of 4s (which didn't do much to help the solitary senior leader I had on the table) and several waves of multiple 5s, which certainly help me earn some Chain of Command dice, did not allow me to do much retaliation. Thankfully, our GM had decided to include a random event deck to be used when phase rolls produced at least triple 5's or 6's. One of the cards returned one of my killed Commandos to the ranks, for which I was rather fortunate.

A German rifle squad trying to whittle down the enemy, while the R35 contributes some (ineffective) fire
Eventually the dice began to level out and my section's corporal/junior leader did a great job at whittling away the shock his section had accumulated. The section began returning fire against their tormentors across the hedges, but only got a few points of shock. Thankfully (for me), the German fire gradually grew less effective - especially from the R35, which couldn't hit the broadside of a barndoor.

It was about this time that Chris began making the boldest move of the game, as a German squad began advancing through an orchard on my left, gunning straight toward the entrenchments. Thankfully, I had deployed a sizable portion of my force in their wake by this time and quickly began overpowering them with fire from a rifle section, Vickers, sniper team, and a 2" mortar which shot its allotted 3 rounds of HE in quick succession, but caused considerable casualties. Though the Germans were able to lay day fire as they advanced through the cover, things began to look bad fast (admittedly, this was first due to a mis-measurement on my part). The squad's junior leader was wounded early on, which certainly did not help them keep their shock total low.

A German squad catching all kinds of lead during an advance

Hoping to stabilize the the assault, Chris rushed a flamethrower team forward to attack the trench on their own. While I sent a few rounds their way, but sensing the vulnerability of the rifle section, put most of my attention on them. Finally, the amount of shock doubled the remaining number of figures, causing the squad to break. I then used one of my CoC dice to end the turn, causing the squad to be removed from the field. The next phase, I piled more fire onto the fast-approaching flamethrower team and incapacitated them quickly.

The German flamethrower team beginning to attract a lot of enemy fire
By this point, Chris had not rolled so well on the "Bad Stuff Happens" table and his force morale had dropped to 4, while mine was a 10.  We had been playing for a few hours (there was a small break for a flea market visit) and Chris had gotten a good handle on the rules, so we decided to call it. A hard-won victory by my Commandos! Getting the upper hand on elite troops in heavy cover can be a real challenge!

More on the rest of the show later...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New Gaming Group

Apologies for the radio silence. I'm really enjoying my job with the Park Service, but the hour and a half to two hour commute (each way) every day, along with some other big life events (like my wedding two weeks ago) have limited my blogging time. Now that things are settling down a bit, I'm hoping to get in a more of a rhythm.

Another reason to expect more listings is the fact that I've formed a new gaming group. At a get-together with some of my wife's colleagues in the area, I discovered that one of the guys played the Lord of the Rings miniatures game back when he was at school and that another was a big fan of strategy boardgames and video games. To these, we added a former co-worker of mine from the Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg. Though none of these guys have played historical miniatures games, they were all very eager. At least for the present, our schedules have not allowed weekly sessions, but we've been able to meet at least semi-regularly, which has allowed me to start introducing them to some of the games in my repetoire.

Our first game, with my new mates Chris and Wes, was the Operation Mutay I scenario from the Operation Enduring Freedom book for Force on Force. I took the role of the insurgents (I find this to be an easier role for experienced players) and had the other guys play the role of the British paras.

The British Paras advance into Now Zad
From the very start, the game did not go my way. The very first TQ check resulted in a Fog of War card which reduced all my units to low supply. On top of that, I failed all of my attempts to spring ambushes the first two turns and, even when I was able to fire, I inflicted no casualties on the enemy until turn 4 (while, as usual, the insurgents were torn apart by the fire of the ISAF troops).

A lone insurgent leader stands firm against the approaching coalition forces

Taliban reinforcements come...too little, too late

Tables began to turn as the Paras neared their final objective. One plucky insurgent leader held off three enemy fireteams in front of the target compound, which bought time for more reinforcements to be rushed to the scene from other hotspots on the battlefield. These new units slowed down the British advance to a near standstill as the game drew closer to its turn limit, and even scored some hits on the enemy, but some exceptional rolling on first aid checks saved the day for my coalition adversaries. By games end, nearly all the Taliban units had been destroyed and the British had only suffered three light wounded (one from mine explosion caused by a fog of war card) and one serious wound and managed to get their entire platoon to the target compound...a resounding victory for the Paras!

The British platoon takes time to reorganize after a hard-fought victory
The next week only Chris could attend, and so I took our small numbers to introduce him to another favorite from my days with the Williamsburg Legati: SAGA. Chris took my Scots, while I played the Anglo-Danes.

Some of Anglo-Danes prepare for battle
I've only played once in the last few years, and I must admit my memory of the game was not as strong as I had hoped. I insisted on using some house rules (involving turn iniative/order and when dice were rolled) from my old club that I apparently misremembered. As a result, we only had a few melees, but all were bloody. Turn 2 saw each side kill three opposing hearthguard, and in turns 3 and 4, we each lost seven warriors. Finally, in turn 5, some Scots hearthguard ganged up on my warlord and killed him, ending the game. Chris picked up the rules and his faction's battleboard quickly and said he really enjoyed the game. We're definitely both looking forward to playing again and the interest in the game has since caused me to start purchasing some other factions. My Footsore Saracens are currently in the post!

Unknowingly, the Anglo-Danes charge into defeat
Since my wedding in mid-October, we've been able to meet once more and tried out a new game. In an effort to help the bookstore where I work part-time and the publisher's we carry, I've agreed to help showcase the soon-to-be-released Wargame the American Civil War and American Revolution books from Helion & Company at the upcoming Fall In! convention. These are the newest in a series of fantastic paper wargaming figures illustrated by Peter Dennis. The books also include basic rules by Andy Callan. To run the demos at the show, Peter was kind enough to mail me his personal set of ACW "paperboys" across the pond. To get some familiarity with the rules, I decided to run a game for Chris.

Some of the initial dispositions

Confederate troops defend a stonewall atop a hill

The rules include a sample scenario for the beginner's rules and three for the regular game, each of which is loosely based on an historical encounter. I set up "1861: Fight for the Hill." The rules were easy, but not overly simplistic and we had a fun game, even though the dice gods were clearly on Chris's side. Rolls of 6s on D6s were automatic hits and Chris's first volley of two dice from his Union infantry resulted in 2 "6"s. The very next turn, we were caught up in a melee in some woods, during which Chris rolled 10 dice and got 4 "6"s and two "5"s, which were also hits. For the first few turns, most of my units refused to move and/or inflicted very little damage to the oncoming Yankees. By turns 3 and 4, Chris's luck began to run out as his advancing infantry stalled and failed to charge up the hill. I was able to drive the Union troops from my right flank, by my own left began to crumble. Turn 5 saw the arrival of reinforcements to the field, with a Union brigade joining the fray, but I had five new units that would be coming on shortly. The battle hung in the balance by the start of Turn 6, but it was getting late, so we called it a draw.

The beginning of a rather brutal fight for the woods

Confederate artillery begins to take its toll on the Federal advance

The US juggernaut begins to waver under withering CS fire

These are admittedly shorter AARs than I'd like to put up here, but these games have just been little teasers for our new group. We'll hopefully start getting some more thorough games going soon (and hopefully our long-awaited debut of Chain of Command).

If you happen to be at Fall-In this weekend, be sure to say "Hey!" at the For the Historian/Casemate booth!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

4Ground Northwest European Farm Buildings (20mm) Review

At long last, I have the opportunity to post a review for the collection of 20mm farm buildings I bought a few weeks ago from 4Ground. My planned Chain of Command campaigns take place in the rolling farm fields outside Caen, so I knew a collection of agricultural buildings would be a must. As I've been very impressed with the 4Ground kits I've gotten thus far, I saw no reason to stop.

The first building I put together (I actually got two of them) was the North West European Hay Loft. A simple, but practical structure, this building will look great among the large wheatfields that feature in the Scottish Corridor campaign. Not too much to say here. The construction was straightforward and it came together in less than a half hour. Overall, a fairly handsome little structure with removable roof and staircase. I may put some dirt on the ground floor and pick up some hay bales at some point, but I'm glad to just have them to throw out on the table for now.
The completed loft

The loft's second floor interior

The lower floor and stairs
Next was the Dairy/Lean To. I wanted a small building for my farms and thought this would do the trick, but I did not realize at first that this model was just an add-on and, thus, only had three walls. It will add some variety, but undeterred, I bought a second that, when put next to the other, creates a workable (at least I think so) outbuilding.

Dairy exterior

Dairy interior

Ersatz outbuilding (good enough when needed)
Next came my favorite building, the North West European Granary/Cart Shed. Definitely the largest of the lot, this structure was not as intimidating to piece together as I'd thought. It has a nice mix of open ground floor and enclosed top floor, which should provided some useful cover for any defending troops. It also features a mixture of building materials which make it stand out even more. As always, the finished interior on the top floor is a nice touch. I may pimp out the ground floor a bit and maybe get a wagon for one of the stalls, but it's battle-ready for the time being.

Granary/Cart Shed

Upstairs interior

I really like these inlays

Rear detail
Since I needed more buildings than the variety offered, I bought two of the North West European Threshing Barn. Though I've assembled four-wall 4Ground buildings before, I had trouble with both of these. The problem seemed to be gluing the outer walls onto the inner ones fast enough so that the glue would not dry, but then I couldn't seem to get the recommended rubber bands and clothespins on fast enough to prevent the walls from warping slightly. Even leaving the bands and pins on for more than a day didn't seem to help much. The second one definitely came together more easily (though both were definitely messy affairs), but in my haste, I glued the long outer walls on the wrong side, so the vent holes don't match up perfectly with the inner ones. Nevertheless, it doesn't look half bad, and its enclosed design will stand out from the more open buildings. Wouldn't mind trying it again some time (maybe I'll try gluing the walls together first and then attach them to the floor).

The Threshing Barn

Threshing barn interior, showing some of the warping
The last building was the only one I decide to experiment with upgrading, but I felt like a pigsty without dirt and mud just wouldn't look right. As I've stated before, though I'm a veteran wargamer, I have never really done much when it comes to terrain construction or painting before, but figured this would be an easy project on which to experiment, I picked up some brown battleground basing material and wet mud paint from The Army Painter and applied them liberally throughout the pigsty. Though the dirt settled nicely, I was a little disappointed with the mud. I applied an undercoat and then, as instructed on the bottle, hit it with varnish and put another coat on to bring out more of the gloss, but it didn't turn out as expected. I tried the process again, but it still didn't have the glossy effect I hoped for. Perhaps it is just slightly dried mud. :-)

The finished Pigsty/Chicken Coop

The interior of the chicken coop

The interior of the pigsty

Finally, I picked up some accessory packs. I got some of the stone walls and stone walls with gates kits. These are super easy to assemble (and inexpensive) but will add a lot to the table. I also purchased some telegraph pole kits. I was really looking forward to these as I thought they would be a really nice detail that would add a level of realism to my setups. The straights were much lighter than the gate sections, so I hit them with a wash of Vallejo smoke, which helped a little. Might need to add another coat (and do the same to some of the stone buildings). While the base and poles were easy to glue together, but most of the more fiddly pits are made of a very flimsy cardboard that often separated as I tried to cut the pieces out or glue them to the poles. Though I got a few of those pieces on, it was turning out to be much more frustrating than I had hoped. Losing my patience (and terrain-making fun), I decided just to leave a couple as is and save them to be used as Rommel's asparagus - poles with mines mounted on top - if I ever decide to do the 29 Let's Go campaign.

I added some dirt to the walls and put a wash on some of the lighter sections

A sampling of some of my telegraph pole attempts

The untouched sheet of pole bits - the bane of my terraining existence
Though the kits did not all turn out as planned, I'm rather pleased with my acquisitions overall and can't wait to get them on the tabletop with my long-awaited figures. For those looking for farm building kits, I'd highly recommend the Hay Loft, Cart Shed/Granary, Dairy/Lean To, and Pigsty (as well as the stone walls). They are available for 15mm, 20mm, and 28mm figure scales.