Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Product Review: SG2 Creations Observation/Control/Guard Tower (A Prototype Test model)

A friend of mine, Byron, got a hold of a Laser Cutting System and started making his own buildings, walls, etc. from MDF boards.  The problem we seem to have here in the middle of the Canadian Prairies, is that by the time we order in similar terrain products, it becomes cost-prohibitive.  Byron decided to start designing and selling some of his creations to others as a low-cost solution for Canadians.  Anyway I’m taking advantage of his Generosity!

Byron’s already posted a number of items he has available on his Website:

Byron, gave me the opportunity to get one of his new creations.  A Control Tower, intended for 28mm Miniature games.  This is a “Prototype” design.  He was still playing with the design before he made it available through his web site.  But I saw one proto-type and begged to have one for an Infinity Campaign I was planning.

For a Prototype, the kit was well done.  MFD, in case you never used it, is like a thin plywood, though it is compressed fibers rather than layers of wood.  You can use White glue to put it together, but I prefer a carpenter’s wood glue – just to be safe.  The kit contained the legs of the tower (4 pairs of inter-locking pieces), a base plate, a tower platform, a roof for the hut, 4 walls for the hut (1 with a door), rails or Parapet walls for the Platform and a unique roof lock and parapet system consisting of 8 pieces.

Lotsa Parts!

The first thing to do, was to assemble the legs.  When assembling the legs, first split the legs into 2 sets.  Narrow “pegs” are the top, Wider Pegs are for the base.  The interlocking patterns can then be matched and you can glue a pair of legs together, each pair split at a 90o angle.  After gluing all 4 pairs of legs together (and while the glue was still wet), I then glued the legs to the base plate and pressed (not glued) the platform on top of the legs to ensure the angles of the legs were right.  I then put the assembly to the side to let the glue dry.  When dry, I removed the Tower Platform.

Legs Mounted on the Base Plate

I then started the roof of the Tower Hut.  First, I separated the pieces as shown.  Again, the parapet is interlocking – 2 sets of interlocking parts.  Each set is 2 pairs of parts.  I test fitted everything before I applied glue in the corners and the slots that would fit over the tabs on the roof.

Before Assembling

Assembling first set of Parapet Walls

While the glue was still wet, I then again test fitted and applied glue to the taller, outer parapet walls, this time adding glue to the inner surface so it would adhere to the first layer of the parapet.  I used “Magic Tape” (I intend to sand this anyway), but you could actually use rubber bands to hold it together.  I then put this assembly aside to dry. 

Roof Assembly Completed

The reason for this “Double-Layer” of the parapet on the Hut Roof was to form a unique interlock with the Hut Body.  The Parapet will form a “keystone” lock with tabs along the top edge of the Hut walls when assembled.  This will make it easier to pull the roof off to access the interior without disturbing the rest of the tower.

Once the roof was dry, I started on the Hut Walls.  (Sorry!  I forgot to take pictures of this process!)  Again, the walls of the hut were interlocking.  I removed the door first (it was mostly cut off – I just had to break/cut a small tab with a Xacto Knife).  I then test fit the walls to ensure I was gluing the correct parts together.

I had a stroke of inspiration before I glued the hut together.  To allow more flexibility, I decided not to glue the Hut to the platform.  This would allow me to remove the Hut and use the tower as a Flak or Weapon Platform as well as a Guard/Observation Tower.  To do this, I laid wax paper on top of the Platform, cut slits where the Hut Walls’ tabs would fit and then glued the walls together on the edges only, using the Platform (with Wax Paper to catch drips) and the Hut Roof to provide proper spacing and alignment!

Once dry, I added the parapet walls to the Platform floor.  The platform had an indent for placing a ladder (more about that later).  The long Parapet walls went on the other 3 sides and then 2 smaller parapet walls joined the longer walls and ended at the edge of the ladder access.

At this point, the main parts are assembled and you can glue it all together at this point.  The ladder has a tab that glues into the base.  It has a unique cut, designed so that a typical 25mm-round based figure (such as GW or Infinity) can be posed partway up the ladder.  Depending on the balance and pose of the figure, it works quite well, though you may want to keep some Blue-Tac handy to stick under bases – just in case.

Finally Assembled and Waiting For Sanding & Paint!

A More Clear Picture

I’ve left the platform separate for now so that I can paint the legs and platform building separately.  I told Byron of my idea of making the platform muti-purpose and he suggested that he can cut the Platform without the burned floor pattern.  I don’t think it’s necessary as if you don’t want the pattern, simply flip the board over and put the pattern on the underside where no one will see it.

The Main Components, Separated

The tower stands about 6.25 inches from the base to the platform surface, 8.5 inches to the roof of the hut, 9.5 inches from base to top of the hut’s parapet.  The Tower base and platform form about a 7 inch square (inside the parapet).  Lots of room for a 25mm or 30mm based figure.  The Hut forms another 4 inch square, internal and on the roof.  Parapets are 1 inch tall in the corners, then drops to ½ inch along the lengths.  Kneeling figures should be able to pose over the parapets midway between the corners while standing figures should have lots of cover to peer over the corners.

Models Test-Fit the Tower

Overall, I like the ease that the tower went together.  I’m going to seal the ends and sand most the surfaces before I finish painting the tower.  While being so tall may make it difficult for some models to climb in a single turn in most game systems, I like it as is.  Byron probably could be talked into doing shorter legs if you wanted them, but that would ruin the aesthetics, I think.  It will make a great center piece for a Shipping yard, or a guard tower for a base.  Construction is simple, straight-forward and rugged.  I hope Byron adds it to his regular lineup soon!  I want another already!

Anyway, go check out SG2 Creations’ web site and give them a try!  If you have any ideas for Byron to try, I’m sure he’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BatRep: Kingdom of Britannia vs Prussian Empire – 1000pts (DW2)

Admiral Von Shtupp was depressed.  Though he had accomplished his mission in his last battle with the hated Britannians, it had been a close battle.  The Britannians were becoming more troublesome, obviously trying to keep pressure on the Prussians, and restricting the Prussians movements in the Caribbean.

Worse, the Britannian Dreadnought was another issue.  So far, it had proven to be invulnerable to even the SMS Kaiser Karl, a Heavy Battle ship and Von Shtupp’s Falship.  The only thing that may prove to be of help would be the SMS Graf von Zeppelin , a Blucher Dreadnought.  Unfortunately, it was at port taking on supplies.

Von Shtupp’s only hope was that they wouldn’t encounter the cursed Britannian Dreadnought on this patrol.  At least, he had access to a Sky Fortress and a Pflicht Skyship squadron.

This patrol was another Search-And-Destroy mission.  The Prussian High Command believed as long as Prussia could keep the pressure on the Britannian Fleet, it would prevent the Britannian Fleet wouldn’t be able to mount an invasion on the Prussian Caribbean Stronghold.

Now they just had to find a Britannian fleet and hope the Dreadnought was not there.


Once again – the Dastardly Britannians were after the Proud Prussians.  Once again, both admirals had multiple fleets and we rolled to see what each commander would face.  I cursed the dice as once more, my nemeses, the Dreadnought, appeared.

Prussians had the Operational Advantage, the Britannians had Strategic Advantage.
The Battle Zone had 5 islands in the 6 sectors, 3 on the Prussian Side, 2 in the Britannian side.
(I’ll call the Britannian side “North”.)

Kingdom of Britannia (KoB) Deployment (Right to Left; West to East):

Kingdom of Britannia Deployment
  • 4 Attacker Frigates
  • 2 Doncaster Bombers (Widely Seperated)
  • 2 Vanguard Submarines (Widely Spread)
  • 2 Fighter SAS – 5 Tokens each
  • 1 Majesty Dreadnought w/ Pulse Generator (Commodore’s Flagship)
  • 2 Agincourt Gunships
  • 4 Frigates

Prussian Empire (PE) Deployment (Left to Right; West to East):

Prussian Empire Deployment
  • 5 Saxony Corvettes
  • Kaiser Karl Battleship (Commodore’s Flagship)
  • Fighter SAS – 5 Tokens
  • Imperium Sky Fortress w/ Torpedo Bomber SAS (5 tokens) and a Recon Token
  • Fighter SAS – 5 Tokens
  • 3 Pflicht Scoutships
  • 3 Arminius Frigates
  • 3 Hussar Gunships

All Fliers on both sides started Obscured and the Subs started Submerged.

We drew our missions, selected our Tactical Action Cards (TACs) and we were ready to play!

Start of Game

Turn 1
TAC Phase: The Britannians decided to start things off and played “Lost Orders”.  Prussians stopped it by playing “Lost Orders” (to Graham’s disgust).  20VP each and the fun had begun!

Britannia won the initiative!

The Doncaster Bombers started things off on the Britannian side, flying forward but not targeting anything in the first turn.  The Prussians stalled, buzzed the Recon token over the Central Island.  Britannian Fighters moved forward about a 1/3 of the way across the table.  The Prussian Pflichts then stayed in the clouds, moved forward and fired their forward Teslas through the clouds into a Doncaster.  The hapless Doncaster suffered a Triple-Crit and exploded in a shower of sparks and fire!  His wingman was so surprised, he failed his Disorder Test!  OWWW!

Pflichts take down a Doncaster!

Having realized the Pflichts were a serious threat, the Dreadnought moved from behind the island, fired on the Pflichts and damaged 2.  The Sky Fortress moved forward, over the Center Island and fired its Tesla at the remaining Doncaster, and got inflicted a Crit!  (3 Raging Fires!)

On the right, the Britannian Frigates moved forward cautiously about ½ speed, trying to bait out the Prussians.  It didn’t work as the Prussians sent a Fighter SAS out in front of the Sky Fortress (withing 4” – just in case I needed to).  Back in the center, the Britannian subs stayed submerged and turned to starboard.  Sadly, they had no targets.  In response, the Prussian torpedo Bombers moved to the west side of the table, to keep some distance from Britannian Fighters and (hopefully) be in attack range next turn.  Britannian Fiighters moved forward, side by side with the previously activated squadron.  Prussian Frigates moved forward, followed the Pflichts.  Finally, back on the east side, the Britannians activated their last squadron – 2 Gunships.  The Gunships made their minimum move and declared they were going onto “Slow Maneuvers” next turn.  That ended the Britannian activations for the turn.

That left the Prussians free to maneuver without worrying about a counter-move.  First, the Prussian Gunships maneuvered around the island on the east, fired on the Frigates, and successfully sank 2 and damaged 1!  The Frigates compounded the issue by failing the Disorder test!  A 2nd failure in a single turn!  The Corvettes moved forward at about ½ speed, with no targets.  Finally, the Kaiser Karl turned its guns on one of the subs.  In spite of all 3 turrets being linked, only the Speeschleuder managed to hit and crit a sub (Hard Pounding – 3 AP left)!

Prussian Attack on Frigates!

In the End Phase, the Britannian Bomber put out all 3 fires, though it still lost all its AP to the Rally Phase.  The Britannian Frigates lost both their AP, but were otherwise ok when they rallied.

KoB:       20VP
PE:          140VP

End of Turn 1

Turn 2
In the TAC phase, the Britannians played “Radio Intercept and rolled a +3 to their Initiative Roll!

The Prussians Won Initiative anyway!  ;-)

Prussian Torpedo Bombers attacked the damaged Sub, but due to the subs CC, only managed to damage the sub – leaving it afloat (?buoyant?) with 1 Hull Point left!  The Subs both surfaced, turned their tubes towards the Kaiser Karl but failed to damage the Battleship with their torpedoes.  The Subs did shoot down 2 Torpedo Bomber tokens with AA, then silently submerged once more.

Prussian Fighters attacked and shot down the last Doncaster Bomber for the loss of 1 token.

Prussian Fighters shoot down the 2nd Doncaster!

Britannian Fighters attacked and shot down the remaining 3 Torpedo Bomber Tokens for the loss of 1 token.  1 Prussian SAS destroyed!  The Prussian Gunships on the East went forward at full speed.  Broadsides sank 1 Frigate while the turrets concentrated on a single Gunship.  The Attack missed a double-Crit by 1 hit – and caused Guns Damage!  The Britannian Fighters attacked the Pflichts and caused a Crit (Nav Lock) for the loss of 3 tokens.  Prussian Fighters launched their attack on the same Britannian Fighters and shot them all down for no loss.

Prussian Gunships sink a Frigate and Cripple a Gunship!

The Britannian Dreadnought turned to port, lining up with the Kaiser Karl.  The torpedoes failed to damage the Kaiser Karl and the other attacks failed to damage the Pflichts, but the turrets successfully sank all 3 Frigates in 1 activation!  OUCH!!!

Dreadnought Destroyes the Prussian Destroyers!

Taking a chance, the Pflichts dropped out of the clouds to attack the Sub and the Dreadnought.  After failing to damage anything, only 1 Pflicht managed to climb back into the clouds. 

Back to the East, the last Britannian Frigate circled around the stern of a Prussian Gunship and managed to crit the ship (Fusion Leak – 1 token)! 

Back in the Center, the Prussian Corvettes advanced and sank the damaged Sub with Concussion Charges!

Corvettes Sink A Sub!

Britannian Gunships moved forward and turned off Slow Maneuvers (they could go normal speed next turn).  Though the torpedo turrets did no damage, the Gun Turrets managed to damage the previously damaged Prussian Gunship.  To waste an activation, the Prussian Recon buzzed more towards the east.  Finally, in the last Activation for the Britannians, the Frigates on the west side formed a Line of Battle and blasted the Prussian Corvettes, sinking 3 of the 5 ships!

Pounding of the Prussian Corvettes Begins...

The Prussian Sky Fortress came down out of the clouds and made an attack run on the sub and a Frigate, using 2 bomb bays on the sub and 1 on the Frigate.  The Frigate was sunk, but the Sub escaped damage.  The Prussains then played “Break Neck Maneuvers” (perform a Swift Maneuver on a 2+), but it was cancelled by the Britannian with “Espionage”; though it did give the Prussians an extra 40VP.  The Sky Fortress did fail to climb back into the clouds, though.

In the Prussian’s Final Activation, the Kaiser Karl turned to starboard, then attacked the Sub and a Frigate.  Sadly, it only damaged a Frigate.

In the End Phase, the Britannian Gunship failed to reapir its guns.  The Prussian Gunship suffered another Hull Point damage due to corrosion and the damaged Pflicht was unable to unjam its rudder – no turns this next turn!

KoB:       170VP
PE:          360VP

End of Turn 2

Turn 3
In the TAC phase, the Prussians played “Battlefield Repairs” and repaired 2 HP on the Pflichts (2 with no damage, 1 with 2HP).  The Britannians got 60VP for not cancelling the card

Britannia won the Initiative!  (Prussians rolled Snake-Eyes!)

Britannian Frigates moved and attacked the Prussian Corvettes and sank 1.  Frigates AA fire failed to damage the Sky Fortress.

Another Prussian Corvette Sunk!

The Sky Fortress repurposed a fighter SAS as Torpedo Bombers, then climbed back to “Obscurred as it moved forward and bombed the sub with all 3 bomb bays, finally causeing a crit (Shredded Defences).as well as having lost an extra AP as they were Tesla Bombs!  (Nope!  No idea how that would work under water.) 

The Britannian Dread played “Stoke the Engines”, which was quickly cancelled with “Lucky or Unlucky Shot”!  40VP each!  Undaunted, the Dreadnought turned to port.  AA shot down a Torpedo Bomber and broadsides sank the last Prussian Corvette!  The Main Turrets rotated and fired on the Kaiser Karl: Double- Crit!  Worse: the first Crit was a Sturginium Flair!  The Karl teleported straight back – about a ¼” away from the table edge!  The 2nd Crit took out the Shield Generator!  Things were not looking good for the Karl!

Last Prussian Corvette Sunk!

Sturginium Flair put the Kaiser Karl . . HERE?!?!?

Here, the Prussians made, arguably, an error in judgment.  Worried the Britannian Gunships might get away, the Prussian Gunships activated – 1 ramming the undamaged Britannian ship, all 3 within boarding range of the damaged ship!  The ram failed to do any damage to either gunship so both turned to disengage.  The Prussians then fired on the undamaged Britannian Gunship, causing a Double-Crit (Both “Guns Damaged”), and successfully prized the other!

The Ram Failed - BADLY!

The Gunship is Prized!

The Britannian Fighters attacked the Torpedo Bombers and shot down 3 tokens for no loss.  The Prussian Pflichts (well, 2 of them anyway), turned towards the Britannian Gunship.  The Gunship’s shields saved it from the Tesla Weapons.  The Britannian Gunship charged forward in an attempt to retake her prized sister-ship.  Guns and torpedoes failed to damage the Prussians, but worse, the Prussian Prize crew, manning the captured Gunships AA, shot down all the enemy AP as they attempted to board, and left the Britannian Gunship with no AP!

That was one Boarding that went FAILED!

The Prussian Kaiser Karl turned hard to starboard, preparing to hide behind the island next turn (if he could get away fast enough)!  As it turned, the Karl managed to sink a Frigate.

The Kaiser Karl sinks a Frigate!

The Britannian Sub surfaced and turned its torpedo tubes towards the Kaiser Karl.  In spite of Karl’s damage, the torpedoes failed to damage the Karl, but worse, the Sub failed to dive again, left exposed on the surface!  Sadly, the Prussian Torpedo Bombers were badly depleted, so they moved towards the Sky Fortress to replenish next turn.  (If I had activated the Torpedo Bombers instead of the Gunships earlier, I probably would have sunk the sub before I had lost too many SAS tokens.)

The lone Britannian Frigate on the east moved forward and shot at the Pflichts, but caused no damage.  The Prussian’s Recon Flight buzzed around a bit and Prussian Fighter SAS moved back towards the Sky Fortress for replenishment next turn.

In the End Phase, the Britannian Gunship repaired one of the 2 Guns Damaged tokens (it would still be damaged next turm).and the Sub repaired its Shredded Defences.  On the Prussian side, the Kaiser Karl failed to repair her shields and the Pflicht failed to fix its Nav Lock.  The Prussian Gunship did manage to stop the corrosion this turn.

At this point, sadly, I realized I had to pack up and pick up my wife – DANG!  So CLOSE!!!

KoB:       310VPs                 Mission: All Smalls (Done) & 50% of the fleet value (Incomplete)
PE:          610VPs                 Mission: All Mediums (Incomplete) & 50% of the fleet value (Done)

A Draw!!!



This is the classic “Neither side got there but both were CLOSE” games.  It really could have gone either way at this point.  Britannia needed 190 points (the cost of the Kaiser Karl).  I needed to sink or capture a Sub and Gunship – both VERY possible as both are damaged and both would be easily boarded with low AP on board.  I think it really would have gone to whom ever got the initiative.  We rolled “just to see” and Britannia would have had 1st turn.  I might have forced a draw, but I think Kaiser Karl was doomed.

Kaiser Karl did quite poorly this game.  Very little impact on the battle zone other than acting as a fire magnet (for which it did really well!).  The only weapon that proved useful was, once again, the Speerschleuder.  It was useful against the Subs, but it wasn’t the “wonder weapon” I needed against the Subs.
The wonder weapon would come from the Sky Fortress.  The Torpedo Bombers were highly effective against the Submarines (as they were intended to be).  By having the Sky Fortress, I was able to repurpose a fighter squadron to do another attack.  I just failed to do it before they got attacked.  The second error I made was not devoting all 3 Bomb Bays against the Submarine in Turn 2, but that was the first time I ever tried to do such an attack.  Next time, I’ll know better.

The Pflichts and Hussars were both good choices, but I find full squadrons of both is very expensive.  At 1000 points, it limited what I could get for Smalls.

Speaking of the Smalls, OUCH!  First, the poor Arminius Frigates never had a chance – the Dreadnought decided they shouldn’t exist anymore and so they were gone!  That was unexpected.  I expected him to go after the Pflichts, the Gunships or the Kaiser Karl, but not the Frigates.  Talk about using a sledge hammer as a fly swatter!  The Corvettes, well, that was all my fault.  I figured they were lost so I decided to take out the one Sub as a last gasp.  They didn’t need to be wasted like that.  I just blanked out and couldn’t decide what to do with them.

On the other side; DANG that Dreadnought!!!  I’m really beginning to hate that ship!  There’s only a few ways to deal with a Dreadnought at 1000 points.  Ignore the Dreadnought and concentrate on the rest of the fleet.  Concentrate all effort on the Dreadnought.  Bring your own Dreadnought.  Agree neither side will use Dreadnoughts. 

It’s up to each player and group how to do deal with these ships.  At this point, in a friendly game like this, I try to keep an open mind because I like the challenge of facing such a threat.

This time, there were 3 Medium choices, which was nice.  The Doncasters didn’t do anything, but that’s because I’ve faced them before and I HATE TORPEDOES!!!  They had to be targeted immediately, with extreme prejudice!

The Gunships, well, they got shot and hurt first, and were also stuck by themselves in the corner once the Frigates were decimated.  Outnumbered 3 to 2, they were going to have a hard time, no matter what.

The Subs were neat.  I don’t think we ever really seriously used them before and the submerged rules made them that much more difficult to deal with.  They may not have been used to their greatest potential, but I think that was simply because they didn’t get close enough.  Another turn probably would have made the difference.

The Frigates were full strength and well used for the most part.  Any issues with them were due to casualties and bad luck with dice.  Overall, I think they did quite well.

Anyway, a good but frustrating game.  I wish we could have gone on 1 more turn to see what would have happened.  Next time, I’ll have my revenge!!!

Until Next Time, Good Luck!