2022 was a momentous year, covid pandemic restrictions eased in many areas of the globe, Russia starts its Special Military Operation in Ukraine, global inflation soars, the UK has 3 Prime Ministers without any elections and Messi wins a World Cup Winners medal for Argentina at the 5th attempt but to mention a few things that have happened. But you aren’t reading this for real updates, no this is the time to look back and reflect on what has happened in our microcosm of social media with the annual Breakthrough Assault review of the year so without further ado here it goes in no particular order.
Well, what a year! The Bulge, North Africa, Eastern Front, America gets invaded, a Mid War sale, and even gaming events participated in. My year this year has been as busy as ever, my pile of shame has got ever bigger, despite a fair amount of progress on painting and modelling, and I still haven’t painted any of my TYWW3 models. So, let’s go back to the beginning.
It started for me with articles on deployment and the Tiger P, before moving on to my Late War Soviets and getting my Motor Rifles organised and onto the tabletop for Corrivalry (hosted by our sponsors Battlefield Hobbies) where I managed a respectable 5th place overall. Then it was back into mid-war with my focus on doing some Eastern Front Germans, mainly to balance all the Soviets I’ve done over the last three years.
It started out with Panzer Regiment 11; just the odd 220 points of mixed Panzer IIIs and IVs. It sounds like a lot but it was only 20 tanks!
This took me up to the middle of the year and, with the release of the new North Africa compilation, I decided to collect an American Army for Operation Torch, the 1942 Tunisia Landings to face my DAK and Italians.
Taking advantage of the accompanying MW sale I acquired and painted both an M3 Lee Company and an Armoured Rifle Company plus some supporting elements. I coupled this with running a hobby league at my local club, Guildford Games Club, which saw five completely new forces painted by club members over 6 weeks. With the sale, I also acquired a couple of extra projects and some infill models for my existing collections, notably an Italian Parachutisti Company. North Africa also brought some of the “what if” units into my cupboard in the form of Italian P40’s which will get added to my German project for the 44/45 Italy campaign in all likelihood.
Following the release of the monstrous tome that is Eastern Front, I added the “what if” Soviet KV-3 and KV-5 tanks alongside a pile more T-34 models (that brings me up to nearly 70 in my collection). The accompanying sale also delivered a German Grenadier/Assault Pioneer Company and an early-mid war Panzer Company for Operation Barbarossa alongside a Hungarian Hussar Company; a bit of a luxury purchase as I brought both the cavalry and infantry platoons for when they dismount. This will be my first project using GW contrast paints for the cavalry. Of these, the Grenadier/Assault Pioneer Formation is all finished, and I have just four small early mid-war German support platoons left to do, which have moved into the next year’s project list.
After this it was back to Late War. I rather skipped the German Bulge a bit, though I acquired a heavy tank hunter formation somehow, which I have assembled but not yet got painted.
Bulge British was rather similar, though here I already have a large collection of formations painted but, I have acquired an Inns of Court Formation to do at some time for the dash to the Rhine.
My gaming year ended with my second tournament outing at Warfare, a great gaming and trade show run by Reading Wargamers in November, an event I perennially seem to do well at. This time I took my Soviet Engineer-Sappers I had painted after the Bagration Soviet release but, like always, I added a few extra teams in the form of a few more heavy weapons and an extra OT-34 tank and I managed another good finish placing 3rd overall and scooping a prize for providing the best terrain. Who would ever have thought that possible to do so well playing with attacking Soviet infantry?
Altogether in 2022 I acquired several new formations (bringing my backlog to a mere 11 in total) and got 4 painted with a total of 198 teams completed (88 Tanks, 21 Guns, 91 Infantry Teams, and 2 Aircraft) not as industrious as 2021 but still it works out at roughly a platoon a week which is pretty good. I managed to write 15 assorted articles for the blog and play a few more games than in 2021 with my local club being back open after the pandemic.
Looking forward to 2023
Lee always asks what are you looking forward to and, for me, it is all about the Soviet offensive on Berlin. I have no idea what it will contain but with the BF Christmas video one of my desires the “Emcha” aka Soviet M4A2 is going to be arriving soon with a new plastic kit and just maybe the IS-3 will appear before next Christmas.
The monstrous 203mm mortars will hopefully also be reappearing.
I was half expecting to see some early war stuff start to appear following on from Battlefront producing a plastic Panzer II kit but that looks like it will be in 2024. A Firestorm Bagration day(s) is in the offing, the rules are written, and Duncan and I have done a bit of playtesting for it at our secret venue in SE England, we just need to find a date to put it on, so keep an eye out for that on the blog and our social media feeds.
Hobby-wise I’ve got loads to work on including some terrain projects and need to keep the acquisitions down a bit this year but that’s always a hard challenge when there are new models being released and I will obviously need 20-odd new Sherman kits! My big aim is to get better at using my airbrush for more than base colour which will really speed up the painting throughput of german units in particular. My one wish is that Battlefront finally gets everything back into production, so, I can complete my MW Finns – unless someone out there can supply me with 2 Lahti Anti-tanks rifle teams. That’s it from me and hopefully, I’ll see a few of you at a gaming event somewhere in 2023 – Martin
This year has been all about the Comets.
I’ve been waiting for these bad boys to appear for a while as they are honestly the only thing in post-Market-Garden WW2 that interests me and I’m glad to say that my efforts picking off boxes off e-bay and closing-down sales over the last few years have not been wasted. They are a joy to play with and I’ll aim to finish off the Squadron in the upcoming year.
The new mid-war starters were nice and I managed to grab a couple of Tobruk sets to build most of a pair of Sherman and Crusader Squadrons that I should really finish. I also have a bunch of Italians that need starting!
It’s been a quiet year for WW3:Team Yankee. I was just getting back into it when the real-world events of February/March somewhat killed my appetite for it. Eventually, I was able to re-establish the disconnect from reality and the game and get back into it again which has happily coincided with getting Mike “the Barn” Everest into the game.
Games-wise, not only did we continue to play at Dice Saloon and the Barn but I also made my warfare debut! It was a mixed bag but I got a mid-table result and wasn’t the last of the Breakthrough crew so I’m happy.
I think the gaming highlight was definitely the Big Barn Splash D-Day game. It was great to have a whole bunch of gamers fighting over lovely terrain with fully painted armies and Mike’s efforts in organising it paid dividends.
It’s been a good year for new ventures too. I kicked off some unboxing videos on our youtube channel and they seem to have been well-received. Shoot and Scoot have also had a good year with 50+ patrons now joining us on our hobby misadventures and Discord with Duncan, Eddie, and me. I’ve also dabbled with commission painting (thanks Brett!) though on an ad-hoc basis. There’s too big a “pile of shame” to let me paint other people’s stuff too often!
Looking Forward to 2023
2023 is, for me, a Team Yankee year. I’m sure something in the Berlin WW2 books may catch my eye but, honestly, my interest dies off sometime after the Comet appears. That’s peak WW2 in a sexy Cruiser tank package for me, as mentioned.
Instead, new NATO books for Team Yankee have got my interest and there appears to be a sudden wave of interest in the game with the Barn denizens that should culminate in a few big games, the first being “Whiskey Run” in January. The appearance of a Scandinavian book and Mike’s winterised US has got me thinking of a pile of PSC leopard 1 that was meant for my West Germans but which may now become distinctly Norwegian.
Combine this with completing the Comet and Brit Desert forces for WW2 then that should set a good painting target for the year.
I’ll still be putting out unboxing videos and Duncan, Eddie and I will be making more Shoot and Scoot episodes but we’ll also look at trying some other new multi-media projects too. I still want to try a video battle report so consider that on the to-do list.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the content for 2022 and will enjoy what we produce in 2023 too!
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes by. Sitting here thinking about all the hobby stuff that happened in 2022, some of it seems like it was ages ago. My hobbying is closely related to my gaming, so I tend to get most of my painting done when I have a tournament or event on the horizon.
2022 started with a bang, Jökull and I hosted the 6th biannual Polar Bear tournament that has now been running for 10 years. This year marked a high point in foreign participants with 12 players flying to Iceland for a weekend of wargaming and socializing.
Not only do our guests bring some great-looking armies, but we also go sightseeing and have a social game night where everyone gets to know each other very well. This is despite the hard work of organising one of the highlights of the hobby year and I had a blast. Running a tournament is for me also an excuse to make a new gaming table, and 2022 was no different, I made a Soviet plains battlefield which was great fun.
The next big thing on my hobby calendar was going to Northern Ireland to attend the Spring Awakening event. I used this as a test for my ETC army and my attempt to make a good defensive Soviet list. I managed to finish a big Rifle Company in time and flew over for a great time. My friend Scott gave me a quick tour of Belfast and Northern Irish history making the trip even better. I finished 2nd, so I got a little confirmation that I wasn’t completely off course with my Soviets. The NI and Irish guys were super nice to play with and great fun to talk to between and after games, so I can only recommend dropping by if life takes you to the green island.
2022 also saw Team Iceland send a team to the ETC for the first time. Not surprisingly, a small community like the Icelandic FOW one had a little trouble getting a 100% Icelandic team together, but with the help of Richard, Rasmus, and Paolo we set sail to Belgium to show the colours of the North.
ETC was a very pleasant experience. We all six had some great games and ended up being voted Best Opponent so we must have been fun to play against as well. We finished 14th, so well within our goal of not coming in last and will hopefully be back for another go in the future.
The next project was building a Schnellgruppe Knittle for a historical event in Denmark. This had me painting a bunch of Puma’s, which is such an iconic recon vehicle, sadly the 2 team units don’t work well in FOW V4. But that has never stopped me before, so 13 Pumas plus support was painted, including a couple of big cats.
Before getting to play the list in Denmark I got the chance to test part of it in Ireland, this time a little outside Dublin, again great fun, but this time the results didn’t go my way, leaving me at bottom of the pack. But it meant I got to meet my North Irish and Irish friends again.
The final event of the year was KlaesCon: Blitzkrieg ohne benzin in Denmark where the Puma list got to play again. This was a completely new way of playing fow, with lots of extra rules and gameplay tweaks that had all the players really enjoying themselves, which was good, as I had pushed Stuart and Will from 3Colourspainted, together with my Swedish friend Petter and homie Gunnar to join me on this road trip.
All in all a very good year of gaming and painting.
Looking forward to 2023.
For the new year, I am most excited about the Finnish GT in the first half of the year and then I really want to get a NAM army when Battlefront is re-releasing the NAM range of models in 2023. Other than that I need to get either my Israeli TY army painted or a Fallschimrsjager army for Italy done. See you all in 2023 for more hobby adventures.
If you’ve just read Søren’s review then this might seem a little bit like Deja Vu !
2022 started when my non-solo gaming had come to a halt with the outbreak of COVID in 2020 with a trip to the Polar Bear competition in Iceland. It was great to catch up with lots of old friends and make some new ones, whilst enjoying some Victory At Sea, Blood Red Skies, and Flames of War, with some drinking and fine dining thrown in.
Next up was a trip to Belgium to represent Iceland at the ETC alongside Søren, Jökull, Gunnar, Rasmus, and Paolo. We had a great time, met our pre-tournament aim of not finishing bottom, and won “most sporting” opponents which were brilliant. After two canceled events it was nice to complete my term as ETC Chair, and thanks are due to the amazing organising team who put on such an amazing tournament. There was also a healthy attendance of Breakthrough Assault writers and it was good to meet up with colleagues, some for the first time
Last up competition-wise was a trip to Moira to play Team Yankee for the first time in what seems like ages. I managed joint first and got the chance to catch up with Irish friends both old and new on what was a great trip.
Lastly building on the two years of “working remotely” we got “Eyes and Ears” up and running to add to the brilliant “Shoot and Scoot” podcast. We had a great live chat with Pete and the Battlefront guys, and despite endlessly saying I wouldn’t be adding to my extensive Warsaw Pact TY collection I have of course succumbed to some shiny new Red Dawn toys. Given I haven’t found time to write much in the last few years it was nice to feel I was contributing a bit to the team again
2022 does feel like the year that I got my gaming mojo back after a long time in abeyance, and I think that is down very much to my gaming mates for keeping faith with me, I won’t embarrass them with a list, but you know who you are if you’re reading this takk; tak; kiitos; grma to all of you.
So for 2023, I’m looking forward to keeping the “Eyes and Ears” journey moving forward, painting up some new VDV troops and their Caribbean comrades, and two big competitions (for which read catching up with mates) firstly the Finnish GT in March, with the added bonus of a trip to Parola and some hockey thrown in, and then back to Belgium for the ETC, which will also probably mean some training trips to see my new teammates when I’m working over in Belfast. The new Scandi book for TY means I may well find I use for the Centurions I bought about a century ago if BF gives the Danes or Swedes a Centurion list. Who knows I may even play in a competition (or organise one) in my own country for the first time in years too !!
This year had been a roller coaster of emotions. It’s quite hard for me to keep my hobby up with Real Life biting up my bottom. I’m quite happy to have maintained somehow capacity to play toy soldiers with friends while top-most priorities Family and Work demand more and more complex time. I did infidelities (Vade Retro Stanas GW !), but Flames of War still hold a very dear place in my heart. Squizzing good games at the Club, “spider cam” gaming to play with friends far away, a couple of tournaments, and play tests for BF. Not bad when you don’t have the time.
All in all, 2022 had been interesting to explore in deep gaming mechanics and builds, with a high focus on competitive Late War. Great brainstorming and a lot of training with the boys, always good to progress and learn to be a better player. A significant work on Early War (which unfortunately stays behind closed gates now), a toe in the Mid War pound (still have to be convinced by this period…) to change a bit from 1944-1945.
I was happy to manage to go to ETC 2022 in Belgium, despite the circumstances. Not super happy about the results (but it’s definitely a Team event), but glad to have made new friends and find back old ones after 2 years of the pandemic.
FoW may not be the best-designed nor followed-up game, but there is fair ground for a good time, and it seems BF is trying to learn a bit from the Community. It’s good to have Late War in full swing, can’t wait for Berlin to complete the circle, they are so many ways to enjoy this game and period.
And thank you BTA Team to let me in – knowledge is power, share it widely!
Looking forward 2023
I definitely wish for more time to practice and travel for playing with abroad friends (old and new) ! When Berlin will be out, I expect BF to have a good look at LW and work with veteran players to balance it a little bit more (not that it is as much needed as MW, but a couple of gestures can help). All in all, BF being more listening to its Community will be a good step forward. I also hope to have big inclusive events (including ETC), to welcome as many players from all across the globe (not being solely a “European + USA” event).
I hope to keep the time available to redact a couple more articles on this great BTA website: there are so many things to tell!
Now, if you excuse me, I would like to spend some of my Christmas holiday hours building another dozen of half tracks…
Well… 2022 has been a bit of an odd year… but a productive one. Post-pandemic gaming was back and one of my highlights was definitely Warfare and meeting and playing with old friends and new people. It really was an excellent show at a wonderful venue but once again my performance wasn’t up to the rest of the crew something that I will have to look at in 2023. From a book perspective, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the British Bulge release (phrasing is important…) and taking inspiration from The Lost Battle to look into a period and theatre of operations that I’d never previously considered.
Finally, my thoughts drift to the podcast at all the fun we’ve had across hours and hours this year. Eddie and Lee are great to just chat hobby with but the growing community that is being fostered under the Patreon Discord is amazing to see. Absolutely fabulous group of people, gamers, and friends.
So, what about next year? I’m going to set myself some goals I think and see where I can get to:
- Place in the top 5 of a 20+ person event
- Play my US 2nd Infantry Division in an event
- Play my US 2nd Infantry Division army more than 12 times
- Paint my Herman Goering Division army for Italy (DAMMIT WE WILL HAVE ITALY!)
- Paint my West German Jager Force
- Play some Fate of a Nation
In terms of what I’m looking forward to from Battlefront, I’m intrigued to see the Berlin books for the Soviets and Germans and then even more curious to see where they go from there… I mean S-Tanks are on the horizon and I am going to be on that, for Team Yankee, like a tramp on chips!
So here is to 2023 and more fun, more games, and more schwimmwagens!
This year has seen events that have severely dented my modelling hobby time, namely the arrival of my twin boys Alex and Thomas on 29 Dec 21. However, I still managed to get a lot done.
In no particular order:
- US Battle Weary Rifle Company with scenic bases.
- Winter Volksgren Company with homemade 3D printed diorama basing.
- A Brigade Panther company.
- Comet Formation.
- King Tigers and Jagtigers.
- Hellcat Formation
- US Sherman Formation
- Bridage Panzergrens formationn.
- 3D printed several town ‘blocks’ to make center pieces for my boards.
- TO’d UK FOW Nationals.
- Got 2nd place at ‘Warfare’.
So all in all a pretty good modelling year but I still have a big backlog. In fact I am keeping this short as I have a VDV formation staring at me and I need to get it painted!
I will be starting with the completion of my VDV force as I re-enter the world of Team Yankee. I will also add in some US milita forces so i can play the mini campaign from the Red Dawn book.
Next up is the completion of my Bulge British by adding some Sextons, Archers and Ram infantry.
The new MW points will surely mean I round out some forces and I need to get a ETC list ready as well. I will probably take US Shermans, Lees or Soviet Mixed Tankovy.
LW wise I am hoping that Berlin: Germany brings some new toys, however I won’t be indulging in Berlin: Soviets, until that nations points get fixed they just don’t float my boat.
3D breed are doing a 15mm Vietnam kickstarter in Q1 2023 so I will definitely be in for that, given the size if their previous KSs I suspect it will cover everything possible in FOW: Nam.
Aside from that I have a backlog of GW Killteam to paint and I am sure there will be loads of other modelling side quests to complete.
Well, what a fun hobby year! From the Guildford Games Club going to strength to strength, Games at ‘The Barn’ and Dice saloon, several great tournaments and attending my first ETC (and placing 2nd!), there has been a ton of rolling dice! It’s been a real blast, and I’m glad I’m still excited when the next gaming evening rolls around. Seeing the Podcast grow its audience is always gratifying and a little weird as it’s never feels like work while we’re recording. The ETC was a wonderful experience, and it’s been nice finding that if I put my mind to it I’m quite a competent player (if I don’t say so myself!). Progress has been made on the Hobby Stash Sort-out, however not enough – which brings me nicely to 2023 plans….
Painting! Playing! More of the same…. just less buying? Sorting through the weapons grade hobby-stockpile-of-doom makes me realise quite how many projects I have sat waiting to be finished (Or even started!). 2023 will try to focus on those, as there are some great games that have been neglected (I’m looking at you, Nam, FoaN and GW!). To aid this, I’m going to be applying the 2-to-1 painting rule: If I want to buy a new unit, I need to paint two from the stash before I do! This will help actually CLEAR the pile rather than just endlessly adding to it…. I hope. We’ll see I guess!
The ETC returns to Belgium next year, dare Team England dream of 1st? It’ll be a fantastic hobby weekend regardless of where we place, however it makes all the training weekends and list reviews all the more worthwhile with a trophy :D.
Thank you for reading and listening to all the hobby nonsense we’ve put into the world, and have fun playing with war dollies!