In part 3 of our Tale of 2 Leopards series – Lee and Mark’s forces start to make their way to the table whilst reinforcements reach the painting table.
We left last week with the first 60pts all but done. So the first job was to get the varnish on. I applied one coat of Vallejo Matt through the airbrush, then a final highlight of Iraqi Sand to bring the model together. Once that was dry, I applied one last coat of mass varnish to seal it all up. I thought this would be sufficient to get the pigment to stay in place but it’s been shedding ever since. I may need to get some pigment fixer going forward.
A lot of points in not a lot of models – HQ, 2 x 2 tank platoons and a 2 tank Gepard AA unit for 60pts dead on.
Still, I’m happy with how it all came out. But the real test will be on the table and this is where my doubts are setting in.
Don’t get me wrong, the Leopard 2 will kill any T-72 it can see – the AT22 being good for a 2/3rd chance of penetrating at long range. But the Leopard 2 has only a 50:50 chance of shrugging a 125mm shot at long range – and there are a lot more T-72 than leopards, being only under half the price.
2 x Leopard 2 > 5 x T-72?
And that’s just looking at T-72. Most people seem to have adopted Motor Rifle Battalions so massed BMP-2 with AT-5 will be a real issue – potentially I could be staring down 6 times as many BMP-2 as I have Leopards – statistics is going to kick in with that many missiles flying me way.
The Gepards do at least go someway to ward off my main fear – Hinds. But with only 3 platoons, its likely that my HQ and one platoon of leopards will have to hope they can work a miracle with the MG-3 AA gun…
There was a worry that the games would be so short that this would be all you’d see of the Gepards
As I mentioned last week, I had a game arranged with long-time opponent Nathan down at the local friendly game store. He bought along two 60pt Russian forces, one T-72 based and one BMP-2 based to test the force out.
We decided to try the Leopards out vs the T-72 first.
60pts of Russians looks a lot more points effective! HQ T-72, two companies of 5 T-72, a scout BMP-2 section and 2 Hinds
Both Nathan and I elected to use the Prepared Attack option from the expanded missions and I rolled up Encounter.
Half on, half off delayed Scattered Reserves – joy.
I set up with one Troop of 2 Leopard 2 on one objective, the CO on the other. Nathan pretty much mirrored that, albeit with big units of T-72 five T-72 to each company). My plan was to stay out of sight to prevent any shots on me in the first turn, then move to pick him off from concealment. Sadly I rolled first turn and forgot all that.
The CO facing down five tanks on his may be somewhat optimistic…
What I should have done was hunkered down and let my turn pass to force Nathan to move.
What I did was to go “Lllleeerrrroooyyyy Jenkins” and move to firing positions, attempting to shoot as many concealed, gone to ground T-72 as possible. That worked about as well as you’d think. Six shots out, two dead T-72. Nine very annoyed T-72 left.
With the customary caution and reserve of a seasoned FoW soviet player, Nathan moved at full tactical speed towards me and opened up. Even concealed, enough shots found their mark to brew up the CO and one of the two tanks in the platoon. The survivor bugged out, saving me the embarrassment of automatically failing a formation morale check at least.
Ten minutes, from the start of turn 1 to the end of it. At least we’d have time for some more missions at this rate.
In my defence, both sides suffered an equal number of casualties
For Mission 2 I elected to go defensive and rolled up a defensive battle “No Retreat”. Still half on/half off but now I had an ambush, two minefields and the hope of getting reserves on in the first turn or two.
I placed the mines at the two river crossings, hoping to cause a few T-72 to lose their tracks. One platoon went in ambush whilst the CO sat out on the other objective, nervously watching the horizon…
Short and curlies of it – I got lucky. Nathan should have bagged my CO on the first turn with the Hinds but missed. He also helpfully bogged a few T-72 on some garden walls…
Ha! You missed!
From there the game progressed with my ambush all but wiping out the BMP scouts but dying to the Hinds.
Ha! You mi… oh wait.
Nathan’s tank fire was largely rubbish and it was the Hinds doing the work. Sadly, on my turn two the Gepards arrived, along with the second Zug of Leopards and flattened one of the Hinds. The next turn they opened up again and managed a roll that would only be good in Yahtzee (three twos and two ones). Amusingly the 7.62 AA MG bagged the last Hind instead.
Whilst the CO and last platoon bagged a few T-72 in one Company and wiped out the other, the return fire was taking its toll, and the CO and Gepards (having dispatched the last BMP) were the last men standing. Nathan had sent his CO to flank my CO and it was time a desperate roll of the dice – could the Gepards kill the CO with a flank shot. The answer to that was yes! On the second time of asking (thankfully the CO didn’t get back in his bailed T-72). Somehow I had won the game.
Lots of burning tanks
Game 3 was the decider and, as agreed at the start of the night, Nathan got the army I was really worried about out – the BMP-2 horde.
So far in Team Yankee, Nathan has proven a swine for killing MBT with 30mm flank shots. FP5 appears to be no hindrance for the autocannon as they have claimed a swathe of M1. Would the Leopard 2 with its weaker armour stand up any better?
In a free for all, Nathan went hell for leather again, accepting that I would make some kills but knowing that I could run only so far. Sure enough, Nathan eventually managed a flank armour shot, bagging a Leopard 2. The T-72 and Hinds (who seemed to be on point with their 5+ saves) bagged the rest.
Armour roll of 1, firepower test of 5. I’m getting used to this…
So, lessons learnt. Caution is the name of the game with Leo 2 but mostly, I need more units and less Leos. That Infantry can’t come soon enough…
Also this week, I set about building the troops for the 75pt slot. I still need the Infantry and Gepards to be released but I could at least get the Marder and BO-105 assembled and painted in the meantime. Both are superb plastic kits that I will cover with reviews within the next week or so.
All ready to go – shame it appears that my Airbrush is dying on me…
As I write this, 3 Marders and 4 BO-105 are assembled and ready for painting, along with an M577 objective. We’ll catch up on them next week.
I have spent this week getting to grips with tri camo camoflage. I have previously used a vallejo masking fluid for my MERDC USA however I found it quite hard to get off. This time I’ve purchased some some MIG tank masking putty. Its a bit like a posh blue-tac but a lot easier to use and less sticky. It also seems to sink into the detail to help get a really straight edge. The draw back is that its primarily designed for 28mm so it can be hard to mould to the shapes at 15mm. I have found some colour blocks are a bit big and will need to be reduced with some hand painting (eg some big black areas). The actual camo was some with MIGs NATO camo set, great paints that dont need thinning and go straight through the airbrush with no issues. Here are the results.
All in all i was a little on the fence, about the effect, however I think its just be because it looks quite severe without highlights and weathering, plus all the detail so I am confident it will be nice when finished.
In other news BF have sent us some reinforcements and I was lucky enough to get a Kamfgruppe Millar Box, 3 Jaguars, and 2 Rolands and 2 Marders. This means that the race is now on to get them painted. I cant wait to try out the mini campaign at the back of the book. The first using my recce force to hold the thin NATO line. Below is the progress on the rest of the models. Still to be airbrushed are the Tornados,
Finally I have received my Aldi Super Market. My heart sank when I realied it was a kit rather than a pre assemembled bulding. More stuff to do but it will be worth it in the end. Heres what it should be like, the scale actually fits really well as well.