Blogger of Normandie is an independent fan blog, and not directly related to, controlled by, or representing the views of Devil Pig Games, their staff, related companies, holdings, or individuals.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Building an Army (literally)

Today, we’ll be looking at turning those PDF files I keep posting into playable game pieces for Heroes of Normandie.

Some notes first:

1: These are not hard and fast rules, if you have a method that works better for you, use it.

2: Given the lower resolution of both the PDFs and most commercial printers, you shouldn't expect these to look as good as actual HoN counters, no mater how precise you cut them.

3: I’m still experimenting with corners, so the corner cuts in these images may not be the same ones you’ve seen before or again.

Ok now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.

First, equipment, and materials.

P1030217

I use a Purple Cows combo cutter, with rotary blade and guillotine. A Fiskar’s 3 way Corner Rounder, some good scissors, and craft calipers to check sizing for the standard HoN counters.

Materials: I use Avery Full Sheet Labels, and Crescent Cold Press Illustration board, which is exactly half the thickness of an HoN counter.

Step One: Print. Today it’s a Flakmaus!

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I use a huge Epson monster, but any color Inkjet or Laser will work. Print the PDF on the Avery label sheets, with all sizing options off. (no zoom, fit to page, etc.)

Step Two: Rough cut the stickers.

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Cut the stickers out, leaving some white around all sides.

Step Three: Stick the stickers.

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Place the labels on the board and cut them out, I had scrap pieces that were the sizes I needed, so that saved some time. Be sure to place the stickers on the unmarked side of the board, as the “Crescent” logo may show through. Note: the fronts and backs are on their own separate pieces of board. They’ll be glued together in the last step.

Step Four: Trimming to size.

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Using the guillotine blade on the combo cutter, I trim down the counter to a rectangle.

Step Five: Corner cutting.

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Use the corner rounder to trim all the corners. You have three different options for corners, I was trying out a different one then normal. But you can see the standard HoN corner profile is the one marked with an X. Note: the Fiskar is not the most precise tool, but it’s the one I have, and I can’t comment on other brands. Just pay close attention as you use it.

Step Six: Repeat, over and over.

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Once all the components are cut out and all the corners rounded, now it’s time to glue. Note: a lot of folks ask how I cut the holes in the recruitment templates. Truth is I don’t.

Final Step: Gluing.

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I use Scotch Permanent Glue Stick, easy to use and low mess, but you can use what ever paper glue you like to glue the fronts to the backs.

And your done, you’ve got your very own HoN custom.

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Any questions, feel free to ask.

That is all.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A German Sports Tank?

If you’re a German car fan, and I told you that Porsche and Maybach were collaborating on a new sports car, you’d be pretty excited. Just like the Nazi tank commanders were in 1943 when the new Tiger II (or King Tiger as the Allies called it) began to roll of the assembly lines.

King Tiger

Sadly just as we won’t be getting a Maybach powered Porsche anytime soon neither were the Germans then. The so called Porsche turret Tigers were actually built by Krupp, that’s right the coffee people, Krupp. Yet the name stuck and to this day most books and reference materials refer to this mighty beast as the Porsche Turret King Tiger.

Of course King Tiger is a misnomer in and of itself. In German the Tiger II was informally called the Königstiger. In German Königstiger is the German name for the Bengal Tiger, and while it literally translates to King Tiger. That’s not really what it means.

Although it didn’t have the body of a fine German sports car, it did have a 700 horse power Maybach gas engine, giving it a top speed of nearly 50 KPH. And a power to weight ratio of 9 BHP per tonne.

Armed with 8.8cm KwK 43 L/71 this tank could blast a hole through all but the heaviest Allied armor. Making it one of the greatest threats the Allies would face on the fields of Europe. Thankfully for the Allies the Germans would never produce more then 492 of these beasts.

Interestingly there were a number of upgrades proposed for the Tiger II, including a 900 BHP engine upgrade and a new 10.5cm main gun, but these would not see production.

You can bring the King of tanks to the battlefields of Heroes of Normandie, with the PDF below.

King Tiger Porsche Turret PDF

That is all.

Gazette #2: A Review

Heroes of Normandie Gazette issue no. 2 recently arrived here at the blogger bunker and it’s one I’ve really been looking forward to: Hobart’s Funnies. For those of you who don’t know Major Hobart was a British armor vehicle genius whose ideas were often considered too “out there” for practical use. However, he would prove the usefulness of his designs on the Normandie beaches.

This issue of the Gazette included one punch board and scenarios for to demonstrate the utility of these unusual armored vehicles.

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The punch-board includes three awesome vehicles the Sherman Crab, the Churchill ARK, and the Crocodile flamethrower tank. As well as Hobart himself, and various sundry equipment. As usual the art for the counters is excellent, and the new icons and rules are the usual HoN quality. I’m a personal fan of Hobart’s ability to climb into a tank and grant it a personal order, this has a lot of potential, and is a great new mechanic.

Gazette-02-730x644

The Gazette itself is the usual fare with some nice articles and two scenarios, while I haven’t played through them yet they both look interesting and seem to have a nice balance. Some folks have complained that the scenarios require you to have more then just the base game, but I don’t feel this is a huge issue, as units all have point values and are easy to interchange. As for the terrain requirements those can be a bit harder. But the Gazette is aimed toward the hardcore fan who is likely a completionist, so I understand DPG’s expectation that subscribers would own the terrain expansion.

But if you don’t have the river set required for Scenario 1, I’d suggest just replacing those tiles with ones from the core set. While that will defiantly change the dynamic of the scenario it shouldn’t effect the balance too much. But you will miss out on the ARK’s bridging ability. So you may want to exchange that for a different 25 point unit.

Overall I’m really happy with the Gazettes so far and will be looking forward to each one in the future. As for this in particular it has to be my favorite add-on for HoN to this point, as I’ve always been a fan of Hobart’s Iron Circus.

Oh and the bonus poster by Alex Bonvalot was a great addition.

gazette-site_haut_UK_2-350x243gazette-site_haut_UK_2-350x243

That is all.

Status Updates

As the weather improves and I start to feel better, you should expect somewhat more frequent updates. I’ll be covering more DPG news and start posting text reviews soon (starting with Gazette #2). Videos will begin to follow later in the summer after my voice balances out a bit more. Below I’m posting the latest news from Devil Pig.

Shadows Over Normandie KS Update:

Hello all,

Unlike what you may have imagined, we did't go to the Bahamas. We worked very hard, and thankfully Clem can work most of a week now.

You may have already read on our website that we hired Sandy as Executive Assistant and Olivier as Illustrator. With their help, we are returning to a normal work rhythm.

Shipping

In order to deliver the 1st kickstarter backers as early as possible, we will do 2 shipments.

Wave 1 (delivery : June 2015)

- Scenario packs Carentan, Pegasus Bridge, Sainte-Mère-Eglise

  • Status : in production at the manufacture

- Battleground Set

  • Status : in production at the manufacture

Wave 2 (delivery : September 2015)

- Shadows over Normandie

  • Scenario booklet : written
  • Rule book : written
  • Proofreading : in progress (with the help of the community)
  • Translation : as soon as the proofreading is finished
  • Scenario beta test : 50% finished
  • Terrain tiles : visuals finished, some details to do and verification
  • Tokens : finished
  • Punchboard layout : finished (published very soon) and verification (with the help of the community)

More info: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1538673930/shadows-over-normandie/posts/1175529

Monday, March 23, 2015

Heroes of Dunkirk

Friend of the blog Nigel recently put in a request for some early war armor from the Battle of France. In this early war period the British Expeditionary Force and the French forces faced off against the unrelenting onslaught of the German Blitzkrieg.

The British: May 1940:

The British doctrine of infantry support tanks led to many designs sacrificing armor for higher speed and maneuverability. This however, would leave the majority of British armor venerable to German anti-tank weapons and the new Panzer IV. The only light tank that truly could withstand enemy fire was the relatively new Matilda II.

Matilda II front

The Matilda was only available in limited numbers with only 23 serving in the BEF. Due to its heavier armor the Matilda was near impervious to German anti-tank fire, however the Germans quickly learned to turn their 88mm anti-aircraft guns on the British tanks, halting their advance. During the British evacuation the remaining Matilda IIs were abandoned.

Cruiser MK IV front

Another more common tank on the field of France was the Cruiser MK IV (also called the Crusader) The MK IV was very traditional infantry tank, and while it had the same fire power as the Matilda II, it lacked the armor that made the Matilda II so effective. However it was considerably faster than its heavier cousin, but not much faster then the German tanks it would be facing.

The Germans: France 1940:

The German doctrine of Blitzkrieg (Lighting War) mandated that the Germans build fast, agile tanks. Yet in 1940 many of their tanks were underpowered, lightly armored, and under gunned. Tanks like the Panzer I were more than obsolete by the time the Germans had reached Dunkirk, and while the Panzer I would serve until 1945, its combat ability was severely lacking. Having no large caliber gun, its MG13s were only effective against soft targets, and most of its armor was barley an inch thick.

panzer I front

The Germans most capable tank of the era aside from the new Panzer IV, was actually the Czech made 38t. Nearly a 1000 of these tanks would be used first against Poland and then in France. Featuring a 37mm main gun and upwards of 50mm of armor, the 38t was fast, and effective against all but the heavy frontal armor of the larger tanks of the era. The chassis of the 38t was so versatile and well designed that the Germans would use it as the base for both the Hetzer and the Marder III. Another great advantage for the 38t was its reliability, brake downs to due mechanical failure were rare, and when they did happen they were easy to repair with simple tools.

38t front

Available below are two PDFs featuring the four tanks above with recruitment tokens that allow them to be added to any of Heroes of Normandie’s existing British or German units. Letting you create your own early war unit compositions, and scenarios.

In the British file you’ll find one Matilda II, and one Cruiser MK IV, with their recruitment tokens.

British Armor 1940 PDF

In the German file you’ll find two Panzer Is and two 38t tanks, along with the required recruitment tokens.

German Armor 1940 PDF

That is all.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Never Wars a Book…

Blain Pardoe recently (November) released a book on the American colored war plans of the interwar period. I haven’t had the chance to read it myself, but it looks to be a great read for any alternate history fan, as it delves deep into how these plans would have unfolded. I’ve always be intrigued by the colored war plans, for instance, War Plan Red laid out the U.S. plans for a war with and invasion of Great Britain. Find out more on: Wikipedia, and be sure to check out Never Wars if this sounds at all interesting.

book1

From Amazon:

Every major government’s military plans for waging wars, hoping that they never have to be employed. In the early part of the last century the US government prepared a number of war contingency plans for invading a number of nations— both hostile and friendly. These color-coded plans were designed for various political and military events, some of which actually unfolded in the Second World War. Never Wars explores and provides details on a number of these key military invasion plans, their triggers, units involved, etc. Some of these plans, if executed, would have altered the globe or changed the events of the twentieth century and beyond. Included with this was the 1914 war plan against a triumphant Germany, a 1935 plan to attack Great Britain, the 1920s US plans to land forces in Mexico to topple their government, a plan for invading China and even a 1905 strike into the heart of Canada. From a plan to invade the Azores to an incursion into Cuba, Never Wars presents never before published plans for the US to strike out at the world.

If you’ve never heard of the color coded war plans, they are a truly fascinating subject, and worth a look for any military history buff.

About the author:

BLAINE L. PARDOE is an award-winning author of numerous books in the SF, military non-fiction, true crime, paranormal and business management genres. He has appeared on a number of national television and radio shows to speak about his books. Pardoe has been a featured speaker at the US National Archives, the US Navy Museum and the New York Military Affairs Symposium. He was awarded the State History Award in 2011 by the Historical Society of Michigan and is a silver medal winner from the Military Writers Society of America in 2010. Pardoe had previously written for Fonthill Media with the critically acclaimed The Bad Boy: Bert Hall, Aviator and Mercenary of the Skies and Fires of October- The Cuban Missile Crisis That Never Was: The Invasion of Cuba and World War III.

You can learn even more about Blain and his work in this interview.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Little Tank that Couldn’t

In March of 1945 when the British 6th Airborne Division dropped in to Germany to support Operation Plunder and the capture of the bridges over the Rhine, they brought with them eight of their relatively new airborne light tanks. The M22 Locust was developed by the Americans as a replacement for the British’s already oxymoronic Tetrarch airborne tank. And as you might think a tank designed to be loaded in to a Hamilcar glider, and dropped into enemy territory would be too lightly armored and lightly armed, to be a real “tank.”

M22 British Front

The M22 sported a standard M2 .50 cal. machine gun, as well as a needlessly underpowered 37mm main gun. At the time it was known that the main gun was near useless against the German tanks of the late war, but it’s was thought that the Locusts’ main duty would be infantry support. Helping to remove machine gun nests, and other dug in ground forces. Despite that some were fitted with a device called a Littlejohn Adaptor which converted the main gun to a 37m squeeze bore. While this device allowed fro higher energy rounds to be fired, it would wear out after only a few rounds, and have to be discarded, forcing the gunners to revert to the standard 37mm ammo (it’s unknown how many M22s were issued this device, or if any actually saw action).

However there were other issues, despite extensive testing throughout 1944, the M22’s engine and transmission were never really up to the job, and necessary changes were too expensive and time consuming to make. By the time they dropped in to Germany they already had a reputation as unreliable.

Sadly the Locust would really never get to prove themselves, of the 260 M22 purchased by the British, only eight would ever see service, and only six would ever fire their weapons at the enemy. On the day of the landings only six of the M22s ever reached Germany, two were lost in transit. Of those six only two survived the landings in full fighting condition. Two more were serviceable, and were able to support infantry during several German counter attacks. The infantry and the four M22s were able to hold out until 10:30 when the real tanks of the 44th Royal Tanks would arrive, forcing the Germans to retreat, and allowing the 6th to take their objectives. The M22 would never fight again, being considered obsolete almost as soon as it rolled of the assembly line.

Who knows how many lives could have been saved had all eight of the Locusts been able to reach the rendezvous. What if their engines ran as expected?

Well now you can find out for yourself with a full squadron of M22s for Heroes of Normandie.

Check out the PDF below… (Note there is an issue with the back of the recruitment template being inverted, but this is one of the files that was damaged in last year’s HDD crash, so I’m not able to fix it anytime soon. Sorry.)

M22 Squadron PDF

That is all.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Panzer VII Löwe

Today I give you the what iffiest of what ifs. The Panzer VII Löwe. The Lowe was developed by Krupp to compete against Ferdinand Porsche's Maus. Ultimately the Maus won the Furher’s favor, despite the fact it was to be heavier and slower then the proposed Löwe. Sadly very little is left from the Löwe’s development, and aside from a few stats and some vague drawings not much is know about this wonder weapon.

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The version I present to you HoN fans today, is based on the Schwerer Löwe concept. This 90 ton beast would have sacrificed some armor for more speed. Where the Maus would have nearly 200mm of frontal protection, the Löwe would have a paltry 140mm. The design called for top speed of 30 kph.

As for armament, the Löwe was drafted with several weapons in mind, but it was eventually to be fitted with the massive 150mm KwK 44 L/38, a truly awesome weapon. In order to save space and weight, this would be the only weapon. Leaving the Löwe vulnerable to infantry and other close range attacks.

Lowe 2015

While the Löwe never made it off the drawing-board, you can bring it to your game-board, and see how this monster fares.

Panzer Lowe PDF

That is all.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Captain America vs. The Red Skull

The most epic battle of WWII is about to begin, the absolute paragon of freedom, and the incarnation of evil are about to throw down on the battle fields of HoN.

The Skull is stronger but the Captain is tougher, and has his shield, who will win, and how much collateral damage will there be…

skull front Cap Ap 3

Despite the special faction symbols, the Skull can join any German army, but of course he’ll pair very nicely with some nasty SS units. The Captain can join any allied force, even the British, for some joint ops, he feels right at home in a Ranger battalion.

Sorry for the graphic differences but I didn’t want to remake the Captain with the newer template Clem sent me (it’s a lot of extra work, and I may when I have more time). The quality and sizes will be the same on the PDFs, but the Skull will have the rounded corners. You’ll have to round the Captain’s corners yourself.

Captain America Updated PDF

Red Skull PDF

Comments welcome, and these will be updated at least once.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Power and The Glory

Today it’s the Americans turn to demonstrate their penchant for unwieldy, oversized, near useless armored combat vehicles.

So today I give to you the T28, sometimes referred to as the “Tortoise.” (Not to be confused with the British A-39.)

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This quad-tracked monster featured a 105mm main gun, and upwards of 140mm of front armor. Too wide and too heavy, to really be useful in a lot of situations. It was designed to combat German super-heavies from a distance, earning it the title of tank-destroyer. Later renamed the T95 Mobil Gun, five were ordered for the 3rd Armored Division, but the war ended before they would be needed.

Two full prototypes were built, and left to rot after the war came to a close. The First was scraped soon after in the 1947. The second was lost to time until it was rediscovered and restored in the 1970s (shown above).

T24 Version 2015

You can have your very own rumbling across the fields of HoN now with the PDF below.

T28 2015 PDF

That is all.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Updated Flak Maus

Now that life here is regaining a sense of normality, I can finally get caught up on the backlog of custom HoN vehicles I have left from last year. And this includes updating and correcting previous releases.

And so to that end, I present to you the Flak Maus 2nd Edition. Now with a more powerful secondary weapon and icons.

Flak Maus V 2.0

PDF including front, back, and recruitment template available below:

Flak Maus 2nd Ed. PDF

New updated version below with more accurate move value (Move = 2). Technically the point value should decrease slightly, but the points are already rounded, so the change would be negligible.

Flak Maus Move 2 PDF

Enjoy.