Friday, 12 December 2014

Seasonal Interlude

I am at a loss to explain where the last twelve days have gone - I seem to have been doing a fair impression of a headless chicken - but things are now approaching was passes for normality in my neck of the woods. Work has been busy and SWMBO has been deep in festive planning - which usually means a lot of driving around for yours truly - but we have at last arrived at the "one more visit and we are done" stage. This means that I can at last pick up on a couple of outstanding items on the project pile - mainly completing the last of the capital ships for the Jutland re fight.

I have 31 ships to complete by the end of the year and mercifully I am off work from Christmas Eve until the fifth of January which will give me a good run with the brush. The plan is to have them all finished by the end of the year so the final blog post for 2014 will be the fleet reviews.

There has also been a major change in my computing set up as I have finally dragged myself into the current century and have acquired an IPad. According to my daughter that now qualifies me to be one of the cool people. I must confess that I am enjoying using it and it suits my needs admirably although I will need to keep an eye on the memory aspect as it is the 16gb version.

I have also been looking long and hard at the Sanussi revolt and what came before (and after as well) and am thinking that froma portable war game perspective there is a lot of potential. It is not something I am looking at in the short term but at some point I reckon it will feature.

In the meantime though it is back to the grey paint and from a gaming perspective something along the swampy bayous of the Southern states of the USA....

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Lion of the Desert

Lion of the Desert - the story of the latter years of Omar Mukhtar

This weekend has been one that turned out completely different from was originally planned - Christmas domesticity rearing its seasonal head once again - and the panting plan has gone right out of the window!

I will not bore you with all the tawdry details - suffice it say that much driving around, raking of leaves, redesigning the Christmas decorations and shopping - but the battleship painting has barely moved from last week. What I have managed to do though is to catch up on a film that I have never seen before - the Lion of the Desert starring Anthony Quinn and Oliver Reed. I recently picked up a cheap copy on Blu-Ray and I have to say I was really impressed! The whole campaign - about which I know absolutely nothing although I have some material on the earlier Sanussi Revolt and the Italo-Turkish War - would make for a really interesting wargames campaign.

Omar Mukhtar (played by Anthony Quinn) was fighting against the Italians since 1911 until he was captured and hung by the Fascist colonial forces under the command of General Rodolfo Graziani (Played by Oliver Reed).

During this time Mukhtar gave the better equipped and far more numerous Italian forces a real run around using his superior knowledge of the terrain to full effect.

I certainly need to find out more about the Italian occupation - starting with the original invasion during the war with Turkey.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Jutland: The Rules of the Game

Aside from being the title of a very good book on the subject the rules of the game is something I have had on my mind to various degrees since the beginning of this project. I have considered and discarded numerous sets - some homegrown, some commercially available - but have finally settled on what I want to use with a few 'tweaks'.

The plan is to use the original rules from the Avalon Hill game incorporating some of the subsequent amendments from the sadly defunct AH General and Boardgamer magazines. There will also be a further tweak in that the current 'light ships' rules will be modified to better reflect the scouting and screening use of such vessels.

The rules have the advantage of being designed to generate games from an operational map movement perspective - which I intend to replicate on 'Der Tag' in due course. I will need to type up the final version and to prepare play sheets etc as the published rules are a little in the 'dog's breakfast' school of rules layout with examples and a less than logical format making for a somewhat irritating experience in my opinion - especially when you start including advanced and optional extras etc.

The work starts now but naturally painting the models comes first.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Turks in the Crimea

The latest title from Caliver Books - as pointed out to me by that very nice Mr. Fox - cheers old chap!

No surprises for guessing what has just crept to the top of my Xmas present list! Available now from Caliver Books for £17.50 and needless to say I am really looking forward to acquiring a copy. I will need to source some details on the Russian army of the period but suspect that will be somewhat easier. 

I hope.

"I can resist anything except temptation..."

Two Shades of Grey - WIP

Following on from last post I spent some quality time yesterday working on the remaining 18 battleships for the Royal Navy. All of the models have had the two shades of grey dry brush applied and so the next phase will be the decks. As mentioned previously I have a couple of spare evenings this week so the plan is to use that to tackle this - it is the fiddliest part of the process - with the intention of finishing them all by the close of play on Sunday next.

In the meantime (and to get myself motivated after the events of last weekend) I have been reviewing the various rules options for the project and am now a lot closer to deciding what I want to do and how I want to do it.

More of which later....;-)

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Back in the Painting Saddle

The deed has been done. The 12 models that needed a repaint have at last been started. I took a long and critical look at the varnish damage and decided that the repair work would be too involved and too fiddly so the only option was to start them again. So, this afternoon I managed to get them undercoated and then was able to apply the first dry brush coat to the entire remaining 18 models. The lighter grey shade will be applied tomorrow and then it will be on with the decks etc with the plan being to have all 18 ready for the close of play next Sunday. As luck would have it I have a couple of spare evenings coming up and so more painting time has been allocated than would be the norm.

This will mean that I will have all of December to complete the Germans - 7 dreadnoughts and 6 pre- dreadnoughts.

In the meantime though - and being somewhat enigmatic in the process - I shall be getting a game in using some newly acquired models.

Once I have collected them that is....;-)

Friday, 21 November 2014

"Dust yourself off, brush yourself down....and start all over again"

Well not quite but the new plan with the varnish-damaged ships now looks something like this:
  • The original 8 ships will be undercoated to start again - from scratch
  • The 4 models that were finished will be undercoated rather more carefully and repainted
  • The final 6 models for the RN will be included with the above - so in effect I will be painting 18 ships in total which will finish the RN capital ships for the Jutland project.
If I am honest I have gone through the angry phase and am now at the 'coldly efficient and keen to get started' version.

The plan as it stands then, will be to get all 18 finished by the close of play next Sunday so I best get a wriggle on....;-)