Saturday, 30 April 2011
Mercifully the amount of superstructure to be treated thus is quite modest and so I should be able to tackle this tomorrow. That will be the only tricky part of the process, simply because it is an age since I last used Miliput.
Once finished though, that will be numbers 43 through 45 of the collection and my thoughts are already looking towards building the three Union timberclads.
I had considered for the ACW collection using my old standby of artists mounting card painted with Windsor and Newton Cobalt Blue (it is very close to the colour of the Hexon tiles I have) but have had a change of heart. I am going to use clear plastic card. The reason for this is that quite simply it removes at a stroke one of the phases in the modelling process and more importantly, it will not matter one iota what colour blue the playing surface is! The only downside I can foresee is that waves and wakes will be missing but these could easily be added to the base - it is funny that whatever colour the sea appears the waves and wakes are always white! Another advantage is that I will be able to round the corners off of the base so should the model be dropped (perish the thought!) the corner will not be bent.
I will post some results when I have got to this stage and you will be able to see the effect.
Friday, 29 April 2011
Readers of this blog following my ongoing ACW naval collection will no doubt recall my continual wittering about masts and spars and how I have been agonising over the best way of making them. I have tried numerous experiments with cocktail sticks which have been by and large successful but I have not been that confident with the medium to try it on an actual model. To be honest, I was quite pleased that at the moment and for this part of the project pretty much all the models I was building did not feature masts as such so it was an easy excuse to do without any form of upright - even for flags.
Not any more.
Plastic rod is now the material of choice and to be frank, I don't know why I did not try this a lot sooner. I am using one thickness for the masts and a smaller thickness for the spars and the results are pretty impressive if I say so myself. All I needed to do was to drill a couple of holes and file a small groove on the mast where the spar was to fit and Bingo! Job done.
I have therefore retrofitted the two models of the General Bragg and the results you can see above. I am really pleased with this technique and the implications are for me, profoundly significant. There are a huge number of ideas I have had kicking around involving ships with masts and spars that will now at last have a chance of being realised.
"This will be a tale to tell your grandchildren - and mightily bored they'll be!"
OMG - Operation Market Garden - is without a doubt one of my favourite campaigns of WW2. For me - it had everything - a bold plan, elite troops on both sides, heroic attacks and dogged defence, colourful personalities, German troops ranging in quality from veteran paratroopers to training troops, several very good campaign histories and even a film that was not too bad! Over the years I have gamed this operation using several different boardgames ranging greatly in size and scope from a several thousand counter version down to a little over a hundred or so. These games have always been tense and exciting affairs and true to history, invariably the 1st Airborne is usually overwhelmed as 30 Corps fails to make the all-important breakthrough.
Flames of War is a WW2 gaming system designed for use with their extensive range of 15mm figures and equipment http://www.flamesofwar.com/ and in addition to the rulebook there are loads of supplements covering many different forces and campaigns. I should point out that I have not used their rules at all although the 15mm kit appears to be of a very high standard. The company seems to work in a similar fashion to Games Workshop and I suppose for that reason alone I have tended to steer clear of it which is probably doing it a great injustice! I am not averse to using GW kit but I find the whole 'Games Workshop Hobby' idea a little overpowering and can see many similarities in the way FOW is evolving. Enough of my cynical rambling though and on with the review in hand!
Flames of War have released two boardgames in a series described as Firestorm (I believe) - the first of which covered Operation Bagration in 1944 (the 'Destruction of Army Group Centre') and the second covering Operation Market Garden. Initially I was under the mistaken impression that these games were in fact campaign kits to use with the appropriate range of figures but happily this is not the case. They are in fact very good standalone boardgames that are not only challenging enough to be considered as such in their own right but could also be used as the basis for a miniatures based campaign.
The map board covers all of the campaign theatre (the picture shows just one of the three panels) from the border to Arnhem itself and movement is by area of which there are 60. The terrain in an area can obviously have an impact on any combat fought therein. Twenty of the ares are objectives and points are awarded for their capture.
The game pieces are little gems - they are moulded in hard plastic and there are 18 assorted pieces for the Germans and 28 for the allies. The Germans get the following: 2 x King Tiger, 1 x panther, 1 x Panzer 4, 5 x 88mm, 2 x half track, 2 x Fallschirmjager, 4 x security and an FW 190. The Allies get 5 x Sherman, 3 x Sexton, 4 x British/Polish paratroopers, 3 x British Infantry, 3 5.5" gun, 2 x US Glider Infantry (Jeeps), 6 x US Paratroopers and a pair of Typhoons. There is also a sheet of cardboard counters, some d6 and 6 Battle Arrows used for deciding the forces used in a battle. The game comes with only two scenarios - the historic operation and a 'free' version in which the allies can decide where to drop what. I should point out that the German King Tiger, 88mm and Security pieces do not always represent what the piece depicts. When these pieces are selected for combat the German rolls a dice and the score tells the commander exactly what troops he will using from pure security troops to SS or 88mm guns to Jagdpanthers (via Stugs) or King Tigers to Stugs via Tigers or Flammpanzers. A neat game mechanic to ensure that the German player never knows what he will be using.
Supply lines are important as is the resupply of the airborne troops and this is handled very easily by the use of card counters. The combat arrows hold up to 4 units and the troops used add their combat bonus to the roll of the dice to determine the victor. The difference in scores is then used to see what roll would be needed to destroy the enemy units so a player could win a battle only to see the losers pull back to return to the fray later.
The rulebook is a work of art with a useful historical guide and plenty of examples of play together with the inevitable adverts. the eye candy is very inspiring though!
This is a simple game with a lot of potential - especially if used in conjunction with a simple set of tactical rules - and I am thinking of something like Bob Cordery's Morschauser set as this fits in nicely with the level of complexity of the game itself. Alternatively, the tactical rules themselves could form the basis of something similar bearing in mind that we are not specifically concerned with an ultra-detailed tactical game.
As ever, much to ponder but in any event, it is a great addition to the collection and I shall certainly look out for the Operation Bagration game and any further ones they might bring out in the future.
Thursday, 28 April 2011
First of all a small apology is in order as my two nominations for this most prestigious of awards were in fact received a few days ago but rather embarrassingly I was unable to post the links onto the blog entry as I had intended. It turns out that I have been using an older version of the blog drafting facility! This has now been rectified so my entries will now be more up to date in how they are entered.
It is always nice to receive an award - even as a piece of fun - and so I am delighted to thank both El Grego over at Mini Ship Gaming and my old Antipodean friend Tas at the Man Cave for their nominations.
The Stylish Blogger Award Rules
The award rules are:
Thank and link back to the person (or persons) who nominated you this award.
Share seven things about yourself.
Nominate ten to fifteen great bloggers.
Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!
7 Things about myself
1. The first ever plastic model I can remember making on my own was a Revell Polikarpov I-16 - it was a glue smeared disaster!
2. I was born on the Isle of Sheppey and lived a stone's throw from the former Royal Naval dockyard at Sheerness.
3. I am a huge admirer of T.E. Lawrence and visited his grave near Bovington some years ago (I am planning to do the same later this year - as well as the Tank Museum and his cottage at Clouds Hill).
4. Despite my passion for all things naval I have never been aboard HMS Belfast despite working about 5 minutes away from her!
5. I enjoy anything associated with the history of the Middle East - especially Turkey.
6. When I left school I wanted to join the RAF and went through the air crew selection process at Biggin Hill - I did not get through.
7. I am a frustrated writer - with a half finished novel awaiting some attention as well as my 'Blovel' - having a netbook has been a real help with this!
The list of blogs I could nominate will probably not contain any great surprises and so, in time-honoured tradition and in no particular order, the blogs are as follows:
1. Wargaming Miscellany My old friend Bob Cordery - if you have not read this then do yourself a huge favour and do so - it is quite simply inspiring and vastly entertaining!
2. SteelonSandBlog For anything small scale this is a great read and is always chock full of pictures etc and some stunning modelling of the 'how on earth has he done that?' variety.
3. Balkan Wargamer For anything Balkans related this is worth a look and BalkanDave really knows his stuff.
4. the Man Cave Madness and mayhem - Antipodean style! A great read and lots of laughs with some great reviews and some really off the wall stuff.
5. Mini Ship Gaming El Grego and his life and times - thought provoking and very good on 'what I am doing and where I am up to so far' kind of topics. Not prolific but well worth the read.
6. Don't Throw Bloody Spears At Me! Lots of varied and intersting stuff ranging from naval through the Sudan via WW1 and much more besides.
7. Geordie's Big Battles Great battle reports and some lovely eye candy - the naval pictures are always very well done.
8. Megablitz and more Tim Gow and his world - lots of Megablitz stuff and much more besides - I especially like the Command and Colours games he fights using figures.
9. Yours in a White Wine Sauce! My old friend Tas again - devoted to VSF in all its glory and as a matter of personal note - the first blog I ever contributed to.
10. The Single Handed Admiral Peter Douglas with his naval blog which I am watching with extreme interest - nice one Peter - thanks for the Ironclads in Action link!
11. Bleaseworld Mr Blease and his many and varied wargaming adventures - always good to drop by at.
So there you have, probably not many surprises in that list but each and every one of them has given me much enjoyment over the time I have been in the blogging world and long may they continue to do so.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Monday, 25 April 2011
As is usual at this time of year I have also been busy on the boot sale front - my last acquisitions were not reported simply because my PC has been in dry dock - and managed todat to acquire some great books for the collection. Rifles by Mark Urban covers the men of the 95th rifles during the Peninsular War and the Waterloo campaign and is similar in style to Fusiliers (covering the Royal Welch Fusiliers during the American War of Independence). That sits very nicely in my Peninsular War and Waterloo library - best of all it is a pristine hardback first edition. Following on from my recent acquisition of five double disc DVDs featuring ten episodes of Sharpe starring Sean Bean (the weekend my PC went into dry dock) this was a very timely and appropriate purchase!
The episodes covered are:
Sharpe' Battle, Sword, Rifles, Eagle, Mission, Revenge, Regiment, Siege, Company and Enemy and not only were these in mint condition but the whole lot only cost me £5!
I also picked up a copy of War of the Century by Laurence Rees which is the book accompanying the BBC TV series of the same name. I do not recall the TV series and am not expecting this to be anything other than a general history but it should be a good read all the same.
The last of the batch of goodies for today was Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail 1756 to 1815 by Bernard Ireland. This is a large format book that covers exactly what it says on the dustjacket - with some lovely large size colour reproductions of selected ships from the era.This little lot came to a mere £7 and have all been duly assigned to their alloted places on the bookshelf.
So not only has the weather been outstanding over the long weekend, I have also managed to acquire some cheap goodies, seen my grandson, had a barbecue, jetwashed the patio, ate three times my body weight in chocolate, tackled a few other DIY jobs, sealed and filled 40 models, built two more, boxed up fifty books for disposal and tidied my home office.
Phew! I think I will go back to work for rest...;-)
Saturday, 23 April 2011
Friday, 22 April 2011
Then of course there is the samples of Oddzial's 3mm ACW troops which are on a completely different level all together - fuller details of which can be found on SteelonSands's blog so drop by and take a look - if you have not done so already then you will be staggered by what he has achieved with these (and other) smaller models.
Oh well, there goes another project for the 'to do' list!
Thursday, 21 April 2011
The conversation was stimulating and we covered a wide variety of gaming topics and projects and shall certainly repeat the exercise when possible in the future. There was an exchange of goodies and I was delighted to receive a selection of 3mm ACW kit (very useful for my ACW project), some 1/3000th scale WW2 merchantmen and escorts (very handy as I will be hitting Navwar on Saturday!), some buildings (from the Town in a Bag range) and a Hexon 3 hex hill - which will be very useful for my various hex based projects (probably with an ACW fort on it!).
It was a great evening, albeit too short but with the very tangible benefit of putting a face to the author of one of my favourite blogs. Many thanks to SteelonSand for taking the time out to meet up and quoff a beer and I hope the occasion was as inspiring for you as it was for me!
The only downside to the evening was the fact that my train was delayed for 35 minutes due to some signalling difficulties but set against the enjoyment of the previous hour or so it was but a minor irritation!
I am really pleased by this as it means I will be able to press ahead with my Command and Colours 3d representations - both for the Napoleonic era (using the blocks) and for WW2.
Monday, 18 April 2011
The intention behind the blog is to highlight the club's activities - the regular Wednesday evening sessions and the display games for the most part - and to hopefully attract some attention from potential new members.
It can also be used to club related updates and announcements and will hopefully feature any snippets of hobby related news that may be worthy of attention.
Please feel free to drop by and take a look from time to time and to offer any comments and suggestions - after all, SEEMS like a good idea!
Friday, 15 April 2011
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Sunday, 10 April 2011
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Friday, 8 April 2011
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Sadly for a variety of reasons my planned visit to Navwar this weekend was postponed and so this will be a pleasure deferred for the time being (it also means I can amass some more funds!). In the meantime though I have managed to get a few gaming related chores tackled – mainly in respect of my plans for Command and Colours Napoleonics. I have managed to solve the block storage problem and am now using one of those multi-compartmented plastic boxes (I had a couple of these kicking around crying out for a use!) for the French and one for the Anglo-Portuguese rather than plastic bags. There is a little spare space in the French box which I am using for the counters and the special combat dice included in the game but this will disappear when the Spanish expansion arrives as there are some additional units for La Grande Armee included.
I was also able to try a little experiment using the unit blocks with my Hexon terrain and the buildings from the 'Town in a bag' set available from Past Times. I wanted to try this because the larger terrain hexes will enable units to adopt more aesthetically pleasing formations – lines, columns and even squares. Skirmish units can also be deployed in a swarm as well which adds to the representation and the look of the thing.
The picture shows a small town covering two hexes and a single hex wood (I will replace the trees with something a little better looking in due course!) with a unit of British infantry with a commander, a light cavalry unit and a battery of horse artillery. I think the result looks pretty impressive, albeit in a purely representational way and so I intend exploring this idea further – to the extent that I will run an actual scenario using this method as soon as I am able. It is not a figure wargame I know but for me it is a viable alternative to painting hundreds of figures and it does not look too bad. Of course I would prefer to use figures but the prospect of acquiring meaningful collections is a daunting one and I am not going to pursue that particular avenue. In fact, I could now safely say that I own a couple of Napoleonic armies – albeit in an abstract fashion!
Friday, 1 April 2011
I have been and gone and done it and slapped my hard earned cash on the counter of the Orc's Nest over in the West End of London and have acquired a copy of the 25th anniversary edition of this great game. I must confess to being a long time fan of this game system and over the years have owned several versions of it – mainly in the original FASA format. I have been considering for some time a small scale sci-fi set up for ground combat – even going so far as to consider scratch building the vehicles etc for use with the OGE/GEV game system – and this game was one of the two options in contention. A new version of the OGRE game is currently under development so I shall now wait for this rather than attempting the build in the meantime. As an aside this of course now means that I have a construction slot in the timetable for the year (tentatively covering the third quarter) – more of which later.
My previous post on the subject detailed the contents of the box so I will not repeat it; rather I will concentrate on the interesting stuff – the models. With the exception of the two premium quality models made from hard plastic the other 24 are fashioned from a rigid polythene type material which takes both paint and glue pretty well. Some of these have a number of parts and the glue used by the manufacturer does not appear to be much good so I would suggest a little time is spent fixing these in a more permanent fashion. Detail-wise they are adequate, no more. The detail appears to be quite 'soft' which is common on models made from this material although I suspect that a reasonable finish could be achieved by even a modest painter. These models are not new and they previously appeared in the starter edition released a number of years ago (IIRC four or five) which may go some way towards explaining the various casting issues present – minor flash and mould lines – presumably due to the age and condition of the moulds. The metal versions of the 'mechs represented are of course available but obviously they are a lot more expensive. I am not hugely taken with the bases as not only are they too thick they are also not consistent across the models as some of them are quite thin and unobtrusive. I plan to tackle these so they are uniform in both size and thickness but it is a job that could have been avoided in my opinion.Examples of the old (right and left) and the very nice new (centre). Note the thickness of the bases on the older models.
The two hard plastic models are a country mile better than the other twenty four – so much so that I would be reluctant to use both types on the same side! Interestingly one of the models is in kit form while the other is fully assembled. I wonder if this is a ploy to gauge which approach would be preferable assuming that plans are in place to make more of these in due course. In actual fact I prefer neither approach – a partially completed model with some degree of variety of pose and weapons fit would be my ideal although of the two styles on offer I would opt for the completed version rather than the kit.
Of the rules etc, little need be said – the game has been around for so long that most gamers of the genre are probably familiar with them in one shape or another. The background information for the established Battletech universe is nicely done but probably holds nothing new for the long term enthusiast. The map boards are the welcome card versions and not those horrible paper offerings that seemed to disintegrate after a couple of games. There is a useful painting guide and some tactical hints and tips – including what to do with each of the 'mechs in the game. There is also a nice guide explaining how the game fits into the rules covering the various facets of the Battletech world – I should point out that the rules included are the introductory version and that the full version is available in a, yes you've guessed it, hardback book a la Games Workshop.
Taking all this into account I would have no hesitation in recommending this edition to anyone - £30 to £40 for the 'mechs alone is pretty good value – that has a hankering for some mechanised sci-fi mayhem. The detrimental points are really only minor personal quibbles and I am sure that when the models are suitably painted and based all this will be forgotten.
Mention of painting these leads me into the next point – just what am I going to do with them? I am not a huge fan of the 'multi-coloured swap shop' school of sci-fi model painting as championed by, amongst others, GW with their Warhammer 40K universe. I like my vehicles and troops to look like, well, vehicles and troops – which in my opinion means military type camouflage. I realise that trying to disguise a walking machine three storeys tall may be described as an exercise in futility but that won't stop me from trying! I have a reasonable supply of decals that I can use to 'jazz up' the end result but that will be the only concession I make towards circus style paint jobs.
Initially I had planned to use my Heroscape terrain with the models (including the box full kindly donated by Bob Cordery) but am now leaning towards the Hexon collection as the ranges will look more realistic with the larger hexes and making the terrain will be more rewarding – especially built up areas and some epic style defence installations.
All in all then I am very pleased to be back in the Battletech groove and the change of pace and genre will make a nice change from my usual recent gaming activities. Best of all it will dovetail nicely with the final phase of the ACW construction so my painting skills can get some much needed practise in before I am immersed in ironclads and paddle steamers.