Tuesday 28 September 2010

Hawaii (I will be celebrating being...) 5-0

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
I don't play much cricket
but I've reached a half cen-tur-y.........;-)
50 today and no apologies for either the poem or the 5-0 pun in the title!

Sunday 26 September 2010

Skirmish - Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School

I really like this show - especially as it is on twice a year and is not quite so overpowering as some of the more mainstream events on the calender. In fact, it actually started out as a toy soldier/plastic soldier show but with a couple of wargames added in for good measure. Now it is a much bigger affair but still with an 'old school' feel - like wargames events used to be in days gone by!

I arrived at around 10:30 and whilst parking immediately managed to reverse into a low green metal barrier and smash the rear light cluster on the drivers side of my car! Mercifully this did not set the tone for the rest of the time I was at the show.There was a very good selection of plastic figure suppliers as well as a fantastic selection of kits - Armourfast had a stand with all of their kits on display and very nice they looked as well - including the new SDKFZ 251 which looked really good. A number of traders has a selection of secondhand books and so I was able to acquire hardback copies of Brent Nosworthy's 'The Bloody Crucible of Courage' - a study of warfare in the American Civil War and David Ascoli's ' A Day of Battle - Mars La Tour 1870' - a really great account of this pivotal action during the Franco - Prussian War. I also had a great opportunity to look at many of the latest plastic 28mm figures around - including some very nice Greek Hoplites and Vikings. The great thing about this type of show are the numerous 'rummage' boxes that many dealers have - these are a great way to find a replacement for that missing odd piece that most gamers usually manage to have in their collections.

The games on display were pretty good and included a 54mm Stalingrad type skirmish, a Crusades era game using Command and Colours: Ancients, a 6mm Assault on Hougomont and a couple of Sci Fi/Fantasy games. There was even a bring and buy but I did not see anything I fancied enough to part with any cash.

By far and away though the best part of the day was catching up with Bob Cordery and chatting about our latest projects and battles in days gone by - including the famous Madasahatta campaign. We had arranged to meet up in order for me to take delivery of some more Minifigs ships to bolster up my existing small collection and a Colonial Wars paperback. Imagine then, my surprise and delight when Bob presented me with all the remaining vessels he had from that range as well a great box of painted and flocked heroscape terrain! This was the material Bob had prepared until his latest modellingtechnique was adopted and so was now surplus to requirements. Needless to say I was delighted to acquire this - it will bring a lot of my own projects closer to completion as it will be one less job to factor - meaning I can concentrate on the figures and the other terrain needed.

Many, many thanks then to Bob for his generosity with this unexpected donation and he can rest assured that extremely good use will be made of it all!

All in all then, car aside, it was a great day and very inspirational.

Saturday 25 September 2010

Te Wapen - Fantasy Rules by Phil Dutre

It must have been about four years ago I printed off a copy of a Battle Cry/Memoir 44/Command and Colours derived set of fantasy rules called Te Wapen by Phil Dutre that are available from the files section of the yahoo group of the same name. These came about before the 'official' Command and Colours fantasy game Battlelore was released. With these rules and a large number of unpainted D and D figures and some cardboard scenery I managed, on a rather rainy Sunday afternoon, to have a game using them with my daughter and they were tremendous fun. They use the tried and trusted mechanics from the Command and Colours system but with a simple difference. Rather than using period specific command cards they use a standard deck which for me is a great idea. All the usual fantasy attributes are included – orcs, elves, dwarves, monsters, heroes, wizards, clerics, undead, magic weapons, banners and artefacts – and the system is a quick and simple one to use.

My interest in gaming in a fantasy environment waned at the time simply because it was yet another distraction and would have been potentially expensive given the prices for most fantasy type figures. I ditched the rules and used the plastic wallets and the folder for something more pressing (which is probably still sitting in the back of a cupboard somewhere!). Fantasy gaming is something that I have always fancied tackling but baulked at anything GW based as my own preference is for something a little more, for want of a better expression, mainstream. This means for me the worlds of Tolkein or even Conan. No doubt readers will have noted my recent acquisition of great piles of GW Lord of the Rings figures – not to mention books – and also the Complete Chronicles of Conan and the superb visual guide to Hyboria. I want a quick playing set of rules and had already decided on HOTT when I remembered about the Te Wapen. A quick download from the Te Wapen files section later and I now have a stonking set of rules to use for whatever flights of fantasy I wish to indulge in. All I need now then is a nice large hex grid to fight over. One thing I had not noticed about the rules the previous time I had used them is that there is the option to use a deck of Tarot cards instead of ordinary playing cards. This is a piece of chrome that I think adds immeasurably to the fantasy feel of the rules and such decks are very easy and inexpensive to come by.

For the record, the only game I played using these rules on that rainy Sunday afternoon all those years ago saw yours truly getting thoroughly hammered by his daughter…………oh the ignominy!

Tuesday 21 September 2010

'One book to rule them all............'

I have managed to acquire via ebay an unused copy of the GW Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game for the princely sum of £10 versus the RRP of £35. This will have the virtue of enabling me to dispense with the seventy odd copies I have of the magazine! If previous GW rulebooks are anything to go by then I am sure at the very least the 'eye candy' will be inspiring, even if the rules are not quite what I want!

Sunday 19 September 2010

Lord of the Rings, HOTTs and Memoir 44

I had absolutely no idea that GW's take on the Lord of the Rings was so huge! There must be loads of figures, supplements, accessories and rules included in their range. I checked out their website and was gobsmacked at the selection available! The kit that I have thus far acquired seems like small beer by comparison. I am committed to cobbling together some HOTTs sized forces which should be easy on the logistical side as well as meaning that I will not need the great hordes of figures needed for a full scale Middle Earth epic. By using sabot bases (thanks to Steve Blease for the prompt in this regard) I will still be able to fight Tolkeinesque skirmish level games so the variety of games will be good methinks.

I am also planning to use a set of Battle Cry/Memoir 44 inspired fantasy rules found on the Te Wapen yahoo group which look like enormous fun and have the enormous advantage of using ordinary playing cards for the orders rather than the more usual Command and Colours system period specific types.

These rules look good fun and although the game Battlelore covers fantasy using the aforementioned Command and Colours system, Te Wapen has the inestimable advantage of being free!

Saturday 18 September 2010

"Am I not Merciful?"

It was a very pleasant evening at the club on Wednesday and as usual the banter and the customary ‘show and tell’ was on top form. There were two games underway – a large scale Western gunfight using 28mm figures and a four handed Gladiatorial combat in which yours truly took part and was hosted by the redoubtable Mr. Fox. The game we played was using those very nice pre-painted 28mm figures supplied by EM4 Miniatures http://www.em4miniatures.com/acatalog/Gladiators.html as part of their Ludus Gladiatorius series. I am fond of Gladiator based games and they are always great fun to take part in. Ironically, whilst the rules that come with this game are pretty good they are not my first choice set – there are a surprising number around, both commercially available or as free downloads – but in the absence of anything else to hand they are perfectly adequate. This is not a criticism; merely my own opinion!

The action was fast and furious and is worth mentioning because we had a rather strange match up of types. Three of the figures were fairly standard gladiator types but the fourth was a condemned criminal. Basically, he was quite quick and aggressive but poor at defending and his fight with the heaviest and slowest of the combatants was brutal in the extreme. The heavier of the two was having a very thin time of it but in one spectacular attack managed to inflict a dramatic overkill on his less than savoury opponent. The emperor however, was suitably impressed with the pluck shown by the criminal and signified his pleasure by allowing the comatose figure to survive. The downside of this protracted affair, at least as far as the heavy gladiator was concerned, was that in doing so he was left with but a single remaining wound point; such was the ferocity of his opponent’s attacks. Whilst this was going on my opponent and I were trading fairly ineffectual blows – not helped by my character, being the faster of the two, retreating out of range every time he had attacked! This went on for time with my figure generally coming off the worse when the occasional telling blows were landed – the dice rolling had been truly abysmal.

With the demise of the criminal the remaining three combatants faced each other for the grand finale (think of the climax to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!) and so initiative for the coming turns would be critical. On the first turn I was able to position my figure in such a way that it was within range of both my adversaries but crucially out of theirs. By dint of good fortune (better initiative than my opponent) I was able to rush over to the heavy figure (down to a single damage point) and to score the single point required to finish him off before he could react! To be fair, he probably expected this and would certainly not have been able to run away in any event as he was slower than my figure. There was no surprise either when the emperor decided that his performance thus far had been so laboured against the poorly armed criminal (despite the enormous crushing blow he had inflicted) that he was duly given the thumbs down and despatched.

Such skulduggery on my part would eventually reap its own reward as in the interests of time (we were fast approaching the end of the session) the remaining two combatants then went toe to toe for a number of rounds of combat. We traded blows until each of us was left with but a single damage point remaining. It this point however, Dame Fortune finally abandoned me and my opponent delivered the telling blow leaving my exhausted figure to collapse dramatically to the ground. The arena fell silent as the emperor pondered his decision. Then, after what seemed like an age, he raised his thumb (or rather the dice was rolled) and the crowd erupted with cheering. My figure would live to fight another day – once of course, he had healed!

Once again many thanks to Mr.Fox for laying on the entertainment – it was as much fun as ever!

"Strength and Honour."

Friday 17 September 2010

The Lord of the Rings - Early Musings

I spent a little time last night sorting through the collection of GW Lord of the Rings figures I recently acquired. All told there are around 200 figures being a mix of plastic and metal. I was giving some thought as to the best way of using these and given the size of some of the forces I am thinking that something HOTTs based would be ideal - especially from a painting perspective. I will need to add some other bits and pieces from GW in order to finish off some of the forces but happily not too much - which is just as well given the prices we are talking about - £16.50 for 6 mounted figures is a little on the eye watering side methinks!

The biggest single lack appears to be mounted figures so by using HOTTs I should be able to get away without needing too many - probably the forces of Rohan will be the most expensive army in the collection.

I had best see what I can do via ebay then!

Tuesday 14 September 2010

The Next 300.....................

After having looked over the last 300 posts I decided that a number of outstanding issues needed to be addressed - not only in the seemingly never ending pile of projects I keep landing myself with but also in respect of the blog itself. I suppose that nearing my 50th birthday has made me feel all philosophical to an extent and so this 'reorganisation of the reorganisation' is pretty much a logical extension.

I won't weary you with yet another list of projects (replacing the last sixteen or so!) but I will mention about the changes to the blog. Firstly, Ogrefencer is no more and so I am back in the real world under my own name and not one borrowed from a classic Sci-fi boardgame (OGRE being the game and FENCER being my preferred cybertank variant). Gone is the picture of Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent and instead you now have the dubious delight of my own mugshot (taken incidentally on our recent holiday in Turkey - by one of the hotel swimming pools). The jury is out on this one as I don't want to scare anyone off so it may change again at some point!

The reason for this is that hopefully, at some point in the future, whilst I am wondering around at a wargaming event somewhere someone may recognise me and come up and say hello! I realise that sounds very sad but it is always nice to meet in the flesh those people they we usually only interact with via cyberspace!

I will be opening up some new folders as well as some of them are getting a little on the unwieldy side.

Meanwhile, back to the project list...........;-)


......and no, not the film of the same name (although I enjoyed this enormously!). This is my 300th post and so once again many thanks to all that have read and commented on the content - as ever it is much appreciated.

Now that the Autumn is fast approaching I shall try and ensure that more projects receive attention and by extendion, more posts are written.

Here's hoping in any event!

Sunday 12 September 2010

It was a tale that grew in the telling.....

The big job for this weekend came about as a result of ebay have two free listing days. This means that you can list items for sale and only pay a fee based on their sale price, assuming they sell. As a result I have listed 60 items under my user id of drcroguejedi. Not all are mine I hasten to add and to be honest it is not a difficult task by any means but it is very time consuming.

Also on the agenda was the usual trip to a boot sale and once again several choice items appeared. To begin with I acquired two sprues of Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Men of Gondor - 15 figures in total but minus the bases - for 50p, as well as another 15 copies of the Lord of the Rings magazine - with the figures I might add - for £5. That was a little more than I paid for the last lot (the 54 magazines and figures etc mentioned last week) but the figures will fill a number of gaps. I have the makings of a very nice LOTR collection and thus far it has been pretty cheap.

In the recent LOTR acquisition (the big one as opposed to the smaller one of today) there was a copy of the film tie in photo book for The Two Towers. I noticed that a charity shop in Basildon had the full set of the three titles so when we were shopping there today I was able to acquire the Fellowship of the Ring and the Return of the King for £2.75 each - the proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation. These books are quite slim but are large format hardbacks and are full of still shots from the films and so are very useful for painting details for the GW figures that are based upon Peter Jackson's trilogy.

I am undecided as to how best to proceed with this lot in terms of gaming with them. Aside from the skirmish rules that GW produce, supplemented with a large scale battles set, I am thinking quite seriously about using HOTT or even my old friend Tabletop Battles as there is a fantasy supplement included therein that is based upon a grid and is very easy to use.

The final acquisition at the aforementioned boot sale were hardback copies of The War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and one of my absolute all time favourite novels - For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.

The Spanish Civil War WILL be a period I tackle at some point - once the existing project list gets down to manageable proportions!

Monday 6 September 2010

Naval Reinforcements - The New and the Old Part 4

Finally we have the latest additions to the German navy in the shape of six late war Narvik class destroyers. These were extremely well armed with 5.9" guns making them almost light cruisers in terms of firepower. They are really nice models painted in a Baltic splinter camouflague scheme.

Naval Reinforcements - The New and the Old Part 3

The next instalment of new ships belongs to the Royal Hellenic Navy. Greece lost much of her small fleet in the early stages of the German invasion in 1941 but the remnants had an active war serving with the allies. The Averof was used on convoy duty in the Indian Ocean whilst the V.Olga (a nearly exact copy of the British G/H class destroyer) served in the Mediterranean. Her sister ship was sunk in harbor and refloated, repaired and recommissioned in the German Navy as ZG.3 Hermes. The flanking ships in the picture are the ex RN Flower class corvettes handed over in 1943.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Naval Reinforcements - The New and the Old Part 2

The second ship selection features the new additions to the Italian navy - a pair of Duilio class rebuilt WW1 battleships, a pair of Trento class heavy cruisers, eight Soldati class destroyers and a Cant flying boat providing a long range reconnaissance ability. Say what you like about the Italian navy but they certainly have lovely looking ships!

Naval Reinforcements - The New and the Old Part 1

At last the much heralded reinforcements for my various Axis and Allies: War at Sea collections have been commissioned. First of all we have the three R class battleships - Ramillies, Revenge and Royal Sovereign escorted by the County class cruiser HMS Berwick. The G and H class destroyers will follow in due course - once they have been repainted in an early war overall light grey. The R is a lovely model and is easily one the best in the set.

Hitler's Naval War by Cajus Bekker and She.......

It has a been a productive weekend at home and today as ever saw us on the boot sale run. The two books above were picked up for £1.80 in total with the Bekkar title being a pound. I was quite intrigued by this book as it presents the naval war from the German perspective - in fact the author was a former intelligence office in Hitler's navy - and so will form a nice balance to the 'Anglo-centric' nature of most studies of the era.
'She' by H.Rider Haggard needs little introduction but despite having seen the film ages ago (it was in a double bill with 1,000,000 years BC) I have never read the novel so this will be my train reading for the next few days!