Sunday, 26 April 2015

Monty's Marauders

We had a fantastic weekend in the IOW and the Winchester Rugby Club Under 9's did very well, with the sprog's team achieving a well-deserved 'runners up' and missing an overall win by a whisker. However, the boy took a couple of nasty knocks to the head and ended up with a free ride in a St John's Ambulance, although he recovered to play his part and only missed one half of a match. He's off school tomorrow, just in case, which means I'll be off work for a day to keep an eye on him too.

We also had an afternoon to kill in Cowes where I found a pristine hardback copy of Patrick Delaforce's book on the 8th Armoured Brigade for a quid! I've long had an interest in the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry and 13/18th Hussars, as both regiments at one time or other, supported 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in the NW Europe campaign. This was a Rapid Fire! project of mine a few years ago and is destined for revival in 15mm with IABSM or 28mm with CoC, so it's a great addition to the bookshelf.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Galleys and Galleons [10]

We're off to the Isle of Wight this weekend for an end of season rugby tournament, so I won't be going to Salute this year, which I was planning to do for a change. It does mean that I won't be spending any money on things I don't really need, which means I can save it up for more useful bits and bobs.
In the meantime, I've been searching for a sea monster of some sort to use in the Hollywood style scenarios in the Galleys and Galleons draft rules. I wasn't having much luck until I remembered an old Dungeons and Dragons board game that I found in the Works years ago and which the boys used to enjoy playing.
The game has a set of not too badly scuplted hard plastic figures including various characters and creatures, so I'm going to pinch one or two to use as giant sea monsters. The Carrion Crawler model is ideal for this, standing about 50mm tall and towering over the 1/450th scale ships, with a very aquatic look including some impressive tentacles. It just needs basing and painting!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Galleys and Galleons [9]

Not a lot this evening, as real life has intervened but I have started on some range rulers for Galleys and Galleons using 20mm lengths of obeche stripwood tastefully sprayed in Halfords Gadget Blue and Humbrol Crimson. The blue strips are designed for movement and the red ones for firing, with both being cut to the required lengths and drybrushed for visual effect later on.

I've decided to go for the 75mm short, 120mm medium and 180mm long range rulers, which is a good compromise for the scale and should result in some suitably close action. I've also covered the prototype island with modelling paste, which is absolutely wonderful stuff for texturing and perfect for basing in smaller scales. It's all coming together slowly but surely, with some playtesting just over the horizon.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Galleys and Galleons [8]

I've scraped half an hour this evening in which to experiment with some ERM mdf terrain templates, high density pink insulation sheet and assorted scatter material, in an attempt to scratchbuild some islands for Galleys and Galleons.

The prototype island isn't too bad and, with some additional texturing, a PVA undercoat and half decent paint job, could well turn out as a useable terrain feature. I'll have a crack at something a less monolithic and a little more adventurous tomorrow.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Spy or Die Trying

It was back to work today, so I've been catching up on the marking this evening and have just finished. To cheer me up, I'm going to have a rummage in the contents of Spy or Die Trying, which I ordered over the holidays having been let down by a previous supplier. It arrived today and has already been opened for a quick look through, with first impressions being really good. The rules are very clearly laid out, with plenty of examples to follow and lots of clarification, so it shouldn't be difficult to pick up.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Galleys and Galleons [7]

We got home today at 7.00am and I've spent the day unpacking, tidying up and sorting things out. The post included the extra ship kits and accessories that I ordered from Peter Pig including a second schooner, which I have converted into a fore and aft rig, unshamedly copying the idea of Mr D.Manley Esq. from his blog. I think it looks pretty good, so many thanks for the idea.

I also rummaged in the 1/2400 scale bits box, looking for some coastal emplacements that bought from the Tumbling Dice stand at Warfare last year. There was one that didn't have any scale specific features, so I've added a trio of Peter Pig light guns with crew to create an ad-hoc shore battery, the sort of thing any self respecting pirate crew could throw up with a few spades, a taste of the lash and some sugar-based liquid refreshment.

On a more permanent basis, I also uncovered the resin model of Chateau du Taureau that I aquired in France a while back, originally as a target for my 1/600th scale ironclads. It will now be used for it's intended purpose, as a coastal defence against English privateers and the Royal Navy, although scale-wise it's a little bit off. Nonetheless, I've stuck it to an mdf base, then used modelling paste, sand and PVA to blend it in, with some Peter Pig medium guns to add a bit of scale effect.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Galleys and Galleons [6]

I finished assembling the last of the Peter Pig 1/450th scale pirate ships today, although there may be one or two more to glue together later on. This one is another brig but with some heavier 'medium' guns and an outer and inner jib added to the bowsprit, using a spare sail set from a schooner model. The idea is to differentiate it from the other brig that I have already assembled, although I think both would benefit from an additional spanker and some rigging of some sort.

Anyway, we're off home tomorrow so there will be no more posts for a couple of days or so, especially as I'm back to work after the weekend. In the end, I didn't get any board gaming down this holiday due the unexpectedly fantastic weather, so Heroes of Normandie will have to wait until half term for a decent play through. I'm also looking at a pile of marking when I get back to work, so will be concentrating my wargaming efforts on Galleys and Galleons for the next couple of weeks in between the paperwork.

In the longer term I'm hoping that work will ease up a bit, especially once the exam season has finished in a month or so. This will mean a long overdue and much sought after chance to get some decent painting and gaming done from mid-May onwards. The Galleys and Galleons project is top of the list at the moment, to be followed by the 1/600th scale Bag the MiG and/or Air War C21 projects, the latter of which may include the ultramodern aircraft for Flashpoint Baltic! I'd also like to do some more 1/285th scale aircraft for Bag the Hun at some point.

I'm also desperate to get the 15mm Lion Rampant War of the Roses project underway, and have even considered having the figures painted professionally, if the price is right. I'd rather paint them myself but time is a real challenge so who knows? Finally, there's at least four 28mm projects to get finished including my Darkest Africa tribal natives, my Vikings for SAGA, the extra bits for the Chain of Command US platoon and the early war Japanese platoon, although this will probably be tackled in the summer holidays.


Pointe de Combrit Coastal Forts

We went for a walk this morning out the headland at the end of the bay. There's a really interesting early eighteenth century coastal battery and an impressive coastal fort c1862, constructed as the replacement for the obsolete earlier works by Napoleon III. The fort is now an art gallery but has been restored to its original configuration rather than being convertedfor other use or left to decay, which is what has happened to some other examples including the fort in Benodet which is now a sail training centre. All very inspirational for some Galleys and Galleons scratchbuilding.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45

I'm reading this now as it's one of the few books by Max Hastings that I haven't yet read, for some indeterminate reason.

I really like Hasting's approach to historical writing as he always focusses on the experience of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, rather than from the top down, yet also incorporates the strategic decision making side of things, which not infrequently led to the extraordinary situations the people at the bottom found themselves in. 

He has a very readable style and an eclectic approach to contemporary sources of evidence, which often provides an unusual perspective.  He also rarely 'takes sides' like some other popular military historians I could mention, with equal criticism of both the US and British high command.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Galleys and Galleons [5]

I found this kit in the toy aisle of the local supermarket this morning and thought it might be useable for Galleys and Galleons, even if it's slightly underscale. The kit itself is pretty simple but has some nice details and scales out well against the 1/450th Peter Pig ships.

I would need to cut down the hull, replace the underscale deck guns and the spindly masts but, otherwise, this is an impressive addition, even if I only use it as a scenario objective of some sort. It is enormous and would probably blow everything else out of the water in a normal game!