GRUNTZ

GRUNTZ
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Friday, 31 October 2014

Narrow Seas [32]


I've finished the mid-war E boat flotilla now with two more Skytrex S38 class and four early war Skytrex S9 class boats assembled and undercoated. I've run out of Humbrol Matt Sea Grey so the whole lot has been oversprayed in bog standard Humbrol matt white, which is fine as they'll be painted up in off-white anyway. I may even get round to painting them up this weekend?

A Radical Reshuffle




I spent some time over the holiday thinking about the general direction I'm going in and so, when I got back yesterday, I decided to re-organise and clear out a whole load of stuff that's been hanging around on the garage shelving for far too long.

All of my boxes of plastic figures and most of the 28mm metal figures that I've stockpiled have now been packed up and relegated to the loft. I've kept some of the 28mm stuff but the shelves are now clear for smaller scale projects that actually stand a chance of getting underway.

I'm not abandoning 28mm completely and will be finishing the Chain of  Command Japanese in the run up to Xmas, for example, but I have decided to switch my focus to smaller scales, with a particular emphasis on both naval and aerial gaming. This will be funded by selling off some of the more unlikely 28mm projects including the plastic Napoleonics and Ancients box sets.

As a result, the rest of the year will be spent finishing the Japanese and the coastal warfare project, clearing the decks for some more naval projects in 2015. In fact, this will now be the theme for the next twelve months or so, with an occasional dip into 15mm skirmishy type things like WotR using Lion Rampant.

I'm feeling pretty good about this re-focus and have now got a lot more shelf space to boot!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Back Again



We've just got back from Denmark after a very enjoyable trip. If we could have stayed a bit longer I think we would have done but duty calls, so it's time to get back to work. I'll be sifting through the photos for a bit of a retrospective tomorrow but, in the meantime, here's one to get you scratching your head. I'm sure it made sense to someone at some point but I'm not sure it would actually be a top idea?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Denmark A+++


The Danish Arsenal Museum turned out to be a fantastic visit this afternoon, in a very understated Danish way. I really like the Danes, with their civilised approach to life and their total absence of inefficiency and inadequacy, at least as far as I can detect from a very brief second visit. 

Without being too politically incorrect, there are no obese people, the streets are totally spotless (we played spot the dog @$& today, with nil points all round), there's an absolutely superb public transport system, fantastic food and a very friendly attitude from everyone you meet. Not to mention everyone speaking faultless English!

I've also located no less than three games shops within walking distance of the city centre and an equal number of fantastic bookshops, all of which have shelves stacked with titles in English. Anyway, before I apply for Danish citizenship, I better get back to the subject in hand, with a useful link for enthusiasts of obscure mid nineteenth century wars.

I bought a copy of this introductory guide to the war of 1864 today, only to find that it's available as a download from the authors website:

http://www.graenseforeningen.dk/markering-af-1864.html

It's a quick read but explains everything in a very straightforward way, with some excellent period illustrations and an interesting historical perspective. I may look into this as a potential naval wargaming project, as I already have the ships for Rugen / Jasmund, but there's also some scope in 10mm for some land based games.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Copenhagen's Fortifications


We're only here for another day and a bit, so we're off to the Danish National Museum and Arsenal Museum tomorrow, having visited Malmo in Sweden today via the spectacular bridge. If we had any more time I'd love to take a closer look at the fortifications of Copenhagen, having picked up a really informative leaflet about the extensive system of redoubts, forts and defensive ramparts at the tourist office today. This really is a great place to visit if you are interested in military history:

Monday, 27 October 2014

Bismarck's First War




We're in Copenhagen for a few days and it's a really good place to visit. In keeping with the location, I've set out to research the rather obscure but very interesting war of 1864 between Denmark and Prussia, fought over the Schleswig Holstein question. This is a topical subject here at the moment, believe it or not?

I've got a vague memory of this from my A level History course at school but do know that it involved some exciting naval skirmishes and some pretty big battles on land, leading to the crushing defeat of the Danes. A former gaming friend of Danish ancestry was also very enthusiastic about the whole thing, so there's got to be something in it!


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Lost World Tribal Temple [4]



The base has now been drybrushed in three stages of Foundry Canvas, washed in GW Agthrax Earthshade, then flocked with static grass. I've also adding some aquarium plant bits to create a bit of jungle vegetation. It's not quite finished but there's only a touch of detailing to be done for it to be ready for the game. I'm off for a few days now, so I'll wrap it up when I get back.

Lost World Tribal Temple [3]


I finished the basing late last night and gave the whole lot a spray undercoat in Halfords matt brown camouflage, so that I could start on the painting this morning. It's about half way there now, with a three stage drybrush of Foundry Buff Leather, followed by a touch of white and then a weathering wash in 50:50 GW Agrax Earthshade and Thraka Green ink. I think it needs some more weathering and a drybrush here and there to lift it a bit but, otherwise, it's not looking too bad.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Cold Response



I was looking for something completely different the other day and was fortunate to bump into this:

http://mil.no/excercises/coldresponse/Pages/the-best-pictures-from-cold-response-2014.aspx

...some wonderful photography!

:O)

Lost World Tribal Temple [2]




Here's the initial glue together and clean up of the temple feature for the club participation game at Warfare 2014. I've tidied up the stonecast Aztec temple, added the icon with an mdf plinth carved into paving slabs, then hot glue gunned the whole thing to the ERM mdf terrain base. A quick blast of Halfords matt camouflage brown, so that I can see what's what and it's ready for the base texturing, which I should get done tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Lost World Tribal Temple [1]



I've been asked to make a tribal temple type thingy for the club participation game, which will be appearing at Warfare 2014 in a few weeks time. So, I had a rummage in the terrain box and found a very old and slightly battered stonecast Aztec pyramid, which I originally bought for Saurian Safari games anyway. 

This will be topped off by an mdf plinth and part of a Reaper Miniatures tribal african king's throne, which I think looks perfect as some sort of dinosaur workshipping icon. I'll stick the whole shebang to an ERM mdf base and add some paving from left over mdf offcuts, before adding some base texturing, stones and rubble.

After that I'll do a good undercoat of brown spray paint then start the laborious process of wetbrushing, drybrushing, washing and weathering, before I add some suitable jungly vegetation. It's supposed to be the  centrepiece of the game, so I'll have to make it look the business.

Not sure when I'll get this done but the clock is definately ticking!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Narrow Seas [31]


I'm sinking in a **** load of work at the moment, so wargaming has been a very low priority over the last week or so, with little sign of an end to the crap that anyone in secondary education has to deal with on a day to day never ending basis. I have, however, assembled and primed a Skytrex M35 class minesweeper and have another ready to go in the box, but that's about it for the week thus far. If only I could have a free afternoon or two to get on with some painting?  :O(

Monday, 20 October 2014

Forgotten Sacrifice



I'm reading this now and it's pretty good so far, with a concise narrative yet plenty of factual detail to back it up. I'm not sure how you'd cover the Arctic convoys as a low level tactical game but it would be very effective on a grand tactical or even strategic level. I took a part in a couple of late war convoy multiplayer game at the club a few years ago but they were very challenging for the U Boats to say the least!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Coastal Patrol Cheatsheet



I've decided to go for Coastal Patrol as the initial rules of choice for my Narrow Seas project, so have been thumbing through the rules to work out what I need in terms of blinds, markers, torpedo counters and so on. I realised that there were no ship stats or a cheatsheet included in the original article, so located the relevant files in the Too Fat Lardies yahoo group.

You can save and print this!
These are both in EXCEL format, so I duly printed them out, finding that the QRS was split over two pages rather the one. To fix this I printed out, then cut and pasted the different sections together, adding the rules logo to the sheet for a bit of impact. This was then scanned in and converted to a JPEG image, which I've posted here to save you the bother.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Narrow Seas [30]




Another pre-occupied day spent painting the local scout hut but it's all in a good cause, so I don't mind. Here's the result of today's limited time on the coastal forces project, in the shape of two de-militarised F-Lighters from the ex-Skytrex now Heroics and Ros range, all tastefully undercoated in the dodgy primer from Poundland.

They're actually MAL's which were mainly used in the Baltic and Black Sea, so pretty useless in their intended role as far as I'm concerned. As a result, I've turned them into generic coastal lighters or barges, which can happily chug around the Channel Islands delivering ersatz wurst to the local garrisons, with the addition of some 15mm stowage loaded onto the decks.

I've also saved all the gun mountings for use on a couple of PT Dockyard AFP - C Flaklighters that I have in the box, so it's a winner all round as far as kitting out the opposition is concerned. I'm sure the purists will be up in arms but I've made good use of some spare models that would otherwise be gathering dust.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Narrow Seas [29]




After all that AK47 nonsense, it's back to the far more sensible coastal forces project, with a couple of PT Dockyard MFP - C 'Flak Lighters'.These are resin kits and require quite a bit of care and attention to detail, so I screwed them up as you might expect. 

The resin gun mountings were unbelievably fiddly and ended up on the other side of the garage in a fit of despond, so they were substituted for a combination of Tumbling Dice AA guns, together with some spare Skytrex 88mm's and Oerlikens from the bits box. 

The hulls also needed a bit of filling, where the air bubbles have eaten the details but, other than that, I think they look pretty cool. I've run out of Humbrol Sea Grey spray so had to fall back on some dodgy Poundland grey primer but it seems to have worked OK too, much to my surprise.

I'm hoping to start painting them up this weekend...

NEWSFLASH - Banga Boum denounces DuDu (Reuters)


From our diplomatic correspondent in Mpongoville

In a shock announcement today, following inter-governmental emergency talks in the Mbote capital, the President of Mbote, Colonel Banga Boum, denounced the government of Zubuto and accused President Elect DuDu of serious 'strategic miscalculations and military incompetence'. 

The thrust of President Banga Boum's address was a withering condemnation of the Zubuto Army of the People (ZAP), which he claimed was both unprofessional and cowardly in its recent cross border military operations with the Mbote Defence Force (MDF). Whilst praising the 'exemplary performance' of MDF troops, Banga Boum placed blame for the failure of the operation on the ZAP.


In a broadside against the ZAP high command, Banga Boum went on to condemn the 'adventurism and recklessness' which led to a recent crushing defeat for a combined MDF and ZAP column, which had attempted to locate and return a downed short range WaPongo missile. The missile has now been seized by units of the Army of Bana Soto (ABS).


The missile itself had been test fired by ZAP forces during joint military exercises. but had suffered a serious guidance malfunction, resulting in it's crash landing in the border zone. The 'inadequacies' of the WaPongo missile, designed and manufactured by DuDu Defence Industries PLC, were also the subject of President Banga Boum's indignant delivery to the assembled press.

In his closing speech, President Banga Boum announced the immediate dissolution of the Mbote-Zabuto military alliance, which has only recently been established following prolonged inter-governmental negotiations in Bgombo. In a presidential decree, he has ordered all Zubuto diplomatic personnel including the ambassador and his consular staff, to leave the country in the next twenty four hours.


As yet, there has been no response from the government of Zubuto or President Elect DuDu, although his motorcade has now left the Presidential palace in Mpongoville and was last seen heading for the Mbote-Zubuto border on Route 2. This breakdown in relations between the two neighbouring states could have serious consequences for the stabilty of the region.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

AK47 Knocked Out Markers



After the game the other day I thought it would be a bit of a visual enhancement to have some decent KO markers for AFV's and softskins, rather than the usual pathetic puffs of cotton wool. I can't be bothered to scratchbuild these, easy though it will probably be, so did a search on Ebay and came up with these resin pre-painted ones. I may still make some of my own based on these ones, for smaller vehicles like jeeps and technicals, but I reckon these will do the job nicely for tanks, armoured cars and APC's

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

NEWSFLASH - ABS repel MDF-ZAP Incursion (BSBC)

 
From our Bana Soto Broadcasting Corporation correspondent in Mtumbo

In a brief but decisive action, units of the Army of Bana Soto (ABS) have repelled an invasion by a combined force of the Mbote-Zubuto alliance seeking the remains of a WaPongo short range missile fired into Bana Soto. 


A squadron of tanks from the 1st Bana Soto Armoured Division (BSAD) held the invasion force at bay until joined by other forces of the ABS. President Washington Deesee congratulated the ABS and BSAD on the defence of the country against yet another incursion by the forces of Mbote.

In a lenghty speech commending the efforts of BSAD, he said that this once again demonstrated Mbote’s total disregard for the sovereignty of  Bana Soto.


The remains of the WaPongo missile were being removed to ensure the safety of the residents of the area in which it landed and President DeeSee invited UN Combined Regional African Peacekeeping HQ to send inspectors to examine the remains.


President DeeSee re-iterated the view that the development of the short range WaPongo missile could only be for use against Bana-Soto and requested C.R.A.P. support in stopping this new arms race in the region. As yet there has been no response from the Mbote-Zubuto governments.

(many thanks to Colin, aka President DeeSee, for this entirely impartial and strictly balanced BSBC news report)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

AK47 Thrashing











The AK47 game this evening ended up in a sound thrashing for the Mbote - Zubuto military alliance at he hands of the Bana Soto colonial settlers, with the final score standing at 110 to 21 points. That's what happens when you roll out a new army, or at least some new AFV and transport units, so I'm not surprised by the dodgy result (that's my excuse anyway!)

The game was really good fun, however, with some interesting rules coming to light and some useful lessons learned. We also had some ideas about club modifications for a potential campaign, which is a definite possibilty at some point next year. I really need to finish off the rest of the Superpower Backed army for this, with most of the core units already complete apart from the bases.

Monday, 13 October 2014

AK47 Winter Wobbler [23]




I finished the basing on the AFV's and vehicles that I need for the game tomorrow, leaving the rest for later when I have the time to get them sorted. I would have liked to finish all of the vehicle and infantry bases but I just can't fit them in, so they'll have to wait for the meantime. I now need to pack this lot away but will leave them to dry out before I start boxing things up for the game.

NEWSFLASH - Bana Soto claims missile crash an 'Act of War' (Reuters)


From our diplomatic correspondent in Mpumbe

In a televised radio broadcast to the nation the President of Bana Soto, Washington DeeSee, has condemned the 'aggressive and unjustified action' of Mbote and Zubuto, citing recent joint military exercises in the border zone as a clear provocation to the 'peace loving people of our great nation. This is an Act of War!'


In a direct reference to the crash landing of a ZAP short range WaPongo missile in the demilitarised border strip, President DeeSee re-iterated his claim that the Mbote - Zubuto 'axis of evil' is determined to destabilise the fragile peace and provoke an armed conflict with Bana Soto. He announced the immediate mobilisation of defence forces in the border zone to counter the alleged threat to Bana Soto security.


President DeeSee has ordered that the wreckage of the missile be located and recovered by the Army of Bana Soto (ABS), with immediate effect. In a clear warning to the Mbote - Zubuto alliance, he also stated that any attempt to prevent such a recovery by the units of the MDF and ZAP, would be met with full  military force.

Action Stations 4th Edition



I've been rifling through my collection of coastal warfare rules, which is fairly comprehensive from very simple to complicated, old school to up to date, free to fairly pricey and conventional to very different. If I rummage right down to the bottom of the box, we have:

Navwar Coastal Warfare Rules
Fast Attack
Flaklighter 2
The Quick and the Dead
Attack with Torpedoes
Coastal Patrol
PZ8 Coastal Warfare
MTB
Schnell rules for Schnellboote
Action Stations!

...so plenty to choose from and to play around with. The rules I'm most familiar with are Action Stations!, which I've played a number of games of at the club in the past. They have just the right balance of detail and simplicity, so they are probably the first option for the Narrow Seas project when I finally finish the models, closely followed by Coastal Patrol.

I thought I'd get the latest 4th edition, having a couple of 3rd Edition copies for some reason, so have downloaded it from Wargames Vault. It looks fairly similar to the booklets that I already have but the devil is in the detail, so I'm sure it will be worth the cost to update to the latest version.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

NEWSFLASH - C.R.A.P. patrol locates missing missile crash site (Reuters)




From our defence correspondent in Bjobo

In a brief press statement at the Combined Regional African Peacekeeping HQ in Bjobo, a spokesmen for the C.R.A.P. mission, Major Short-Cummins, has confirmed the location of a missing WaPongo short range missile in the hotly contested border zone between Mbote and Bana Soto. The missile itself was lost in a test firing incident during joint military exercises between Mbote and Zubuto earlier this week.


According to the statement, a border monitoring unit of  C.R.A.P. peace keeping troops located the crash site of the missile yesterday during a routine patrol. The exact location of the wreckage has yet to be confirmed but it is clearly somewhere in the demilitarised border zone between the two rival states of Mbote and Bana Soto, with serious implications for competing claims by both nations to the crash site itself.

S Boats in Action


I downloaded this for the Kindle the other day because it looked really useful as an extra source of background information and scenario ideas. I have several books on the subject of coastal forces but few dealing solely with the Kriegsmarine side of the equation. I'm particularly interested in the tactics and organistion of the S-Boat flotillas, so was pleased to find several relevant diagrams and paragraphs dealing with just that. It was interesting to find out that they operated in rotte, just like the Luftwaffe fighter arm.

This has also led to a further expansion of my S-Boat flotilla, which at the moment consists of only four early war S26 series Skytrex models. I've ordered four more of these from Heroics and Ros and four of the earlier S6 class, with the torpedo tubes exposed on the fore deck, just like the classic Airfix kit version. This will give me a flotilla of twelve boats, which is much more handy for a decent sized convoy attack. In the meantime, I'll start painting up the ones that I've already assembled and undercoated.