Sunday, 12 July 2020

Chinese Warlord Plastic Air Power

I had a rummage in the kit pile in the loft and located this vintage Aurora 1/48th scale kit of a Breguet XIV to use as air support for the Chinese Warlord army of the penurious Warlord Bao Tsin Shek. I had put this aside for exactly this purpose ages ago and even found a couple of Copplestone pilots that I'd left in the box, so I can fit a crew into the cockpit and rear gunner seats. It's a very sturdy bit of plastic and should stand up to some rough handling on the table top, once I've put it together. I might even add a second optional aircraft, a SPAD XIII fighter rather than a light bomber, using another 1/48th scale kit that I have stashed away in the loft. I suspect the vintage model collectors will be having conniptions about me actually making a 'classic' plastic kit but it's no use sitting in a dusty box!

Saturday, 11 July 2020

The Army of Chinese Warlord Bao Tsin Shek

I had an urge to dig out my Back of Beyond stuff from the depths of the lead pile today, with the excavated end result being an entire Chinese Warlord army complete with all the whistles and bells. I have enough figures for all three special units here, together with two regular infantry units, a field gun, a mortar, two machine guns, an Anti Aircraft machine gun, a Peugeot and an Erhardt armoured car to swap around, with a commander and staff officers to finish the army off. The only thing missing from the main force is some cavalry, but I hate painting horses so that's not a big problem.

I also have all of the optional units allowed in the army list including an FT-17 tank, a German advisor and European artillery specialist, although I couldn't find the White Russian artillery crew. I even have a half completed armoured train and a lovely 1/48th scale Breuguet XIV light bomber kit in the loft. The question is, can I justify spending the time and effort to base and paint this lot, when I already have two armies for the Back of Beyond already? So, will the ever glorious army of the Warlord Bao Tsin Shek ever see action...I'd like to think it will?

Friday, 10 July 2020

Back of Beyond Battle Plan

People's Commissar Ivan Tushutalotovu

The lad wants to play another skirmish game and I realised that he hasn't tried a game of Contemptible Little Armies in the Back of Beyond before, so I've been planning a small introductory scenario for the weekend. I have two armies* for the Back of Beyond, one a Bolshevik force and the other a variation on the Dinosaur Hunter list, in the form of a Texaco oil prospecting expedition. I've enjoyed many games with both armies but have never used them against each other, so it should be a very interesting clash. 

The Texans are tooled up with some pretty impressive units but lack firepower and are short on numbers. They usually crumble when faced with tanks or field guns, as the vehicles get knocked out leaving the infantry to slog on with just their bombs against the AFV's. The Bolsheviks in contrast have lots of relatively weak infantry but do have the advantage of armour support and artillery, so tend to do a bit better unless facing similar or better opponents. 

U.R.Kidding and his Good Ol' Boy Texan Roustabouts

To even things out, I've decided that this will be an Alamo style defensive action for the Texaco expedition, who will set up in some lightly fortified buildings at the centre of the table, while the Reds will be in the assault. The points are roughly equal, however, so both sides have a good chance to achieve their objectives. It will be interesting to see how it plays out and whether the Good Ol' Boys can hold out long enough to wear down the Reds.

*I always wanted to have another one, or two...or three, perhaps a Chinese Warlord Army...stop it!

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Beja Bonus!

I didn't fancy painting this afternoon, having already painted the living room, so decided to base up the last, bonus unit for my Beja field force. I suspect that every Beja army for The Men Who Would Be Kings has one of these, even though the chances of a skirmish force wheeling out a Krupp six pounder would be slim to nil. Anyway, it's a respectable four points of firepower, which I can use as a substitute for the four points of rifle armed skirmishers that I've already built into the line up. The base was adapted from one of the Warbases movement trays that I'm using for the British infantry, delaminated to just have the top layer, stuck on a trimmed down terrain template, then with two of the holes blanked off and the whole lot textured with a filler, PVA and grit mix. I think it looks pretty good!

SAGA Normans Not For Sale

I decided to sell off my unfinished Norman warband for SAGA earlier this year but have now changed my mind and will hold on to it instead. I have three points worth of hearthguard and warriors, with another three points of figures based and undercoated, ready for painting at some point. This would be a good rainy weekend mini-project, so I might as well keep them rather than flogging them off, especially as I have more time now to get them sorted.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Over the Hump

I've pretty much completed the blocking in on the last two units of Beja for my The Men Who Would Be Kings project, so I'm hoping to finish them by the end of the week, if I don't have too many home decorating jobs to do. The next step will be to add a second highlight layer to shields, robes and rifles, along with the metallic bits on the swords, spears and guns. This will get me over the hump and well on the way to completing the field force, with just the sabot bases left to sort out before they are ready for a game, albeit against a yet to be assembled enemy. I'm also still enjoying the whole experience, which continues to be a very pleasant surprise!

Monday, 6 July 2020

Lion Rampant Reading

I'm thinking about a Lion Rampant plastic production line project for the summer holidays, if we end up going across to Brittany for August, rather than being stuck at home. I've done this several times before, taking an army to assemble and base while I'm away from the workbench, with one or two o them eventually ending up being painted and, believe it or not, actually ending up being used for a game. 

This time round, it's a toss up between the War of the Roses using Perry Miniatures plastic figures, or a mid to late twelfth century feudal retinue using the Conquest Miniatures plastic figures. I already have a four point 28mm Norman warband for SAGA but that's as far as it goes, so the plastic pile is free to be plundered for other purposes and as the basis of a larger skirmish themed army, keeping the cost down to an affordable level but building units that aren't just a handful of figures. 

As part of this, I've been doing some more background reading, with the latest book from Chris Peers on the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda. It's clearly written from a military history brief and has lots of wargaming relevant content, which is hardly a surprise given the author's rules writing side line. It's definitely worth a look if you are interested in the period.

What a Tanker!

The lad wasn't at work today, so we set up a quick game of What a Tanker! as he likes it and we hadn't played in ages. To keep it simple I selected a T34/85 (Strike 8 / Armour 8 / Fast) and he had a Panther (Strike 9 / Armour 9 / Fast), so a fairly even match. In retrospect, this was a mistake as neither side had  the edge, so the game went on a bit longer than expected. I dug out my winter terrain but noticed that it could do with a bit of tarting up, so the cloth is now in the washing machine! Anyway, it was a good game and we now have a refreshed grasp of the rules. 

In the game, the T34/85 advanced into some woods, from which it managed to get several hits on the frontal armour of the Panther, with little effect either to the tank or the crew, which failed even to acquire the Russian for several turns. When it did, the shots flew backwards and forwards but again failed to do much damage, leading the Russian commander to shift out of cover to get a clear shot on the enemy panzer. 

This worked up to a point, with the Panther suffering some permanent damage to the hull and some temporary hits, causing the commander to shift up a gear and cross the bridge, in an attempt to get a flank shot on the T34. With the range now down to point blank, which was a bit ridiculous, the superior fire power of the Panther led to some nasty damage on the T34, eventually resulting in the loss of all the command dice and a hasty crew bailout.

In retrospect, this game highlighted both the good and the not so good aspects of the rules, the former being the simple turn sequence and neat dice pool mechanisms, and the latter being the tortuous damage system and lack of decisive outcomes. This is partly down to having evenly matched tanks but also cropped up in previous games that I've played at the club. I think it's one of the reasons that it never took off at my local club, even though I've run a few games in the past. It didn't spoil our fun, however, and both of us enjoyed the game immensely.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

HMDS Sjaelland

For my 1864 naval project, I have replaced the 1/2400th scale model of the Danish screw frigate Sjaelland that I originally assembled with a new one, using the same ASV5 model of HMS Phoebe as a best fit. The original model that I prepared ended up with the hull at a tilted angle, so I scrapped it and made sure that this time round I'd levelled it out. This required some carving away of the base around the stern, so that the hull would sit squarely in place. As usual, I've replaced the sail sets with spars made from cut down staples, which I think look more like the actual thing, even if they're not quite in the right location. I'm hoping to get the Sjaelland and the other ships for the Battle of Jasmund painted by the end of the month, ready for INWARD 2020. 

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Samurai Skirmish

The eldest son has decided that he'd like to do some Samurai skirmish games, so I've decided that at some point over the summer, once The Men Who Would Be Kings Sudan project is complete, I will paint up some of the Perry Miniatures figures that I gathered together back in 2015. These were destined for use with the Ronin and Daisho skirmish rules but, as usual, I was distracted by other things and wandered off in a different direction. 

In these financially constrained times, it's a project that would cost me virtually nothing to set up, as I have plenty of lovely figures and some splendid Sarissa Precision building kits already. I quite fancy a winter theme for this as well, so that I can use some of my existing winter tree and river pieces, together with some specific Japanese elements that I can add in. I'm not sure when I'll do this but it's another thing to tick off the list over the next few months, while I have the chance.


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