Sunday 31 July 2011

Holiday Reading

We arrived yesterday and have now unpacked everything ready for the usual summer holiday activities. I haven't yet had time to un-box the 28mm stuff but have it ready at hand once all the dust settles. In the meantime, I've been piling up the books for the holiday reading marathon.

I've chosen a selection of paperbacks that I've picked up over the last few months, mainly in discount bookshops and second hand charity shops, along with a couple of new ones from Waterstones. The first is The Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubron. I haven't read any travel books for a long time but this looked interesting from a Back of Beyond point of view.
The second is Zulu by Saul David, which happened to catch my attention while browsing in Waterstones, so has been added to the book pile. I haven't read any Zulu War related stuff, although I have quite a few books on the shelves, so I thought this would be a good place to start. Who knows, it may start me off on yet another colonial themed escapade?

Finally, I have Dusty Warriors by Richard Holmes. It's about the only book that I haven't read by the recently deceased author, mainly due to the subject matter which isn't top of my list as a potential wargaming project to say the least. Nonetheless, I've always enjoyed his books and have never been let down by his work, so it's on the reading list as well.

I have a few more paperbacks stashed in the bag for rainy days but these will keep me occupied for the next couple of weeks at least. The weather is supposed to be fairly crap this week so I should be able to get some decent reading in, along with the 28mm figures that I've brought along to paint up.

Friday 29 July 2011

Bon Voyage!

We're off to France tomorrow and I've packed up my painting project for the holiday, ready to get started once the journey there is over. I've decided to go for the 28mm gladiators, having assembled the AK47 collection and realised it was far too big to cart all the way to Brittany in a single box. I'll leave that to September but, in the meantime, hope to clean up, base and paint a dozen or so gladiators for the arena.

I've also taken along a unit of Chinese labourers for my Back of Beyond expedition force. I managed to find twelve figures in the end, using a combination of the Copplestone bandits, a spare Chinese executioner and a couple of Foundry Chinese pirate figures. This lot may get tackled along with the gladiators so that I can use them in the next Back of Beyond campaign battle.

How much of this I actually get done is anyone's guess...?

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Holiday Plans

I'm now officially on holiday.

Oh yes!

I'm also thinking about my habitual summer holiday project and have two ideas in mind. The first is to take the AK47 army to France to paint up the rest of the units that I've assembled and based.

This will mean undercoating the remaining units in the next 24 hours so that I can pack them up along with my paints, brushes and other parephenalia. The alternative idea is to take a bunch of 28mm gladiators to paint up, having cleaned them up, based them and undercoated them, again in the next 24 hours or so.

Now all I need to do is make up my mind?

And persuade the wife that painting the kitchen is not desperately important in the universal scheme of things.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Back of Beyond Battle Report [1]

I played the first game of the Back of Beyond campaign against Chris's Bolsheviks this evening. We decided to set the maximum limit of 1000 points, so I used everything plus the kitchen sink to put 999 points worth of kit on the table. I was still vastly outnumbered by the Reds but had some advantages in terms of firepower and mobility.

The game was a close run thing for most of the six turns that we played but, in the end, the Bolsheviks wore down my firepower advantage and pushed me off the table. They paid a high price for the victory and lost a lot of units but the numbers made it too difficult for my oil explorers to hold on long enough to swing the battle my way.

It was a really good game and I enjoyed trying out the new army. I think I need to add either some Chinese labourers, to act as bullet magnets for the opposition, or some cavalry to reinforce my relatively small infantry units. I quite like the idea of painting up some mercenary cossacks to the mix but they'd be quite expensive in points and might not be worth the effort in painting them up.

Monday 25 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [28]

I had a few minutes to spare this evening, so thought I'd try to stick together an additional vehicle for my militia unit using a Peter Pig landrover and the vehicle mounted rocket launchers I got at Attack! yesterday.

The end result isn't too bad, despite a few dodgy moments with the superglue which didn't want to set for some reason. Anyway, I think it's a bit different and should raise a few eyebrows when it arrives on table. I think I'll class it as a vehicle mounted mortar or recoilless rifle on jeep, which would mean that it costs 20 points.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Attack! 2011

I had a jolly good day at Attack! helping to run the club participation game and browsing the various traders. The Wessex Wargamers Winchester club game went down well and looked the business, thanks to the hard work of Colin, Andy and Caesar who did most of design and preparation. We ran four sessions in total and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, which is the aim of the game.

I bought a small selection of goodies but, overall, went away with only a modest addition to the leadpile. I was particularly pleased with my unexpected aquisition of some 15mm ground / vehicle mounted Katuysha rocket launchers, together with some very cool armoured swift boats from The Scene. 

These will be added to my AK47 army very soon. I can recommend this range as a great source of those useful extra bits that you need to fill gaps in the stuff you already have.

I also bought three very nice Arab houses from Mainly Military, which will find their way into both the AK47 and PITS terrain set up. I also picked up three 28mm crocodiles from DeeZee, which will be useful for Darkest Africa and for Gladiator games.  

All in all, a good day out!

Saturday 23 July 2011

Warhammer Historical Gladiator [4]

Northstar has some boxes of Warlord Games Celtic Infantry at a bargain price of £9.99, so I've ordered one to use as potential material for gladiatorial combat. I'm planning to use some of them as Velites or similar light infantry and may also convert a few into other lightly armed gladiatiors using some bits from the spares box, green stuff and so on. If I can, I'll use some to make dead and wounded markers, which feature in the rules as potential obstacles.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Trees, Trees and More Trees

The Technology department was chucking out an old architectural model that they'd be given by an estate agent today. As a result, I am now the owner of a whole box of roughly 15mm scale trees. I've also aquired a car park full of AK47 compatible 1/100 scale white metal pre-painted vehicles. This lot will be finding it's way into the 15mm scenery collection at some point in the future.


Wednesday 20 July 2011

Brigade Iron Cow Sale!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out the Brigade Models are running a 15% discount offer on the Iron Cow 6mm range for a few days. The Iron Cow project has been stalled for a couple of months as my time has been taken up with the Back of Beyond and AK47 projects.

However, I'm very keen to get the show back on the road by aquiring some opposition for my ONESS battle group, so now looks like a great opportunity to make the most of the reduced prices for the Iron Cow models. The problem is that I'm not sure what to go for, although I have narrowed it down to one or two front runners.

I really like the SAC wheeled AFV's and APC's but they don't really fit as opposition for the ONESS British (English) battlegroup. As a result, my choice has come down to either the CDSU or Eurofed, with a preference for the Chinese as they have some really nice SPG's and MLRS vehicles.

I could go for the Soviets but they remind me too much of the old Command and Conquer: Red Alert PC game, so I think I'll stick with the first two options. I'll give it some thought and (hopefully) make up my mind over the weekend.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [27]

I was supposed to be going to the club this evening for a run through of the participation game that's been developed for Attack! at Devizes this weekend. However, the Ministry of the Interior had double booked, so has now left me to do the child minding while she goes off for and end of term departmental booze up.

Nonetheless, I haven't wasted the opportunity to add some extra bits to the AK47 orbat, with a couple of heavy rocket launchers that I found on ebay a few days ago. These are obviously Peter Pig nebelwerfers from the WW2 PBI range but they look a bit like the sort of thing you'd expect to see wheeled out by a Soviet backed African dictatorship.

I was going to use militia crew figures for these and have them towed around by rusty Toyota pick ups but I didn't have enough militia in the bits box. As a result, I've used the regular HM crew instead but with only two instead of the usual three figures to make things less crowded. They'll be towed around by the BTR152's that I've already undercoated.

Monday 18 July 2011

Warhammer Historical Gladiatiors [3]

The workbench is still submerged in clobber this evening as the carpenter decided to do the book shelving in the sitting room today instead of the garage shelving.

This is a good thing as it will allow me to shift most of my extensive collection of military history books out of the loft, to which they have been exiled by the Ministry of the Interior, so that they'll be available for me to browse through as and when the next big project gets me fired up to do some research. It is, however, also a bad thing as I can't get to the figures and paints that I need to crack on with the AK47 army.

On the other hand, this does give me more time to read through the Gladiator rules this evening and decide which figures I'll be picking out from the leadpile to form my initial painting mini-project. I have a small but perfectly formed heap of Foundry and Crusader figures to choose from but will only select half a dozen or so to start with.

I'll try to go for matched pairs and/or the most common types, so that should make it easier to prioritise the figures that I'm going to tackle first. I'm thinking of taking them to France in the holidays as an exercise in minmalist painting but I've yet to make up my mind. It would an easy option given the limited range of paints that I'd need to turn them out and the small numbe of figures involved.

Sunday 17 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [26]

I haven't done any painting today as my workbench is out of action. We're having some new shelving built along one wall of the garage tomorrow so I've spent the day shifting loads of crap from one side of the garage to the other. As a result, the workbench, paints and figures are now buried in a pile of assorted stuff.

I did, however, unearth a couple of diecast Italeri Mig 17 fighters that I'd put in a box and lost. The first one was a re-paint that I did a few years ago for my colonial settlers army but which I replaced with two turbo prop planes as they were more in keeping with the Nbuto FART. I didn't finish it as a result so I could add the camouflage and the extra bits so that it can be used for Ltumtu.

The second one was found in a bargain bin while on holiday in France. It was in it's packaging but didn't have any insignia so I guess must have been a reject from the factory. It's ideal for AK47, however, as all it needs are some decals and a bit of a drybrush or wash. This means I now have at least one airworthy ground attack fighter 'out of the box' so won't have to build a model from one of my many plastic kits if I don't want to.

Saturday 16 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [25]

I finished off the uniforms on the regular heavy weapons bases today, having started on them yesterday but only having completed the basecoat in Foundry Phlegm Green by the close of play. The activity week is now over and I'm fairly pleased with my achievements over the four days I had set aside for painting. It was a very enjoyable week for the kids too, so everyone went home happy :O)

I have completed sufficient bases to field at least two or three units of the Ltumtu regular army and have further reinforcements well under way. I'm looking forward to completing the heavy weapons so that I can tackle some AFV's and vehicles soon. It's been enjoyable so far and I'm hoping that my enthusiasm will last until the end of the month.

I'll tackle the flesh tones tomorrow before I move onto the webbing and weapons.

Friday 15 July 2011

Warhammer Historical Gladiator [2]

I took the plunge and ordered a copy of Gladiator a couple of days ago and it arrived in the post this afternoon (what's going on with the post these days?). Anyway, it's a hefty hardback with loads of glossy pictures and very high production values, as you'd expect. It's pretty comprehensive and has a lot of background stuff to go with the core rules, which look very similar to the 'Legends' system although with some specific variations.

It looks like a good system with a lot of rules to cover pretty much anything that you might expect to crop up in a gladiatorial arena. The one area which looks a bit less than exciting is the scenario section, with a couple of nice ideas but mostly fairly predictable. This might be the weak point in the system, as there's not a lot of variation that you could build into the basic set up.

Anyway, I'll give it a read through and have a think about what I can do with it. It's good value for twenty quid so, if you've been umming and aahing, I'd go for it and order a copy. It's good to see that the whole Warhammer Historical operation hasn't collapsed, as suggested by the long trail of negative comments on TMP and the like. It looks like they're still alive and kicking, so good luck to them.

Thursday 14 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [24]

I didn't get round to starting the heavy weapons today but I have finished painting the regulars, which are now varnished with Army Painter Matt spray and ready for the base texturing.

I started with the webbing which got a three stage covering of Foundry Moss. Next, the gun barrels got a highlight of Foundry Charcoal Black to pick out the detail. This was followed by the machete handles in two staes of Foundry Conker Brown and the grenades in a simple dash of Citadel Scorpion Green.

I then added a dot of Citadel Blood Red to the tips of the RPG's and drybrushed Foundry Spearpoint over the machine gun belts, followed by a wash of Citadel Brown Ink. To finish off, I picked out the canteen lids in Spearpoint as well, as the pot was open and I had some spare paint on the palette.

I'm farly happy with the end result, although the basing should finish them off properly. I'll start on the next unit/s tomorrow and continue with the AK47 project until the end of the month, when we'll be off to France for the Summer. If I crack on, I should get the bulk of the Ltumtu army done by the end of July.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [23]

I achieved much of what I set out to do today although not quite everything, as I expected.

I started with the skin tones using three stages of Foundry African Flesh. This was followed by the rifle stocks in two stages of Foundry Spearshaft. I finished off with a tidy up of the boots, gun barrels and hair with a thin wash of Foundry Black, followed by the green bits on the RPG's and AA launchers using Citadel Knarloc Green.

I didn't get the webbing or gun barrels done and so that will be tackled tomorrow, along with some washing and detailing. I'll also be starting on the heavy weapons bases for the regulars including the HMG's, RCL's, Mortars and AAA guns. These are fewer in number but have quite a few extra bits to be painted, so I'm hoping they'll be done by the end of the week.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [22]

It took me far longer than I expected to get the uniforms done on the AK47 bases today. I started late, as I had some work to clear out of the way first, so only managed the initial basecoat of Phlegm Green Shade by the end of the school day. I've added the other two layers this evening, which didn't take too long given the number of bases involved (the equivalent of two fifths of the army).

I'm hoping to get the flesh tones, webbing, guns and boots done tomorrow, as I can start straight away and have the evening to wrap up anything I don't complete. This will see the figures pretty much done, give or take a wash and a brush up, together with a few details. If I can get all this shifted in one day it'll be a miracle but I'm going to try my best.

Defenders of the North West Frontier

This month's issue of Aeroplane features an article all about No39 Squadron and it's action over the North West Frontier between 1929 and 1939. There are a number of black and white photographs, some of which no doubt feature the Hawker Hart that my grandfather flew, although they are too blurred to identify the specific aircraft.

It's a great article nonetheless and well worth a read. I'm going to email the photos that my grandfather took to the magazine in the hope that they might be published or, at the very least, allow me to follow up the story of his experiences in the interwar RAF over the North West Frontier.

Warhammer Historical Gladiator

These rules caught my eye over on TMP yesterday.

They're obviously based on the 'Legends of the...blah de blah' system but with a focus on gladiatorial combat. I have a couple of sets of rules for this already and, needless to say, I have some Foundry and Crusader gladiators in the leadpile too. It wouldn't require more than half a dozen figures and would be easy to set up, assuming I'm not going to be scratchbuilding any arena (although that might be fun?)

The other thing that caught my eye was the inclusion of rules for naumachiae or naval combat. I have some 1/600 scale Xyston galleys that I could use for this, which would offset the twenty quid that the rules cost through extra playability. I might hang around a bit to see if someone does a special offer on these rules, perhaps with a free figure or a few quid off, but I'm pretty sure this will be on the shopping list either way.

Monday 11 July 2011

Activity Week Painting Plans

It's the first day of the school activity week but, unfortunately, I haven't had time to start painting the AK47 stuff as I've been working on lesson preparation. I also have a very long and boring meeting this evening to endure, so don't expect to get much done tonight until after 9pm at the earliest.

Nonetheless, I'm planning to start on the first unit of the AK47 Ltumtu Dictatorship army tomorrow, once I've cleared a little more school work out of the way. I think I'll start with the core unit of cap wearing regulars, minus their mortars, heavy machine gun and recoilless rifle teams. This will total about thirty bases worth of figures, give or take one of two.

This is quite a lot of bases to get through but, if I can blitz them using a simple paint scheme, I should get them almost done in a day. I've decided on a black undercoat, followed by the trusty Foundry Phlegm Green three stage approach for the uniforms and Foundry African Flesh for the skintones. The rest of the details will be made up as I go along.

Sunday 10 July 2011

AK47 Summer Offensive [21]

I had a traumatic experience with some play equipment today which meant that any plans for wargame related stuff got well and truly shafted. I'm usually quite good at assembling things but the *&"*^$*"! trampoline from hell had me seriously compromised at several points this afternoon. It's done now but I'm still having flashbacks, so have had to resort to a nice cup of tea more than once today.

Anyway, I have scraped a few minutes to clean up, assemble and base the alternative transport for the professional unit, assuming they don't always arrive by helicopter. This consists of three Skytrex MTLB APC's with suitable modifications for my dictatorship force. This involves the removal of the turrets and their replacement with some spare hatches from army surplus Peter Pig Shermans.

In the rules, an APC without any armament can transport four bases instead of two so, to make things entirely above board and straightforward, I thought I'd leave off the dustbin-like turrets and have some hatches with crew instead. I think they look better for it too. Even though I have compromised on firepower, the extra carrying capacity should be well worth it.

Submarine Safari Sea Monsters [3]

I've added a trio of new sea monsters to the collection, all from the CollectA range of plastic toys. They're smaller and a bit more rubbery than the Safari ones but they're also cheaper, averaging out at about four quid each. The first is another Tylosaurus but, as it's a tiddler compared to the Safari one, I'll probably use it as a generic small Mosasaur. It's my least favourite of the bunch.

The second model is a Liopleuradon. It's on the small side for 28mm but will do as either as a juvenile or as another similar reptile like Macroplata. I'll need to get a much larger Liopleurodon from somewhere as it's supposed to be the biggest thing afloat, scaring off everything else on the seabed when it arrives on table. In the meantime, here are the stats for Macroplata:

Move 6'' / Agility: 3 / Toughness: 8 / Damage: 40 (normal critical hits)

Finally we have a Hydrotherasaurus, which I'll use as a small plesiosaur using the stats in the rules. These swim about in gangs of 1D6, so I'll get a couple more to fill out the ranks. It's a fairly harmless fish eating creature and so will be a nice target for the divers before they get eaten by the bigger nasty things.

Move: 8'' / Agility: 1 / Toughness: 6 / Damage: 10 (normal critical hits)

That's it for the moment but I'm hoping to get some more things from the deep in France when I go on holiday in a couple of weeks time.

The Bloody White Baron

There's a book stall in a side street in my local town which is well worth a visit, assuming you can work out when it's there. I have stumbled across it a couple of times after work on Fridays, when I have the dubious pleasure of taking my kids to their judo lessons.

The chap who runs it has a great marketing scheme whereby you can choose four books for a tenner. They're all new, so I guess must come from bankrupt stock or the like. He has an eclectic but excellent range of military history titles so I've managed to part with at least ten quid on each visit.

The last time I found the stall, I bought a copy of The Bloody White Baron, amongst other titles that are now sitting on the 'books to reads over the holidays' shelf. I've started on this account of Ungern Sternberg's mis-adventures in  Mongolia and it's very interesting and well written. Good stuff!


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