Monday 31 December 2012

2012 Retrospective

A rather mixed year as far as wargaming projects go, with some small successes and a lot of unfinished stuff now languishing in the really useful boxes. I did get my Gladiatiors project completed but the games turned out to be a bit of a let down due to the wonky Warhammer rules. I also completed my spray and dip Iron Cow ONESS English battlegroup, with only a few extras needed to round it off.

The Italians for the BKC Aegean campaign have been completed up to a uesable point, although the bulk of the army is still in the half way stage, so not a great result. A far more successful outcome has been the Bag the Hun 2 North Africa RAF planes, which have even been used for a game at the club and will get much more use next year over Malta, perhaps even as a core unit in a mini-campaign.

I have had some really good games at the club this year and have managed to get along on a more regular basis of late. I've run a few games too which I've really enjoyed including the Bag the Hun games, the Saurian Safari pirates v. dinosaurs game, the AK47 multiplayer and, last but not least, the third Back of Beyond campaign. I've also really enjoyed trying out new rules thanks to other club players, especially the Maurice game which I thought was great fun.

I'll definately try to get some more new rules experience in 2013 and also to umpire some more multiplayer games for the club, assuming I can find the time and can shift the figures I need. The Bag The Hun 2 project seems to have been an intial success and there's also some interest in more AK47, so I have plenty of things to be getting on with in 2013. And then there's the new stuff!

Sunday 30 December 2012

Strongpoint HILLMAN

 We made record time on the way back to Caen this afternoon so had about an hour to spare. This inevitably resulted in a detour, this time to the HILLMAN bunker complex above Colleville-Montgomery, which I had read about in various books and have always wanted to visit.

It's an impressive site with a panoramic view of SWORD beach, so well worth a visit if you find yourself in a similar 'what can we do to keep the kids from whacking the bejesus out of each other in the back of the heavily overloaded and rather pungent people carrier' type predicament.

Anyway, an evocative and windswept place which gave me pause for thought once again.

It's also a good distance and height from the beach, which makes the efforts of the Suffolks even more extraordinary, when you consider that they'd been kept on their landing craft for a couple of days in rough weather then fought their way uphill under heavy fire before assaulting a massive bunker complex that had been missed entirely be the pre-landing bombardment.

I'm very glad and extremely grateful that it wasn't me.

Saturday 29 December 2012

Heading Home

We're heading back home tomorrow and it looks like it'll be a bit rough on the ferry due to a nasty looking depression that's blowing through in the next twenty four hours. It's a six hour drive to the port, then and another seven hours across the channel, so it'll be a bit of a longue dureĆ© to say the least, especially with three sprogs to entertain. I'll have some time to reflect on 2012 as a less than productive year, wargaming wise, but also to look forward to 2013 as an opportunity to get some decent stuff shifted. I already have some plans that may well get past the basing up and undercoating stage, although at least one will be an existing project that I'm hoping to finish by New Years Day 2012!
Yeah right.

Friday 28 December 2012

Guerre d'Indochine 1945-1954

I found this hefty hardback in a really good but rather well hidden second hand bookshop today. It's in  excellent condition despite one or two minor tears and is packed full of photographs, maps and information, although the latter requires a bit of translation to be really useful. I'll add it to my small but inspirational collection of books on the French-Indochina War, with a long planned 10mm project for which I have all the figures and vehicles, as the elusive goal.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Xmas Presents

These days I have the onerous duty of getting my own Xmas presents which makes things easier for everyone concerned, especially the other half who has no idea or inclination when it comes to choosing wargames related gifts. This year I have chosen a set of rules to add to the pile of potential projects along with a starter set of figures to get me off to something resembling a start. How many times have I made this mistake, I wonder?
 The rules are Muskets and Tomahawks and the figures are a pack of Warlord Games Woodland Indians, backed up by a set of Northstar Miniatures French Wilderness Force. I'm not sure how well the two ranges match up but at the very least I can pick one or the other as my warband of choice. I'm rationing my figure based projects for 2013 but hope to squeeze this one in at some point, in between the air and naval wargaming projects that I've promised myself will come first.
I also have to complete at least one of the figure painting tasks that I already have on the 'to do' list, so you may have to wait a while before the first of the mohicans gets a lick of paint!

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Monday 24 December 2012

Xmas Magazines

Sorry for the news blackout over the last couple of days, which was a result of the journey over and the subsequent family shenanigans. Anyway, I'm back up and running on the mother-in-law's laptop, so apologies for any dodgy spelling due to the French keyboard and my lack of typing skills.
On the plus side, I've trawled the local magasin de presse for yet more of the excelllent magazines that our Gallic cousins churn out by the bucket load. As you can see, I've got some crackers already with the Hors Series Aerojournal P51 Part 2 as the pick of the bunch including, as it does, colour markings and nose art for all of the late war P51 units in the 8th and 9th Air Force.

Friday 21 December 2012

Holiday Reading List

A bit of a mixed bag but interesting stuff, which I hope to work my way through by the end of the Xmas holidays, although I suspect I'll only scratch the surface!

Thursday 20 December 2012

Naval Gazing

I finally finished work today after fourteen weeks of teaching, which has to be the longest term in the history of our ever over-stretched educational system. So, to celebrate the end of the beginning, I thought I'd pop into town and visit the Oxfam bookshop, as you do. The haul for today is a second hand copy of Jane's Warships at Sea 1897-1997, which will give you some idea of my intended direction for 2013, if you hadn't worked it out already.

We're off to sunny Brittany tomorrow via Plymouth, which is famous for many naval things and also featured as the birthplace of muggins, more than a few years ago. This means that normal service will be interupted for a while but will be resumed once we have have reached the other side of La Manche. In the meantime, I hope you have a very enjoyable wind down to the holidays, especially as I no longer have some of your delightful children to educate for the immediate future.


Wednesday 19 December 2012

Ragnarok 59

A few weeks ago I decided to sign up to a couple of long established old school wargaming societies, the Naval Wargames Society and the Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy Wargamers.

The idea was both to support independent wargaming and to give me some inspiration for projects next year, which I've decided will focus on 'things' rather than figures in an attempt to get some stuff shifted that I've always wanted to do. Anyway, the SFSFW magazine, Ragnarok, popped through the door today and, after a quick flick through, I'm really very impressed.

The production values are top notch and the content varied enough to interest anyone with only a passing interest in Sci Fi and Fantasy gaming, which describes me pretty well. It's already got me thinking about dusting off the Aeronef fleets for a game or two. I'm also thinking of moving the Full Thrust and Iron Cow projects one step closer to the top of the 'hit list' for 2013.

In the editorial, Steve Blease, has sent out an appeal for articles for future issues, which reminded me of the Aeronef multiplayer Scramble for Africa campaign system that I devised and ran at the club a few years ago. I'll have to dig out the files and have a look. If they're any good I'll shoot them off to Steve to see what he could do with them, if anything?

What do you think Steve?

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Too Fat Lardies Xmas Special 2012

I've been looking forward to the Xmas Special, as it's always excellent value and full of interesting, varied articles. This issue is no exception and includes articles for Dux Brittaniarium, Charlie Don't Surf and Through the Mud and Blood, all of which are on my 'to do' list of potential projects. There are also a couple of decent scenarios for Bag The Hun 2, which I can actually use for a project that exists!

Good stuff!

Monday 17 December 2012

Bag the Hun Malta Game Two [1]

I've come down with a really nasty cold, so feel like crap. However, I have been doing some research for the Bag the Hun 2 re-match game in January. This will be a follow-on from the last scenario set, once again, in the skies over Malta in 1941. The front runner is this slightly one sided but furious dogfight, involving No185 Squadron but with opposition from two different Italian formations:

At 07:15 on 21 November 1941, five MC.200s of 54o Stormo and ten 9o Gruppo MC.202s strafed Hal Far, presumably attracted by the presence of 242 and 605 Squadron’s Hurricanes based there. Seven Hurricanes from 185 Squadron led by Squadron Leader Pike were scrambled to intercept. They attacked five Macchis initially (probably the MC.200s), five more then jumping the British fighters (probably some of the MC.202s). No firm claims were made by the Hurricane pilots, but it was believed that three of the Italian fighters had been damaged. Sergeant Bill Nurse’s Hurricane was badly hit in return.

The Italians reported fighting twelve Hurricanes and ‘Spitfires’, and claimed two ‘Spitfires’ shot down, one by Sottotenente Jacopo Frigerio, Sergente Raffaello Novelli and Sergente Angelo Golino, and one by Sottotenente Giovanni Barcaro and Sergente Massimo Salvatore (all of them from the 97a Squadriglia), while two more were claimed as probables. Four were claimed destroyed on the ground plus a Blenheim, damage to the latter being credited to Maresciallo Damiani. Two Macchis returned damaged.

I need to work out the details for this but it looks like it has some potential, especially as I have all the aircraft I need, assuming I keep it down to the intial bounce on the Mc200's by the Hurricanes and the subsequent ambush by the Mc202's. I think I'll leave any ground strafing to a later game, when we've had a good crack at the basic rules mechanics and mastered the art of the bogey!

Sunday 16 December 2012

The Hobbit

Oh dear.

Went to see this with the boys yesterday and thought it was...average.

I liked Gollum, the trolls, the eagles and the wargs but there were several bits that spoiled the whole thing as far as I'm concerned, top of which has to be Sylvester McCoy and his rabbits, followed by the posh goblin king and his floodlit cave made of coffee stirrers, the moose riding elf and, last but not least, the Vidal Sassoon dwarves.

A marginal 4/10.

I just hope he does a far better job with Dambusters!

Bag the Hun Operation Bodenplatte [10]

With only three days left before we head off for France, I've decided not to start painting the Luftwaffe aircraft for Operation Bodenplatte but to leave them for 2013. I might have some time when we get back from France but I don't think they'll be ready for the game in January either way. So, a plan B is needed for the club multiplayer game...

This means that I'll go back to the original plan for the game which was to write up another historical scenario for Malta, making use of the Blenheim IV's that I painted up last month. I'll carry on with the Operation Bodenplatte project at some point in early 2013 and it will definately feature in my 'list of things to do' next year, including a selection of USAAF fighters and perhaps some more RAF aircraft too.

In the meantime, it's back to the book shelf for some more scenario research...

Saturday 15 December 2012

Workbench Fourth Birthday

It's four years since I started blogging and, looking back, I think I've achieved quite a bit in the last one thousand four hundred and sixty days. It's a tiny fraction of what I should have done but, nonetheless, the blog has achieved at least part of it's goal, namely to get some of my indecently expansive leadpile ticked off the 'to do' list.

The parameters might have shifted somewhat and the virtual reality mission statement has definately lost the virtual bit, but it's still deserving of an understated 'Happy Birthday!'

Friday 14 December 2012

AK47 Superpower Backed Bits and Bobs

I really enjoyed the AK47 game the other day, even though I was just umpiring on the sidelines. I actually prefer umpiring  to be honest, as it gives you time to scribble down notes, check the rules and take photos, rather than shoving bits of lead and plastic round the table. It also means you can't lose!

Anyway, the game reminded me why I retired my Colonial Settlers army a few years ago, as it almost always fought it's way into the ground in the face of superior numbers. This was why I put together my current Dictatorship force including all the whistles and bells. It's also why I assembled and based up the bulk of a third army over the Summer.

This is a 'Superpower' backed set up, representing the Kingdom of Bagombo, as outlined in some of my earlier posts:

I got quite a long way with the preparation of this force but ran out of a few bits and bobs that I needed to finish it off. As a result, I thought I'd top up with the various odds and ends that I need to complete the army ready for painting up next year at some point. These include some casualty markers for the regulars and the militia, as well as some crew figures for the armour.

I also sent off for some 79th Armoured Division 15mm insignia from Doms Decals, which I'm going to use as national markings for the Bagomban army, which should make them stand out from the crowd. If I can , I may do some AK47 related stuff over the weekend but, as I'm not very well, it may have to wait until the New Year.

Thursday 13 December 2012

AK47 Game Photos


I was hoping to have the time to write up the AK47 game but I just haven't had a chance to sit down and get it done . To make up for this, I thought I'd post some photos of the game instead, so you'll have to use a bit of imagination and suspend your dis-belief a little longer.

As you can see, I really need to get some decent terrain sorted for AK47 including some decent roads, a proper bridge, some realistic jungle and a few shanty town buildings, otherwise every game will look the same as the last one!


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