Sunday 31 March 2013


A bit of a nightmare journey but we got here in the end. Anyway, I bought this on the ferry over and it's rather good, so I'll be reading it for the next couple of days rather than the books that I've brought with me. I've read a couple of his other titles, which have been fine but not great, so it'll be interesting to see how this one turns out. It might even get me to think about Through the Mud and Blood in 15mm, which is another of those theoretical diversions that has been shoved in the 'I'll get round to it one day' archive.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Off and Away!

We're off to the in-laws in not so sunny Brittany tomorrow, so normal service may be disrupted for a couple of days or so. I'm taking the Artizan US infantry for Bolt Action to clean up and base but, other than that, I'll be taking a break from wargame related activities.

I need to re-charge the batteries a bit, ready to tackle the coastal forces stuff when I get back in a couple of weeks. I have packed a couple of beer and pretzels games to play if the weather is crap, including X-Wing and Munchkin, so it won't be an entirely game free fortnight.

I'm also hoping to get in some decent reading time and visit the U boat base in Lorient, which I've been pestering the Ministry of the Interior about for a couple of years at the very least. If I do get the chance to see inside the U Boat pens, I'll be a very Happy Easter bunny.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

AK47 Game Pictures


We had a good game of AK47 this evening but the end result was the same as the last time round, with the FART soundly thrashed by the MDF, although the defenders did put up a pretty good fight. The attackers used the amphibious landing craft option for one unit, which meant that I had a chance to try out the rules for boats which was one of the aims of the game.

I used the club Hexon terrain which made it easy to set up the shoreline, roads and hills. It also made it easy to define the area of the templates which included a village and some patches of jungle. I think I'll stuck to the Hexon approach from now on for AK47, as it works really well and looks pretty good too. The players seemed to enjoy the game too, which is what it's all about.

NEWSFLASH - Mbote forces assault Nbuto coastal zone (REUTERS)

MDF units advance in coastal zone
MDF artillery deploys in the beachhead

MDF Marine Commandos
From our correspondent in Abadwe

In a sudden escalation of the on-going conflict between Mbote and Nbuto, amphibious units of the Mbote Defence Force today launched a full scale landing on the Nbuto coast south of the Bagombo River. Under cover of a humanitarian military exercise, units of the MDF stormed ashore to link up with heavily armed rebel militia forces, that had earlier crossed the adjacent land border from neighbouring Wanga Wanga.

The situation on the ground is very confused but reports suggest that units of the Nbuto Force Action Rapide Territoriale have been in deployed and are ready to go into action against the MDF. At this moment in time, it appears that the FART have managed to halt any further advance inland from the beachhead by the MDF but further amphibious landings by MDF Marines seem to be highly probable.

Monday 25 March 2013

AK47 Game Orbats

I spent half an hour or so this evening cooking up the orbats for the two AK47 armies that will be clashing in tomorrow's game at the club. I've tried to balance things out a bit more for the Colonial Settlers, who got pasted last time as a result of some terrible dice rolls and a lot of bad luck. They'll get a couple of professional units this time round and some more AT capability, which may prove to be very useful.

The Dictatorship forces have also been watered down a bit but will have the option of some amphibious capability to make up for their lack of hard core professional units. The MDF will get the usual militia techinicals as well, which always seem to turn up at just the right moment to deliver their not inconsiderable firepower. It will be interesting to see what the poltical flowcharts throw up either way.

I'll post an after action report once the game has been resolved, hopefully with less of a walkover than last time, although it's very much down to the luck of the dice!

Sunday 24 March 2013

Shades of Grey

It's absolutely freezing in the garage this evening, so any thoughts of painting the coastal warfare stuff have yet again been abandoned. I have, however, finally worked out how to go about it, after investing in a few extra shades of grey from the new Citadel range. I would have gone for Vallejo but, as there's a branch of Games Workshop in my local town, I thought I'd cut corners and go for the most convenient option. I'm also lazy, so anything that I can use out of the pot is a definate bonus!

Anyway, the modus operandi will be to mix a 50:50 blend of old Space Wolves Grey and Fortress Grey for the hull and upper works of the MTB's and MGB's, with deck areas in Shadow Grey. The long boats will get a variation on this theme using some of the new paint shades with, for example, Russ Grey and Shadow Grey camouflage stripes.

There are a plethora of different schemes that I could try to replicate, including the rather strange but supposedly effective Western Approaches blue and green camouflage patterns, for which I have a rather revolting shade of Hellion Green. It's a pretty good match for the WA green shade and should work well on the larger models like the minesweeper and the trawler.

I  found this excellent e-book on the subject, which is really interesting and packed full of colour profiles of everything from MTB's and ML's, all the way up to Fleet Destroyers. It's well worth the asking price and I'll be using it for some of my experiments in mid-war naval camouflage, although I expect the results may be a bit strange. Nothing some washing and weathering can't handle though, I hope.

(I'm very busy at the moment, hence the lack of progress of late, so don't hold your breath!)

NEWSFLASH - Nbuto accuses Mbote of illegal occupation (REUTERS)

From our correspondent in Nbutoville.

The government of the Independent Republic of Nbuto has issued a diplomatic communique to the ambassador of Mbote, accusing the Mbote Defence Force of illegal landings by amphibious forces in the Bagombo River delta. The IRN has demanded the withdrawal of all units of the MDF from the territorial waters of Nbuto, including the disputed islands off the mouth of the Bagombo River. As yet, there has been no response from the government of Mbote, although a presidential radio proclamation is imminent, according to reports from the Mbote Broadcasting Corporation.

Saturday 23 March 2013


These look like a good alternative to the rather disappointing Warhammer Gladiator rules that I attempted to use for a couple of lacklustre gladiatorial games last year. They use a hex based movement and combat system, which isn't revolutionary but makes things a lot easier to work out. There's a paper hex arena included in the book too.

The rules are apparently designed for one off games but can be expanded to a full campaign, which should make them ideal for a quick hack at the club or something more involved. Anyway, I've pre-ordered a set of the rules from Northstar and hope to dust off the 28mm gladiator collection that's been stuck in a box for far too long. A good opportunity to revive a half dead project, with plenty of half painted figures to be finished off as well.

NEWSFLASH - Mbote denies amphibious exercise is preparation for war (Reuters)

From our correspondent in Mpongo

A large scale amphibious exercise on Lake Bagombo by naval and marine units of the Mbote Defence Force (MDF) has been played down by the Mbotean Government. In a press statement, Colonel Banga B'oum, Minister for Defence, stated that the exercise was a peaceful training operation, designed to improve the ability of the MDF to respond to a potential humanitarian crisis in neighbouring states.

(in other words, there's an AK47 game at the club next week)

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Churchill's Channel War

I pre-ordered a digital copy of this book a couple of weeks ago and it's now arrived on the Kindle. I've had a quick flick through before work this morning and it looks really good, with a chronological coverage of the air and naval action in the channel, together with details of various commando raids, air sea rescues and special operations and, of course, D Day itself.

As the blurb says...

From the beaches of Dunkirk to the launch of Operation Overlord, the Channel saw continuous action during World War II, and was the world’s most fought-over waterway. In this fascinating account, Robert Jackson offers a study of the Channel War from 1939–45, detailing the German threats to British shipping, the use of convoys and the extensive minelaying operations, as well as the Battle of Britain, the use of long-range artillery and everything in between. As well as offering a study of the furious Channel War battles, Jackson also reveals how the Channel was essential for the launch of Churchill’s famed special forces Commandos, who, under the cover of darkness, launched raids on Occupied France as well as the Channel Islands. The Channel War bought together the Royal Navy and Air Force, as they both battled to defend England and prevent a much feared German invasion.    
Good stuff!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

AK47 Modular Roads

I popped into Sainsburys at the weekend to get some more tonic for the Mensahib's gin, when I spotted this in the toy section. The set costs £7.99, for which you get five and a half feet worth of straight roadway, together with a decent selection of bends, junctions and curves.

It's moulded in a slightly shiny grey hard plastic, so easily re-painted and weathered down, with the white lines reduced to something less overscale. If you can live with the joints, it's a definate bargain and perfect for AK47 or post-apocalyptic Mad Max style games.

It makes a great runway for your dictator's getaway plane too!

Monday 18 March 2013

Narrow Seas [8]

Here's the last of the boats for the coastal warfare project including a Bangor class minesweeper, three more Vosper 70's MTB's, a Fairmile 'B' ML and a Fairmile 'C' MGB, all from Skytrex. This completes the mid war flotilla and I'm now ready to actually start painting them! I am snowed under at work at the moment, so can't promise to make any progress over the next few days, but I'll have a go.

Bolt Action Yanks [1]

After reviewing the contents of my lead pile and having had a look at the rules in greater detail, I've decided to opt for a reinforced platoon of US late war infantry, complete with half tracks as transport. I originally gathered this lot together for use with Disposable Heroes but, as usual, that project never saw the light of day.
However, I have sufficient figures for three squads plus command, together with a couple of .30 cal machine guns, a couple of bazooka teams and a mortar team or two. I could, therefore, field one large platoon without the need to buy any new figures. The M3 half tracks are 1/48th scale Corgi diecasts so are a little on the large size but look fine next to the Artizan US figures, especially once I repaint them.
I'll probably take this lot to France with me to clean up and base but, in the meantime, I'll be reading the Armies of the United States supplement which I found new on Ebay for considerably less than the asking price. I don't really need it as I already have all the information I need but I thought it would be interesting as additional background material. The rules have a fast and loose approach to historical orbats anyway!
I'm planning to make this the project for May, once the coastal forces are out of the way and before I start on the Bag the Hun Finest Hour spitfires. It's a bit of a divergence from my 'things' not figures philosophy but it should be a good exercise in getting to grips with Halfords camouflage brown spray basecoating and army painter dip.

Saturday 16 March 2013

AK47 Easter Club Game

I spent over eight hours watching my two boys at the county Judo championships today, most of which was spent waiting for them to be floored by their opponents after a few seconds of furious pushing and shoving. I was very pleased when the eldest won a bronze medal and when the youngest won a couple of bouts against much older and more experienced kids. Not bad at all.

Nonetheless, I've had no time for the coastal forces project today although I'm planning to finish off the last of the new boats tomorrow, after I've taken the lesser sprog to rugby training. I doubt I'll get them painted up in the next couple of weeks, so they'll probably be taken on holiday immediately afterwards for completion. They only need a handful of grey, blue, white and light green shades so it shouldn't be hard.

To make up for my lack of activity of late, I've decided to run an AK47 multiplayer game at the club in the last week before the holidays, using my colonial settlers and dictatorship army for the factions. The previous game went down well, so I'm hoping that I'll get two players a side for the follow up. I'll be using the amphibious units to make the game a little different and may even try to scratchbuild some extra terrain..

...asuming anyone signs up?

Friday 15 March 2013

E-Boat vs MTB

I added this to the coastal forces library today, having failed to find it for the Kindle (!). It's actually pretty good and, not being a fan of this particular Osprey series, I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. There's some good background material for scenario writing, which is one of the things I'm thinking of doing along the lines of the Bag the Hun historical scenarios that I've been writing of late. As far as I know, there are very few factually based published scenarios for WW2 coastal warfare, so there's clearly some room for research and development.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Bolt Action?

This is the latest thing at the club, following a demo game a few weeks ago that I couldn't take part in for various reasons. It seems to have gone down a storm, with several club players now investing in new or not so new lead. I bought a copy of the rules when they came out, taking advantage of a special offer on the Northstar website but have yet to give them much thought.

However, I have plenty of 28mm figures in the leadpile including Artizan US in Greatcoats and Crusader Late War British, alongside a whiff of Crusader early war French, so no expense would be required to set up a platoon or so. I've pledged myself to stick to painting 'things' not figures this year and, given my track record of unfinished 28mm projects, I really shouldn't get involved but this does look like fun.

I'll have to give it some thought as a potential basing up project for the holidays....?

Skytrex Sale

I spotted a 20% off sale over at Skytrex just in time so, despite my best intentions, I've ordered a few more kits for the coastal forces assembly line. These include another Denny SGB and Fairmile 'B' ML, together with three more 70' Vosper MTB's and a Fairmile 'C' ML to use for special operations. I've also ordered a Bangor Class minesweeper / escort, as it looked useful for channel convoy work...
..but that really is it!

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Bag the Hun Malta Game Three [2]

This turned out to be a jolly good game, with only a few minor adjustments to the scenario required, if any. The Italians came out on top, shooting down four Blenheims, damaging a fourth and letting one escape to fight another day.

However, the expert aerial marksmanship of the bomber crews made short work of both the Italian junior ace, Tenente Bonfatti, and the Italian flight commander, Capitano Pluda, with a third Macchi Mc202 falling to the guns of 185 Squadron's Hurricanes.

The scores at the end of the game were 16 points to the Italians and 12 to the British, so a fairly close run thing. Anyway, here's some photos of the game to cheer up the RAF, who I think put up a splendid effort against the aggressive Italian opposition.


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