Friday 28 February 2014

Bolt Action Alternatives

I've been thinking of alternatives to Bolt Action over the last couple of days. Although I like the rules and the production values, I'm not too keen on the system overall. I'm already planning to use Chain of Command as the ruleset of choice for my skirmish level games but, in the meantime, I've dug out a couple of older rulesets that I may well try out. 
I'll sit down this weekend to have a more detailed look through Disposable Heroes and Rate of Fire, once I've dusted them off, with one or the other as a possible focus for a game at some point soon. I've heard good and bad things about both systems, so it'll be interesting to compare them with Bolt Action.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Ronin [5]

I've just taken delivery of a few more Sarissa Precision mdf buildings for the Ronin project including a rather splendid Shinto temple or shrine, a Tori gateway and some wall sections. I was having a chat the other night at the club about terrain for Ronin and the range of scenarios that could be covered by some purpose built scenery, so these will fit in well with my plans for a Japanese temple garden 2' x 2' size board.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Bolt Action Game

Despite having no car and with thanks to Mike for a lift, I was able to get up to the club this evening for another game of Bolt Action, with my US platoon against Mike's SS and Heer. We made the most of Mike's extensive collection of mdf terrain, setting up a village crossroad somewhere in the Rhineland, using the Hold until Relieved scenario from the rulebook. 

In the end, it was a bit of a debacle for the Yanks, who made some poor tactical moves and wasted their heavy weapons support. The Germans, by way of contrast, made excellent use of their assault capabilities and used their armour and artillery to good effect. I did have some truly awful dice rolls but that's no excuse for a pretty ropey performance overall.

I remain to be convinced by Bolt Action, although I do like the dice based order system and the scale of the game. Some of the mechanics seem a bit clunky, however, with a few whacky outcomes that can't be just down to dodgy dice rolls. I suppose my biggest issue is that it doesn't' feel quite right, for some indeterminate reason?

Monday 24 February 2014

AK47 Game Plans

I've set up another game of AK47 at the club in a couple of weeks, as I was asked to run a follow on game from the last bash. This means that I'll be umpiring again, which I'm happy to do, so that four other players can take part. The games we've played so far have all been good fun and have helped the team familiarise themselves with the rules in advance of the AK47 club campaign.
I'm going to try to finish my superpower army for the game, as it only needs three units to be painted up and some casualty markers sorted to be a viable force. This means that the Japanese for Chain of Command will be kicked a little further down the road in the meantime. I'll start on the Japanese in a couple of weeks time once the AK47 army is done and dusted.
I'm also going to try to put together at least one scratchbuilt bit of terrain, so that the scenery has a little bit of something to make it stand out. This will be something realtively simple and, at the moment, will either be a shanty town or some basic urban building such as shopfronts or low rise housing.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Japanese Jungle Outpost [3]

We got back from Cornwall late yesterday but I did have time to glue on the thatch for the watchtower and huts. Today, I've finished them off along with the fuel dump that I improvised last weekend. For the moment, the outpost is finished, although I have plans for some more fieldworks and barbed wire defences, using some more Snapdragon trenches and a bit of scratchbuilding.

I now have to get started on the assembly of the plastic and metal Japanese force for Chain of Command, leaving the terrain side of things for a later split in the schedule. I'm going to start on the first section of infantry tomorrow, which will be a dry run for the rest of the platoon. I'm also going to be completing the last three units of the AK47 Army, if I can blitz them over the next couple of weeks, so that the whole thing is wrapped up before Easter.

Friday 21 February 2014

Ronin [4]

I cleaned up and based the Bandit buntai this afternoon. This consists of four Rank 1 unarmoured bandits with katana, one Rank 2 unarmoured Gashira with naginata, one Rank 2 unarmoured Gashira with yumi and one Rank 3 leader with katana, yumi and medium armour. The leader has the option of just having a katana or a full on suit of armour, as I have a couple of suitable figures to match. 

The leader and one of the Gashira also get an attribute, probably the relevant bujitsu. All together this lot adds up to between 110 and 113 points, which is a bit lightweight, so they also get to hire out a Ronin that I based up the other day adding another 30 points or so to the total. If I can, I'm going to find some extra basic bandits or some peasants to up the numbers and allow me to add at least one more Rank 2 figure to the gang and a second Ronin.

Thursday 20 February 2014

Ronin [3]

I sat down and sorted out the figures I based up yesterday, with some intensive number crunching to add up the totals for the various buntai that I have in mind. The Koryu work out at four figures, two Rank 3 Kohai, one Rank 4 Senpai and one Rank 5 Sensei, giving a decent overall total of 106 points. If I add the Shugyosha 'sword for hire' I can boost the total to a respectable 146, so enough for a reasonable length game.

The remaining figures that I've based up will be used as a self contained band of Ronin, ready to hire out to my Bandits or to the Samurai. This lot consists of two Rank 3 ronin with katana and light armour, one Rank 3 Ronin with katana and medium armour and one Rank 4 Senior Ronin with yumi and medium armour, for a total of 88 points. The last figure will also be used as a Samurai, when I deploy them as a buntai in their own right.

Next up will be the Samurai or Bandit buntai, one of which I'm hoping to clean and base by the end of the day.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Ronin [2]

I cleaned up and based the Koryu buntai this afternoon, using the old Citadel figures that I've gathered together over the years. The buntai includes seven katana wielding figures, a single yumi equipped figure and a no-dachi wielding female shugyosha, who may or may not be included in the final line up. 

Despite their vintage, the figures look really good together, even if they're not up to the anatomically correct standards of the Perry range. No pictures yet I'm afraid, as I don't have the camera with me, but it's on to the bandit buntai tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll be working out the points values for the Koryu buntai, so that I have some idea of their format.

Postscript: after actually reading the rules it seems that Koryu are not allowed to have armour, which wipes out half the buntai, unless I turn a blind eye. Not a problem, as what's left is still viable points wise and the armoured figures can be used as additions to the Samurai buntai or as Ronin for the Bandit buntai.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Plymouth in the Civil War

I found a hardback copy of Plymouth's Forgotten War on a second hand book stall in Tavistock today. It's a detailed account of the siege of Plymouth but also includes a lot of associated events throughout the course of the war in the South West, so useful reference material for my dust laden 28mm Cornish Civil War project that's been on the 'to do' list for a couple of years now. I'll get round to it at some point but who knows when that will be?

Monday 17 February 2014

Ronin [1]

We were supposed to be off to Cornwall today but the car is in the garage with an oil leak, so won't be going anywhere until later in the day at the earliest. We're waiting for a phone call from the garage to tell us if it's fixed or not, so everything is on hold until then.

As it looks like our holiday will be cut short, I'm not going to take the Warlord Japanese with me but will instead be packing a box of Foundry Samurai for Ronin, which won't take long to clean up and base. 

I may also take the Northstar Sohei box set that I got at Colours last year as an alternative starter buntai, although I do prefer the old Aly Morrison citadel figures over the modern style figures in the Northstar 'official' range.

Sunday 16 February 2014

Japanese Jungle Outpost [2]

The watchtower arrived yesterday, so I assembled it and set about painting it up straight away. I also found an old Snapdragon resin machine gun nest that I knew I had in a box somewhere, so that was thrown in along with a scratch built fuel dump made from some barrels left over from my Back of Beyond project.

Today, I painted up the tower, the bunker and the two huts that I put together during the week, leaving the fuel dump for another rainy day. I managed to almost complete the various things but didn't get round to the thatching on the tower or the huts, so this will have to be tackled later on. 

It's all a bit rushed but at least I'm getting something done for a change!

Moon over Malaya

I've been reading about the actions of the 2nd battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Singapore Burning, including their use of jungle warfare tactics against the advancing Japanese. It's great platoon level wargaming scenario material and perfect for my CoC Japanese project. They even had a unit of Lanchester armoured cars!

As I wanted to look into this further, I was looking for additional reading material and turned up a digital edition of Moon over Malaya, which also includes a history of the Plymouth Argyles, a unit of Devonport based Royal Marines who were attached to the Argylls after the sinking of Force Z. 

Very interesting stuff!

Saturday 15 February 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Wire Obstacles

There are some other support options in the Chain of Command rules that I will probably end up using, one of which is four lengths of wire obstacles. I've decided to scratch build these so have ordered a couple of packs of mdf hedge bases from ERM, which are the ideal length and width for the job. I've also ordered some corner pieces so that I can turn the wired sections into a perimeter defence feature if needs be. 

Thursday 13 February 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Reinforcements

My exta bits arrived from Warlord Games today, including a sniper team, flamethrower team, AT rifle and AT bomber team, together with a Ha Go light tank and crew. This lot should cover most of the reinforcements that might turn up in Chain of Command. The Ha Go is a lovely little model and I'm tempted to get another one!
I've also found an old Copplestone Chinese field gun from the Back of Beyond that I'd assembled ages ago, so I'll put together a crew from some spare figures and add that to the reinforcements. I'm off to Cornwall next week and will take along the Japanese to start building the figures and models, ready for painting when I get back.

Wednesday 12 February 2014


I ordered this with my birthday Amazon voucher and it arrived a week or so ago. I've been dipping in and out over the last few days and it's an absolute gold mine of scenario ideas, especially when cross referenced with the 263 Squadron ORB. I'm going to take it down to Cornwall over the half term holiday so that I can start work on a series of linked scenarios for Bag the Hun 2.

Japanese Jungle Outpost [1]

I glued together and undercoated the first of two huts for a Japanese jungle outpost last night, with a second hut, a watchtower and some stores, sandbag positions and so on in the production line. This one was easy to construct but the fit of some of the walls was less than perfect, leading to a bit of filling with some liquid greenstuff. It's probably my fault rather than the manufacturing process, so I'll make sure the next one is tackled with a little more care and attention.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

All Along the Watchtower

I gave in to temptation when I saw this in the Sarissa Precision webshop thingy. I'll use it with the small village houses on stilts as the basis of a Japanese jungle outpost, a perfect target for Andy's nascent Chindit raiding force. It looks really cool and should be relatively simple to put together, paint and base. This mdf stuff is great!

Monday 10 February 2014

More Jungle Huts

A trading post in Darkest Africa?

The nucleus of a Japanese HQ perhaps?
The two jungle huts that I ordered via ebay arrived today, so I'll be putting at least one of them together this evening, assuming I get some time at the workbench. These are a small village house on stilts and a plank style low village house, both from the Sarrisa Precision Far East range: 
I've now located the relevant page on the Sarrissa website on which the whole range is available, so may purchase my next additions directly, especially as the Arcane Models ebay store that I've used doesn't have all of the buildings.

I've been very happy with the Arcane Models prices and delivery times, though, so will stick with them as far as I can to support the small trader. I may even bang off an email with a request for some of the bits that he doesn't yet stock, as there are some really nice buildings in the Far East range.

Sunday 9 February 2014

AK47 Winter Wobbler [16]

I've pretty much finished off the Hind gunship for the new army, give or take a little detailing on the rocket pods and AT missile racks, with a gloss varnish on the canopy as an optional extra. Next up will be the professional infantry or the militia technicals.

Jungle Hut Haircut

I wasn't too keen on the tiled roof effect that the jungle hut came with, so I've been playing around with PVA, old towels and superglue. The resulting thatch effect isn't too bad and is very easy to do, so I'll try the same approach on the other buildings when they arrive. I also painted and decorated the base using static grass and Warlord Games Jungle Tufts, so the hut is pretty much complete, give or take a few finishing touches.

Jungle Hut Paint Up

I dug the airbrush out of its dusty box yesterday only to discover that it no longer works. I haven't used it for years so it's not a surprise. Anyway, I've gone down the alternative route and have used a combination of wetbrushing, drybrushing and ink washing to paint up the hut in shades of green. I haven't tackled the roof yet as I thinking of adding some thatch to it and also need to paint up and decorate the base, but it's not looking too bad thus far.

Saturday 8 February 2014

AK47 Winter Wobbler [15]

I started on the Hind this evening using the same approach as the tanks, trucks and APC's. I'll finish off tomorrow with the canopy, panel lining and detailing, before adding the rocket pods and AT missile racks. It's a bit rough and ready but will look fine once the fiddly bits are done.

Friday 7 February 2014

Jolly Good Jungle Hut

The mdf jungle hut kit arrived yesterday, which was super quick, so I spent an enjoyable half an hour or so with my daughter gluing it together. She's learning about the rainforest at school, so she was really excited about the model and will probably get to take it in for Show and Tell next week. Anyway, it was really straightforward to construct and looks great too, so I've ordered a couple more from the range to make a Malayan / Burmese village.
I will paint it up this weekend, with an overall green airbrush spray followed by some judicious drybrushing and weathering. I've been admiring  Mike's airbrush mdf approach over on his blog, so will have a crack at the same technique with the jungle hut. I suppose I could leave it in an unfinished mdf state but I think it will look better with a lick of paint and some texturing for the base. All  I now need to do is scratchbuild some paddy fields, rubber plantations and lots of jungle!

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Jungle Outpost

If like me you once owned a 1/72nd scale Airfix Jungle Outpost, you'll like this laser cut jungle hut kit which I've found on ebay. It needs to be painted and I think the roof needs some thatch material to make it less regular and a bit more jungly, for want of a better word, but otherwise I think it looks really good. I'm hoping that the kit will arrive before the half term break so that I can assemble, paint and base it up to use with the Chain of Command Burma / Malaya project. It would also double up as a terrain feature for pirate games or even Darkest Africa, so a useful building all round.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

AK47 Winter Wobbler [14]

It really is taking me ages to get up and running this year. However, I've decided to go back to the AK47 project for the moment, leaving the CoC Japanese for half term in a couple of weeks, when I'll have the time to sit down and get on with it properly. In the meantime, I'm going back to the AK47 project that's about half complete already, with the aim of finishing it off by the end of February, when I'm hoping to have set up a game at the club.
The next thing to do will be to paint the unit of professionals that I've based and undercoated, along with the four technicals that I put together a few weeks ago. In addition, I've dis-assembled, undercoated and re-built a Del Prado diecast 1/100 scale Mil Mi24 Hind helicopter gunship, ready for paimting in the camouflage scheme I used on the AFV's and trucks. This will double up as a transport chopper for the professionals as well, so it's a useful addition to the force.

Sunday 2 February 2014

Ki43 Oscar

I've singularly failed to get the CoC Japanese off to not even a crawling start today, thanks to the return of my never ending man flu which has made me temporarily wobbly and a bit deaf, more so than usual to the annoyance of the other half. Anyway, I've been less than inclined to sit in a freezing garage gluing my fingers together over fiddly bits of plastic. I have, however, added a vintage Otaki 1/48th scale Ki43 Oscar to the model kit mountain, although I'm not convinced it will be of any practical use. I blame all the Airfix glue fumes I inhaled back in the early 80's.

Chain of Command At the Sharp End

This has just been published as a campaign supplement to the Chain of Command rules. The core system is built around a ladder campaign but with options to bring in more or less of a historical background, which is a really interesting touch. The campaign focus is on British, US, German and Russian forces, but I'm sure it could be adapted for other nationalities, including the Japanese, for example. There's a neat character generation system and full rules for after game effects, with little in the way of bookkeeping required. It's also excellent value at a paltry six quid!

Saturday 1 February 2014

Singapore Burning

A new project and so a new book hits the reading list. This one has some very positive reviews and, judging by the first chapter or two, they're well deserved. I'll be reading this while I assemble and paint up the Japanese platoon for Chain of Command, which I'm starting tomorrow, having been out all day on a trip to see the new Mary Rose exhibition in Portsmouth (which was excellent!).


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