Wednesday 30 July 2014

AK47 pdf

I had to do a double take when I saw this on TMP today. The classic 'old school' version of the AK47 rules c1997 are now available as a .pdf from Peter Pig for the ridiculous but highly tempting price of £5.00. You even get your own personalised front cover, which I think is a really neat touch, even if it's designed to discourage multiple re-prints being distributed. I'm not sure this will work but, at the very least, it will be offset by new orders for the AK47 figures.
Bunga Bunga!
I have the rules in hardcopy but I've still ordered a .pdf set in order to encourage this initiative, especially if it means some of the back catalogue of RFCM rules get re-released in a digital format. It's also great news for my AK47 club campaign, which has been shunted along to 2015 by the Victory at Sea campaign, making the rules available to those players who are interested but haven't been able to tie down a second hand copy.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Billy Bones ACW Brigade

The Longstreet paper armies project moves further on again, with the rest of the packs that I need for the Union Brigade now on the hard drive. These consist of the cavalry and artillery plus some built up terrain. As yet, there are no dismounts or horseholders for the cavalry but I'm sure I can use some of the firing line infantry stands or skirmishers for the former and the latter can be fudged. I don't know when I'll be able to put this lot together but, if I can get access to a printer, I'll have a go over the holidays. 

The Great Wargaming Survey

This is an interesting exercise in self reflection, even if some of the questions are a bit leftfield. I don't normally fill in these on-line survey things but this one does give you a bit of oversight when it comes to what you're really interested in and how you could focus your wargaming efforts. It made me think a bit more about what I can really afford to ditch and what I should concentrate on in the long term, rather than trying to be a proverbial lead magpie.

Monday 28 July 2014

Unofficial History

I've been reading this over the last week or so and it's been really good. I particularly enjoyed the interwar chapters, especially the punitive expedition in Waziristan, which reminded me of the stories my grandfather used to tell. It's all done in a very readable and entertaining style, so a bit of a page turner and well worth the time. There's some great scenario material in there too!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Westwind Summer Sale

Westwind have a 25% off sale at the moment, with 30% off some overstocked items. I've ordered a pack of Pictish heads to use as Saxon heads for my long planned Dux Britanniarum project, together with some shield transfers which I forget to order the first time round. It's well worth a look if you need some extra bits and bobs.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Billy Bones ACW Regiment


The Longstreet paper army project is moving along and we're working out the options, either 2D or 3D card units. I like the Billy Bones 3D range, so have assembled a trial five stand infantry regiment using the march attack set based on 40mm mdf rectangles.

These are left over from an old project and are band saw rather than laser cut, so have been relegated to the spares box as obsolete. It's great to find a use for them, even though the card stands have a slightly smaller frontage than 40mm.

I think the end result is pretty good, especially as it only took ten minutes to assemble. I really like the sepia effect and the style of the images, which remind me of contemporary photographs. I could shade the edges in brown felt pen and add a regiment label but, otherwise, job's a goodun'.

SAGA Summer [4]

I finished basing the last unit for the Norman warband today and, in a last minute change of plan, it's a levy unit of twelve bowmen rather than the original warrior spearmen. I tried to add a bit of variety to the four poses in the set but there's a limit to what can be done after you've swapped a few heads. I think they look fine and I'll be able to do a bit of differentiation when they get painted up.
This means that I now have six points worth of Normans to add to my existing but unpainted six point Viking warband. I'm hoping that I'll get at least one of the two painted up over the holidays, with only the base texturing and painting to tackle at the other end. I might even get to do the PVA and sand bit while we're at the beach, as there will be no shortage of the latter!

Friday 25 July 2014

Pirate Crew Number Two

In case I run out of things to do on holiday, I thought I'd pack a few pirate figures to clean up and base, ready for the release of On The Seven Seas next month. I doubt I'll get round to them in the next few weeks, as I have more than enough SAGA painting to plough through, but at least I'll be able to make a start. I've heard mixed reviews of the new Osprey rules but you can never have enough pirates in your crew, so I'm sure they'll be worth the while.

Thursday 24 July 2014

SAGA Summer [3]

A bit of a busy day but here is the penultimate unit for the Norman warband, consisting of eight warrior sergeants in quilted armour with spears and kite shields. I did some head swapping to add a bit of variety to the unit, which is why it took a little longer than usual. I'm hoping to complete the last unit of eight warrior spearmen tomorrow but I do like the idea of a missile unit of some sort, either some levy bowmen or warrior crossbows, although I only have figures for the first option.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

WWW Show Participation Game 2014

This year Wessex Wargamers Winchester will be putting on a participation game at Warfare in November, using my collection of 28mm pirates, the club hexon terrain and the assorted dinosaurs from my Saurian Safari collection. A couple of years ago I ran a Saurian Swashbucklers game at the club using an adapted version of the main rules which went down really well, so it's being re-invented as a multiplayer show participation game this year.

As a result, I dropped off my assorted pirates, pirate ships, dinosaurs and terrain at the club yesterday, so that a simplified set of fastplay rules can be worked out by the team. It will probably use the tried and tested mechanics that we've developed over the last few years and I'm hoping to get involved in some of the playtesting after the holidays. I think it will be a lot of fun and, hopefully, we might even win the award for Best Participation Game, which we've had a couple of times in the past.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Longstreet Shortcut

I had a good idea yesterday. A rare occurence but there you go. If I used the Billy Bones cut out paper armies for the American Civil War, I could playtest Longstreet before I set out assembling a full on 15mm Union army. This lead free option would be a quick and simple way to familiarize myself with the rules at minimal expense.
I can print out as many units as I want, making it easy to add reinforcements or new regiments as and when required. I can also use up all the plastic bases that I have accumulated from various 28mm box sets to reinforce the card stands, as I prefer to use mdf bases on my metal figures, so another good reason to give is a try.

The Confederates sets have a few gaps but I'm sure the Union stands could be adapted with some judicious use of cut and paste, tippex and a marker pen. The biggest missing element is the Confederate cavalry but most other units are there, so it's only a minor inconvenience and easily sorted. I think this might be a good idea after all. Huzzah!

Monday 21 July 2014

SAGA Summer [2]

Another couple of Norman hearthguard units shoot off the workbench, this time knights on foot so that I can use them with or without the mounted versions to form a four or six point warband. All of the figures are different sculpts too, which makes them a bit less uniform and gives that 'skirmishy' feel to the whole thing. I'll be basing up a unit of warriors next in the form of eight mercenary sergeants in quilted armour. This is turning out to be a lot of fun and surprisingly quick, so the painting should be a bit of a blast too.


If you were wondering about what's happening with the Chain of Command Japanese Platoon, fear not. As I'm away in Cornwall and Brittany for the next few weeks, there will be a temporary halt to the production line but it will start up again in September. I'm quite pleased with the progress made to date, although I haven't completed all of the assembly, basing and undercoating by the deadline.
However, I have completed the following units, ready for painting after the holidays:
2 x Rifle / LMG Platoons of twelve men plus Junior Leader
2 x two man Sniper teams
1 x two man FOO team
1 x two man AT team
1 x two man AT rifle team
1 x  five man MMG team
1 x five man 70mm Mountain Gun team plus Junior Leader
1 x three man Flamethrower team
1 x three man Engineer Demolition team
1 x Type 95 Ha Go tank
This leaves the following units to assemble, base and undercoat when I get back:
1 x Rifle / LMG platoon of twelve men plus Junior Leader*
1 x Knee Mortar platoon of twelve men plus Junior Leader*
1 x Platoon Commander*
1 x Senior NCO / Standard Bearer*

1 x five man 47mm AT gun team plus Junior Leader
1 x five man MMG team plus Junior Leader (optional)
1 x three man Engineer Demolition Team plus Junior Leader (for an Engineer section)
1 x three man Engineer Mine Clearing and/or Wire Cutting Team
2 x Type 97 Chi Ha tanks
This is quite a lot of stuff but I only need the first four elements (*) to complete the platoon with the rest as optional support units that I can add in as and when I need them. This shouldn't take too long to do and I might even take the plastic bits and bobs I need to Cornwall to glue together before we head off to Brittany in a couple of weeks time.
I've really enjoyed assembling this force and I'm looking forward to the painting phase, which I'm planning to complete one section or support unit at a time, using the same Army Painter dip approach that I tried out on the late war US platoon last year. Who knows, I might even be able to get them ready for a game by half term in October?

Sunday 20 July 2014

SAGA Summer [1]

After some deep and some not so deep thought, I've decided to scale back the scope of my painting for the holidays to concentrate on only one of my backlog of half completed projects, which has been narrowed down to SAGA. I have a Viking warband to complete but thought I'd also paint up the Norman warband that I had worked out using my leadpile as a source of figures. These Crusader Miniatures figures were bought for WAB way back but have languished in a box ever since.
The Vikings are already based and undercoated, with a little armour dry brushing and washing also under way, but the Crusader Miniatures Normans will need to be cleaned up, based and undercoated by this time next week. I have already completed the basing up of two mounted units of hearthguard along with a couple of warband leaders, one of which could be used as a Sword for Hire, so I'm well on my way.

Friday 18 July 2014


Northstar had a special offer on the Longstreet rulebook and card deck the other day, so I thought I'd take a punt and order them. I really enjoyed a game of Maurice that I played ages ago at the club so, as this is from the same author and uses a very similar system, it looked like a good buy. I've been flicking through the compact little rulebook today and it's very well laid out, with a straightforward text and lots of diagrams to make things clear.
The basic force level is the brigade, which consists of three infantry regiments of ten bases each, a cavalry regiment of eight bases and three artillery bases, so not unmanageable as a 15mm project, especially as there are plenty of potential opponents at the club. I have a big box of Peter Pig Union figures that I originally planned to use with Fire and Fury but, as I'm not keen on the rules, I think Longstreet would make a very good alternative.
All theoretical but a potential project for next year perhaps?

Thursday 17 July 2014

History From Below

I was looking for something else the other day and chanced upon this. It's not often you find something that is worth using in the classroom but this is a prime example of what I and many other teachers would love to see more of. It's a shame it's not an English Civil War musketeer or pikeman but, if I had the leeway to squeeze in the ACW, I'd be at it like a shot.
Sorry to wander off topic again...but I think it's more than worth it.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Summer Painting Projects

With only a week to go before the end of term, not that I'm counting of course, I've been making plans for the annual Summer holiday wargaming project. I usually spend some time cleaning up and basing the armies that I subsequently paint up over the following year, in theory at least. This can be quite productive but doesn't always end up with a finished army, as they invariably get stockpiled for a rainy day, or end up half done and gathering dust on the shelves above the workbench.
This year, however, I'm going to try a different approach by concentrating on painting up some of the back log of 28mm forces that I've assembled and then consigned to oblivion. The three projects that I've picked out are all things that I originally put together over previous Summer holidays but then stockpiled while I tackled other distractions. If I can finish painting all three I'll have made a significant inroad into the back log of 28mm projects that I have stashed away.

The first army is a 28mm Viking warband for SAGA, which I started to paint up but then got sidelined away from. This needs some archers and shields but, otherwise, is a ready to be painted straight off with no further preparation. The second will probably be my tribal villager force for In the Heart of Africa, which only needs undercoating and some shields sorted out. However, the large number of figures may mean I won't be able to pack it for the journey, so it may be replaced by something less hefty.

Finally, I have a buntai for Ronin to paint up but that needs some further thought. A while back, I started putting together a couple of buntai for Ronin using the old Foundry Samurai range of figures. These consisted of a Bandit buntai and a Koryu buntai, with a few swords for hire thrown in as extras. I'm now having second thoughts about using these figures and may just use the Northstar starter sets that I bought at Colours last year. I originally wanted to do a Sohei buntai and this would be one way to make that possible, so I will probably go for this option instead.
I also have a piratical painting project up my sleeve for On the Seven Seas but that may have to wait until after the Summer holidays, when I've had a chance to think it through in a bit more detail. The Japanese for Chain of Command will take a break while I'm away but will be picked up again in September, by which time I should have most of the units assembled, undercoated and ready to paint. I'm looking forward to actually painting some 28mm stuff and finishing it, so will keep you posted!

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Goodbye Mr Gove

I apologize for the political interruption...

.....normal service will be resumed as soon as I've stopped ******* myself  laughing.

Monday 14 July 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Platoon [9]

Here are the first of the engineer support units, with more to follow once I get some spades, picks, shovels and wire cutters to equip them with. The flamethrower unit is a one off, but I'll be adding a second demolition team with Bangalore torpedoes to the list of 'things to do' tomorrow. I also want to have a go at a mine clearing team but this might be less straightforward and will require a bit of imaginative improvisation. 

Japanese Engineers

The plan for the next couple of days is to put together a couple of three man combat engineer teams as support units for the infantry platoon. In the Chain of Command lists you can select three different types of engineer team, wire cutting, demolition and mine clearance. These will be pretty useful, so I think I need a couple at least.

I'll be using the plastic figures as a basis for two three man teams, both equipped with bangalore torpedoes and digging tools, so they can double up as any of the three options. The Japanese used long bamboo poles filled with explosives to blow up wire obstacles, so it shouldn't be difficult to model something similar.

I'll try to model some wire cutters if I can but I'll probably just add a spade or pick axe here or there, so that they're non-specific and interchangeable. I also have a three man flamethrower team to put together, so the platoon will be well supported with combat engineers once I've completed the various bases. It's also a bit of a change from bog standard infantry!

Sunday 13 July 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Platoon [8]

Here's the second section for the Japanese rifle platoon, which I assembled and undercoated over the weekend. The plastic figures are surprisingly time consuming to put together compared to their lead counterparts but they scrub up well nonetheless. The poses do look a bit exaggerated to be honest, unless you look at them at eye level when they have a lot of character and animation. I'll tackle some support units and a tank tomorrow...

Airfix 1/32nd Multipose Re-released

Those of you who are old enough to remember sticking these together back in the early 80's, will be pleased to find out that they're being re-released as part of the Airfix D-Day 70th anniversary range this year. At the moment, it's just the British infantry set but the Germans and Americans are on the way. I don't know if the Japanese or USMC will be revived but it's a good start, with some of the 1/32nd scale tank and vehicle kits possibly over the horizon too.

I originally wanted to use these for Normandy Firefight, alongside some of the Airfix 1/32nd scale soft plastic figures, but that plan was shelved when I googled for second hand kits and fell off my chair at the asking price! The now kits are priced at £9.99 so well within the affordable range, even if you only make four figures out of each set. I might give this another look as an alternative to 1/35th scale.

Saturday 12 July 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Platoon [7]

Here's the sum total of my week's output for the Jap platoon, in the shape of a rifle section with LMG team and an AT team. Not a lot but I've been very busy, so at least it's something. I'll aim to get the second of the three rifle sections done this weekend and, possibly, another support unit of some sort. I have a Copplestone field gun that might well get a crew, if I can squeeze it into the schedule.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Platoon [6]

I'm completely swamped with work at the moment, so progress on the Japanese has been minimal over the last few days. I have put together the first infantry section, a couple of figures at a time as and when I have ten minutes to spare. It should ease up next week, so I'm still aiming for most if not all of the units to be ready for painting by ther end of the month.
 To cut down on the workload, I've decided to reduce my sections down to twelve men and a junior leader, which means I'll have half a dozen or so fewer figures to assemble. It's not a great time saver but it will free up some figures for other things like support teams and gun crew. I've already stuck together a two man AT team and can add another two or three now I have the extra plastic.
Anyway, in the meantime, here's some nice box art to keep you happy.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Steamer Wars

I spotted this new set of WW1 naval rules on David Manley's blog and thought I'd take a closer look. My initial thoughts were that I could use the tactical element of the rules as a basis for my 1/200th scale Baltic Episode project, which would make use of the small collection of Langton torpedo boats and a large 1/180th scale plastic kit of a Chinese gunboat that I found in a discount store many years ago.

This would be a semi-historical 'role play' style game based very, very loosely on the Kronstadt raid. The rules look ideal for this but I'd need to work out some special rules for stern launched torpedoes and torpedo related damage, along with rules for night operations, searchlights and possibly even submarines. I don't think this would be too difficult?  
However, the campaign system in the rules also looks really good fun and I could actually just game that, using the new Tumbling Dice 1/600 scale models for Lake Tanganyika, as a cheaper option than the North Head Miniatures range. It would make a great club mini-campaign for a start and wouldn't require a massive amount of time and effort to set up.
Well worth five quid!

Monday 7 July 2014

Chain of Command Far East British Army List 1941

I've been looking through the army lists posted on the Toofatlardies forum, with a view to putting together an opposing force for my Japanese. Although the Japanese are intended to go up against Andy's Chindits, I've always planned to use them for Malaya and Singapore as well. Now that the army and support lists are available, this is a feasible addition to the project.

 As part of this plan, I have already got a box set of Perry plastic Desert Rats and a very nice Copplestone Lanchester armoured car. If I can finish basing and undercoating the Japanese in the next couple of weeks, I'll take the British on holiday and get them sorted as well. In the long run, this means I'll be able to set up my own games at home and also offer other players a game at the club.

Sunday 6 July 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Platoon [5]

Another very packed weekend, with much of both days spent at the local street festival, so progress on the Chain of Command project has been minimal to say the least.  However, I did get the very cool Type 95 Ha Go kit assembled and it's now drying off after an undercoat of GW Matt Black. A really neat little model but with an £18 price tag!

Saturday 5 July 2014

Japanese Reinforcements

I realised today after checking through my starter army box set, that I don't have enough figures to kit out my rifle platoon and, at the same time, to make up the support units I need including engineer or AT teams and a crew for my Copplestone field gun, let alone the knee mortar section.
To make up the numbers, I've ordered a box set of plastic infantry, which should provide me with the figures I need and give me some flexibility when putting together the support extras. In the meantime, I'll crack on with the three LMG squads.

Chain of Command Japanese Platoon [4]

Still plugging away at the Japanese, with the latest addition being this 70mm pack howitzer and crew. There are five crew and a junior officer, which means that there's a fair bit of work involved putting it all together, much more so than for Bolt Action, for example. I'll be tackling the first LMG squad next, which consists of fourteen (!) figures, this time using the plastic ones which I'm hoping will speed things up a bit...this is taking ages!

Friday 4 July 2014

Off Topic

That was a bit of a weird day.
I spent the morning at one of those 'professional' courses that you try to avoid, having been ordered to attend after ten years of blatant avoidance. The first 'workshop' involved a very nice but very young chap, guiding me through a 'how to' on Waterloo. He is, I am reliably informed, a bit of a teaching whizz.
This was fine up to a point but I was intrigued to discover that Proozia played a major role in the outcome and that Growchy ate a lot of strawberries, so it was all his fault (whatever it was that went wrong, that is?). Anyway, Victor Hugo knew all about it, so it was cool. I'm not sure what was going on  but the bit where I made a 'living timeline' wasn't too painful.
The rest of the day wasn't too bad and the lunch was very tasty. I caught up with an old colleague of mine, which was a very pleasant surprise, and also had a bit of a wargaming related chat with another local History teacher and all round nice chap, who was there for the festivities.

I do wonder why so much money is spent on these things, when you can pretty much work it out for yourself?
Anyway, the Ministry of the Interior is disconsolate after La Patrie went down to Germany...




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