Tuesday 30 September 2014

AK47 Victory!


I had a very enjoyable game of AK47 at the club this evening, having dusted off the rules and the figures for a quick refresher course before we set up a multiplayer two a side in a couple of weeks. The usual hex terrain wasn't available so we ended up with a pretty sparse, open looking board using what we had with us to set the scene.This turned out to be a good thing, however, as it made the game itself very open.

In the end, I won a decisive victory despite having knocked out only two enemy vehicles, for the loss of one of my militia technicals. I also got all the way to the bottom of the political flowchart, which has never happened before, not that it gave me any particular upgrades or advantages. However, I did get to try out my towed anti-tank guns, which performed pretty well despite being pinned and losing two morale points.

A bit of a localised skirmish rather than a full on battle but with some funny moments and a few dodgy dice rolls to make things tick along. I'll try to get a write up done in the usual propaganda style once I've cleared the decks of more school work. If I can find the time, I'll also finish the basing on the Superpower Backed army that I have painted up, ready for the game next month, which might give the opposition some pause for thought?

Monday 29 September 2014

Schnellboot S130

I stumbled across this yesterday and it caught my interest. My grandfather worked at Mashfords boat yard in the 1960's as a marine engineer before retiring to live in Millbrook, just round the corner. As a kid, I used to go sailing and fishing with him in his boat off what was then a dilapidated and mud filled site at Southdown. I vividly remember circumnavigating HMS Eagle in the Hamoaze, complete with it's emormous island mounted radar, back in the mid 70's and clambering over the old brickworks on a Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, despite a distinct absence of updates, it looks like there's a vintage S-boat in restoration on site, even though the work seems to have halted in the last few years. I'm sure there's much more to this story than I can find on the net at the moment, but I'd be very interested to know what's happened to the restoration project since the last update. It would be a real shame if it's come to an end for whatever reason and I'd be keen to find out the fate of S130, if you can shine a light on the story.

The War of the Motor Gun Boats

This is a book that I don't have in my existing collection of coastal forces related titles, so I'm very really keen to add it to the digital bookshelf, even though I'd prefer the old fashioned printed version. I'll be looking for some good scenario material and hope to gain a better insight into the lower deck, harsh reality of the war in the small boats, which isn't always apparent from the likes of Night Action or The Battle of the Narrow Seas, evocative of the period though they are.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Narrow Seas [19]

Yet more work today but the trawlers are finished, along with the basing and labelling on the Vosper 70' MTB's. I'm a bit disappointed with the weathering on the trawlers but they look fine from a distance and in normal light, rather than under the camera flash. I'll have to work on the 'rusty bucket' look as I have some tatty coastal merchant ships to paint up at the end of the project.

This means the decks are cleared for action on the enemy coastal forces, starting as soon as I can get them assembled and undercoated. I was hoping to finish everything by the end of the month but it looks like the coastal warfare project will extend into October, pushing the Chain of Command Japanese a little further over the horizon.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Narrow Seas [18]

It was back to the local scout hut today for seven hours of voluntary painting and decorating, so I've had little time to spare on the coastal warfare project. I have labelled and based up most of the flottilla, with a handful left over for tomorrow. I need to add the white highlights to the bases and firmly glue down the self adhesive labels but these are pretty much finished, give or take some masts and pennant numbers.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Narrow Seas [17]

I've finished the bases for the RN coastal forces flotilla and will glue the models down tomorrow, adding a judicious dash of white at the bows and in the wake. I'm fairly pleased with the end result, give or take a little detailing and the addition of some masts. I've also sorted out some historically accurate ID labels for the bases, with a few spares just in case. I'm hoping to base everything up and finish them off over the weekend including the six Vosper 70' MTB's that I've repainted for the occasion.

Next up will be the two trawlers, which shouldn't take too long and will add a bit of scenario flexibility and 'oomph' to the proceedings. Alongside these I'll start preparing the Kriegsmarine for painting, with the assembly of a decent sized convoy escort and attack force including four mid-war E boats, two R boats, an M class minesweeper and a couple of Vorpostenboot. These are all Skytrex models and very nice they are too.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Lion Rampant War of the Roses Retinues ..in 15mm!

I've been considering the options for Lion Rampant and have decided that 15mm is the way forward. I could expand my SAGA Normans by twenty figures or so to create a retinue in 28mm but this doesn't appeal to me at the moment, although it's not entirely off the radar. I'm already shifting my focus for skirmish games to 15mm, so have been rumaging in the boxes for some suitable medieval figures.

I initially thought of an old 15mm Feudal French army pack that I bought years ago from Essex Miniatures, when you could get change from £20 for such a thing. The figures are really quite nice and the mounted knights have lots of variety, but the foot are in limited poses and just don't look the part for a skirmish game. I have enough figures for a retinue, however, so it's a Plan B option if Plan A doesn't work out.

The Plan A alternative is to use part of my Peter Pig War of the Roses army as a basis for two retinues, one Lancastrian and one Yorkist, with plenty of bells and whistles attached for a bit of variety. I have masses of figure packs in the leadpile, which are destined for Impetus one day, so I can easily syphon off a few for Lion Rampant and have plenty to choose from. The War of the Roses is perfect for skirmish gaming too!
The figures are really great and there are a wide variety of foot and mounted types, with multiple poses in each set. There are some really splendid character and leader figures which would be perfect for a wide range of scenario specific roles including messengers, tax collectors, looters or whatever you could think of. I can easily imagine kitting out a couple of retinues with sufficient variety in the figures to make them look the part. They've even got a bloke stealing a pig!
It's also a no-brainer cost wise, even when you consider the plastic option in 28mm, as I already have more figures than I could possibly want. This will enable me to create different types of unit with a particular focus on their use on specific scenarios e.g. raids, ambushes, foraging and so on. I can also save a lot of time and money on the terrain side of things, which is a big bonus, not to mention the figure painting itself, which is my personal love/hate part of the wargaming equation.
...makes a lot of sense to me?

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Narrow Seas [16]

Here's what I've played around with for the coastal warfare basing over the last couple of days, with the end result being not too far removed from the recipe that I used on the 1/3000 scale French WW2 fleet. I'm trying to keep things as straightforward as possible, using a combination of three basic colours with an overall gloss varnish to finish it off. I think it looks okay, so will crack on with the rest of the bases tomorrow, adding some identification labels to finish them off properly when I get the time.

Monday 22 September 2014

Pirate Brigantine [2]

Not a lot to report on the structurally challenged pirate ship this evening, but I have planked the rest of the deck and re-shaped he bows to give them a less rounded profile. I'm off to the club for a playtest of the participation game scenario and rules tomorrow evening but should get round to adding the hull sides, stern and bow sections over the rest of the week. I've also ordered some additional Crusader Miniatures cannons from Northstar to fit out the gundeck, although I may just add some closed gunports.

Lion Rampant?

This has been causing a bit of a stir on the blogosphere lately, so I thought I'd take a closer look by downloading a digital copy of the rules. I have to say that it looks really good, reads very well and is close in scope and style to my favourite beer and pretzels boardgame, Cry Havoc. So much so, in fact, that it's got me feeling all nostalgic!
The various scenarios in particular could have been lifted from the Cry Havoc scenario booklets and have a definite 'Battle of Little Wootton' feel about them. I have no plans to embark on another project in the immediate future, however, although I do have some 15mm Essex Feudal figures somewhere that could be turned into a couple of retinues.
This is another one to consign to the 'to do' list! for some point in the future.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Narrow Seas [15]

I spent four hours of my life on a lesson powerpoint presentation today, which I won't be getting back in a hurry. Needless to say, the wargaming side of things was relegated to half an hour this afternoon, during which I finished the coastal warfare gunboats, ready for basing up. I cut out the fine lining in the end due to lack of time, so they're a bit bland and lacking in definition, but I'm not too unhappy with the end result nonetheless. The proof will be in the basing, however, which I'll get sorted tomorrow night.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Pirate Brigantine [1]

I've promised to scratchbuilt another pirate ship for the club participation game at Warfare, as I mentioned before, so thought I better get started. We've been out most of the day helping to paint the local Scout hut after a re-build, so only get in at four o'clock. Nevertheless, I've made a bit of progress in the last couple of hours, with the basic hull framework now assembled from my stash of cheapo balsa. 

I had to adapt my initial plans as I didn't have any 4mm balsa sheet but I think it'll still work. The model is very loosely based on the Gary Chalk plans but will probably look a bit different, as I will do my own thing from this point onwards. It's a bit smaller than I would have liked but it still appears to be reasonably in scale. I'll try to get the hull sides, stern and prow sorted out tomorrow, although I have work to shift first.

Friday 19 September 2014

Talk like a Pirate Day!

Sailor to pirate “‘ow did you get your peg leg?”

Pirate “It got blasted off by a cannon ball!”

Sailor ”And yer hook?”

Pirate “It got got chopped off by a cutlass in a fearsome fight!”

Sailor “And your eye patch?”

Pirate “Seagull poo.”

Sailor “Seagull poo? That wouldn’t cause you to lose an eye?”

Pirate “No, it didn’t, but I’d just had me hook done!”

Arrgggh matey.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Aaaargh...Pirate Ship ahoy!

The club participation game for Warfare is now in the developmental stage and I've promised to scratchbuild a second pirate ship for the as yet 'top secret' pirate v. dinosaurs scenario. I was hoping to get something underway over the holidays but, as the French don't seem to have discovered 4mm balsa sheet or mounting card, I didn't get very far. Now, however, I can make use of my stash of scratchbuilding stuff including all the balsa, card and strip wood that I could possibly want along with some groovy plans by Gary Chalk in the Foundry Compendium. Arrrgh indeed!

Peter Pig Late War Germans

I got an email from Peter Pig the other day offering me a 15% discount on any order over £40, which was very nice of them. As we're counting the pennies at the moment due to needing a new car, I assumed that I'd have to let this offer pass me by. However, the lady wife has very kindly allowed me to order some stuff, so I thought I'd get a selection of the late war German Unit Packs for use with either IABSM or Chain of Command.
These are the figures in Zeltbahn, Greatcoats and Volksgrenadier kit, which are perfect for winter time in Holland, which is what I'd been planning to do rather than Normandy. I'm also thinking of selling off some of my 28mm leadpile including some boxes of Victrix Napoleonics and Artizan / Crusader WW2 Germans and French, to make way for the 15mm alternative. I really need to do a serious clear out of stuff that I'll never get round to, so this is a good place to start.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

AK47 Revival

It's been a bit quiet on the gaming front recently due to the holidays and the return to work, so I thought I'd get a game set up for the end of the month at the club, with AK47 as the obvious choice. This will be a low key affair rather than the usual multiplayer scrummage, so I'm hoping to actually take part rather than just umpire.

If I can find the time, I'll get the bases done on the Superpower Backed army and get them ready for a full scale pre-emptive strike on the Bana Soto axis of evil. I have a lot on at the moment but I'm hoping to get back to some actual wargaiming as soon as the dust settles, so this is a good incentive to crack on!

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Valhalla Warband Builder Thingy

I had a boring meeting this afternoon, which meant that I didn't get home until later than usual so everything got shifted a couple of hours to the left, if that makes any sense? I did grab half an hour this evening in which to do a very amateurish photo shoot on the 28mm Normans, so that I could try out the Valhalla warband builder thingy on the website. Needless to say, I approached this with some trepidation but....

....it was really quite straightforward and I now have the nucleus of a half decent Norman raiding party loaded up, complete with dodgy photos, the all important game stats and some suitably silly names. I haven't printed off the record cards yet, as the printer has run out of ink, but will do so as soon as possible. I'm impressed by the very intuitive uploading system, so will have a go at adding some more foot figures tomorrow, if I can find the time?

Monday 15 September 2014

Narrow Seas [14]

I spent most of the weekend on an infernal combination of schoolwork and searching for a new car, so the coastal warfare painting plans were shoved to one side. However, I've now done the camouflage patterns on the MGB's and the SGB, ready for a wash in GW Nuln Oil, leaving the trawlers to be tackled on their own, as they deserve a bit of attention to detail.

The rather crude camouflage and the deck colour on the SGB / MGB's is a bit of guesswork but is based on some profiles in the Osprey British Motor Gun Boat 1939-45 book, so can't be that far off the mark. I'll do the detailing bit after the ink wash, which should make them look a little less rough and ready. Anyway, it's always a bit 'ho hum' at the stage in the proceedings, so I'm not feeling too worried about the end result...?

Sunday 14 September 2014

Well Weathered Westland

There's a really good article on the Westland Whirlwind in Scale Aircraft Modelling this month, including a selection of scale colour profiles and plans. It's a bit light on the operational side of things but great as a guide for painting. It's aimed at scale modelling but equally useful for wargaming purposes, as I've found in the past when painting up 1/285th scale aircraft for Bag the Hun.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Narrow Seas [13]

A very busy day, with much if it spent trying to sort out a new car, but I have done the basic first stages on the MGB flotilla, with the trawlers thrown in for good measure. This involved a two stage wetbrush in Foundry Arctic Grey Shade and Arctic Grey, with the trawlers in a 50:50 mix of Arctic Grey and Vallejo Uniform Grey, not that it's particularly impressive thus far.
I'm hoping to get the next stage done tomorrow, which involves adding some camouflage patterns to the MGB's, along with picking out details like the carley floats, gun barrels, depth charges and so on. The trawlers will need a bit more attention including some judicious weathering but the aim is to get everything washed in GW Nuln Oil by this time tomorrow, ready for the fine lining.
You'll notice that there are no masts on the MGB's, HDML's or the SGB yet. This is deliberate and designed to avoid them getting all bent and wonky while I paint them up. I've also left them un-based as I'll be sorting that out once they're painted, the mdf having arrived from the ever reliable Tony at ERM this morning.
There's a very neat recipe for basing here, which I think I may well adopt for the coastal warfare project, in preference to my previous Mediterranean paint recipe as used on the 1/3000 scale WW2 French fleet. I like the slate grey tones with a hint of North Sea green blue, so will have to experiment with the shades that he uses to get the mix just right:

Vahalla Skirmish Rules

Another tip off from Miniature Wargames led me to these free to download Dark Age skirmish rules. I had a nice chat with the designer at Colours last year and really liked the look of the game, especially the focus on individual figures making up a small warband of a dozen or so. I then forgot all about it.

Anyway, having failed to get Ronin off the ground yet, but still looking for a similar size skirmish game, I think this would be ideal. The Normans that I've just completed for SAGA would be a great starting point, especially as I don't have enough units for SAGA yet. I've downloaded the rules and will start putting together a warband.


Friday 12 September 2014

The Wargames Website

I read a review of a new UK based forum for wargaming in Miniature Wargames  today and thought I'd take a closer look. I've become increasingly disinterested in the bollocks that permeates TMP, with the inevitable trawl through pointless or facile threads to get to the interesting content.

As a result, I'm pleased to see an alternative, that isn't just about sci-fi or fantasy gaming but genuinely reflects the full diversity and range of the hobby, which is something that TMP does actually deliver once you wade through the crap.

A quick glance at the homepage and I'm feeling a warm glow of encouragement, with plenty of threads to explore and some interesting content to unwrap. I'm pretty sure it will live up to my expectations and wish the team behind the Wargames Website every success.

Here's a link if you, like me, fancy something a bit different: 


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