Wednesday 30 November 2016

Back of Beyond Campaign Turn Two

This turn there’s a lot of forced marching going on and only one battle to be fought. The Chinese Warlord, Bolsheviks, British Museum Expedition and the Mad Baron have all decided that it’s far too cold to try to fight anyone else and have found a nice warm yurt to hole up in for the winter. It is a busy time of the year for a lot of us, so I was expecting a bit of a delay in the action.

As a result, the aforementioned combatants will all be FORCE MARCHING in the general direction of Urga this turn, with the outcome to be decided in due course by the D6 of doom. I'll roll up the results at the end of the turn, once the single game has been played out. A roll of 1-2 will be a retreat, 3-4 a stand still and 5-6 an advance. The odds are against them but, with a bit of luck, at least one player will get a bonus forward move.

The Japanese Flying Column and the French Expedition are, however, made of sterner stuff so will be battling it out to see if they can get ahead in the race to the campaign objective. This should be an interesting clash as the French are mobile, lightly armed and have top morale, while the Japanese are a solid conventional force with strength in their superior numbers and some tough infantry.

The French have ATTACKED the Japanese, so expect to see a fiendishly cunning defensive strategy deployed by the Japanese master of artful cunning himself, Colonel Kagemusha, who they can employ this turn as a Special Character. This character has the ability to disguise the true identity of the Japanese army commander, which may be a tactical advantage or not. Who knows?

Monday 28 November 2016

Embers of War

I'm now reading this book, which I really should have read before but somehow didn't get round to, despite having a long established interest in the French Indochina War. It is a bit of a slow burner but I'm sure it will start to pick up when I get to the chapters on the war itself, rather then Ho Chi Minh's early life and the origins of Vietnamese nationalism, which is all very interesting nonetheless. It's a 10mm project if it ever gets off the ground, although 15mm and even 28mm also have potential, if only for squad level skirmish games. A good source of inspiration.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Old West Chapel Finished

I added some weathering, sorted out the roof and put together some Blotz furniture for the chapel today, so to all intents and purposes it is now ready to add to my Fistful of Lead: Reloaded terrain collection. I also printed out and glued on some quotes from the Psalms and a notice board for the front porch, which means that it now has an appropriate title of The Providence Chapel. I'm sure the gun toting minister would approve!

Red Armoured Train De-Railed

The armoured train project that I began a few weeks ago has hit the buffers for the moment. I wasn't happy with the way the carriages looked, especially along the underside and will probably start them again from scratch, using the turrets and other bits that I can save from the scratch build to kit out some new wagons. A comment on the Lead Adventure forum that they looked 'over-engineered' was, I think, pretty accurate, so I'll go back to the drawing board and simplify the design. I still think the Lego method of sub-structure construction is a good way forward but you have to consider just how much the plastic card layers add to the overall dimensions of the wagons, otherwise they start to look over scale. I think I'll just have a crack at another tank for the Bolsheviks instead. If at first I don't succeed, I guess I'll just have to try, try again!

Saturday 26 November 2016

Old West Chapel

I've been putting this together this afternoon, although it's not finished yet and needs to be weathered and detailed before I can use it. The kit is from Products for Wargamers and goes together well, except for the roof panels which are a bit of a tight fit and will need some fiddling about with to sit on the walls properly. I haven't decided if I'm going to use the bell tower either. I do have some Blotz church furniture to add and some plastic Renedra gravestones to use for the adjacent graveyard but when I'll get that done, who knows?

Friday 25 November 2016

Friday Freebies

Well, not freebies exactly but not full price either. As I've had a bit of a rubbish week at work, I thought I'd cheer myself up with a set of tokens and markers for Gruntz together with the various templates that are required for the rules. These are from Sarissa Precision and are laser cut in acrylic, so a bit more durable than the free card ones you can download from Wargame Vault. They were also at a 10% discount today as it's Black Friday, whatever that means, although for some reason it makes me think of Napoleonic Prussians? Weird?

Tuesday 22 November 2016

15mm Sci Fi Forces

I took my son to the GZG stand at Warfare on Saturday as they very kindly provide a rummage box of sample figures that he always picks his favourites from as an extra treat.

This is such a great 'get kids into wargaming' thing for GZG to do that I decided to spend some pocket money with them, giving the sprog the choice of which army to go for.

He selected some US hard suit figures from the Tomorrows War range, although I liked the NSL Panzergrenadiers myself, so I bought a discounted set of ten packs which the very nice GZG chap put together on the spot.

These will be added to the 15mm stuff I have already got and may well get some armour support, perhaps from the Brigade Models South African range, as I already have three of their Rhino wheeled tanks as a primer.

As 15mm sci-fi was one of my projects for this year that just didn't happen, aside from a bit of assembly and undercoating, I'm going to put it at the top of the list for 2017 instead. 

Monday 21 November 2016

Eager Eagles

I'm reading this on the Kindle at the moment, as it was only 99p and I really like Martin Bowman's narrative style of writing. I also have the second volume in the series to follow on, once I've polished off the first. It reminded me that I have some really nice 1/300th scale Scotia B17G's to paint up at some point to use with my Defence of the Reich fighters, especially as I haven't played Bag the Hun for absolutely ages!

Warfare Swag

I unpacked the swag bag from Warfare this evening, having been waylaid all day by work and needing a bit of a morale boost. This time I was looking for pygmies for my nascent Congo army but to no avail, although I did get some other useful things that I hadn't planned to buy. I've been quite restrained and have only added things to projects that I've already started, so no impulse buys for a change!

I picked up some interesting additions for my Old West gaming terrain set up including a whole herd of longhorns from Warbases, a chapel for my gun toting pastor from Products for Wargamers and some church furniture from Blotz. I also bought a shield generator laser cut kit from Blotz for X Wing which looked like it would also work for 15mm sci fi, when I eventually get round to it.

The other significant acquisition was some nifty 20mm Harley Davison motorcycle troops for the American Punitive expedition against Pancho Villa, together with a very cool Jeffery Quad armoured car, all from Shellhole Scenics. I really like this range even if it's not as sharp as some others. I'm hoping to get some more figures for this at Xmas, to use for semi-skirmish level scenarios, using Hey Gringo! or Contemptible Little Armies.

The last thing I found by accident but thought would be really useful. It's a couple of sets of plastic hills from Kallistra which, at only £9.50 for a set of three, I thought was pretty good value. I reckon they'll work well alongside my existing desert escarpments in the Back of Beyond and Old West. They're hard plastic vac forms and surprisingly large so perfect to break up line of sight and for setting up ambushes.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Warfare 2016

I had a great time at Warfare in Reading today, despite having a longer than expected journey due to a bus replacing the train for part of the way. I bumped into some old gaming friends and the chaps from the local club who were running the Mad Max style Gaslands participation game. I spent far too much pocket money on things I'll probably never need or use and failed to get anything I set out to purchase in the first place, with one or two exceptions - sound familiar? Anyway, it was a busy show and there were some jolly good games on display including an impressive Chain of Command Battle of the Bulge set up, a very cool B17 bomber raid on Schweinfurt and a really nice Napoleonic game set in Egypt, to name but a few. A good day out.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Back of Beyond Campaign Turn One Results

I can now reveal the results of Turn One of the Back of Beyond campaign.

Brigadier (Retd.) Cholmondely Warner of the British Museum Expedition and Wei Phat Mac, the Chinese Warlord, both won their battles so will now advance one step closer to Urga and are, therefore, five steps away from the campaign objective.

Comrade Colonel Igor Tubugerov of the Bolshevik Shock Brigade and Colonel Sushi Miyagi of the Imperial Japanese Flying Column, both got a right thrashing from the aforementioned forces and so remain in their starting positions, six steps away from Urga.

Unfortunately, the Whites have had to  withdraw from the campaign, so I have determined that they have retreated back to Sinkiang to fight another day. I'm hoping that they may pop back up again later in the campaign when they are able to take part once more, if only to join the big battle at the end.

As a result, their erstwhile opponents, the French Citroen Kegresse expedition of Commandant Lostagaine, won a victory by default, meaning that they are now five steps away from Urga. This seems a bit jammy but is also a sensible outcome, as the Whites vs. French battle wasn't resolved.

The Mad Baron force marched this turn and so I rolled a D6 to find out what happened as a result. I rolled a 3, which means the Baron stays put where he is, six steps away from Urga. So, there are now three forces neck and neck in the lead and three forces bringing up the rear in a cloud of dust!

Monday 14 November 2016

Wessex Wargamers Winchester Warfare 2016 Game

This year I'm not involved in the club participation game for Warfare at the weekend, as I just have too much on my plate at work. However, I will be going to the show with No2 son on Saturday, so hope to join in and play a couple of games. The game this year is a car wars style automotive post-apocalypse race across the wastelands, using some of my diecast cars that I converted years ago for Axles and Alloys alongside other club member's vehicles. The rules are a streamlined version of Gaslands, which is currently in development for Osprey Publishing. It should be a fun game and I'm looking forward to being on the other side of the table for a change!

Sunday 13 November 2016

Plastic Planets

I spotted these illuminated multicolour plastic globes in Homebase today in the sale shelves, so grabbed the two that were left to use as planets for my X Wing games and for other deep space miniatures rules like Full Thrust or Iron Stars. They are slightly smaller than the moon that I found the other day but they look really good together. They were only 50p each too. I now need some asteroids and space junk to navigate around!

The Big Hurt

Two Hour Wargames have a 25% off sale at the moment, so I had a look to see if there was anything of interest, having already got a copy of NUTS!, their WW2 squad and platoon level skirmish rules. I was looking for some scenario material to use with my 28mm Artizan late war US infantry, which have been looking for something to do for a while and have been gathering dust. I like the idea of adding to existing projects at the moment, rather than starting completely new things from scratch.

I still have a handful of figures to paint up to create a full complement platoon. In the meantime, I've been thinking about using them for squad level skirmish games instead of Bolt Action!, which isn't my cup of tea, or Chain of Command, which requires way too many figures and extras to be do-able. The club is keen on Iron Cross but I also like the look of Five Men at Kursk, which is very much a squad level game.

The end result is a pdf of The Big Hurt, which features twenty one squad level scenarios set in the Hurtgen Forest from October 1944 to February 1945. This fits in perfectly with my pre-exiting autumnal figure basing theme and with my terrain collection, which includes a lovely winter gaming mat and some really useful river sections. I also have plenty of terrain bits to add to this to make up some good looking forest terrain and defensive positions.

The scenarios look really good too and easily convertible to Iron Cross, Five Men at Kursk or whatever rules system that you might want to use including NUTS!, of course. I don't have any Germans at the moment but I have already collated all the Artizan figures I need for some late war opposition, so may well dig them out in the new year and actually get on with this long neglected project.

Friday 11 November 2016

Fusilier Raymond John Jackaman 14407126, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

At this time of year I always try to write a brief post about one of the twenty or so servicemen and women recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves commission that share my surname. This year the one I have chosen is Fusilier Raymond John Jackaman, aged 19, who is buried in Venray Military Cemetery in Holland and who was killed in action on the 11th November 1944.

He was from Ipswich in Suffolk, where most of my family is originally from on my father's side, although his exact relationship to me is unknown. I'll see what I can find out about the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in Holland in November 1944 and, hopefully, fill in some gaps. May he rest in peace.

In Remembrance

Thursday 10 November 2016

Red Armoured Train Complications

I had a bit of time this evening to fiddle around with the locomotive and tender for the ongoing armoured train project. I haven't finished this yet but I have made a few significant modifications.

The problem was how to attach the wheels to the locomotive but in the end I just dismantled a spare toy engine, detached the wheels, then removed the Lego side skirts from the locomotive so that they could fit underneath. I now have to add new armoured side skirts from plastic card instead and work out how to actually attach the wheels, which shouldn't be too difficult or take too long. 

However, this change in design has resulted in the locomotive and tender being a fraction lower than the wagons that I've already built, so I'll now have to add an additional 5mm plastic card strip to the bottom edge of the wagons to bring them into line. I actually think this will improve the look of the wagons by covering up the top part of the bogies so that they match the ones on the tender.


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