Sunday 22 May 2011

Projects Update:

Still no  painting table (DIY, baby has taken room over and a potential "house move") hence there is a lot of "wargaming theory" going on in my tiny little head. One plus being the opening of a sealed box of books. It was liberated from the "store" (a designated space underneath the stairs where I think Harry potter used to live and where my "bad hobby" stuff gets put).

These books were a mixture of Ancients (most of my Alexander the Great literature, plus some Roman stuff), WWII land (some Osprey books on WWII infantry tactics: Recon, Squad, Company and Battalion), Naval (Ironclads - 1904-05 Russo Japanese and WWII Coastal Forces) and the joker in the pack Colonial (Zulu, Boer War, Sudan), the latter being stuff I had forgotten about.

We'll see what comes of this mix and my inspiration. The WWII Coastal Forces has a certain appeal. It is a long time since I have done anything "tank'ish" though.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

And in my spare time I pretend to be "Abraham Lincoln": An 1862 ACW PBEM Campaign

A strange title perhaps, but the jist of it is that I am playing the Union "commander-in-chief" in a PBEM campaign game (a "matrix style" - free text statements of intent rather than a copious volume of rules to decipher and misunderstand). Somebody else gets to move the toys when a battle arrives, I merely pontificate from afar in the background.

The year is 1962 and I picked the campaign up after a predecessor was disheartened after a "Fredericksburg" type of battle, near well as circunstance would have it, the city of Fredericksburg. Taking up the reigns I blamed all the past misfortunes (as in a futile body count for zero ground gained) of the Army of the Potomac (AoP) and on a certain "Hooker". His character was of reproach, strong whiskey plus his association with woman of ill repute. So I appointed a stern engineer called "Meade" to replace him. The man is a dab hand with a spade, something which I thought of as quite far-sighted as Union Generals go and meticulously dressed.

Scenes from the Union defeat at Fredericksburg:

Union troops bravely cross the Rappahannock, only to re-cross it later that same day in the opposite direction (and in more of a hurry):


Then quickly backwards:

Facing us across the Rappahannock River was the jeering Rebel Army of Northern Virginia (AoNV), entrenched behind secure fortifications. Seeing the folly of another "prepared attack", (Meade cautioned other more firebrand Union Generals to actually count the guns facing them), I hence instructed the AoP to "burn the leather off the soles of their shoes" and race ahead (following the Rappahannock) to fins another suitable crossing point. Thus came about the race of "two giant centipedes" [many emails were exchanged] with the Union edging slightly ahead as the town of Culpepper became larger and larger on our maps.

Note: The reason (or was it a mere rumour) for this initial Union "foot gain away from the AoNV" appeared to be the sheer disbelief from a certain Robert E. Lee that a man of Meade's stature (an engineer by trade) would leave valuable pontoon bridges so laboriously constructed, unused back in Fredericksburg. He deduced a clever ruse was afoot and was waiting for a second attack that never came, while in reality I (ahem, Meade/Lincoln) had forgotten about them entirely.
Judging that my head of steam was about right (deduced unfortunately from very limited Pinkerton intelligence (see later), which also nicely sums up my strategic generalship) I sent the "fastest" Union Corps across the Rappahannock to delay the van of the AoNV while the main bulk (a further six Corps) of the AoP crossed safely further up-river at a Kelly's Ford. The AoNV would then have to fight and defend Richmond (they lose and we win the war). The wheels of my cunning plan were put into motion (by a chuckling umpire) and you could almost sense the critical wheels of said cunning plan falling off.

Here we go again across the Rappahanock, Hancock and Federal Cavalry double time, with no Rebs in sight, what could possibly go wrong? Scene fades as marching music continues ...

Sunday 15 May 2011

Attack of the "Inquisitive Six Year Old Children"

Hmm, parenthood, I didn't read this in the manual. I returned home to a concerned wife (well she was hiding her humorous interpretation of the event under the mask of concern) who remarked that while she was on the phone my son had shown his "friends" my room. Alarm bells began to ring at once. I investigated and found that a furious fire-fight had taken place. Thankfully the "shiny decoys" (GW 40K) had done their job beautifully, soaking up the hits and saving the more valuable, or rather more serious, wargaming toys from collateral damage. After a detailed scan the "body count was":
  • Two "Necron Warriors" down (after the action reports seems to suggest they were taken out by an energetic thumb action, one at the ankles and the other at the midriff, by expertise akin to a Space Marine Veteran)
  • One "Necron Warrior" MIA (transponder not showing up on screen, it could be anywhere in the known universe, possibly abducted by a six year old blue eyed boy and now sitting in a bedroom next to a Power Ranger or Bakuman) 
  • One "Necron Warrior" managed to evade capture and I undertook a successful SAR mission retrieving it from underneath/behind a set of draws
  • Two "Necron Scarabs" were "de-based" from their stands
  • A "Necron Destroyer" suffered the indignity of a broken stand
  • Two "Guant-type" Tyranids were debased cleanly at the ankles 
Despite the protestations of my son saying "he liked them better that way", the superglue made its way from the toy medical kit. All apart from the MIA Necron have been restored to a semblance of their former glory. My wife thought it was "karma" payback on me (she was now giggling at me) for actions to my older brothers Subbuteo figures (when I was aged fifteen months old, some forty plus years ago and the damage was to six teams of the the then, "First Division"). Personally I just hope I can attain a maturity consistent with my age, rising above the obvious hurt and "forgive and forget". The alternative Would be a revenge commando-style sabotage mission on the next "school parent's evening" (aka "taking out" two specific art models from Year One's work; I hope I have sound 'Intell' and they are clearly labelled).

No photos as I found the sight of my dead/mutilated models too distressing, despite their obvious "media copy" value. This episode has renewed my philosophy of distributed series of "model-kit caches" to the vaults of friendly wargaming clubs in the area to avoid a nuclear "lose-it-all" incident. You cannot under estimate the destructive power of six year old boys once they have a taste for it! Thank goodness they were oblivious to the location of my 20mm WWII plastics ;)

Monday 9 May 2011

Bargain Book: Vanguard 80 The Chieftain Tank

Picked up for a bargain 50 pence:

It gives an excellent picture of a Berlin Brigade BOAR Chieftain MBT in that Urban Camouflage scheme as seen on the England Prevails blog, and something I intend to give my Airfix 1/72 model kit!.

All I need now is my painting table back :( 

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Last man standing (sailing?)

Keeping track if what was left still afloat in the Taiwanese/China Straits and even still capable of movement and/or defensive/offensive action took several minutes of frantic book keeping as columns of brown coloured smoke slowly covered most of the models. From this resultant chaos it emerged that there were two Taiwanese frigates left to face down one battle-worthy Chinese destroyer (mine) .

Swigging the last dregs a cup of cheap Shanghai Gin I prepared to meet my ignoble ancestors as I counted six incoming Vampires to my three outward missiles. The robust state-of-the-art Chinese defence systems did me proud making a lot of loud noise but hitting absolutely nothing. Even my faithful chaff had a bad day and deluded but one missile into striking a nearby Chinese supertanker (proof in my eyes of blatant Western/Taiwanese aggression). In the resulting explosions on my ship I was found to have been sunk four times over, not even leaving me with enough remains or 'ash' to put into a ceremonial tea cup. There was scant satisfaction in seeing another Taiwanese frigate crippled as the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army's Navy had thrown its last card.

Thus ended the game with one Taiwanese frigate "last man standing picking" up yet another flight of Chinese Bears en route with another 'eighteen' Vampires about to launch (see below):

Plus a host of small assault hovercraft seen by radar departing the Chinese mainland carrying the crack 93rd Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Marine Division. The Taiwanese captain was just wondering how long a message he could transmit, finally settling for "INVASION IN PROGRESS" as vampires became audible.

An intensely nerve racking game that "sweated" the old salts out of their ships in the most frantic combat sequence I have encountered. It makes WWI and WWII General Quarters games look leisurely affairs! Thanks to Ken at Hartlepool Wargames Club for putting on a cracking little game.    

Tuesday 3 May 2011

I think the "meme" is Good: Stylist Blogger Award

The meme is good.

No need for ostentatious speeches, glamorous frocks and penguin suits, but a recognition nay realisation that there is a "virtual community" out there that you are part of :)

Many thanks to David Crook (A Wargaming Odyssey), Tim Gow (MegaBlitz and More) and El Grego (Mini Ship Gaming)for my nominations. What was also nice to see the award spread like wild-fire through my on-line hobbyist friends and fellow enthusiasts. All well deserved.

The real buzz was seeing the like-minded individuals who I share this hobby with and recognising what a talented bunch we are! The best bit about the award is that it makes you look at other blogs and string through the other recommend "reads". Without further ado are my nominated reads (many of course multi-nominated already).

Paul from: Plastic Warriors
A prolific NZ 20mm collector and not bad modeller by half, especially with a knack of doing very nice modern camo patterns (he even has a special brush for it)

Al from: 20th Century Wargames
Second half of the NZ duo of 20mm Command Decision gamer, a fan of the early war period

Tim from: MegaBlitz and More
I do like those WWII MegaBlitz Divisions as it means there is hope for my 20mm collection being useful for something

David from: A Wargaming Odyssey
I like really the naval stuff and I'm glad to see you turning to 1/3000. If I ever get my Jutland game off the ground there is an admiral's cap coming your way if you are interested 

Grego from: Mini Ship Gaming
Another naval fan who is tempting me into "sails" as well as "steam" 

Another Al from: The Wargame Shed 
The man who started me off blogging and an old friend from a London wargaming club, you can blame him for my insanity

Bob from:Wargaming Miscellany
A prolific poster into every imaginable sort of period

Paul from: Pauls Bod's
Miniatures par excellance

Mork from: Morksmini's
Very nice WWII kit and the odd game here and there to boot :)

WW2 Miniatures
The kit I have and then some and made in A+ fashion :)

Secundus at: Iron Mitten
This guy has such a talent with his cartoons, even my wife was impressed! And just to show I like things ancient too :)

And many there are many, many others to many to mention (see below) ... Keep up the good work folks it is a pleasure to read your postings :)

Seven+ things to share about myself:
  • As of today (see date of post) I have subscribed to 697 wargaming blogs, and that is why I do not show a picture next to my "blogs I read".
  • I like to see what other people are doing with the kit I have (notably 20mm) but haven't got round to making and painting yet (hence the abundance of 20mm sites in the above). I know 1/200 and 1/300 make more wargaming sense but I am hooked for some reason on the 20mm stuff.
  • I have better luck with painting my naval stuff, as it is a lot smaller :)
  • I first wargamed from 12+ until 15 with Airfix, then I turned to the D&D (didn't we all?), only returning to dabble with wargaming in my mid twenties, then surging in interest when I took a job in London being introduced to two fantastic wargaming clubs
  • My wargaming interests range from 2000BC to 2000AD+ (and infinity), but I don't do DBM unless the pliers come out
  • You have not seen my WWI 1/144 Skytrex collection yet :)
  • I do "computers" for a living. A programmer by trade but an academic by nature, with my background I should have gotten us all playing in some sort of virtual space against an Artificially Intelligent opponent, but in the end I prefer to paint models instead ;)
  • I rank sixth in importance in my household after my three young children, my wife and then her iPhone, but there is talk of me slipping even further with the possible addition of two kittens (hmm, I'm a rabbit man at heart myself) 
Oh, and I find you all quite inspiring, I'll stop now before I get too emotional ... ;)