Friday 29 November 2013

The Circus Maximus Project: A game or more of a "Frame of Mind?"

Do you covert the laurel wreath? Will you risk all in search of glory at the games? Not even put off by those horrific crash scenes in Ben Hurr .. OK then Avalon Hill's Circus Maximus is for you. It's time to take a the chariot of your choice for a trial race. He drives like a pro ... (see below):

Looking good, then ... Oh dear what could possibly have happened here then? Medic! (see below):

The course will be cruel and unforgiving (see above and below, just look at the number of charts):

Nevertheless a new batch of Colosseum hopefuls (fresh farm boys from the country) arrive (see below):

So I will probably need these extra crash markers painted then (see below):

But will it be ready in time for Xms? All I need do is get twelve 6mm chariot pieces painted, doesn't sound hard does it?

(Ahem, I suppose there is the small matter of reading the rules too)

Thirty Day Challenge No.III (The Big "T") Thucydides

Following on from the read of the Big H (Herodotus) earlier in the year chronologically next comes the big T (Thucydides), when the Greek world was brought to its knees in civil war, 'modern' in its brutality

Target at least "16 pages" a day (on average) so that the big T (Thucydides) "History of the Peloponnesian War" is read before Xmas Day 2013 (see below):

Three reading sources:
  • Penguin Classic Big T (a nice handy pick and read size of book)
  • Electronic (Free) Book iPhone Bookshelf (incredibly handy anywhere you need it volume)
  • Landmark Big T (useful when the place names are confusing or previously unknown)

So far so good, and it is almost as exciting as eating the Xmas Calendar chocolates ;) 

Thursday 28 November 2013

Thirty Day Challenge No.II (Movember)

Following on from the TED talk "you can do pretty much anything for 30 days" I embarked on my second Thirty Day Challenge: Movember

No previous experience of wearing a moustache:
I once had a beard (for about a month) in my early thirties (just to shock the family when I returned home after a long trip, all I can say it was great shaving it off) but since then bar the occasional "forty eight hour weekend man-stubble" I have been a regular wet-shaving man.

Twenty eight days in and I'm itching, wondering where this wire brush came from under my nose, living like a monk, still surprised nobody has passed a remark on my striking resemblance to Tom Selleck (aka Magnum), but disturbingly several people have made passing references to John Cleese (Faulty Towers), Captain Mainwaring (Dad's Army) and Roger de Corcey (of Nookie the Bear fame).

The result after thirty days (see below): 

Oh well it's all for a good cause, promoting publicity about :
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Mental Health Issues
The aim is to fund research and drive away the stigma associate with the above, the latter I believe as important as the research. 

Note: Rest assured my third "Thirty Day Challenge" (which has already started) is more wargaming orientated ;)

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Painting Tray (Cupboard Review)

What's in teh cupboard before Xmas to do?

The AFV collection (see above):
  • 1/72 Italeri/Esci Hetzer (to make up a Command Decision ersatz panzerjaeger late-war company of three)
  • 1/72 (notorious as big in scale) Skytrex 1944 Bren Carrier (to be the universal helper to my Paltoon 20 British PBI)

The "half completed" aeroplane collection (see above):
  • 1/72 Westland Whirlwind (pain job and decals required)
  • 1/72 De Haviland Mosquito (bomb and rocket racks to add, paint and decals required)
Repair jobs (see above):
  • 1/48 Spitfire Vb (bits dropped off that need replacing)
  • 1/72 Do 17 E/F (bits dropped off and upgrade to paint job)
Terrain Projects (see above):
  • The "real water" effect, see interesting scenery box  

Kits lurking in other corners of the house (see above):
  • 1/700 Fujimi HMS Hood
  • Revell snap-together Millennium Falcon
Can the above be done before 2013 turns into 2014?
(On teh other hand need they all be?)

Monday 25 November 2013

Renaissance Campaign Update

I returned to assess the state of affairs of my local Redcar Wargaming Club's Renaissance (Thirty Years War) campaign. As a free-lance mercenary general I am expected to drift in and out of tactical commands, but every now and then it is good so see the world from a strategic perspective.

The major news is that Vienna has fallen to a Protestant army which is a huge coup (see below, bottom left corner - those are not HRE counters):

But Protestant Prague itself finds itself on the cusp of falling to the mighty HRE siege-train arrayed around its walls (see below): 

All-in-all the HRE is coming off second best with the Protestants having more active pieces on the board, but there is still plenty of fighting to be done.

All I am interested in is a warm bed, sack of wine and purse of gold.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Expanding Science Fiction Fleet (Star Wars)

The latest addition from the Star Wars universe to my model collection comes in the form of a Republic Gunship (see below):

The snap together kit was a little fiddly in parts but overall is a lovely kit. A few bits need to be squeaked together and the side hull side ball turrets are cleverly but precariously attached (required a dab of super glue after I had a small accident with mine).

What I can do with it in wargaming sense remains another matter

Friday 22 November 2013

Board Game: "War on Terror"

How do wargamers relax in the run up to Xmas. Surrounded by good company (fellow wargamers) and interesting material for future projects (see below, Air War, South Atlantic) they sit down and play "War on Terror", which to the uninitiated (me) seems like a game of Risk (see below):  

Anyway, I am "Mr Pink", intent on building up an "Evil Empire" whose aim is "World Domination" not hindered with any concept of scruples or morals (see below for the ominous collection of pink playing pieces):

I start with an interesting hegemony over Australasia from which I intend to expand my power-base through the Antarctic and Asia proper (see below):

I bloodlessly conquer the Antarctic (I mean how much resistance could those penguins realistic put up?) and eye up Asia proper and yes I realise I am making up new pseudo geographical terms (see below):  

My plan is going well, but sadly so is everybody else's (in particular the American (see below, top of photograph, all those red counters in high real-estate squares), so it is time to start attacking my neighbours (the green and blue players in my case) by fair means or foul (see below):

In a spectacular show of economic "uncommon-sense" the American (red) player becomes bankrupt (he should not have spent ALL his money, politicians of the present take heed) and becomes a minor terrorist player. What followed was then referred to as the "great American land grab", naked capitalism or colonialism, take your pick (see below): 

After suffering from a serious bout of  "the enemy from within" (other players using event cards to cause internal dissent in my glorious Empire) I decide to seize the moment and "Go for Broke!" and come oh so "close but yet so, so far away". I reached nine points but needed ten, for want of a favourable roll of the dice in South America (see below for the height of my Empire building):

As is the way with these game, I was savaged as but a "tall poppy" can be savaged (glorious in defeat), only to see the player nominated as "The Axis of Evil" by the "game spinner" (which seemed to be permanently stuck on 'pointing at blue' because of a 'crease in the game board') romp to victory acquiring the "oil of Texas" to build cities galore in North America.

An addictive little game that thankfully finished before 'last orders gentlemen please' otherwise we might well have been locked in the room overnight playing on, yes it was that addictive and pleasant an evening the only sad part was that it had to stop. I am already looking forward to the next game :)  

Thursday 21 November 2013

1944 Late War British Infantry Project - Milestone (A completed Platoon))

Observe the last tortuous steps in this projects progression that started way back in 05/10/2009 (read down to the bottom of this list to see the first post) ...

Here they stand in their box newly "gritted" with PVA  glue and coarse building sand, beach sand and builders grit (see below):

The bases are then flooded with a dark ink wash to fill up the porous sand texture with a coloured liquid. This acts as a coloured undercoat for the further finishing process and detail (see below):

I quite like that newly wet mud look, shame as it does not last long (see below):

Once the ink has dried and sand is firmly fixed in place a quick rugged wet brush of Vallejo "Earth" is applied (see below):

Then follows a highlight of Vallejo "Earth" mixed with Anita's Acrylic "Lemon White", applied increasingly more with a dry than wet brush, increasing up the "Lemon White" content so the last brush is mostly 'white' (see below):

Using a mixture Vallejo "Gun Metal" and Anita's Acrylics "Silver" I highlight the metal parts. I followed this with a powder flock to add a bit of vegetation to the base (see below):

A few clumps of "Static Grass" for the final touch (see below):

The 3" mortar team (see below, top of photograph) and the ever faithful Vickers HMG team (see below, bottom of photograph):

The most useful 'offensive' toys on the table, the two inch mortar team (smoke makers). Two teams, one prone firing the other moving (see below, top and middle of the photograph). Below them is what I refer to as a "prone three man Engineer section with a mysterious box", the truth being I know not what the middle figure has in his hands or is supposed to be doing, suggestions on a postcard please (see below, bottom of the photograph):

Finally a few more squadies or NCO's (see below):

Pssst ... Don't mention the fact that they don't have any "Regimental Insignia" and NCO markings (yet) but I do formally declare "The odds and sods" finished and open for wargaming business, roll on the next game of "Chain of Command"


Tuesday 19 November 2013

Plastic Soldier Company: T34 Boxed Set

The good thing about the model tank sets you get from PSC is that they always give you three of the best, in this case a T-34 76mm (1943) ready to fight the fascists (see below):

But in a blink of an eye they can turn into a T34 85mm (1944) which is a "Panzer IV's" nightmare to face (see below):

Nice to see they have remembered the Airfix "two for the price of one deal" (one early/mid and one late war) that was so beloved of little boys like me everywhere ;)

Monday 18 November 2013

Expanding into a New Period and Scale ("Chime the Bells of Doom")

Everybody says that they won't but then everybody does it again and again.

To quote Judge Dredd, "Won't these perps ever learn?". Speaking of which I have been also eyeing up that offering from Warlord Games too, but no my current "penny peril project" is ..

28mm (25mm compatible) ECW with a Scottish Covenanter twist courtesy of Warlord Game's temptations, my powers of resistance being weak or non-existent! I have got as far as putting a packet of forty together (see below):

I like the distinctive "blue bonnet" look, but I would have preferred it if Warlord Games had managed to 'keep it all plastic' as mixing it up with super-glue and plastic glue can get quite confusing. It is the 'walk away' and don't touch aspect of the super-glue I hate. I end up nudging teh figure and causing the metal bonnet to slip 'over the eyes' of my soldiers! Then I have to start it all over again but this time getting super-glue all over my fingers (see below):

I hope to use them with a set of rules called "For God, King and Country" published by the Canadian Wargames Group (see below):

The first battle I intend to do is Montrose's Royalists "Battle of Aberdeen" where these fine fellows will be defending, but hopefully in a reasonably well painted state (see below):  

I still have a long way to go to before completing the army though, see you in 2016 for an update ;)

Sunday 17 November 2013

KM Blucher (1/720) Assembled

Bit by bit she finally came together ... that's the way I seem to work with ships over a long and protracted time scale ... no point rushing it ;)

Plane and hanger added (see below):

Secondary AA guns (see below):

Little bits of superstructure at the back (see below):

Finally the radio masts (see below):

Painting may take some time as I seem to have a plastic mountain queuing up on the painting tray ;)

Saturday 16 November 2013

Dinosaurs .. Thou Shall Not Covet Small Boys Toys

Part of fatherhood or should I just say in general parenthood, is that you are always "seemingly forever" clearing up toys. Every now and then a toy can stop you in your tracks and makes you 'smile' (Lego for example) but also every now and then a toy takes you "aback", as in "Wow, cool! I want it!" (As in - see below):

This beauty (T-Rex) fits nicely into the category of "causes Daddy to day dream of 28mm Victorian Explorers from (Copplestone Castings, Perry's and the like) being chased a cross a wargaming table" (see below):

Perfect for 28mm, don't you think? (see below):

Inadvertently sneaking up on him/her in a jungle clearing and wondering can you get away before "it" turns around. I can almost hear the Jurassic Park "snort" of the T-Rex getting the first whiff of the heroes and villains in its nostrils (see below):

Don't worry, it made it back to the toy bucket ... well this time ;)

Friday 15 November 2013

Is this the first Elf of Xmas? (Mystery)

Have I spotted the first "elf" of Xmas?

According to my Renaissance campaign friends no, it is a legitimate element of a DBR (Thirty Years War period) Army List (see below):

In the manner of a "competition without prizes" but bestowing prestige and praise from friends on clever or correct answers .. "What is it"? He certainly rides a strange four-legged beast, but some may argue there should be more white, of a snowy nature, on the base (see below):

Note: This is not a extra cast-off from the second Hobbit film GW collection!

I will be intrigued if there are any answers, next week I will post the answer as it was told to me, in a comment.

Have fun thinking on this one :)

PS Sadly I do not own this figure, which is a composite from legitimate historical figure ranges and purchased from reputable historical figure manufacturers, nothing 'fantastical' at all about it.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

France 1940: Return to Tagnon (WWII Battlefront Scenario) 8

The French Commander Responds:

As the German Panzer Battalion commander contemplates his dilemma of "How to bypass Alincourt and cross the bridge" the French commander introduces him to French 155mm Schneider artillery "en masse" (see below):

What goes around, then comes around.

Enjoying this "artillery phase" and not wanting to be left out of the action the French commander at Neuflize (ahem, me again) brings in his trusted regimental artillery assets to 'save the day' and scramble those annoying German motorcyclists. Again the 'risk adverse' (of hitting your own troops - again) mental calculation is triggered and once again dismissed as unlikely (after all this would be a "one in one thousand occurrence").

I am sent straight back to Probability Class 101 as once something has occurred its certainty is P=1. Therefore instead of 1:1000 it is still only 1:10 and guess what .. (see below):  

Note to Self: See reference to "Ground-hog Day" and related entry of "Twit"!

"Friendly Fire" once again hits 'Friend and For' alike, prompting the Umpire to declare, "This is no accident the French artillery have just registered short on Neuflize today, no need to roll the dice again as I already know the result" .. I laugh hoping he's joking, but something of a twinkle in his eye makes me wonder!Not as bit as the divisional templates but I still mange to upset my sole AT gun covering the river (see below):

The battle as seen from the German side of the battlefield. The fighting for Neuflize (see below, top of photograph) has certainly drawn in the German motorcycle unit to its death, being under half strength in infantry now its fighting "umph" is definitely questionable but what holds in that mysterious black Hanomag 251 column, it has got to be something special. The motorised transport (see below, bottom of the photograph is probably the German Pazer Division Engineer Battalion plus various HQ elements. I will be interesting to see where it will deploy to, Alincourt or perhaps the 'wooded river-line' space between Alincourt and Neuflize (see below):

Finally the "panzer parking problem" of Alincourt. The lead German Panzer Company is certainly looking disorder (but not killed, dead or dying). Its attention may be drawn to something coming "off table" left in the form of French "tracked vehicles" (see below):

But it is not over yet as there is a third action (game) planned to cover the "tooth and claw" tank versus tank action as the French High Command commit their precious 'char' (aka tank) battalions in a desperate 'make or break' counter attack.

To be continued ...  hope you have enjoyed it so far