Monday 30 October 2017

Fantasy Board Gaming circa 1978: The Sorcerer's Caves

The 'state of the art' fantasy board game circa 1978. Handy if you have an expanding floor surface to play on (see below): 

In my case the living room carpet was used! (see below):

I eventually roped in my wife and two sons (12 and 7) in to play. My daughter escaped for most of the action by being out with a friend until later in the "dungeon delve". Despite my wife reaching level four of the dungeon and being laden with magical artefacts (something I never achieved in the whole of my D&D role playing career, getting down a flight of steps to level two was a thrill for me - two many combats and too little a sense of discretion), she was put off by being described as a "creature" in the rules [she had fallen into a viper pit and was fighting for her life]. My youngest son was the treasure magnet wandering from cavern to cavern picking up mercenaries and the treasure of Midas. Meanwhile my eldest wandered into The Sorcerer in the first cavern, beat a hasty retreat (I'll give his online gaming experience credit as he new when he was out-classed and made a sensible run for it) then had the misfortune to wander through passageways missing out on the exciting caverns filled with treasure and monsters!

All in all as DM "rule master" I thought it was a hoot.

Saturday 28 October 2017

1941 The Denmark Strait Project: 1/1200 Prince Eugen "The Consort"

Not quite being able to face the modelling knife dilemma of HMS Norfolk just yet I decided to finish the KM Prince Eugen up to wargaming standard for the table (see below):

I quite like the overall effect and it is nice to finish off a model started a long time ago! Now back to HMS Norfolk!

1941 The Denmark Strait project: 1/1200 HMS Suffolk, "I am the Walrus"

On a "project roll" I painted up the Walrus so I can show stern of HMS Suffolk (see please note the hand painted FAA roundels):

Researching HMS Norfolk I see classic wargamer's dilemma, she is different to HMS Suffolk. I could just paint up the second County Class and let her simply be called HMS Norfolk, but really I should remove the "hanger area aft" and remodel the aft portion of the ship accordingly according to me lovingly collected naval books ... hmmm. Now that "I know" the difference I feel obliged that I "have to have a go"!

Thursday 26 October 2017

1941 Battle of the Denmark Strait Project: 1/1200 HMS Suffolk gets her Colours (WIP)

Painting update: I managed to undercoat the bare plastic of a 1/1200 County class Airfix RN cruiser black (could not honestly tell you if it was the Suffolk or Norfolk yet) and the started the process of experimenting with paints for the RN colour scheme. The one on the  box cover of the 1/600 Airfix kit looks too pretty for the North At;antic to me. Initially I started with the paints that game with a Revell HMS Kelly/Kipling starter set but these were too shiny (IMHO) so I reverted to my Vallejo Game Colour range, Stonewall Grey and a White and Black for the most part. However I started mixing the two ranges together and liked the results (see below for the current WIP):

Hardly noticeable is the "bit of blue" at the stern of the ship (more photos later). I was 50:50 about the dark grey deck but it is has grown on me. From scanning the Internet I found some interesting links that truly inspired me:

Gawd bless the Internet ;)

Note to self: I still have to do the Walrus reconnaissance plane.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

1941 Battle of the Denmark Strait Project: 1/1200 scale and Fletcher Pratt Rules

Courtesy of the old Airfix "Sink the Bismarck" kits (and the re-release some years back), Revell Mini-Ships (aka KGV) plus a strange eBay acquisition of some "destroyers" I have gathered the ships required for both the 'historical' and 'alternative historical' screening destroyers present battle (see below):

It is just a matter of finishing the started paint jobs. The Prince Eugen is almost completed, HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk next then those strange destroyers that look "close enough" to be A-H" class RN destroyers of the period. Note: They are are actually supposed to be Brazilian RN pattern destroyers sold by British shipyards on the export market. I cannot remember the manufacturer!

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) A9 Troop (France 1940 Style)

Just to prove I can finish off at least building some kits the other two of the PSC A9 early war (BEF) RTR. I made two of the two pounder variants and one of the 3" Close Support (CS) type (see below): 

Yes I am very happy with them and (at present) resisting the urge to but another packet, although I have teh excuse to make teh Western Desert with sand skirt version ;)

Monday 23 October 2017

An Old Esci Friend: Pz 35(t) .. Old School Modelling!

By way of comparison and in start contrast to the new "First To Fight" I have pulled out an old friend from circa 1994 and a rare (even in those days) model of the Pz 35(t). I wince now remembering the pain I had putting the running track/wheels together. The track plastic itself was simply awful and broke several times. It needs redoing to say least. Yet still somehow it is an old favourite of mine and I would not part with it (see below):

I promise or rather pledge to redo the track this year!

Sunday 22 October 2017

Early War Pz 35(t) Bef .. First to fight

In for a penny, in for a pound. While I was in that York model shop I acquired a second First to Fight model. The particularly 'clanky' Pz 35(t) that the German Army acquired via Czechoslovakia in 1938. The 'other' Czech tank is the Pz 38(t) and I have a hoard of them (6) from Fujimi, but the rarer Pz 35(t) is represented by only one old Esci kit. Again the quality is superb, especially since the complicated bogie wheels were a single piece. The Esci kit had literally hundreds of parts by comparison (see below):

I could not resist putting on the Command Variant aerial antenna on the back! My only regret is that I did not buy the second one that was sat next to it on the shelf ;)

Friday 20 October 2017

Early War Pz IIIE from "First to Fight"

I saw these (Firts to Fight) advertised on the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) website and thought they looked good but resisted. However the first model shop I visited and picked one up I succumbed By heavens they are good! More pricey (£8 for one model) than ArmourCast but retaining their simplicity with added extra detail worthy of Fujimi and eclipsing Esci. Methinks they would give many a metal manufacturer a good run for their money being plastic injection and a lot cleaner on the "flash" side of things (see below a beautiful Pz IIIE):

The only thing that puzzled me was a minor piece of detail on the left side if the hull. Something ever so small but a curious details. The instructions on the back didn't quite show it in the detail my old eyes needed. However the link below (of one done in Blue Peter fashion by another) showed me where it should go (and Murphy's Law meant that I had done it wrong, not that anyone would notice, bar a rivet counter).

See you in its "full glory" here:

A welcome addition to my early war panzer collection!

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Time to undercoat the WW2 French I have been keeping in the loft!

Sometimes one is spurred into action by the "use it or lose it" paradigm. Or put another way when your kids, with one particularly talented "crafty" young lady in mind, discovers your "undercoat spray can collection" and decides to have fun with it. Better had use the rest up quick before is disappears literally into "thick air". Hence the beautifully sculpted FAA WW2 (when they were based in the UK) French from 1998 or thereabouts finally get undercoated (see below):

About time too! More remedial action should follow before my spray paint stash is raided again!

Monday 16 October 2017

War of Spanish Succession: 28mm Eye Candy

Travelling across to my friends in nearby Redcar I dropped into see the final stages of a board game of the War of the Spanish Succession (Note to self: Must fill in the missing blank of the games actual name when I next get across). Over the summer they have hosted a campaign by which battles from the strategic board game were transferred to the tabletop instead of rolling dice on a Combat Results Table (CRT). At this point Marlborough had gone home (or had been bribed, discuss) and the Dutch and French were frittering about trying to take a few Victory Point (VP) last towns before "winter quarters". This is pure co-incidence for me and my current Marlburian interest, as they are doing it in 28mm myself in 15mm with as of yet no painted figures. I was greeted with the fine sight of infantry brigades manoeuvring into position and the charge of cavalry squadrons in the distance (see below):

I was given a flank command of cavalry which seemed to be there purely to attract the attention of cannon balls away from the pretty infantry brigade in the previous picture. To which I accomplished great feats losing my dragoons in short order (in my defence by the time I got them they were about "gone" from the previous game session). If my memory served me correctly I was French (see below, some finely painted 28mm horse):

As per my dragoons I had to leave early. One observation from the rules (Lilly Banner) was that they must have played about half a dozen fairly large games yet still the basics were being talked about and walked through. True there was a fair rotation in players but the "leaders" had been consistent throughout and this struck me as a curious position to be in. In this session it was the mechanics of working out a basic charge and counter-charge. The side being the more 'pedantic' (in this case French, though I may add nothing to do with me as it was at the other end of the table) got for their efforts being "caught at the standstill" which I thought was a well-deserved ire of their own making. At least everyone will now be more familiar with the cavalry charge process due to this dramatic result.


Thursday 12 October 2017

Cold War Flash Back 1970-90 (1:300 Micro Tanks) Soviet MR XX Project Tank III (WIP)

I happened in the loft upon an old collection of 1/300 modern micro armour. A project the better part of three quarters the way through making the order of battle for a Soviet, circa 1980's. Motor Rifle Division. The BMP and 2 x BTR regiments were all made, the next step being the organic Tank Regiment for the Division. The current state of affairs of the OrBat of stands to be completed is shown (see below, 21 stands waiting for tanks and odds and sods to fill in):

A little tender loving care (TLC) was applied to the basic brown, along with labelling the units in standard Spearhead fashion at the back of the base (see below): 

The missing stands in the above picture required a basic brown spray undercoat of "brown" to seal them (see below):

Sadly I don't think they match the original batch so I will have to lighten the base with an old fashioned brush (see below):

Next: Time to root out the silver legions of "micro tanks" to populated the bases!

Thursday 5 October 2017

Er, "Psst ... wanna free Space Marine or four?" ... OK

While entering a Comic Book Store I was propositioned with a friendly smile and a "Would you like some FREE Space Marines." Old style, but the only thing it cost me is "dignity and my time" (see below, a quick glue and they are lurking at the back of the painting tray")

How did I get from the WoSS to here?

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Necrons ... Just because they looked GOOD being so BAD!

Sometimes I cannot help myself or should that read most of the time? It is that SHINY feeling. I do not actively play GW 40K but I do like the Necrons, Tau and Tyranids models .. and come to think of it (some of the) Adeptus Mechanicus "robotic men". And somehow I have a large collection (well large to my mind when I didn't expect to have any at all) of those things called "Space Marines"  .. you might of heard of them. So when I saw these particular Necrons I immediately failed my Wisdom check for "scary robots of death" (see below, cash exchanged hands .. same old story):

Killer Death Robot (Style A) #1:

Killer Death Robot (Type B) #2:

Killer Death Robot (Type A again) #3:

Killer Death Robot (Type B again) #4:

Killer Death Robot (Type A again, again .. my favourite style) #5:

As per my usual attitude to GW kits, I just stick things together for aesthetics rather than their corpus or rule sets (limited eBat resell perhaps but that is not what I got it for). Here I broke their pedantic rules with glee mixing weapons from the wrong types of figures .. cast me into the pit of shame, I dare you ;)

They don't care they anymore they got my money. I should really move over to the Kick Starters, bigger bucks but you get the benefit of a bulk buy! 

Tuesday 3 October 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 7) All Good Things Come to an End

The Hanoverian infantry faced-off against the French rearguard. Pressing the French "too hard" meant that the French artillery would strike with deadly effect so an impasse was in effect (see below):

So gradually the French rearguard trickled away as the Allies marched forward in an orderly fashion, wary of a potential French counter stroke and content in squeezing the French back over the river. Inevitably the disordered French in retreat were faster than the Allies in steady advance, however the detritus of war that was left on the battlefield indicated how many of the French soldiers were shedding their valuable equipment in pure flight (see below):

One final cavalry skirmish was sufficient to remove the remnants of the French cavalry regiments from the field leaving only a gaggle on infantry on the wrong side of the river (see below):

Alas one French Line regiment was caught between desperate fires. Its situation was clearly hopeless. It had formed square because of cavalry threat and was thus immobile, but then saw solid lines of Prussian infantry advancing on it readying their muskets, just outside of range. They felt too that the eyes of the recently unlimbered Allied artillery was on them, it was going to be a brutal end. With Bourbon colours flying they awaited the onslaught, resolute to die as fighting men of France for their King Louis XIV (see below):

However an Allied commander stepped forth and called a halt to proceedings. The game was over and he could not bear to see brave soldiers of his former country be slaughtered for no reason. Prince Eugen sent forth a parley (see below):

An Aide de Camp (ADC) spoke to the French Colonel of Foot:

"Sirs, Prince Eugen has seen your bravery and declares that you are the bravest French regiment on the field of battle today, for when all else were fleeing you stood. Lesser men have escaped. You have given them time to do so. For this he salutes you as you have performed a soldiers job well. Indeed he sees that you were willing to pay with your lives.Your colours are steady and have you conducted yourselves in the proud traditions of the French army. Prince Eugen and his staff salute you."

There was a pause and the ADC continued:

"Price Eugen on behalf of the Allied Command offers you terms. He personally guaranteed your safety if you lower your flag and avoid senseless bloodshed. You are offered honours and your men will be the first in prisoner exchange and parole. Your colours will not be taken from you. What say you?"

The Colonel of Foot bows and the colours were lowered. The men let out a sigh of relief for this unexpected salvation. The men were formed into columns, their muskets are shouldered but upside down, a bullet in the mouth however they walk to captivity (see below):

Night falls on a convincing Allied victory. Marlborough and Eugen consult in yet another 'council of war' for the next day brings yet more trials of strength. The war goes on!