Friday 28 February 2020

Pandemic a Game but being Played for Real!

Take a look at this light-hearted BBC News report:

And contrast it with more recent ones:

At the "work" after hours game club [no tanks allowed] we recently played Pandemic: The Cure and thankfully beat all four pathogens courtesy of the Generalist's life saving end of game dice throw to defeat the "Red Plague" (see below, all players had somewhat bated breath as she had 'muffed' the last roll [we are not a blame culture but panic almost set in] and we were starting to fear the worst - now after the hard won victory we should perhaps make Miss D's, Dr F's, Miss S' and Mr H's collective services available to the WHO or NHS who need a few good dice rolls themselves just now):

Time to take some vitamin C and vitamin D tablets perhaps!

Thursday 27 February 2020

"Take That Hill" - 10mm Falklands Painting (Part 2): British Infantry Basing and Argentine Infantry Painting/Basing

Using 40mm [Fighting Team of four] and 30mm [Command Team of two] diameter bases from "The Works" miscellaneous 'wooden disc pack' I super-glued the newly painted figures to their new homes (see below, care had to be taken stripping the painted figures off from the coffee stirrers as I had been generous with my dosage of glue - lesson learned for the future I hope): 

A close of a British Infantry Fighting Team as the last picture was a little "dark" for my liking (see below - I am using the 'multiple of four infantrymen' building block for a manoeuvre element - it works for "Take That Hill"): 

As soon as the paint had dried I covered the bases with Anita's Acrylic Bark Brown (of which I bought in bulk across the whole paint range for multiple 'hobby use' years ago and is still going strong for me and the kids):

At this point I went back to do the Argentine Infantry (a single section of four is required for the game). I kept to the same paints (see previous post), not needing the "Browns" [other than a little three tome camo for the helmet covers] as such but adding a dab of Khaki to the US Dark Green to lighten it in a highlight (see below, looking at some period Falklands photos the Argentine equipment seemed to wear and bleach, the tunics could be much greyer than the trousers in what I saw):

Another attempt at a close up photograph (see below, they look composed and ready for a fight):

They too get mounted n a 40mm diameter disc and the Anita's Acrylics Bark Brown terrain base undercoat (see below, could almost use as is, but I do like a good "flock" to bring out the best in the figures - after all somebody has gone to all that hard work to sculpt them!):

Next, watered down PVA glue covered the bases and the base got gently dunked in a "rough and ready sand pot" [beach sand and small bits of gravel] and left to dry. If the PVA soaked through the base got another dunk. That way an irregular look was achieved (see below, note the 'odd' Falklands bolder protruding here and there):

The Argentine Infantry got the same treatment (see below, the difference in British DPM and the patent US Nam decor of the Argentine's is striking when viewed up close):

A 50/50 mix of watered down Anita Acrylic Bark Brown and Chocolate Brown gave the bases a wash of brown (see below, it also helped define the crevices and undulations):

A lighter wet-brush of Chocolate Brown was then applied (see below, note - it dries quite light):

The final painting job is to pick out the rocks with a mid grey and lighten it up with successive highlights (see below, they soldiers now look "out in the rough" rather than somebody's back garden):

The modeller's hand is then drawn to a final watered down scree of PVA and "flock dunking" the base into a green/brown autumn mix that has again served me well and is my default mossy grass covering. I rejected the static grass addition touch as being not in keeping with the Falklands of the pictures I had seen (I could always add some later if needed).

The "Finished Product" view one: British Infantry shooting the Argentine Infantry (see below, wish I could have got my hands on some decent terrain for the photo) 

The "Finished Product" view two: Argentine Infantry shooting at the British Infantry (see below, job well done with a bit of "ruthless finishing" and just getting it done - starting was actually the hard part):

Finished - Time to play a few games now! Watch this space!

Tuesday 25 February 2020

"Take That Hill" - 10mm Falklands Painting (Part 1): British Infantry in DPM

We have been playing "Take That Hill" with whatever came to hand which was Kallistra scenery and Pendrakon 10mm 8th Army figures (see below, Western Desert this is not!):

However as the game instructions were written in contemporary modern terminology I wanted to give the figures a more modern feel. Rummaging about in my "box of treasures" (aka silver legions) I found some 10mm British Infantry and Argentine Infantry from the Falklands War period (see below, the British Infantry mounted on coffee stirrers ready for priming - a little dab of superglue has them fixed in place, I could have used PVA but it takes longer to dry and inevitably some figures seem to always come off when you least want them to):

The Airfix Acrylic prier is now back readily available in good hobby stores (see below, I missed you and have copiously stocked upon my most favourite primer):

Next follows the Vallejo Brown Wash (see below, this epic large tub has done me sterling service over the years and is down to its last thick and clumpy dregs but just seems to keep going!):

A side view (see below, I just love the way 'Wash' both covers the figure in a gradual shade and creeps into the seems naturally - the Citadel contrast paints seem to take this to another level but I have to use my existing stock before I move on to it):

The uniform now gets a Khaki (Vallejo 70988 Model Colour), Black over the rifles/weapons and boots (Vallejo Model Colour 70950), over the uniform bits and Dark Flesh (Vallejo 72044 Model Colour ) was used here (see below, both British and Argentine Infantry are shown here):

I next gave the uniform a Khaki (50%) and Dark Sand (50% Vallejo Model 70847) highlight (see below, the contrast is becoming to come through on the figures):

The DPM camouflage required "Green Sponge" smears which were applied via US Dark Green (Vallejo Model Colour 70893) paint in a random fashion (see below, the difference is subtle - click on the photo to enlarge):

Next Flat Earth splodges were applied (Vallejo Model Colour 70983) were applied in a random fashion, taking care to leave some of the Khaki/Dark Sand mix still showing (see below .. the "factory system" was working well for these fourteen figures):

Madness took me at this point and I applied another watered down version of Vallejo Brown Wash to the figure. To make a contrast I returned to the Khaki areas and applied a slightly lighter mix. This was applied in "tiny areas" to highlight the uniform and bring in a nice meld to the figures with the wash [it kind of worked I think], followed by German Cam Dark Green (Vallejo Model Colour 70979) to the webbing, helmet and packs (see below - tunic, trousers basic webbing [almost] done!):

Mixing a bit of Khaki to the German Cam Dark Green gives a subtle highlight (see below, just applied to the leading edges and flaps):

A highlight of Gun Metal (Vallejo Game Colour 72054) is applied to the weapons in a subtle fashion (see below, looking darkly dangerous):

Beasty Brown (Vallejo Game Colour 72043) is dabbed into the wooden parts of the weapon (see below, importantly for this minor colour "less means more"):

The final painting act is to add a Flesh highlight (Vallejo Game Colour 72041) on the faces and hands [again "less is more" here] so that they "look real" and suggest features (see below, a final sense of relief comes on me at this stage):

The final British Infantry "look" - ready for action and trouble - also they are sealed in a Humbrol Matt Varnish (see below, any more painting and I would honestly cry at this point - the figures are small! I nearly cried as the Matt Varnish also merges colours together, lessening some contrasts):

Pleased and relieved ;)
Time to be a ruthless finisher though and move on!

Next Stop: "basing"!


Monday 24 February 2020

Brexit and GMT Shipping: Consequences for Shipping Games from America

To quote from their last email newsletter: 

"A Brexit Update (Updated Feb. 20). As I mentioned last month, now that Brexit is a reality, we are modifying our Euro-friendly shipping fulfillment. Your online option won't change, but who ships it to you will most likely change (unless we see a UK-EU deal that agrees to no tariffs/VAT) sometime between now and the end of 2020. We have been working closely with our friends at Second Chance Games on our Euro-Friendly shipping option for quite some time now, and we really like them and the service they provide. We intend to work with them long-term on UK orders. But if paying tariffs and VAT are the reality as a result of Brexit, they won't be able to continue to ship at no added cost to our customers outside the UK. Our understanding from SCG is that they will still be able to fulfill our Euro-friendly orders in the EU as they have in the past throughout the rest of 2020. 

But we have to prepare for the end of 2020, so we're going to gradually begin separating out Euro-friendly orders from non-UK orders, one country at a time. We started with Germany on our recent shipments of The Hunters, The Hunted, and Silent Victory. We will send those orders just like we have done with SCG, except they'll come to you via UGG (whose offices are in Germany), who will be our longer-term provider of our Euro-Friendly shipping delivery for the rest of the EU. We want to start small with UGG to give them time to build their capacity and get used to working with our office throughout 2020. We'll test thoroughly and make sure all is good, adjusting as necessary. Then we'll add another country to go through UGG, and so on, until by the end of the year they are ready to handle all of our non-UK orders."

Oh for that land of unicorns! Alternatively an excuse to buy a boardgame from the US while the price remains constant!

Sunday 23 February 2020

Another Crazy Project: Cold War Planes

I cannot really justify this at all but at the same time I could not help myself. Three Tamiya kits for a tenner from Wonderland Models at Xmas .. I had bought them before I knew what I had done, a Christmas present to myself along with some other Colonial stuff. In fairness I had walked by a huge stack of these models a few months previously and these were the tail end and I figured they would not be around for a third visit (see below, beautiful looking kits it has to be said):

The IL-28 in particular is a classic sinister Cold War piece of kit. Maybe you will see it flying over Afghanistan perhaps?

Saturday 22 February 2020

Wild Geese

I was out walking the dog with the wife and the kids and had the beautiful pleasure of being strafed by this formation of wild geese (see below, absolutely stunning to see them up close and my quick iPhone shot does not do them true justice): 

I could ad-lib in a wargaming connection of the Wild Geese Irish who fought for Louis XIV or make reference to two mercenary war related films of the 1980's but I think I would be stretching a point too far.

Friday 21 February 2020

GW Blue Horrors - Fantasy

After all the heavy historical stuff sometimes it s just nice to get a quick win and slot it together "fantasy" one-hit-wonder "out of the way". I seem to be in a "glue it together" (as in figures not complex vehicle kit mode - although the figures can get quite fiddly at times). So an impulse buy from Games Workshop was a win-win on the Dungeons and Dragons front too (see below, "Blue Horrors" and their little twin "Brimstone Demons" [Sic]):

I liked the concept that the Blue Horrors were splits from larger monsters called Pink Horrors. You kill a Pink Horror and it splits into two Blue Horrors. Likewise kill a Blue Horror and you get two Yellow Brimstone Demons (see below, nice box art):

So I guess I have to put the Pink Horrors on the "bucket list" for another rainy day!

Thursday 20 February 2020

Rommel's Book: Infantry Attacks

Sometimes you pass through a "discounted" bookstore and a diamond pokes its head of of the dust. I had such a moment yesterday. To be honest I think would probably have paid the RRP as I have wanted this one for a while (see below, the man himself in "action pose"): 

Published in 1937, a certain German Chancellor (Hitler) read it and invited the author for a conversation in 1938 and his patronage was set. In 1944 it was translated into the English language by the Americans (a Major H.A. de Weerd with the immortal quote "this translation was not prepared with the author's sanction" [as he was at that time fighting the Allies in Normandy]). Even the foreword by his son (from 1990) was enlightening with the quote from his father (Rommel) to his son (Manfred): "in order to become a hero one must above all survive"!

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Fare Ye Well Faithful Old Friend

It is time to honour this faithful tool as its days are numbered (see below, please the broken spring to the right and the empty holes to the left; please note its end came from metal fatigue, a bit like the De Havilland Comet):

A fairly late acquisition to my modelling kit, but well worth it as it saved many a frustrating broken part being glues back together in a misshapen way. Off to the hobby shop for a replacement. It has to be said it was especially a boom for working with 28mm kits.

Sunday 9 February 2020

Take That Hill - A Simple WW2 Wargame

Looking through old conference material from Connections UK I came across this little gem of a game from the Phil Sabin stable called "Take That Hill". A chronological forerunner to his later Fire and Movement game in his Simulating War book (often called Fire-Move in abbreviation by me) it captures the dilemmas a Modern British Army section attack on an entrenched position on a hill has, whether to emphasise the Fire and suppress element of the doctrine or the Move element of the doctrine. Thus the choice between Fire and Move is done on a turn by turn basis dependant on context. There are three phases: Move Fire and then Rally. A unit moves from "fresh" to "spent" after using a Fire or Move action, returning to "fresh" if it "Rallies". The chance of rallying is dependant on the distance from the commander [not a separate counter but a counter assigned to a unit] and an un-rallied "spent" unit cannot do anything. The defender is assumed to stay put and pour fire down on the advancing troops (in a two hex fire spread) if left un-suppressed (aka "fresh"). There are no indirect fire missions available as it a job for the PBI (see below, the initial set-up, three British ("blue") Sections concealed in the woods, with a "red" defender on the hilltop, but what strategy should the attacker adopt? "Blue" goes first!):

Victory Point Trackers, or rather "How to win the game". Of mild interest is "how fast" (as in the number of turns the hill can be taken), but more importantly is how many casualties are inflicted on "Blue" by "Red" in the process. The 'Hill' will always be taken as no "Blue" forces are ever removed. If Blue takes nine or less hits then Blue has won. Between ten and fourteen the battle is considered a 'bloody draw', but casualties of fifteen and over are considered "Phyric" and "Red" wins (see below, a game in progress with the advancing Brits suppressed [but about to rally] in their attempt to "Take the Hill" needing a good dose of "rallying" [anything but a one as the troops are adjacent to their leader]):

End game, the Blue team are about to assault the Red trenches with guts, grenades and cold steel. The final close combat is considered an automatic win for Blue (See below, note the white counter denotes the position of the Blue Commander, in this case on the rearmost Blue unit, he has successfully suppressed the defender with withering fire from two sections so that the third can go in):

Movement: The only thing you really now need to know is that movement is limited to "one hex" forward, backwards or side ways [the Red player not being able to move] and stacking was allowed up to three units (handy as that was the maximum number of units Blue had. Note: The Commander "stacks" for free and was deemed 'indestructible'.

Firing: The "to hit" on a d6 is the range to the target plus one. That means being adjacent to the target is "anything but a one" (those dreaded wargame words) and the maximum shooting distance is five hexes away needing six, aka the Blue tree to the hill defence. Note: When we played the Red player was not allowed to shoot anything in the woods.

Casualties: all units in the hex(es) [up to two adjacent hexes remember] were possible casualties and rolled for separately. When we played we counted a hit on the Blue Commander as counting to the VP tracker. Therefore the worse roll could be all three units and Commander were hit causing four casualties.

Rallying: Units stacked with the Commander "auto-rally", other must make a rally roll akin to the Firing rule. Adjacent units rally on anything but a one, then an increasing chance of failure for every additional hex away. (Keep It Simple [KIS])!

Although it didn't matter in the context of game VPs we liked counting the number of hits on Red too and the number of turns it took to "take the hill"! Last "notes" the Blue Commander could not "move on his own" but had to be attached to a unit, but he could slip between adjacent units (technically potentially moving two hexes in one go - this may have been a bit of a "house rule" we made up).

Despite its simplicity the game is eminently playable and places emphasis on the development of a strategy as opposed to "winging it turn by turn". It is frustratingly good at making you want to tease out a "perfect assault" [zero Blue casualties] which remains depressingly illusive.

Please see these links for the original game details:

A colour Map version with embedded rules (recommended):

Please also see the "Introduction to Wargaming" material at:

Saturday 8 February 2020

Fighting the Blitzkrieg in a Universal Carrier

I got it because it was cute .. the British "Universal Carrier" (see below, or alternatively known as the "Bren Carrier" [can anyone tell me the difference as I am too lazy to Google it] with later WWII British Crewmen):

A close-up. I initially dallied with the thought that I could paint it up for the Eastern Front in Soviet colours with a Maxim or PTRD in it, but the temptation to use it as an excuse to build up a 28mm force of Late War British Infantry [PBI] was too great (see below, the only things not attached as yet are the side skirts which will be done after painting):

Chalk up yet another crazy project to do.

Friday 7 February 2020

Finishing Off those Blitzkrieg Germans

Taking a cue from a friend (Renko) I procures a second box of Warlord Games Early War Germans but this time opted for the German Pioneer set (see below, flamethrowers, satchel charges galore and what looked like to my eyes a "combat bricklayer" to which I was later told was an extremely powerful demolition charge):

This should allow me now to build the fourth squad (the early war 1940 German Platoons sure are big) and a few supports!

Monday 3 February 2020

Superbowl - Heart Broken but "What a Great Game"

Read all about it:

Great Game and Respect to Kansas City!
Looking forward to seeing more magic from Patrick Mahomes in the coming years!

Sunday 2 February 2020