Tuesday 29 September 2020

The Blackstone Fortress Unboxing

It came (see below, a birthday present to myself which I will play with the kids, but make no mistake I will be the biggest kid): 

Behold the land of sprue all of which looks totally compatible with standard 40K stuff, so Warhammer Quest is my excuse for me to make use of GW 40K miniatures I buy "for no apparent reason other that I have to have them" - so I may indeed by their target audience (see below, the adventurer sprue was most beguiling, though some of the baddies were "yuppy" too - spindle drones coming immediately to mind and a nice Chaos Lord):  

Lots of deck cards and fancy dice too (see below, nice, I am resisting the temptation 

Ah, reading material (see below, be sure to read this soon, before unsealing the cards and popping teh playing boards but after the miniature assembly): 

Ah, multiple books .. my eye fixates on the "assembly instructions" (see below, I shall try not to be drawn into the depths of the background - I just noted that there seemed to be many "Black Fortresses" floating around, a bit like Space Hulks from Space Crusade perhaps): 

First impression on unboxing .. looks very good! Winter is coming and this may just keep me entertained during the dark nights ,, the Imperial Robot has already "caught my eye" as a painting project!  

Monday 28 September 2020

Small but perfectly formed in 2mm: Napoleonics

A long time ago this wargaming project was started .. and now perhaps its time has come to finish. The 2mm Austrian army seeks a small French opponent (see below, the Austrian army had progressed quite nicely): 

2mm certainly gives the impression of numbers (see below, which to me defines an essential aspect of the Napoleonic period) : 

All that remains to be done is give the Austrians some decent French opponents (see below, they are even based up but currently "a study in black", to the top right of picture you can see a "column" of troops moving up):  

There are also plenty of "silver legions" to add to the cast of thousands (see below, the troops in question came from the Irregular Miniatures range): 

Alongside the bases were cryptic notes to a couple of 1814 battles in France I had made!

Sunday 27 September 2020

Progressing in Freeblade: Astoria

One of the things I have recently enjoyed doing in the Covid Pandemic is progressing through the levels of Freeblade (a Games Workshop based computer game - FREE on the iPhone) that is a great stress reliever to me at the moment as it allows the mowing down of countless hoards of Orcs and Chaos Space Marines at the touch of the button. My progress to date: 

Level 15

Level 23

Level 32

Level 32 Modified

Level 33 

Level 33 Modified

And so the adventure continues ... as does the changing patterns and fashion fads of my Freeblade Astoria .. what next "flares"?

Saturday 26 September 2020

Note to Self: Confederate Paint Scheme Used

This is the palette box I used to paint the Confederates. It may look intimidating but in all honesty there was a 80:20 split, namely 20% of those paint bottles did 80% of the work and the other 80% were mainly "little dabbers" (see below, old faithful Tamiya did most of the work ably supported by the small figure specialists Vallejo): 

Airfix Acrylic Primer and Vallejo Brown (Dipping Jar) Wash, which serves as a part primer and as part shade/picking out detail

Vallejo Game Colour range: Dark Flesh (Shade), Dwarf Flesh (Base) and Elf Flesh (Highlight)

Tamiya range: Dark Grey XF-24 (Base), Neutral Grey XF-53 (Base/Highlight) .. was thinking of using Light Grey XF-66 or Medium Grey XF-20 as a highlight, but may return to this step at a later stage if I deem it necessary

Tamiya range as Tunic above or Light Blue XF-23 (Base) and Light Blue XF-24 + White (I used Vallejo Foundation White as a strong white)

Vallejo Model Colour range: Black (Base) and with Tamiya Field Blue XF-50 as a neutral highlight/second tone in for the black

Vallejo Game Colour range Gun Metal

Vallejo Game Colour range: Khaki (Base) with Khaki mixed with Foundation White (Highlight)

Citadel Foundation Calthan Brown (Base) then mixed with Vallejo Game Colour Leather Brown (Highlight)  

Gun Stocks
Vallejo Game Colour Charred Brown (Shade), Beasty Brown (Base) and Leather Brown (Highlight)  

Vallejo Game Colour Blood Red
Tamiya Flat Blue XF-8
Vallejo Red Ink to re-touch red after Humbrol varnish dulled it down too much
Vallejo Game Colour Bone White (Base for stars and hemming) and Foundation White (Highlight)  

Touching-up was either a fine black line or a thin wash to fit in the recesses

Friday 25 September 2020

ACW Confederate Army Finally "Done and Based" - 20mm Revell Plastics

According to "One Hour Wargames" the Army of Robert E. Lee (see below, two cavalry units, five infantry units and two artillery): 

The bases are now flocked (see below, basic flock and a generous static grass overlay - the cavalry six bases per unit): 

The infantry (see below, the units are using a combination of marching or shooting poses, each has six bases with three figures to a base - in the game flags would denote "an elite unit"):

The artillery (see below, one artillery piece and five crew to a unit, so two units below): 

More infantry ready to give those damn Yankees the "Rebel Yell" (see below, I may experiment in coming back to the front unit to give them light blue kepis but I need to investigate the Confederate infantry uniforms a little more):   

I now pronounce the 20mm ACW Confederate Army as combat ready for the "One Hour Wargame" rules. A small matter of the Union Army to paint next (for simplicity's sake the One Hour Wargame rules has this identical in composition to the Confederate forces).  

Thursday 24 September 2020

Painting You Tube Videos: GW Contrast Paints and Beginner Guide

Painting You Tube Videos: 

Contrast Paints:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjaAJ0yJI_A

Beginners Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-BlVYFxfRA

Old dog learning new tricks [black and white combined "zenofil" undercoats, wet palette, wash shades], all good stuff ;) 

Wednesday 23 September 2020

ACW Confederate Army update: Humbrol Acrylic Varnish Stage

And finally it was time to be varnish them "in the sun" (or rather while there was sun) and the ACW Confederates were crowded in "spray painting formation" in appropriate easy to spray lines - or so I thought (see below, the ACW Confederate Army, the thing a I discovered and something my Physics teacher never told me was that the force exhorted from the Humbrol Acrylic Matt Varnish spray can, was so mighty it blew some of the figures all away across the table (light plastic on card, say no more)! - Goodbye Bedford Forrest, nice knowing ya! They were safely recovered from the weed patch, but it was a much different experience than spaying 25/28mm fixed to coins - "catch the pigeon" fashion):   

Once the strafing run was complete I stood back to admire my handiwork (see below, that is a 'goodly' bit of painting [by my standards] done over the summer in the "lock-down holidays" - my fingers were firmly crossed hoping that nothing was going to go amiss with the "varnish drying" stage): 

The inspection revealed a good matte coverage over most of the figures. The (Vallejo) paints were nicely dulled down (so that the Vallejo matched the Tamiya finish nicely) but there were one or two horses and one artillery piece that had been affected by the dreaded "white varnish seal" of painting doom. On the horses I used some suitable coloured Vallejo ink to soak in and on the artillery piece I simply repainted the affected wheel and cannon. Methinks I will have to check out the Army Painter (or even Games Workshop) alternative as it may be a better product.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Interesting Naval Computer Wargames


Has anybody played any of them?


US Pacific:



Any information gratefully received as my model 1/3000 fleets are getting rather interested in potentially using them!

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Just when you thought you had heard the strangest of tales .. Cryptocurrencies


The world is such a strange place it seems even to defy even the crazy logic and genius of the late Douglas Adams .. when is money not really money?

Monday 14 September 2020

10mm Vietnam Game

The objective, pacification of a Vietnam village that has been reported as "taken over" by teh NVA and VC but still has "friendlies" inside it or so what the precursory Huey overflight can tell us (see below, Kallistra terrain again serving up the goodies - water = paddy fields no cover; Orange with scatter = broken ground which offers partial cover;  green = dense jungle counting as cover; huts = hard cover; brown tracks = roads or raised bridge over paddy fields; grey = secret tunnels): 

Each hex in the set up is scaled to represent 50m across and each figure represents approximately five men. Two figures to a squad and four squads to a platoon with a heavy weapons squad assigned to each ans a light mortar tagged along for the ride with the Company Commander (see below, first and second platoon cover ten hexes of the baseline to give the US the maximum amount of fire support - to give back plenty if they took any "incoming fire"):  

The "blue" counters represent what Charlie see, a lot of US strung out in a continuous skirmish line and opens opens up, also revealing "his" position. First blood went to Charlie but the intense retaliatory fire cleared the dense jungle outpost and the VC/NVA threw forces forward to bolster their 'point position' (see below, there were no clever scouting rules but recon by contact): 

This VC/NVA tactic ran into a stream of American firepower as the US MGs hard a beaten zone cutting down and pinning any visible "enemy". The exchange cost the US too, especially as the VC/NVA brought some mortars down (see below, a 10:3 ratio was within the 3:1 (min) to 4:1 (preferred) trade the US were prepared to pay as per their Victory Condition [although the term "victory" in itself seemed a trifle dubious for this scenario]): 


The VC/NVA resistance stiffened as they received an additional two platoons of infantry - as the America testified to higher level of incoming fire coming in from around the flanks. The US Commander at first engaged in the fire fight but then pulled back and informed the umpire of his intention to assume a more defensive position and let the VC/NVA come to him. Either than or until he received reinforcements. To go forward would be to court disaster. In the meantime he requested and plotted an artillery strike on the VC/NVA positions outside the village. The umpire announced battalion had committed a platoon of M113s to help push towards the village and a Huey Gunship was "on call" (see below, the M113's were a huge morale boast to the US having MGs and effectively gaving hard cover to US troops behind them - the left flank received one M113 to "pin" the enemy, while two M113s were allocated to the right flank along with the artillery strike and Huey with the intention to punch through to the village on the right): 

The concentration of force on the tight flank played dividends as the defending VC/NVA troops were wiped out by the unexpected artillery "stonk", followed up by the Huey and armoured infantry assault (see below, the track/path to the village was now open):  

The quiet village itself lay dormant in the background (see below, no signs of any activity as nothing above ground was spotted but in Vietnam appearances can be very deceptive):

The Huey took incoming fire from two HMGs hidden in the village (see below, the AA fire missed but spooked the chopper to call the "on call" Phantom to eradicate this threat): 

"The Air don't care" about friendlies when heavy weapons are being fired at fellow "fliers" and the bomb run came down with sadly a bit of drift variation missing the HMG nests (see below, one tunnel complex was taken out which included some friendly prisoners and a luckier hit on the NVA/VC mortar positions):     

The final line of VC/NVA resistance was a series of poorly constructed booby-traps was "driven through" by the M113s leaving the remaining VC/NVA troops to disappear back into the jungle (see below, all that remaining was to take a tally of casualties to ascertain the "winners" in this chaotic mayhem):  

In total the US took seven squad hits, but that Phantom killed four poor civilians rather than VC/NVA - although it did convince the VC/NVA it was time to "bug out". This was a total of eleven, to forty seven NVA/VC casualties. 11: 37 was a greater than 3:1 so no US loss (of face) but below the desired/preferred 4:1 required by Westmoreland. The only thing to add would be that the war was getting attritional for the US as one thing was for sure, "Charlie would be back" and the US platoons would have less or be filled out with rookies learning their trade.

It did feel like Vietnam although the rule mechanisms lacked patrol/cover nuances it did play well with a "flip-flop" rather than IGOUGO sequence of play. The rules were a home set that was ad-libbed and in development but showed really good promise. I think I will take another look at Peter Pigs "Men of Company B" rules and "Buckle for your Dust" by the late Paddy Griffith. Many thanks to Ian for putting the game on and Adrian who was a worth VC/NVA opponent.  

Saturday 12 September 2020

20mm ACW Confederate Cavalry Finished

The third arm of the Confederate Army is the Cavalry or rather Mounted Infantry (see below, this was a project that had already been half started a long while back - front rank almost there back rank very much WIP):

Post Update: Found another pic before the horses tails and manes were painted (see below, everything a washed out grey that does not awful but at the same time does not quite work): 

Muddling away the the back rank caught up with the front (see below, I actually washed Vallejo Brown dip over the already painted figures, to help equalise them in looks - however in hindsight I may have been over thinking that somewhat):  

The challenge to me now was the horses, as I am not the greatest cavalry painter in terms of experience so I was rather hesitant (see below, the brown wash helped define the shading of the skin, but called for another layer of painting and high lighting as the overall effect was more just mucky than horse flesh - I was happy with the cavalry troopers):  

An old blog post of mine came to my rescue, one that pointed out to a "thankfully" live link on how to paint horses (but I stored the pictures just in case for future use):
(see below, I decided to go for a right old mix of three white-grey, one black, one dark brown, two chestnut, three bay and two dun): 

For me the problem areas area the right horse body colour to hair [mane and tail] which the above link helped with. The white splotches on legs and head were easier to apply (see below, the Confederate Grand National of 1861 - dismounted troopers can be done later for "chrome"): 

Now for the small matter of the Union Army!

Thursday 10 September 2020

Latest Addiction: Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy (WSS) Podcasts

New Update: One of the dreaded Covid-19 afflictions finally caught up with me, no not the virus itself. [Footnote: I did come down with some mild symptoms a month back, but was tested (that should read subjected to a stabbing swab down the throat and up the nose) but the results came back a blank negative (so was it in fact worse, a near lethal strain of man-flu?). What I got was far worse, the "DIY Blues" or rather "a strange minty shade of green that my wife and daughter liked" that had to be plastered over the living room walls in multiple coats. So to keep me sane somebody called Alexa kept me company. I drained my knowledge of classic songs (and the family asked me to stop playing the "Dramatic Music" play-list) so wandered from songs to radio to .. inspirational thought .. "What about Podcasts?" Alexa confessed that she was not very good at recommendations after I slung several wargaming memes at her, but I eventually found an American thing (aka podcast) called "Wargaming Recon":


This was going great, although the wife was getting suspicious at my glee and diligence in doing DIY painting, and I worked my way back from episode 259 until I hit a technical glitch with Alexa being unable to get past episode 249 (that confused Alexa as it was re-posted and she fell into an infinite loop .. oops). That was the end of my Wargaming Recon .. a sense of frustration .. but in episode 254 Wargaming Recon did an interview with Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy editor Guy Bowers who mentioned he did a podcast too. So my pretty friend Alexa came to my rescue and found it for me. See for yourself .. I became addicted (and for "brownie points" I did a lot of DIY in the process) working my way from episode 42 to (at time of writing) episode 5 (and decreasing): 


My only problem being that I have more DIY to do than podcasts remaining. Any tips for other wargaming or history podcasts for Alexa to tune into greatly appreciated and received ;)  

Monday 7 September 2020

I await the next Superpower arms race appearing in the "Model Shops" with interest


They all just remind me of a pointy dart or something Gerry Anderson would have built for Captain Scarlet in the early 1980's

I just yearn for propellers and WW2 is my problem

Sunday 6 September 2020

Birthday Present - The Black Fortress

I am still a big kid, so a shiny toy in a sale for my birthday treat is a no-brainer (see below, a current GW offering that is a mix between Hero Quest and Space Crusade - family fun [it is my birthday and I chose which games to play, you can hear the groans already] and there are plenty of toys to put together to paint later): 

Watch out for a game report coming soon.

Saturday 5 September 2020

Simple Iraq Board Game with Big Challenges for Players

The second face-to-face Covid-19 era wargaming meet-up in the garden under a gazebo saw the intrepid gamers travel to Iraq after their tour of duty in Vietnam.  This time a four player area control game that was tense and down to the wire (see below, it's obviously Covid-19 times as it's a blue latex glove): 

The counters may look like tiddlywinks but child play it was not. Great fun and this time I remembers to bring both Danish pastries and mosquito repellent.

Friday 4 September 2020

Confederate 20mm ACW Artillery

Courtesy of the IMEX (who seem to have taken over the old Revell range in this area) plastic figures, the artillery for both Confederate and Union forces (see below, the first installment is painted up for the Confederates): 

Again the bases will be done all together at the end. The One Hour Wargame Rules only need two artillery units (max) per army. 

Note: I have not forgotten the Portable Wargame Rules as these will be tried alongside each other for a feel of their distinctive flavours. 

Thursday 3 September 2020

Painting Area Work Station

Innocuously tucked away "in plain view" but hidden in the shadows is a stealth hobby painting station (see below, it was my wife's cunning plan):  

In the full light of day paints, brushes and the "micro project" I am currently working on. My first "project" to use the cabinet is the 20mm ACW Confederate Artillery (see below, everything I need tucked away discreetly):  

If the pilot system works the wife has promised me a "second unit" .. it is as if she is trying to hide my hobby from family and friends ;)