Saturday 31 October 2020

Memory Lane: Landsknecht Fun from back in 2012

It is always nice to get comments on posts but I was pleasantly surprised at getting one from 2012 when I was playing about with the Renaissance period and 28mm Maximillian Italian Wars armies. I also struggled to find everything on one place as it spanned over two months. So as much for my benefit as anyone else here are the Blog postings in one place:   

This has of course caught the attention of the wargaming butterfly in me. So who knows what "winter project" might emerge from this unexpected comment in 2020 on something I played with in 2012 (thank you Mike B). 

Friday 30 October 2020

Note to self - Wargaming Monograph: References to Midway - pages 23-43 and DSTL Presentation

Sometimes the "little gods" of the Internet and the Google search engine algorithms smile fortuitously and come up with splendors you did not know existed (see the pdf link below):

I was looking for stuff on the IJN wargaming prior to the Battle of Midway and got back a deeper resource than I had previously been able to find courtesy of the USAF's staff training programme with a monograph entitled:

Improving Operational Wargaming: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses a War.

A Monograph by Lt Col Matthew E. Hanson USAF

I have read the Midway stuff on p23-43 and will get round to reading the rest. 

Then I found:

Epic result :) much to think about ;)

Thursday 29 October 2020

Dakka Dakka Attack Jets Rumble with the Imperial Navy (AI 40K) - Game 2

The Orc War Boss raged as the Orcling's Dakka Dakka Jet's blip disappeared from the crude radar apparatus. He turned and pointed to the three surely looking young Orcs. "Waaagh". The Orcs understood their leader's order. The Dakka Dakka Jets took off in unison hell bent on revenge. Soon enough they had their chance (see below, three Orc Dakka Dakka Jets tangle with a pair of Imperial Navy Thunderbolts - winner takes all): 

The speed of the Orc Dakka Dakka Jet has to be respected but it first must be controlled and all three Orcs are guilty of overshooting their original marks (see below, the temptation of running up to speed 8 was just too much for these young hot-heads, dangerous as the Navy pilots had a height advantage and have planes that can turn):  

The battle suddenly became a twisting turning fight that teh Navy pilots liked, with two Dakka Dakka Jets again over shooting but remaining safe while the third lay in the cross hairs of "both" Navy Thunderbolts - this little Orc surely was fried chicken! (see below, despite being in the optimum "middle range/killing zone" of both auto-cannon (6 dice) and lasers (2 dice) [rolled for twice], the Navy pilots missed a sitting duck [perhaps putting each other off] - something they could well live to regret latter, be sure to take your chances quickly when they come in Aeronautica Imperialis):  

The Navy pilots then faced a nightmare of their own creation, two Orc Dakka Dakka Jets up 'close and personal' in the Orc Dakka Dakka Jet "close-in killing zone" each wielding a hefty load of firepower (8 dice) and with the Orcs holding the initiative, at least one Orc jet would get to "fire first". Perhaps it was inexperience (or just plain bad dice rolls) but the young Orc muffed his chance and only inflicted a inconsequential amount (one hit) of damage to the sturdy Thunderbolt's frame (see below, the bottom Orc jet misses his chance [badly]): 

With the immediate threat to himself gone the Navy pilot coolly decides to "take out" the medium range Orc Dakka Dakka Jet lining up on his partner and the result is one young Orc dies in an incandescent ball of flame, not ever "seeing" his killer, his eyes being fixed upon his opponent directly to his front (see below, first blood to the Navy, 1-0):   

The fast paced action continues, spinning into a dizzying frenzy of raw speed and crafty turns. The lower Thunderbolt twists and jinxed onto his opponent's tail while the upper Thunderbolt cleverly anticipates the third Orc pilots "stall turn" and gently "swoops" in from the side lining up a medium ranged shot (aka the Thunderbolt's armament "sweet spot"). The Orc pilot is first blinded and then deafened by both the eye-piercing laser and crashing sound of the auto-cannon's shells, before an explosion hurtles him into oblivion (see below, "Fly Navy" 2-0, things are not looking good for the last Orc): 

Being tailed is possibly last thing you will ever do! Strike three to the Imperial Navy as the Orc, although not in the Thunderbolt's "sweet spot" takes the "tailing fire" before it can move. A good hit means a dead Orc (see below, the young Orcs knows his mistake, but sadly not live to tell learn from his mistake and "tell the tale", 3-0 to the Navy, 4-0 in the campaign - but there is a seemingly endless supply of Orcs ready to join the fray): 

The Orc War Boss orders reinforcements and plans to lead the next mission himself (see below, the next painting project is the Orc Dakka Dakka Fighta Bomma - with a turret at the back that could come in useful given the twisty turning capabilities of the Navy Thunderbolt fighters): 

Conclusion: The air war continues unabated on Drakon-514. The Imperial Navy holds a slight tactical advantage. Who will win? Only time will tell, I see only a winter of sky combats over Drakon-514.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Tuesday 27 October 2020

First Test Run of Aeronautic Imperialis: "Fly Navy" versus "The Space Orcs"

A cloudless sky over Drakon-514, a simple patrol to test the refurbished engines but a wailing alert shattered a peaceful dream as an Orc Dakka Dakka Jet appeared as a tiny pin-prick on the horizon. Joss froze he only had his integral armament as the Techs did not want to risk causing an unnecessary malfunction, he just hoped the interloper was not tooled-up with long range missiles or better still fast asleep at the wheel (see below, the Navy Thunderbolt closed with the Orc Dakka Dakka Jet): 

The planes turned into one another. the Orc was no slouch as it was he who fired first. Joss slightly out of position, paid dearly for his early error as the NAvy airframe took a beating. He could hear his instructor cursing his incompetence (see below, thankfully the Thunderbolt is made of stern stuff, being able to soak up three hits, whereas the Dakka Dakka Jet is a more flimsy, with two structure points):  

The planes whizzed by. Joss marveled at the simplicity of the Dakka Dakka Jet in comparison to the sophisticated Navy Thunderbolt and its ability to "turn on the gas". It was pure speed, but in overshooting its position the Orc had given Joss an opportunity (see below: the hunter is now being the hunted):  

The Orc had the initiative but was not reacting with its OODA loop now more predictable than the Thunderbolts. With a seeming less ease the Thunderbolt seemed to move itself into position (see below, medium range is the killing range for Thunderbots, whereas Dakka Dakka Jets have to get in close - if the Orc had gotten in closer earlier it would have been Joss' loss being reported):   

The Dakka Dakka Jet was now atoms spinning crazily earthward, to scatter across the sandy, barren plains of Drakon-514 (see below, the was killed two times over and came to a catastrophic ending, not even time to feel the shame of fear):  

Joss dipped his wings, circled slowly and headed for home. Already the Squadron Leader had sent him an automated congratulations as the computers chimed with his next mission details. In the air war over Drakon-514 there would be no time for luxuries, his next mission might not be against an inexperienced "Orcling" as this one was.

Monday 26 October 2020

Interesting Video Blogger: Jill Bearup

Some interesting stuff found here, I particularly liked the logical fallacies video:

Logical Fallacies:

Saturday 24 October 2020

Note to Self: Painting Russian WWII Tanks

It started with a simple question, "What Vallejo colour do I use as the base colour for Russian WWII tanks?" Plastic Soldier Painting Guide for my T70 and T34 says "Russian Green" [Vallejo Model Colour 70.894 which seems to make sense] but I got slightly more than I bargained for from my You Tube search.

 Helpful videos from You Tube, with excellent tutorials and painting results: 

The results from these videos are fantastic and mean that I will have to start weathering my models. The answer to my original question I think is: Vallejo Model Colour 71.017 (Russian Green 4BO) - which may be an air brush colour anyhow, for the professionals .. but I will have to made do with Vallejo 70.894 (see below, when did life become so complicated and I get the feeling that I should not really "care" that much?): 

Bring me a Russian WWII tank to paint while I an still of sound mind! I will work on the principle of two thin coats is better than one thick!

Friday 23 October 2020

So I got some "Space Marine Command Figures" - Why do I bother with GW figures?

I do not consider myself a Games Workshop 40K wargamer - not at all. The toys I have amassed over the years (decades) are bought purely out of the Sci-Fi feel good factor - spawned I think from the sculpts and art work rather than belief in their universe (Note: GW have still done very well out of me). No I am not a 40K gamer per se, I do not possess the complete 40K Orc hide-bound rule tome for one thing. I do not posses any complete "army". I have a basic knowledge of the 'sequence of play' from a starter/primer magazine used to lure people in but I am sure I would be torn apart in a "competitive shop game". Over the years I have acquired various "now out of date" Codex's from second hand shops or bought some new (Tau, Necrons and Tyranids - now out of date) to assist painting and modelling, but artwork first or a cheap bargain is my motto. All this is not going to stop me from buying some Space Marine Command characters (old school, not Primus) .. because I see a use for them in an expanded Space Crusade system (see below, I class these as "character painting projects"):  

My children, well my eldest son for now, have inherited my Sci-Fi and fantasy troops as I was running out of space in the loft so they surreptitiously "moved into a downstairs bedroom" (I should really call it a tactical loan). I have never fought a Warhammer 40K with my "own" troops but have enjoyed an intro squad game at a shop (they were very complementary about my Tyranids). The one club game I once played was with other peoples toys (Orcs [me] versus Chaos Space Marines) and frankly was a terrible experience, as I was one half of a historical gamer pairing trying to understand the system, thankfully some "grown-up" (middle-aged) teenagers came over to help and salvaged something. I didn't even get to do a proper "Waagh" ;) 

My hope is to recycle these troops 'character' into exploring "The Black Fortresses" (modern versions of the Space Hulks to my mind) akin to move-style horror RPG. I'll mix in other ranges. So although for 90-95% time I enjoy ignoring GW, I still like that they are there - particularly as I will freely borrow from their paint ranges and techniques.  

Thursday 22 October 2020

Corona Virus Project 2c: USN DDs - Completed, Remembering when ...

This seemed such a long time ago now (see below, early war USN destroyers for the Coral Sea, Guadalcanal and Midway operations): 

I sense a need to return and start the Japanese opponents!

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Late War Canvas Eagles WWI Aerial Combat

These are very old wargaming pictures from back in 2018 (pre Covid, remember those times?) from the Stockton Battleground Show where I took my old WWI favourite Canvas Eagles out to play. Watch out for the "Hun in the Sun". I have posted some other photographs from the game already but i found some more. I was delighted to find an enthused group of players who pitched in to the game. Here is an example of my combat with a much more experienced Canvas Eagles player (see below, I was flying the SE5a, the "Stable Gun Bus" of the RFC, facing a tricky Fokker DVII, gulp): 

After a quick exchange of greetings and pleasantries proceeding began in earnest. We doged and dived and then he shot at me, hit-me and shot me down. Well that didn't last long did it? I don't think I even got membership card to the "twenty minutes club" (see below, my opponent graciously commiserated with me on "how truly unlucky" I had been as the "red chits" blew my engine up and I spiraled earthbound (see below, scratch one SE5a and another German Imperial Air Service pilot well on the way to becoming an "ace") :   

I then challenged the budding Baron to a multi-plane combat and I jumped into a BrisFit (the affectionate name for a two seater Bristol Fighter). In particular I had a liking for the rear-facing observer machine gun as my last line of defense protection. I figured that someone was bound to sit on my tail at some point during the game and at least this way I was prepared for it (see below, a more courteous exchange of pleasantries):

The Baron seemed to fade harmlessly away seeking out other prey (see below, I relaxed my guard momentarily): 

Oops, he seemed to be coming back. I'd best prepare to defend myself (see below, now where did I place that rear facing machine gun?):  

Meanwhile a young chap in a SE5a had a spot of luck with a German in a Pfalz going down flames (see below, chalk up first blood to the RFC):

Meanwhile a strange "chain of tailing" had emerged. Unsurprisingly I was being tailed by the young Baron, but a daring young chap in a SE5a was eyeing the Baron up in turn .. who could shoot who down first (see below, I seem to be running out of board to play in): 

Bits start flying off the BrisFit whereas the Baron's plane started smoking, both bad signs (see below, time seems to be running out for both pilots): 

Simultaneously both planes explode and flame end their existence like meteors (see below, a thought provoking end to the day, that nothing is ever certain and the pilots were braver than you could ever imagine doing what we "played" for real): 

Great fun, the imagination can see the canvas flutter, I do really like Canvas Eagles for its "Victorian Theatre", which reminds me I have a couple of Sopwith Pups to make and paint up for some "early-mid war" fun. RNAS I think would be most appropriate. 

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Command and Colours Board Game: "Better Than Figures?"

The set-up for the first battle, Akragas (see below, me playing against myself):

Not quite a substitute for figures but more satisfying than small counters! I found this in the loft when I was rummaging about and remembered it was my fast start into the Roman period. 

An alternative "quick start" would be:

As per fellow blogger David Crook's, who recently turned 60 has discovered and started on a new "adventure":

Monday 19 October 2020

"Fly Navy" (Thunderbolt and Fury) - Aeronatica Imperialis is approaching lift-off

With three Orc Dakka Dakka Jets in air it seemed reasonable to scramble a pair of Imperial Navy Jets to fight them (see below, there were two variants included in the "Wings of Vengeance" starter box - Thunderbolt [the staple Navy fighter] and Fury [hard hitting but can run out of ammo] so I made one of each; not that you can notice from a top down view): 

I think my plane painting will take a pause here until I get a couple of games under my belt. The rules seem fairly straightforward (Canvas Eagles - Blue Max comes to mind) but the devil may be the tabletop detail. 

Sunday 18 October 2020

It's "just for fun" painting really .. but it really helps clears the cobwebs - Aeronautica Imperialis (40K)

Sometimes it is a case of an excuse for "freedom of expression" and sci-fi (and I care not what 'how' the figure manufacturers want the figures to be seen to be painted) gives me that (see below, my second Orc Dakka Dakka jet comes off the painting stocks): 

It also allows me to try new techniques .. sometimes fast, sometimes more slower (see below, in the case of Aeronautica Imperialis it is slower, as in the approach I took for this project with a "two milky coats" is better than "one thick coat" so "thin the paint" - at first with water but next I will experiment with the Vallejo medium):   

The result is pleasing as I let the thin paint layer add depth even though the end result is a little cartoony, but that befits the project (see below, in many ways it was an exercise in over-painting a model to then see how much you can take out of the process to leave it with the same effect): 

The end result was a Dakka Dakka Jet "pair" (see below, [milky washes] of Vallejo Game Colour [sic] of Gory Red, Gory Red, Contrast Skeletal Hoard, Scarlet Red, Scarlet Red, Contrast Skeletal Hoard, Blood Red, Blood Red and a final Wash of Skeletal Hoard .. with highlights of Blood Red):  

This gives me three planes (ahem, or rather sci-fi objects) that I can run through the rules with me and the kids .. if I can drag them away from their digital devices (see below, during my painting my technique was to have complete coverage with the first milky was and then selectively paint the stronger areas with the second and then let Skeletal Hoard . aka an aged brown .. shadow the model. The next milky paint layers were applied more and more selectively .. with the final highlight being very selective and minimal .. as were the subsequence applications of .. aged brown wash): 

All in all this "game in a box project" was an un-locker to other more historical projects that had been lying around (for instance Ancients and ACW).

Final Painting Note: My experience with the Citadel Contrast paints was slightly underwhelming, they are certainly no "magical tartan paint" (one coat and a highlight and you have a figure) but, well at least the one I tried (Skeletal Hoard), was a superior kind of wash that I will integrate into my painting technique - when I want to be a bit fussy about the effect I get, And I am almost always a fussy painter. The test of these paints to my mind would be how they perform in the yellows, but they certainly seem to be capable of giving Vallejo's "Wash" and "Ink" range a run for their money (but more expensive) or better still complement them.  

Saturday 17 October 2020

Painting Imperialis Aeronautica - Navy Thunderbolt

Some opposition was required for the Orc Dakka Dakka Jet. A smooth looking cool dude, a little bit like Stingray's colours for me, [one for the Gerry Anderson oldies] but I see that as a good thing (see below in a flat base of Vallejo "Imperial Blue" and "Golden Yellow" on the tail): 

I was also cruelly thinking that the model reminded me of a Formula One Racing Car hitting a Saab Viggen; finally if you ask me and also quite big and chunky for a fighter - but I still like it! (see below, WIP with the base colour - kind of a WWII US Pacific War colour scheme): 

Highlighted and passed fit for the wargames table (see below, battle ready and taken to the air!)

Video's I found online, but in the end I did my own thing with the paints that were just to hand:

Friday 16 October 2020

Do I .. turn to the Dark Side? ASL? Maybe in a Covid-19 it could be a good thing?

After the joyous reminiscence of Avalon Hill's Squad Leader ... I contemplated the "dark side" of the equation. As we all know ...

It came to pass that after the fourth boxed game supplement and countless interesting approved and unofficial [with dodgy arywork] add on scenarios the publishing the mages at Avalon Hill sensed that something deep inside their beloved Squad Leader game system was broken. Every new rule that added for realism seemed to break existing mechanics and the game engine framework was audibly creaking under the strain. It seemed so close to being perfect, but alas each step forward seemed to take them away from their goal of "the ultimate WWII infantry wargame/boardgame. All the applicable rules were just so "hard" to remember and play could become very gamey, so the Squad Leader game was re-forged in Ragnorak into the ... Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) product. Rather than a revamp it was a essentially a new game, it remained d6 based but you always seemed to roll two of different colours. 

I bailed out at this point as the mere thought of buying very expensive boxed games (and there were many to get) counters simply that replaced counters I already had seemed the less sane side of crazy. I did occasionally glance up at beautifully crafted boxes such as "Beyond Valor [Sic]" and "Hollow Legions" in game shops, but I walked away. I did come close once while holding a ASL box set entitled "Paratroopers" but put it back on the shelf .. I was confused. Even when a close friend moved to Finland and offered me his entire ASL collection at a crazy price .. I said "no" .. but know. So what changed?

Well, after a thought provoking presentation  Connections UK 2014 presentation by Ivor Gardiner (see slides [left] or the audio or even going one better and do both, you won't regret it) I had to go back and "look and see what I was missing" so I bought the new "Starter Kit#1" pack back in 2018 (see below, the ASL beast an "introduction" [note, it is now no longer published by Avalon Hill as they sadly have long since departed the boardgame coil], but to my eternal shame, I have still yet to play it! But the rub of it is that .. I know I really have to, "as some point" .. or I cannot call myself a (no shame) wargamer. After all I have even played [a couple] of games of "hard core " DBM 'ers and lived to tell the tale - so what is to lose apart from more dignity and we all know that is overrated?): 

Unboxing reveals smart counters, a nice (but thick paper) map-board and well laid out rules which I have even read [once]. But the project is in a "stalled state" and I hopr to have the time soon to jump in with two feet(see below, as games go considering the materials offered, it was worth the price, but "just to say"): 

Part of my "self-inducement strategy" is to make/program a Computer Assisted Instruction version (CAI) to help run through the sequence of play and "assist" game-play by prompting for appropriate rule checks. That way, what is left of my precious memory can be used to better purpose to remember to start the dishwasher off before I go to bed.

Watch this space


Wednesday 14 October 2020

Returning to see an old friend "Squad Leader"

And it came to pass that I brought it down from the dark place in the loft and opened it in the presence of friends and a battle for Stalingrad suddenly emerged (see below, The Guards Counterattack - say no more): 

Familiar SL friends of a different sort (see below, berserking Russians that no morale test will diminish but a bullet can still KIA): 

Ah, home again (see below, a "possible" set-up but is it optimal? Please readers stop squabbling, consult The General to find out and see what the wise sages and prophets say):

How we laughed when my splendid well oiled German Spandau machine guns all broke (see below, I ask you of all the times to throw double six - when hoards of ravenous Russians are approaching!): 

And you know what - I did it again (see below, what is worse than two broken German Spandau, would you believe it if I told you four Spandau?): 

My friend, there is always one watching (and he had no idea what was going on because he had not played SL before) kindly calculated the odds of that happening for me (see below, but seasoned SL players expect the unusual as a matter of course): 

I knew it, sooner or later I was going to make one of the Russians go berserk (see below, at least he has an open road to cross in line of sight (LOS) of a German machine gun nest):  

Meanwhile - when rallying a broken leader don't roll a 12, especially when you have other squads in teh same hex also in a perilous state - it is all happening tonight):  

The Guards make a spectacular attack across an open space to try and get to some broken Germans (see below, what can that German squad in the building do? Save its comrades?): 

No (see below, a prime killing chance goes begging and it looks grim in Close Combat [automatic kills on broken squads]) for the broken Germans (see below, but wait what is this, read the sequence of play, rout moves before close assault - run away Fritz, which makes sense to me): 

Meanwhile the berserkers annoying run across the road (another dismal German MG roll) and successfully close combat some Germans - I knew it, it's those red counters that do it!): 

But alas the Guards are hammered by some "good German MG" dice (see below, SL can be oh such a cruel, cruel game): 

We left it there, happy to play a few turns - the Germans probably in the winners enclosure but you never, never know for sure in SL!