Monday 30 November 2020

Podcast: The Atomic Hobo - Fascinating Stuff

This is really good material and very thought provoking stuff about the modern and Cold War eras!


Sunday 29 November 2020

O-Group - Reisswitz Press (WW2 Battalion Rule Set)

This caught my attention on the Two Fat Lardies web-site - a WW2 Battalion level set of rules in the making (see below, my thoughts are that the "battalion" is the natural "home of the infantry battle" centers in WW" - it is the soldiers "home" - you belong to a battalion, you are part of a Company and your mates are in your Platoon-Squad-Section, but all orbit around the battalion):

It may also give me a home for the various 20mm pieces of kit I have acquired during my wargaming journey(see below, a Dicker Mac and a [unpainted] 75mm Infantry Gun from my WW2 German collection): 

Another set of rules I should perhaps look at is: "I ain't been shot Mum" by the Two Fat Lardies, which I believe is Company Level in focus (though I do not speak from any expertise here). Which leaves me with a triple of rules [O-group(Battalion), I Ain't Been Shot Mum(Company), and Chain of Command(Platoon)] ;)

Saturday 28 November 2020

(Another) Book to get at some Point - "The Art of Intelligence"

I have heard Dr Mason speak several times and I have always been impressed and he is a co-author of this book (see below, he is very interested in hybrid warfare which is a fascinating subject) :

No space on my bookshelf so I might have to go the eBook route.

Wet Palate: Do It Yourself or Buy One - It Makes Sense

No brainer - I should either "buy one" or "do this":

Friday 27 November 2020

Modern Skirmish Project: US and Middle East Militia (WIP)

This post is mainly a reminder to myself that I have a small scale modern skirmish project (WIP - aimed at a Modern Chain of Command Rule-Set [platoon level OoB]) "still in play" (aka get off your backside and finish it). These Americans are [old] Revell Modern US (although you could really date them back to late 1980's-1990's, so perhaps they are not that really that 'modern-modern' - they are in fact at least 25 years old). I have already taken a few US troops past the undercoating stage [in fact I am almost finished a squad, see this post] but, confession, ahem, got 'distracted' with 'other things' as is per my wargaming butterfly instinct (see below, my US Alpha platoon):   

They need some opposition and for modern peace-keeping operations Caesar provide a variety or Urban Resistors, Somali and Middle-East "resistors" (see below, "hundreds of them Sarge!" equipped with a variety of interesting weapons - generic enough to be on table together):   

I also have a small collection of 20mm vehicles that deserve their "time in the sun!"

Thursday 26 November 2020

There is Always Time for a Nice of Tea

The lock-down has brought me a greater appreciation of seemingly unimportant common items of life I took for granted, that makes life better in some small and really helps me get through lock-down (see below, a very well used birthday present!):

There are other benefits to lock-down (see below, homemade biscuits): 

Also good to have a back-up cup too (see below, this one a classic "Horrible Histories" WWII - appropriately enough full of coffee as it features a Yank on it):

Moral of the story: There is always a place and time for a nice cuppa [tea or coffee]! Especially when the cup also makes me smile ;) 

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Work of the Week: Zugzwang


  1. a situation in which the obligation to make a move in one's turn is a serious, often decisive, disadvantage.
    "black is in zugzwang"

A friend passed this on to me and on reflection I think I have made a few of them in my time ;) 

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Generals by Mark Urban - Finished

I liked the consecutive sweep of history, particularly learning about Generals I knew little or naught about. It has inspired interests in new periods and was very thought provoking. The fearful factor in all the reading was how difficult a task a modern General has in keeping up with the rapid pace of technology. From Gordon onwards they seem to get out of step with the capabilities, with fearful consequences in the First World War in particular (see below, a "good read" - my only regret is that it has took me several years to get round to reading it): 

I will have to back fill my bookshelves (perhaps virtually) with some more of Mark Urban's books. I have read Fusiliers and I definitely want to read Rifles (with Sharp Practice skirmish in mind). 

Monday 23 November 2020

Freeblade: Astoria Level 55

Astoria the mega human/cyborg - "Mega Robot of Death" (see below, courtesy of hours of fun over several months on the iPhone; Orcs and Chaos quake at the sight of this looming bulk coming towards them):

Nearly finished the game. When I have a figure of sorts may beckon at Xmas ;) 

Sunday 22 November 2020

The Nights are getting Darker .. which means the Season of "Family Games" Approach'eth ... Winter is Coming!

Game, game and more game to come out of the cupboards. From the 'crowd pleasing' (see below, "Beat the Parents" - the grans and granddads can be quite smug at this one):

To those games that teach important 'life skills' - like learning to lie convincingly to friends and family (see below, "The Pretender"):

So important in fact it is usually played at least twice at Xams (see below, moving from dining room to kitchen table): 

Then there are the specialist "themed" games .. such as "Escape from the Dark Castle" (see below, collaborative play at its best - selfishness gets you killed): 

Edging along from tense encounter to tense encounter until the final "boss fight (see below, by this time the "party" of escapees are usually very battered and bruised - a good game rule though being "all out alive" or no win, except that is for the survivors of the "boss fight" - but eternal shame on those who try to hang back [they will miss dessert!]):  

Conversely if you want to learn "how to lose friends" then "Munchkins" is for you (see below, nervous clenched fists reveal all - mothers and fathers are turned on their sons and daughters): 

Then there is also "Pandemic: The Cure" which is the theme of the year for the whole world (see below, the ideal end game position - four deadly diseases cured - we could do with those 'good dice' just now):  

There are also tense "bad dice" moments too (see below, that is definitely not a "cure" roll - even by teh scientist):

All in all a very clever game or rather series of games (see below, nice game mechanics that always seem to mean a tight game that is touch and go until the last turn): 

Cometh the hour cometh the Scientist with pipette and test tube .. is there a cure for the forth disease on the final turn (see below, "arghh .. we're doomed!"):  

Family "bubble time" approaches, you have been warned!

Saturday 21 November 2020

Useful Source of UK MOD Pictures and Maps : Wargaming Resources

Surprised and please to find this source of interesting UK Defense pictures:

And then there is some military maps:

1,000,000+ of exactly What?

Numbers can mean everything and nothing at the same time. My blog recently passed a mile-stone of sorts but I honestly know not what it means (see below, tell me - what exactly does 1,000,000 blog hits mean to anybody [and I am not looking for self-praise]? Probably absolutely nothing [to quote Bruce Springstein about "War. What is it good for?"]):

I am just impressed that I have 'chundered' away in my own style of ramblings for over ten years documenting "thoughts on", "random interests", "successes in battles" and "failures in battles" - as well as strange "bits of interest" picked up along the way. I am not convinced that a million of anything meaningful has really been recorded of anything, This is not an online store and net-crawling bots are just self serving for their own good. As far as I can make out from passive and active contacts maybe there are between twenty to sixty readers. Most of which I know online and/or F2F. To these fine hobbyists "I salute you!", because I enjoy your work too! 

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Saturday 14 November 2020

Retro Gaming - Old School RPG: Classic Traveller

Do you remember the Traveller little Black Books? If so you might well have tried a mullet in the eighties, along with Chris Waddle and half the England squad .. but more importantly you were also must plead "Guilty M'Lord" of playing Traveller and probably humming along to Blake's Seven (but on the up side didn't miss a penalty for England). In my search for retro-nostalgia I harkened back to the days of my youth and asked in forums, joined a Facebook Group (Classic Traveller) and in the was pointed to a website of the originator (see below, the lost books of the Traveller legend and lore):

Don't ask why, as I only played a few games back then, my RPG was mainly fantasy (95%) and that meant D&D or rather AD&D as we got a kick out of saying that (although we did 'dabble' in a [one] Runequest adventure but came back to the fold). Recently I played something similar to Classic Traveller in an online game and since that moment something like "peeling wallpaper" was happening in my mind. Now, I am eagerly awaiting delivery of a CD from the States with the first collection on the above to help me through the dark winter nights ;) 

Friday 13 November 2020

Netflix: The Liberators - WWII Small Unit Action (US GIs in Italy)

Saw the first episode and I am already hooked (although I had an issue how they knocked out one Panzer III in particular). Also have the "urge" to start making and painting 28mm American GIs for a "Chain of Command" platoon - which cannot be a bad thing, can it? (I do already have them unmade, unpainted and feeling unloved in various Warlord Games boxes).

Footnote: Really impressed with this mini series .. it soon became a story rather than a procession of kit .. the trauma (and story) came through very well.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Remembrance Sunday and the following11th November

 Lest we forget ...

Those ...

Who sacrificed their all ..

For our freedom ...

And who still serve as an example to us all.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Another Corona Virus Project: Paint me a Space Marine the 'Eavy Metal Way (Old School)

I do like following the GW "instruction manuals" that pass on the trade secrets of the Heavy Metal painters (see below, this is dated back to 2008, so old in fact the paint ranges [as in the curious names of the paints] are well out of date, but thankfully they still translate to Vallejo Game Colour instead): 

Flicking to page 89 my attention was caught by the guide's "how to paint a Space (Ultra) Marine the 'Eavy Metal way". What can I say, I have many GW Space Marines, painted to varying degrees of quality, from fast skim to over-painted and too fussy. This time I am going to try the milky many coats better than one thick coat approach (see below, my Space Marine in waiting with his heavy weapon - note the dramatic black and white imagery, this particular Space Marine comes from the Space Marine Command Pack): 

My "blue phase" of Space Marine painting and so many shades of blue at that (layers of Ultra Marine Blue, [recesses with Imperial Blue and Black] mixed with with Space Wolves Grey to a fine line of pure Space Wolves Gray as an edge highlight). The difference here is that rather than over paint large areas with a shade-base-highlight of successive "same colour" thickly painted; it was a case of many thin coats of one colour with a dark colour in the recess, with the armoured parts mixed with increasing amounts of a contrast colour [Space Wolves Grey] - retreating each new layer to the edges of the armour very quickly (see below, the bulk of painting is actually done now, with the rest more a finishing and touching up exercise - paint less seems to work): 

Next, the "eyes have it" (see below, a very detailed sequence of ultra fine detailing to the tiny patches of the model that make up the eyes; shade red, base red, orange highlight, dwarf flesh bottom half of the "lens [eye]", with a tint sparkle of white in the top back corner [I kid you not] - this took some patience and steady hands to do): 

One mean looking Space Marine .. a tiny difference to the model but the eyes really does transform the figure (see below, a finishing touch yet to come, will be to "gloss varnish" the eye and "matte varnish" the rest of the figure): 

The "weapon" and "gold trim" are next up (see below, here are the arcane 'Eavy Metal instructions to follow by the latter - base colour, wash, touch-up and fine line highlight): 

Gun [or rather heavy weapon] finished and Gold Trim applied (see below, 90% done but just a few extra chrome bits to do):

Little bits left to do. Badge emblems [white skulls and green laurels] and parchments [ribbons and vellum] are added with a shade-base-highlight and wash combination (see below, the finished product - minus the base texture and features that has to come):

Showing off the sacred vellum scrolls and protection rites with red rosette (see below, note the skull eagle on the back is just a 'spare part' added on by me - yes I am a GW heretic, I will be turned to Chaos [I already have a pack of Chaos Space Marines]): 

In retrospect one of the things I like about the model is the fine Grey Wolf fine highlight lines, minimalist but very effective (see below, his Chaos cleansing path lays ahead of him): 

Phew, done (bar the basing! Even if he is a glorified grunt he was worth it as I have painted a Space Marine I am proud of and plan to pass on some of the techniques to more my historical models(see below, ready for a Space Hulk or a Black Fortress near you): 

There are five figures in all for the Command Pack, but I will take a break before moving onto the one. Al in all it was a slow "week's worth" of hobby painting time spent on this one figure - not a factory production line method for sure!

Sunday 1 November 2020

The Generals: Gordon - Certainly an Interesting Character

My journey through "The British Generals" by Mark Urban continues. Passing through the relatively  familiar chapter on Wellington I come to General Gordon. From Taiping to Sudan, Egypt and back again. Er, an interesting fellow, certainly clever - well at times, a sapper and engineer by training - undoubtedly brave and driven by nothing short of a religious messianic zeal (see below, Mark Urban's book, a very nice little Covid distraction at the moment):  

Colonial history is all new to me in so I am gaining more background, so I now know slightly more than a certain film with Charlton Heston in it and the two Matrix games put on by Bob Cordery at CoW 2018 and at CoW 2019. I must openly thank Bob for my ever growing collection of soft plastic 1/72 Colonial figures in the loft (we won't mention the 28mm Zulu's from Perry's they are just a different project that has to be done) .. although the wife might not be as amused. I am feeling that familiar feeling of a new period slowly gaining interest and the urge for an armoured paddle steamer with a thirty two pounder cannon on it that General Gordon had in China.


[Update] Highly Recommend taking a look at Trebian's Taiping Era Link, some published rules and wargaming AARs: