Thursday, 28 February 2019

Hibernating or what?

The answer is "or what" rather than hibernating but the effect is very similar! As someone infamous once said "When I hear the B word I reach for my revolver!". Nuff said.....

As to plans for this year, the fact that we are nearly in March means my planning is made much easier. Last year I only managed 20 or so posts and met none of my initial objectives. Not so much a lack of enthusiasm or effort, more that I was sidetracked on to the development and publication of Ramadi. Now that feedback has been received and digested it is pretty positive overall. A couple of glitches in the rules which I have sorted with FAQs and some very interesting thoughts on how the system might be developed.

So, as to plans for this year....

1. Stout Hearts: This is a Ramadi development into Normandy 1944, working version of the map as above. This tells the story (or allows you to live the story) of a British infantry battalion attack through difficult terrain against variable opposition. The design is going well having resolved a couple of tough issues, given that the scale is different and I have to make account of ranged fire combat.

2. Hue: Not saying much about this yet but the battle for Hue is another excellent subject for solitaire urban combat.

3. Steel, Steel, Steel: Again, another take on the Ramadi solitaire model but much larger scale covering the southern attack of the battle for Kursk. 

Other interesting stuff.....

There are a number of other areas to explore this year, as and when time permits:

  • Rebels and Patriots: I have this in mind to adapt to the Vendee campaign in revolutionary France. I wish I could find some 10mm (or 20mm even) peasants with scythes.
  • Lock n Load's World at War 85: This is on the verge of coming out via Kickstarter. One thing to look out for is the free starter pack (A Matter of Bridges) which looks like a great introduction to the system and is FREE. There is also a Nations at War starter kit which is also FREE!
  • Nordic Weasel Squad Hammer: Lots of activity on this front over the winter including a free (pay what you want I mean) Squad Hammer Core rule set. We are waiting to see if sales will trigger the issue of an open licence to make new versions. If this is granted then I can see myself having a field day with the system (a major distraction warning here!).
  • Butlers Printed Models: There has been a tidal wave of new stuff from BPM ( including a 6pdr Portee) so I'm planning on several purchases in random areas and periods as the year progresses.

Lots of other ideas to pursue as things develop this year but there is so much uncertainty that who knows what will happen. Cheers all and belated happy new years all round!

Monday, 24 December 2018

Seasons Greetings!

Well, it is that time of year again. Just a quick post to say Happy Christmas to all in Blog Land and do a quick pre-Xmas round up (pending a more fundamental review of priorities in the New Year!).

1. Christmas therapy

Well, as you can tell from Cruel Seas E-Boats above I have got the free ones from WI and am giving them a paint job. They are not yet finished but it is very enjoyable to have a straightforward task to play with that requires little brain power. I just wish I'd got the Vospers as well. Never mind.

2. More boat stuff

Not directly related to Cruel Seas, I have been reading two of the best ever books about the First World War at Sea.

They are great in every respect and better on the second and third reads. I'm reminded of some DBA type naval rules by Colin Standish in the old WI (when it had articles in it). Something to ponder for next year but it would have to be 1/6000!

Actually there is a big read across the Cruel Seas as I'd love to mount a destroyer attack on the High Seas Fleet battleships and sink a few with torpedoes.

Note to self, I must get Robert Massie's book Dreadnought, the pre-WW1 arms race is extremely interesting and has a few learning points for today.

Also, following Norm's very interesting review of Decision Games' Battle of the River Plate I'm tempted to get their Coronel and Falklands Folio game.  

3. A short history of hexes

As someone who generally favours hexes for wargames I have been very interested in a couple of recent blog posts. The first, from which the picture below is taken, is by Jon Petersen and it tells the story of wargaming in occupied France in WW2. I picked this up from Battle Game of the Month.

An interesting story in itself, not least because of the number of the group's members who were killed, wounded and imprisoned by the Germans during the occupation. From a hex and wargames point of view, the story suggests that the French group started using hexes in 1939 and this later became the basis for their game rules designed in 1943. One of the pictures in the blog looks very familiar!

This was a particularly interesting find because I have been rummaging around in the RAND organisation publications following a reference on BGG and found their first hex based game was in 1952. Interesting that the French were well ahead of the University of Imperialism as some people call the RAND organisation.

4. and finally.....

I had completely failed to notice the hit indicator passing the the 100,000 mark. I suspect this has much to do with the Russians and/or the Chinese but my thanks go to all of you who have read and commented on my blog this year, I'm grateful for your supportive and helpful comments.

I'd also like to flag up some of the blogs that I regularly read because of their interesting content and irrepressible enthusiasm:

  • Battlefields and Warriors: This is Norm's blog as noted above. Well written and wide ranging and also featuring his monumental post on re-fighting the Bulge this December.
  • Grid based wargaming.....: This is Peter's blog covering some great campaigns and also some very interesting simple rules.
  • Jozie's Tin Man: This is a really useful blog with a whole load of free stuff on it including Trench Hammer support materials, useful AWI material for OHW and some rules for a hybrid of Squad Hammer and Brigade Commander.
and not to forget all the others I read and enjoy.

All the best and Happy Christmas! 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Stout Hearts!

I have been quiet on the blogging front recently for many reasons, one of them is the ongoing design work on a new solitaire game. Clue above! More details in a week or so.

I have also been pleased to see that the Valor and Victory website is back up and running. For those of you who have not been aware of this little gem, it is the equivalent of ASL but for normal people. It is free, and it is print and play. Current files include the rules, seven maps and counters for British and German forces for D-Day. 

Rather like Minden Games Retro rule set for Squad Leader which has a brilliant hesitation rule, V&V has some great rules for beaten zones and cross fire for machine guns. If you need a reason to take a look, the MG rule is well worth it.

Sunday, 4 November 2018


Well, these are two of my three Hummers with GPK (gunner protection kit) now painted (one .50 cal and one grenade launcher). I undercoated with Tan Earth, highlighted with Dark Sand and followed up with a Strong Tone wash and a final Iraqi Sand dry brush. I really like them.

Where is the third one? Well, I wanted to show how easy it is to clean up a printed model.

Starting state with tools (yes they are well used and not for use in operating theatres). Six minutes later......  

Almost ready to paint, just some very minor trimming left. Plenty of bits to chuck away. And, yes it really only took six minutes. You just have to trust that the actual components are quite strong and you can just lever off the supporting material.

By the way, the plastic takes paint nicely, there is no trace of any release agent or grease so you almost don't need to worry about undercoating.

From my point of view I am now sold on printed models and I heartily recommend Butlers Printed Models. I'm looking forward to getting more stuff off them.  

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Battle for Ramadi Unbagging

A nice unbagging video for Ramadi. I understand this is not the same as debagging which shows just how times have changed!

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Well done BPM!

Yes indeed. I received my parcel from Butlers' Printed Models in short order (and a sturdy box!). Apologies for the rubbish picture but you can see on the left the "as is" vehicle straight out of the printer. On the right we have the very nearly cleaned up version. Just a couple of bits to file down and it is ready for painting.

These are the first printed vehicles I have purchased and I'm very pleased. Firstly because I wrote to Peter at BPM and asked for Hummers with GPK turrets and he very kindly put them on the to do list. I now have two with .50 cals and one with a grenade launcher. Secondly, they are very nice. The material is quite light but has a very tactile heft to it. A bit like resin. The print lines are very slight and the support materials very easy to detach. I am really pleased!

I did make an error though. These are 1/76 scale which is exactly what I ordered. I have noticed that I could have asked for 1/72 scale which would go with some other die cast Hummers that I have. I am not disappointed as these go really well with some 1/76 M113s that I have, just something to remember when I order some more. Pics of painted vehicles to come.  

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Reasons to be cheerful!

Reason 1: A short but sweet review of the Ramadi game by ToBG (watch at 08.25). I'm nervous about reviews of this game so it is nice to start with an enthusiastic one!

Reason 2: I was recently watching a Lindybeige You Tube video about memoirs, true or false. Mr Beige was as entertaining as usual but in this one he mentions a book: "From the city, from the plough" by Alexander Baron. A fictionalised version of the story of the 5th Wiltshires in Normandy but, essentially, a memoir. This was written in 1948 and sold a million copies. I had never heard of it even after reading continuously about the war for sixty years (OK so I mean from the mid-1960s when I learnt to read!).

5th Wiltshires were part of 43rd Wessex Division, brigaded with the 4th Somerset Light Infantry. Ring any bells? Well Sydney Jary's 18 Platoon were in the Somersets. The periods covered by the two books overlap in Normandy.

I say this with absolutely no hesitation, Baron's book is the very best book I have ever read about British infantry. The language is lyrical, almost poetic. The story is brutal. Watch Mr Beige's video linked above and hunt down a copy. You will not be disappointed!

Reason 3: I have been looking for a 20mm Hummer with a GPK turret. You would think this would be easy but it is not. I dropped a note to Peter at Butlers Printed Models and suggested it would be good to have one of these. He said he would put it on their to do list. He emailed last week to say that it is now ready!

So I have a parcel to collect tomorrow with one grenade launcher and two 50 cal versions. Really good value for £5.50 each. I think I may be cheeky and ask for some more turret options!