Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015: What happened there then?

Having fun slowly!

I have taken a look at my plan for the year and decided that I have simply been a bit slow in getting my projects finished rather than being a real under achiever. The point was, after all, to enjoy myself rather than knock myself out. So what did actually happen?

The stuff I actually completed......

KISS My Arras! This saw the light of day back in January 2015.
The small version of Arras!
This is both a set of wargame rules for use on a hex grid and a hex map game. I have just sorted out the counters and these are now on the Arras page. I have not had much feedback on this but I think it is one of my better ideas. I had originally decided to try to do this in 6mm but my recent purchase of some Zvezda British tanks will push me towards 15mm.  

In a Cocked Hex: I finished this in February.

These were a hex grid adaptation of Neil Thomas' One-Hour Wargames rules. I'm also quite happy with these and will have to get the rest of my WSS armies painted up next year.

Quatre Bras a la Carte: I finally nailed this down in April after several goes.

As you can see, a hex grid map game based on my earlier Waterloo a la Carte game. This was my Waterloo 200 celebration and I have quite enjoyed playing around with it. 

Hats, Horses and Hexes: This OHW hex grid adaptation in November was driven by ideas from Kaptain Kobold and some nice fantasy maps (Borsetshire and Midsomer) for the ECW.

Again, this was another little project that I got a lot of pleasure from.

Stuff that didn't get finished.......and there is quite a lot of it!
  • Tannenberg: I did quite a bit more work on this but couldn't crack the combat model. I now have a few ideas from a game published by Norm (Anzio) so will have another go next year.
  • Firestorm Neuve Chappelle: I also did a lot more work on this and have completed the map and OB. Again, its the combat model that is problematic and I'm still thinking about it.
  • Rembarre: A tentative game(s) on the Vendee war. I love this period and will be pursuing it next year. This will be a hex grid game (plus map and counters version) which will allow several battles from the war to be played out in the form of a campaign.
  • Napoleonic OHW hex grid rules: Still in an early draft form. I have learnt a lot from Kaptain Kobold about the OHW rules and how they can be tweaked for different periods. I'm desperate to get this done so I can get on with some toy soldier painting.
  • Somewhere in Africa: Yes, I am trying to tweak the Five Core rules into a hex grid (I'm beginning to think I may have a real problem here with hex grids!). This will be set in modern times in the fictional country of Gonzonia and use 20mm toys.
  • Venture Fair: This one is just stuck in the works for the moment but is certainly not forgotten.
So there we go, I did things I wasn't planning and then my planned jobs just did not get done. I have had a lot of fun though!

Monday, 28 December 2015

My heart lies in Africa....

Oh Cheryl where are you?

I'm afraid this bit of complete arsing about was brought on by my finding out that the Kenyan operation against Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia in 2012 was named Linda Nchi. Thinking that this Linda might be related to Beyonce I found this amusing. Not so funny when you find out that it really means "Protecting the country" in English. The KDF operation was, happily, very successful. 

However, in Gonzonia when they name operations after a girl they have only one girl in mind.....Cheryl Miller!  Yes, the GDF have a long history of taking their operational names from the classic TV programme Daktari, filmed in Gonzonia in the 1960s, and starring all time top actress Cheryl Miller.

As we will see during 2016, the GDF recent actions have included Operation Elephant. 

Operation Clarence, I'd be cross eyed too if she was sitting on top of me!

And, of course, Operation Cheryl. If I can stop mucking about long enough to get on with some painting, Op. CHERYL 16 is first up and involves US forces assisting the GDF to rescue UN hostages from their El-Kebab captors.

Obviously, Cheryl was the first girl I fell in love with and you can see why!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

What has Santa brought this year?

Lots of prezzies actually!

When you get to my age the risk of ending up with nothing more interesting than socks and shirts at Christmas is very high. Lets face it, men only get new clothes at Christmas and that's because our loved ones have had enough of the old ones they gave us last time. Hey ho!

This years cunning plan has involved buying my own presents and then, very carefully, not looking at them until Christmas Day. I pretty much succeeded and was very pleased with what I had got for myself.

First off, a nice selection of Zvezda tanks. A clear indication that I'm pondering Arras again.

I stocked up at my new very nice games store.....

I can see myself getting into difficulties here. It is a nice new shop on an industrial estate with a good selection of Zvezda, PSC and Vallejo (my priority purchases) plus a wide range of other miniatures and rules. It also has a nice games area and a huge warehouse out the back which can be used for tournaments. The people who own the enterprise have an interest in FoW and they have already run one large tournament here. I'll be back (once I have saved up some money!).

I also got some books...

Black Ops and Honours of War are pretty much de rigueur at the moment. Ordered but not yet delivered is Lion Rampant. I have a couple of the earlier Osprey wargames rules which I wasn't over impressed with but I'm living in hope that one of these turns out to be brilliant.

What is brilliant is Brains and Bullets. Probably the most insightful analysis of modern tactical issues I have ever read. In fact, I sat down with this on Christmas Day and have just finished it. Simply stunning. Read this alongside Sidney Jary's 18 Platoon then design a tactical game that reflects real life. That's some challenge but one I'll ponder as something for next year (oh dear that sounds like a big job!).

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Free stuff.....

Well, it is Christmas after all!

In the spirit of the season here is some free stuff you might like to play with over the holidays. Actually, its not like I'm giving away my own free stuff, it is from a variety of sources. Nevertheless, fill your boots!

1. First Blood: The Guadalcanal Campaign

I have recently rediscovered this little gem on the campaign for Guadalcanal. It was originally a give away game many moons ago in an Avalon Hill magazine (AHIKS magazine, I can't remember what this stands for but I think it was to do with their player ranking system). It now has up to date graphics for map and counters and retains its simple rules. 

I have always struggled to understand the time and space issues on Guadalcanal and this looks like a very good introductory game.

You can find the materials necessary to put this game together on the Grognards website, use the "Updated Graphics" files, these appear to work well. This looks like a really nice game.

2. Arnhem

Most old wargamers will remember the SPI West Wall Quad and the Arnhem game which covered the whole of the Market-Garden Operation. Mind you, you'd have to be quite old to remember it when it first appeared. It was 1976 and I was still at school!. Blimey, I'm 57 now. What gets me about this game is that it is such a good simulation of the battles for the bridges. It also has multiple options for free deployment and weather effects so you really can do some "what if" scenario planning. 

Decision Games issued an updated version in their new folio series but, as is usual with DG, it was shagged up beyond all recognition (ShUBAR?). I have long wanted another copy of this game, mine disappeared long ago (and I had two copies as well!). Well, the rules, map and counters (including smart new ones) can be found on the Geek here. Stick it on a USB and go to your print shop and, voila, a full copy of the game. This is such a rewarding game I really recommend that you have a go if you have not played it before.

3. Battle for Arnhem

There is a print n play play-test version of a new game available on BGG. I haven't had a chance to get to grips with this yet but the comments coming in from others mean that it looks like a promising little game on Op. Market-Garden. There is a lot of praise for the rule book which is somewhat unusual and therefore worth checking out. Give it a try and, if you are in a giving mood, contribute to the BGG annual fundraiser and win some geekgold (actually its nice to have but I don't know what to spend it on!).

4. Wargame Downloads

Not as big an operation as Wargames Vault but well worth an occasional look. This offers PnP games at very reasonable prices and runs a permanent sale with some items up for $0. There are a couple at the moment, Hoke's Run and Front Royal, both ACW games and well worth picking up.

5. Wargames Vault Winter Offensive

The Vault is running its winter sale (25% off till 4 January). So not free but very cheap. I highly recommend that you take a look, especially if you have an interest in Nordic Weasel (as I do).

Its Christmas....

Well, the in-laws have arrived, the children are fighting and I'm coming down with a cold. I'm looking forward to a few days of much deserved chilling out which is exactly what will happen once I have had my presents and and cooked the lunch tomorrow. There are two final things to leave you with:
  • the first is that Norm has promised his usual Xmas posting tomorrow morning which I will very happily read just before I start on lunch and once have opened a large bottle of beer. Check Norm's posting here. Hopefully Norm's house move has gone OK and I'll have something interesting to read tomorrow;
  • the second is that I know people who are facing a very difficult Christmas through no fault of their own. My thoughts are with them and I hope they can get through it OK knowing what they face next year. Very very sad but very true and my thoughts and prayers are with them.
Hopefully I'm back up to normal posting speed after Xmas so see you then, a Merry Christmas to you one and all!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Midwinter update....

Weather hot but the news is cool!

I haven't posted for a while due to pressures of the day job. However, I have not stopped thinking about stuff which will now have to go on the list for next year. So, a nice opportunity before Christmas to get my thoughts in order. 

1. Battlefield Hobbies: This is a new wargames store and gaming facility(?). I came across their Facebook page by accident via PBIcandy. A new wargames store is always pretty rare. What's even more rare is that this one is situated only a short walk from my house in Daventry. Simply unbelievable. Judging by the clientele in the photo I'll fit right in. I'll check it out tomorrow and will do a short write up. I'll even take some photos.

2. Airfix Battles: This project is continuing to surprise me. I see that Benthamfish is now engaged in the game design process. You can check his blog here! This looks like it might be very good indeed. 

3. Aurelian: A new game from Sam Mustafa. This looks like Blucher with ancients. The BGG entry reads like this:
Aurelian is a tabletop game about the Crisis of the Third Century, the period during which the Roman empire nearly disintegrated in constant civil war and foreign invasions.Players take one of four roles: a Roman, Germanic, Sarmatian, or Persian commander. Any number of players can conduct a campaign, in which each type of army has a different set of victory conditions. While holding off Rome's many enemies, the Roman players are also trying to defeat each other and ultimately become (and remain!) emperor.Aurelian can be played with miniatures, or with "unit tiles" on any flat surface, much in the same manner as Blücher's unit cards. The centerpiece of the game is the campaign, in which each player manages the fortunes of his character and faction, much in the manner of the campaigns in Maurice and Longstreet. 
Sounds good. I have this vague idea that PSC have been mentioned in connection with this project but can't seem to find the reference.

4. Neil Thomas' Modern Rules: Well, not quite. Brian Cowan has just published his interpretation of Neil Thomas' second world war rules on the AMW Yahoo Group. Brian has done a great job. The rules include army lists for Vietnam, Yom Kippur, Falklands, Cold War Europe, Modern wars in Afghanistan etc. Well worth a look.

5. Nordic Weasel: Well I'm a dedicated Weasel fan. I'm not sure that sounds good, but it is. The Fivecore series rolls on with this really tempting collection of additional and optional rules. Available for very little ($3.99) from the Wargames Vault. Also on my Weasel list are Laserstorm (sci-fi) and War Story (a narrative based game). This is great stuff, mainly because it is very simple (just like me) and completely interchangeable. My Somewhere in Africa game will use all three levels of Fivecore (skirmish, company and brigade). Looking forward to it next year.

Also, the Polemos GNW rules are now re-released by Baccus and also on the Vault for not much. Something else for Santa to sort out (actually that means I have to pay for it and my wife says, "Happy Christmas").

6. Horse and Musket: This is the Hold the Line adaptation in development by Sean Chick. The rules are now available on BGG as well as a Vassal module so you can get to it now. No news about a publisher yet but its definitely on my list when it comes out.

7. Ideas: Yep, still having some. Thankfully, other people come up with them and I play with them. Two important things so far this month:

  • Kaptain Kobold has done some more work on his OHW ECW rules. These are very interesting and I may re-visit my ECW hex based interpretation as a result. Dashing cavalry anyone?
  • Combat model for Tannenberg: I have really been struggling with this. I've got a map and OBs and a good idea about time and space. However, the combat model is just missing and I have not been able to get excited about it. Never fear, someone else has had a good idea and I'll just nick it. This idea comes from my chum Norm and his published game Anzio. More on this next year but its a real relief that I have finally got to grips with it.
Unfortunately, its back to work now with a lot to do before Christmas. Hopefully I'll post again before the big day. Cheers.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

New One-Hour Wargames hex grid variant for ECW....

Hats, Horses and Hexes!

Personally I blame Kaptain Kobold. I'm sure I have said that somewhere before! I have been quietly working on a Napoleonic version of my hex grid variant of the OHW for WSS. I really want to be able to use some guys with neat hats and start painting some plastic 1/72 types.

Rupert, man with dog
Needless to say this was going on in the background because I was having a ponder about some of the concepts that the good Kaptain had worked into his GNW rules. He has now come up with a OHW version for the ECW. I think these are brilliant. They take the OHW into the territory that most wargamers think of as "proper rules" but without any of the usual nonsense.

So, I have taken my draft Napoleonics OHW hex grid and chucked them out and started again with the ECW. You can find them here. I have loads of old Heroics and Ross 6mms to paint up and this seems like a good project for the Xmas holidays.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

More cool than something really cool....

Airfix battles!

I came across this by accident. 

Due out next year, this is a card focused game of tactical combat using counters on a square board. Alternatively use your Airfix soldiers and tanks. A "Collectors rule book" converts the rules to a full able top wargame. Check it out here

The publisher, Modiphius, looks like a serious player. As this game set covers US paras and Germans in Normandy, this almost looks like a combination of M44, Operation Squad and Heroes of Normandie. I don't know the price point but it looks very tempting.

Friday, 20 November 2015


its a cool country!

Given my Somewhere in Africa adventure I was overcome with joy to find the fully realised country of Morvalonga. Check this out here.

Here are the Pink Panthers...

The Leopard Girls....

The Tarzan people....

It is clear that Gonzonia has some competition. Well done the Inch High Club!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Somewhere in Africa again....

Things are a foot!

Given the events this weekend I am not feeling cheery and to a large extent feel morally compromised by my current project. I nearly decided not to post this and leave it for another day. The problem with leaving what people refer to as a decent interval is that it implies that if you give it long enough everyone forgets. I'm not comfortable with that as a response.

My response is to carry on with my project but in a responsible and informed manner. I recommend the Institute for the Study of War as a good place to start. 

I have been working on updating some cheap toys that my children no longer play with. The fact they are HMMWVs and pretty much 1/72 scale is great. Here we have one in US desert livery and two in the unique Gonzonia Defence Forces (GSF) tiger camouflage. I'm sure I have seen that somewhere before but can't quite place it.

I'll be using these with FiveCore Company Command rules, converted to hexes of course! That is next on my list.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Team Yankee...

Deja vu all over again!

There is plenty of promotional wind blowing from the direction of Battlefront for their new game Team Yankee.

My bedroom in the 1960s before I discovered girls...
I do find it very strange that a large group of people are exploring something that we all got wrong, completely. As a kid I remember the air raid sirens being tested for the four minute warning and the public information films that scared the crap out of me. There was, of course, nothing else on TV during the day after Playschool! The War Game, a docu drama intended for BBC1, had been banned in the mid-1960s when it came out for fear of damaging national morale and could only be seen in a movie theatre.

The nuclear war stuff seemed to peter out in the 1970s only to be kick-started again by Reagan.  I do recall watching another TV docu drama, Threads, a very convincing story of WW3 and a nuclear attack on the UK (Sheffield actually). That was 1984.

I remember the slew of books that came out in the 1980s about the cold war going hot. I read most of them. My personal favourites, which are still on my shelves, are Red Thrust by Steven Zaloga and First Clash by Kenneth Macksey. There is a great article on Breakthrough Assault giving an overview of these books and others. Well worth reading and I may be tempted to buy into the Harvey Black trilogy....

The book Team Yankee by Harold Coyle came out in 1987. I still have this. Although only slightly better written than a telephone directory, it did have enormous credibility being written by a US officer and being published by top military publisher Praesidio.

The top thing about the book is that it spawned a wargame by GDW....Team Yankee!

As you can see, I have still got this. It is pristine and I have been saving it for a rainy day. The great thing about the game is that it allows you to play out the scenarios from the book. It is tactical level with individual squads, weapons teams and tanks. It represents the pinnacle of cold war US ground forces with Abrams, M113s and TOWs against evil Soviets in T72s and BMP1s (and even BTR60s, I had a few Roco BTRs in the dim and distant). 

The game has got four nice maps. The rule book has also got data for a range of non-US armies including the UK. The actual counters are a bit crap to say the least. Some of the rules are a bit clunky but for someone like me brought up on Panzer Blitz they seemed to be bang on the money. They also included a really good overwatch rule (units taking up firing positions in their own turn to be able to execute opportunity fire in their opponent's). 

I still have the book as well and really do intend to play through the game one day while reading it! Of course, the question is, why haven't I played it before now? The answer is October War. An SPI magazine game from 1977 about the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. It blew apart all previous tactical games for me and I can still recall the massive campaign game I played with my gaming bud in the late 1970s. I eventually won as the Syrians, by a very fine whisker, and I'm not a natural winner either. 

This is a period piece that brings back lots of happy memories. And the most interesting thing is that in 1989 Reagan's policy of spending the Soviets into disaster had succeeded and the evil empire fell apart. Job done against everyone's expectations, including mine. The game went into the cupboard.

Now the evil empire is back again its probably time to dust it off!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Somewhere in Africa .....

Stuff is occurring!

"The US Carried Out 674 Military Operations in Africa Last Year. Did You Hear About Any of Them? The US military publicly insists its presence in Africa is negligible. Is that why they call it an American “battlefield” behind closed doors?" Nick Turse

U.S. Army Africa

"Headquartered on Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa, in concert with national and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote peace, stability, and security in Africa. As directed, it can deploy as a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, the "Dagger Brigade", is being aligned with AFRICOM." Wikipedia

"Despite this massive increase in missions and a similar swelling of bases, personnel, and funding, the picture painted last month before the Senate Armed Services Committee by AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez was startlingly bleak. For all the American efforts across Africa, Rodriguez offered a vision of a continent in crisis, imperiled from East to West by militant groups that have developed, grown in strength, or increased their deadly reach in the face of US counterterrorism efforts."

You can't always believe what you read....

".....“Trans-regional terrorists and criminal networks continue to adapt and expand aggressively,” Rodriguez told committee members. “El-Kebab has broadened its operations to conduct, or attempt to conduct, asymmetric attacks against Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and especially Gonzonia.....” Despite the grim outcomes since the American military began “pivoting” to Africa after 9/11, the United States recently signed an agreement designed to keep its troops based on the continent until almost mid-century."  Edited highlights of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing

Sometimes you can believe some of it....

"Sam Pa is believed to be the head of the 88 Queensway Group and numerous subsidiary companies that operate mining and resource concessions in a number of countries notably across Africa. Pa has also been the subject of controversy, allegedly propping up Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF regime in Zimbabwe and securing business contacts on the back of a coup d'état in Madagascar and civil unrest in Guinea." Wikipedia

"The future of a secretive Hong Kong-based business network at the heart of China’s advance into Africa has been thrown into doubt after reports that its frontman, a jet-setting tycoon with seven names and ties to the intelligence services, has been caught up in a Communist party investigation.

Sam Pa, as the bespectacled tycoon is best known, was detained at a hotel in Beijing on October 8, according to a report in Caixin magazine and a person familiar with the matter. Mr Pa, who has cultivated relationships with dictators from Harare to Pyongyang in pursuit of deals in resources and infrastructure worth billions of dollars, could not be reached on his usual phone numbers."  FT.com

Africa is one of my pet subjects, although Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, not to leave out Afghanistan and the rest, are critical in current world affairs, Africa is continually overlooked. It contains a nuclear power and one of the world's most populous but modern and growing countries which could well become a real power (Nigeria that is). It also has the capacity to descend into the abyss: Rwanda, Dofar, Congo, Angola, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the list is endless. Sadly, there are plenty of people to help it go there.

You may think it strange that I plan to game it. I will game this one because I care about it. It seems straightforward to me. AK47 allows us to play with fantasy African factions. The truth is stranger than that. I have a feeling we are off to Gonzonia for an adventure dot dot dot! 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

We interrupt this programme.....

with some top news

Actually a couple of bits...

1. Horse and Musket: Dawn of an Era

By Sean Chick, top bloke and designer of Frederick's War:  

"Horse and Musket: Dawn of an Era is a simple tactical game based on the Hold the Line system that covers the development of musket warfare from Vienna in 1683 and Sedgemoor in 1685 to Appomattox in 1865. Volume I will cover warfare in the west from 1683-1739, when the bayonet replaced the pike."

Check out the blurb at BGG.

I can't wait. Sean needs a publisher!

2. Hold the Line

"Received a note from Worthington Publishing that the Hold the Line System will be remastered after the first of 2016. Kudos to Worthington -- this is a good system."

BGG rumour or not? Who knows.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Do you like Dorking?

I don't know I've never Dorked!

Sorry, Muppet Show 1975 or similar. Still makes me laugh.

Well, anywhere South of the Thames may as well be in France as far as I'm concerned so I have never been and wont go until they start speaking French and eating proper food. Having said that, Dorking is a famous fictional battle from the late Victorian age when they were busy frightening themselves with the idea of Russians invading England from airships.

The Battle of Dorking is the key battle in the fictional Prussian invasion of England in 1871. Written by George Chesney in 1871 it was published as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine. Subtitled "Reminiscences of a Volunteer" it describes the mobilisation of reserves (4th Surrey Militia) in London to support regular troops in defending against an invasion by the Prussians in 1875. 

The rules cover, not the 1914 edition cover on which it is based!
The Prussians had cunningly destroyed the Royal Navy using new weapons (it sounds as if the fleet was lured by a retreating enemy into a mine barrier) and then made a diversionary landing near Harwich to draw off the forces defending London. Few troops then were available to meet the main invasion force heading North from the South Coast (Worthing). Defeat was inevitable, especially given the moral decay infecting the country:  

"The warnings of the few were drowned in the voice of the multitude. Power was then passing away from the class which had been used to rule, and to face political dangers, and which had brought the nation with honour unsullied through former struggles, into the hands of the lower classes, uneducated, untrained to the use of political rights, and swayed by demagogues;"

Funnily enough, this sounds a lot like today's Daily Mail. Some things never change then! You can read this book for free on Project Gutenberg. Its a great basis for wargames battles. I'd love to fight out the campaign in Essex with the evil Prussians fighting their way through my home territory. 

The reason for going on about this is that a very nice little wargame was produced by Draken Games in 2009. This was a print n play game. It was very good and the rule book had an excellent account of the campaign in proper military history style. An expansion (micro game), Last Stand at Surbiton was also made available for free.

A section of map from the new edition
A new venture, Tiny Battle Publishing, is bringing out an updated and very shiny new edition of the Battle of Dorking. This is great news. The other thing that is great is that Tiny Battle have a number of small games on their roster and they make these available for a small price for download ($11.99 for Dorking for example).  

Tiny Battle is an associate of Flying Pig Games which is the new home of Lock n Load's designer/publisher Mark H Walker. Tiny Battle have also published a new and very small game of Mark's called Sticks and Stones which is a platoon level game of future (...past future?) US/Soviet combat set in 1987. Nice and only $9.99 as a download. Something for my birthday list perhaps.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Here come the wooden tops....

and not the Met Police Annual Parade!

I have come across something really interesting, MDF troops in 6mm. They are available from Commission Figurines. Basically, its £2 for 96 infantry or 36 cavalry or £1.50 for four guns with limbers and crew.

The major exponent of these guys is Robert De Angelis who is using them for Blucher. Check out his blog and also these pictures of Bavarians from 1809.

I think this is just brilliant and I'm going to buy some, lots actually!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Its a surprise!

New game by Worthington in the works

Worthington have a lot of current development and production activity but none of it is up my street. However, here is a sneak preview.....

I can't see this happening for a while, certainly not this year but something to look forward to.

Friday, 23 October 2015


Its, er, quite difficult!

I have been trying to do some painting over the past few weeks. Time has been tight. Last weekend I managed to sit down and pick up a paint brush but, before I could splodge any paint about, I had another urgent job to do. Never mind, I believe it is character building.

The painting bit is difficult. I'm tackling my US troops for a "Somewhere in Africa" adventure using FiveCore Company Command. What I have in mind is something like these US Marines from Iraq in 2003. 

These are Italeri US Infantry of the 90s. Top row typical squaddies and bottom row cool looking command types.

So far:

  • Warm soapy water wash
  • Vinegar bath
  • Diluted PVA undercoat
  • Spray of FoW Khaki (Vallejo 988)
  • First coat of dark sand (Vallejo 847)
Everything was great until I used the spray can. I didn't test it first and it came out as an awful dribble of thick globules (sorry that doesn't sound good). Basically this landed some big blobs of think paint all over the sprue which I had to brush down quickly. I then reverted to a light diluted undercoat of the same paint from a Vallejo bottle.

I'm hoping to progress these guys quickly so I can move on to the baddies, a gruesome lot of Caesar Modern Militia.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Testicles, lightly grilled with salt, pepper, lemon juice and .......

eaten by other people for their tea!

I like to kid my children when I'm eating Brains' Faggots that they are lambs testicles. This produces the sort of reaction that you might expect. One mans meat, after all, is another man's tea!

Thankfully a Chieftain in Berlin cammo, not a grilled testicle!
I'm saying this not because it gives me a chance to put up a photograph of a grilled testicle, which you will see that I have kindly avoided, but just to show that some people like one thing and others like another. I like diversity, I like people being different and I really like not being like other people. 

This massive preamble means that I am just about to be rude to someone, hopefully not that rude, and that I am feeling better after an appalling couple of weeks health wise. 

Now to the being rude, I have just read the rules for Battlegroup Modern Wargames Rules. They are 100 pages long and will give a battalion battle which can be fought to completion in just 3-4 hours. They were of course written to be fun and even more fun than Challenger 2000 which came before them and which broke the previous Challenger 2 rules.

If you like your testicles grilled with salt, pepper and freshly squeezed lemons then this one is for you. The plus side is that they are free on the internet and have lots of support. They were written by very nice people for the very best of reasons. The bad news is that they look like the old WRG modern rules and Challenger combined. I feel no pain in saying this as I owned both and loved to quote mad stuff about thermal imagining and question whether "that" smokescreen contained any anti-thermal imaging particles, not available to the Warsaw Pact until the early 1990s, and certainly never available to second line Czech motor rifle regiments.

I am saying this because I have just read the tank rules for FiveCore Company Command. They cover 65 years of tank combat and take up what must be four A4 pages. They are even more simple than the AK47 (first, best and only edition) rules which I thought set a new standard. In many respects they are not that different.

"..............it is impossible to give comprehensive listings of how each gun interacts with each vehicle and players will have to make reasonable choices based on their own feelings and research.

If in doubt, a weapon intended to kill tanks should be rated as a Killing Shot. Modify up or down as appropriate.

Examples of Threatening Shots include anti-tank rifles versus most tanks in world war 2, RPG7 versus top of the line NATO tanks today or auto cannon fire against tanks in most any era.

Examples of Overkill include Abrams and Leopard 2 main guns versus T55, Tiger tanks versus Sherman and most dedicated anti-tank weapons against APC's and other transport vehicles."

I quote this in full because I think it goes to the heart of what I want from a game. A simple, but realistic way, of representing a real life situation. In FiveCore, an anti-tank weapon may threaten an enemy tank, with only a very limited chance of affecting it, it will have a good shot at killing it, or it will have a very good (overkill) chance of killing it. In this simplicity we can represent anything from an early ATR to the latest 120mm gun firing fin stablised, discarding sabot, long rod penetrators. 

You may have guessed that Five Core is on my big list of stuff to do. I think it should also be on yours!

Sunday, 27 September 2015


and not by numbers!

I have decided to do something practical and get some painting done. This might give me a bit of a break from the rules shenanigans and also a bit of a break from thinking!

First up, a nice water colour painting. Not by me but my eldest daughter. Something to celebrate and inspire me to get my finger out.

Next up, can you tell what it is yet? I'm not sure we are allowed to say that anymore but....

Well, here are some 1990s US troops, some M113s (Airfix) and some HMVWWs (from Toys R Us). Possibly something dodgy will be occurring somewhere in Africa. My interest has been generated by some real world stuff, check out this Huffington Post article on US involvement in Africa. Lots of hyperbole but then also check out this great US Army Africa website. Anyone might think its pure fantasy, well what do I know.

Rules? Well I'm not doing them from scratch. AK47 (original) always springs to mind for this sort of stuff but then I also really fancy FiveCore Company Command. Lets see what happens! 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Civil War in Borsetshire

A neighboring fictional county!

After visiting the county of Midsomer (the real life Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire), I wondered about Borsetshire (Warwickshire and Worcestershire) which, in real life, is contiguous with Midsomer. The BBC website offers up a couple of nice maps.

Then there is this one which reveals a little known battle in 1642 near Ambridge.

Ambridge, a good target for a Royalist Chevauche! Stuff the Archers I say.

Update 22 September: Kaptain Kobold has kindly pointed me in the direction of the following really interesting blog which covers scenarios from the ECW in Borsetshire. Here is the true story of the battle at Ambridge in 1642. Anyone would think that its a real place!