Thursday, 30 June 2016

M10 and 1st Corps

Crack of dawn again and giving the M10 an ink wash, it is now complete, unless I get those decals of course. I really like this tank destroyer, it has that look of meaning business about it. The British, unlike the Germans and Americans used these in defensive positions and not as tank hunters, this changed later in the war as German offensive operations became few and far between. Although hampered by their open top they had the superb 17 pounder anti/tank gun which was more than a match for the formidable German tanks and could kill at long range.

My only problem with the kit was the front headlights, apart from having to search online to find out where everything fit, the rear lights were molded on to the resin hull so why were the front lights not molded on? They proved too awkward for my modelling skills in 1/56 so I left them off, the amount of times they stuck to the tweezers rather than the tank meant I gave up, hopefully in the heat of battle 'that guy' won't scream out that that tank has no lights!

As tempted as I am to build the Panther I can't see me needing it for several weeks yet, so I decided to get my last German squad ready, I have four already and this one is not really required but I could not resist getting them when I saw them painted up at Phalanx. As I said they are slightly chunkier than my Artizan figures and the helmets look bigger with the camo cover on them, but they have a lot of character as do their British, which I will get at some point, I also saw their Forward Observer so one of them is on the list as well. The officer in the back is Warlord and will be a Captain or Major, the figure in the left foreground is particularly nice, he is crouched over carrying his rifle with a stick grenade in his left hand, I also like that the squad has a mix of steel helmets and caps. My main German force nearly all have camo smocks, so these guys in shirt sleeves and the normal uniform will be something different, I am looking forward to painting them.

I have four maps to do on the American Civil War and have three complete and will finish the last one tomorrow, so I had 95% decided to do a run through of a Bolt Action game this afternoon and evening as the missus is out. She has decided to order up a ton of wood for the wood burner due to the weather not being as good as it should be during a summer, so that means a lot of effort on my part to take it to the out house and stack it up, I may not feel like doing anything but killing someone this afternoon.

I am beginning to get more than a little cheesed off with Terrainmat, I still do not have my roads after three months waiting, I was promised them this week and here we are with it almost gone.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

No Need to Fear the Russki's

Last night I joined in a 'Modern' wargame with 1/300 models, the rules were a shortened version of the real rules and were free online, so we found ourselves somewhere in Europe with the British and Americans fighting off a Soviet attack. No Belgians, Danes, French etc. cheap shot but it was too good to pass up in the present climate. I have never fancied warfare after WWII as it seemed too complex to me unless it was grand strategy with a boardgame at divisional level.

I did play a fantastic computer game entitled Wargame: The Next War In Europe and its expansions which moved to the East and brought in aircraft and ships, this is almost the only computer 'wargame' worth the title. You had a points limit and you chose your forces from either Nato or Warsaw Pact countries and fought the game in real time with up to ten people, it was and is brilliant, although I have not played in a long time as real wargaming is now taking up most of my time.

Anyway, I commanded two platoons of mechanised Soviet infantry and a small recce force, I decided to hare it along a road and debus in a wood and set up a defence. I found out that my recce units were basically useless and my armoured column was toast on the road, if you can see it you kill it ruled. I had to withdraw my BMP's to keep them alive, if I had won the race it would have been the same result but the Americans would all be dead.

Ooops II.
Stuart on the other flank with the tanks advanced in true Soviet fashion and got slaughtered, our artillery was pointless as you had to put a marker down and the enemy seeing it there simply drove past or around it, then it was catch up for the spotters. We finished the game early as the Russians had no one left and the same fate obviously awaited our reinforcements, I didn't actually get one shot off. Another club member said he had a much better and simpler rule set and given a week or so would put something together so we could try it out, so we will see.

On the other table we had Matt giving an introduction to Chain of Command on the Eastern Front, by the look of the troops the Germans had just invaded, there were some lovely Germans on the table, I think it was 15mm or maybe even 10mm, not sure. There was a little more happening on the table than I usually see with CoC but it still seems overly complex for what it is.

 Next week there is some Sharpe Practice again and I hope to get in a Bolt Action game at last and kick off my campaign.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

This just in .......

I ordered my Panther yesterday and it arrived today, I got it on Ebay but it would seem the trader is actually Caliver Books and it was way cheaper than the Warlord vehicle.

In fact I am very impressed by the kit and have only just opened the box and looked at it, all the sprues are contained in their own plastic bag, the instruction sheet is a decent size and it has decals. What I really like about the decals is that the turret numbers come in three's, no more mucking about with single numbers and trying to get them to line up, this is progress, for me at least.

Don't you think the Panther slightly boring, it is no doubt a strong contender for the best tank of WWII but it does not have the quirkiness of the Pz IV or Pz 38(t) series or the ugly confidence of the Stug III's. The Panther is not ugly it doesn't have a line out of place, it is supremely dangerous, means business and cannot be ignored, but ....

Warlord have been in touch, seemingly the M10 I got was the old resin version which didn't come with decals while the new plastic kit does, but if you charge the same money surely that arguement does not stand up. Anyway they have been as efficient as ever at the customer services department and Lorenzo is offering to send me the decals free of charge with my next order. Just when you think you are out etc.

Marder III

I couldn't resist getting this up this morning, I have no patience, I almost completed the M10 and Marder last night but got up early this morning to put the finishing touches to the Marder.

I am unsure whether to add foliage or netting to the tank destroyer as I really like the look of this vehicle and these might obscure some of the detail, I have also not added any mud to this one either, so I shall mull that over in the next few days, all of these things can be added later, it will get stowage.

I am not convinced about the figures, they look pretty awkward in the fighting compartment, but to be honest there wasn't a lot of room anyway in the real one, I wouldn't have liked to have been the driver and needed to get out in a hurry.


The camo scheme is from the Eastern Front which is appropriate for the campaign and apart from that one guy you always bump into who will point out it wasn't seen in Normandy, no one else will care.

The M10 is 90% done, only the tracks to paint and the camo netting, stowage and mud to put on, the full works for the M10. I have hit another snag with Warlord Games, looking at pictures of how the expert painted the machine on their site I noticed that it is supposed to come with both US and British decals, mine didn't! So that was no hatches and no decals, poor stuff. On the decal front I managed to slide a star on to the engine grill of the M10 and was very chuffed as I had glued the turret down and made it doubly awkward for myself, I was not so lucky with some vehicle numbers and a name for the turret. One side went on perfect then I screwed up the other side, thank god the British didn't like markings on their stuff, if Warlord send out the missing decals I shall endeavour to put a name and the anti/tank unit number on, but we will see.

I have almost completed the paperwork for my upcoming mini-campaign "Into the Reich" a set of six battles all tied together as the Russians cross into Germany. I am stealing some ideas from a Chain of Command campaign and find that the Germans have the option of taking a Panther for a counter-attack, I don't have a Panther, so I ordered one up, to keep my forces even the British will get a Churchill next. I have ordered a Rubicon Panther from Ebay, it was slightly cheaper and has better reviews than the Warlord one and I am not taking any chances with Warlord now unless I have to, their loss.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

View From The Window

It is not looking too good after a lovely week of sunshine, we got a pile of rain yesterday and it is pretty grim this morning with grey overcast skies, still, nothing like the horrendous weather they have been getting down south. The missus and her friends went to the local brewery on Friday evening and I tagged along, the 'pub' part of the building is very small and to be kind is atmospheric, I could say ramshackle but I won't, but on a dry evening you can find a space outside to sit on a stone, empty barrel or stand by an old round wire holder thing. The beer is cheap, £2.50 a pint, they didn't have 0% obviously and as I was celebrating anyway I took a walk on the wild side and downed a couple. It also helped me cope with four women. There was a famous or semi-famous singer and her group being squeezed into the barn at some point but after a couple of hours it was time to eat and anyway the rain was back just as we left. The little brewery is quite a success story. Nothing else of note although I have ordered up superfast broadband which means digging up the pavement to get it to me also the road through the village to civilisation is being closed in August for 10-12 weeks, that's going to be fun as everything will have to come in and out through narrow country lanes.

Did I tell you about the customer who came in regularly with a tenner to pay £9.10p instead of bringing 10p and getting a pound change? Well he is at it again, one of his payment cards does not work and he has a new one, every week now he hands me the old one, before watching me waste my time swiping it before saying "oh, that doesn't work, try this one!" Why would he keep the one that doesn't work?

I am not a lover of sport as you know, but I was delighted with the Panorama investigation into corruption within the world athletics governing body, can't think of their name, but it centred on squeaky clean Lord Coe and his relationship with the most corrupt family in the sport, how is it these third world despots can run rings around people who should know better. Anyway Coe was of course found out to be a liar and economical with the truth and had mislead a parliamentary commission (that's news). Then came the bit I like best, when confronted by the Panorama journalist he continued his walk of shame, completely ignoring the questions with a polite if strained 'thank you' until he outdistanced them, I love it. Of course nothing will happen to Mr. Clean Up nor will he actually clean up, a bit like Neil Kinnock at the EU.

So here we are, the big news of the week, of the decade or possibly the biggest political upset which the British people have ever delivered, we're OUT. This is schadenfreude for me, as the Remain camp desperately strive to close the stable doors now that the horse has indeed bolted. It is not legal, Parliament can ignore it, we have a petition (see last weeks View on those), it was all the old people (most young people did not bother to vote) and on and on. The frenzy of the defeated is bordering on madness, London should vote to be independent, what rot, London already is a different part of the UK. The Scots want another go at independence, tell her no, that ship has sailed, this was a UK referendum not a Scottish in/out, the Irish nationalists want a go despite knowing it is not going to happen.

So what price Democracy, the system we are ramming down peoples throats around the world, it looks like if you don't get your way, you ignore the result and try everything you can think of, including stamping your feet and going in the huff, until you get your way. This is how democracy works: 17,000,001 For, 17,000,000 Against, the For's win!

My last word, if the EU had reformed itself decades ago, as many people asked them to, then last week would not have happened.

Second last word, I said to the the missus "James Corden says Out is a betrayal of our youth" "James who?" the defence rests m'lud.

Third last word, its over, let's get on and all do the best we can for the country.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Phoenix Show, Rheged Centre

It was a beautiful morning when I set off to Penrith and the Rheged Centre for the first show organised by the West Coast Gamers of Cumbria, I went for three reasons, I had nothing better to do this morning, I thought I would support the endeavour and I wanted to pick up some casualty/pin markers from Warbases and see what else was available.

The centre is forty minutes from me and as I approached it I began to wonder whether leaving the top of the car down was a mistake, it was cool and the horizon was covered in very dark clouds, a bit like Mordor. The centre is like a huge Hobbit house in that it is underground for the most part and you could easily walk past and not realise it is there, the parking is confusing due to all the greenery and I was never sure I was in the right lane or not. I met fellow club member Rob in the car park and we proceeded to try and enter by the wrong door, it really is confusing.

Anyway we made it in and were given a nice map, despite being underground it was very light with plenty of room and being a local show you never quite felt crushed or had to fight to get to a trader, it was well attended by traders for such a small show, many of them local or North of England business's, sadly Warbases did not turn up. There were quite a few games in evidence and they were all well done, and for a change I got to talk to some of the guys at the tables and was actually offered a game of Bolt Action, I respectfully declined but nonetheless had a nice chat with the organisers.

This was a lovely 'To The Strongest' game of Romans vs Greeks, it also shows what a difference a simple game mat can make, I am all for this and think it is money well spent, why spend a fortune on a nice army and plonk it down on a bit of old cloth with the odd bright green tree which looks like a reject from a kids toy box.

The big bridge with the small one in the background.

Medium sized bridge.
 This was the Z1 Design team's lovely Bolt Action table, it also showcased some of their MDF scenery, the bridges in fact, these were very tempting, I may still get the smaller one at some stage, these blokes were very friendly and willing to answer any questions.

Next up was a Fire and Fury brigade game with some lovely troops and terrain. Our newest member at the club, Julian, had got a table and like a lot of wargamers was getting rid of stuff to get more stuff. Rob had played a game of Lord of the Rings and I believe managed to rescue some Hobbits, that too was well done with nice terrain and figures. I didn't want to leave empty handed so went to Warlord to treat myself to a command car, but they did not have what I wanted and the guy was so eager to please I held back telling him he had sold me a duff M10 the week before. As I did a final sweep I saw an MDF paint holder and decided that's for me Tommy. I caught up with Rob again and told him I was off, I had been there about an hour, I might have stuck around longer if the X-Wing tournament had begun but the tables were still empty when I left. Luckily I left the roof up this time as it rained all the way home and is still raining heavily.

My paint rack is great, it does not hold all my pots but the others are mainly doublers or washes so they are in a separate box under the table, but the main thing is now I don't have to hold up half a dozen to find the right one. Oh, and I got my hull hatches from Warlord in the post, so I am good to go on the next two vehicles. You can also see a little palette there, after all these years 'the tray' is being retired only to be used now for spraying, there are so many paint layers on it its weight must have quadrupled at worst.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Bolt Action .... what Action?

Despite everything I haven't played a game for several weeks, usually due to circumstances outwith my control but nonetheless I am gnawing at the bit to get started. Simon has agreed to take part in a mini campaign but he has had other commitments on a Tuesday night recently so it looks like it will be July 5th before we can start. I was going to run through a game here at home and if the weather breaks I still may be able to do this on Sunday, however if it is nice you have to take advantage of the sun when you can and I will be out.

I have almost completed the reflocking of my Dark Age armies so last night I put together my latest vehicles for Bolt Action, a Marder III and an M10 ( read an interesting discussion on names here). I like both, but guess what, for the third time I have had to write to Warlord Games and complain about missing or damaged parts, this time the front hatches on the M10 are missing. I have liked all the Warlord stuff I have bought but I am getting more than peeved off by their quality control, and despite them being on the ball and sorting things out for me it would be better if they made sure things were perfect before I lay out £25.

On the tray.

I am tempted to get a couple of command cars at the show near Penrith tomorrow, if I do I shall check the contents before I leave. Another thing which got on my goat was that despite handing over £25 I had to go online to get the instructions for the M10 and neither it nor the Marder contained a decal sheet. If Warlord are cutting corners then the price should reflect this, they don't have to give the choice of several different Divisions but the vehicles should at least carry national markings.

I am being told I am a painting machine, not really, when I start a project I won't stop until it is finished, this is one reason I do not have the usual lead mountain many other wargamers collect, my mountain being no more than a traffic bump. But once I get to a certain point I do stop and then am loathe to add anything else, for instance no more Dux Brit figures, no more starships, no more WWI stringbags, no more cowboys. I have also just about reached my target for WWII scenery and figures, although I will admit to wanting more vehicles.

I do want to get an enemy for my Romans but this is a project for the winter months so is some time off. That I suspect unless I get someone who has as much spare time as me and can come to my house to allow me to use all this stuff, will be it.

What about Brexit you ask, I shall leave my thoughts on that until the View on Sunday, but let me say that this is only the second time in my life that I have got what I voted for.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Rebel Yell, Yankee Hurrah!

Last night was the first time in about a year I have managed to get my ACW troops on the table, albeit I was umpiring and not playing, I took along some extra troops in case we had to shoe someone in in which case I would have played but we had two vs two and that was more than enough for a small demo. I checked over my scenario books but most required a larger table than 6x4 and those that would fit either had too many or too few troops, so ostensibly the aim of the game was to capture the crossroads, the Union needed it to outflank the Rebs and the Rebs of course needed it to stop this.

The battlefield

 I took along my vast collection of fences, you need a lot of these for ACW and some buildings, the club provided the trees, hills and fields, it looked fine, I also provided the troops, we had two brigades from Hood's division, Stuart had George T. Anderson's Georgians while Andy had the Texans, for the good guys we had the complete First Division, Julian having the famed Iron Brigade and Rob the Second Brigade, both sides had one battery of artillery.

The Texans.

 The Federals had decided to hit the Confederate left, the Iron Brigade ploughed forward while Rob sent a couple of regiments over to help while making a play for the crossroads, leaving his left flank held by two weak regiments supported by the guns. From what I gathered the Reb plan was for  Stuart to advance while Andy more or less held his position.

The Iron Brigade advances.

Stuarts brigade bravely advanced to meet the Iron Brigade but it was obvious the Federals had the numbers and he wisely retired as men started to fall, Julian followed up and formed a firing line and proceeded to whittle down the opposition. The Union guns on the other flank were also taking a toll on the Texans while the Confederate artillery was at times blocked or ineffectual, although they did not really have a decent target.

The Georgians retire to the woods.

 Two of Stuart's regiments broke for the rear after taking horrendous punishment, but managed to halt in the woods although putting them back in the line would have been the act of a very brave commander, the brigade by now had retired into the woods and was still holding on despite being outnumbered and outgunned. The Texans on the other hand had been outflanked, lost a regiment and forced to fall back, once again blocking their artillery.
The Union artillery spot the First Texas.

The Union now held the crossroads, belatedly the Texans moved forward against the Federal left and the First Texas carried out a desperate charge against their tormentors, half way across the cornfield the Union artillery found them and loosed a devastating salvo, this stopped the Texans in their tracks. The game was up, the Union had taken the crossroads, the remnants of the Georgians were about to be flanked and driven from the woods while the Texans were in an untenable position.

How did the wargame go, very well considering the four guys were new to Johnny Reb, although Andy and Rob played a game when I first turned up about two years ago but I don't think that counted for experience. I kept a loose reign on the game and it flowed well, within a few moves everyone could work out their own shooting and morale, it looks complex from the playsheets but really is basic and quick. If I had been Stewart I would not have advanced so far and would have fired on the Iron Brigade much sooner than he did, Julian got in a good volley at the beginning and continued with this effective fire, he quite rightly decided not to throw any charges in as they were not needed, but as the Georgians crumbled a couple at the end would have sealed matters. Despite all this the Georgians fought well, especially the green 59th. The Texans were the key, they should have advanced on Rob's weak flank despite the artillery, this could have been masked by skirmishers and it would have been doubtful, but not impossible, for the small Federal regiments to have held them up. Andy also should have moved his guns to support the Confederate left or at least cover the crossroads better, they did move but too late.

This of course is easy for me to say as I have played JR2 for over 25 years, but I was not wrestling with a new set of rules and under pressure as the shot and shell whizzed by. ACW is played at the club and Longstreet, Black Powder and Fire and Fury Regimental are used at times, I don't mind using any of these rule sets but Johnny Reb remains my set of choice and has served me well for a long, long time.

I hope the lads enjoyed the game as much as I did watching.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Drafty in ere Sarge!

My last (for the time being) house has now been completed, despite not heeding the instructions and testing the build beforehand it has gone up well and I am chuffed, I am especially happy with the brick rubble which is an excellent product. I am going to add the same kind of base to my burned out house as well. I hope to get a game at home in the next month or so in order that I can get all my terrain and troops out in one fell swoop, there is simply too much of it to take safely to the club on a Tuesday night. The missus is again expressing concerns on just where all this stuff will be stored, however I am slowly taking over the Post Office in expectation of the day it closes.

I have completed another map project just fifteen minutes ago, I am now awaiting a new one on the Mongols which should be in by the end of the day, so with a completely spare afternoon, something I now don't get many of I am getting on with a ton of bits and pieces. I have begun to get some pin markers ready for Bolt Action, a load of Dark Age troops are sitting on the sidelines for re-flocking however they are getting left until tonight as I am home alone. I also want to get my thoughts on my Bolt Action mini campaign on paper, in fact I am off to do that right now, I'll cut that new building base out before dinner.

Gommecourt, 1915

Sunday, 19 June 2016

View From The WIndow

It's early and nothing stirs, not even the wind, no, there goes Irvine off to the church to commence his duties, Irvine has lived in the village all his life and is a local character, he was once one of my paperboys albeit he was in his 70's at the time. Even on a holiday he would be outside waiting from 6.15 which basically meant I had to get up early, it took several years before he changed to 6.30. Every now and then he brings us three boxes of eggs, I have no idea where he gets them but they are twice as big as the 'large' eggs you get in the supermarket and on many occasions they have two yolks in them. He takes nothing in return but now and again we give him a donation for the church, he has collected thousands of pounds over the years for the church.

Washington House is getting a make over, two ceilings are being replaced and of course once they were removed it was found the joists were rotten, so another job, and the damp problem which caused the damage to the ceilings has also to be fixed. On top of that the builder has to check with whoever has the last say on historic houses to make sure the work is certified. I believe the price has now come way down from the original, I suspect it will be a long time before I have new neighbours there.

Here in the UK you can sign an online petition and Parliament has to debate it if it gets so many signatures, 100,000 I think, anyway like everything to do with government seemingly that is not true, they can still make a decision not to debate if they really don't want to, it is only a promise to maybe debate the issue. I signed up for them to look again at having ring fenced 0.7% of our national wealth for overseas aid, I could say here that I have no problem with overseas aid but I do, I have read Private Eye, I also know that we give money to countries with nuclear weapons and space programmes, I also know that some of that money ends up in the hands of people who hate us. Anyway the upshot is that I got an email about the 'debate' sent to me and I popped on to see who had been standing up for me and the other 99,999 people who signed up. No one, every single person on the debate (not many it would seem from the transcript) was gushing in how magnanimous, kind and unselfish Britain is and how our standing in the world depended on giving money away willy nilly. Only one person complained and she was not against stopping the 0.7% just about where some part of it went, having been blanked several times she accused the man in charge that he "wilfully will not look at this" and that about sums up the 'debate'. Oh, and the 0.7% was not just plucked out of the blue in case you did not know, it is a UN figure which we have signed up to.

Once again the missus has decided not to watch the news with me because of my running commentary, but this time it was my fury at the man delivering the sports news. Normally I have switched off at that point but because the football is deemed more important than the normal schedule I have to suffer Granada Reports before the real news comes on, hence I am still in front of the box when the sports guy is there. And what is the problem which has caused uproar in the Anderson household, he holds a tablet! He stands there night after night clutching a tablet which he never looks at, why has he got that when he is reading off an autocue, is it to show Granada News is hip and with it and technologically savvy because there can be no other reason to hold the thing. The two at the desk also have abandoned their dust gathering laptops in favour of two more tablets, one each to ignore. Real newsreaders use ..... paper, they always end the night gathering it together, hitting the desk and arranging it in neat rectangles, you watch.

I am on Facebook, there I said it, but as usual I would like to add that I only ever look at wargame pages and of them there is only one I am interested in, the others are standby until an event happens. It really means I can look at nice photos of other peoples wee sojers and be .... wait ...... I'll get it ..... inspired, inspired to paint my stuff. But you get this rubbish on the side from Facebook and one intrigued me the other day, Bindi Irwin shared a photo of self wearing tank top. Who the hell is Bindi Irwin and what was she doing with a self wearing tank top, and why would anyone be interested, I just had to click. Bindi is the daughter of the late, annoying Steve Irwin and her job is TV Personality and she wore a tank top, when will this madness end.

This is Bindi Irwin.

Have you ever been pulled up for pronouncing food incorrectly, this is the latest fad to allow people to feel superior to you, do we really have so much spare time we have to take lessons in pronouncing espresso, Sriracha (?), Chipotle or Quinoa correctly. If I ask the girl at the deli to give me a piece of choreezo she and I both know what it is and I have no fear of being sent to the corner with a pointy hat on.

The big news this week of course was the murder of MP Joe Cox. The only thing more disgusting than the vile murder of Jox Cox is the frenzy surrounding the motive of the madman who perpetrated the act.

So, it is fathers day, I have opened my cards from my sons and enjoyed the well wishes from my grandchildren, my wife has promised to make me a fry up and you cannot beat a fry up to start the day. There are several gardens open to the public in the village today, and if the rain stays away I might pop around to look at a neighbours, I am not a gardener but I can appreciate a nice garden and it will also get me out of the house, that is if the rain stays away.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Phalanx 2016

I set off early this morning to Phalanx at St. Helens run by the local wargame club, the St. Helens Spartans, this is the third time I have been there and despite having the Satnav I still found it a chore to get to. I took the logical routes the last twice and got lost, this time I knew that if I went to J21A and turned right I would just be about there, I ignored the Satnav which told me to get off at J24 because I knew better, but I didn't. J24 she screamed, nope 21A then you can pick up from there, J23, no, J22 bloody well no, J21A off and took wrong turn, oops, although a Satnav cannot say "I told you so" I knew what she was implying. I obeyed her instructions on the way back.

I have some photos of the show, not many and they are rubbish, partly due to the lighting and partly due to me not being David Bailey, the lighting was bad, so bad I checked to see if I had on the right glasses when I walked through the door. I also think my camera needs resetting, I am sure I touched something at some point. Anyway first stop was The Last Valley, I got the long hedges I wanted but he had not brought any half lengths, so a tad disappointed I got some small tree's which will be perfect for an orchard, he knocked a couple of quid off the trees so fair enough. My last hope now is that my friend Matt will pick them up for me next month.

That done I decided to do the rounds of the traders before going any further, I got some bits and pieces and talked myself into getting that Marder and Achilles, I was lucky on the latter as they only had one as it is usually a mail order only piece, so a win there, but it was pricey.

I then stopped by to talk to Michael and Simon Curtis of 1st Corps and Curtey's miniatures, the lads should be at the next WAC gaming weekend and we may even cross swords. I saw some beautifully painted medieval archers on the stand along with some excellent Airborne jeeps and lo and behold they do squad packs of late war Germans and British, these too were nicely painted and had a lot of character. The Germans particularly intrigued me as they were late war and in shirt sleeves, so I bought a pack, a bit chunkier than the Artizan Germans, more akin to Black Tree, but perfect for the summer of '44, they are also working on adding more to their WWII range so I shall be keeping an eye on these. I will get a British squad later as well.

The games, there were quite a few but all looked more or less what you would expect on a club night, only the Sudan game stuck out for me. Only one person engaged me in conversation while I took my mostly useless photos and he was doing some weird modern game akin to Nato meets Chaos, not my thing but he was hard to get away from. I did another quick swoop at 11.15 hrs, I had been there an hour at that point and even then several tables had been abandoned or left with one uninterested punter sitting on the corner head buried in a new purchase.

Sudan 1
Sudan 2

Yes, brrrrr, Frostgrave again.
Ronin Hood.
This was beautiful
I keep promising myself to have a word with my next door neighbour as he is a photographer or at least get him to look at my camera, the array of settings just dazzles me.

My haul.
 Apart from the terrain and vehicles, the haul includes the 1st Corps German squad, more summer grass, pin markers and green paint for bases.

I decided to build my last building this weekend and set to with a will, I have made a hash of it and it is taking twice as long as it should. Not Charlie Foxtrot's fault I must add, but mine, I did not heed the instructions or warnings but just went ahead as I knew better. My building is the wrong way around as I put the wallpaper on the wrong sides, and because of this I then had to put the nice etched wood floor in the wrong way around, so I then had to print off a new wood floor and stick it in. I have put it all to the side while I cool down and take out my frustrations on the keyboard.


Thursday, 16 June 2016


I have ticked off several things on my project list over the last few days, the new building, the Bren gun team and now my latest vehicles for Bolt Action, this leaves one building and the other half of the reflocking to do.

These two transports are Father's Day presents from my sons, one each, this helps enormously as I have a large list of vehicles I want, nay, need. First up is the iconic SdKfz 251 Ausf. D, I went for another take on late war camouflage, so nothing is standardised with my Germans, and after checking things out online this is pretty much realistic. I have added some stowage and was toying with adding some greenery as it was popular on armoured vehicles in Normandy but for the moment I am leaving it as it is. The rear machine gun points up as this was the best angle to glue it to the rear mount, there is no decent connection on the top of it and I think this way it will be safer or not as easy to knock off. There is just something about this machine, it is undeniably cool and I like its little brother the 250 even more.

For the British it should have been an M5, but after seeing some pictures of the only one available and the shoddy work on the metal parts I decided on the plastic M3. The first thing you will notice is the lack of weapons, British practice was to use these only to transport the infantry to the battle, not to use the vehicle in a support role so in the main these, unlike the American versions, have no guns. I have also been sparing with the transfers as most photographs of the real thing do not show a lot of markings, especially the stars, so I will put the air identification star with the circle on and go easy on the others.

These were very easy kits to put together and paint, I had a slight problem with the M3 body but nothing a bit of pressure couldn't put right. I have an urge for a couple of tank destroyers next, maybe a Marder and an Achilles.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The X-Factor

Club night last night and as usual I left everything to the last minute, I did however manage to knock a list up for our X-Wing game before leaving the house. We were fairly early as Dan was opening up as we arrived, however over the next half hour or so we ended up with almost a full house and a newcomer. One boardgame, one card game, a Warmaster ancients do a demo of Sharpe Practice for Julian the new guy, and of course our four way X-Wing game.
Full house.

It was Andrew and son Alfred vs Simon and myself, we had Rebels and the opposition were 'Pirates' for want of a better name, a mix of Scum and Rebel ships. Simon and Andrew can tell you how many rivets are on each ship, Alfred might also know a bit about the Star Wars Universe but as I gave up when the Teddy Bears arrived I just like the little starships. Because Simon and Andrew know more than me they tool up their ships with all sorts of upgrades, I on the other hand prefer to keep things simple that way I don't buy upgrades and then completely forget to use them. Which is why I always feel frightened when I see the opposition.

It was a straight up dogfight and I went for a B-Wing with a decent pilot, a heavy laser cannon and a hull upgrade to keep her alive, I think it's a her as you never know with these names. The escort was three Rookie X-Wings, these were meat shields and I did not expect them to last long, Simon took his new ship, the Ghost, a nice looking thing with a small shuttle which when docked allows him to fire to the rear or it can detach and become a small fighter on its own account, with a pile of upgrades this only left enough points for two bog standard A-Wings as escorts. Andrew and Alfred had a selection of large ships a Hounds Tooth,YT-2400, Punishing One along with a Y-Wing, Z95 and an X-Wing.

We gang up on poor Alfred.
As we deployed it was obvious we had an opportunity to gang up on on the enemy as they had a large gap between their forces, Alfred was the weakest so we decided to hit him first, he was up against my squadron and the Ghost, a tough challenge. Even so I thought my boys were in for a hard time, but no as the range closed Alfred's small fighters bit the dust, I set them up and the Ghost with the ability to deal four hits without fear of saving rolls, finished them off. This is an astonishing trait and means that if you are fighting this thing you have to hit it with everything you have to kill it quickly. Andrew nearly managed this at one point but it limped along with one or two hull points left.

The enemy about to receive a lot of hurt.
We lost an A-Wing very quickly in the fight but Andrew then spent a lot of time trying to hunt down his mate while Alfred struggled against our main forces, the Pirates were feeding their ships in piecemeal. It was at this point I pulled off a neat piece of flying and doubled back to take out the Y-Wing, I was so chuffed I took a photo.

X-Wings on the Port Bow captain.

The YT-2400 also bit the dust and I had only lost one X-Wing. The Hound had decided to come my way while the Punishing was now annoyed by the remaining A-Wing, the badly injured Ghost was also over in that area and the little shuttle had detached and was also worrying the Punishing. What a strange name for a starship.

I had to make a decision and brave the asteroids in order to despatch the Hound, I was lucky and took no damage, however I did lose another X-wing as the Punishing fired from long range, but the Hound could not escape and went up in pieces. The writing was on the wall my remaining two ships were hardly touched and the Punishing had only two hull points left as it headed for hyperspace.

My squadron had performed brilliantly, the Rookies more than held their own and the firepower of the B-Wing's heavy laser cannon was the real punisher. A great game which at the mid point despite my write up looked like turning against us, however the enemy could not concentrate enough firepower were separated and picked off one by one. My thanks to everyone for an exciting game.

From a wargaming point of view I started off a bit ropy with the dice but this picked up in the latter half of the game and I dealt out a lot of damage with that cannon, the concentrated fire of my squadron backed up by the Ghost was a formidable challenge for Andrew and Alfred. It is no fun taking those four hits each turn, on the other hand the ship has only one saving die and despite shields and a large number of hull points can be taken down quickly if picked on, ours only managed to stay alive by the skin of its teeth.

Next week it is American Civil War with Johnny Reb, I last managed an outing with this last summer when my mate Billy came down from Scotland, so I am looking forward to it.