Monday, 30 September 2013

Star Trek "To Boldly Go" (again) in the Revamped Original

Orbiting a huge red planet or Sun going "super-nova" the USS Enterprise (as per the original "Motion Picture" film version) prepares to engage its "warp" drive (see below):

OK so you may have guessed having seen "Issue 2" (at a slightly inflated price £5.99 from Issue 1's bargain of £1.99) I found myself (once again) having no self control and purchased it alongside the milk and bread on the shopping list. Returning home I had a genius idea of simply adding USS Enterprise to the bottom of the shopping list, but the wife was not to be so simply fooled!

Now to find a bogus use for it ;)

STOP PRESS UPDATE: Small child of three engages USS Enterprise in Saturday morning 'play session'. There was only ever going to be one winner and the USS Enterprise lay in pieces. Can you hear my wife's mocking laughter in the background? Interesting to note the small chap seems to have been sophisticated enough to use dice. The roll of 3, 4 and 12 on the "critical systems table" must have indicated a massive structural failure, perhaps even highlighting a design fault!

What would Captain James T Kirk done in this situation? Well obviously he would never have gotten himself into such a jam. instead by reversing "Times" polarity, adding in a few faster than light quarks for god measure and THE USS Enterprise would have reassembled itself. My version required the aid of a packet of super-glue (see below):   

"All is well that ends well." 

The "spaceships" of my Federation Fleet are now resting on a much higher (and hidden from prying little eyes) shelf.

 Note: This also means my youngest son has 'done the double' by taking out the "Second Generation" and "Original Motion Picture Film" USS Enterprise(s). Who knows, in a future post there may well be comparative study on Klingon and Romulan starship design versus "the deadly hand of a small child"?

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Peloponnesian Stirrings: Preparation for the First Battle of Mantinea

As the first signs of Autumn are seen with the cold mornings and reddening night sky thoughts turn to unfinished business in the Peloponnese circa 418 BC.

The Hoplite battle of Delium of 424 BC settled matters conclusively in Boetia against the Athenian Empire. However since that time political agitators have set in play machinations to embolden the Athenian Assembly again, this time to attempt to stage a devastating coup in Sparta's back yard (an early form of domino theory) by coxing Argos into battle with its traditional enemy Sparta ("boo hiss").

This led to the epic hoplite clash of arms at Mantinea in 418 BC dubbed as the "classical Greek v Greek hoplite battle". I hope to play this battle before Xmas 2013 or early 2014. In the meantime I have to count figures and doubtless paint a few more (it would be a shame if I didn't) and finally get round to reading the big "Thucydides" (before Xmas, no light matter).

I plan a reading campaign on three fronts. An old battered paper copy (see above) plus a new fangled digital version (FREE) of the same thing as an iBook on my iPhone and then I have "The Landmark Thucydides" (see below) to cross reference places to maps if (or rather when) I get lost trying to find where things are or in some cases were.

I also have a nice large map from "The Pelloponnesian War" board game from Victory Games I map resort to sticking pins into.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Curious Case of Roze Zara (No Pictures)

This was a novel twist to an old trick,but this time with a pretty face to honey trap you in.

A comment posted in relatively good English asking for a blogging engine recommendation (curious as I am using Googles' already), but then slips in some dubious links for the unwary at the end

Cardsharing Server | Cccam Server | Best Cardsharing Server

"Roze" really, I'm a married man!

The Oldest Game of War (I Play): Chess

After twenty five years of inactivity the "local" Chess Club have enticed me back with an "old beginners class".

Naturally I was annihilated four times by better players (one humorously very drunk, while I was getting a little bit mellow myself). My highlight of the night was a proudly staged a Dunkirk style evacuation from the board in one game, making my opponent fight for every inch and pawn of the board. It will probably take me four years of practice before I come back with a D-Day win.

Missed rolling a dice though, it didn't quite seem to qualify as a game because of that! Good fun and the "leaning curve" has started all over again.


Friday, 27 September 2013

Winter Club Project: Thirty Years Year Campaign

Something for the "dark winter nights" sir? A wargame campaign seething with historical religious persecution and long standing injustices, backed with frequent and bloody battles? Welcome to the Thirty Years War and all that that entails. 

This inevitably will be a long runner, so the campaign system is taken from a tried and tested GMT board game (called surprisingly "The Thirty Years War") and is a card driven system which produces much variety within a believable historical framework (see below): 

The figures are beautiful 25/28mm, shown above are horse (Pistols), Hoards of angry Peasants and the deadly "shot". I cannot explain why I didn't put some Pike into the frame too as they are still a force to be reckoned with. Classic stuff. Suitable battles will be carried to the tabletop and translated into DBR armies dependant upon the quantity and composition of counters in the campaign armies. My only misgiving is the rule set (DBR) but at least in this period it is 'far less complicated' than its ancient DBM cousin. My favoured Impetus rule set, to my incomplete knowledge, does not seem to have stretched to the 30YW (yet)

I have also been requested to paint some 'cavalry' if possible (see below):

I will have to make a trip up into the 'loft' to see if I have any suitable ECW or 30YW figures. Spiders beware here I come! IMHO it is always good to try and link a painting project with a (long running) campaign so that before the end of the said campaign you can boast fielding a 'new unit' of troops into the fray.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Finishing off those PBI "Late War" Platoon 20 British Infantry

At last a bit of progress with my Platoon 20 Late War British Infantry. I need these for all my planned future games of "Chain of Command". Therefore vital work for the war effort! 

The factory production line managed to put a shift in over the weekend. As a result the eighteen Platoon 20 figures still designated "WIPs" were all webbed up with "Khaki" and whiter highlights here and there, plus their boots were touched up with modest grey highlight (see below):

They are standard infantry poses (the eight at the back, see above and below), two sets of very useful 50mm mortar figures (middle, see above and below), crewmen for the bigger three inch mortar and three useful lying prone infantry figures destined to be PIAT assistants (see above and below):  

Next: The Fleshy Parts!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

KM Blucher (Continued) : Front bit done ...

The main mast and associated tricky bits have all gone onto the front (bow) end of the ship.The construction, moving as per the instructions, moves down the middle sides fitting in the various things that poke up here and there, stop me if I get too technical (see below): )

All-in-all it's coming together nicely!

Note: Please see the upgraded canteen facilities this week of "cup of tea and mini muffin" ;)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

KM Blucher's "Upper Works" Started

The front upper works of the KM Blucher have started to take on some of its sinister shape (see below): 

The only concern here is to avoid the "leaning tower" look, by allowing the plastic once glued to dry solidly into place. The temptation is to 'rush' however the model is showing its age. Not fitting together with "clinical precision' meant that there were a few moments of glue and hold while sipping mouthfuls of tea. Eventually I got there. Almost two thirds of the way there I think (to an unpainted model).   

Monday, 23 September 2013

Danger, Danger ... Linked-In Phish Alert

Nearly got caught out by this one as nefarious criminal masterminds are always at work on the net

Thankfully this threat was thwarted by my Anti-Virus software but a relatively authentic looking request "to connect to" was/is a hidden trojan.

By clicking on View Profile (and I guess if you do Accept) a nasty little bit of malware (not the Ben 10 Alien type) will try and run (installing said trojan))

Just passing the message on as the Internet is a jungle out there! If in doubt go through LinkedIn proper to do your research/review ;)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Mediterranean 1914/1915 including Gallipolli Books (Naval) - Notes to Self

For me there are the big five main reference works to the Naval situation in the Mediterranean during the early period of WWI. You cannot escape the mass of detail in the Official/Unofficial Admiralty (endorsed if not actively sponsored the RN) of the  Naval History of WWI by Sir Julian Corbett (see below):

"Naval operations (History of the Great War based on official documents, by direction of the Historical section of the Committee of Imperial Defence)"

In addition there are two other books by Dan Van Der Vat (nope that' his real name fokes) worthy of reading. First, there is his "one that got away" the SMS Goeben book (see below):

Then there is the follow on story about the (naval) events were a consequence of the fiasco (see below):

What was also fascinating was the finding of a FREE digital copy (courtesy of Microsoft and Toronto University) of the book published privately in the 1920's (at the Admiral's own expense) by the Senior British Naval Officer (C-in-C of the Mediterranean Fleet) basically defending his decision-making and actions (see below): 

All of this rich history has a certain connection with Sir Winston Churchill, sadly not in a positive light. 

As a good overview read of WWI Naval in general  you cannot go wrong with "Castles of Steel" (see below):

I feel a stirring in my "dreadnought 1/3000 fleets" before Xmas 2013 (perhaps 2014 would be more appropriate)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Interesting US Modern (Naval) Site URL

PS Navwar: I'll get there in 1/3000 eventually, but I've just got to finish off the WWI and WWII fleets first, the 1982 Falklands Conflict then I can get into the 21st Century

Friday, 20 September 2013

WWII Naval KM Blucher (Cont): "The Main Armament"

Construction continues apace in the German Naval yards (see below):

Assisted by the strong cup of tea (the absolute vital ingredient to a Sunday afternoon modelling stint while the kids watch TV at Granddads) the KM Blucher gets her main 8" armament in place (see below):

Just a question of catching up with the superstructure now!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Trains ...

And my eldest brother likes model trains ...

I'm saying nothing ...

... as people who live in glass houses cannot throw stones, especially if they want to be allowed to play with the trains [subtle hint Big Bruv!] even if eventually ;)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chain of Command: "The First Game" (Part V)

Windy Corner turns "Nasty":

The combined efforts of three (and a half) MG42 Teams were trained on the valiant Bren gun section covering the extreme right of the British line, giving the position the nickname of "Windy Corner". The MG42's continuous fire strangely makes little or no immediate impression thanks to the hard cover and bad German dice throws (see below):

However this allows the British commander (ahem, me) to become completely complacent regarding this exposed and potentially dangerous position. Suddenly the British Bren were no longer returning any fire as "They were all dead sir!" and with that the British left flank crumbled (see below)

The British Counter-Attack on the Right:

Meanwhile a mad (but nevertheless brave) British corporal had his "dander" up and decided to lead the remaining men (four from the original six) of his section in a 'do or die' charge on the "hedge of death". (see below):

The umpire drily then informed me that the Germans 'all things considered' had slightly more dice than me (gulp) and my hopes of a 'quick win' were somewhat diluted. The dice were rolled and the 'bloody fight' saw the British come out on top two dead to the German four dead (see below):

Revise that, the German NCO was moving and only wounded so was promptly taken prisoner! (see below)

The only German remaining, the MG42 gunner, had seen enough and was (literally) heading off table. (see below):

And there gents we had to call it as playing time on the night ran out.

Despite the heroic counter-attack the British position was looking perilous. Discretion was looking far more plausible than valour as the Germans were winning on body count. Still the valuable German NCO prisoner should count for something back at Company HQ.

All0-in-all a good run out with the rules and lots of food for though. I will definitely be trying Chain of Command out again!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Chain of Command: "The First Game" (Part IV)

"Smoke, Smoke! Give me Smoke!". I found the world is a much better place once you get your support assets on table. British Infantry should go nowhere until it gets a 50mm mortar (or bigger - sadly my 81mm was still stuck 'off table' in limbo for all game) on table! (see below): 

With the deadly MG42 now out of line of sight of the British Infantry and hence quiet, the Tommies could regain some of their "stiff upper lip" composure by removing all of their nasty shock markers. In fact they got so cocky that they prepared for a counter attack straight across the lane into the "hedge of death" (see below):  

The Bren section crept around the corner of the field in order to give some covering fire assistance. I think this might be called tactics? (see below):

Meanwhile the German player activated his menacing ensemble of MG42 squads (see below): 

All this fancy German movement (see below) put three full strength MG42 squads and one damaged MG42 team (which was now actually no more than "a single [dangerous] sman holding onto a MG42 but still rolling seven dice instead of ten) all concentrating on the British left flank, in particular one covering Bren section. 

I think that is called fire-power.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Chain of Command: "The First Game" (Part III)

The Advance: 

A Bren section (on over-watch) covers the advance across "Muddy Somme Field" with no Germans in sight (see below):

Suddenly it turns into a race to the hedge line. A British rifle section pitted against an MG42 team (gulp!). I do hope the British still teach the "mad minute" in infantry training (see below):

Speaking of MG42 teams, here are another two moving up and positioning themselves on the left (see below):

The British rifle section wins the race and manned the hedge line with four rifles who pour fire on the German MG42 team as it moves into position, but only manage to give them one shock counter (see below):

Note: Sadly one "shock" in the Chain of Command rules does not adversely effect the German's performance :( 

Memorable moment in my wargaming history #1

Good Dice: Needing 5's and 6's to hit the (the Germans targets being in hard cover) the left hand flank Bren opens up and gets a spectacular five out a maximum six hits. That takes out three out of a four man MG42 team and gives the left flanks "a turn or two" breathing space :) 

But ... "What goes around  comes around!"

The MG42 team pours return fire back into the "British hedge line" and the British PBI learn to respect the MG42 the hard way (see below):  

It is getting quite "sticky" in "Somme Field". If only the British has a "smoke maker" (50mm mortar asset or the 81mm FOO in the British Order of Battle).

Next: Anybody got a smoke?

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Chain of Command: "The First Game" (Part II)

The Germans start showing up at their JUMP OFF POINTS. A German Panzer Grenadier section, that's two MG42 teams (yes that's two, count them) lining a hedge (see below):

Another section of Panzer Grenadiers take hold of the building in the centre of the table (yes that is now four teams of MG42's to look out for) and seal off two of the three corners to the Tommies portion of the battlefield (see below):

The final section is sealed by yet another section of Panzer Grenadiers (gulp, that is six MG42 teams) as the Tommies hear the receding noise of the German Hanomags. The British have been hindered in their deployment by a German pre-game barrage (see below): 

Finally the British manage to get three infantry sections and a senior officer onto the table but no immediate supports. I did not realise how important this was as the the British infantry relies on the 50mm mortar to supply smoke cover for the rifle sections advance. Advancing without this asset is a treacherous business. The British start advancing across the 'muddy' field (see below):

This whole thing does not look "safe" to me, oh how I wish I had the back-up cover of smoke. With hindsight perhaps I should have stayed put until the platoons supports arrived (see below):

Does anyone remember a battle called "The Somme"?

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Chain of Command takes centre stage ("The First Game" Part I)

A new set of (skirmish) rules from the TooFat Lardies to save my 20mm WWII collection from wargaming limbo, hurray :)

I have heard many positive things regarding the TooFatLardies but I (ahem, confession time) have never played a game 'under one of their sets of rules', so this was a first for me! The game takes about forty figures a side, plus or minus some support weapons and a vehicle or two. Prefect for my 20mm collection, but the big plus is that it lies on the "innovative side" of the wargaming landscape packed with interesting  mechanisms :)

First the table was filled with gorgeous 'club terrain' (see below): 

We even put the roof on the house, can you spot the difference? (see below):

Then followed the "interesting" PATROL PHASE, which is a very cunning new game mechanic to master (yes you may sense the caution in my description to be a case of me 'getting it rather wrong' when I first tried it). Strange large PATROL markers (not actual figures) moving around the board certainly built up the tension. This represented a pre-game reconnaissance phase (see below):

I thought I had a cunning 'flexible formation' but it turned out instead to be a 'circling the wagons' (see above) for some lean and mean Panzer Grenadiers to surround me with MG42's. Thankfully I was oblivious to the danger at this early point in the game. When fixed by proximity to enemy markers, the PATROL counters get transformed into safe JUMP OFF POINTS where 'real troops can start to move onto the table  (see below, note the 'slightly' smaller markers):

Then the game starts proper. You roll COMMAND DICE (yet another cunning mechanic to master, ahem) to see what (in your order of battle) you can activate and then the fun really begins as troops start to appear on table. They can be placed within six inches of friendly JUMP OFF POINTS (see below):

My first section of my 1944 British Infantry Platoon (a friends nicely painted Valiant miniatures), hunkered defensively down in a small corner of a French field on "over-watch" wondering what was going to happen next!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Painting Tray Update - 1944 Platoon 20 Tommies

As promised, next mini-project on top of the painting table is the Platoon 20 1944 British Infantry collection. Just a case of some extra infantrymen and support weapons to complete (see below):

Thankfully I was organised enough to post my WWII Late War British Infantry painting guide instructions to this 'blog' all those years back (2009). Unprecedented foresight on my part!

PS The healthy cycling helmet on the table is not mine ;)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

1/720-1/600 WWII Naval Arms Race

The German WWII Naval response to the latest RN Destroyer acquisition (aka HMS Kipling) is the KM Blucher (sister ship to the KM Admiral Hipper). A ship with an interesting demise in Norwegian waters in 1940, as to be the only ship I know of (and that knowledge is not necessarily encyclopaedic) to be sunk by land based torpedoes (built ironically by Krupps of Germany)! Serves you right for invading a foreign country I guess (see below):

This one could be a very 'slow build' as it has been strategically placed at my fathers and gets some Sunday attention while the children are playing in the garden (or more likely watching Cartoon Network on the TV) and I quietly slip upstairs to the back room with a cup of tea ;)

What rules I hear you ask? Fletcher Pratt on a very large grass lawn methinks!