Tuesday 30 March 2010

Aeronef The Movie

Tony Harwood spotted this and posted it on his blog first, but in case you didn't spot it, 45 seconds of aeronef in action goodness:

Monday 29 March 2010

Lost Squad

Real world work has put a severe crimp in wargames orientated activities, but the good news is that I have eventually got my iMac back from having a new logic board fitted (and also now own a nifty little MacBook as well - on which I am writing this entry in front of the TV!).

Taking the week before Easter off (mainly to act as Saul's taxi as the choir are in and out all week at odd times in the run up to Easter even though his class mates are on holiday), I have actually got into the games room and today re-undercoated my 6mm ONESS Germans, started making up 1/1000th scale models of ironclad-era HMS Collingwood and HMS Inflexible and pondered sticking together a wonderful Dwarf War Golem kindly sent to me by Lieutenant Brittan who runs the Leviathan blog.

Anyway, short of newly painted metal/plastic/resin to show you I thought I'd bring Lost Squad to your attention...

Lost Squad is a comic book about a US Army special forces unit used when a mission is too weird for regular troops. The blurb says it is the "Dirty Dozen by way of the X-Files" and I think this sums it up perfectly. It doesn't take itself too seriously and is crammed full of Nazi occult magi, zombies and rocket troops. The artwork is great and though the German weaponry and uniforms aren't 100% accurate, sometimes not even 75%, it just adds to the overall off-beat nature of the stories. Examples of the artwork can be found on this Lost Squad blog.

If you are interested in Weird War Two and like it laced with supernatural elements, then check the Lost Squad out, the only disappointment is the lack of a second volume!

Thursday 18 March 2010

Great War German Assault Company

Taking a couple of days off, I have managed to finish my 20mm German Assault Company for Warhammer Historical's Great War rules. A mix of old Revell and Emhar WWI Germans they did suffer from a varnishing disaster which they have only partially recovered from...

Given the fact that the idea was to knock them out quickly using dip painting I have decided against repainting the lot and gave some of the worst helmets a quick drybrush with German Field Grey so they didn't look like they'd been whitewashed(!) They look ok on the table and I'm not too worried they wouldn't win a Golden Demon award...

The figures are a bit of a mix quality wise. The Emhar ones are interesting miniatures and come with some useful officer figures. They have some nice details and poses, however the detail is a bit hit and miss and the helmets unconvincing. That said they look ok when painted.

The Revell ones are much better, although sadly at this moment out of production. Good box this one and worth hunting down on eBay.

I've just picked up some Caesar WWI Germans that (typically of Caesar) look really good and will mix them in with these when making up a second company. I also bought a box of HaT's German Heavy Weapons which contains some useful Mp18 armed troops and some carrying captured Lewish guns (a shame as I'd just converted three with weapons snipped from the Emhar Brits. That said this worked well and I decided to make up a couple of teams for the Brits using the HaT Canadians, though I need to finish these off with Divisional markings.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Pax Romana

Apologies for the dearth of posts but my Mac had to go in for repairs (still there) and work took me away to sunny Lisbon and not so sunny Dublin. Whilst that meant no painting I have been reading a lot and ploughed through a selection of Roman historical novels.

First off is the latest Macro and Cato, Gladiator from Simon Scarrow. On their return from service in the Middle East the intrepid duo are forced ashore on an earthquake ravaged Crete, where a slave rebellion is underway led by a mysterious gladiator...

Whilst very readable this is probably the first Scarrow I've not 100% enjoyed. The Spartacus inspired plot is obvious and some potential big set piece battles missed, such as an assault on Gortyna by the slave army. Not bad, but Scarrow has done better.

Second on the list is Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome (Part Two): King of Kings. Set in the 3rd century AD, the book falls into three main sections, with the key military action in the last third (the first two parts are interesting insights into political, religious and civilian life).

Although set over 300 years after Ben Kane's Forgotten Legion, the story and fate of Valerian's expedition against the Persians is very similar to that of Crassus, to the extent I did wonder if I'd already read the Sidebottom book!

Despite the similarities caused by the Roman's repeating the mistakes of history I am really looking forward to the third and final book in this trilogy.

Finally the third book was an impulse purchase of a book I was going to ignore (just how many Roman army books can a man read?!), but am glad I didn't.

Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches is set on Hadrian's Wall in the late 2nd century and, despite its cover, concerns itself with an auxiliary unit and its new centurion, hiding from the 'justice' of a crazed Emperor. Despite potentially ticking every cliche box (old grizzled vet befriends young inexperienced noble), Riches neatly side steps any obvious (Macro/Cato, Sharpe/Harper) comparisons and in many respects the book reminded me of Rosemary Sutcliff's excellent Frontier Wolf. Of the three books this was the one that got me thinking about buying miniatures!

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Blue Force

A few years back North Star began releasing a range of 36mm (1/48th) Weird War Two models under the title of Projekt X. One thing led to another and Nick at North Star asked me to develop a game for the figure range. Matthew Hartley concentrated on the rules system and I worked on developing a coherent background with the emphasis on a still top secret history and classified scientific experiments, researching a lot of secret weapons ideas and units in the process.

Whilst we successfully demoed the game at Salute in 2004, Nick decided to give up on the idea so I decided that Wessex Games would release it as Geheimkrieg, removing any Projekt X references whilst keeping the core of what I'd developed. Part of this background is the British Blue Force, a top secret organisation dedicated to fighting the secret Nazi menace.

Subsequent to this Rob Broom at Scarab Miniatures has bought the Projekt X line (including these miniatures) and is developing his own rules and background so rather bizarrely we'll probably end up with Blue Force appearing in two games, which is kind of cool!

Anyway, what about the miniatures. Richard Ansell sculpted a small range of Blue Force miniatures, working in conjunction with me as I fed him background and weapon developments for the Allied secret forces. All the photos here are from the models I painted for the game back in 2004.

The Death Ray (above) is my favourite. Based on the real-life research of Harry Grindell Matthews, the model itself was based on a front cover drawing of a large Death Ray downing a Stuka over England on the cover of an old Fortean Times. The article from the magazine can be read here.

The Magnetron Gun is also based on real science (though its effects are exaggerated). The research which led to microwave ovens also led to the discovery of magnetrons and for a short while they were considered for military use. The sten gunner is a converted WWII Brit from the regular North Star 36mm WWII range.

The Battlesuits were Britain's answer to the German Mechannischritter and without the access to the high tech the Germans had, the Brits developed a hydraulic exo-skeleton to propel an armoured battlesuit across the battlefield. Lovely models by Richard, this are just so British looking and quite archaic compared to their German equivalents (the sniper at the top of the page sports a Boyes AT rifle as an anti-Mechannischritter weapon).

So what about Geheimkrieg? Well it's still in line to be published, Matthew is currently developing some optional rules to allow players to play the game using 15mm miniatures on Flames of War style multiple bases which should expand its usefulness to Weird War gamers.