Friday 31 December 2010

Another Year Over...

I don't normally 'do' resolutions but I am going to try and be a little bit more organised going into the New Year. No doubt like all plans it won't survive contact with the enemy (ie. real life) but it won't hurt to try to focus on a few things rather than my usual scatter-gun approach.

So what am I going to (try and) focus my efforts on in 2011?

1. Ancient Wargaming Project: this is the one to kick the New Year off with. I actually have two (and a half) in mind. First off are the 28mm Romans (both EI and Republican) v Celts which will be the initial focus of my January painting and possibly later in the year the Peloponnesian War.

2. WW2 Project: my mid-war Flames of War project was still born but I did manage not to amass piles of lead and resin during the year. I'd still like to do this but will first try and finish the 20mm Battlefield Evolution WW2 project.

3. Blog Projects: I have three specific blog projects on the go, England Prevails, Grande Age of Hyboria and New Worlde. I'd like to crack on with the 2ECW as my urban terrain ideas will also be useful for 40K and WWW2. New Worlde will be a slow burner but one I'd like to keep ticking over during the year as I build up warbands. Grande Age has been a bit of a struggle as I re-discovered I hate painting Napoleonic figures but as I have almost finished my first unit I will return to it (I'm sure it will look good when some stuff is painted).

4. SF Project: I would like to do something non-40K and have an idea in mind but it will be a case of finding suitable miniatures so this will be ticking over in the back of my mind until then.

5. Reclaim the Games Room: ...and play some games in it!

6. Finish two WHFB and 40K armies for Saul: the Dwarves and Space Marines won't take much effort as they are 80% done if not more, but I need to crack on with either the Elves or Goblins and Tyranids or Eldar for him.

And, of course, this doesn't include a pile of Wessex Games projects!

Typing it up, it does look a bit ambitious and I might see if dedicating a month to a particular project might be helpful in focussing efforts on specific things, who knows? Whatever, I hope you all have a great New Year and prosperous 2011 and thank you all for reading the blog!

Thursday 30 December 2010

The Eagle (Of The Ninth)

Having bundled Saul off to the local GW with his Space Marines I've got a couple 0f hours to mess around with some bits of plastic before SWMBO comes home. Earlier in the year I picked up a pile of Early Imperial Romans for a snip off eBay and with my Roman reading frenzy showing no end at the moment I dug out the boxes of Wargames Factory and Warlord Games Celts and have started sticking bits together.

The latest book to be finished off was Rosemary Sutcliff's classic The Eagle of the Ninth. I actually had bad memories of the book, having been given a copy as a kid and struggling with it before giving up, however a few decades later and having enjoyed Frontier Wolf, I decided to give it another go and enjoyed it immensely (ploughing straight into the next in the "series" The Silver Branch).

I am also looking forward to the release of the film of the book, The Eagle, next March. The trailer looks pretty good if you are not going to get too het up by the 'mohican' look of the Seal People and can accept the changes to the story (the relationship between Aquila and Esca is clearly different and it looks like there might be a major difference to the ending with what appear to be survivors of the Ninth fighting the Seal People near the end of the trailer).

2011 might be a bit of an ancients year...

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Duck Wader

The final figure of Saul's Critter Commandos collection is Duck Wader. He must have been available separately a while back as now he only appears to come in a back of 'stormbunnies' that I really don't like at all. One day I'll order the Jettdri Knights - Duck Swampwalker and Benji Canoby, to go with him, but as a stand alone figure he's quite fun.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Sergeant Duck & Fleecy Company

With the Killer Death Penguins sorted I needed to get some OpFor figures and decided to go with ducks! Team Frog's Duck squad contains four figures, but (like the penguins) I haven't had a chance to paint the power armour/duck robot yet.

I was a bit stumped initially on what colour to paint the ducks, brown or maybe black like Daffy? In the end a bit of Googling of cartoon ducks (obviously) brought up Donald and I settled on the white feather look as providing the best comic look and good contrast. The uniforms are vaguely American looking so I went with a faded 'Nam style green.

The ducks were a lot of fun to paint and I love the one throwing a pineapple grenade that literally is a pineapple! Unfortunately these are all that Team Frog do, so I may have to look at doing do some conversions to beef up the unit.

Monday 27 December 2010

Special Penguin Light Assault Team

Naturally, no Killer Death Penguin Commando leader would dream of going into battle without a recce unit and fortunately Team Frog have included such in their range in the form of the S.P.L.A.T. (Special Penguin Light Assault Team), four Killer Death Penguins on skateboards!

Whilst the figures themselves were quite straightforward, being in a mix of helmets and berets it was obvious they had to be painted up as paras, the skateboards did cause me a temporary mental painting block. Despite some interesting (and very colourful) suggestions to a request for ideas on TMP, I did have a "eureka!' moment and painted them in the British WW2 'Mickey Mouse ears' camo pattern (Mickey being a cartoon character etc), and I think this has worked very well...

Sunday 26 December 2010

Killer Death Penguin Commandos

Those of you with children (or grand-children) may be aware of Club Penguin, a "free to play" online game run by Disney. A lot of fun for kids of all ages, there are those that take it more seriously than others and form unofficial groups which "battle" against each other, first amongst these is the Army of Club Penguin!

Whilst Saul has moved onto the likes of Black Ops and Red Dead Redemption I thought he'd find it fun if I bought him some penguins to wargame with and so for Christmas he received a painted squad of Team Frog's Critter Commandos penguins (and what wargamer hasn't ever wanted a unit of the elite Killer Death Penguin Commandos?)

You get twelve figures in the squad including officers, grenadiers, troops and power armour (the latter not quite finished) and I must confess that after some false starts I had a lot of fun researching (Googling cartoon penguins!) and painting these models.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone and here's hoping that Santa has brought you lots of wargaming pressies...

I've had this old GW Sanity Claws figure knocking around for 25 years so I felt it was about time he received a coat of paint!

Friday 24 December 2010

101 Uses Of An Artificial Xmas Tree (number one)

As we enter the final preparations for the festive period I thought I'd take the opportunity to suggest an idea for some post Twelfth Night scenery construction!

I must confess this is not my idea and the pictures are ones I took at Warhammer World in Feb '09, but using the branches off a cheap artificial Xmas tree to make palm trees struck me as inspired, I hope you agree and may feel inspired to make your own which can be useful for anything from the French Foreign Legion to Pirates of the Caribbean...

Finally I like to thank everyone who follows, comments or just occasionally pops into Bleaseworld, it is appreciated. I have a number of newly painted miniatures ready for posting over the next few days, so in between munching turkey sandwiches and drinking egg nog, feel free to pop back to see some rather odd miniatures!

Thursday 23 December 2010

Airfix 2011 Catalogue

When I was knee high to a grasshopper one of the most exciting events of the year was the release of the Airfix catalogue and to see what new HO/OO plastic soldiers would be released the next year!

Whilst my excitement is more restrained in my middle age I was enthused after a quick browse of the 2011 releases online announced today. A few things caught my eye...

Military Vehicles 1:76 Scale
A02338 - Cromwell Cruiser (should go nice with the newly sculpted A01763 1:72 WWII British Infantry Northen Europe which although scheduled for this year will now be 2011.

Military Vehicles 1:48 Scale
A06301 - British Land Rover Twin Set (set includes one Land Rover WMIK and one Land Rover Snatch)
Figures 1:48 Scale
A02750 - British Army Troops

These could also be useful:

Buildings 1:76 Scale
A75005 - European Town House
A75006 - European Church
A75007 - European Four Storey Shop
A75008 - European Brewery

The following are re-released:

Military Vehicles 1:76 Scale
A01307 - Josep Stalin JS3 Tank
A01316 - T34/85 Tank
A01319 - Chi Ha - Type 97 tank

Figures 1:76 Scale
A01763 - WWII US Paratroops
A01753 - WWII German Paratroops

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Plastic Dogs Of War

As the minutes and hours tick down to Christmas I find myself continually answering the door as various postal agencies deliver parcels which then need repackaging in festive paper for joyous opening on the 25th! One surprise was a self bought gift for myself which I wasn't expecting to the new year, two boxes of the new Perry Miniatures European Mercenaries which I had ordered from Maelstrom Games for £16.20 a box post free.

I've only managed a quick look but they do look bloody amazing, for your pennies you get 40 figures that can be made up as pikemen (up to 18), crossbowmen (up to 12), handgunners (up to 12) or halbardiers (up to 12), plus 4 command and lots of other gubbins including a nice flag sheet. I had intended to use these for a tentatively planned Wars of the Roses project (SWMBO is a big Richard III fan) but a quick comparison with a couple of old-Foundry WotR shows that whilst there is a slight height difference, I might be able to get away with using both in my slowly progressing Burgundian and Swiss armies.

Aside from answering the door and being dragged around Morrisons and/or Sainsbury's and/or ASDA by SWMBO I have been doing a little bit of painting for Christmas pressies but you'll have to wait until after the 25th to see, so not to spoil the surprise (assuming Saul drags himself away from COD Black Ops for five minutes and checks the blog!).

Friday 17 December 2010

Wargame Vault Winter Offensive

The other day Jim, on his excellent blog, was taling a bit about digital rulebooks and the PDF edition of Rapid Fire he picked up at Wargame Vault. Looking for a set of WW2 rules to resurrect the 2008 summer project (!) I bought and downloaded a copy today because Wargame Vault have kicked off their four day Winter Offensive promotion with 20% off lots of rules including Rapid Fire.

Having a bit of credit with WV I also picked up Roman Seas, Songs of Drums and Shakos, G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. and Critter Commandos! A strange mix that'll keep me busy over Christmas... :-)

Thursday 16 December 2010

Ancient Words...

With a new conservatory roof and doors being fitted yesterday and this morning I hid away in the games room with a space heater, some magazines, a laptop and some good intentions to paint some of the lead mountain, suffice to say I managed to undercoat one figure yesterday! Toady was a bit better with some work on two Dwarf Golems from the Leviathan range and the start of some presents for a 15 year old wargamer who I spend most of my time taxiing around the city of Bristol (mostly to the Cathedral as it is concert season).

Anyhow, despite not having done much painting (but promise to do some soon) I have read a lot of novels as I've spent the last few weeks on trains to and from London, or planes to and from Paris. For the most part I have been in another of my sword and sandal moods and this is still the case as I've just started the classic Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, which I haven't read since school.

First off was Captain of Rome, the second in the Masters of the Seas series by John Stack. Following the career of Atticus, captain of the Aquila, during the Punic Wars, the book is fast paced, full of intrigue, some great naval action (culminating with the Battle of Cape Ecnomus (256 BC). Like its predecessor I really enjoyed the book, ploughing through it at a fair rate of knots (sorry...). I've always had an inkling to try galley warfare but have yet to dip my toe as I can't decide whether to go large fleet or boarding action...

Back almost a century to 333 BC I got around to reading Christian Cameron's Tyrant. This had been sat on the bookshelf for almost a year having been a bargain impulse purchase but not read as for some reason I find books with Alexander the Great boring (strange I know...). Fortunately the story starts with the lead character, Kineas, being dismissed from Alexander's service along with his Greek cavalry, only to take employment in Olbia and end up resisting a Macedonian invasion. For the most part I really enjoyed the book, though Kineas' dream sequences became a little irritating as the book went on. That said I will be buying Tyrant II and III very soon...

Finally I devoured Anthony Riches second Empire book, Arrows of Fury. Following the adventures of Marcus Valerius Aquila, on the run from a vengeful Emperor Commodus, serving in an auxiliary cohort on Hadrian's Wall under the nom de plume of Centurion Corvus, the book deals with the aftermath of the Battle of the Lost Eagle which concluded Wounds of Honour, and the native leader Calgus attempts to free his lands from the Roman invader. Cracking read, I eagerly await the third (and sadly final) volume of the series. Reading the book I decided that 2011 will see me slap some paint on the Warlord Auxilliaries I bought this year and that they will be the 2nd Tungrians complete with a centurion sporting two swords! :-)

Whatever scholars think of the historical accuracy of the likes of Anthony Riches or Simon Scarrow, all I'd say is that prior to reading the novels by both I'd always regarded Roman Britain to be pretty boring post invasion and had not realised what an interesting period it was, so whilst purists may cringe and look down their noses, I am thankful that I discovered them...

Monday 13 December 2010

Whole Lotta Reading...

Over the last couple of days I seem to have amassed a small collection of magazines to read as the postman delivers various subscriptions. Wargames Illustrated is just one of an eclectic mix including SFX and Classic Rock Presents Prog (winner of the worst magazine title award of there was one). The common issue with all these nicely produced and highly readable mags is that they take up a lot of space (yes, I suffer from wargamers hording disease) which is why I restrict myself to just one wargames mag these days (I don't include White Dwarf as Saul steals it and hides it in his bedroom). This is a shame as I really like Battlegames and have picked up odd ones and really enjoyed them, reminiscent of old school Battle for Wargamers and Practical Wargamer.

So I was pleased to see that not only can you subscribe to Battlegames as a PDF only magazine, but they've done an impressive back issues bundle for a reduced price and included their Tabletop Teasers special. So a click or two and a PayPal password later 200mb plus of wargames PDF delight has just downloaded onto my MacBook (saving a lot of space and misplaced magazines).

I'm not quite sure if you can "stick your head" in an electronic magazine but that's where I'll be (obviously Santa will need to be bring me an iPad now - yeah right!)

Friday 10 December 2010

Restrepo: Outpost Afghanistan

Wargaming has been on a back burner with a busy travel schedule with work and the usual Saul taxi duties (though have seen a couple of good prog bands of late). I'm going through another of my sword and sandal phase book wise but I'll cover them in another post as I've just caught up with a National Geographic documentary about a US army unit's tour of duty in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan.

Restrepo: Outpost Afghanistan was fascinating viewing, especially after the gung-ho "based on fact" series Generation Kill which was a complete turn off for me, the idiotic view of the soldiers echoing that which caused so many problems ten years earlier in Somalia. The troops in the Korengal seemed more aware of the people around them and that other cultures deserved respect.

The documentary was an interesting comparison to the Ross Kemp series covering the British in Helmand and although their were many similarities, the terrain (pine forest covered mountains) was very different. What did strike me though was how similar it all seemed. Firebases surrounded by an indigenous enemy that melted into the undergrowth, heavy use of air assets etc. The similarity to Vietnam was quite striking.

The unit suffered a number of casualties and there is a scene at the end of them firing flares off that is very poignant (the outpost itself was named after a comrade that died early on in the tour). The documentary ends by telling you that the US pulled out of the Korengal in 2009...

The photos above are all screen grabs from the documentary which is still available on Sky Player...