Thursday 24 May 2012

633 Squadron Author Dies

I was saddened today to find out that Frederick E. Smith, author of 633 Squadron and numerous other books died earlier this month of a heart attack aged 93. A good innings, it was disappointing to find his passing so poorly reported, indeed all I could find was this article in the Bournemouth Echo here.

Whilst most of us will have seen the film on numerous occasions and can hum the music, I really enjoyed the series of 633 Squadron books Smith wrote over the years (the last as recently as 2007). All are quite good reads, have some great ideas for games and are well worth checking out:

633 Squadron (1956); Operation Rhine Maiden (1975); Operation Crucible (1977); Operation Valkyrie (1978); Operation Cobra (1993); Operation Titan (1994); Operation Crisis (1995); Operation Thor (1995); Operation Defiant (1996) and Operation Safeguard (2007).

Monday 21 May 2012

Athenian Psiloi

Hurrah! Painted figures!! :-)

I managed to grab a few minutes today to finish off the fourteen Foundry psiloi for my Athenian army for the Peloponnesian War project I started last year (unfortunately missing the deadline of Saul's Classics GCSE which is next week! Still he is hoping to continue the subject at A Level so that should give me another two years to finish it...).

I had intended to make all the army up using Immortal Miniatures but they went off the grid around the time I painted the first two Hoplite phalanxes so after waiting a couple of months I availed myself of a pile of Foundry light infantry and cavalry off eBay - only for Warlord to announce their purchase of Immortal a week later...

I was a tad annoyed at the time but have concluded that the Immortal psiloi with their fur cloaks will provide a good contrast as Spartan skirmishers to the standard linen tunic look of the Foundry figures...

Painting was straight forward block painting using a limited palette of colours and then a coat of Army Painter 'soft tone' dip which I think has worked well. I also painted up the three Immortal musicians for the phalanxes which I forgot to do last year.

The remaining two Immortal Athenian Hoplite phalanxes have been painted and dipped, I just need to matt varnish them and paint the shields. Of course like any wargamer I am being tempted to expand what was a limited project by shiny new things, in this case the forthcoming Victrix plastic Athenians which should be out in time for my birthday and do look very nice...

Monday 14 May 2012

The Sound Of (Ancient) War!

Apologies for the lack of wargaming posts of late, I have returned to the Athenians in a roundabout way and have been trying to finish off the two remaining hoplite phalanxes as well as doing some work on the psiloi and pelstats (including finding out what they were - I'm no ancients expert - and what the differences were!).

So hopefully some freshy painted joy soon. In the meantime I came across this wonderful video on YouTube of John Kenny playing the carnyx (the ancient celtic horn). I am sooo tempted to copy it, duplicate it a few times add a bit of barbarian cheering from Gladiator and play it when the celts are done and take to the table! :-)

Monday 7 May 2012

Moon Nazis Need Our Help!

The producers of SF comedy Iron Sky (the one where the Nazis who have been hiding on the dark side of the moon since 1945 come back) have advised that the UK distributors have decided that the film will be shown in cinemas for just ONE day - Wednesday 23rd May.

Regardless of how good or not the film is, this is a complete kick in the teeth for independent film producers (and having seen the trailer and read reviews it is a good film and deserves better!).

The producers are asking people for their support by emailing the distribution company to express their dissatisfaction with the decision, hopefully you will, like me, add your name to the list...

Thursday 3 May 2012

Wargames Factory Revisited

I've eventually got around to playing with the Wargames Factory Amazons I picked up at Salute and the first observation is that detail and moulding wise they are a ten fold improvement on the first releases from the company with none of the soft detail that blighted the Republican Romans and other releases, giving the company such a bad rep.

Indeed I was so impressed with the Amazons that I picked up a box of Persian Cavalry to use in a conversion project (the horses are beautiful, the photo does not do them justice) and with a view to an Old Skool Warhammer Cathay/Nippon army some boxes of Ashigaru and Samurai. Like the Amazons the detail is very sharp and I am looking forward to clearing the decks to allow me to start sticking them together. The only challenge will be painting them, Samurai being a subject I have steered well away from over the years... :-)