Sunday 23 September 2012

Red Dawn Rising...

Those of you of a certain generation may recall a slightly cheesy but quite fun film from 1984 called Red Dawn. It dealt with a Soviet invasion of the US and followed the story of a bunch of teenagers, called the 'Wolverines' after their school football team, who fought back against the invaders. Whilst not Oscar wining material it is a lot better than it has any reason to be...

Fast forward nearly thirty years and a remake (or revision) of the original is to be released in America this November. This version of the film has apparently been sat around since 2010 but with MGM in financial difficulty it was shelved until a deal was struck with an independent film company to release it.

Since initial filming the film's "bad guys" have been re-badged. Initially the invaders were the Chinese, but following adverse reaction in China and considering the potential loss of earnings from the Chinese box office, the Chinese were converted into North Koreans in post-production through some minimal re-shoots and CGI. Quite how realistic this makes the film is up to debate but I guess realism was never top of the filmaker's agenda.

Whatever, if it is half as good as the first it should still be worth watching for some light entertainment...

Saturday 22 September 2012

Happy Hobbit Day!

Following on from yesterday's 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit (did you have your second breakfast at 11am?), today is International Hobbit Day chosen as it is both Bilbo's and Frodo's birthday. A good excuse to have another second breakfast and watch the new trailer for the first of the fothcoming Hobbit films...

Wargames wise I am half way through painting a regiment of Red Orcs and have based/rebased and undercoated some 36 old Citadel Gobin Wolfriders. Hopefully I'll get these painted by the end of Orc Month.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Shiver Me Timbers Ye Damme Landlubbers!!!

Yep, it's the 10th International Talk Like A Pirate Day - so add an arrr to everything you say today and make someone smile (and if the lubber don't smile, the plank for he...).

Dance on a dead man's chest whilst swigging your grogge mateys...

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Pax Bochemannica

Anyone who knows my wargaming pedigree will know of my love of historo-fantasy games. This goes back many decades when I read an excellent article in (IIRC) Games Review Monthly entitled Warhammer in the Age of Reason. This hypothesised an extension of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle timeline into the time of Marlborough. The idea of Goblins sporting muskets and tricorns seemed wonderful. Since then I have been involved with Flintloque (fantasy Napoleonic) and Panzerfäuste (fantasy WW2) and have been seduced by Akula's fantasy WW1.

Now we have Pax Bochemannica, fantasy Ancients...

Pax Bochemannica is a new skirmish game from Maveryc, which will be released late 2012/early 2013. Figure scupltor and rules writer Dave Toone (who also runs the excellent Miniature Design Studio - ancients gamers check them out) sent me some master castings and a playtest copy of the rules.

The miniatures are Orc Roman infantry (in Lorica segmentata) and Halfling Germanic tribesman. Unfortunately Dave didn't have any of the separate weapons or (Orc) shields so I have pinched some plastic axes and shields from the spares box for the Halflings. I wasn't too sure why some of the Halflings had braces so I decide to cover these with Green Stuff fur and tunics...

As you can see the sculpting is very good and characterful, very reminiscent of old Flintloque figures scuplted by Mike Owen. Whilst the figures are said to be 28mm, they are noticeable larger than existing 28mm fantasy or historical ancients which means that accessories and scenery compatibility may be an issue (no more than it was with Flintloque, the Roman Orcs being near enough the same height as Flintloque's Napoleonic Orcs). To my mind this is a shame as the Halflings cannot readily also be used in say Warhammer as they are larger than GW's Dwarves, let alone their Halflings.

Maveryc Halfling next to Greandier Orc...
The playtest rules are a really good ancients skirmish set and a lot of fun, my only gripe (which I have fed back to Dave) is the lack of magic. Historo-fantasy games are a strange beast that need to remember they are a mix of both genres not just funny creatures in historical uniforms playing historical battles (what is the point of that?).

Overall this looks like an interesting fun project, I'm not sure how engaged I will be with it (after all I have said I am not starting anything new!) but it should appeal to the Flintloque crowd and gamers with a (slightly twisted) sense of humour.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

(Orc Month) Fantasy Forge Orcs

Twenty years before Games Workshop managed to upset a large percentage of their customer base with a switch from metal to resin for miniatures production, Scottish company Fantasy Forge (best known for SF wargame Kryomek) were producing miniatures in the medium, including Orcs and Barbarians, with excellent results.

To kick off September is Orc Month I have dug out a box of the Fantasy Forge Orcs to form the basis of the Red Skull regiment. The box contained twelve Orcs in two basic poses but with head variations, sculpted by Kev Adams and quite finely detailed (with very little in the way of the pin hole issues that seem to bedevil GW's Finecast). Of course twelve figures is not really enough for a unit, but being Kev Adams sculpts, I managed to rescue four old Heartbreaker Orcs from Lead Mountain which Kev had also sculpted and fit in perfectly.

ps. I haven't forgotten the Athenian cavalry, they have been painted and dipped and now just need the bases finishing off...

Sunday 2 September 2012

America's Fighting Dinosaur

America's Fighting Dinosaur is a Kickstarter faux-documentary film project. Just watch the video and tell me you don't want to see it...

Saturday 1 September 2012

The Ruin of Britain

West Wind Productions are celebrating their 10th birthday at present and are offering a whopping great 30% discount on their Arthurian, Berlin or Bust WW2 and Samurai lines - well they are until tomorrow night (the discount code is BIRTHDAY if you are interested).

This seemed to be too good an offer to ignore so I dug out the box of Old Glory Arthurians Mike Baumann sent me a few years back to see what I had and what I needed to purchase to make these models into usable armies for Dux Bellorum. The box contained 30 Romano-British infantry, 30 Irish infantry and 35 Saxons.

Rules author Dan Mersey's blog gives some sample armies for the game and following these I worked out that I needed a total of 42 Romano-British miniatures, 49 Irish and 48 Saxons to raise these armies, so having the back broken on these already and with West Wind offering 30% off it seemed a bit of a no brainer really to order what was needed to finish the unpainted armies off (SWMBO didn't appear to be agreeing but I managed to distract her with the Jewellery Channel on the TV). I did have a mini-worry about figure compatibility but IIRC West Wind's Andy Cooper used to work for Old Glory so I am hoping this won't be a major problem.

The pack compositions posed a bit of a problem leaving me odd figures short for some bases but as the number of figures on a base is not vital I have some ideas to get around this. The only "still needed" miniatures that West Wind did not have are some Irish Ordinary Riders and I need to seek out three miniatures for this.

The only problem now is not to go off project and start playing about with them when they arrive. They are a 2013 project and will stay that way!!