Tuesday 30 September 2014

Countdown to Blast(-tastic) Off!

Saturday sees the inaugral Blast-tastic SF wargames show in Bristol. I'm down to host an Aeronef/Aquanef game (with the able assistance of David Manley, hope he hasn't forgot!). It may end up being one or other as I'm not sure I'll have enough empty beer glasses for the show but it should be fun. Just need to dig the models and scenery out of the games room and set the alarm on Saturday morning! :-)

Monday 29 September 2014

Winter Is Coming...

Another day lost to the real world but the latest Winter War Kickstarter post cheered me up. I volunteered to wait until everything was available in exchange for some free figures before my box of goodies ships, and it has been a long wait, but the long list of models that had to be made is almost done. In today's post the following photos of the aerosan and truck with Finnish crew. Can't wait!

Sunday 28 September 2014


This weekend has seen me wearing my "Saul Blease Road Crew" t-shirt as he played two sets at the Summer's End X festival in Chepstow (the wonderfully acronymed SE X) so as well as lugging his keyboard and gear around I've been driving up and down the M5, M4, M48 and A48.

So sadly no painting or owt this weekend but here is the new video for Saul's cover of Where Is My Mind? I mentioned the other week that features B29's, nuclear explosions and some other fun stuff...

Saturday 27 September 2014

World War II in Colour

I must confess I normally inwardly cringe when I see any history programme appended with the words "In Colour" and I had no intention of watching the Channel 5 series World War Two in Colour, currently showing on Friday evenings. However I was channel hopping last Friday and caught a bit of the first episode about the invasion of Poland and subsequent Blitzkrieg campaign.

Whilst the colourisation of the black and white film is not always perfect (and I do wonder why the Germans have brown jackboots), overall it is very well done and, although I don't normally see the need for it, some of it adds a little something to the footage. I grabbed some screen grabs to show what I mean.

The programme is also quite interesting for a generic WW2 potted history. Last night's episode 'Britain at Bay' was not just about the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, indeed that only accounted for half the programme. It also covered the first commando raids on targets in Norway as well as the start of the SOE and Resistance in Europe.

Whilst there are undoubtedly better history programmes available, I was more impressed that I thought I would be by the first two of this series and will continue watching. The current episode is available in Channel 5 OD here.

Friday 26 September 2014

Magyar Steel

Bob Emmerson's Hungarian Tanks Kickstarter has been a resounding success, with numerous new vehicles being made available as the stretch goals tumble - and it still has six days to go!

To help expand my knowledge on the topic I ordered a copy of Mushroom Model Productions book Magyar Steel, which arrived the other day. A print on demand book, the quality is no different from anything you'd buy from Osprey.

With detailed text of Hungarian armour types and use in the war, a plethora of rare photos, 1.35th scale plans and full colour camo artwork, I'd say it is a must if you fancy trying a different looking Axis army rather than the "usual suspects".

Thursday 25 September 2014


I came across a great looking sci-fi short on You Tube today. A proof of concept for a possible feature film, it looks pretty good with echoes of the Iron Giant, one of my favourite films...


Wednesday 24 September 2014

Mantic Don't Have A Leg To Stand On...

You may remember me getting a tad annoyed with Mantic over the shipping of the Dreadball Kickstarter almost two years ago, especially their decision to supply retailers before the people who had funded the project. Consequently I suppose it is no surprise that they do it again with Mars Attacks...

This time they claim they are shipping any Kickstarter pledger whose parcel weighs under 4kg now, along with the trade orders*.

What about those whose boxes weigh over 4kg? (ie. the ones who pledged the most amount of money).  Well, apparently there is an issue with the Big Robot in that it has been made with two right legs which causes the delay.

How so? Surely some of the under 4kg pledges include said Big Robot?  Yes they do, and Mantic say they will ship those separately at a later date, having sent the rest of the order this week.

So why can't they do this with orders over 4kg? Well, they say these orders will be shipped by courier (as though that is something special) and they need to go all together as one box.

No, I can't think of one good reason why they cannot ship the big box now (by courier) and the robots as one separate parcel when they arrive with the right (and left) leg.

Mantic have offered to send out over 4kg boxes now sans robot(s) but this will cost you an extra $10.

Not impressed, but not at all surprised. At least this isn't a potential Christmas present I planned to paint up this time.

* and yes I guess some of the trade orders weigh over 4kg but somehow they can be sent...

Tuesday 23 September 2014

The War We Did Not Want (World War III 1952 to 1960)

I love alternate history invasion fiction, especially Victorian stories of French or German forces landing on Albion's fair shores and getting their come-uppance Le Queux style. It was, therefore, interesting to read an article on the io9 website about how US magazine Colliers devoted a whole issue in October 1951 to the story of the Great Soviet War 1952 to 1960 (aka WWIII). 

A fascinating piece, I have now managed to track down a PDF copy of the issue here. Unfortunately the colour artwork has not copied into black and white that well (the illustrations below are from other sources), but it is a fascinating read with lots of alt-history wargaming potential.

I have copied one of the articles from the issue which provides an overview of the war, which hopefully you will find interesting...

How The War Was Fought
by Hanson W.Baldwin (New York City, 1960)

The definitive history of the Great War with the Soviet Union cannot, even now, in 1960, be written; an army of historians will require many decades to collate, sort and interpret the voluminous records of the twentieth century's third, and largest. World War. Some important details will, indeed, be forever lost. The exact fate, for instance, of many of the men in "Task Force Victory" which air-landed in the heart of the Urals in 1953 in a heroic suicide attack against the Communist A-bomb storage depots is still veiled in mystery; the complete picture of the operation died with the leaders of the mission.

But the general outline of the war and the strategic concepts that governed it are long since clear. The United States and its Allies, including the overwhelming majority of the United Nations, due in large part to the strength and political and military wisdom of their leaders, chose deliberately to fight a limited war for limited objectives. Public opinion forced some deviations from this policy; sometimes - as in the bombing of Moscow - restraint was abandoned, but the fate of Napoleon and of Hitler and the lost peace of World War II were persuasive arguments for caution.

The atomic bomb was used extensively by both sides but our war was primarily against Communism and the Soviet rulers rather than the Russian people, and the unlimited atomic holocaust did not occur.

The Balkans once again were the tinderbox of war. The satellite Soviet attacks upon Yugoslavia in the spring of 1952 were the preface to far greater battles.

Red Army hordes drove westward in their principal offensive across the north German plain, assisted by secondary drives from Czechoslovakia and the Balkans toward south Germany and the French frontier, Trieste, Italy, Greece and Turkey. Communist airborne and ground troops moved toward the Persian Gulf, and in northern Europe, Red Army troops, despite strong guerrilla opposition, took over Finland, and other enemy forces in combined land-sea operations moved into extreme northern and southern Norway.

In the Far East, our occupation forces in Korea were forced out of Pusan under a hail of bombs, and the puppet "Japanese People's Army"- composed of thoroughly indoctrinated Japanese prisoners who had been held since World War II - backed by Red forces, ferried La Perouse Strait and invaded Hokkaido, northernmost of the Japanese Islands. Soviet submarines quickly appeared off our coasts and magnetic, pressure and acoustic mines sank many tons of shipping and closed some of our Eastern ports - until emergency countermeasures, woefully inadequate at the war's beginning, could be hastily devised.

The first year of war was a tragic period of defeat and retreat. Yet the fledgling "NATO" (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) forces did better than anticipated in stemming the tide of aggression; in the Far East, the "Junipers" (Japanese National Police Reserve, established by General MacArthur in 1950), quickly provided the framework for a strong Japanese army.

The U.S.S.R. suffered heavily under attack by A-bombs and conventional bombs, and some of her A-bomb works, many of the bases for her long-range air forces, and transportation and oil targets were destroyed or badly damaged. Yet the enemy was able to A-bomb London and other Allied targets, and atomic bombs dropped on our atomic energy plant at Hanford, Washington, and on Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, New York and Washington, D.C.

Despite our defeats and heavy losses in this first phase of the war, our strategic objective was accomplished. The Allies managed: to contain the enemy attack; to hold absolutely vital air bases in Eurasia, North Africa and the Middle East; to halt the enemy in western Europe and northern Japan; to stopper up many of the Soviet submarines by extensive aerial mine laying of the narrow seas and by carrier-based A-bomb attacks on submarine pens and base facilities; and to hurt severely the Reds' offensive capabilities and warmaking potential by exacting high casualties on the surface and by heavy attacks upon the "heartland" from the air.

The second phase of the Great War with the Soviet Union lasted for about 15 months, and could be termed the "defensive-offensive" phase. During this phase we had achieved clear-cut air superiority; new weapons, including the atomic artillery shell, were used at the front, and we launched our first "holding offensives" and limited operations to cut down enemy strength and to improve our positions for the decisive offensive still to come. Soviet strength - and the strength of her satellites - was being reduced steadily by our strategic air campaign and by the reckless tactics of the Communist commanders, who hurled assault after assault against our forces in Europe only to have them repulsed with frightful slaughter.

Despite our defensive victories on the ground and the reduction of the Soviet submarine and mine menace at sea, vital enemy targets within the U.S.S.R. proved to be so well dispersed hidden or protected as to escape destruction. After a second series of enemy atomic attacks against the United States (included among the targets was Washington, D.C.), "Task Force Victory" carried out its desperate but successful assault against the enemy's underground Ural A-bomb pens.

The third and final phase of the war - the period of great Allied offensives and decisive victories - was tailored to the concept of peripheral attacks against the "heartland" by land air and sea (utilizing to the full the transport capacity and mobility of air and sea power) and heavy bombing attacks against the enemy's interior. No deep land penetration of Russia was ever attempted - or indeed, ever seriously contemplated - though there was early in 1954 a sizable group (chiefly among the older Army generals) that favored it. 

In Europe, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and Black Seas were used not only as flank protection for overland drives through the satellite states to the old Russian frontiers, but as highways across which amphibious "hops" aided the land operations. In the north, Allied armies moved through east Germany and Poland, halting their main drive at the Pripet Marshes with the disorganized remnants of what was once the powerful 8th Guards Army fleeing before them. 

Spearheads moved by sea and air into the Baltic States and Finland, and advanced air bases were established which dominated all of western Russia. 

A similar southern drive through the Mediterranean, Turkey and the Black Sea (with secondary land drives to clean up the Balkans) ended in a lodgment in the Crimea, where the last formal battles of the Great War were fought. 

In the meantime, as the Red Armies fell apart in the West, Siberia and Red China - their communications with European Russia cut in a thousand places - descended into chaos. Limited amphibious operations, many of them made against little opposition, put U.S. and Allied troops ashore in Korea, Manchuria and China, and from these points we controlled land and sea communications of the Orient. 

To World War III—the Great Soviet War —there was no formal end; indeed, there could not have been, under our concepts of strategy. For our basic aim of separating the rulers from the ruled, of encouraging the dissident and lowntrodden minorities of Russia to revolt, of "fissioning" the Red Army (psychologically as well as in battle), of freeing the satellite peoples and aligning them on our side against their oppressor had, with the aid of overwhelming military force, succeeded. The Red Army ended its 38 years of history and died as it was bom, in revolt and rapine, with brother fighting brother, in civil war and bloody feud, with the oppressed becoming the oppressors and, at long last, terrible justice done to those tyrants who had subverted justice.

Monday 22 September 2014

Panzerfäuste: Highland Orc Infantry V

I finished the last of the the Panzerfäuste Highland Orcs today, an NCO with tommy gun and officer with claymore. The latter was supposed to have a pet haggis but I lost the model I sculpted!

I was going to sort out some Retinues this afternoon but the wargaming butterfly had been distracted by SWMBO watching Defiance over the weekend (the Forest Jews film, not the SyFy series) so I based up and basecoated fifty odd 20mm WW2 partisans instead! :-)

Painting Target: 504/1000

Sunday 21 September 2014

Lion Rampant: Plastic Retinues

I had a bit of a brainwave earlier today about retinues for Lion Rampant. Nice though 28mm metals and plastics are (and not that I don't have piles of them) I remembered that helping insulate the loft was the legendary old Airfix Robin Hood Sherwood Castle set. Venturing forth I discovered the caste set which contained the 20mm Robin Hood and Sheriff of Notingham figure sets.

The Robin Hood box contains fifteen bowmen, ten with staves, ten with hand weapons as well as Mad Marian and Friar Tuck. That gives two unit of bowmen and one and a half serfs units. Marian and Tuck will be useful for scenarios.

The Sheriff of Nottingham set has six mounted knights,  thirteen foot knights, two axemen and three bowmen. Straight off this provides one unit of mounted knights, two of foot knights and some useful oddsies.

Whilst in the loft I also found two boxed of old Revell Hundred Years War English Foot Soldiers and one of the French Knights. Again a number of useful units including another of mounted knights, some more foot knights, as well as foot serjeants and yeoman.

Looking at Plastic Soldier Review the Zvedza box sets look even more useful and I might get a box of French infantry for some more crossbowmen (something the Revell French set is a bit light on).

Better dig the PVA glue out...

Saturday 20 September 2014

Orc Rampant!

My copy of Osprey's new medieval wargames rules, Lion Rampant, turned up today. Unfortunately I have only had a little while to flick through them this evening but they look good. Most of my concentration has been focussed on the section on mustering your retinue (your 'army' of forty to sixty miniatures) and the sample retinues Daniel Mersey has provided. The latter not only include a lot of historical ones, but also a fun selection of Hollywood ones and (I hope you are sitting down...) two fantasy ones!

I had been wondering how easy it would be to convert Lion Rampant from medieval to high fantasy and clearly great minds think alike with old school Good and Evil being included. Obviously this is just a taster of what a bit of imagination can do and my mind is now full of ideas of mercenary retinues using miscellaneous fantasy adventurers from 'Lead Mountain' as well as Conan led barbarian hordes.

Given the small scale forces needed for retinues, this game could well be very addictive for fantasy as well as historical gamers...

Friday 19 September 2014

Collection Complete!

Like many greying wargamers my entry into the hobby was largely through the classic wargaming books at my local library, with volumes by Featherstone, Grant, Wise and Quarrie being regularly borrowed. One series of books much loved was the PSL Tank Battles in Miniatures series with titles by Featherstone and Quarrie covering North West Europe, the Western Desert, the Mediterranean, the Arab-Israeli Wars and the Eastern Front. The last one was the only one my local library didn't have and with my interest really focused on the other theatres it is one I had never read.

Over the last few years I have been scouring eBay and wargames shows for some of the old school books of my youth including the Tank Battles series (I know John Curry has reprinted them but part of the nostalgia was the old covers!). I've had four of the five Tank Battles books for a while now, but the Eastern Front volume has already remained elusive (or expensive - check on the one listed on eBay today for £182.98!).

Fortunately I managed to win a copy last week for under £15, which I am very happy with and it arrived today. I have only managed to give it a quick flick through but there does seem to be a lot of really interesting stuff in it including illustrations of German and Soviet unit formation, Soviet tank battalion defence formations,  a zones of terrain map showing extents average snowfall. Great book.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Panzerfäuste: Highland Orc Infantry IV

I've managed to finish one more miniature from the Highland Orc infantry command pack, this Orc with anti-tank rifle.  More tomorrow hopefully, when I have had some time to recover from dragging French trade unionists around Bristol yesterday and today!

Painting Target: 502/1000

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Panzerfäuste: Highland Orc Infantry III

A bit more progress on the Panzerfäuste Highland Orcs, the last of the four riflemen from the infantry pack and the piper from the command pack. Hopefully I'll get some time tomorrow to finish the final three from the command pack, but I am entertaining some French trade unionists so probably not! :-)

Painting Target: 501/1000

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Panzerfäuste: Highland Orc Infantry II

I managed to finish a couple more of the Panzerfäuste Highland Orc infantry today. I had hoped to do more but we've had a painter and decorator in trying to make good what he failed miserably to do last week to repair the damage from the burst pipe! Long day...

Painting Target: 499/1000

Monday 15 September 2014

Panzerfäuste: Highland Orc Infantry I

I don't know where all the time is going at the moment but I was determined to finish at least one miniature today and here it is - the first Highland Orc infantryman for Panzerfäuste. The rest will follow very soon...

Painting Target: 497/1000

Sunday 14 September 2014

Mars Attacks: How To Paint Martians

After "Dreadballgate", when Mantic supplied retailers with the Dreadball before Kickstarter funders, I swore I was never going to back another Mantic Kickstarter. Then they ran the Mars Attacks one and I fell hook, line and sinker!

It looks like it might ship to funders in the next couple of weeks in preparation I came across this interesting painting guide from Army Painter, using their Strong Tone ink (not dip) on them (the same stuff I have been using on my 6mm armour).

I thought it was a useful to share it as the technique is quite simple and could be used on other miniatures.

I have tried it on my Orc Highlanders and it looks quite good. Progress on them has been a bit slow today as it has been kilt painting time and that is a lengthy process to say the least...

Saturday 13 September 2014

Greatest Tank Battles - Korea

After seeing Saul off to his new life as a music student in Cheltenham, I decided to have a bit of "me time" with a beer and the TV remote! Over the last week I have been recording the Greatest Tank Battles series on H2. The computer generated graphics are pretty lame, but the first hand accounts really interesting and the episode I watched on the tank battles of the early stages of the Korean War, really inspiring.

I have mentioned a desire to do some Korean War Wargaming before as it is a subject that has  fascinated me since learning about it at school in O level history. Previously I had thought about 28mm or 20mm platoon infantry actions, but there is a window for some great 6mm company level a armour battles.

The North Korean forces can be drawn from my planned 1944/45 Soviet forces, indeed the paint schemes are identical so they can do double duty. Infantry are more of a problem but IIRC Heroics make some insurgents in peaked caps that may be useful. The US forces are largely late WW2 and once I have progressed the late war Gerrmans and Soviets the intention always was to return to my first proper wargames army, the Americans, so this may well kill two birds with one stone.

Of course I have other projects on the go at the moment, but I will keep the back burner lit as I have enjoyed painting the 6mm armour this year and want to do some more...

Friday 12 September 2014

Logistical Operations at Bleaseworld!

Today has been about logistics as we pack Saul's stuff up to go off to university tomorrow. He seems to be taking a lot bearing in mind he is only going to be 46.8 miles up the motorway! We might need a bigger car...

Thursday 11 September 2014

Dracula Year One

Despite SWMBO kindly picking up the much needed black paint yesterday lunchtime, today has been a bust hobby wise, though I did manage to go to the cinema with Saul to see Lucy which was pretty good. On the subject of the cinema I came across a trailer the other day for Dracula Untold which looks like it could be a bit of entertaining nonsense...

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Strange Aeons: Cultist Suicide Bomber

SWMBO promised to pick up some black paint at lunchtime so hopefully tomorrow I can crack on with my Orc Highlanders, however I felt like painting something today so I decided to paint up this Strange Aeons Cultist Suicide Bomber which has been based and undercoated for yonks and I keep knocking off the workbench onto the floor, so it deserved a little love...

I went with an overall red look, not sure why, probably something to do with the old Laserburn Red Redemptionists, who knows? Not quite sure what I'll use him for but he was a straightforward paintjob and is done now.

Painting Target: 496/1000

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Fury of the Tiger!

Unfortunately SWMBO forgot the black paint, but I have been to busy to paint today so I bravely let her off! ;-) I did however come across a trailer for Brad Pitt's forthcoming WW2 movie Fury, about a Sherman tank crew at the end of WW2 - trailer looks promising and yep, that's a real Tiger! Roll on October...

Monday 8 September 2014


I managed to get a fair bit of work done on my Orc Highlanders today, making a lot more progress than anticipated until my usual lack of foresight and planning struck - of all things I've run out of black paint which I need for the tartan on the kilts! Sigh. Hopefully SWMBO will pick me some up in town tomorrow...

Sunday 7 September 2014

Panzerfäuste: Orc Warlord Chûrg-ill

Hurrah, some painting!

I've managed to grab a few moments over the weekend to base and undercoat some miniatures including this model of the famous Orc Warlord Chûrg-ill for Panzerfäuste which I subsequently finished painting this afternoon.

Any similarity between him and a famous cigar-chomping British wartime Prime Minister is purely coincidental but he is prepared to take out any Dwarf Fallschirmjäger on behind the lines missions!

On the Panzerfäuste front I've also started painting the Orc Highlanders which are proving a bit of fun (researching orc tartan is not as straightforward as one might think!)

I've also dug out the Loud Ninja Games Space Raptors for the start of a new sub-project which I'll come back to later this week.

Painting Target: 495/1000

Saturday 6 September 2014

Axis Of War - A Sino-Japanese War Trilogy

I came across a trilogy of interesting looking films on Amazon the other day set in China from 1927 to 1945. The Axis of War series comprises of; The First of August, The Long March and The Night Raid.

The trailers on You Tube look pretty good and the prices on Amazon are not too bad...

Friday 5 September 2014

Where Is My Mind?

I've not managed to do much hobby wise this week as much of my free time has been taken up with a crash course in music CD production! Saul wants to release an album before he goes to uni with ten songs he's written and recorded over the last year and has delegated me to deal with all the non-artistic parts! So this week I've learnt all about glass mastering and CD pressing as well as the needs and differences between AP2 and Limited Manufacture Licences as Saul wants to include his cover of The Pixies Where Is My Mind? on the CD. All interesting but quite confusing stuff...

Anyway, that's why there have been no painted minis this week. I leave you the video of Saul's latest song, which does feature footage of tanks and other bits of military hardware! :-)

Thursday 4 September 2014

A Bit of a Hullabaloo...

I came across an interesting article in The Independent today about an Indiegogo fundraiser by some Disney veterans to make a short traditional animated (2D hand drawn) steampunk film called Hullabaloo. They have already achieved funding but the more money they get, the better the end product can be. For someone brought up on Disney animated classics, this is a very worthwhile cause - and on top of that it's steampunk!

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Bolt Action: From Budapest With Love...

Earlier in the year I bought and painted up a 28mm 3D printed Laffly S20TL from Bob Emerson, great model, I've been meaning to buy some more from Bob, but he's beaten me to the punch by launching his own Kickstarter - for WW2 Hungarian tanks...

In a hobby dominated with Tigers, Panthers and the occasional Sherman, this is a great venture to produce AFV's for one of the forgotten armies of WW2 with the Toldi, Nimrod, Zrinyi and Turan all to be produced with a number of variants. Great stuff Bob!

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Osprey Announce 2015 Wargames Titles

Osprey have annouced their 2015 wargames titles on their blog.

The Bolt Action supplements look interesting although I am not convinced about the logic in cramming whoe theatres into one book, when they could have taken a leaf out of Battlefront's book and produced more detailed campaign specific works. Still Bolt Action 11: Empire in Flames: The Pacific and the Far East (June 2015) and Bolt Action 12: Germany Strikes!: Early War in Europe (October 2015) look interesting even if the first is casting too wide a net in my humble opinion. Bolt Action: World War I (September 2015) should also be interesting as I liked the old GW Great War rules.

However the one that has really grabbed my attention is Frostgrave: Fantasy Wargames in the Frozen City (March 2015) "an exciting new set of fantasy skirmish rules that sees rival wizards and their henchmen fighting over long-lost magical secrets and artefacts in the frozen ruins of a once-great city". I found a couple of blogs with more details, the author's blog The Renaissance Troll telling us more about the game and background and Cor Blog Me! having some interesting playtest reports. With sides of 5 to 12 figures, this looks like it could be an interesting side project next year.

Monday 1 September 2014

Down The (Lasercut MDF) Dungeon!

Mantic's Dungeon Saga finished last night with pledges over $1,000,000, roll on next year when the goodies start to arrive. I did come across another related Kickstarter that is really interesting from Direbadger. They are looking to produce lasercut MDF dungeon and fantasy role-play terrain that all clicks together on MDF boards. Clever stuff, if I wasn't on board with the Battle Systems dungeon terrain I may have pledged on this.