Sunday 30 November 2014

Reveille 2014

I managed to grab an hour today to pop my head around the door at Bristol's local show, Reveille, this morning. It is only a small show mainly in a couple of rooms but it did seem very busy.

There were only a few games, but they did include some nice ones which I grabbed some photos of...

I bought very little, just some Red Star Coven Henchmen (which look very similar to the Minions out of the Despicable Me movies), but I spotted a few things for future purchase from Angel Barracks, Clockwork Goblin and Ironclad Miniatures.

Saturday 29 November 2014

Blitzkrieg: Kriegsmarine III

The only figure in the Warlord set that I could not paint up or convert to fit in with the rest of the unit was this figure, as it is wearing the distinctive U-Boat battledress.

Whilst a nice figure to paint, it looks a bit odd, the MP40 seems a bit overly large and I think I should have done something about his lack of neck...

Painting Target: 636/1000

Friday 28 November 2014

Blitzkrieg: Kriegsmarine II

Continuing with the Warlord Kriegsmarine, these three figures have been painted up as wearing the other ranks pea jacket (the Collani) to make them suitable for early war use. For other theatres they could be painted up in back or grey leather jackets.

Painting Target: 635/1000

Thursday 27 November 2014

Blitzkrieg: Kriegsmarine I

I managed to finish the first two of my Kriegsmarine section today. As previously explained, the Warlord set contains a few figures with specific late war weapons, so I have had to employ a sharp knife and some Green Stuff to ensure their usefulness in the Polish and Norwegian campaigns.

These two figures are modelled in the traditional pullover shirt with kieler kragen and matrosenmütze sailor's cap, one had a slung panzerfaust which has now been removed. Nice figures and fun to paint (except for the white borders on the kieler kragen!). More tomorrow, hopefully...

Painting Target: 632/1000

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Ostfront: In The (Soviet) Navy...

My order of Warlord Soviet Naval Infantry turned up today and have been cleaned up and based. These go nicely with the BTD figures I started painting the other day. I'm not quite sure why painting the Kriegsmarine has got me in a mood for naval troops, maybe it is the dark blue as I've been thinking about ACW troops as well recently! Hopefully the first of the Kriegsmarine will be finished tomorrow.

Soviet Naval Brigade (photo Warlord Games)
Checking out the Warlord website for the above photo was a bad idea, as I now want this... :-)

Soviet Bronekater Patrol Boat (photo Warlord Games)
Perhaps Father Christmas might read this...

Tuesday 25 November 2014

More 99p Book Bargains...

Amazon is rapidly turning into an e-book version of Poundshop and my Kindle rapidly filling with interesting historical books, bought at bargain prices.

The latest is Robert Forczyk's Where the Iron Crosses Grow, covering the military operations in the Crimea from 1941 to 1944. This was not a campaign I am overly familiar with, but was intrigued by the programme on the 1942 battles in the Soviet Onslaught series. Given the fact I had just slapped some paint on my BTD WW2 Soviet Naval Infantry and ordered some Warlord ones to compliment them, this book being made available on Kindle for 99p was perfect.

I also bought Bill Yenne's The Imperial Japanese Army: The Invincible Years 1941-42, also available for the Kindle for 99p. Whilst my focus on the Far East will be the 1944-5 fighting in Burma, this book caught the eye as it contains details of Japanese paratroop operations and the battles against the Dutch which are normally lost in the coverage of the fall of Singapore and the Philippines.

Both should be interesting reads, I just need to find some free time now. Whilst I know many people still prefer "proper" books, it is worth noting that I saved £38.02 buying the e-books over the paper ones and that buys quite a few toys to play with...

Monday 24 November 2014

Osprey's Steampunk Soldiers just 99p!

I have just spotted (and bought) the Kindle version of Osprey's Steampunk Soldiers: Uniforms & Weapons from the Age of Steam for 99p on Amazon UK.

I haven't had a chance to do much than look at the first few slides but it looks good, a review can be found here. If you don't have a Kindle, don't despair, Amazon provide free apps for various electronic devices (including PC's) here.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Panzerfäuste: Forest Troll

Chatting about the Panzerfäuste background the other day, I realised I'd made something of an omission with the Troll races. In the game the Trolls equate to the Finns and the Trow the Swedes, yep, not quite sure how I forgot to include someone to represent the Norwegians...

Subsequently I gave this some thought and have decided to introduce a third Troll race, the Forest Trolls and convert one as a test piece from a commercially available Troll. After looking at the D&D trolls and some old Ral Partha ones, I opted to use the Reaper Bones Cave Troll as it was cheap (under £2 on eBay) and the plastic easy to convert.

Cutting and repositioning the right arm, I used a bit of Green Stuff and a German rifle and Field Cap using some old Airfix Multipose Afrika Korps bits from the spares box. I went for a campaign weary look and am quite pleased with the end result.

Painting Target: 630/1000

Saturday 22 November 2014

Operation Mercury Revisited

One of the intriguing things about Slitherine's Battle Academy is the ability in the PC version to create your own scenarios and share them with other players, including iPad players like me. They are, by and large, quite good, I especially enjoyed the WW1 campaign and found the Wittman Tiger in Villiers- Bocage more interesting and challenging than I suspected. I have, however, not really got on with Crete: Operation Mercury campaign.

I played the first scenario They Are Coming a number of times, but found it poorly balanced from  game point of view. The Fallschirmjäger are invariably swiftly overwhelmed by lots of British, Greek and Cretan Irregular forces, I have only once managed to achieve the objective when one para out of a unit of five managed to sit ignored by the advancing enemy and slip behind the lines through pure luck.

The second scenario, Maleme, is also hard to complete. I have come close, but the New Zealand infantry are incredibly powerful and it is somewhat irritating that when you eventually fight your way through them the large naval guns on Hill 107 are able to snipe advancing troops with stunning accuracy. Previously, this is where I have given up with the campaign.

However this weekend I decided to try out the third one, Counter Attack, and found it balanced, challenging and very tense. Similarly, the fourth one, Galatas, is is also very good and produces a tense, tight battle which ebbs and flows. I've played this one twice now, a close defeat and a close victory resulting, it would make a great miniatures scenario. Off to try The Road to Sfakia now...

ps. I have managed to do some painting today, the Kriegsmarine have been base coated, the Norts dipped and a Panzerfäuste Forest Troll finished but there was no natural light to take a photo, so you will have to wait until tomorrow...

Friday 21 November 2014

Return to Magnamund?

It's a bit depressing to think that it was thirty years ago that I bought Lone Wolf: Flight From The Dark, the first of the Lone Wolf gamebook. Thirty years on, Gary Chalk is behind a new Lone Wolf project, Lone Wolf - The Board Game.

Currently half way through it's crowdfunding on Kickstarter, I was quite taken with the Cry Havoc look of the game and the use of Gary Chalk's artwork for the cardboard figures. Not sure if I'm going to get on board, but I'm thinking about it...

Thursday 20 November 2014

Phoenix 9

Progress on the painting front has been somewhat slow this week, but the Norts and Kriegsmarine are coming along. I came across this interesting short post-acopalypse SF movie which has some decent effects for a short...

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Frontline: The Road To Moscow (well, Leningrad)

Having finished the four campaigns in Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front, I decided to have a look at some of the other games Slitherine produces for the iPad. Frontline: The Road to Moscow piqued my interest, a more strategic level game with units representing larger (slightly abstract) units, I had great fun with the first part of the game up to the Battle for Smolensk.

Unfortunately though there is an unfixed but in the first part of Act II and you are unable to unlock your resources and obtain reinforcements for the Leningrad battle, which makes it impossible to move on. Hopefully a v 1.06 comes along soon and fixes this bug (which I believe is only an iPad one not an iPhone or iPod one).

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Geheimkrieg: Purchases Without End?

Earlier in the month I posted about the 28mm WWW2 range Clockwork Goblin had launched alongside their 15mm one. My Grizzly walker has now turned up but I haven't had time to play with it yet. Unfortunately (for my credit card), this does not look like the end of the 28mm US weirdness from Clockwork, as they posted this on their FB page today...

I also found that, as well as working on their own 15mm WWW2 rules, they have draft Bolt Action rules for the walker and other WWW2 models, including jump infantry, automated infantry and animated corpses which should prove useful...

Monday 17 November 2014

Unleash Hell?

Mantic have recently launched another Kickstarter, this time for a 2nd edition of their fantasy tabletop game Kings of War.

It's not really appealing that much to me at the moment, but I am pleased to see that it will result in the funding of some hard plastic Abyssal miniatures, which will be different sculpts from those in Dungeon Saga. Whilst the 3D renders they have released so far look a too comic, I am hoping that the end results will be pretty good as it will be fun to have something different, fantasy wise, released.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Ostfront: Hungarian Infantry II

I finished the section of Hungarian infantry this morning, using German infantry miniatures from the Great War Miniatures range. As with the Brigade Games models, not all were suitable for Hungarians (with major conversion) so I have a fledgling 28mm late WW1 German force now!

A lot of the miniatures have stick grenades which may be inaccurate as (AFAIK) the Hungarians used a Mills Bomb style called the M1936 and a stick grenade (with a shorter handle than the German) called the M1942. This said I'm not that fussed, it would have been a right pain trying to remove them all (they are quite loaded up with them) and I like the red strips on the grenade heads!

The most major conversion was the NCO with the M1939 Király SMG, this looks like a US M1 carbine with long think stick magazine. I converted one of the riflemen by trimming the length of the rifle and adding a magazine. Not quite sure it looks right, but it is passable. I bottled trying to convert a Solothurn LMG for the section, but have a Schwarzlose HMG to paint up as a support weapon.

Here is the complete 11-man section mixing the Brigade and Great War figures.

Painting Target: 629/1000

Saturday 15 November 2014

Ostfront: Hungarian Infantry I

Having helped fund Bob Emerson's Hungarian AFV Kickstarter I thought I better sort out some Hungarian infantry! Having sorted out some useful proxies for WW2 Hungarians, I have now managed to paint the first four...

These are Brigade Models WWI German Infantry and it is a simple paintjob to convert them from 1918 Germans to 1941 Hungarians. Of the four poses in the Brigade pack, I have only used two as the others has ammo bandoliers that would required substantial work to remove. The remainder of the section will come from Great War Miniatures and will hopefully be finished tomorrow.

Painting Target: 622/1000

Friday 14 November 2014

October War: 15% Off the Sinai!

It's been a pretty crappy day today, but I cheered myself up buying some desert terrain tiles off TSS as they have a 15% sale off this weekend. Back to Arab-Israeli 6mm soon...

Thursday 13 November 2014

The Invisible Front - the War of Resistance in 1950's USSR

One of the great untold stories of the second half of the twentieth century is the armed resistance to communist occupation within the Soviet Union. A few years back I recall reading how Ukranian partisans continued fighting after Soviet "liberation" from German occupation, well into the fifties, and it seems they were not alone.

A Lithuanian documentary called The Invisible Front is currently showing in the US, recounting the story of the armed resistance from 1945 through to the sixties against the Soviets, with over 20,000 partisans at the peak. I have only seen the trailer (below) and there are some pictures on the film's website, but it looks fascinating and could be turned into a simple wargames project using BTD's NKVD troops and some WW2 Eastern Front partisans. Hopefully the documentary sees DVD release here in the UK.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

The Last Ship

I've just caught up with the finale of the TV series The Last Ship, a ten part post-apocalyptic show centred around the USS Nathan James and its role in finding a cure to a viral pandemic that has killed 4 billion people.

Despite what I thought was a rather limiting potential story I have enjoyed the series and feel it has a great deal of potential for skirmish based wargames. I had thought this would be a one off series due to the will they/won't they find a cure? plot arc, but surprisingly it has been renewed for a second series and the final two episodes set this up very nicely.

As post-apocalyptic shows go it is no Walking Dead, but it has its moments and is worth catching... the show not the virus! :-)

Tuesday 11 November 2014

War in the Balkans: The Battle for Greece and Crete

I've just finished reading War in the Balkans: The Battle for Greece and Crete 1940-1941 from Pen & Sword's Images of War series and found it really interesting. As a basic primer it is pretty decent and contains some really interesting accounts that could make for some great wargame scenarios. Whilst the Greek campaign was fairly one sided from a strategic level, there were a number of instances of German reversals at a local level that could be recreated.

The book is contains lots of photos, many unpublished. A lot are of broken down tanks (especially British ones!) but they are all of interest. Having bought the Kindle version, I found it useful to be able to enlarge the pictures on my iPad to see detail.

There are a number of interesting looking books in the Images of War series, many being quite cheap for the Kindle. I shall be exploring other volumes soon...

Monday 10 November 2014

Blitzkrieg: In the Kriegsmarine...

The other week John Lambshead posted a review of the new Warlord Kriegsmarine Squad on his blog. Despite the fact John said the "section represents the period at the end of WWII" I was hopeful that they would be just as suitable for other times, especially the Blitzkrieg era when the Kriegsmarine took part in shore actions in Poland and Norway.

In part they are. Two of the figures are immediately of no use as they are carry panzerfausts across their shoulders - a bit of a disappointment this as they could easily have been sculpted with separate weapons to allow for more use. Similarly the section lmg is an MG42 - again why not the more universal MG34? - but this is a simple conversion job using a spare barrel from the Warlord plastic German infantry set.

Uniforms are a bit of a mix on the remaining figures. The officer is in the British style U-boat battledress, but there is another figure in a reefer jacket (which can be painted dark blue, black or light grey) which can be used as an officer. Two of the other figures have short waited battledress tunics but they can be converted into reefer jackets or the pullover shirt if a Kieler Kragen is added. I am going to have a play around with them and see if I have any Heer figures that can pad out the section with minimum effort for early war use.

I was concerned that uniform research was going to be a bit of a bind as most books on Amazon seemed horrendously expensive, however the Osprey Elite U-Boat Crews 1914-45 is fantastic and contains uniform details of the Kriegsmarine as well as specific U-boat kit. Well worth picking up if you are interested in German naval troops.

Saturday 8 November 2014

Great Martian War: Sourcing Tripods

I've been pondering more on a 6mm project based around The Great Martian War 1913-17. I have a slowly growing collection of figures for Élan, so it would be a simple enough to use the miniatures from that with the addition of some suitable tripods (and possibly a few converted tanks though in 6mm I don't think the difference between a 6 pounder and a Victisite cannon is that noticeable).

There were two types of Martian walker in the programme, The large manned 300 ft tall Herons and the smaller automated 20ft tall Spiders. In 6mm terms that translates to models 30cm and 2cm tall which might not be possible, but I think I have come up with some suitable looking proxies.

Martian Tripod (photo Troublemaker Games)
For the smaller Spiders I like the look of the Martian Tripods from Troublemaker Games. Very steampunky looking, I must say these are my favourites for Spiders, however there is only on size of model.

Invader Frigates (photo Spartan Games)

The alternative is Spartan Games who produce a range of Invaders for their steampunk Dystopian War game, including two different sizes of tripod, the Frigates and the larger Cruisers. I do like the look of these and whilst not as clockwork looking as those in the mockumentary, they probably are the more logical choice, and their tiny flier tokens could be used a Martian Lice if I ever need some.

Invader Cruisers (photo Spartan Games)
No rush to make any hasty decisions at this point in time, but I'll keep my eyes open for any bargains on eBay!

Friday 7 November 2014

The Mystery of the Berlin Mk V Composites...

John Lambshead posted some really interesting photos on his blog the other day of some destroyed WW1 British tanks amongst the ruins of the Battle of Berlin. I found them fascinating.

That they were there is not in doubt, whether they say action is. Some state that they were captured war memorials in the Lustgarten area, but (as John says) the above photo does look like the tank threw its track whilst moving. A bit of Googling came up with the following, I'm not sure of its accuracy, but it is interesting.

"It appears to be one of the tanks that the British gave to the "White" Russians during the revolution. At the outbreak of Barbarossa, the Soviets used at least 4 surviving MkV's in the defense of Estonia near Tallinn. The Berlin tank is most likely one of these. Six Mk V Composite heavy tanks were sent from the UK in 1919. They were named "Brown Bear", "Brown Bear II", "Captain Cromie", "Deliverance", "First Aid" and "White Soldier". When the war was over, Estonia kept 4 of them with the names: "Uku", "Vahtula", "Valdaja" and "Päälik". The Estonian names do not relate to the English ones listed above. The vehicles were obviously renamed when transfered. The picture on the right is an Estonian Mark V female dated 1941 in the area of Tallin. Note that the machine guns have been changed to Maxims."

Whether these are the tanks and whether they say action with the Volksturm in Berlin (or Tallin for that matter), they would sure make for a great wargames model and scenario...

Thursday 6 November 2014

The Battle of the Five Armies Trailer

The main trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has been released. Not too much that I cringed at, we'll find out in a little over a month how good it is...

Wednesday 5 November 2014

The Great Martian War

No, not anything to do with Mars Attacks but the History Channel "documentary" that having taped before Xmas I eventually found the time to sit down and watch this evening - and I loved it!

Recounting the story of the Martian invasion in 1913 and subsequent war through the next four years, the programme mixes "interviews" with survivors and historians with period combat footage (a mix of historical, historical with CGI embelishments and re-enactments) to decent effect.

I must confess that part of me was regretting not getting on board with the All Quiet on the Martian Front Kickstarter, but the more I think about it, 6mm is surely the best scale for this. Now do GZG still do those tripods?..

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Mars Attacks: Straightening Things Out...

Approximately twenty figures were suffering from some form of plastic bend out of my Mars Attacks Kickstarter, including most of the US infantry, the vast majority of whom were suffering from bent barrels on their M16's.

I was a little disappointed with this, but decided to hold off complaining until I tried the old  trick of immersing the figure in boiling water, then hoisting out (with a spoon!), bending the bent bits back into position, then plunging into some icy water to set the straightened pose.

Luckily, not even that amount of effort was required, as soon as the figures were put in the hot water, the bent parts immediately straightened of their own accord. A quick plunge into the ice cold water and they set back in their correct position.

Presumably the plastic retained some pose memory from after the casting process and I am now happy with the end result for some very minimal effort.

Monday 3 November 2014

Mars Arrives!

UPS delivered by big Mars Attacks Kickstarter box from Mantic today, and boy it was big - and heavy!

I have only managed to give the contents a quick glance, but overall I am impressed and the quality is a step up from previous Mantic offerings.

The miniatures are cast in various plastics and plastic-resins and some of the figures suffer from bent weapon syndrome. I am hoping a dip in some hot water tomorrow will sort this. That aside, the detail on the figures looks good and I am looking forward to painting them.

I'll run through everything in more detail over the next few weeks but I am impressed with hard plastic saucer and big robot. The giant bugs are great, the deluxe play mats decent and I love that the rulebooks have been printed in standard US comic size. Great stuff.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Geheimkrieg: War Without End?

Clockwork Goblin Grizzly Walker (photo CGM)
Painting the Studio Miniatures Nazi Zombies has re-whetted my appetite for things alt-WW2 and I am feeling the urge to build up some Geheimkrieg forces in 28mm.

A bit of Googling led me to Clockwork Goblin Miniatures 28mm World Without End miniatures line. I was aware that Clockwork Goblin produced alt-WW2 in 15mm, but not that they had a small 28mm range.

Aside from some nice German zombies, their range also includes British Automated Infantry, Soviet armoured infantry and this lovely looking US Grizzly walker.

Whilst Geheimkrieg is a little different from other alt-WW2 games in that it is a secret war that occurred in out historical timeline rather than an alternate history, I could not resist putting an order in for a Grizzly!

Saturday 1 November 2014

Rogue Trooper: The Further Adventures of...

Today has been a day of converting and undercoating, with two squads of Rogue Trooper Norts, a section of 28mm WW2 Hungarian light infantry, one ArcWorlde Jungle Troll and four modern 20mm Soviet infantry all sitting on the workbench, covered in black paint.

The arrival of the Rogue Trooper Norts from Mongoose has co-incided with my reading two new graphic novels set in the world of Rogue - Rogue Trooper: Last Man Standing and Jaegir.

Rogue Trooper: Last Man Standing is IDW's reboot of the GI's story and only lasted four issues before being cancelled. With such a history I was not expecting much, but it isn't too bad and has some interesting ideas in. The only downside is the poor redesign of the GI helmet which looks naff (and is not shown on the cover).

Jaegir is very different to the previous Rogue universe fare chronicling the adventures of Nort officer Kapiten-Inspector Atalia Jaegir in a detective adventure in Nort society. without spoiling anything is is very good and far superior to Last Man Standing, despite the limited military action. If you enjoyed the old Rogue Trooper stories, you will like this.