Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Battle Report - 30-Mar-2015 - Relics

 Courtesy of our Tor Gaming pusher (grin) John, I had an introductory game of Relics at the club last night.

What can I say :D The background is delightfully twisted - you really have to read it to appreciate just how entertainingly twisted and detailed it is. The miniatures are very distinctive, and strangely cute in a very warped kind of way - yes, those really are dark puppets in Napoleonic-style uniforms, and they're nothing compared to some of the other races! The exploding blue mana pods are a decidedly weird thing (and Adie's dice rolling decidedly jammy where those were concerned).

The mechanics (involving rolling doubles on multiple d6) are sufficiently novel that I am going to have to resurrect the Probability For Wargamers series to do an analysis on the odds, I think.

All in all, great fun. This is a rather sketch review by design, since I'm saving the full one for Meeples.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Kickstarter Watch - 28mm WW2 Japanese SNLF and IJA

For those of my friends and readers (Hi Ryan!) who like bits of WW2 other than the Normandy campaign, there's the "War In The Pacfic" Kickstarter.

Rates are in $AUS, which are close enough to 2:1 to the pound as to make no difference, and therefore just over £60 will get you a platoon of Japanese. The sculpts are ok - I've seen better, but equally, they're better than the Baker Company Winter War ones.

Lots of stretch goals with various supports, a fairly sensible (IMO) mix of purchasable add-ons and 'free with a pledge of....'. And it's passed its funding goal.


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Plans for the week

The problem with jet lag from Seattle is that

  • it's three more hours west timezone wise, and 2 flight time wise, than the east coast. The end result of this is that a 7pm departure from the west coast lands 5 hours UK time later than an east coast one (noon, not 7am). Which screws up both my plans A and B for recovering from jet lag:
    • plan A: catch a very early morning flight from the US, land in UK early evening, go to bed when I get home. This fails because there are no early morning flights from the west coast, 'cause a 7am takeoff wouldn't get in till 11pm UK time
    • plan B: go to bed when I get home, nap till late afternoon, get up and do stuff, go to bed at normal UK time. Mostly fails because it's ALREADY freakin' late afternoon when I get home.
  • some inconsiderate person put the clocks forward the second night after I got back, which required me to get up at 1am Seattle time to get to church music rehearsal
Needless to say. neither of these have greatly improved my productivity this weekend!

On the good side, I have this week off. Apart from a trip to pick up a new guitar, and some time to sign the nomination forms for our local Green Party parliamentary candidate, I intend to:
  • paint some 15mm US paras
  • assess progress on the club's Salute game and get some more done.
  • find something to trade for the Flames of War 'Home Guard' objective I finally managed to track down
  • work out next round of orders for club's 100 Days campaign
  • check out the TFL Napoleonics playtest rules.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

AFV Identification Film

Courtesy of Topi Mikkola on the TFL list, this is an early war training film designed to help British troops ID tanks.

Friday, 27 March 2015

The economics of wargaming

In this case, specifically Flames of War.

I suspect a good few of my readers don't read WWPD, but this is a fascinating article.

More thoughts from me when I'm not quite so jet lagged. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

New CoCulator

For those working on their own Chain of Command lists, Rich has posted a new version of the CoC meta list on the forums - http://toofatlardies.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1058&start=110#p19720

Flying back to the UK today - looking forward to decent tea again.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Book Review - "Hobart's 79th Armoured Division At War" - Richard Doherty

This book is what it says on the tin, really - a fascinating history of Sir Percy Hobart and the 79th Armoured Division, the 'Funnies'. As well as the story of the division's CO, it's full of snippets of action from the Normandy campaign and onwards, little pocket stories of heroism involving the unit.

If I had a gripe, it'd be that I'd have liked more diagrams - for that, I suspect tracking down a copy of Geoff Futter's "The Funnies" is called for - I had a copy from our library when I was a teenager, but it seems to be out of print and hellish pricey.

[Note: this is NOT a review copy from Pen and Sword (were it so, you'd have got a longer review!): I actually picked this up as a Kindle deal for a massive £0.81, but it's currently £6 and change on Kindle and still, IMO, worth it.]

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Hereward Wargames show headline sponsor

We are delighted to announce that the headline sponsor for Hereward Wargames show will be Gripping Beast.

Watch this space for more details later in the week. (And an update on the show website when I'm back in the UK where the software is :D)

Monday, 23 March 2015

My tuppence worth to the points systems discussion...

...with thanks to Joe McLaren, who found it and posted it on the Meeples and Miniatures Facebook group, and a nod to Gary who's running our 100 Days campaign.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Poll results

Go on, admit it, you were all dying to know. 69 entries and one runaway winner:

A late surge over the weekend for participation games, which was lingering back behind 'meeting up with folks' for a while. The 'other' category didn't contain many surprises - variants on 'can't decide', mostly, but I did miss the 'to run my stall' category :D

But (and this bears out some recent magazine articles, and a decision we'd already made re our show), demo games are not flavour of the month. Or possibly even year.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Kickstarters: a small rant

There is something about Kickstarters that provokes me to rant on occasions.

From Mantic's latest update on the new Deadzone Kickstarter.
"We've noticed this morning that one or two backers have raised their pledges artificially to help us speed through a stretch goal and see what's next, only to drop it again - sometimes at quite high values. This damages the project and negatively effects momentum. We ask that backers only raise their pledge if there's something they genuinely want to add-on. Thanks for your understanding!"
Jeez, people. Really?

Whoever you are who thinks they're being oh-so-clever there - stop being selfish and gaming the system, for <deleted>'s sake. People like you are why we can't have nice things. Grow up.

[Last chance to vote in the poll if you haven't - results tomorrow.]

Friday, 20 March 2015

Heads up - new TFL pint size campaign.


And I quote:

"Thirty pages long, "Old Hickory" contains an overview of US operations in Normandy and beyond from Operation Cobra to the German counter attack at Mortain, Operation Luttich.  It goes on to present a mini-campaign covering the defence of L'Abbaye Blanche, a key position to the North of Mortain where the US 30th Division stood firm against 2nd SS Das Reich, and Der Fuhrer regiment in particular."

Posted from gate 20 at Heathrow T3. I'll pick my copy up when I get to Seattle. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Hereward Wargames Show and Crisis 2015 dates do NOT clash

I'm given to understand there may be a little confusion with the date of the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp show, Crisis, in 2015. To be clear: we double checked (via Rich Clarke) before we booked the Hereward Wargames Show to be absolutely certain there was no conflict. Crisis 2015 is on the 7th of November, the Saturday after our show.

Watch this space for more details on our show! Coming this weekend.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group

I think this probably gets filed under 'No s**t, Sherlock', but it's an interesting piece nonetheless, via the BBC website.
According to the data, those of Celtic ancestry in Scotland and Cornwall are more similar to the English than they are to other Celtic groups.
The study also describes distinct genetic differences across the UK, which reflect regional identities.
And it shows that the invading Anglo Saxons did not wipe out the Britons of 1,500 years ago, but mixed with them.
Interesting piece for all you Dux Brit players.

Which reminds me. Andy? Time we got that campaign started again.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Wargames show poll

While picking up the entire box of dice I'd scattered across the darkened carport and under two cars just now (meh!) I was reminded of a question I'd been meaning to ask, so... here we go.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Battle Report - 16-Mar-2015 - Black Powder/100 Days Campaign

The next round of the club's Hundred Days campaign saw the Dutch-Belgian forces fight a delaying action at Fayt against the French 1st Corps under Ney, as well as some of Kellerman's heavy cavalry.

The DBs deployed covering the road into Fayt, anchored between woods and the river. The aim was (much as previously) to give the French a bloody nose then pull back, and it... mostly worked. The battle started around 6pm, leaving about 3 hours of daylight for the French to press home an advantage.

The French right did what it was supposed to do and advanced cautiously - the left, on the other hand, after a brief cavalry skirmish, rolled a double six on a mass order to advance carefully... and then proceeded to roll a six again - mass advance three moves. This led to one unit smacking into a column of militia, which latter surprisingly won, and another in a line of regulars which almost won.

Things could have gone very different there, given a different roll for the command blunder - not the least of which could have been most of the French right deciding to vacate the scene.
The French right continued to advance carefully, despite tempts from some over-keen DB cavalry. Meanwhile, on their left, some DB militia deployed to get a shot at the attacking infantry columns, and -- well.. my dice suck as usual. Not a solitary hit where it mattered. And the next round of melée proved pretty conclusive, not helped by the arrival of Kellerman's heavies, who did a decent job of cleaning up the DB right.

Fortunately for us, almost all the results were retreats, rather than destruction, so most of the DBs will live to fight another day. We lasted toll about 7.30 game time, giving us about an hour and a half to fall back, screened by the surviving cavalry, before it got dark.

Next up, I suspect, more on  the Prussians' flank.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Painting M1942 US Para uniform 2

As you may recall, I picked up some Halfords 'Camouflage Khaki' spray as a match for US M1942 uniform colour. Finally got to test it this afternoon...

Well. It covers well, and doesn't run or clump - leaves detail clearly visible on these Battlefront 15mm 'Easy Company' figures.

The colour in the photo is a bit washed out from what it actually looks like, as I'm holding that fairly close to a small fluorescent strip. However, it is quite a bit paler than I'd like.

For my next trick, therefore, a very generous wash of Army Painter Strong Tone ink (much earlier in the painting process than I usually would). If I was actually wanting to preserve the colour of the paint, I'd be using Soft Tone, given how pale it is. But I'm not - I actively want to darken the colour - so...

I'm actually quite surprised how well that worked!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Mantic are at it again

Yup, it's Kickstarter time again. According to the gossip sites (am I turning into one?), the Deadzone: Infestation Kickstarter kicks off this coming week.

Looks like it'll be two new factions, some more terrain variations, a better laid out rulebook, and... no doubt lots more stretch goals. According to an interview in a rather (for want of a better word) off-piste location, the initial goal is $100,000, but (and here I rest my case as to how Mantic plan KS's) they're aiming for $3-500,000.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Battlefront "Colours of War" paint system

Looking at the behind the scenes article on the their website, I think Battlefront may have actually got this one right. I'll reserve judgement till I've seen the full range, but if it's there at Salute I'll be checking it out.

It includes:

  • The Quartermaster's set. This time, it's not just black. white, the primary colours etc. It's also the colours that they wind up putting in multiple of the national/army paint sets, like flesh, khaki, gunmetal, canvas etc. so that there are no unnecessary double ups between the national sets.
  • National paint sets. One for each army, except for the Germans who get one for infantry and one for vehicles.
  • Large bottles (20ml) of the stuff you use all the time, smaller ones (12ml) of the paint you don't (e.g Para beret red!). 
  • Washes in suitably matching colours as part of the range.
  • A distinctive dropper bottle with a 'bullet' top, so you can identify the Colours of War paints - not necessary, but since they had to design their own bottles for the various sizes anyway...
  • The Book. A painting reference for the four main counties (US, Britain, Germany, Russia) with a slight emphasis on late war but basically covering everything you need to know to paint your amy.
I'm very keen to see this in action - it sounds very well designed.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

RIP: Sir Terry Pratchett OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015)

I was going to pick up with some wargames related stuff on the blog today, but something important happened.

I had the pleasure of meeting pTerry (as a lot of his online fans tended to refer to him) on a few occasions at various SF conventions: he was never anything but charming, funny, and a true gentleman, and you quite often had to remind yourself that he was in fact the guest of honour, as more often than not he'd be nattering in the bar. In fact, I gather that on at least one occasion a convention committee that approached him to be a guest received the firm suggestion that it was perhaps someone else's turn.

Not many folks will leave a written legacy like his, nor face Death with as much equanimity. Rest in Peace, pTerry. You'll be missed.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Correction: Tabletop Workshop

In yesterday's post, I mistakenly referred to (the apparently long defunct) Tabletop Miniatures, when of course I meant Tabletop Workshop.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Tabletop Workshop

You may remember the rather nice castle that Tabletop Workshop were promoting a couple of years ago.


www.tabletopworkshop.co.uk is currently not responding (in fact it's expired). While I didn't back their 'kickstarter' (it wasn't run through Kickstarter proper, just an advance purchase thing TTW/Enigma Designs ran), one of my club mates did. I'm not going to paste the reply he got verbatim, but the information contained it is pretty much available to anyone else who asks, I'm sure. In a nutshell, the business is now being run by TTW/Enigma Design's 'silent partner' in the original company, and they are working on repackaging everything with new logos. I do have a contact email, but I don't believe it's mine to give out, nor is the company name if they haven't revealed it yet. They are monitoring the old TTW/Enigma Designs email, though.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Dreadball teaser

The second round of the clubs 2015 Dreadball league. Too tired to write up tonight, but here's a teaser pic of my win against JohnA's Forgefathers.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

My brain hurts....

Currently trying to juggle two sets of people (one lot of whom are in Indianapolis)'s schedules, 80K Virgin air miles, 60K BA Avios points and various flight plans between about 6 locations in the US. Hence all those lovely wargaming plans went out the window - annoyingly my one chance to nip out and get some figures undercoated was marred by a friend of James being an hour late picking up a computer, and it then choosing to rain.

On the good side, have just taken delivery of a very interesting set of wargames rules for playtest...

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Painting M1942 US Para uniform

It's a tricky beast, is M1942 uniform. Basically, only worn by the US Paras around D-Day, and its not the same colour as just about any other uniform. Certainly, it's not one of those colours that some nice lot like Army Painter or PSC or Warlord make a spray primer for, and if you check out the various online painting guides, everyone seems to umm and arr and mix up something: Battlefront reckon 80/20 Middlestone/US Dark Green, Tom Weiss uses some unspecified mix of US Field Drab and Green Ochre, Artizan go for German Camo Beige or a 'darker' Middlestone. There's a Tamiya spray (AS-15) which is close but not perfect, and hard to come by.

Look what I just found :D

Using the Mac's DigitalColor Meter app, it's pretty close when compared to a range of pictures, around about 125/105/65 R/G/B. If anything it's a smidge dark, but in terms of shade it's the closest I've yet found.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Plans for the weekend...

Definitely starting with a lie in :D

I have to sort out Wellington's orders for the club Hundred Days campaign, which would have got done on Wednesday night except that there was confusion on my part about the existence or not of some units.

Other than that, I'm aiming to put some work in on the Hereward Wargames show, and if I get some spare time I'll pick a box or blister of 15mm AFVs and see if I can't get them at least started.

It's also baseball Spring Training, and for all I'm a Brit, I do intend to catch at least one of the Twins games on MLB.tv this weekend. Apart from anything else, I have the rather excellent produce of a friend's microbrewery to sample :D

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Plain to be seen I've been busy. I passed 400,000 page views somewhen on Tuesday and didn't notice.

Only one thing for it...

More Kate.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Napoleon at War announcement

A very interesting post on the ManAtWar at site this morning. I'm not quite sure what I make of it yet and it's certainly too late at night for me to think about it too hard, so I'll probably comment thoroughly tomorrow. For now? have a read.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Kickstarter Watch - "Blood Rage"

For all you SAGA players who want some awesome looking Vikings, and for all you Conan backers who want extra minis and more scenarios....

It's a boardgame where the players are different Viking clans doing their raiding business around a map. Figures are (like Sedition Wars) by Studio McVey. Currently there's one pledge level ($75) which gets you the game, all stretch goals and a KS exclusive figure.

It does look rather fine.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Siborne Waterloo model

Image from http://www.nam.ac.uk/ - this is
the "Large Model"
The story of Siborne's Waterloo models has always fascinated me. Captain William Siborne was commissioned in the 1830s to produce a model of the decisive moments at the battle. He wrote to a large number of surviving officers for information, as well as embarking on an eight month survey (staying at La Haye Sainte) of the battlefield.

The end result is, inevitably, flawed, in that it's very much from a British point of view, but it is a fascinating historical document.

I own a couple of books that have arisen from it: one is a collection by H.T. Siborne (his second son and a Major General) of the research letters, published as "The Waterloo Letters: Accounts of the battle by British Officers for its Foremost Historian". I can thoroughly recommend this as a fascinating read if you have any interest at all in the battle.

The other is the markedly more controversial "Wellington's Smallest Victory" by Peter Hofschröer, which is more a biography of Siborne and portrays the relationship between Siborne and Wellington as distinctly acrimonious, and Wellington as unwilling to have the models give any sense of the Prussians being the saviours of the day. Another interesting read, for different reasons.

Why now, you may ask? Well - at Hammerhead I ran into the Royal Armouries in Leeds' Communications Officer, Kirsty Rogers, who was casing the show for nefarious purposes (*grin*) to do with the Waterloo 200th (and also being the only person to make it to the chopper in the RAF club's Predator game!). Checking them out on twitter, I came across this:
Image from http://www.royalarmouries.org/
It transpires that one of Siborne's two models (the smaller, or 'New Model' - it's still pretty big at 5m x 2m with over 3000 figures) is on display at the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds, and is in the process of being renovated. If you fancy a visit, check out the above link and you can go and watch the process (which is also being filmed for a Conservation Live! programme).

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Peterborough Scale Model Show, military vs railway vs wargame modelling

I didn't get to much of the show today, with commitments on bass in church and a stern injunction from the Domestic Authority to be back in time for lunch after that.

Grahame (ably assisted by Jonathan, Chris and Dan) was running a very nice looking Dark Ages "Hereward the Wake attacks Peterborough" participation game which seemed to garnering a decent amount of attention. More pictures and a write up on the club site later.

The show was predominantly (unsurprisingly, given the name) hosting military and other scale modellers, but as well as us there were a couple of railway layouts and a stall from our local railway modelling shop, Trains4U (who interestingly have now started stocking Games Workshop). Conversely, I know a lot of folks at the club have started using them as a source of scenic materials and plasticard, given that buying (say) Javis static grass is under <£2 for what GW or Army Painter would charge you at least double.

It's still amusing to see that (for example) a war gamer will use AP or GW paints, a railway modeller Humbrol or Railmatch (and they've never heard of dropper bottles), and a military modeller like as not Revell or Tamiya - there's a bit of overlap between us and the scale military guys around Vallejo, though. Same for glues etc.

On which topic, right next to our stand were the folks from Modelling Tools, with a range of paints, and weathering washes I'd never seen before - AK. Some fascinating stuff there (including palette wash/weathering sets for 'green' tanks and a 'tracks and wheels' set, which I think I might dip (as it were) my toe into and investigate further, given the number of tanks I have to paint.
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