Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Water Gardens at Leeds Castle

The Water Gardens at Leeds Castle are now recovered from the Great Storm of '87. The bridge has been rebuilt by the Gurkha Engineers based at Chatham.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Combat in Miss Warburton's Thicket

This was a test of the JTS Ratfight system on a board provided by Shaun.

The scenario is as follows. A Nazi reconnaissance plane has been shot down on a recce over Warmington-on-Sea. They crashland behind the town and the crew escape with the camera film showing key defences on the south coast such as the exact location of captain Mainwearing's HQ in the Novelty Rock Emporium, the siting of the Lewis Gun on the End of the Pier, and the garage in which Mr Jones the butcher keeps his van.

The Luftwaffe crew take cover in some agricultural building in Miss Warburton's Thicket (A). They are spotted by a Home Guard watchman at the telephone Kiosk on the crossroads (B) who phone's HQ.

The Regular Army send a Bren gun Carrier and half section along the Warmington Road (C) in case the Home Guard report is accurate. There has to be a first time.

Meanwhile, Captain Mainwearing, Sgt Wilson and Jones' section (the crack mobile unit of the Warmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon) race out from the town to investigate (D).

Unknown to the stalwart defenders of England, a Brandenburger unit has landed by submarine to rescue the airmen and their valuable photos (E).

So battle commenced with myself as the noble English and Shaun as the peridious Hun.

The Regulars (A) pile out of the carrier and chase the aircrew out of the buildings. The airman run towards the Brandenburgers (B). The latter form a skirmish line on the hill (B) and infiltrate the woods on their left flank (C).

They ambush Jones' van. He stalls the engine and can't restart it. The Home Guard pile out in a huddle but an infiltrating Brandenburger throws two grenades - knocking out everyone but Jones, Walker and Sponge. I pulled some dreadful cards!

Jones turns out to be a true old soldier (he fought against the fuzzy-wuzzy and the mad mullah with Kitchener). He snipes back at the Brandenburgers with his lee-Enfield, picking them off, one by one.

The Regulars put in a last charge (A). Their sergeant goes down but they knock down more crewmen including the pilot (C). The Bren Gun Carrier crew hide in the trees (B). Jones forces down more Brandenburgers with his sniping skills (E), including the leader.

By the luck of the cards, the end turn comes up when the next action card is turned. Both Shaun and i have to test morale without leader bonuses and with casualties. I make my random card (a Jack), while Shaun pulls a Deuce.

The surviving aircrew surrender and are led away by Corporal Jones on the end of his trusty bayonet, while Walker has a craft fag (A), watched by the surviving Regulars (B). The surviving Brandenburgers fade back into the woods to rendevouz with their U-Boat (C).

Strange to tell, a sinister nun with three-day old stubble on her chin watches the proceedings (D). Could a rescue attempt to lift the photos be on the cards? You bet.


I am really pleased with the Ratfight system which injects the right amount of chaos and lack of centralised control that I believe is more realistic. It is extremely simple so you play the game not the rules. It rewards careful thought. The lack of control requires more skill from a player, not less. Things will go wrong. This is poker rather than chess.

I will definitely write these rules up.


Saturday, 26 March 2011

Leeds Castle

On the occasion of Mrs JTS's birthday, we took tea at the old royal Leeds Castle, which is a few miles inland from where I live on the North Downs (the North Downs are hills, south of London).

This is the view from the tea room. The castle is privately owned and is a conference centre. It is very popular with groups like OPEC as security is good - walls, moat, portcullis etc.

Remains of the medieval guard house.

The trees are in blossom in southern England.

The South Terrace.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Astral Claws Chirurgeon

Still working on my Tyrant's Legion. It is almost finished. I have finished the Chirurgeon and given him a couple of disection servitors.

The Astral Claws were desperate for new gene seed for their rapidly expanding Legion. They obtained it by training chirurgeons to harvest gene seed from Space Marines of any chapter, living or dead.

Monday, 21 March 2011

I have a Cunning Plan

Next door's cat has a cunning plan to catch birds - hide in the bird house.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Amera Moulds - Quick Paint Job

I am fairly happy with how these have turned out. Terrain is always a balance between time (effort), weight, durability, and appearance.

I wanted these to be light and durable for storage and travel - and I did not want to expend too much time.

So the method was as follows.
1. Cut out.
2. Spray mid red-brown with Army Painter Spray.
3. Quick bursts of a darker brown spray at different angles on the flat surfaces.
4. Allow v. dilute dark brown wash to run down the gulleys.
5. White glue a litttle rubble into the cracks (various sizes) and flat areas to break up the smooth outline.
6. Paint rubble dark brown.
7. Dry brush model with yellow-brown ochre.
8. Spray on Vallejo matt varnish.
9. Job's a good'un.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Emperor Protects

Plasma Bombardment of the Medway Towns.

Gravesend complains that Medway gets all the environmental improvements first and it's not fair!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Property Offer

This bungalow is on the market in Hastings for well under market price.

A bargain!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Dr Who Notebook

Dr Who Comic has a really cool notebook with a hologram on the front cover this week as a freeby.

Unfortunatley one can't photograph a hologram.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Amera Hill

I have finished my Amera hill. I sprayed it brown using an Army Painter spray, added some additional slate and painted the exposed rock Revel granite, and put on static grass. very quick and simple but I am very pleased with the result.

Very Cornish, as befits a Newquay boy.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Perverted Science

"Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fall, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. "

Winston Churchill

Friday, 11 March 2011

Amera Plastic Terrain

I bought some plastic moulded terrain from Almera.

The whole lot cost £26.30, which included £5 P&P. It is nice thick plastic and cuts out and paints easily.

The only thing I would say is that it is big. The Tank is a 1:50 Corgi diecast and the figures on the ruined castle are 28mm.

Actually, I think I may have to give the castle away to my local club. My wife took one look and started checking for divorce lawyers in yellow pages.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Waffen SS Zombie Nazi Suicide Bombers

Now how about that for a blog title.

Go on, admit it, admit you want some Waffen SS Zombie Nazi Suicide Bombers for your very own.

Models are from Westwind Productions. Painting technique was to highlight and then cover in Army Painter medium varnish, finaly with a light covering of Vallejo matt varnish to take the edge off the shine.

For those that car about such things, they were photographed in bright sunshine using a hand-held Nikon D60 set to macro.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


I have finished my Warlord 'Resistants' section and was keen to get them into battle. I have been working on a new skirmish system, tentatively called Ratfight, that has three qualities: (i) simple, (ii) clean, and (iii) unpredictable.

So here is a Ratfight force of Free French.
1. SAS brick under Sgt 'Chalky' White, armed with sten guns and a Bren.
2. Free French Leaders, Michelle 'I shall say this only once' of the SOE and Rene 'ero of the resistance' Artois (with armband).
3. Les Resistants armed with a variety of British and German weapons.

The scenario is taken from an Osprey book, French Resistance Fighter. A German division is making its way painfully towards Normandy after D-Day. The Resistance is delaying the force with road blocks ever few miles, some defended, forcing the Germans to debus and sweep away resistants from the surrounding woods before removing the block. Note for artistic reasons, the free French fighter is shown defending the roadblock. Actually, he would be in the woods to the side.

So here is the wargaming table at the start of the game. The blocked road is offtable in the foreground and two sections of Germans debuss and enter the trees to search for 'terrorists'. I played the forces of law and order and Shaun played the French terrorists.

Ratfight is a diceless system that uses playing cards. These have the advantage of a large range of outcomes, all of equal probability. Randomly drawn action cards are used to move and fight individual stands, giving a high degree of unpredictability. It is a simple fast, unpredictable system that rewards flexible plans, and players.

This is the game at the finish. Shaun used an agressive strategy of forward defense, stopping the germans from entering the woods. Moral of a force detoriates with casualties and although I was taking higher casualties by being caught in the open, I was inflicting losses. The game continues until a force breaks and withdraws. Shaun knocked down my leader. Should he die, I was very unlikely to survive my next turn's morale check given the number of casualties that I had sustained. However, Shaun failed his morale check that turn (he flipped a two) and withdrew - so I won.

I was pleased with how the system performed. It was fast (one hour game) and felt more 'real' than standard wargame rules applied to small forces, because of the limited control players have over their troops.

Oh, for people interested in such things, the first photo was taken with a twenty second exposure using a stopped down camera in poor light. The second by putting the Nikon on auto and using the internal flash.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Canada Forward

Some of my WWII Canadian forces in 28mm. The infantry are Warlord Games and the tank is a Corgi 1:50 scale die cast model.

The scene depicts a late war Canadian section advancing to contact behind a Churchill infantry support tank.

No 1: The Section Leader, an NCO.
No 2: The Second In Command
No 3: Four Riflemen
No. 4: First Bren Gun LMG Team, with rifleman.
No 5: Second Bren Gun LMG Team, with rifleman.

British and Commonwealth sections would normally split into two in an attack, the leader and riflemen, and the second in command with Bren gun teams. They would work their way to the objective, firing and moving alternatively until the rifle subsection could close assault and the Bren gunners would move to a position to cut down any enemy fleeing survivors.

The aim of a British and Commonwealth assault was not just to take an objective but to kill as many of the defenders as possible.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


The draft has been delivered to the publisher. I pressed the go button ten minutes ago.

I think I will go for a beer,


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

M'Learned Friends - Again

Another day, another legal spat between wargaming companies carried out in public, with the usual incorportaion of personal abuse.

Battlefront Games of New Zealand, Flames of War, have elected to refuse to supply Maelstrom Games with their products because they don't like Maelstrom discounting.

This has caused pointless internet speculation about the rights and wrongs of the matter.

Battlefront claim to be 'protecting small FLGS' against 'unfair' competition from internet-based companies.

None of this matters.

Have you ever wondered why GW supplies internet companies who undercut prices in GW stores and its own internet site? The reason is simple. They don't want to be prosecuted by the state for restrictive practices and price fixing. The financial penalties can be severe.

You can price fix in the UK. The car companies notoriously run a price fixing cartel for private buyers and perfume manufacturers price fix. That is because they have the clout with a national government to get an exemption through Brussels. I doubt Battlefront have that sort of influence.

The rights and wrongs of the matter are irrelevent. The law decides. UK law says a manufacturer cannot price fix.