Monday 28 February 2011

Universal Carrier

The Vickers Universal Carrier, or Bren Gun Carrier, was the most widely manufactured armoured vehicle of WWII, around 113,000 being built in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Production started in 1934 and ceased in 1960. They were used as gun tractors, weapon carriers (Bren guns, Vickers heavy MGs, Mortors), and infantry fighting vehicles (including a flamethrower and two pounder antitank gun versions).

They were used by British and Commonwelath armies and by the Red Army. The Germans also
used a bunch captured at Dunkirk, valuing the carriers' flexibility and reliability. They mounted a 37mm anti-tank gun on some and also triple tube panzerschreck launchers, producing the world's first anti-tank missile vehicle.

This model is a Tamiya 1:48 with Warlord Games metal crew figures. It is painted as a vehicle of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry, the regiment in which my father fought at Anzio.

Incidentally, I fitted Warlord figures to bring the crew into style with my Warlord infantry. It is interesting to compare a Tamiya 1:48 figure with a Warlord 28mm (nominally 1:56).

Thursday 24 February 2011

Spring in Southern England

The flowers are up in Southern England. This is a picture of St Michael's Mount off the south coast of Cornwall.

The north Kent coat is a few days behind, most spring flowers are now in bud, but here are a few hardy souls from my front garden.

The English like flowers.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Nerdlord & Friend

The latest Doctor's assistant, the beautiful Amy Pond in the Tardis.

The Nerdlord and Amy - he's got a sonic screwdriver and he's not afraid to use it.

The man himself.

Sunday 20 February 2011

As Black As Hell

As Black As Hell
Written by John Lambshead
Illustrated by David Daniel
"For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night."
Sonnet 147, William Shakespeare.

Porky - of Porky's Expanse! - has reviewed As Black As Hell.

ABAH was the first story of mine that was published - in Baen's Universe Magazine.

It came about because I invented two characters, which had a two page existence at the back of my first novel - Lucy's Blade. They were called Jameson and Karla, and were the top torpedoes of a shadowy intelligence department simply called the Commission. The Lucy's Blade plot implies that the Commission traces its origin back to Elizabeth 1st spymaster Walsingham.

The characters took on a life of their own in my head and I wrote their story. For some reason the story captured the imagination of fans, and it is still probably my best known work.

Everyone reads something different into it. Baen’s Bar Forum saw it as a discussion of slavery and degrees of freedom. Porky sees it as about inclusion and exclusion. I am not sure what in intended when I wrote it but it was about London and its people – the society I have spent my adult life in.

I have written three short stories since set in the world of the Commission, even if the organisation is not mentioned in any way. They are Night of the Wolf, Siren Tears, published by DAW, and the new one, Beauty is a Witch, which will be published soon by Baen in an anthology called The Wild Side (from the song Walk on the Wild Side).

I have to say that Porky is an astonishingly sophisticated reviewer who gets right under the skin of a story. So many reviewers now simply judge a work against the ‘rules of writing’ expounded on creative writing courses.

[Advert] You can buy any of my stories following the link on the sidebar top right.

Friday 18 February 2011

Evil of the Daleks

My friend Shaun set up a Dr Who scenario using modified 40K rules. Welcome to The Evil of the Daleks.

Daleks have invaded the Earth Colony on Perjury and set up a Dalek Manafactorum to create more Daleks. The locals infiltrate a militia and trooper team - a forlorn hope. However, this blue box materialises.....

1. The militia run across the concrete shuttle ground screaming and firing guns loaded with Dalek-piercing duraluminium bullets, supported by a small team of professional troopers in combat armour.
2. Daleks spill from the complex to intercept them.
3. The Doctoooor, Rose, cap'n Jack and Micky emerge from the Tardis. Jack and Micky stop to shoot at...
4. Three Daleks sent to intercept them.

1. The Militia have some success, destroying two Daleks for light losses.
2. The Troopers engage a Dalek with grenades.
3. More Daleks move to exterminate.
4. Jack and Micky keep the Daleks occupied while...
5. the Doctor and Rose sprint for the heart of the complex.

2. The Troopers flee in terror.

1. The Militia are wiped out.
2. Rose and the Doctor are caught by dalek fire. Rose goes down and the Doctor is wounded.

The Doctor reached the control tower and sabotages it with his sonic screwdriver. The Manufactorum blows up and all the Daleks are fried.

Yay for the good guys.

I played the Daleks. That's me above.

Some of Shaun's colection.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Banksy In California

Celebrated English street artist, Banksy is in Los Angeles to promote his film, and he has left some of his calling cards. I love this one. An English schoolboy from the 1950s - my era - carrying an MG42 loaded with crayons, about to blast a no parking sign.

Apparent, he put one on a CBS billboard so they sent a team around to dump it.

Duh! Do they know what a genuine Banksy is worth?

Do you have to be a moron to be in corporate management or does it just work out that way.

Any figure sculpters watching: please, please, sculpt it.

Monday 14 February 2011

Be My Valentine

One of Seamus' Rotten Belles. This one is a bit far gone but it is St Valantine's day.

Remember, the beauty of a lady is proportional to the amount of booze consumed by the beholder.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Size Matters - It's A Scale Thing

I have had a few enquiries over the exact scale of 28mm models from different manufacturers, so I though I would put up a scale comparison pic.

1. Warlord
2. Necromunda
3. Malifaux
4. Hasslefree
5. Cadian
6. Reaper

Saturday 12 February 2011

Conquer and Destroooooy

I have painted three of the new Daleks from BBC Dr Who Comic. Not at but all bad for 12p each. I need to put another coat on the stands and do a better job on the Morris Minor indicator lights on the turret but I am well pleased.

Friday 11 February 2011

Thank You One And All

John's Toy Soldiers has reached 200 followers, making it one of the finest cures for insomnia on the net.

I looked up Google Analytics which has been recording visiters to the site from summer 2009.

54.7 thousand individual computers have made 109 thousand visits.

I don't know what to say......except thanks.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Red Army - Review of Plastic Soldier 28mm

I purchased a box of plastic 28mm Russian WWII soldiers in summer uniform from The Plastic warrior Company.

The first thing I notice is that you get 57 figures for £18.50.

Good grief, that's 33p each......

There are three sprues, giving six leaders, 45 riflemen/smg men and six LMG teams.

The figures are not multiposable, they are mostly one piece, but they are in hard plastic (Not polyethylene, thank the Lord). You have to supply your own bases.

They are decently indented and respond well to a wash. The results are not brilliant but OK, actually bloody good for 33p.

Above is a section of Tank Riders and, below, a rifle section with medic girl.

This is an amazing way of putting together an acceptable army quickly and cheaply. Highly recommended.


Sunday 6 February 2011

Seek, Locate, Exterminate

Dr Who Comic, BBC, has a freebee of seventeen hard plastic Daleks perfect for 28ml (see soldier for scale. They are the modern version.

And the price? £2.20 - I bout three.

Friday 4 February 2011

Malifaux - first time player

I played my first game of Malifaux this week. It has a very unusual system, a collectivble card game mated to a miniatures game. It is completely diceless. The rule book is great fun to read but a nightmare to find a rule, which does not help the learning process.

We played two to a side, one to move the miniatures and one to read the rules. Each piece has a unique mix of abilities and 'trigger' responses, as do some weapons. It is an intricate resource based game. You can only handle a few models per side. I enjoyed the game and got the feel of a game turn. More, when I understand the game better.

My team's army, Archanists.

Our opponents launch an attack.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Warlord's Plastic Germans

Warlord Games sell a multi-part/pose box of twenty five German 28mm WWII soldiers, an entire platoon, for the princely sum of £20 - which is bloody good value.

There are a wide variety of weapons included and plastic bases.

The sculpting is excelent but they are not easy to put together. I went at the first ten like a the proverbial bull faced with an agricultural door and had real problems fitting the weapons to the arms.

As a last resort, I looked at the instuctions, to discover that different arms were designed for different weapons. Sigh!

Incidentally, do you know why it takes ten million sperm to fertilise one ovum? It's because they have Y chromosomes so they won't stop and ask for directions - boom, boom.

I have also bought a box of British regulars. This time I read the instructions, but it is still tricky. I think a good modeller will get outstanding figures from these modestly priced sets but definitely not one for the beginner.

Warlord acquired Bolt Action, and supply metal special figures, like flamethrower men etc, that are also keenly priced and well sculpted. A very nice range; well worth a look.