Tuesday 31 May 2011

Strategos - The Army Painter Way

This is an Immortal 28mm Classical Greek plastic model. I used the Army Painter shaded varnish (Dark Tone) technique for speed. I have 80 models to paint. I am really pleased with the result.

The shield needs another coat, some edge setting and the transfer (also provided by Immortal) but then its done.

The varnish has picked out the detail on the sword and armour wonderfully.

Monday 30 May 2011

Sunday 29 May 2011

Wings Over The Reich Update

Artwork by Mark Postlethwaite can be bought here.

I have updated the Wings Over The Reich page - see top right sidebar.

Saturday 28 May 2011

JTS - Wings Over The Reich

Model Zone are selling off these great little prepainted 1:100 kits for £2.99 each and that includes a tube of glue. There are four paint jobs to choose from for each kit.

I have put togther a set of air-skirmish rules to have a game. I have posted them on the side bar as a seperate clickable page. The rules are, as yet, untested so they will probably need tweaking.

Friday 27 May 2011

Beware of Greeks Bearing Long Spears - Hail Caeser

The Ionoian Greek city of Aquopolis locked their gates against the Imperial tax-gatherers and the citizens stood on the walls baring their buttocks and making rude gestures with their fingers. Such a show of disrespect to the King of Kings could not be borne and so Johnarxes, Governor of the Persian Satrap, instructed his warriors to gird their loins and march west.

They approached the plain of Aquopolis in battle formation in three divisions, a centre division of infantry under Johnarxes, a left flank cavalry division commanded by his brother-in-law, and a right flank cavalry division commanded by Zerxese the Nutter.

Hail Caeser rules were used.

The Persian Army encountered a Greek Army led by their strategos, Seanophon, blocking the route to the city.

Johnarxese order his cavalry forward, hoping to find a way into the Greek rear. Zerxese the Nutter launched an immediate charge, riding down some Greek skirmishers, while Johnarxese brother-in-law discovered a stone in his horse's hoof and refused to move until he found his Swiss Army knife.

Zerxese the Nutter decided to launch a head on attack against the Greek phalanx with his light cavalry. The heavy cavalry pivoted to try to exploit a gap opening in the Greek battle line.

The brother-in-law commanding the cavalry on the Perian left flank refused to move because Johnarxese had not said please.

A unit of Greek light cavalry on the Persian left flank smashed into brother-in law's cavalry units, forcing them back. The Greek phalanx start to chew up The Nutter's light cavalry. On the bright side, Persian heavy cavalry break through the Persian line by destrying skirmishers sent to stop them. Unfortunately, they stopped to loot the bodies and ignored orders to reengage the rear of the Greek line.

The light cavalry on the right flank are put to flight and all but the medium cavalry on the left flank destroyed. The remaining cavalry therefore disengage and flee the field [divisions break as more than 50% casuaties].

Johnarxese retreats off the battlefield with his remaining division. On the way home he composes two letters. One is to the King of Kings in Persopolis to explain the fall in tax revenues this year - it's the economic conditions coupled to inclement weather, guv. The other is to his sister, telling her to prepare for widowhood, as he anticipates her husband having a serious accident in the near future.

Thanks to Shaun who supplied the models, table and coffee.

Monday 23 May 2011

Kent Gardens

Some pictures of Kent I took a couple of weeks ago. Since then the drought has started to bite and England's green and pleasant land is looking a bit browned off.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Wayland Games - Statement

GW have started something of a storm by trying to forbid UK traders to sell overseas in order to control prices in overseas markets by preventing said traders from undercutting the official price - presumably the threat is to stop supplying traders who refuse to comply with this policy.

One of the biggest traders in the UK, Wayland, have issued a public statement.

I reprint the key part below. The first phrase is the most interesting. I suspect m'learned friends are being consulted.


"Quite aside from the legality of Games Workshop’s actions, we are confused by the commercial attitude of Games Workshop which hampers our ability to sell to hobbyists to the clear disadvantage of both Games Workshop (albeit maybe not their retail arm) and the hobbyists themselves.

I will not air anyone’s dirty laundry in public. Therefore, I am writing to Games Workshop separately (its board, lawyers and their principal shareholders) to share my concerns in greater depth. I hope that commercial common sense will prevail and that we can continue to work with Games Workshop to expand their market and bring a great product to as many people as possible at the best price possible. After all, Games Workshop not only has a clear responsibility to the market but also a clear responsibility to its shareholders (which, after all, could be you and me!)."


I have no idea of the legal ramifications of all this but it does seem a little strange and one wonders whether the bad publicity offsets any commercial advantage GW might gain by these actions.

Wargames Factory Amazons

I bought a box of Amazons from Wargames Factory via Nanny0gg, a UK trader. These are the first miniatures I have bought from this company since their restructuring under Chinese management.

The value for money is good with 24 figures per box and many, many, accessories. You can build slingers, bowgirls, peltasts, hoplites or phalangites. It's almost worth buying the box for the bits.

The figures are tall, more heroic than 28mm, but slim. Hey, they are girlies not butch Vikings. The sculpting is OK, but only OK. The faces are rather Chinese-looking rather than Hellenistic - probably a coincidence.

I used Army Painter techniques with their Dark Tone varnish, because I wanted to do a quick job. I currently have no ancient armies but Hail Caeser has re-awoken my interest. Incidentally, I don't dip models in the varnish but paint it on, less messy and better results IMO.

Sorry about the photo. The varnish is still wet and it was overcast when I took the handheld pic so I had to use an open aperture.

Thursday 19 May 2011

The Name's Bond, Basildon Bond

I acquired a copy of 7TV at Salute. The rules look interesting and I have started to collect suitable models in 28mm - more or less.

Little Nelly

Brigadier Lethbridge Stuart's personal transport.

Air Car, Submarine, Sports car - delete as applicable.

Monday 16 May 2011

Hail Caeser - Review

On Saturday I acquired my copy of Hail Caeser, the new pre-firearm set of rules from Warlord written by The Man hisself, Rick Priestly. I read them through on Saturday and played my first game with my long-suffering opponent Shaun. That tells you immediatelt that they are well laid out and easy to pick up. The physical production is excellent, hard backed, durable and with lots of wargaming full colour porn inside.

In some ways, this is Warmaster for 28mm figures and shows the development on Rick's design ideas.

The smallest subdivision is a unit, not a soldier as in Warhammer. Units have an Initial Clash and Sustained fight combat values, and short and long range firepower. Saving throws are based on morale, not directly on equipment. Casualties are only acumulative until a unit's Stamina is reached, above which additional casualties are non accumulative from phase to phase and turn to turn, but are used to determine who won the combat and to modify Break Tests. Units can be pushed back, disordered, or disintegrate completely.

Command control is critical, as it used for any sort of complicated or extended movement.

Hail Caser is astonishingly 'clean' and flexible as a system. It could be played in any scale and with any basing or number of troops per unit provided your opponent does likewise.

Basic troop types are provided, heavy infantry, medium cavalry, with a series of special rules that can be added to a troop type to 'characterise' its type of formation or weapons, e.g. phalanx or pilum.

Hail Caser assumes that the player has a reasonable knowledge of the military history involved. This is not a game for the tournament loons but for wargamers who want to have fun playing real or possible historical scenarios.

For our first learning-experience game we played only one division of units a side, instead of the usual three, as recommended in the rules, and did not use skirmishers. The scenario is set in Spain in the Second Punic War

The Roman Proconsul, Pompus Maximus, has been despatched with a single legion (plus Italian allies) to investigate rumours that the Carthaginians are 'raising taxes' from the natives in the Spanish interior. Pompus has two units of heavy infantry and two units of medium cavalry. We decided to give the Roman infantry the 'Pilum' rule: reduces morale saves on first turn of combat.

The rumours are, of course, true, and Pompus brings a Carthaginian army, commanded by General Kleptobaal, to battle. Kleptobaal has one unit of Carthaginian pikemen, heavy infantry, a unit of Spanish mercenaries, medium infantry, a unit of Celtic mercenaries (warband) and a unit of light cavalry. The Carthaginian heavy infantry were given the Phalanx rule (have to be beaten in hand to hand combat by at least three casualties before they have to take a break test). We gave the warband a high initial clash combat value to represent barbarian ferocity.

Kleptobaal won the toss and elected to go first. His army charged in gloriously to engage the Romans, with the exception of the Celtic warband who had a hangover and refused to move on the first turn. We used a blue marker to represent the cumaltive stamina casualties and red for transient casualties.

Battle was soon joined all across the front and casualties mounted. The Carthaginian pikemen were pushed back in disorder, i.e. lost the battle badly and failed the break test, but held on.

Disaster! The Celtic Warband was unable to match the Romans in sustained combat and broke, fleeing off the battlefield. Disturbingly, the right flank Carthaginian cavalry did likewise.

The Spanish infantry disengaged in good order. Pompus was unable to persuade the Roman cavalry to chase and pin them. The pikemen held out for two more turns but finally broke when charged in the flank by cavalry as well as fighting legionnaires to the front.

Kleptobaal mounted his horse and carried out a personal strategic move to the rear at the gallop, vowing never to pay Celts with booze in future, until after the battle.

Conclusion: great fun.

I can't wait to try a three division battle. I do not own any ancient armies at the moment but I have ordered boxes of Wargames Factory Amazons and Conquest Miniatures hoplites to make a Greek quasi-mythological army.

Highly recommended for scenario wargamers.

Friday 13 May 2011

Sunday 8 May 2011

Scrap Ova Da Scrap

Big Mek Metlebasha wuz clectin scrap in da remains of da hoomie city when Warboss Snozgut y mate Shaun) announced dat de scrap is needed for his noo battlewagon. So dey has a scrap ove da scrap.

Metlebasha's boyz assembled for battle - see above.

Snozgut rounded up some boyz wiv truks an bikes an things to give de upstart Mek a good kicking.

Snozgut's sneaky battleplan was to charge across open ground at da windy spanna-boyz an grots.

Snozgut's lads were met with a hail of rokits that smashed his trucks. One entire mob of boyz were incinerated when a rokit blew up the fuel tank.

His biker-boyz charged da grot tanks and were annihalted by a hail of grotzooka fire and burnaflames. The remnants were sliced up by da killer cans and da Dread.

Snozgut rallied his boyz and was about to call a Waaghh when a rokit hit him between the eyes, lodging in his skull. Snozgut gota bit confused and led da boyz in a charge in da wrong direction leaving Metlebasha in charge of da loot.

He had in mind a new speshul project.

Saturday 7 May 2011

Into the Hinterlands

The eArc to my new novel is up on the Baen site for sale.


Friday 6 May 2011

Stylish? Moi Part 2.

Finally some nominations of my own, in no particular order:

1. Porky's Expanse - For originality and stimulating analysis.

2. Mark's Journal - For contributions to food criticism.

3.England Prevails - For reminding me of my lost youth in the seventies.

4. Mordian 7th - For great wargaming blogs.

5. The Man Cave - Because there's a bit of cave man in all of us.

6. Don't Throw a One - For living in Gravesend.

7. Another Slippery Slope - For great buildings.

8. The Inner Geek - For Living in Texas

9. Constantly Risking Obscurity - 'Cos he's a nice guy.

10. Devos IV - For buying me a pint.

11. Angry Lurker - 'Cos a lurker in the dark keeps us on our toes.

12. Big Lee's Miniature Adventures - For living in Dagenham.

13. The Lensman's Children - For being a mate.

14. Monty - For being organised (see his workspace).

15. Cyborg Trucker - For a great attitude to our silly hobby.

And that's all I am allowed. But a special mention to Iggy for his enthusiasm.

Stylish? Moi Part 1.

The deluded but very stylish Admiral Drax has declared JTS to be a stylish blog site:

"not only is his wide-ranging blog always interesting, John also seems tremendously personable and unfailingly polite to any who comment. Thanks, matey!"

Thank you, Admiral.

Apparently I have to reveal seven things about myself. So here goes:

1. I was born and spent my childhood in the surfing town of Newquay.

2. I was a Mod in the late sixties, wore a parka with a rabbit fur trim, and drove a yellow Lambretta with six mirrors.

3. I once worked in retail management for Marks & Spencer.

4. When I got my first paycheck I bought a bright yellow Spitfire sports car that was so unreliable it was known as the 'Yellow Peril'.

5. I ran the first Bring & Buy stall at Games Day when it was in London at the Royal Horticultural Hall.

6. I named a new genus and species of deep-sea worm with vicious teeth after my wife (Batheurystomina valeriae).

7. I'm a visiting Professor of Oceanography at Southampton University.


Wednesday 4 May 2011

Metlebasha's Dread Mob - Da Quick-Like Ractshun Force

Big Mek Metlebasha has a noo Quick-Like Ractshun Force to get stuck in wiv no messin.

Sawbones Cybork Mob

Da mek's speshul project Junka.



Splittoff's Spanna Boyz

Cutter's Spanna Boyz

Fast Attack

Boomer's Flyboyz

Scuttler's Killa Kan Mob

Kruk's Tread Runts Tank Mob

This is a 1474 pt army.

Here the army is under vicious attack by the Wabbit Daemon who has already thrown one DeffKopta and is chewing on na second.