Tuesday 29 May 2012

Update Warhammer HistoricaL

I have just spoken to the legal department at GW over Fall of the West as the company had not seen it necessary to contact their writers.

As Warhammer Historical has ceased trading I asked GW if they were happy that the copyright reverted to me now that the book was no longer available as is normal practice in the publishing industry.

I had intended to make it freely available over the web since it has no commercial value.

 I am afraid that they regard the copyright as theirs in perpetuity even if they never make it available again.

Presumably this applies to the rest of the range.

Third Reich's Wheels

Motorcycle motorised troops seem a little strange in the modern world but were quite innovative in the forties. The German army was largely unmotorised, relying on foot infantry and horses.

You may recall Her Gruber's little tank. Actually the German obsession with size, possibly reflecting Mad Adolph's well known sexual problems, came out in grossly over-gunned armoured cars. The Puma may have had a 50mm AT gun but was ill advised to mix it with battle tanks.

Prime (and non-prime) movers.

Roman D20

This is an ancient Roman glass die. Really!

Does this mean that the Romans invented wargaming or, Jupiter help us, RPGs?

I think we should be told.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Third Reich: Tanks

   Some kind soul encouraged me to put up some of my WWII, 1/72 1/76, collection. So here, for treadheads everywhere are the tanks of the Third Reich. In the front are the Pz I training tank and the Pz II light tank. Behind are three variants of the Pz III, the Reich's first main battle tank which was the mainstay of the panzer regiments in '42 & '43. It started with a 37mm gun, then a 50mm and finally a long 50mm with spaced armour, known to the British Army as a Mark III Special.

   The Pz IV started as a minimally armoured support tank with a 75mm howitzer. It was upgunned to a long 75mm, the Mk IV Special, and finally equipped with spaced armour. In '44 it was the standard battle tank equipping one of the two battalions in a panzer regiment.

   Finally we have the heavies. From left to right, the Pz V Panther built to counter the T34 equipped the other battalion of tanks in a Panzer Regiment was classed as a medium but... It had a long 75mm that was almost as good as a  British 17pdr and heavy frontal armour. Technically it was a disaster with an appaling breakdown rate but it performs exceptionally on the wargames table. The Pz VI Tiger I heavy tank was designed to counter the Russian KVs. It had a variant of the feared 88mm flak gun. At the rear is the Tiger II which used Panther mechanics but was a deal heavier, which did nothing for its mobility or reliability.

   More later.

DZC - The Scourge

 More DZC minis: the Scourge

Blofeld's House For sale

Blofeld has put his country house in Hampshire up for sale. I guess the recession is even biting at SPECTRE.

Note the car park on the roof and the getaway cruiser at the end of the pier. The duck pond to the right slides back to reveal the VTOL jet launcher.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Saturday's Post

Oooooooh, shiny toys in the post.

Ightham Mote

 Popped over to Ightham Mote for lunch at the National Trust restaurant as it was a gorgeous day. Had the homemade vegetable soup and the spiced rhubarb custard. Superb!

It was such a wonderful day that we took a turn around the house and gardens. I didn't have a camera with me but I did take a few pics with my ancient Nokia.

We haven't been around this property since '87(?) when my eldest fell out of the dog kennel and had to be taken to casualty. It's the oldest dog kennelin Britain, apparently. See below.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Drop Zone Commander

Next month a new game, Drop Zone Commander is released by a new company, Hawk Wargames.

I know next to nothing about it except that is is 10mm, standard cliched SF wargame background, and high figure quality. I have rounded up a few pics for your perusal of the Shaltari Tribes.

More factions later.

40K Flyer Pics

You have probably seen these but in case you haven't: here dey are.

Loath as I am to shove more sheckels into GW's rapacious purse, I will probably buy some.


And it's goodbye from him!

You may recall that I queried how GW were going to sell any copies of Kampfgruppe Normandy for fifty sovs after unlaoding them at Salute for eighteen quid.

Well, here's the answer.

Got to the Warhammer Historical site and you get:

Warhammer Historical Has Now Closed

We can no longer accept any further orders for our products

We would like to thank our customers who have purchased our publications over the years and hope you will continue to get many more years of gaming enjoyment from them.

or to put it another way:

"We thank our loyal customers and writers who can now take a flying leap for all we care..."

What's annoying is that they won't pass copies of the books back to the writers or sell them off at bargain prices to their loyal customers: they'll pulp them.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Landseer Beach Buggy

I picked this up on ebay as a kit. it is an old Froc model of the ubiquitious Kubelwagon, run around of the WWII German army.

It is 1:48 so looks good with 28mil models. Now I need to find a driver and crew. :)


Sunday 20 May 2012

Warlord German Specialists

   28 mil figures from the German specialists reinforcement pack from Warlord. The flamethrower chap is fine but the panzerschreck merchants have apparently been conscripted from the Ministry of Silly Walks or the Royal Ballet.  I haven't seen poses like that since Airfix toy soldiers.

   I mean, look at that guy with the SMG. No one, but no one runs like that unless their truss is too tight - in which case a career as a Bee Gee impersonator beckons.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Soviet Infantry - Great Patriotic war

These are my Wehrmacht troops for Eastern Front WWII games. The rifle & SMG troops at the front, then cavalry (still useful on the Eastern Front) and Maxim guns with a small partisan band at the rear. My favoured rules are Rapid Fire and the scale is 1/72 traditional plastic toy soldiers.

Thursday 17 May 2012

I Robot

A couple of Film Robots.

The model on the right was shaded with Citadel blue wash but the model on the left was covered in a glaze made from citadel's new universal glaze fluid coloured with a spot of light blue paint. Both were prepainted silver and then lightly overbrushed with silver after treatment. The glaze sticks to the surfaces in a way the wash doesn't, giving a different effect.

The model on the left is Robbie from the classic Forbidden Planet. It also makes a great armoured suit model.

Storming Hell

The wonderful Ian Watson has republished my story Storming Hell in The Mammoth Book of SF Wars.

Storming Hell is about spaceship combat but it has an unusual setting. I took the Edwardian scientific world picture, plus their SF, and assumed it was literally true. Then I concocted a universe bound by those rules. I suppose you could call it a variant of Steampunk.

Storming Hell was first published in the USA by Baen in Universe Magazine, where it made the front cover. This is the first British publication of the story. Indeed, it is my first British publication of a story.

You can find it here.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

7TV Enforcers

 A collection of enforcers with machine pistols for the 7TV game. Above are SPECTRE, or similar, goons.

 An MI5 goon with sten gun, probably an SOE silenced model.

A SMERSH goon. Note that a hump is not actually a job requirement for the KGB but it is a decided advantage, rather like having a limp if you want to join the Gestapo.

Monday 14 May 2012

7T - James Bond Villains

Every hero needs an evil mastermind to fight against so I give you Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Dr No of the private enterprise SPECTRE, the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. Fleming was hugely ahead of his time with SPECTRE, which has now become the business model for most of our large corporations, with the obvious exception that SPECTRE did not tolerate failure in its leadership while global corporations reward it.

Never trust a SPECTRE man.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Crusader III

   The Crusader  had such great lines that it's a shame that it was a total disaster as a battle tank, with tissue armour, a pop gun of a main armament and unreliable mechanics to boot. They shoe-horned a half reasonable six-pounder AT-gun into the turret, which left no room for a third man so that the commander also had to double as loader.

   The width of the turret ring on British tanks was limited by the rail-guages on British railways in a wonderful example of the tail wagging the dog.

   This is a Tamiya 1:48 kit for my 28 mil Brititish army detachment. It was sprayed with FoW Russian Green and coated with MIG black 'oil' wash. It was then drybrushed Revell olive green and highlighted in a Citadel grass green. Finally, Citadel textured paint was scraped on to 'mud' the model and Citdel brown wash used to blend the green tones.

Friday 11 May 2012

Monday 7 May 2012

Normandy '44

   I have been looking for a set of rules for a 28 mm WWII game at the platoon/company level for some time. 

   I have tried the Too Fat Lardies rules, I ain't Been shot Mum, but can't get on with them. In general I am not sympatico with the TFL rules I have tried for two reasons. Firstly they have an awful lot of intricate mechanisms that seem to give little result for the effort and, secondly, there is a level of play problem. For example, the air rules, Bag The Hun, are about formation tactics, which is fine, but they then incorporate the most complicated fire and damage system that might have been designed for a solo duel game where each player keeps track of a single fighter.

   There is much to admire about TFL rules, not least their innovation and obvious love of the game, but they desperately need ruthless editing for focus. The designers try to incorporate every good idea they think of, irrespective whether it is right for the game. Professionalism is often about what you choose to leave out.

   At Salute, GW were selling Warwick Kinrade’s Kampfgruppe Normandy for the princely sum of £18 rather than the £48. As an aside, this must destroy the price point from a marketing point of view. Who the hell will order a £48 item that may be on sale tomorrow for £18? Apart from the annoyance factor, the discount destroys the second hand value.

  KgN is nothing like a GW game. The basic organisational structure is modern, not unlike mine own Hammers Slammers. Roll a die for command points and add leadership, units with more than one move, more die rolled for removal of suppression markers, and games lost when battle group morale is eroded.

   My regular opponent, the redoubtable Shaun, and I played a game in 28 mm depicting an encounter between a Canadian infantry group and a German infantry Kampfgruppe. KgN is designed for 20 mm so we played a small game with reinforced platoons.

   The photo above shows a 124 point German army of one platoon of three sections and command section, reinforced by a SP quod AA gun, a Panther, an additional Heavy MG team, and a Panzerschreck team.

    One game peculiarity is that each German section is divided into two independent subsections, the MG team and the rifle team. This doubles the number of German sections which ain’t necessarily a good thing, although there are pros and cons.

   Above is a photo of the 124 point Canadian battle group. The Canadians were reckoned to be the best army in Normandy, better than the British or Americans. They were an all-volunteer, highly trained and motivated army of tough outdoorsmen. The group includes a platoon with three sections of ten men and a command section with a Bren Gun Carrier, reinforced by a Sherman 75, a Wolverine and two PIAT teams with Bren Gun Carriers.

   A peculiarity of British/ Commonwealth Sections in these rules is that they are ten men. I must admit, I was under the impression, perhaps erroneously, that this was a paper strength and that eight infantrymen per section was the maximum to fight in combat.

   As an aside the army choice system is very GW codex and will probably be ignored by historical gamers.

   The above photo shows the game after a few turns. The Canadians attacked aggressively, taking casualties. The Sherman tried to outflank the Panther by running around the orchard and fell into a panzerfaust trap. The Wolverine shoves its nose out between the orchard wall and the ruined village but was unfortunately spotted by the Panther and smacked.

   The flak gun spotted movement in the trees and laid down a stream of fire that accounted for two Canadians but return fire from small arms and Brens set the unarmed half track ablaze.

   The two sides traded shots in a firefight that saw the German command section decimated, but the brave Oberleutnant John stayed at his post amid the carnage.

   When the Canadian were in position (i.e. Shaun rolled a six for command points) they swept in a bayonet charge around and rolling up the left flank, catching the MG crew setting up their gun. The Canadians swept into the ruined farmhouse slaughtering the Panzerschreck team and putting two subsections to the bayonet. The Panther fired HE into the rubble to little avail although the German infantry on the left flank took out a Carrier with panzerfaust fire.

   Oberleutnant John went down in a hail of fire, defiant to the last and the Panther came under flanking PIAT fire from the ruins in the farm buildings. Shaun and I decided that the beastly Hun would prudently retreat at this point even though their morale was still good. It only remained to congratulate Shaun on his decisive victory.

   We both enjoyed the game. It plays smoothly, is great fun, and gives realistic, and very bloody, results. Kinrade has done a great job. GW could have showed some appreciation and put his name on the front cover instead of the dreary company logo as recommended by some tosser in a suit from the marketing department.

   I am not sure I would like to try a 20 mm game with companies. At that scale I am inclined to stick with Rapid Fire.  KgN is perfect for 28 mm with a platoon or two with support.

   Highly Recommended.