Saturday 30 June 2012

United States Infantry

   The first unit of my new modern collection is a US Infantry unit and Stryker APC in desert camo. It's interesting how wheeled transpoert is making a comeback for the infantry after the lunge into expensive mechanised IFVs.

   As an aside, does anyone know of a reasonable set of modern skirmish rules? I have Force on Force but the rules are difficult to read with no easy way in and the game becomes unwieldly with all but a very limited number of units in play.

Question Time

   It come to something when a mere TV presenter has to speak for the British people because our politicians are too inarticulate, too cowardly, or perhaps too corrupt.

6th Edition

   This has got to be the weirdest launch of a new edition of 40K ever. It is so low key.

   In fact, he new rules are not so much launched as released into the community.

   I see thrown grenades are back, after being rejected in version four, or was it three? Rifle fires 24 inches, man throws grenade eight inches. What do they use as propellent in those cartridges? Agitated lemonade?


Friday 29 June 2012


   Popped in to Margate's Turner Contemporary Art Galery to  see Rodin's The Kiss. It is fabulous. The maleness and feminity expressed in the marble is astonishing.

   The photos were taken on my iPhone into the light so are not good.

 The gallery is currently showing Tracy Emin's collection 'She lay down deep beneath the sea." Ms Emin is a local girl, born in Margate and trained in Medway and Maidstone. I don't understand her art but she is a wonderful person who is doing her best for her home town - unlike the council who have turned Margate into something resembling a post apocolyptic wasteland. So for God's sake buy something in one of the few shops not yet boarded up when you visit. The gallery does a great mug of tea, incidentally.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Presents for John

    If you want to get presents in the post, order them yourselves.

   I really like Caesar Miniatures. They use a more sophisticated mould than Airfix so you get a better sculpted figure without the flash lines, which are a nightmare to get of polyethylene figures: you need a soldering iron and one little slip....

   The figures come as individuals, not on a sprue, which I guess has got something to do with the mold.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Turning Japanese

"I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so."
   I couldn't resist buying a couple of boxes of Airfix plastic kits in Model Zone, when my family were shopping in Bluewater. I bought these back in my 60s geeky youth. You get about 35 usable 20mm figures from the infantry box, which is not bad for a sick squid.
   The Chi-Ha Type 97 tank was a similar sum.
   Chi- Ha, what a great name for a tank!

Hail Britannia - Romans

   Taking some pics of a two legion Roman army as it might be used to attack a hill fort in Hail Brittannia. Unfortunately it is too late in the day (2pm) for the picture window in my house to let enough light in on BST so the quality ain't there. Will have to reshoot on the next sunny morning.

   Still thought it might be fun to post it: six units of Legionnaires (one veteran), four units of medium auxilliary infantry (one as a small unit), one light artillery unit, one medium cavalry with spears, and one light cavalry with javelins.

Pig Faced Ork Death Cultists

   Fractured Dimensions in the USA have announced the release of Pig Faced Orc Death Cultist figures to join their Pig Faced Orc Range.

Sunday 24 June 2012

New staff member at JTS

   JTS is pleased to announce the addition of a new staff member, George, who is responsible for electricity generation. Part of our new Austerity Plan, Copyright George Osbourne (no relation).

Saturday 23 June 2012

Bolt Action

   Warlord is preadvertising their Bolt Action rules. Given that I have Rapid Fire for 1:72 and Kampfgruppe Normandy for 28 ml, and I have dozens of othersto choose from if I fancy a change, what would make me buy this book?

   The Warlord logo on the cover? Not really, I don't choose to read, or not read, a novel because it is published by Harper Collins.

    The Osprey Logo? Oh please, I associate Osprey with amateur incompetence when it comes to wargame rules. Tomorrow's War still gives me the shivers. I wasted hours of my life trying to decipher that mess of a rulesbook.

   The fact that it is designed by Rick Priestly? Yah, that gets my interest. I have had a lot of pleasure playing Rick Priestly games and they are never less than competently and professionally executed - and usually much more. Oh yeah, I'll risk some dosh and time on a new Rick Priestly game.

   So why isn't his name in big letters on the front cover????

   It's as if these tiny wargame companies want to ape the sclerotic corporations with their bland, brand images. Why don't they capitalise instead on their advantages, namely a chance to utilise real people whose names we recognise and trust?

   OK, it's a why question.

The Excitement Mounts

   Excitement mounts as launch of 40K version 6 is announced by the Second Assistant Beveage Executive at Nottingham Towers. You too can be the proud owner of a Collector's Edition Rulebook for a mere eighty of your English Pounds.

I quote:

"The Collectors' Edition Rulebook is an enhanced version of the Standard Rulebook, and production quality makes this something extra special - an artefact you will want to treat as something sacred."

Compard to this the King James Bible is a comic.

The Collectors' Edition Rulebook is printed on paper that is 'parchment-like' in a box 'made from a leatherette material', so much better than parchment or, er, leather.

Obviously, you would like to invest in ten or more. I mean, imagine what these will be worth in twenty years time, but you are restricted to buying just one per capita during the initial sale period. The remaining warehouse-full will be unloaded for a tenner at the next Salute.

Oh be still, my beating heart.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Wasp Flame Thrower

   The Universal Carrier Wasp flame thrower,  a 28ml resin model by Warlord.

   The reliable British Universal Carrier, often called a Bren Gun Carrier, was built in great numbers and was the all-purpose all-terrain light AFV of the British Army. It was used as a prime mover for AT guns, a light APC, a reconnaissance vehicle, a tracked jeep, a machine gun carrier and a flame thrower. The latter version was called a Wasp.

   Churchill Crocodile tanks were highly successful flamethrower vehicles, one of the British siege tanks, funnies, to smooth the way on the beaches of Normandy. Churchills had the same armour thickness as a Tiger Tank and carried the fuel in a towed armoured trailer. They also had a 75mm cannon and MGs as back up weapons.

   But you had to be a real hero to charge enemy strongpoints in a light open topped AFV with tissue paper armour and no other weapons, especially when the tanks were in with the crew.

   The Warlord model comes in a one piece assembly except for the  crew's heads, which are metal add ons. The finish is perfect and requires no sanding or filling. I painted this 'out of the box', well, except for a wash. It is superb at a tenner.

   I thought it might be fun to compare the wasp with the £15 Tamiya 1:48 Bren Gun Carrier. Obviously the plastic model is lighter and more detailed but you do have to assemble it. The warlord vehicle is 1:56, slightly shorter than than the Tamiya but it is 'chunkier'. The infantry in the Tamiya kit are 28ml (1:56) Warlord infantry and they are larger than the 1:56 crew in the Wasp. Scale is a funny old thing.

Monday 18 June 2012

New GW Washes

   I had assumed the new Citadel washes were simply a name change by the marketing jerks but the new washes do actually seem to work better with less pooling as they dry. Look at the uniforms on these little polyethylene toy soldiers and the ammunition box shading.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Thursday 14 June 2012

Gigantic Weapons as Overcompensation

   We have discussed Hitler's testicular deficiencies and the resulting overcompensation before. But surely the worst example is the design and building of three prototypes of the Pz VIII Mauss, the heaviest tank ever made at 188 tons. Its main armamment was the 128mm weapon from the Jagdtiger with a 75mm coaxial cannon.
   Strategically, it was useless. It couldn't cross bridges or be moved by rail or tank transporter so its strategic reach would have been limited to how far it could drive from the factory - at 8.1 mph. That might have been not very far as it was stuffed with complex devices and only had six crew for maintainance so breakdowns would have been common.
   Tactically, it would have been a joke with less capability than a Tiger I or JSII. But it was very, very, big with a very long barrel and that was apparently what impressed mad Adolph. A surviving prototype is now at a tank museum near Moscow, see below.

   The obsession with size affected other weapon systems such as destroyers fitted with cruiser guns, giving them less firepower in practice than a conventional ship, and the little gem above. The 8.3 ton eight wheeled PanzerspƤhwagen was unnecessarily large for a reconnaissance vehicle. The original production model had a 20mm autocannon, which was big enough. But Nazis being Nazis they could never resist the urge to tinker and fit gigantic weapons, such as a high velocity 75mm AT gun. 
   This was a ridiculous weapon which only encouraged crews to try and take on tanks, in an open topped vehicle with 15mm armour on the front and an open top.
   The fitting of AT guns on open topped lightly armoured vehicles such German Marders or the American TDs was not a success as they were horribly vulnerable. Towed AT guns are low and can be hidden or dug in, while tanks are armoured to withstand fire.
   Stuart light tanks used for reconnaissance by British armoured divisions ideally had their turrets removed to improve vision and resist the temptation to use it as a main battle tank.

   Just to rub the point home, the pic above shows the German AFVs against a Churchill tank, which at 38.5 tons was quite heavy by Anglo-American standards.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

We Have Thatch

   It is very difficult to wash or drybrush teddy bear fur, even when PVA-fixed. However I used a dilute layer of Coot d'Arms negro-brown to shade the colours a bit to make it look less 'model-like' and more 'natural' and weather worn.

   This is as good as I can do.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

A Bit 'O Brylcream

Have just plastered down the teddy bear hide with dilute PVA. It's still wet but definitely an improvement. Maybe Donald should try it with his syrup?

Bad Hair Day

   Part of my loot from Broadsword is this laser diecut, prepainted, 28 ml wooden kit from 4Ground.  The bits punch out and fit together perfectly using PVA glue. The thatch is teddy bear hair. It looks like the 'syrup' on top of Donald Trump's head. However, it has yet to be combed down with white PVA glue.

   Great value at £14. It is strong and light, as well. I just hope I can get control of that damn syrup fig.

Scotney Castle

   On the one day when it stopped raining in Kent, we paid a visit to Scotney Castle. Here are some views of the original old castle down in the valley, where a moat could be built, and new house up on the hill, which is an 'Elizabethan' house built in the 19th C.

   I took a number of photos so more later.

Monday 11 June 2012

Battle of the Medway

   I playtested the Battle of the Medway scenario last week for Hail Britannia.

A: Celtic Warbands
B: Celtic Cavalry
C: Vespasian
D: Mainforce under Plautius
E: Batavians

   I am pleased to report that it worked.

The pic below was taken in dim light with an iPod so is pretty bad.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Broadsword Show Sittingbourne

   The second year of the Broadsword WargameShow at Sittingbourne, North Kent, the next town down the estuary from Rainham, and it was more successful than ever. I met many of the people I have played wargames with over the last thirty years and had a gossip, which was great. The above photo shows models from the radio control people.

Attack on a fort.

The Age of Kings.

Small scale British airborne landing. The Rhine?

A Dark Age port.

Late antiquity.

An SF Thunder Run with Pig Iron armour.

Crooked Dice who do the wonderful 7TV.

Bolt Action, Rick Priestly's new WWII game being demo'd.

The Rainham Wargame Club at asymetric warfare.

Frontline Miniatures, Rainham's friendly manufacturer of resin miniatures.