Sunday 30 June 2013


The upcoming Apocalypse supplement got me keen to finish my Stompa that has been lying around the shed for some years.

I had previously spray-undercoated it with a textured grey and overcoated with black and dark metallic.

Today I highlighted in copper and bronze, painted the crew, touched up a few details and finished it off with quick-drying furniture stain/varnish and Army Painter anti-shine.

And Yere-Tiz, now in playable condition. I may highlight it a bit more or I may not. Sometimes you have to know when to stop.

Model Zone

The Model Zone website is now down showing just this.

"On 26 June 2013, Richard Michael Hawes, Nicholas Guy Edwards and Robert James Harding of Deloitte LLP were appointed Joint Administrators of Modelzone Holdings Limited, The Amerang Group Limited, Modelzone Limited and Amerang Limited (together the "Companies"). The affairs, business and property of the Companies are being managed by the Joint Administrators. The Joint Administrators act as agents of the Companies only and contract without personal liability. The Joint Administrators are authorised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). All licensed Insolvency Practitioners of Deloitte LLP are licensed in the UK"

Vouchers are still being accepted at full face value provided 50% of the goods value is in cash.

The administrators have released a statement.

 “Modelzone has historically been profitable, however in recent years the company entered into leases for new stores that proved to be loss making. This, coupled with the growth in online competition, has resulted in Modelzone generating losses over the last couple of years, which the Board of Directors has now concluded is unsustainable and sought the appointment of administrators."

Friday 28 June 2013

Gunboat Diplomacy: HMS Unlikely

I scratchbuilt a gunboat to support the British Army in the Sudan.

When you make a vehicle for a game where 16 soldiers equals a battalion you are obliged to place fast and loose with scale. The boat only has one gun, representing a battery and hence one gun crew. Also the vertical and horizontal scales of the models are different. A 1/72 figure is about 22mm high, although it varies enormously from manufacturer to manufacturer. However the battalion in line occupies a mere 160 by 40mm.

To make this work you have to squash the gunboat's scales, especially the horizontal. The cartoony-effect sounds strange but it works rather well on a wargames table.

The model is made of foam board, plasticard and metal tubes. Figures are HaT (gun & crew), Escii (British infantry) and Waterloo 1815 (Turko-Egyptians).

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to relieve Khartoum.

Hang on Gordon, I'm coming.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Model Zone In Administration

Another blood bath on the High Street as quarterly rents fall due. One of the casualties is Model Zone, my favourite model shop. I hope they can be rescued.

East London Skyline

Phot source.

The east London skyline as it will appear next year with the new Cheesegrater tower, just to the right of the Erotic Gherkin (background) and the Shard.

Vallejo Flourescents - the Wappel Way

For those whose painting skills are significantly better than my own, I suggest you pay a visit to the blog of the incredibly talented James Wappel who has a masterclass in how to paint using flourescents.

Have a look at the Tree man above.

We are not worthy James.

Monday 24 June 2013

The Battle of El Tikka Marsala: The Battle using Black Powder Rules.

The British Army crested the ridge in battle formation to find that El Tikka Marsala was something of a disappoint, consisting of half a dozen mud huts and a well. Nevertheless this vital objective was well and truly captured. At least it was until the Ansar Army crested the opposite ridge.

The Ansar along the Red Sea coast was commanded by Osama Dogma, a Beja chieftan. Dogma had been a slave trader and financial advisor who fell out with the British authorities in Egypt when it was discovered that he had saddled Bearings Bank with a stack of sub-prime mortgages on mud huts.

The British Governor was one Cecil Bearing.

Dogma's spies in the Soddit Stevedores Union had watched the British arrival with great interest and ta great army of Beja and Sudanese warriors were assembled to meet them.

The game was played using Warlord's black powder rules.

The British were slow to respond to the Whirling Dervish charge [I failed all my damn die rolls]. The Ansar occupied the hill with Jihadya slave-soldier riflemen who opened with a furious fusillade on the British centre. Otherwise both army's wings advanced in battle formation.

The Hussars and Camelry met in a furious charge and a confused melee ensued.

The Abyssinian mounted were pushed back. Blue markers indicate a fatigued unit that can no longer attack.

The Jihadya lost the firefight with the British infantry and were driven from the hill in disarray.

Having marched the Camel Corps down the hill into the village, Bulley fell prey to indecisiveness and marched them back again.

The British left flank stabilised with both sides exhausted.

Fairley-Rusk moved his artillery to the square's corners as he suspected a dervish charge was coming.

The Dervish finally charged the British right and a blood bath ensued. A Camel Battalion broke and fled but the pursuing Jihadya were blasted and destroyed by the Naval artillery.

On the left flank a Fuzzy Wuzzy column broke into the square by overrunning a cannon battery.

Things were looking decidedly dodgy when the Ansar suddenly sounded the retreat and retired for prayers. Farley-Rusk took the opportunity to slip away during the night.

Honour had been satisfied and both sides were in shock.

Shaun and I declared a draw.

The Battle of El Tikka Marsala: The British Force

The Strategic Situation
The annihilation of a series of Turco-Egyptian Armies under British Generalship, yes the donkeys were in command, by the army of the Mad Mahdi caused Her Majesty a severe deficiency of amusement and she expressed herself most strongly to Gladstone upon the matter. Gladstone, who was facing a general election, felt obliged to ride the tide of Jingoism and dispatch a British Army to 'restore pride'.

The cry went out to find a General who was neither senile, mad or half-witted. Chief of Staff, Sir Diamond Wolfy eventually settled on General Farley-Rusk who had been seen to read without moving his lips.

Thus it was that Farley-Rusk found himself deposited at the Red Sea port of Soddit with a sizable colonial army.

First Infantry Brigade
The core of the army was infantry brigade consisting of The Duke of Elmsford's Own Light Infantry, The Rutland Rifles, and two battalions of Bengal Fusiliers supported by an artillery battery and Gardner gun battery operated by the Naval Brigade: see above.

Cavalry Brigade

Cavalry support was provided by a brigade under the command of The Honourable Rupert of Chipping Sodbury. It consisted of two Hussar Squadrons and a battalion of Abyssinian mounted rifles.

Second Infantry Brigade

Farley-Rusk rendezvoused in Soddit with a second brigade of infantry shipped down the Red Sea from Egypt. Unfortunately it was an elite unit of two battalions handpicked Guardsmen mounted on camels. Elite to the officer corps meant those with the highest social standing so the officer's mess had the highest number of peers ever found concentrated outside of the House of Lords members bar.

This brigade was supported by naval artillery.

The Brigade commander was Bulley, the very epitome of a Victorian soldier, gigantic, aggressive and with a huge moustache. These important qualities outweighed his minor deficiencies of alcoholism, indecisiveness and the intellect of a squirrel.

The Plan
It was all agreed that 'something must be done' but the question was - what? Soddit was too far away from the Nile or, indeed, anywhere of consequence. After searching the map a dot turned out to be a place called El Tikka Masala and not, as was originally assumed, a squashed mosquito.

Accordingly, the next morning Farley Rusk led forth his army to capture El Tikka Masala.

Friday 21 June 2013

Haunts of Guilty Minds

Artwork Source

 My new short story, Haunts of Guilty Minds, is available to be read for FREE at the site of my publisher, Baen Books.

It is a modern urban fantasy set in the London of The Commission.

Major Jameson asks Sgt Gaston to drop off a packet at the British Museum on his way home.

What can possibly go wrong?

Please feel free to let me know what you think of it.


Some of my old stories are also avalable free from Baen Books at the moment.

Storming Hell : here
(Click on Chapter 3)

And the sequel, Storming Venus: here.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Things that Go Bump in Nottingham

Pic Source

"Nottinghamshire police received 97 calls about aliens, monsters, werewolves, zombies and witches over the last three years." according to the Telegraph.

Why Nottingham, one wonders?

Jessica Gladwin, owner of Nottingham-based Dusk Till Dawn ghost-hunting company, said "I personally saw a ghost in 2010 on one of our tours at the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham. It was a man, with a horrible grimace on his face, just staring at me. Usually for a spirit there can be a horrible smell, like sewers, and that happened before he appeared.”

Nobody tell Ms Gladwin but that wasn't a ghost; it was a wargamer.

It's the smell wot gives 'em away.

Monday 17 June 2013

Air Battle for France

I have always been attracted to aircraft wargaming but somehow it always disappoints. I try a new system for a while, get bored, and abandon it. I have tried crating my own with the same result. The last system I bought was Bag The Hun, which I soon gave up as it was boring and a bit of a mess. The rules couldn't make up their mind whether they were a squadron-formation game or an individual fighter on fighter game: a bit like trying to play Operation Goodwood while recording individual tank damage.

I think the problem is that air warfare just doesn't lend itself to a tabletop game and the scenarios all end up playing the same. The lack of terrain is undoubtedly part of the problem and the issue of reducing three dimensions to two when one of those dimensions, the vertical, has a force acting through it that makes it completely different from the other two. Perhaps this is why the only airgame I play consistently is WWI skirmish. WWI planes don't use the third dimension to the extent that later, stronger, more powerful machines could and did.

However I did like the models in a display game I came across. French fighters, above race to intercept the dastardly Boche, below.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Energy-Matter Converter

This is the second Warmill kit I bought at Broadsword. It is labelled as a Satlink Array but could equally represent a planetary defence laser or any energy-matter converter such as a solar power collector.

Friday 14 June 2013

Warmill Warp Gate

I picked up some Warmill terrain at Broadside 2013.

Warmill terrain a little difficult to get hold of as their shop online seems to be, er, offline.
It's one of those lasercut kits so is light and inexpensive.

The photos below were taken at Warmill's display stand at Broadside. I just love those Hab-Pods.

Mad Mahdi's Guns

The Mad Mahdi's Ansar captured a number of Turco-Egyptian cannon bought from Krupp of Germany along with their crews. These were used very competently against the British troops of the Khartoum Relief Army.

The Sudam was an Egyptian colony and Egypt was a semi-independent Turkish colony under a British Protectorate. The political complications were Byzantine.

The models are 1/72 polyethylene by the Russian company Strelets. These are not well liked by toy soldier collectors as they are chunky and rather wargaming-like. Strelets do make miniatures not found in other ranges.

I have painted these in the colours of the Turkish home army, which is what the models actually represent. It is not clear to me what uniforms the Turko-Egyptian artillery might have had but they would presumably have been lighter and more suitable for a desert, albeit one that could get very cold at night.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Monday 10 June 2013

My Next Book.

Editing my next book. Look for it in late summer or early autumn.

Sunday 9 June 2013

Broadside 2013: The Sudan

Saw an amazing 28 mil game display at Broadside based on the Khartoum Campaign.

Have a look at this scratchbuilt gunboat. Amazing.

Regular readers of my pearls of wisdom know that I am spending a deal of time in the Sudan at the moment. I just have to build some gunboats. Has to be done, chaps. Pip, Pip.

The Director pans back.

The Mad Mahdi sends in the Whirling Dervish Navy.

This is a clip of the gunboat sequence from the film Khartoum on Youtube. It is excellent. I really must build one of these.

Broadside 2013: Sittingbourne

Great little show at the sports centre in Sittingbourne a few miles down Watling Street.

Bumped into some old friends. On the left is John Treadaway who wrote Hammers Slammers with me. And on the right fellow blogger Whispering Al.

Who is a lot less frightening in person than his avatar.

A Rainham Wargame Club game by Clint.

And the rest of the Rainham Mob.

Friday 7 June 2013

Down at the Wargaming Club: ACW

Some pics taken down at the Rainham Wargames Club.

General Grant (aka Tim) prepares his army for combat.

The Union Army.

Robert E Lee (aka Graham) peruses reports from his troops. They have captured a stock of essential and rare war material: boots.

The Confederate Army.

The generals prepare for combat. Grant does a bit of marching on the spot while Lee girds his loins (what does that mean?) with a cuppa and a kip.

And so it starts. The Confederates get their wagons to the boot-store barn and set up a defensive line which holds off the attacking Union army until the precious items are spirited away.

The war goes on.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Under The Hammer?

There has been a deal of speculation recently about the long term future of Games Workshop.

The policies of the company involving raising short term profitability at the potential loss of long term strategy smacks of something being fattened up for sale.

Inevitably rumours have started circulating, eg here.

Selling a public company is somewhat more difficult than a private possession and would inevitably have to become public information.

I suspect this rumour is not true but GW's management style will continue to fuel speculation.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

When Night Falls

Photo Link

When the sun slides over London into the Welsh mountains the night people come out. The streets belong to the the hunters and the hunted and who can tell which are the monsters.

But in the shadows lurks the wolf.

Out soon.

Monday 3 June 2013

Nurgle Chaos Marine Army

Decided to have a review of the troops so put my Nurgle Chaos Marine Army on parade.

I have three large units of marines, two units of cultists (one somewhat mutated), two dreadnoughts, a daemon prince, two sorcerers, a warlord, two tanks, a defiler, a blight drone, a baneblade and a warhound titan.

It's a mixture of Citadel, Forge World Pig Iron and others with a fair degree of kitbashing.

And it's finished, well except for some terminators, no away Satan.