Monday 29 December 2014

Afghan War Over

Photo from the Daily Telegraph

Politicians lie, soldiers die, and generals get medals.


We are children of a lesser war
A petty skirmish, nothing more,
The bluebirds won’t sing over
The white cliffs of Dover
For us,
There’ll be no fuss
Just a footnote in our history
No Vera Lynn, no mystery
No Nazis in the countryside
Or turning back the evil tide
Just tattered gaps in people’s lives
Grieving wives
No fly-by at the Cenotaph
Sing songs where people laugh
Through the Blitz,
Defying Fritz
We envy them that cause
Not like our wars
No equals in Afghanistan
No tussles man to man
No Luftwaffe in Iraq
No Bletchley Park
Just car bombs and smell
A cut-price hell
No Winston, just windbags
We won’t see waving flags
Just body bags and sad parades
Until a sordid peace is made
Nothing solved
Nothing gained
James Milton - 

Go here for more of his work

Wednesday 24 December 2014

A Very Merry Xmas from London

I hope everyone has a great Xmas with their families and also people they like.

And I hope Santa brings you lots of plastic and pewter, preferably cunningly fashioned into toy soldiers.

With all Best Wishes for Next Year

John & Wabbit

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Osprey Taken Over

Osprey have been taken over by Bloomsbury.

We will have to see the implications as events unfold.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Here Comes The Sun

It's the Winter Solstice today folks.

From tomorrow the sun starts to come back to us here on the roof of the world.

Woop, woop.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Bolt Action - Moroccan Goumiers

Moroccan Goumiers were French auxiliary units in WWII.

They were distinguished by their traditional jelleba hooded coats that came in a variety of stripes.

Their most famous campaign was in Italy where they used their mountaineer skills to break the Cassino line, the key victory resulting in the capture of Rome.

They also built up a reputation for rapine but the stories lost nothing in the telling.

Weapons varied with time and place but Springfield rifles and other American gear was employed along with original French 1940 equipment.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

IHMN Venus - Break Green Section, Bandit High 6 O'Clock

Finished my Venusian Newt Flyers, all but a bit o' touching up when the paint has cured - as the bishop said to the actress.

Some very big flying beasts on Venus: warm, lowish gravity (0.9 g) and a thick atmosphere. :)

Next the ground warriors.

It's all go on Venus.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Bolt Action Home Guard War Casualty

I played a Bolt Action Home Guard versus German paratroops at the Medway Club last night - more about that later.

Upon arriving home I discovered one of my crack Home Guard Mechanised Troopers had gone AWOL - with his bicycle and cycle clips.

I did find him the next morning - caught up in the rear door lock on my car.

'Fraid it's not looking good despite the best efforts of Nurse Wimpole.

What a grisley fate.

Black Powder - Blood on the Nile

The Warlord Games Blood on the Nile supplement is due shortly so I decided to churn out some more 1/72 units.

This week - Anglo Egyptians.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

IHMN, Storming Venus - Newt Dragon Rider

A Newt Dragon Rider flies hard and fast over the tropical jungles of Venus, lance ready.

Storming Venus is currently on promotion as a freebie at Baen Books. Click on the side bar at the top right of this blog or on the links in this text and select Chapter 3.

You may want to read Storming Hell first.

Monday 8 December 2014

In Praise of Second Hand Models

I picked up eight very old 28mm Macedonian Companion Cavalry from a second hand dealer for £6 including postage.

Are they great models? Um no.
Well painted? Well, they were painted.
Based? Yes, and quite decently.

But all it took was a bit of paint freshening, some new spears and a touch of diluted Army Painter Dark Tone and I have a perfectly acceptable unit for my Hellenistic armies after just a couple of hours work.

No they're not going to win any awards but they do the job for a minimal outlay of time and money.

Saturday 6 December 2014

IHMN - Life on Venus

Venusian 'tiger'

Venusian 'mongoose'

Marsh 'scorpion', a mongoose's rightful prey

Boomer, named after the mating call amplified through a hollow crest

Venusian 'parrot', a popular pet because of its talent for mimicry

Models by Tamiya except for the scorpion - anyone recognise what that is?

Russian Guards on the Attack

Mixture of Warlord, Tamiya and Plastic Soldier models for a '44 Soviet Guards Armoured army.

North Star tea bag

My Artizan French colonial troops, crow man and George Orwell order arrived from North Star this morning complete with complimentary tea bag.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Life on Venus

A red-legged booby takes exception to a tree-lizard on the hunt for eggs. Meanwhile, a tortoise plods past a pile of dragon pooh.

Models by Tamiya and my local pet shop.

Sunday 30 November 2014

IHMN, Newt Rider of Venus

I wrote a couple of well received novellas in the 'Storming' series that are Wellesian fantasy space opera. The second was entitled Storming Venus and introduces the Venusian natives, the newts. You can read it free here. Go to the link and click on Chapter 3.

Following Mr Darwin's theory of planetary evolution, Venus is a young planet at roughly the same stage as Earth during the Age of Terrible Lizards.

Here, a newt rider flees through the swamps from where the sun threatens to break through the thick Venusian clouds.

A slightly less digitally mucked about with image.

And another.

That's not a real flower, incidentally, as true flowering plants have not yet evolved on Venus but one of Venus' carnivorous pseudoflowers.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Warhammer Chaos Nurgle Daemons

I have almost finished my 40K Nurgle army. The last units to complete the detachment are some allied daemons.

One more unit to go and the base on my Titan to paint and  I am done, done, never call me mother.

The irony is that I don't play 40K at the moment. The last two versions have utterly failed to capture my imagination.

Oh well.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Portrait of a Modern Corporate Manager

James Bond villain Blofeld, played here by the great Donald Pleasance, was in many ways simply ahead of his time. Nowadays his company, SPECTRE, would be regarded as the very model of a modern supra-national corporation what with their Swiss base, tax exemption, bonus structure, bribes and threats to politicians, funding terrorism, disciplinary system and tropical fish tanks.

Oh and their support for less government regulation by interfering busy bodies like James Bond.

I decided to paint my model in a pale blue suit as the flesh colour was a bit insipid on something 28mm high.

The base is from Gladius Game Arts. I can't remember where I got the model (Copplestone? 7TV? Anyone know?).

Monday 24 November 2014

IHMN, Mathew Hopkins - Witchfinder General

On the painting table I have Mathew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General from Foundry.

Suitable for m English countryside IJMN bands.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Dover Castle

Visited Dover Castle last week while the air was still. It was built largely between the Thirteenth and Fifteenth centuries with another burst of fortification in the Nineteenth. This is one of the old gatehouses to the outer bailey.

The main gatehouse to the inner bailey.

Inside the tower.

The 'throne room'.

One of the chapels.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Review Bolt Action, The Last Levy Volkssturm

I showed off the Hitler Youth Squad and the man-portable AA rockets from Warlord Game's Last Levy boxed set a few days ago. Today it's the turn of the Volkssturm, the 'dad's army' that defended Berlin in the final battle. 

First up is the officer, a Golden Pheasant. They were the Nazi Party bosses who wore brown uniforms tinted with red and gold. Most of them sent the Hitler Youth out to die and then pissed off to the American lines with their mistresses and boxes of portable loot. But a few stayed to fight. They were of course, useless.

This one has chosen a blonde German  Bund Deutscher Mädel (Band of German Maidens) as his aide. She is wearing a Hitler youth uniform with a brown party overcoat.

The Boss wears a Party armband while the maiden has a Volkssturm band.

This is the Volkssturm section kitted out in a variety of uniforms from civilian sports clothes to Heer field grey. Some wore brown party overcoats. they were supposed to have been dyed field grey but many weren't. The wearers could be shot as spies by Soviet troops who assumed that they were infiltrators disguised in copies of Red Army uniforms.

The section wears a variety of armbands. The simple white and yellow were early forms which were replaced by the red and black horizontally striped armbands. Some Nazi Party members wear Party armbands'

And finally a sniper with a gun that shoots around corners.

This is a great set of colourful characters: highly recommended.


Thursday 20 November 2014

Song of Shadows & Dust Romans

A few more Foundry civilians for my Song of Shadows & Dust games by Ganesha.


Wednesday 19 November 2014

Bolt Action - Fliegerfaust AA

In 1944 HSAG in Germany designed a shoulder-launched AA missile system called the Fliegerfaust - plane-fist. It fired up to nine unguided spin stabilised AA missiles in a ripple up to 500 metres. Around 80 were produced (from 10,000 ordered) in 1945. At least one was used as there is a picture of expended missiles in a photo taken in Berlin.

The models are from Warlord Games 'Last Levy' collection.

The weapon was insufficiently tested and ineffective but the principle was sound.

This is the latest British shoulder fired AA missile, Starstreak. The missile releases three kinetic penetrator high velocity submunitions which beam ride on a laser to the target.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Bolt Action: Medway Charity Wargame

The Medway Club meets on a Tuesday  - and last Tuesday was the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year twenty fourteen.

Accordingly, we decided to hold a charity wargames day with all club-subs plus any additional donations to The British Legion.

We had a great turn out for such a small club on a miserable night. The younger players set up two games of Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K  and a Lord of the Rings scenario while those gamers of, shall we say, more mature years played a Bolt Action Tank War Megagame designed by club member Michael Valls-Russel.

We intended to play Falaise '44 but it ended up more like Goodwood as every one brought so many 28 mm AFVs that we couldn't get them all on the tables!

I played a Chuchill company in the centre supporting a British infantry attack on a French village at a key road junction. We had British and American armoured on each flank in support.

Michael gave each player a private victory condition in addition to the team victory.

Mine was that I had learnt from René Artois, Hero of the Resistance, that the painting of the Fallen Madonna with the big Boobies by van Klump was hidden at the Chateaux with the Gateaux. We agreed to 'acquire' and 'protect' the painting until the end of the war.

Unfortunately the Chateaux with the Gateaux was on our left flank in an American attack sector.

The British bombardment got off to a good start by blowing up a Hanomag on the German left flank and pinning a Tiger company.

And similar good results were achieved on the German right flank.

An early success for my Churchill company, I immobilised a Tiger advancing up the road with a 6pdr shot into the side. A Firefly from the armoured squadron on my right promptly brewed it up with a 17pdr shot right through the front armour.

Woop, woop.

The German left flank was soon in tatters with brewed up Hanomags and pinned Tigers.

I and my infantry partner had a worrying moment when a Panther troop came up the main road under the cover of an '88 and a quod-AA gun to reinforce the German centre.

Note: the white slip in the centre is one of Michael's secret personal victory conditions.

Then something very odd happened. What looked like an ice-cream van made a run down the road across the British centre. I raked it with MG fire from Churchills until it burst into flames. This was unfortunate as it apparently contained the German regimental pay chest which had been 'liberated' in the confusion by  Unteroffizer Schmidt .

The Reichmarks were all carboneezy. Ah well.

The carnage of armour on the right flank was unbelievable. A German Pak hidden in a wood knocked out a number of our Shermans with side shots before it was comprehensively crushed.

The British secret weapon, the deadly Typhoon, sweeps across the Panther troop laying down a barage of rockets.

You can just see what's left of the German pay chest burning in the foreground.

The Americans capture and comprehensively loot the Chateaux with the Gateaux. Damn!

The right flank became completely obscured by smoke from burning tanks so I disengaged my Churchills and raced (OK ground very, very,  slowly at the speed of a British infantry tank) for the Chateaux.

I had only lost one Churchill with one immobilised. They may be only armed with pop guns but they do have decent armour.

On the left flank the 'Tigers are Burning'.

I motored a Churchill up to the Chateaux and after a free and frank exchange of views with my American allies, involving loading the 6 pdr with HE, I acquired the bratwurst sausage in which was hidden the painting.

The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies by van Klump was auctioned at Sotheby's after the war by an anonymous seller after being mysteriously 'found' in a scout hut in Kent.

Incidentally, we raised £112.50 for the British Legion.

Special thanks are due to Michael Valls-Russel who designed the game and Mik Hollands of Gladius Game Arts whose energy drove the whole evening. Well done guys and kudos to everyone who showed up and donated so gererously.

We might do this again next year, and in a public venue.