Saturday 31 May 2014

Friday 30 May 2014

Bolt Action: Sarissa Far East Jungle Bungalow

Another nice laser-cut wooden model from Sarissa. The model placed to give scale is from Warlord.

The roof comes off to place models inside. A very well-designed inexpensive wargame building that comes with its own base. All I've done is decorate the base. The rest is as/is.

Hever Castle

Spent the afternoon at Hever Castle in Kent. It's a fortified Tudor House that was the home of the Bullen or Boleyn family. The Astors owned it for most of the 20th C. and restored the building.

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Broadside 2014 Wargame Show

I heartily recommend a visit to the Broadside 2014 show if you live within striking distance of the Medway area. It's a small friendly show with lots of games and traders.

Be seeing you.

Monday 26 May 2014

Bolt Action: French Mortar

Started painting up my French infantry for my Franco-Belgian Army. After a few false starts have decided on a colour scheme. What do you think?

Sunday 25 May 2014

Some Basic Terrain

Basic terrain is the unloved and essential part of wargaming. Decent basic terrain greatly improves the look of a game and hence the suspension of belief as well as offering greater tactical challenges. And it doesn't have to be expensive.

The river section is from Amera and costs £2 a section. The bridge is manufactured by Renadra and can be built as above or as a pontoon bridge. It costs £8.

Saturday 24 May 2014

IHMN: Captain Nemo's Epic Fail

I am thinking of starting a new series: Great Military Disasters In Which I have Participated.

This is possibly my worst defeat ever: an utter wipe out, an epic fail, a total and complete disaster...

It started well enough. Most military Epic Fails start by looking like a good idea to someone. Here you see the Nautilus away team lead by the only just painted in time Captain Nemo. His varnish was still sticky on the night - and no that is not a euphemism.

My gallant allies, dispossessed members of the global poor, always on the good Captain Nemo's mind. This particular bunch of dispossessed poor are Boxers.

Both the Boxers and Nautiloids are close range troops so we elected to charge into close combat as fast as possible relying on speed to confound the enemy fire.

Ah, yes, the enemy, Commodore Mik of the Royal Navy was my immediate foe. The Boxers were faced with a detachment of Pongos. Revolutionaries against The Empire on which the sun never sets.

Mik is an accomplished IHMN player but...let the battle begin.

PS Don't like the look of that Gardiner.

The approach was fine and I charged up the target hill with my Merman: we were playing a King of the Hill scenario. You can just see a couple of tars below.

On the right flank, my crewman with a steam cannon escorted by a leading seaman with a harpoon pistol and boarding axe positioned himself to sweep the sailors out of cover.

Bit of a setback as a Jolly Jack tar shot and killed my steam cannon chap but on the whole I was comfortable with my tactics. I had got my whole close combat army into a melee with about two thirds of Miks. I had the men, I had the weapons, and I had the points. Let the slaughter begin.

The slaughter not only began but ended two turns later with my entire army as casualties. And not one Royal Navy casualty, not even Roger the cabin boy - and, yes, that is a euphemism.

I haven't got a photo as there was nothing left to photograph. So I have put up a piccy of the Boxers getting stuck in. They were a bit discommoded to find that they now faced two Imperial armies.

Flames of War: The Afrika Corps Attack

Took this picture at my local wargame club. I have never got into FoW but I have seem many people play it and have a good time.

Monday 19 May 2014

I See No Panther Tanks.

This is a piccy I came across on the web of a gentleman standing in front of a Panther at Bovington Tank Museum.

The shot is straight on so you can see the huge size of this mechanical monstrosity.

I couldn't resist putting a Warlord 28mm infantryman in front of my Corgi 1:50 scale Panther. Again the shot is straight on.

You will note that on his base the miniature is slightly taller than the real person. Now the gentleman above is almost certainly significantly taller than a 1940s European.

Draw your own conclusions, chaps.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Bolt Action: Rumble in the Jungle - Burma '44

This is Camp Floating Lilly Pond located where a road crosses a river on a wooden bridge in the Burmese highlands. The Imperial Japanese Army, or to be more exact the portion commanded by your humble servant, have set up a road block force here under the command of fanatical Major Toyota (family motto 'no brakes, no recalls').

Toyota has set up his sole light Ha Go tank back from the bridge flanked by the loony-tune tank killers armed with bombs on sticks. He has kept his infantry back in the camp but placed his heavy weapons on the edge of the forest overlooking the river.

With a squeal of tracks, a mechanised reconnaissance in force detachment commanded by Lieutenant Morris (minor) approaches the bridge from t'other side of the river. He unlimbers his 6pdr and prepares to send his Sherman '75 over first.

The Sherman makes it over followed by a Bren Gun Carrier.

Toyota's cunning plan is to throw everything at the Sherman and the 6pdr. The chances of damaging either with the pop guns employed by the Japanese Army is minimal - note to self: not everything should be miniaturised - but these two powerful units are heavily suppressed bottling up the British attack.

The blue chips are suppression markers.

The British are pretty much still there on the bridge two turns later. Debussed infantry make a flank attack on the left but progress is slow through the tangled waterlogged vegetation.

Tommy has inflicted losses on Tojo while losing  little but calls off the attack as it is completely bogged down.

Toyota awards himself a medal and claims victory.

Lietanant Morris goes back to HQ to report. Toyota may be celebrating too soon as the throb of Merlins is heard in the distance.

Indiana Jones and the Very Big Tank

Fans of the Indiana Jones movie will remember the very big WWI-type tank in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

The movie tank is a mock-up based on a civilian plant but it was a copy of a real tank: or perhaps inspired by might be a better description.

This is the tank: the British Heavy Tank Mk VIII also known as the International or the Liberty Tank as it was intended to manufacture them in the USA as well as the UK.

The movie designers added a turret to the top, presumably on the grounds that modern audiences know a 'tank' has a turret.

For those who want to model this bad boy - well now you can.

I give you 'The MkIX Beast' from Copplestone Castings.

It ain't cheap: a model this big will set you back  £40 when you add postage and another £6 if you wish to buy the baggage set to kit it out like the movie.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Bolt Action: Aux Armes, Mes Amis

I picked up some Warlord French, 1940 at Salute and have just got around to painting the officer.

I rather like him. He looks very... French.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Bolt Action Achilles

This is a Tamiya M10 American tank destroyer in 1:48 scale that I bought for a few pounds on eBay. I have converted into a British Achilles with the deadly 17pdr anti-tank gun.

I added a muzzle brake to convert the gun - it really should have an added weight near the muzzle but I'm not sure I can be bothered - and two Warlord figures.

The vehicle appearance is much improved with an ariel (cut from a nylon brush) and a pack from a 1:35 Tamiya accessory box.

I am quite pleased with the end result.

Oh Come On, Guys!

Had a quick look around the GW site to see if there was anything new I fancied; there wasn't. But I did come across some book preorders.

Look I don't want to be one of those people who whinge endlessly about prices. I will pay premium for quality but to offer novellas for £20 a pop is just cynical profiteering.

A novella may have as little as 15000 words although 20 to 25 would be more common. The average modern SF novel has around 140,000 - to put it into perspective.

And no, I'm not going to spend £50 on a new rulebook two years after you flogged me the last one. Especially as only 5% or so will be new ( no I don't count yet another photo of an ork as new).

Monday 12 May 2014

Dover Harbour

Popped down to Dover on Saturday. I hoped to take a picture of the harbour from the castle keep but that was impossible due to the storm gusts. So here is a photo from the ground instead, taken from a Sony 'phone.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Gun

My tea and scone tour of Kent took me to Dover Castle in the middle of a cruel sou'wester. Could not actually get across the inner bailey to the cafe as the wind knocked one over as soon as one lifted a foot. So I took refuge in the NAAFI, which has been refurbished a bit since Henry II.

In the corner was was the longest muzzle loader I have ever seen. Closer examination revealed it to be called Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Gun.

QEPG was cast for Henry VIII by a Dutch engineer and Elizabeth inherited it. It guarded the Dover Calais gap until the War of the Three Kingdoms (previously known as the English Civil War) where the Parliamentarians acquired it. The gun was captured by the Royalists at the Battle of Loswithial in Cornwall so it got about a bit.

Bolt Action: VBCW: Volksmarine Division, Spartacist Uprising

A Volksmarine Division from Scheltrum Miniatures Shattered Empires range. The Volksmarine Division mutinied as part of the German Revolution of 1918-1919, the Spartacist uprising.

I always find it odd that the American extreme right refer to themselves as followers of Spartacus given that the name has always been associated with left wing class revolutionaries. Strange old world

The unit includes a ten man section with rifles, and SMG and an LMG team. I also bought an HQ unit of an 'officer' and flagbearer. I bought a MMG team as well but seem to have lost it.

Below some photos of the real thing.

Bolt Action: Burma '44

Finished my street-legal Bolt Action '44 Burma army.

All units regular except veteran squads.

HQs: Captain, 2nd Lt, FOA all with escorts.

Infantry: Two ten man squads with LMG, SMG & light mortar, two ten man veteran squads as above.

Support: 2 MMGs, AT Rifle plus 3 nutters with exploding poles, sniper team.

Artillery: Medium Mortar, 75mm field gun both with 3man crew.

Tanks: T97 tankette recon & T95 Ha Go light tank.

At around 1,434pts

If my opponent agrees, I can swap the light tank for a T97 Chi Ha Medium bringing the points total to: 1,484.


Saturday 10 May 2014

Bolt Action: Japanese Watch Tower

I have a butterfly approach to wargaming. I paint a new army for a bit and then deflect away to something else. I think it's called 'having a short attention span'.

So back to the jungle, as Jane said to Tarzan.

The tower is by Sarissa and the Warlord Japanese MG was a presee from my mate Shaun. I basically left the tower in its natural wood finish 'cause it looks fine to me.

I must get a Sarissa jungle hut to go alongside.

Close up of the business end.

Friday 9 May 2014

Someone has bugged Nottingham


Send in the Drones

That's a distinctive looking motor for northern Nigeria. Bet it shows up well on the targetting cameras.

Hahn Cock

It has belatedly come to my notice that a sculpture of a blue cockerel has appeared in Trafalgar Square.

Given that the blue cockerel is a symbol of France, I found this somewhat odd.

Apparently it's actually a feminist statement (?) by a German artist who was magnificently unaware of the symbolic interaction of Nelson, Trafalgar and a symbol of France.

But then, art is what you make of it.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Beautiful Medway Bank Holiday

Really gorgeous in the Medway Towns this weekend. Took this pick in the Capstone valley.

Bolt Action: Battle of Riga - Bolshevik Attack

Comrade Johnski, he's the chap in Royal Blue, is a 'technical expert' (i.e. ex-Czarist officer) in the Army of the Petrograd Soviet. His quiet life in 1919 is interrupted with the arrival of Commissar Spart, the chap in the brown leather coat, who orders an immediate preemptive attack on von Shaun's Freikorps massing outside the City of Riga. Johnski's desperate protests are waved by the promise of heavy tank support.

As well as a Ricardo (British heavy Mk V male) Spart provides two Renos (FT17s), a half track armoured car and a gun truck to add to Johnski's force of three conscript companies (Inexperienced), two companies of Petrograd sailors (Regular), a company of Lenin's Red Guards (Regular) and a field gun.

Johnski positions a Maxim gun behind the conscripts to encourage them to move forward.

Von Shaun's advance guard of Freikorps takes up a blocking position at a crossroads.

The game really ended on Turn 2. Von Shaun had cunningly hidden a forward observer in the village who called down a perfect artillery shoot (white marker). One of the FT17s was hit by six heavy shells and was turned into instant razor blades. The real damage though was done by he impact of the shelling on the remaining troops. They were bogged down with suppressive fire (lots of pin markers).

Meanwhile, the first unit of Bolshevik conscripts were wiped out by massive fire from an ambush of elite stormtroopers.

The Bolsheviks never recovered. Most of their infantry remained pinned down and was massacred by the endless stream of artillery. The gun truck blew up after a shell set of its ammunition and the Mk V was pinned by continuous fire from an anti-tank rifle and a heavy armoured car with a light howitzer.

The photo shows the situation after turn 5. Comrade Johnski is feigning death in the foreground. As soon as Spart falls, Johnski legs it.

Monday 5 May 2014

Godinstone, Kent

Popped down to Godinstone House for a walk around the garden finishing with tea and scones. I took the pics on my Sony mobile.


The nutrient poor chalk grasslands of Kent are full of wild orchids in the spring. See if you can spot some.

The kitchen garden.

The wildlife pond.

The woodland walk.

The formal garden.