Wednesday 30 December 2015

Bolt Action Senegalese Tirailleurs

Picked up a box of these Tirailleurs Sénégalais from Warlord Games some time ago for my French Army.

Tirailleurs means skirmishers or rifles and were French Imperial colonial troops from sub-Saharan Africa. They fought bravely for France in both WWI and WWII, where they were usually murdered when captured by the German Army as examples of an 'inferior' people.

These are great models, made from white metal, that add a bit o' colour to a French army. They cost a princely fifteen of our English Pounds.

From Warlord Games

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Kent Walled Garden

As it's pretty dismal in Kent at the moment, I thought I would remind ourselves of the Autumn. Photo of a Kent walled garden taken on the last day of October.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Battle of Calth - Tabletop Game

My friend David let me sit in on a Battle of Calth game that he ran as a tabletop wargame.

As I understand it he only made the following changes:

1. One hex equals four inches.

2. Allow  units to make two actions per activation. This rewards aggressive play such as jumping out of cover and firing.

3. And, er, that's it folks.

It all seemed to work fine. I am moved to get out my 40K stuff that has been in deep storage for years.

Friday 25 December 2015

Dr Who Miniatures Game- Zygons

For a 3D rotatable image: click here.

I had better press on and write the Zygon Rules!

Yo, Ho, Ho, Merry Xmas Heretics: Purge & Cleanse

Photo stolen from Frontline.

A very Merry Xmas from John's Toy Soldiers.

Eat, drink and be happy, for tomorrow we get purged.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Freikorps Officer

This is a Freikorps officer and bodyguards from Copplestone Castings where they are sold as 'German Mercenaries'.

It is not too much of an exaggeration that the Stormtroopers of WWI became Freikorps, then SA, then SS.

To understand the nihilistic mindset that ended up with death camps one could do a lot worse than read Storm of Steel by Junger.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Antares Concord Force

Terrible bounce-flash photos of my Concord Force: NuHu command, strike command, six strike sections, light drone section, medium drone and EW drone plus buddy drones.

The models are a mix of Warlord and Studio McVey.

I gloss-varnished the finished pieces to give an impression of energy fields.

Monday 14 December 2015

Review of Kharne, Eater of Worlds

I used to buy a great number of GW fiction, going right back to the novels by excellent writers like Kim Newman and Ian Watson. But I kinda tailed off as they became a bit samey. All the quirky, interesting characters disappeared and there are only so many ways you can describe battle scenes.

Nevertheless, I still buy the odd one when I fancy a bit of pulp action blood and guts.

My latest purchase was Kharn, Eater of Worlds, by Anthony Reynolds. I like Reynolds' work. He writes a good adventure tale.

Now I don't normally review other writers' work and I don't intend to start now beyond saying that Reynolds does a good, solid writing job and I was really getting in to the story when: it stopped!!!

The eBook I had just paid £8.99 for was incredibly short. How many words I can't extract from my Kindle Reader but Amazon lists the paperback scheduled for next year as 240 pages. That's about half the size of a normal SF novel and £8.99 is a premium price for an eBook.

I kinda feel ripped off. Now you don't buy a novel by the word but an author needs space to develop the characters and the plot, especially with epic multi-POVed space operas. I felt Reynolds was just getting into his stride when his tale was chopped.

I noticed something else recently when I was browsing in Waterstones at Thanet. GW books were relegated  to one tiny section on the bottom shelf. And they consisted mostly of bundled omnibuses of already published material. Not sure what this portends, if anything.

Antares Ghur - Humbrol Multi-Effect Spray

I experimented with a new paint spray for these.

It's called Humbrol Multi-Effect spray and is intended to recreate the multi-hued, refracted-light paint used on the metallic paint of premium cars where the colour changes and blends according to the direction of the light. Up to now this effect could only be reproduced on models by mixing refractive crystals into the paint, a clumsy and difficult procedure.

We have nothing resembling sunlight in December in Kent; it's dark all day. So I tried to reproduce the effect by firing a Speedlight straight at the model. That doesn't really work, unfortunately.

The paint is designed for flat surfaces, like car bonnets, not the splintered surfaces of the Ghur models, but it does give an interesting effect.

To use, first prime the models in matt black then undercoat with black gloss before spraying the multi-effect in thin layers.

The paint comes in various colours and retails for a little under £10.


Sunday 13 December 2015

Rochester War Dead Memorial

Every village, every town, every city in Britain has a war memorial to our war dead. This is Rochester's, set in a little park between the Cathedral and the high street. I took this photo in late November.

Saturday 12 December 2015

VBCW Militia - Sloppy Jalopy

Panzerkaput's excelent VBCW site has alerted me to some wonderful militia troops for VBCW.

Like me, you probably associate Sloppy Jalopy with, ah, sloppy jalopies but they do these as well for the giveaway price of £15. The miner's pack above apparently even has a choice of heads - miners hat or otherwise.

Two six section militia chaps from the village cricket team: also for £15.


Wednesday 9 December 2015

Betrayal at Calth - Word Bearers

Finally finished my Betrayal at Calth, Word Bearers.

Very pleased with these models.

I largely used Tamiya paints. The red is Tamiya Metallic Red spray can. This is a superb colour. It looks much better in sunlight than in a flash photo. The base is Tamiya 'pavement' coarse paint. It dries to a rough stony look that is great for a cavern battle.

Now for the Ultramarines.

Friday 4 December 2015

Fake Ardennes M10 (Panther)

This is a neat model from Warlord Games.

One of the German Panthers in the Ardennes that were faked up to resemble M10s.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Bond Villain Minions

Secret base to dominate the world in an extinct volcano, check, so what does the aspiring Bond Villain need next? Why minions of course, preferably with machine pistols and bright clothes to make them easy targets for when Bond arrives.

Another batch from 7TV.

Joe McLarens Fighting Dwarves

Joe McLaren, famed Kings of War player of this parish, is interviewed on Counter Charge about his Kings of War Armies.

I have played against his Dwarf Army with stone giant allies (see above) and they steamrollered my undead.

Got to this link for more piccies and the podcast.

Wolf In Shadow

It takes an awful long time to work out whether a book is making or losing money because of the complexities of the publishing business. Just had the latest figures for Wolf In Shadow and it's still selling. The book is now into royalties. For an author, that's one important definition of success or failure; whether you sell through the advance into royalties.

What a great Xmas present.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Horus Heresy Word Bearer's - Betrayal at Calth

After my experiences of Dreadfleet and Age of Sigmar, I swore I was off GW games for good but my local flgs advised me that Betrayal at Calth was actually pretty good - so I succumbed.

And it is pretty good. I haven't played yet but the components are high quality and value for money - and the game rules look simple but interesting.

I have so far painted up a single tactical force - my God, I'm painting more space marines - and have been charmed by their retro appearance. Very nostalgiac.

We are in the land of the winter dark here in southern England at the moment so it is difficult to get a decent photo. I took this one with natural light (ha ha) from the right and a bounce flash off a distant wall to the left.

Calth is apparently flying off the shelves. After the Dreadfleet and Age of Sigmar debacles this might just have saved GW's Xmas.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Lullingstone Villa

Known buildings of the villa complex.

Roman villas are plentifully scattered across the English lowlands, mostly alongside the military zone but also in the London zone. The River Darent had a villa every two kilometres or so along the bank. The one at Lullingstone was built in the first century AD.

The artwork depicts  Lullingstone in the 4th Century, showing the known buildings: (i) the main villa on a levelled shelf cut back into the hill, (ii) immediately behind it a kitchen building, a mausoleum up on the hill to the right containing lead coffins with a man and woman in their mid twenties, and (iv) a massive barn to the right to store agricultural products for shipping down the Darent into the Thames.

It went through roughly three phases (i) as a farming estate with a manor house, (ii) as a high status country retreat possibly for the Governor of Britain, and (iii) as a major grain supplier probably for the Roman Army in Gaul.

The villa had an expensively imported bust of Pertinax, son of a freedman, teacher soldier, Governor of Britain and finally Emperor of Rome (192-193 AD).

Lullingstone is quite small but was always more than just another villa. A deep cellar-like cult room for veneration of river nymphs was built under the left wing (top right in the photo) with external exit for use by the community.

External access was blocked off, presumably in the second phase when the villa was used by senior officials.

Eventually a Christian chapel was built in the room over the pagan cult centre in the fourth century.

A Chi-Rho from the chapel.

One of the paintings of worshippers from the chapel. Note if this looks Byzantine, that's because it's late 4th Century Rome.

The main dining room at the back of the villa.

A high-status dinner party for the elite, say 380 AD

Note the mosaics in the dining room are pagan, built at the same time as the Christian chapel.

So what happened to the cult room? It was accessed by a wooden ladder from a trapdoor in the floor of the chapel and was still used to venerate the river gods.

The pagan Anglo-Saxon burial at Sutton Hoo has a mixture of Christian and pagan symbols - but so does the late Roman villa at Lullingstone.

The villa and estate reached its peak in the last years of the fourth century and then it burned down in the early fifth and was never rebuilt. The next record we have of any activity at Lullingstone is the estate recorded in the Domesday book. The hamlet is now dominated by a 15th Century Manor House that has always been owned by the Hart-Dyke family.

In between the fifth and eleventh centuries there is only minimal evidence of Anglo-Saxon activity. Lullingstone translates into modern English as something like The Enclosure of The People of Lull.

In 390 there was a massive agricultural complex along the Darent exporting food across Europe. One generation later in 420 it was all gone - and we don't really understand why.

Imperial Skys Wargame

Robin Fitton, games designer of this parish, has a new kickstarter out for an aeronef set of rules.

The rules are designed to work with Brigade Models miniatures and Army Painter stuff.

I intend to get a copy of the rules.

The kickstarter is here.

Note: You are an investor not a customer. Although I judge this a low risk project it could go tits up if Robin is struck by lightning or something. Always pledge only what you can afford to lose.

Monday 16 November 2015

Review Perrys Foot Knights

 Foot Knights 1450-1500 Set

The Perry twins hardly need an introduction from me. Since they left GW they have built up a successful historical model range including many plastic sets.

Their set of 38 late medieval plate-armoured dismounted knights retails at £20, making them superb value for money. These are multipose figures that can be a little tricky to put together but on the other hand there is so much variation on offer that no two need be the same.

 Ten Man Unit With Swords

The models are a true 28mm and with a slim rather than heroic build and are nicely detailed - detail that is easily brought out with a simple black wash.

Twenty Man Unit With Two-Handed Weapons.

Bulked together the models look great, even with a very simple two-colour ad a wash paint job.

King And Standard Bearer

As well as six identical sprues, each with six figures, you get a leader sprue consisting of a King/Baron (change head as required) and Standard Bearer. Incidentally, the box includes a number of coloured flags to cut out - mainly English and French.

All I have added are some bases.

A great box of figures and superb value for money at £20.

Highly Recommended.

Sunday 15 November 2015

VBCW Spode's Blackshorts - Mechanised Platoon

I have finished a 12 unit army of Spodes Blackshorts: mechanised platoon.

Spode, Viscount of Sidcup and would be dictator of Britain, is able to acquire the very best equipment from Mosley's BUF. To whit:

Command Section: Strike Leader Egbert 'Eggy' Phipps-Prinkle with standard bearer, radio-man, and Jaguar command vehicle.

Three Storm Sections each of: Storm Leader with Tommy Gun, VB grenade launcher, bren-gun team and four riflemen.

Support Weapons: Two inch mortar, and bren-gun team.

Artillery: 18 pdr medium howitzer with bren-gun armed van serving as a prime mover.

Open-Topped armoured lorry with fire ports to lift a storm section.

Improvised armoured car with bren-gun.

Vickers 6 ton light tank armed with a 3pdr light howitzer and a coaxial mg.

Hornet medium C tank armed with a 6pdr naval medium anti-tank gun, various mgs and the platoon mascot spot.

I think you will agree that these will present a fearsome challenge to the Chatham Soviet


An interesting sculpture in Godinton Gardens.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Medway Wargames Club Poppy Day

This week was annual Medway Club Poppy Games Night.

Andy Singleton (ValleyForge Painting) and I staged a Tank War scenario based on Kursk. Von Singleton of the Gross Deutschland Division was tasked with taking a ridge line whereupon Comrade Johnski had dug in a pakfront of 45mm AT guns and AT rifles with selp-propelled guns and heavy tanks - to whit a Churchill and a KV.

In reserve, Johnski had a platoon of T34s from the Fifth Guards.

The left flank of the ridge came under immediate pressure from a Panther and two Stugs, which brewed up the KV.

The Soviet right flank did better withstanding an attack from three Stugs lead by a Tiger. The thick armour of the Churchill withstood two 88mm hits with only track damage. My AT guns took out two of the Stugs.

By chance my four T34s came on in just the right place to plug the gap on the left flank. The Panther and a Stug were blasted but the remaining Stug took out a T34.

I was confident I would soon take out the remaining Stug but two of my tanks missed their shot at point blank range and the third failed its morale check and ran away!!!

 I have taken the tank commander's name. He will be shot, his family will be shot, his pet gerbil will be shot and a bloke he once met in the pub will be sent to the gulag.

Finally got the Stug.

The game ended one turn early on a die roll.

All my T34s missed again, but the tiger didn't and when we counted up the trophies we had five each: a draw.

Mind you I am claiming a moral victory to Comrade Stalin because the Hitlerites never did take the ridge.

Men of the match were the Tiger and the Soviet AT Guns who did most of the damage to the fascist oppressors.

All told, the club raised £138 pounds for the Poppy Fund: £20 up on last year.

Many conga-rats to Mick who organised the event.