btb

btb

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Chain of Command

 
I've nearly finished the long slog of painting the kitchen, with only the woodwork to tackle tomorrow before it's done and dusted. To celebrate, I've pre-ordered a copy of Chain of Command, the new WW2 platoon level rules from the Toofatlardies.
 
I've read several articles on these rules over the last few weeks and they sound really interesting, even if they don't feature the usual TFL card based turn system. I particularly like the historical emphasis on tactics and unit composition, one thing that the Bolt Action rules seems to gloss over, to a greater or lesser extent.
 
It makes a lot of sense to squeeze as much potential out of the 28mm figures I'm painting up, so these rules will be an another option for WW2 skirmish games in the not too distant future. I'm really looking forward to reading the rulebook for myself when it pops into my inbox in a couple of weeks time.

Bolt Action Yanks [11]


 
Here are some more fuzzy photos of the US infantry, now with greatcoats and jackets painted in Vallejo US Field Drab. I'm painting the kitchen today so don't expect to get much done on the Bolt Action stuff, although I'll try to get at least some of the webbing sorted. At least they're getting close to the point at which I can try out the Army Painter dip.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Ronin



 
I've been hovering at a distance from this for a while and have yet to make up my mind, which is handy as it's not going to be available until mid-August. A couple of club colleagues have already made positive noises about the rules and the associated figure range, so it's a potential mini-project for the Autumn. I am not, however, going to be suckered by the very attractive box sets or the special pre-order deals on the Northstar webshop thingy.
 
Oh no, not me, not again....
 
I'll get the rules on the Kindle when they come out and, if there's some momentum, will also pick up a copy of the rules on Amazon. The figures are already in the leadpile, in the form of three packs of Aly Morrison sculpted pre-slotta Foundry Samurai, which I acquired many, many years ago for use with the classic FGU roleplaying game Bushido. I reckon I have more than enough figures for one or possibly two warbands, with the Koryu or Bandit buntai being the obvious place to start.
 
They're not the most cutting edge or even historically accurate figures but I really like them!
 

Monday, 29 July 2013

Bolt Action Yanks [10]

 
I managed to work out how to email pictures from my phone to my laptop, so here's the not very impressive and somewhat fuzzy result. I blocked in the uniforms in Coat d'Arms Olive Drab yesterday but haven't had the time to do any more yet. If I finally finish painting the bedroom this afternoon, I'll aim to get the greatcoats and jackets done some time this evening.

Bolt Action Terrain



 
One of the problems with the Bolt Action project is that you need quite a lot of terrain to provide cover and restrict fields of fire. As I have decided to start with late war US armoured infantry for the Battle of the Bulge, Siegfried Line and Rhineland campaigns, the usual Normandy style bocage terrain won't work.

 
However, I do have two sets of the GF9 Battlefield in a Box Ruined Walls, which are perfect as urban ruins for Aachen, Gielenkirchen and similar towns on the German border. They are designed for W40K but are not noticeably sci-fi gothic in style, so will be ideal as the basis of a typical street, especially if I add some signage, rubble, pavements and other paraphenalia.
 
Nice!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Plane That Saved Britain

 
I missed this last week but managed to find it again on the 4OD re-play thingy, thanks to a tip off from my dad who is a big Mossie fan. It's really good, in part due to the genuine enthusiasm and passion of the presenter, although there are a few over-exaggerations about the significance of the Mosquito to the war effort. If you can catch it before it disappears, it's well worth an hour of your time:
 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Bolt Action Yanks [9]

 
As the wife has pinched the digital camera, I have no photos to show the progress that I've made with the Bolt Action late war US infantry over the last couple of days. In a top to toe approach, I've painted the helmets in Vallejo US Dark Green, followed by the skin tones in Foundry Flesh and Flesh Light, all of which will eventually get a wash in Army Painter strong tone dip.
 
Next, I'll be blocking in the uniforms in Coat d'Arms Olive Drab. This isn't quite correct for the late war HBT uniforms but I think it'll look right, if you know what I mean. This will be followed by blocking in the greatcoats with Vallejo US Field Drab. To complete the bulk of the painting, I'll pick out the webbing and packs, although I've yet to decide what with.
 
I've got a busy DIY day tomorrow but hope to get more done in the evening, once I've painted the sprog's bedroom in two coats of day-glo pink. I'll also try to get hold of a digital camera at some point so that I can post some decent pictures of the Bolt Action stuff. In the meantime, here's a rather good example of plastic kit box art for you to enjoy!
 
 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Bolt Action Supplements



I'm thinking of a second force for Bolt Action, once I've finished the Americans, so have splashed out on some more of the supplemental army books over the last month. The front runner at the moment is an early war German Fallschirmjager reinforced platoon, using the excellent Crusader Miniatures figures.
 
 
I also quite like the idea of a British platoon, either for late war NW Europe or for the Western Desert, the latter using my existing stockpile of Crusader figures that I orginally collected for Rate of Fire a few years ago. The obvious choice for the 8th Army would be to use the Perry plastic box set of figures that I picked up a cheap a few weeks ago. 
 
 
However, I need to get those late war US troops sorted before I give in to dangerous mission creep!
 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

D.I. Why???

 
The family are away for the next week or so, with the wife and two youngest off to France and the eldest off to scout camp in the Forest of Dean. Why not Forest of Wayne, I wonder? Anyway, I digress. This means I am now on my own for six days, so can spend the time avidly painting up toy soldiers and playing games...

..or so I thought.

How naive.

I am instead painting and decorating what seems like half the house including the two largest rooms and all the woodwork. Two coats on everything!
 
Bugger.
 
Nonetheless, I am going to squeeze in as much proper painting as I can over the next week, with the aim of finishing the Bolt Action Late War US infantry and vehicles by this time next week, when I'll be off to France with the boy, assuming he survives the forest trip. I've also packed some more Bolt Action things into the car so that I can base them up when I get there.
 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Farewell to the F.A.R.T.




I've now sold off my AK47 colonial settlers army to a fellow club player, so it's a final farewell to the FART and the Independent Republic of Nbuto. As a parting gift, I've finished off an ex-Israeli diecast Super Mystere for the all important ground attack role and boxed the army up in a spare plastic tray that I found in the garage. I'm really pleased that the army has gone to a good home and that I now have no excuse not to paint up my 'other' colonial settlers army, which has a distinctly different identity compared to the garlic flavoured whiff of the FART .

Monday, 22 July 2013

Bolt Action Yanks [8]





It's been a while since I had the time to spend on the Bolt Action project but, hopefully, I'll be able to dedicate some serious time to the Late War US reinforced platoon, once the term is finally done and dusted. It's the last day tomorrow and about time too. Anyway, I have spray basecoated the Corgi diecast M3A1 half tracks and the M4A3 Sherman 75mm tank, using a small can of Tamiya Olive Drab that I got half price in Modelzone at the weekend.

This will be followed by a wash and some judicious drybrushing to bring them all up to scratch. I'm even thinking of trying out some airbrushing, using a set of Vallejo paints that I have for just this sort of thing, but that might be a little ambitious. You may wonder why I haven't just used the pre-painted diecasts as they were? The answer is that they weren't very well painted to start with and were far too weathered for what I have in mind, being very dusty and more suitable for North Africa than North West Europe in late 1944.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Cry Havoc - The Battle of Little Wooton



I gave into the middle sprog today and set up a game of Cry Havoc, which he absolutely loves having been introduced to the joys of 1980's skirmish boardgaming on a rainy weekend a couple of years ago. It's been ages since I dug out my tatty dog-eared copy, so I was also quite keen to relive my mis-spent youth with a decent game from the Additional Scenarios Booklet.

We decided to have a go at The Battle of Little Wooton, with the sprog taking the role of Sir Thomas and myself as Sir James. The scenario required us to recruit the local peasants to join one side or other in a local feud, with the winner decided by the size of his resulting levy. In the end I got well and truly duffed up by the son and heir, with only one of my retainers escaping from the village and my knight bludgeoned to a pulp by a horde of angry yokels.

I'd forgotten how enjoyable this game is and how much fun can be had with a handful of cardboard counters, a D10 and some imagination. The sprog really enjoyed it, especially as he won hands down, so it's a definately worth tracking down a copy on ebay if you're trying to get your kids into wargaming and away from the clutches of GW.

It's also free to download from the Cry Havoc Fan site: http://www.cryhavocfan.org/indexeng.htm

Good fun!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Dogfight



I found this in The Works today. It's an Osprey title and consists of five of the Duel series of books combined in one volume. I only have one of the titles already, so it was well worth the price to add the others to the library. There are some excellent illustrations and plenty of details that could be used as scenario material for Bag the Hun.

Friday, 19 July 2013

AK47 Arms Bazaar!



I was sorting out my AK47 stuff after work today, as you do, and have decided to sell off my Colonial Settlers army that I painted up about ten years ago. I have used this army in many a game, some of which have even been victorious, but it's a bit long in the tooth and not really up to my current standard as far as painting is concerned, so it's got to go.

The principal motivation for shifting the army is the fact that I have another one all based up and ready for painting. This was originally designed as a Superpower Backed force but, the more I look at it, the more it shouts 'Colonial Settler' back at me, especially as it features loads of professional units and vehicles. I really want to get it painted up, so the old version has to go to make way for the new one.

The other motivation is to enable someone at the club to pick up an 'off the shelf force' for a potential AK47 multiplayer campaign. Although one or two people have AK47 armies most of those interested in the campaign do not. As there has been a lot of enthusiasm about a campaign at some point in the not too distant future, if I can help to get this off the ground by providing an additional army, then so much the better.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Activity Week 2013



Normally, at this time of the academic year, I get the chance to run a Warhammer 40K activity week for a group of students, during which I get to paint up some figures and shift some lead. However, this year I've been re-allocated to a different activity as I have some Open Country and First Aid qualifications that were in short supply.

As a result, I've spent the last four days on a Geo-caching activity which has involved some very enjoyable if rather hot walks through the countryside in search of little plastic boxes, aided by some unfit teenagers and a GPS device. It's been quite pleasant but a little frustrating, as my idea of a decent pace don't quite match up to the expectations of the sprogs.

However, today we came across a very interesting memorial on the old Roman road from Winchester to Salisbury. It's dedicated to the crew of a Ju 88 which crashed near a local village in August 1940, after being shot down by two Spitfires of No234 Squadron based at Middle Wallop. It's a really poignant story and one which I wasn't fully aware of until I googled it this afternoon for some more information.

( ... ) About the memorial stone to four unknown German airmen, which lies on the Roman Road south of King's Somborne. Walkers on the old road stop to read the inscription. Strangely, the German plane did not crash at this spot, nor did it crash on the 23rd August 1940 as stated on the stone. Using both British and German sources, here is the story behind the stone as far as I am able to put it together. Tantalisingly, some parts of the story are still missing.


The four "unknown" German airmen were:


Ogefr. Gerhard Freude - pilot


Oblt. Max Birkenstock - observer (Oblt. Dankward Birkenstock*)


Uffz. Rudolf Schulze - radio observer


Gefr. Franz Becker - gunner


They were the crew of a Junker 88 that was part of Staffel I of Kampfgeschwader 54, then based at Evreux west of Paris. This squadron, known by the nickname "Totenkopf" (Death's Head), was part of Luftflotte 3, under the command of Hugo Sperrle. On the 21st August, five Ju.88s of Staffel I and seven Ju.88s of Staffel II, took off from Evreux between 12.48 and 14.32. The target for Staffel II was the Supermarine Aviation factory at Woolston, while the target for Staffel I was the air-field at Brize Norton. However, due to bad weather conditions, they made for their secondary target of Abingdon, which, according to German records they attacked "with good effect", and it was on the return from this mission that the plane, which was to crash at King's Somborne, was intercepted somewhere near Newbury, by not one, but two Spitfires of 234 Squadron based at Middle Wallop.


Three Spitfires of A Flight had scrambled at 13.20. They had already been scrambled earlier that morning. In Red 1 was Squ. Leader J. O'Brien, Red 2 was piloted by Ft. Lt. C.L. Page and Red 3 by P/off. R. Doe. Squadron 234 had only arrived at Middle Wallop between the 13th and 15th August.


Although the German plane tried to utilize cloud cover as much as possible, it had little chance against the combined efforts of O'Brien and Doe. In their Combat reports, both pilots claimed that they had closed in on the German plane at distances from 50 to 30 yards. Squ. leader O'Brien also reported that by the time they closed in for the final attack, all answering fire from the Ju.88 had ceased. This, together with bloodstained bandages on the ground, gives credence to the idea that the crew were probably dead before the plane, losing height and speed, hit the ground at a low angle. The plane crashed just north of the village near the Stockbridge Road.


As the two R.A.F. planes broke cloud cover after the final attack they saw the Ju.88 already burning on the ground below them. The time was 14.15. Five minutes later O'Brien and Doe's Spitfires touched down, followed at 14.25 by the plane flown by Fl. Lt. Page, which had taken no part in the attack.


The Official Squadron Report states, "One interception, scramble by 3 aircraft. A Ju.88 shot down by Squ. Leader O'Brien and P/O Doe."

You can read the story at this site: http://www.astoft2.co.uk/hants/hoplandsmemorial.htm

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

NEWSFLASH - Mpongo overthrown by MDF (Reuters)



From our correspondent in Abadwe

In a sudden and unexpected coup d'etat the Mbote Defence Force has overthrown the President of Mbote, Papi Mpongo, and declared a state of martial law. In a press statement, the Minister of War, Colonel Banga B'oum, announced that Mpongo has been been placed under house arrest after the presidential palace was seized at gunpoint by the Mbote Presidential Guard itself.

As yet, no explanation for this dramatic seizure of power by the MDF has been given but recent catastrophic defeats in the on-going border conflict with the neighbouring colonial state of Nbuto may well be a key factor. 

A curfew has been imposed by units of the MDF, which has made it difficult to verify the situation on the ground, but a transferal of power to the military seems to have taken place with little popular opposition.

In a further unexpected development, the Albanian government has announced it's unreserved support for the Mbote military junta, with a pact of military solidarity and political support.

(in other words, I'm going to try out a Superpower Backed army for AK47...just for a change)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

AK47 Battle of Njubu Valley











The AK47 game turned out to be another crushing defeat for the Mbote MDF, despite both sides getting off to a really promising start with most of their respective units on table at the beginning of the game. In the end, we got to play around with the rules for heliborne reinforcements and close assault, so the plan to use some different types of units with this in mind worked out well.

I kept the table pretty simple, as this was supposed to be a remote tribal border region, but added lots of hills to make for a more tactical game. Although there were some heated moments, especially over the morale system and the close assault mechanics, in the end I think the game was enjoyed by everyone who took part, even if some of them took a hammering in the process.

This is my final game of the year before I shoot off on holiday in a couple of weeks time but I'm planning to run some more in the Autumn. In the meantime, there has been a lot of interest in a club AK47 campaign, for which I am able to offer a couple of armies with the potential for a third if I get my act together and paint it up. It's not one I'd want to run but I'd definately want to be on the other side of the table as a player!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Looking Back, Looking Forward.



As it's pretty much the half way point in the year, I thought I'd have a brief look back at the progress or lack of to date. It's been a bit 'swings and roundabouts' over the last six and a half months but, on the whole, I'm quite pleased with the outcome.

Not only have I ditched a number of old projects via ebay but I have completed or added to a number of things that I wanted to tackle this year including two Full Thrust fleets, a whole load of Bag The Hun aircraft, and some extras units and some terrain markers for AK47. This isn't as much as I'd hoped for but it's better than nothing.

I've also started a few new projects, most notably the 28mm Bolt Action US platoon and the 1/600th coastal warfare stuff, but haven't been as reckless as last year when it comes to off the cuff diversions. In fact, the Bolt Action thing is well on the way and I'm planning tho take the coastal warfare boats on holiday for a bit of painting up.

There are plenty of things on the horizon too including the 15mm SCW Republican project, a re-vitalised 15mm PITS project for the club and even some 15mm Japanese for IABSM in Burma, not to mention more Bag The Hun and Bolt Action. At the club, there's a lot of interest in Bag the Hun in particular and I have promised to set up a campaign for the Autumn.

Which brings me to the best bit of the last half a year or so, in the shape of many more games than I can remember having organised and run in a long time. In fact, I think I've enjoyed more games as an umpire in the six months than I have in the last six years, which is something I'm keen to maintain and grow over the next six months and beyond.

I've also been lucky enough to take part as a player in a wide variety of games, most of which have been new to me including Muskets and Tomahawks, Prehistoric Settlement, Songs of Drums and Shakos, Bolt Action, BAIT and Black Powder. A big thank you has to go to Mike, Gary and Paul, in particular, for introducing me to some great games.

...now all I have to do is shift more of the lead!

NEWSFLASH - MDF partitions Njubu Valley (Reuters)



From our correspondent in Mtwange

Details are coming in of an advance by regular units of the Mbote Defence Force into the de-militarized border zone along the disputed Njubu Valley. An unconfirmed eyewitness report has identified a number of mechanised units alongside columns of heavily armed infantry, which have linked up with groups of local tribal militia rebels supported by mobile special forces operating in the tribal areas.

The President of Mbote, His excellency Papi Mpongo, has made a public broadcast on MBC radio, declaring the liberation and annexation of the Njubu Valley:

'Today, we, the people of Mbote, have partitioned the Njubu Valley with MDF. No longer will our oppressed tribal brothers and sisters be intimidated by the colonial boot of Nbuto. I hereby declare the creation of a tribal militia liberation movement, the Peoples Volunteer Army, to fight alongside the MDF for their freedom'. Long live the PVA!

(in other words, I've worked out the armys for tomorrow's game and the MDF are attacking...just!)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

They Shall Not Pass



I've been feeling pretty rough over the last couple of days so spent much of the time lying down, trying to keep cool and trying not to throw up. I think I've picked up a bug that's been around at school but it seems to have cleared up now, although I may have just come down with the usual end of year bllurrgh. 

Anyway, with nothing much to do and to keep my mind off the inevitable, I finished reading Hill 112 (which was very good) and have now moved on to They Shall Not Pass, as part of my faltering attempt to build a 15mm force for the Spanish Civil War, albeit for an as yet indeterminate set of rules.

I've let this project slip of late, mainly due to work and life, but I'm planning to pick it up again once the Bolt Action stuff is off the workbench. I've got some time free in a week or so, during which I'm going to tackle the Yanks in a production line approach, with the aim of completing them by the time I leave for France.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Hill 112



This was going for 99p in the Amazon bookstore thingy a few days ago so I spent my pocket money and now have it on the Kindle. I visited Hill 112 last year and have read several books on the subject in the past, as part of my now defunct Rapid Fire project. This will now provide some renewed inspiration for both IABSM3 in 15mm and, in particular, for Bolt Action in 28mm. 

NEWSFLASH - Nbuto deploys special forces in DMZ (Reuters)



From our correspondent in Mtwange

In an apparent escalation of the conflict between Nbuto and Mbote over arming of rebels in the Njubu Valley, special forces Counter-Insurgency units of the elite FART para-commandos have been deployed in the De-Militarized Zone. According to a press release from FART headquarters, these elite heliborne special forces have been inserted into the disputed border region in order to locate and neutralise rebel training camps established by the Mbote Defence Force.  

Friday, 12 July 2013

NEWSFLASH - Nbuto warns of tribal insurrection in Njubu Valley (Reuters)


From our correspondent in Mtwange

An official statement from the Nbuto Ministry of the Interior has warned of a potential tribal insurrection in the disputed Njubu Valley, in the border zone between Mbote and Nbuto.

A spokesmen for the Nbuto government has implicated special forces units of the Mbotean army, the MDF, in clandestine training of rebel groups in the tribal areas. A number of captured weapons, including RPG's and AK47 assault rifles were presented to the international press as evidence of MDF support for insurrection amongst the local tribes. The Mbote government has denied these claims and has refused to acknowledge the presence of MDF troops in the border zone.


In a clear warning to the government of Mbote, units of the Force Action Rapide Territoriale have been conducting live fire military exercises in the border zone, including the deployment of elite counter-insurgency special forces. Although these units have yet to cross the border into the disputed de-militarised zone, sources close to the FART have indicated a significant build up of logistics, in preparation for a punitive search and destroy operation in the next few days.

...in other words, it's an AK47 game next week!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

AK47 Extra Bits [3]



I finished the tribal militia loonies for AK47 this evening, adding some static grass and foliage to the bases with a dab of PVA. These will now form a second militia unit for the Mbote dictatorship army in the game on Tuesday. I'm hoping to finish off the last technical over the weekend, as well as working out the forces for the two sides and some sort of background fluff for the build up to the game.

Desert Rats

 
I spotted these on ebay the other day and my willpower crumbled, especially as they were a couple of quid cheaper than the asking price and post free. The box arrived today and I've been oogling the contents with a view to another Bolt Action force, this time for the early war in the desert.
 
The figures are on the anatomically correct side of 28mm and remind me a lot of the old Airfix 1/32nd scale multipose figures of my youth. They're very well done, as you'd expect from the Perry twins, and would match really well with 1/56th scale vehicles.

Mission creep...oh dear. 
 
 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

AK47 Extra Bits [2]



It's been a busy start to the week but I have made some progress with the AK47 tribal militia loonies, with a basecoat of Vallejo English Uniform and a three stage drybrush of Foundry Rawhide on the bases. I'll add the flock and foliage tomorrow, so that they'll match the rest of the units in the Mbote army and be ready for use in the game next week.