sci fi

sci fi

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Au Revoir


I've decided to give up my wargaming and blogging for a while, as I'm not in the mood for either at the moment. I'll be back in the Autumn after I've reassessed my whole approach to the hobby, which I'm finding harder and harder to focus on of late. For one thing, I'm not able to get to the club as often as in the past and, when I do, I feel that I'm out of the loop. The workbench has also become a dumping ground for unfinished and half completed projects, most of which I just haven't had time to do or have become frustrated with. In short, I need a clean break and a fresh start. I may well add the occasional blog post here and there but otherwise I'll be mothballing the wargaming for a couple of months until I'm in the right frame of mind.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Sorry SAGA :O(

How to spell '*****' in five dark age dialects?

I've decided to not take part in the SAGA campaign at the club this summer, as I just won't be able to spare the time next month and will be away for several weeks after that. I don't want to be put in the position of not being able to play out games against opponents, so will let the other players crack on without me. I'm frustrated by this but can see no way round it in the foreseeable future. I'm hoping another campaign might take place at some point as I'd still love to join in with my Normans or Welsh, once the latter get painted. All in all this year is turning out to be pretty rubbish. I hope it get's better sooner rather than later, as I'm really fed up with the whole thing already and it's only June!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Coat d'Arms Triads


I'm a big fan of the three stage painting approach and have made wide use of the Foundry range of paints in the past, although my painting output has been pretty minimal this year due to a lack of time and too much stuff to do. However, there are limitations of the three stage method, one of which is the limited options available unless you work out the combinations yourself and the other is the prohibitive cost, even though the Foundry pots last for ages and are really useful.

I was very pleased to discover that Coat d'Arms also has a range of what they call triads, consisting of three complementary shades to use as a basecoat, midcoat and highlight. I've always found these paints to be a bit wishy washy but thought I'd try out the basic military green set to see what it was like and to fill a gap in my existing collection of basic shades. If it looks good, I'll check out the rest of the triad range, which at £5.50 a set, is good value for money and much less expensive than the Foundry alternative.

Crush The Kaiser


I was quite impressed with the Mexican Revolution offshoot of these WW1 rules, Achtung Gringo!, so when I found the main rulebook and a supplement bundled on eBay for a tenner, I thought I'd grab them to add to the library. They designed for individually based 15mm to 28mm figures at battalion to brigade level, with the company as the smallest unit, so perfect for 15mm or even 10mm. I'll have  a think about what I could do with them after I've had a read through of both the rulebook Where the Poppies Grow and the army list supplement.


This is an interesting set of rules and a fascinating and neglected period. Initial thoughts would be either 15mm individually based using Peter Pig figures, which could double up for Through the Mud and Blood, or 10mm using Pendraken figures on multiple bases. The latter has the advantage of looking at least a little bit like the real thing and would look really impressive on some custom made terrain. There are some positive reviews around if you google Crush the Kaiser, so why not take a closer look? I'm off to dig out my 10mm WW1 stuff....

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Black Ops [6]



My minimalist approach to this project is paying off, albeit in a very minimalist way, with the Blotz pillbox now finished in a spare half an hour this evening. I went for what I think is a non-descript concrete shade, using an undercoat of Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki, followed by a two stage dry brush in Foundry Cadaverous Green and a wash in GW Agrax Earthshade. I think it looks OK but could possibly do with a bit of signage or some weeds to brighten up the boring gravel effect base?

Monday, 20 June 2016

Black Ops [5]


I've now undercoated the Black Ops tactical team ready for painting so, while they were drying, I assembled the first bit of military - industrial terrain in the shape of a WW2 British pillbox from Blotz. This will be used as a checkpoint at the entrance to the complex, so I based it on a laser cut terrain template from ERM and added a central floor slab to keep the building from sliding around all over the place. I also added a square of fine grade sandpaper on the roof to add a bit of texture and to hide the joints. It's a really nice little kit, easy to assemble and only three quid, so well worth getting hold of if you need a small bunker or control post for your WW2 games.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Top Guns of the Luftwaffe


I was taken to Lyndhurst for Father's Day this afternoon, primarily so the kids could see the luxury sports cars in the Ferrari / Lamborghini show room and so the wife could look at up-cycled iron fire bowls, neither of which I'm remotely interested in but went along with as a dutiful dad. There's a really good discount bookshop there too, so I had a good look through the military history and aviation sections, which turned up this excellent hardback for a tenner. It's a great resource for Bag the Hun, especially as the mid-war RAF v. Luftwaffe conflict over the channel is one of my on-going projects, alongside my existing late war Defence of the Reich collection of 1/285th scale aircraft.  

Summer SAGA [13]


The up and coming SAGA campaign at the club means I will have to pick up my Norman warband were I left off and finish at least one unit to complete a four point force. This will be a twelve man levy unit of archers, as they are an essential element of a Norman warband and pop up all over the battle board, which means that I will lose out big time if I don't have one. I have them undercoated and ready to paint, along with an eight man unit of warrior spearmen, which may or may not get painted along the way. The deadline is the beginning of July, so I better get cracking!

Black Ops [4]


I finished basing the eight figures for my first Black Ops team yesterday, using a combination of 25mm laser cut mdf bases and Miliput to blend in the metal tabs on the feet with the ground surface. The single slotta base figure, an EM4 commander with assault rifle and UGL, was first glued to a washer after the slotta tab was removed, so that he matched in height with the other figures. The idea will be to paint the bases in a fairly neutral urban shade to represent wasteland, gravel or similar. The team itself will be used as a G.I.G.N. or R.A.I.D. French police counter-terrorism unit or as a generic SWAT team. I reckon I've got about 100 points of good guys here, give or take, so more than enough for a standard or stealth scenario.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

SAGA Age of the Wolf Campaign


As I expected, there's a move afoot to have a casual SAGA campaign at the club based around the Age of the Wolf supplement. I'm really pleased about this, as it will mean that I have a good reason to finish off my Norman 4 point warband with the last unit that has remained unpainted for far too long. It also means that I now have a painting project for the Summer holidays, which may or may not be a second SAGA army, this time the Cornish or 'West Welsh'.

I set out to do this way back in February, so it's about time I got on with it, avoiding the mistakes I made the last time I tried painting an army in the Summer holidays abroad, which was the Norman war band funnily enough. I'm pretty sure I know what I did wrong then (wrong paints, poor lighting, bad approach), so this time it should be a better end result...fingers crossed!? It does all depend on when this campaign will run, however, as I'm away in August so wouldn't be able to take part then.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Black Ops [3]


I've started basing up a first team for Black Ops, using figures from the Copplestone Future Wars hostage rescue squad pack with a Foundry Miniatures SWAT sniper as a 'heavy'. The bases are a bit different from my usual 25mm mdf circles, as the rules specify square bases in order to determine lines of sight. As a result, I'm using 25mm lasercut squares instead, although they'll need some sort of texturing in order to blend in the figure's bases.

I've also started to gather together some lasercut kits for a military / industrial compound, which features in the scenario options. These include a barracks hut, 'cooler' and square pillbox from the excellent Blotz WW2 range, which should be ideal. I've also bought a Sarissa Precision factory building, which is a kit I've wanted to find a use for for ages, having seen one in the collection of a fellow club gamer. I'm really looking forward to gluing all of these together and scratch building some more stuff too.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Black Ops [2]

Black Ops Demo Game - I could do that!

One of the things that makes Black Ops a good option for a Summer project is that there are a minimal number of figures required, perhaps a dozen a side maximum, with lots of scope for re-using the same figures for different scenarios or even different factions. There's no reason why, for example, a half a dozen sized SWAT team hostage rescue  squad couldn't also be an anti-terrorist special forces unit or a intelligence agency assassination team.

The other advantage of Black Ops is that I can go to town on some laser cut terrain but not break the bank, making use of what I've already got and adding some new bits of scenery as required. I can already set the action in the steamy jungles of South America, the baking deserts of North Africa or the icy wastes of Antarctica, for example, using some of the terrain that I have assembled for the a Fistful of Lead, the Back of Beyond, Bolt Action and Saurian Safari.

It also gives me the opportunity to assemble some new terrain, specifically some new jungle pieces, an arctic base and an industrial compound, all of which will fit in very nicely with other projects that I can recycle the scenery for. I'm particularly looking forward to the latter and have been planning a military-industrial base for a while, originally for use with the Achtung Commando project. This may also end up as a Black Ops project, as the rules have been adapted for WW2 raiding games too.

This will use a combination of laser cut buildings from Blotz and Sarissa Precision, together with some scratch built scatter terrain. I've been collecting all sorts of useful tins, boxes, packaging and bits of things to turn into various bits of industrial structure and storage, so that I can populate the table with essential cover. If I can do this on the cheap, it will free up some funds for a few 'top end' bits of terrain that would otherwise be beyond the meagre budget that I have for gaming these days.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Black Ops [1]


I've decided to clear the decks and just do one simple skirmish project for the Summer. As this will be a project for games at the kitchen table in the first instance, I decided to ask the boys what they would like me to do, giving them a couple of possible options. The unanimous decision was for a 28mm Black Ops near future skirmish project, using Copplestone Castings Future Wars figures. I originally collected these together for use with Future Wars and may very well use those rules as well, although Black Ops is the more 'up to date' system. I'll set out exactly what the project involves tomorrow but, needless to say, it will probably have a French connection.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

P40 Warhawk v Ki43 Oscar


It's been a very heavy week at work after the calm of the half term holidays and I've been struggling to keep on top of things, to say the least. I've also been suffering from persistent headaches in the evenings but can't seem to find out what's causing them, so the workbench has gathered even more dust over the last few days. I have been thinking about a project that I can chip away at, however, as anything on even a small scale is proving to be a bit too much to bite off and chew at the moment.

The Bag the Hun 2 game the other week got me thinking about adding some new aircraft to the set up, perhaps half a dozen easy to paint models that I can use with my existing planes in some way. I haven't got the time to start a completely new project, so the Winter War and Russian Front will have to wait, but a few Japanese aircraft for the CBI could be an option. I have a full squadron full of Museum Miniatures Ki43 Oscars, for example, which would be fun to paint and not too tricky to do well.

I haven't decided if that's what I'll do yet, as a couple of 28mm Black Ops teams could be another alternative, but I have dug out some reference material to see what I could do with for the CBI or South West Pacific. I have plenty of books and journals so there's no shortage of information on camouflage schemes, markings and units. I've always wanted to do this theatre and even started drawing up some plans a couple of years ago, so now might be a good time to give it a go?

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Sun Tzu


I had to go to Basingstoke today, which I try to avoid at the best of times, but in the process found this board game in The Works along with a few others that I didn't think were as interesting. This game, however, looked really good being a strategy based card and board game complete with two armies of figures in red and blue plastic. The box blurb says:

In 506, Sun Tzu marched up the Hwai River where he was assaulted by Ch'u armies under the command of King Shao. Sun Tzu and his Wu soldiers were outnumbered and King Shao's armies held the high ground. Sun Tzu feigned retreat and tricked King Shao into spreading out his forces, ready to pursue. With the Ch'u scattered, Sun Tzu crushed their forces in piecemeal fashion at the battle of Bai Ju, routing the Ch'u back to their capital of Ying. King Shao fled Ying seeking refuge and asylum across the borders while Sun Tzu remained the master of strategy and tactics.


In Sun Tzu, a.k.a. Dynasties, players take on the role of Sun Tzu or King Shao, leading these two opposing armies in an attempt to unify China through the deployment of their armies and forces rather than by brute force. Each turn players play cards to specific provinces, then reveal them individually by province. Armies are added or removed from the province depending on who played the higher valued card or who played a special card. Some cards can only be used once, so playing the card at the correct time is critical to a winning strategy. The game has a feel of "tug-of-war" as the scoring marker starts in the middle of the scoring scale and the players attempt to move the marker to their side of the track. The game ends after nine rounds or if either player is able to move the scoring marker to the last space on his side of the scoring track.

Not bad for a tenner?

Friday, 3 June 2016

We're Doomed!


I don't know why it is but everything I've tried to start recently has gone absolutely nowhere. The Mexican Revolution project hit the buffers early on, as the 20mm figures available are OK but not great while the 28mm option is even less inspiring. The 1960's post-colonial plan has also ground to a halt as I try to sift through the Commando Miniatures figures to produce a decent section sized force, leaving the not so great castings to one side.

Finally, my attempts to finish off some extra bits for both AK47 and the Back of Beyond have fallen by the wayside, to be buried under piles of desert themed terrain this half term holiday. This would be par for the course were it not for the fact that my attempts to get an AK47 game up and running at the club seem to be doomed from the start, with two postponements already due to clashes with this, that and the other.

What would Captain Mainwaring do, I wonder?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Desert Terrain Bits [10]


It's been slow going on the terrain front this week despite the holiday, mainly due to painting and decorating combined with entertaining the kids. However, I have now finished the scratch built adobe walls and the watering hole feature, although the Timeline Miniatures houses have not got past the assembly stage yet.

In other related news, the Charlie Foxtrot oasis kits have arrived and very impressive they are too, much bigger than I expected and with some stonking palm trees to decorate them with. I may get them underway before the end of the week but it would be quite nice to take a short break from the desert and do something a bit different?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Borneo Boys


I'm reading this now and it's really rather good, full of first hand accounts of helicopter operations in Borneo and Sarawak during the Indonesian Confrontation of the early 1960's. It reminded me that one of the first model kits that I was given as a present when I was a kid was a Revell 1/48th scale kit of a Sikorsky H55, all the way from the USA where my US Marine godfather lived.


At the time he had completed three tours of duty in Vietnam, although I had no ideas about any of that being only eight years old. The model was, however, really cool as you could open the engine doors at the front! I'll have to see if I can find one on eBay, as it would be great for use in a skirmish game either as table top decoration or as a scenario element of some sort.

Jutland 100


My great grandfather was at the Battle of Jutland but, luckily for him and for me, he was deep in the engine room of a light cruiser way to the North of the battle itself. Nevertheless, it's always a battle that has interested me and one which I think is often overlooked as a significant event in the First World War especially in the public eye compared to the Somme and other Western Front battles. I'm pleased that the media in particular has taken more of an interest in the remembrance events over the next couple of days but how long the battle itself will be commemorated in the public consciousness remains to be seen.