Wednesday, 15 October 2014

New Chain of Command scenario series

For those of my readers who are interested in Chain of Command and somehow aren't following the blog, forum OR mailing list:

Building on the back of the At The Sharp End campaign supplement, Too Fat Lardies have just released the first in a series of "Pint Sized" campaigns, namely "29 Let's Go".

The basic premise behind the series appears to be one 32 page downloadable (and printable) PDF, which is a 50/50 mix of well-written and useful historical background to the campaign (with maps), and then a Sharp End-style 'ladder' campaign, with table layouts based on the maps. And all this for the price of a reasonable pint - £3.50. What's not to like? I mean, for the price of a pint, you get of the order of 5-8 evening's entertainment, just add scenery, figures and (optionally) an umpire.

This builds really well on Chain of Command and At The Sharp End, and while I haven't had chance to play any of the scenarios yet, I did get to give it a thorough read.

Monday, 13 October 2014

WAB tournament update - Nov 23

For those interested in the club's WAB tournament on Nov 23, the sign up form is now available here along with permissible army lists etc..

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Wargaming vs Railway Modelling 2

A couple more observations, based on a few trawls of assorted fora:
  • I still can't help feel that somewhere, somehow, there's a trick missing in the model railway hobby to reduce costs for producing small runs of obscure things, probably involving some combination of laser cutting and 3D printing. And someone will figure it out and make an absolute killing.
  • The major manufacturers seem to have decided there is no demand for pre-nationalisation models. If they make something that existed into BR, fine, they'll release one in a pre-BR paint job (but in the GWR case you can guarantee that'll only be in the incredibly short lived and IMO ugly as sin post 1935 or post 1942 ones!) . But it does seem more and more that if it was made before about 1935, the manufacturers aren't interested. Which makes for a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Witness the maddeningly STUPID call by Hornby: let's make some GWR coaches - I know, we'll do the mid-40s Hawkesworth ones, which lasted well into BR days. But so did loads of even more attractive-to-model 1920s/30s Collets. And I can't USE the bloody Hawkesworths, because my planned layout is deliberately set in about 1934-5!). Contrast to (say) Battlefront. They're not quite at the point of 'if it took the field in WW2, we make it', but they're bloody close.
  • I can't afford to be a serious railway modeller. Sure, metal and plastic armies aren't cheap but... there isn't actually that much difference, price wise, between the (and I'm going to make myself unpopular here - tough!) mass-market (I nearly said 'toy') end of the hobby (40K etc) and the 'serious' end (say, obscure armies for FoG:R). Certainly not enough to make me wince. Compare, though, the difference between a set of Hornby Railroad Collet coaches (about 20 quid a pop) and a set of etched brass Toplight coach kits, which will set you back nearer £100 by the time you add wheels, couplings, buffers etc, and doesn't include the labour costs of building it. And the other core difference there is that the 'serious' railway modellers don't seem to see this as a barrier. The line 'you may as well buy the brass kit' gets tossed around like confetti as if it's an acceptable solution to everyone.
  • If I was as rude and critical about a PSC test render of (say) a King Tiger as some modellers seem to be directly to Bachman (for example) about nitpickingly small details in their mockup of a GWR 64xx Pannier, I'd expect Will to punch me in the face. And I'd feel I'd deserved it. Lumme. Talk about entitlement issues.
  • The above pretty much summarise why, while I will probably slowly construct the GWR layout I have designs on over time, you can guarantee I'll never put it up for scrutiny within the hobby.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Plastic Soldier Company "Whoops, we forgot to book a stand at SELWG" sale

In case you're not on their mailing list:
"Foolishly I forgot to book a stand at the SELWG, Crystal Palace show this Sunday 12th October. To mark my stupidity and apologise for those customers expecting to see us there, we will be running a sale starting today and running through until midnight Sunday 12th October:"

Sale in the "No SELWG" (25% off all PSC kits and paints!!!), SCW (15%) and Ancients (10% - good job my Greeks are on hold) categories.

Friday, 10 October 2014

We apologise &c &c

One of the reasons I made a conspicuous effort to blog every day is that once a thing becomes a habit, it becomes harder to break.

Witness what happens when I stop blogging for a bit :D

In the past month or so, I are mostly:

  • Editing 2 1/2 hours x 7 cameras worth of video from the WorldCon
  • Snapping up odd bits of GWR stuff for the son and my model railway
  • Thinking about various things to do with the Lardies' Quadrant 13 and IABSM
  • Getting my fingers used to playing bass rather than guitar again (ow! picking hand blisters!)
  • Apparently becoming a Responsible Adult at work now my boss has left (his boss, now my boss, seems to expect this of me, especially since the other candidate Responsible Adult just left as well)
  • Playing a fair bit of Dreadball and Dead Man's Hand at the club.
So. There will be blogging. I'm going to figure out a schedule I can commit to, not just for this but for all the other non-work things that have demands on my time, and there will be regular posts again!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Wargaming vs Railway Modelling

(Yes, there will be a "The Other Partizan" writeup, just not today!)

After our visit to the Hamburg model railway exhibition, James has been reminding me that there's the ingredients for a model railway layout still sitting disassembled in my workshop, and I've got to thinking (as well as catching up on my reading of Model Rail magazine, to which I subscribe). As you well know, me thinking can be dangerous...

Considering how similar the two hobbies are, it's quite amazing how they differ.

  • In general, although this is, I think, becoming less so as time goes by, we as wargamers are easier satisfied with the quality of scenery. Now, admittedly, there's the whole practical issue of portability, changeability and general survivability, but the average railway layout does seem to have better scenery than the average wargames table. Of course, if you go up to the level that someone like Sid or Silver Whistle aims for, that's patently not true, but as a general observation...
  • Conversely, it does appear that most railway modellers are much less fussy about figure painting than we are! Most of them seem very content to buy pre-painted figures from Preiser, Faller, Noch, Hornby etc, and just plonk 'em down...
  • Railway modelling as a hobby appears to have only just discovered laser-cut MDF. My last visit to Trains4U revealed one company (and a small, niche one, with a tiny display in the 'grab bags' stand by the checkout) making things like line side huts and footbridges, and that was it. Big opening for Warbases or 4Ground there.
  • Railway modelling hasn't discovered Vallejo/Army Painter style dropper paint bottles. All the railway paint makers (Humbrol, Railmatch, Lifecolour etc) do screw-top or pop-top pots. With all the attendant 'paint drying round the edge' issues.
  • Railway modelling hasn't discovered dip and ink washes, as far as I can tell. The latest issue of Model Rail has finally realised that washes on figures improve the look, but are still using thinned paint.
  • Railway modelling is slightly ahead of us on 3D printing - there are some 00 scale models of real British prototypes available on Shapeways, for example.
  • Railway modelling doesn't appear to have discovered resin as a casting material. 
  • There's an immensely frustrating divide price-wise between kit and ready-to-run in model railways. The really big case in point is coaches - the minimal selection of ready-to-run Great Western coaches, for example, at circa £15-20 quid a pop, is backed by... everything you could possibly want in etched brass + whitemetal kit form at £50 or more a time (often 'just add your own wheels, bearings and couplings' on top, too). With the exception of some old and obscure kits from Ratio, there's absolutely sod-all that's affordable to fill the gap, and surprisingly little will amongst modellers or apparently manufacturers to see that that's an issue. Now obviously, one of the problems is production-run size, as previously discussed, and the fact that a box of PSC tanks is a less daunting job for the likes of Renedra than a foot-long coach which has to sit accurately on the track afterwards, but even so... For flat-sided coaches (which I know not all are), laser cut sides, with resin ends and roof, is surely a possibility. In ready-to-run, IF the right coaches exist, I can build a 6 coach train for around £100. If they don't, I'm looking at £3-400 PLUS the work involved AND painting, lining and lettering. And the end result weighs a ton.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Seen at Partizan

More pictures and a full writeup tomorrow, but for now...

...enjoy these two.

First up, the utterly gorgeous Age of Heroes 28mm Romano-British. If you want some variety in your Dux Brit army, check these out (Early Saxons also available!)

Secondly, from IIRC Dave Thomas' stall - it's nice to see I'm not the only one whose German spelling can be suspect!

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