Friday 29 March 2019

Big Man sabot bases from Supreme Littleness Designs

One last annoying problem for today's game resolved in my lunch break (though I do have a bunch more of these to do for the Omaha Beach game at Salute).

Supreme Littleness Designs' rather nice sabot bases for 1p and 2p (and 20mm and 25mm) based Big Men for TFL games. Nice design - 2mm MDF on top of a greyboard base: easy to put together, quick lick of paint, label, add some grass.

Sorted. Now my players won't be going 'uh, which Big Man was this?'

More Salute and Crisis Point prep

Apologies for no post last night, was rehearsing with band until late. So, belatedly - yesterday I applied gloss varnish to the 'wet' bits of the Salute beach boards, and also went out and actually acquired some hedges for the game I'm running at Crisis Point up in Sheffield this weekend (so I don't have to borrow the club's!).

More on Crisis Point later (assuming I don't get sucked into a long session at the pub!)

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Salute Prep

Another day of no photos, for which I apologise.

AndyM and I have been checking out the 8’x6’club Omaha beach boards for Salute. Essentially it’s a 4 by 3 array of 2 ft square boards, in some cases three deep

The task list is as follows:
  1. Paint the edges, because BLUE!!!
  2. Repaint the trenches a better earth colour 
  3. Replace the 4 beach boards themselves as they are badly warped. 
  4. Make the whole thing look less like a nicely kept lawn. :)
  5. Fix the various chips and dents
I’d say we’re a bit over halfway through. The beach boards are done bar some touchup work  Andy’s painted  half the edges, and I’ve tarted up the grass  on half the boards, and all the trenches. 

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Empires at War 15mm villa finished

And that’s done. Plasticard base, some ballast, artists burnt umber/PVA mix, dry brush with Woodland Scenics “concrete” paint, War World Scenics grass, and there you have it.

Also barricaded the back door ;)

Monday 25 March 2019

Battle Report - 25 Mar 2019 - Rebels And Patriots

Dan Mersey's AWI to ACW ruleset based on the Lion Rampant game engine. (No photos, sorry).

Nice little AWI scenario with a balanced force - I had 12 Indians, 6 cavalry, 6 rangers, 2 lots of 12 line infantry, Chris had much the same but as Rebel militia. I had the Indians in a small village, with Chris and I approaching from opposite sides to clear or relieve them, respectively.

I definitely got the worst of it early on - my cavalry routed, and my Indians got seriously shot up, while the line were busy working up the middle and the Rangers through a field up one flank. I got to the point where I had one of four units that wasn't needing to rally, and all Chris' units were good to fire... Pretty sure I was done for, and then Chris managed to fail to activate every single unit on his side! (Which does require some pretty dismal luck.)...

I managed to rally everything, the Rangers offloaded hard on one unit of American militia, one of my line units in close order ripped through Chris' cavalry, and pretty much like that the tables were turned...

To summarise:

This is about Dan's 5th or 6th ruleset using the same core engine: essentially units are made up of 6 or 12 men, and roll 12 dice for combat against varying target numbers, needing a set number of hits to cause casualties. When a unit drops to half strength it drops to 6 dice. Everything else is just gravy :D

This and Pikeman's Lament, I think, seem to work the best. Maybe it's just my style of play, but it seems to lend itself more to musket + melee than it does earlier periods. Had a great time.

Sunday 24 March 2019

Glue. Lots of glue. Lots of different glues.

Most of today's hobby time spent trying to get three MDF buildings and three bits of wall to stick to a piece of undercoated[1] Plasticard.

With hindsight, I could have productively spent the time finding my hot glue gun, which would probably have done a better job.

Anyway. Tis done, but I don't think I'll have time to start painting the base tonight.

On a related tack - a recommendation via Twitter from Martin at Warbases: fast-curing PVA for assembling their stuff:

Available from Amazon in 1L and 5L bottles (for those BIG projects). Also available in dinky 75ml bottles, according to the manufacturer's website.

[1] From the department of auto-correct: "undercoated" and "undecorated" are anagrams :D

Saturday 23 March 2019

Busy Saturday

Mostly writing code for a non-work non-wargames project :D

However, I did update the Compendium bibliography with a bunch of stuff.

Friday 22 March 2019

Empire At War 15mm Villa - almost done

Nothing new in the building process - just more of the same for the one remaining building and two courtyard walls. :D

Made slightly exciting by a local power cut while I had the last door in one hand and was about to pick up the superglue in the other!

All done now bar the base, which I'll do tomorrow, and the photos, which I'll upload from the phone, or once I've figured out why the file server hasn't come back up! [Answer - I accidentally unologged it while sorting out the wiring round the UPS! Doh!]

I may knock back the red on the brick inserts...

...and sand the front wall a smidge...

...and paint the steps...

...and maybe add some ivy.

Thursday 21 March 2019

Empire At War 15mm Villa - update and a correction

Oops - missed the shutters on the smaller building :D
I have two of the three main buildings finished.

There's a bit of a tale here: I took them to club a couple of Mondays ago, since I didn't have a game and figured I could do a bit of work on then. Like an idiot, while loading up the car to come home, I dropped one of the buildings in the carpark,. where the not-as-stable-as-I-hoped glue joints gave and it scattered under my car in about half a dozen pieces.

To my considerable annoyance, when I got home I found out that I'd missed one or two bits in my fumble in the dark.

There's no problem with the roof - I just set it
down all skew-whiff :D
After working on a few other things (like going to C2C :D) I eventually got round to placing an order for a replacement with Empires at War. Very prompt delivery. Finally got around to working on it again yesterday, and the important thing I should note in light of a criticism in my earlier review is they have, sometime since I bought the first one, fixed the internal floors to fit. Very snugly,. but they do fit.

The process, then. Assemble except for the shutters. Use artists texture paste to plaster the walls. It's kind of like Polyfilla but a little smoother - I'll probably stuck with the latter for 28mm buildings but this is superb for 15mm as the texture is a bit finer. Then a layer of AP Skeleton Bone, or the equivalent shade in a tester pot of emulsion, then a fairly heavy dry brush in white. 

I'm becoming a fan of this.
I discovered by accident a handy trick for the latter - I squeezed some AP White out onto my palette (a spare Pringles lid) in a relatively thin layer, and got called away by my wife for about half an hour. When I got back it was still wet enough to pick up on the brush, but tacky enough to almost dry brush with without having to do the whole "pick up paint, wipe off" routine. 

That done, paint shutters, affix them, and then ink wash the pantiles. A little warning here - the plastic pantiles have two ways up. One is wrong. Ask me how I know. :D

Still have the middle building to rebuild (after its late night mishap) and the outer walls: I think I'll find some thin Plasticard or something to base it all on once done. 

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Miller's Tale 6 take two (work in progress)...

After not very much listening, I junked Sunday's abortive attempt (because it was pants) and had another go, this time fortified by tea and cake and actually having made some more detailed notes first!

It's not done - I'm up to 40+ minutes plus after mailbag, hobby news and catching up. Even with editing, I'm debating which of about three candidate opinion pieces is going to fit in the space, and then sit down and write notes for it, which is the plan for the rest of the evening with another cuppa. I have a deal with myself not to run past the hour mark, so...

Also spent a bit of the day tarting up some MDF buildings, which you'll probably get to see when finished tomorrow.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

More 15mm Italy

(apologies, no pictures but the phone's flat!)

Did some more work on the Empires at War Mediterranean Villa - one new and slightly annoying discovery is that the exterior wall caps are too long unless you fit them on the outside of the wall, which just seems wrong.

Otherwise, all going together pretty well. Debating how to texture the walls at the moment. 

Monday 18 March 2019

Not really a Battle Report - March 18 2019 - IABSM "Kampfgruppe Stenmark"

Can't give away the details, as folks may well be playing this in a couple of weekends time. but suffice it to say I got the halftracks finished (without damaging that blasted bedstead aerial) as well as the Fiesler Storch objective marker and a British jeep.

Things you never think to ask when assembling a jeep - were WW2 British jeeps right-hand-drive? Turns out the answer is no, but I'd stupidly put a driver with a wheel in both front seats, so I had to over paint one with quite thick white so he looked like he was holding papers.

Anyway. Picture gallery without commentary for now. Other than to note that that's one of the best by-the-drill-manual uses of the British 2" mortar firing smoke I think I've seen on an IABSM table.

Sunday 17 March 2019

Some half tracks - yes, I actually did some modelling today...

... in amid the domestic chaos that is usual on a Sunday.

Three PSC SdKfz 250/9's - that's the recce version with the 20mm cannon in a turret. Dead easy to put together - typical nice PSC kit, very hard to get wrong.

One Flames of War SdKfz 250/5 - that's the 'Rommel' command blister. Resin and metal, and absolutely bloody horrible to work on. The tracks didn't fit without some pretty ruthless application of a file, and the bedstead aerial requires you to be capable of microsurgery, as far as I can tell. As I grumbled on Twitter at the time:
   To add insult to injury I dropped two of the stanchions on the floor somewhere during the third and fourth attempts to get everything to stick, and completely lost them, so two of them are actually thin bits of MDF. For future reference, a cheap UHU clone and lots of patience actually works better then superglue + accelerator.

That said, they're all now undercoated with AP Desert Yellow (my goto Dunkelgelb/Mittelstien) ready for a quick camo job tomorrow lunchtime. I should also note that unlike, say, PSC and FoW Shermans, they are pretty much exactly the same length to the millimetre.

Saturday 16 March 2019

Today I recorded...

...well, about half a podcast.

I'm not 100% sure if I'm happy with it, so I may toss it and have another go when I've listened to it tomorrow - mostly just being out of practice and working without notes, which for some reason didn't work out as well as it usually does.

Either that or I just need more tea and cake. The wife is baking as I type, so we'll see :D

Spent a chunk of the day watching rugby (ouch!) and continuing to compile a background bibliography for Dux Britanniarum, as well as reading The Great Pendragon Campaign which...

Wow. Talk about ambitious. It's an 80+ year, 400+ page campaign book that basically takes three generations of PCs from about the time of the birth of Arthur till the last battle with Mordred, at roughly a session per campaign year. Obviously it's based on the Geoffrey of Monmouth / Malory / Tennyson Arthurian myth, which makes it not much use as a reference for Dux, but it is just a stunning piece of work.

Which sets me to idly wondering... would the Dux setting work for an RPG? Or does the fact that everyone playing in that kind of setting probably wants and expects 'real' magic rather spoil it?

Friday 15 March 2019

TGIF, web rabbit holes, and a request...

Definitely a pizza (Domino's new chicken/chorizo is well tasty) and TV night tonight. But I did get about an hour of Compendium work in, in dribs and drabs, over lunch and before Anne got home. 

Going to have to spend a little time over the weekend redoing the base table layout diagram for the new Raids, as weirdly it seems to render differently on my two Macs, both of which are running the same version of MacOS, the same version of Pages and have, as far as I can tell, the same fonts installed. 

Picked up a copy of the Pendragon RPG - yes, I am aware that it's very knight-in-armour Mallory/Tennyson Arthuriana, but friends of mine used to play it at Uni, and I'm interested in browsing it for the mythic elements - it's that 'what do people believe?' thing again. Fell into a bunch of Google rabbit holes while doing that, of which a couple were worth keeping: 
  • The Dark Ages Britannia site has a huge six miles to the hex map of 5th Century Britain in various formats, which you can even download an editable version of, if you have Hexographer;
  • Howard Wiseman's site has a historical look at Arthur and some comparative reviews of some Arthurian fiction. He's biased towards the more historical ones, too, which is good.
About then I figured that adding a bibliography to the Compendium was a good idea. So I made a start.

Which leads me to this, then: if you have suggestions about good books about the Dux Britanniarum setting, let me know. I probably have the obvious ones (and I won't be including John Morris' "Age of Arthur" (not the WAB supplement) :D).

Thursday 14 March 2019

Another day of Dux...

More good progress on rule clarifications: found a set of interesting questions on Facebook, a couple of which were genuinely unclear in the original rulebook (particularly about Light Cavalry).

Had a fair old think and a trawl through the rulebook and stuff for those. What I and everyone else in the original FB thread agree are sensible interpretations are now in the Rules Clarification section, which has been tidied up and sent out to a couple of folks for a first pass of sanity checking. Which of course guarantees that I'll find a few more real soon.

Also fixed the issue with drop capital M's (see image!) that was annoying me :D (because I'm typing and formatting as I go in Pages, it was really bugging me...)

First pass proofing of the entire Compendium will be to a small group of folks of my choice - when they're all happy I'll be asking for volunteers for a second pass :D

Wednesday 13 March 2019

A good night's work....

Per my tweets from earlier:
And the answer is, a fair bit :D
  • Todo list written. 
  • Some interesting thoughts thunk and decisions made about one of Shaun Randell's questions about Evade and Carpe Diem, with prompting from Derek Hodge.
  • Found the missing note for weather in Scotland and Ireland, which means I don't have to add two more table columns :D
  • Tracked down and at least understood the issue with moving tables around in Apple's Pages app  - basically, text boxes (for sidebars) can be locked to a point in the text and still made to have text flow round them. Tables can't. I thought for a moment I could cheat and put a table inside a text box... but I can't. Grr.
  • Found and figured out how to fix a bug with the Spiral Initials font where the upper and lower case 'm' have different letter shapes. 
  • Filled in headers, assigned pages and wrote brief outlines for all the stuff left to do. This will probably cause a few more spurious page throws and moving tables before I'm done, but I can live with that.
There's less to do than I thought: I can knock off most of the small sections one a day on days when I've got evening commitments.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

More Compendium work...

Look! Progress :D

On the good side, I've typset the weekend's rules clarifications, but they're highlit in 'check this with Rich' blue (not to be confused with 'get Rich to make his bloomin' mind up about this' red) for now.

Also worked through the Magic section (from Rich's Christmas Special 2015 article) and tightened up some wording (particularly 'may' to 'will' in various places). Note for those going 'eww, magic in a historical wargame', this isn't what you think. In fact, let me quote the Editor's (my) Note:
Before you dismiss this section based on the title as being irrelevant in the context of a historical wargame, I strongly recommend that you at least read Rich’s pre-amble. Magic, in the era we are playing in, is very definitely largely a matter of perception and belief, not necessarily actual supernatural or paranormal events. 
What the rules in this section attempt to codify is a framework in which you as a Lord can take advantage of the typical Dark Ages man or woman’s undoubted belief in things beyond the normal. 
As they say, ‘It’s all in the mind”.
If you've read Cornwell's "Winter King" trilogy you should understand the effect the rules are working for.

On the downside, just restored another couple of tables that had come adrift from their page back to where they should be, and in doing so realised that in a very Anglo-centrically wrong way, the British Isles only appear to have weather on the mainland south of the Antonine Wall (in other words, the table never got expanded for Raiders!). One to fix next.

Battle report - 11 Mar 2019 - Charlie Don't Surf

Ok, so some of these aren't dummies, right?
Not quite sure where I found the brain to manage this having been at C2C since Thursday evening, but...

Ash ran a scenario from Surf's Up, involving a Communist (run by myself and AndyMac) incursion from Cambodia into 'Nam, where the Free World forces (Pippa) were trying to deny them a river crossing.

I am instructed to apologies for the unpainted VC.
To spare blushes I won't let on whose figures they are.
A bunch of FW about to get captured.
Lots of scouting with a solitary scout platoon to start, as the Commies don't get any blinds until the blank card starts coming up. We do get lots of Recon Bonus cards, so we did manage to spot quite a lot of the FW stuff though...

Annoyingly said blank card also starts the countdown for the Free World forces rigging the bridge to blow, so it's a race against time for the VC to get across the river and off the table.


There should have been an earsplitting KABOOM.
In fact, a turn later, there was :( 
Not so much, as they say. Once the blinds started appearing, we basically drove a bunch of dummies up the right with the aim of keeping two of Pippa's three sections busy while the real force pushed up to the bridge.

Given a few more turns (which obviously we didn't have) we might have got somewhere, as the FW unit protecting the bridge got first pinned in an exchange of fire and then ripped to bits and captured by a Human Wave attack. Had we had another unit to capitalise on that we might have managed it.

My first serious game of CDS, and I'm definitely liking it. There are enough similarities with IABSM not to completely rot my brain, but it's different enough to be entertaining.

Monday 11 March 2019

Dyeing in the Dark Ages....

There's already a section in the Compendium on dying in the Dark Ages (as I felt the end-of-year death rules in the Dux Britanniarum main book are a bit vicious - you have about a 50% chance of surviving your 30s and 33% your 40s :D), but I spent yesterday (between watching music at the O2 again) chatting about dyeing in the Dark Ages.

Specifically, my friend Lissa has being doing a course on natural dyestuffs, and has kindly agreed to let me have some good pictures of the resulting colours and vet a section for the Compendium.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Getting my Dux in a row...

(You have no idea how long I've been wanting to use that pun :D)

Spent the daytime in the O2 Indigo watching various excellent modern country acts (no Parton, Cash or Cline, honest!) and answering Dux rules questions (that man Shaun Randell again) on Twitter (here and onwards).

I'll need to run the answers by Rich (if he can remember) but in general I think I have (with help from Andy) the right answers and they'll go in the Compendium where Derek hasn't already collected the Wisdom of the Mighty Dux :D

Somewhere in that I also passed my 2000th tweet.

Hey. Milestone! Kate! (It's a rule!)

Friday 8 March 2019

Some Dark Ages pondering....

The Hobnobs are from last night,
yer honour :D
Got the hobby streak in early this morning over tea before heading out for breakfast, in the shape of a long and interesting chat with Andy Hawes (yes folks, he is still alive) on the subject of Dux Britanniarum's battles, shieldwalls, horses, good and bad 'Arthurian' fiction - I suspect it will continue once we get to the O2 for breakfast.

I have yet more stuff on the Kindle to read now, amusingly by someone I know as friend of a friend, who appears to know quite a bit about horses and saddles in warfare.

Weekend reading

I’m at the Country2Country festival at the O2 from last night so my hobbystreak until Monday will consist of catching up on various bits of reading on the Kindle.

Last night was beginning a reread of “As Told In The Great Hall’ - So for, not sure I like the rules of the book but there’s a lot of descriptive text which was thought-provoking - which is kind of the point :)

Thursday 7 March 2019

Hereward Update

Productive committee meeting last night. Boy do we have some good stuff in store for you this year :D

A reminder - the show is on Sunday September 1 at the Cresset in Peterborough. We're aiming to have a wide range of interesting traders, as well as some great participation games and some fun swag for those who arrive early or book in advance (tickets already available). If you're interesting in attending as a trader or bringing a game, please get in touch via the website!

Tuesday 5 March 2019

A somewhat mundane hobby day,...

...mostly spent straightening the studio so I can record in it without knocking things on the floor, and prepping for tomorrow's Hereward/club committee meeting.

Not terribly exciting but bodes well for the future.

Oh, also had a very nice slice of the very tasty hunk cake given to me at Hammerhead - thanks Merv!

Monday 4 March 2019

Back to Italy - Empires at War 15mm villa first steps

Made a start on the Empires at War Mediterranean villa, as I need it for an upcoming IABSM.


On the up side, pre-painted MDF and thickish card and, even better, what I guess are vac-formed plastic pantile sheets plus carefully engraved dowel for the ridge tiles. Mediterranean roof tops are hard work, so this is a big win!

4Ground style interlocking corners, which hold the walls together well (but see below). Also some clever work using the pre-coloured sheets to slip in some exposed brickwork on the walls.

Nice card inner walls that give you recessed window frames. The instructions suggest fitting them after the exposed brickwork, but it's much easier to fit the inner walls then glue the brickwork to them through the holes.

On the down? Ohhhkay. First up, the sheets for the inner walls on my kit were cut the mirror reverse of what they should be to have the painted side visible. Not a showstopper, but a shame - also the courtyard walls are a single layer, not two back-to-back like 4Ground do for most of theirs, so they will need painting, which probably means I'll have to paint everything. Can't complain too much about that compared to most of the recent Saxon and late Roman stuff!

Second, the floor is just stuck on the bottom of the walls, so it provides no help at all in squaring up the building - even Warbases' floors fit inside the walls and do give some help. The same appears to be true of their 28mm buildings, of which the club has a boatload.

Third, the card particularly is thin enough that it can de-laminate (with the coloured layer coming off) as you pop it out of the carrier - fixable but cosmetically annoying.

Last - the inside floors are miscut - they're the right size to fit inside the walls IF you don't include the inner walls. I haven't decided what to do about that yet. [NOTE: this has been fixed in newer revisions of the kit.]

To summarise - lovely looking kits, some great design ideas, the pantiles are awesome. Let down by some slip ups in the design, none of which are irredeemable. Now, I've had this kits a while, so it's very possible they may have had the flaws fixed since [see above], but it'd be good to check. I'd still buy it, because no-one else makes this nice-looking a range in 15mm!

Sunday 3 March 2019

Peterborough Model Show

As usual this show is the day after Hammerhead.  The club had a Cruel Seas game on display, but I’m  committed to church and being back for Sunday lunch so I usually just pop in for an hour around 1 o’clock.

Usual interesting collection of models and lots of people selling various scales of all kinds of plastic kits. Managed to do a bit of talking to folks about bringing stuff to Hereward that’s interesting to gamers but not often available at our shows. No pics, sorry :)

Saturday 2 March 2019

Back from Hammerhead

First off, the swag pile.

  • Warbases 
    • grub huts (x2) 
    • door pack (x2) 
    • watch tower
    • timber barn
    • pigs
    • chickens
    • Celtic cross (thanks Martin!)
  • Sarissa
    • grain store
    • timber frame house
  • Bad Squiddo
    • Kitties!
and arriving in the post while I was out
  • Blotz
    • grain store
    • A-frame house

And then there was our game.

Short summary for those who are not familiar with the story (from Wikipedia):
Troops of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armored Division of the US XXI Corps led by Captain John C. "Jack" Lee, Jr., a number of Wehrmacht soldiers led by Major Josef "Sepp" Gangl, SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt-Siegfried Schrader, and recently freed French prisoners of war defended Castle Itter against an attacking force from the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division until relief from the American 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division of XXI Corps arrived.
So yes, basically, Americans plus a bunch of Wermacht who'd figured out upon which side their bread was buttered, plus some French prisoners (including two former prime ministers, De Gaulle's older sister and a tennis player) held the castle against the SS.

If you tried to present it as a movie script, people would laugh at you.

Figures by various club members, scenery and gatehouse (a Sarissa conversion) largely by Andy Miller and Grahame Middleton. Backdrop by me :D

Friday 1 March 2019

Well, I've had better days....

A bit more work on the K&K crashed Storch, in which we discover that the Army Painter green and grey I have both dry gloss, despite considerable shaking. Hrmph.

3D printed some sandbags for Hammerhead - came back to a stalled printer and print head absolutely caked in filament, so clearly something wasn't sticking to the bed properly. Looks like that'll be Sunday's job to clean up.

And for those who missed it, the wargames retailer at the bottom of my garden is scaling down business. (This one wasn't news, since Reuben's a mate and I share an office with him. Still, it sucks.) 
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