Wednesday 31 July 2019

More scenery fixes

Back to the Omaha beach boards, specifically the marsh boards, which weren't really up to snuff.
Lots of ghastly bubbles and rather shoddy groundwork. They
were, in my defence, among the first boards I ever made with
anything more complex than grass on it.

A combination of screwdriver and craft knife to scrape/gouge
out the water effect and some of the underlying foam and filler.

...and some fresh Pollyfilla...

I shall leave this to dry for a while and then
probably add some earth-toned texture paste to smooth it out.

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Hereward Wargames Show

It's time to ramp up the show publicity and other stuff, which means my hobby activity this evening has consisted of figuring out which of my Macs has a working, unexpired and up to date version of OmniGraffle that I can use to edit our floor plans (answer, none of them, so that took a while (and money) to fix) and then figuring out why the site's connections to FB and Twitter weren't working (answer, hazy, but relinking, poking and swearing fixed it :D)

So. that's me for the day - watch out for trader and game updates and more stuff over the ensuring weeks.  And don't forget, the show is on Sunday September 1st - all details on the site.

Battle Report - 29 July 2019 - Pikeman's Lament

Ok, so.. I can actually roll dice, sometimes. And my luck (or lack of it) seems to be transferable.
And those are all Gary's forces beyond mine, just after I've been
suckered into charging his dragoons in the wood.... because
Andy's still scared of veteran shot with first volley :D :D (I tease
mostly because it's his only failing! Normally he slaughters me.)

Catchup game (hey, I was in the States) for our Pikeman's Lament campaign - a 2 v 1 scenario with Gary and AndyM2 (again) trying to stop me getting a supply caravan down the table and off the end.

I picked an entirely different force to last time - two lots of Elite, Aggressive gallopers and 2 stands of veteran shot. It... sort of worked, in that I managed to protect the carts long enough to get them off the table, though it did cost me an unwisely placed unit of gallopers to a couple of Wild Charges, and a unit of shot to being nibbled to death by multiple volleys from commanded shot and dragoons.

Club still meeting at the studio, as our regular venue is having,
shall we say, issues with their decorators.
Andy's still afraid of being shot at by veteran shot, and... apparently sitting on the same side of the table as me causes my rubbish dice rolling to transfer to him - he managed four (I think) double ones and several more failures to activate. My damage rolls weren't brilliant but at least the carts activated every time they needed to (bar the time the civilians got shot and I had to move a unit of shot to manage the carts!).

A win for the King! Yay.

Sunday 28 July 2019

That tricky 50mm mortar problem...

Two PSC 15mm Early War German sprue 'B' (yes, that's the one with the 50mm) purchased on eBay for a couple of quid each, and two Flames of War Light Mortar Team (Greatcoat) (GSO173) for equally little money, which gets me four 50mm mortars in total and a whole bunch of assorted figures in various degrees of ratty you're-last-on-the-upgrade-list uniforms as befits the Atlantic Wall.

Amusing note, on the page for the FoW team it says "by 1941 it clearly lacked the firepower and range to remain effective in a frontline role. Instead, existing models were relegated into service with auxiliary units where it remained in service until the end of the war."

Ok, Battlefront, so you're busy doing loads of D-Day stuff for FoW V4. Why no defence troops for the Atlantic Wall bundled so I don't have to buy entire platoons, then? Nice selection of MG gunners in Tobruks, 50mms and other odds and sods in a box, maybe? (Yes, I know I'm not using them for FoW... but I have bought over 500 of your figures for this game!)

Going to curl up with volume 2 of yesterday's audiobook later.

Background reading... well, listening...

Had a pleasant morning in bed yesterday (a lie in, yay) re-listening to "D-Day: Through German Eyes" on Audible. (And was gigging last night so didn't have time to post this).

Interesting book (and I must get on with part 2, too), based on 5 accounts recorded in the 50s. Fascinating to see how the perspective (obviously) differs from the much-more-often read Allied accounts. Well worth a look or listen.

Friday 26 July 2019

More beach obstacles

Spent a bit of this evening (after finally catching up on the World Cup cricket final highlights) in Tinkercad, designing a beach ramp obstacle for Bloody Omaha for 3D printing.

Still haven't decided which way up to print it, and I may add manual supports rather than let my printer driver do it for me (for ease of removal), but it's looking OK.

In other news a PSC US heavy weapons sprue and a cheap box of plastic US infantry arrived so I can customise some figures from it. Still pondering the 50mm mortar problem - anyone got a box of PSC 15mm German Early War infantry they don't want?

Thursday 25 July 2019

Tidying up....

Had a bit of a tidy today, to go through my Really Useful Box of unpainted 15mms, partly in the hope of finding a suitable couple of figures and partly because I'm pretty sure my Germans for Bloody Omaha are short a mortar section.

A bit of research reveals the mortars in WN62 and 64 were 50mms, so pretty much outdated and clearly dumped on the Atlantic Wall, so the current 81mms I have are wrong (and annoyingly the spare blister is actually Fallschirmjäger). Finding 15mm scale light mortars and crew in mid/late-war uniform is proving interesting. Some compromises may be needed.

Also, amusingly, WN64 (back right of the Omaha board) should additionally have a 20mm FlaK38 to add to its arsenal, and WN62 should also have a twin AA MG and two 50mm AT guns, but I'm working on the assumption that both had to cover more of the beach than I have on display, so they're not on the table (see how generous I am to the Americans!)

I also unearthed several unlabelled boxes of 15mms. I foresee a game of 'what the heck is this' in my future...

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Looking for specific 15mm figures, more Omaha updates

So - I'm looking for the following single 15mm figures: if anyone has a spare of either, or similar, I'll happily cover postage/figure cost:

  • Flames of War US platoon officer with pistol from the new plastic set - figure D from the image on the right
  • Plastic Soldier Company - any figure with binoculars and no weapon from the 15mm US Heavy Weapons set.
[Edit: above now sorted.]

Have sorted out the rules for Robert Capa and Brig-Gen Cota for Bloody Omaha, and updated the QRS for the game appropriately,

Also had a club committee meeting for which my studio is very popular, because... AIRCON!

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Updates for Bloody Omaha, IABSM cards giveaway

Over lunch I edited a couple of new cards into one of my Artscow deck files, for the activation deck for Bloody Omaha (which may give you an interesting clue as to what's been changed), as well as added enough extra cards for the deck I already use to re-run the Ken Macksey "Battle!" scenario, should I ever want to, without sticking labels on cards.

I ran out of card ideas for me, so if anyone uses agentbalzac's Allied and Axis decks from Artscow, I will soon have a number of spare cards printed in that deck's design to handle more platoons (up to 12 a side) and armour (up to 6 a side), as well as a Turn End card and a few odds and sods. If you are such a person, you'd like those cards (pictured below except for the Tea Break card), and you come see me at Partizan, they're yours..

(note the background has always caused Artscow to complain)

Back in the UK, Bloody Omaha update

And mostly awake :D I was going to post this last night but I fell asleep :D

Got back in time to discover that our club venue's redecoration (supposedly finished last week) has not been completely to their satisfaction, so all the stuff that got loaded into a van and taken down to the club yesterday had to come back and be unloaded here for an as yet unknown amount of time.

On the good side, got to sit in on the end of Dan demo-ing Battletech, and be reminded how much fun it was. I shall have to play next time he runs a game.

News update - it was decided for me while I was away that we'll be taking Bloody Omaha to The Other Partizan in August, so if you want a chance to play, this will probably be your last one for a while.

Monday 22 July 2019

“The Longest Day”

Ok - I was going to do some reading on the flight, but then I noticed Delta had “The Longest Day” as one of its movies, and it dawned on me that I haven’t actually watched it since I started paying attention to WW2 history.

Shot in black and white, despite being plenty recent enough (1962) for Technicolour, because the director wanted it ‘to look like WW2’, it features a fairly ridiculous cast of famous names, from John Wayne through Richard Todd to Robert Mitchum. Todd played Major Howard in the assault on Pegasus Bridge, having declined the option to play himself :D Several other cast members also took part in the D-Day landings.

What do I think?

It hasn’t aged brilliantly, but it’s markedly better than a lot of that era’s war films. The fight scenes are definitely of their time (compared to the gritty realism of Saving Private Ryan) with perhaps too many grenades and explosions and not enough MG34s, but it’s still an entertaining romp though the story of D-Day.

Sunday 21 July 2019

Battle Report - 20 Jul 2019 - “Napoleonic Command”

Probably not fair to call this a battle report, since Jeff (author of the rules) will undoubtedly be posting a much better one on his site later.

Suffice it to say that it was my second go-around with the Napoleonic Command rules of his, hosted by Elliott in the Twin Cities, and featuring the Prussians (technically commanded by me and ably assisted by Elliott) against Jeff’s French who were attempting to reach Berlin.

I think this time round the rules clicked with me and we managed to stage a very successful defence of the approaches to Berlin, driving Jeff’s attacks back on both flanks and stalling his centre for long enough that had we gone on he was going to get enveloped from both sides.

Terrain by Elliot and IIRF largely Timecast, figures mostly (Jeff will no doubt correct my) Pendraken 10mm form both Jeff and Elliott’s collections.

More detailed review of the rules to follow on the next podcast episode, but for now I need breakfast and have a flight to catch home. (I foresee more reading of Dux reference sources in my future :D)

Saturday 20 July 2019

More research...

Driving from Branson MO to Kansas City, then flying from Kansas City (waves at DaveC on way past) to Minneapolis yesterday, followed by a somewhat hurried trip across town from hotel checkin to Target Field for a ballgame...

Didn’t get time to post - not least because it was swelteringly hot at the ball park (97ºF and borderline 100% humidity) and all I wanted to do when we got back was have a cold shower :D

Did, though, get to get my Kindle Dux Brit research books collated, some more titles added to the Compendium bibliography and some more reading done, so that was good :D As ever, if you have recommendations for good reading matter for the Dux period (be it fact or fiction) please drop me a comment.

Friday 19 July 2019

More editing on the iPad

Diagrams done for the coastal raids section - definitely wishing Pages would support the Apple Pencil as a selection tool, as my fat fingers aren’t ideal for picking out the different parts of an arrow with a text box on top :D On the good side, Pixelmator for iPad does support the Pencil, and at £4.99 it’s a pretty useful addition to my iPad editing arsenal for pixel graphics. Just need to find a better vector/diagramming app than the graphics tools in Pages and I can probably ditch the Mac Book on vacations (I even managed to fix some code for the Cricketer’s score feed on the iPad).

Off to Minneapolis tomorrow: don’t know how much I’ll get done, but I do have some background Dux reading loaded up on the Kindle app for the flight.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Dux Coastal Raids

That’s another section done, barring the diagrams and possibly some photos.

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Mike 1 Internet 0 - eventually (and more Compendium)

Finished the write up for the other main Raid scenario last night - that will definitely need some playtesting and tweaking when I get home to determine exactly how many units get how much head start. Discovered while doing so that drawing diagrams in Pages on an iPad is tricky - would be really nice if it let me use the Apple Pencil as a more precise finger, but annoyingly it won’t.

The internet here is really dreadful - it took me most of an hour to persuade it to download my Dropbox copy of the core Dux rules onto the iPad, and I couldn’t get to Blogger at all last night!

Anyway - today, the extra Raids page :D

Tuesday 16 July 2019

More Compendium work

Rather annoyingly, the show we were going to see this afternoon was cancelled due to (as the lady put it) the cast probably outnumbering the audience. (Evidently no-one goes to shows on Mondays in Branson - to be fair, I’ve gigged in front of the proverbial three men and a dog, and it’s no fun).

On the good side, this did mean I got the club’s advert for Miniature Wargames done, as well as completing another Raid scenario for Dux Brit.

These are actually harder, even before playtesting, than you think: there’s quite a bit of work in making sure the setup instructions and special rules survive contact with people who don’t read minds. However, I think this one is done, and should be ready for playtest if I can get an evening or two of Mr. Hawes’ time sometime once I’m back off holiday.

Monday 15 July 2019

Compendium update

The internet here is pretty dreadful, and I may have abused it just a little today trying to get cricket World Cup updates - for twenty glorious minutes during the NZ innings we got Test Match Special, for no adequately explained reason, then it was back to force-reloading the commentary page on the BBC website.

Did manage to get some work done on the Dux Compendium, iincluding some notes on the two outstanding raid scenarios, which I will type up tomorrow, and a proofing pass. (These I tend to do when I’ve been away for a few days from the document, as fresh eyes invariably spot things - today particularly I found a bunch of places where the existing new raid scenarios had unclear setup instructions in the ‘I know what I meant, but with hindsight not everyone else will’ manner.)

Saturday 13 July 2019

Dyes for the Compendium

Finally got an evening on holiday when we’re not being sociable with friends, so had chance to sit down and fill out some more work on the Dux Compendium - specifically I’ve been dragging together my notes on dyes and starting to write them up, so I can get my friend Lissa to produce some examples to photograph clearly.

Clearly, the not-so-Dark Ages.

US National WW1 Memorial and Museum, Kansas City

Paid the above a visit yesterday with Lardie Dave C and his lovely fiancée K.

Excellent place with very friendly and knowledgeable volunteers and some very evocative displays. Covers the whole of WW1, not just the USA’s involvement, with uniforms, loads of artillery pieces, a DH2 hanging from the ceiling....

Recommended if you’re anywhere within several hours drive, and Dave is a gracious host (and RJ’s BBQ was awesome).

French tank with Dave for scale

Friday 12 July 2019

A day of board games

Spent the day yesterday at the Boards and Brews games cafe in Manchester, NH. Fun time playing Champions of Midgard and Lords of Waterdeep -  both excellent games with very similar mechanics.

(Dashing this off at the airport after getting up far too early for a flight to Kansas City. Catch you on the flip side )

Thursday 11 July 2019

“Omaha Beach on D-Day”

Picked up in the bookshop in downtown Peterborough (New Hampshire), I figured it would be a good addition to the library of books we put on display with the Bloody Omaha game.

It’s a sort of biography of war photographer Robert Capa, who was amongst the first wave to land on Omaha (being pretty much kicked off the LC by the boatswain who a) thought he was chickening out and b) wanted the hell out of there!). He was pulled off the beach an hour and a half later with several rolls of what would have been priceless pictures....

You will note I said ‘would have’. Or so the story goes...

He made it back to the UK, and an enterprising assistant in his agency, aware of the urgency of the situation, decided to accelerate the process of developing the images by boosting the temperature of the developer bath...

...and melted the emulsion on all bar a handful of the negatives.

How axxurate this is has recently come up for discussion...

Anyway - excellent little book and perfect for the game at a show.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Things not to do while jet lagged...

  1. Set up Anne’s new iPad.
  2. Finish installing fonts for the Dux Compendium on my iPad 
The former was made markedly harder by Apple’s iCloud sync getting very confused, followed by me getting very confused and doing things on the wrong iPad (despite several ‘are you REALLY sure?’ prompts...)

The latter, well let’s just say that iFonts may be free, but you get what you pay for. Mission accomplished in the end but gave up on computers after that, so you get this post a day late. :)

Tuesday 9 July 2019

“They Shall Not Grow Old”

Rather delighted to notice that Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary was on the flight over to the states today.

I’m definitely counting watching it as part of my hobby streak: fascinating and moving stuff. 

Sunday 7 July 2019

GW Contrast video up

After more faffing and convincing YouTube the Trouble At T'Mill account is really me, so I can upload LONG videos....

Disclaimers of yesterday apply.

Saturday 6 July 2019

GW Contrast video (edited, and very slowly uploading :()

Just finished editing the video from yesterday, so I was hoping by the time I'm done typing this I could link it at the bottom.

Note (as I say on the video when it eventually makes it) - I'm not a great painter (my eyesight precludes any ambitions in that direction), and this isn't a demo. It's me recording my impressions of the new paints as I work my ham-fisted way through a few Dark Ages warriors from Gripping Beast. It's not by any stretch of the imagination (however warped yours may be) a tutorial on how to make them look good, merely good enough to rank up from 2' away.


If you want to waste 30 mins listening to me burble, that's fine, but don't expect to learn much about proper figure painting from it :D

Also, you will get to see and hear the paint shaker in action, because Contrast paints need some serious agitation. Apologies for the noise, and also for the not-brilliant framing of the video, as I'm not used to filming myself paint and I need the figure closer to me than is really good for the camera view :D

Sadly, it's taking forever to upload, and I have to be up for church, so I'm going to leave it to its own devices and do that last bit in the morning....

Friday 5 July 2019

GW Contrast paint tryout

...because all the cool kids are doing it.

Four GW Dark Ages warriors for a test piece. I've videoed the entire (well barring the non-Contrast bits) process as well, and I may edit that and put it up if it's useable and you actually want to listen to me talking to myself and pontitficating in general while painting :D The video is 38 minutes, so that's how long it took me, not counting the undercoat and the shields.

Impressions? For a painter of my standard, it's absolutely no worse, probably better and certainly quicker, than base coat plus wash or dip. Yes, there are a couple of bits I need to touch up, looking at the photos :D. It's also worth keeping a bit of paper by your palette to run your brush on as a guide for the colour it will probably dry to.
The undercoat. It's supposedly 'ultra smooth'. It's also a bit enthusiastic,  so be gentle when spraying.
Not easy to tell what the end result colour will be from the bottle.
And done. The shields weren't done using contrast. 

Thursday 4 July 2019

Editing on the move...

Since I'm off to the States shortly, today's hobby effort has been setting up the iPad so I can work on the plane - while I am taking a laptop, it's a 15" MacBook, and they're a bit unwieldy, to say the least, on the tray table in an economy class seat :D

Fortunately, the master copy of the Dux Compendium is in Apple's Pages, for which Apple do an iPad version which is pretty much compatible. What I didn't know until I checked just now is you can install fonts on the iPad for Pages etc, which is very useful - except for the fact that it's taken me a while to remember what fonts I needed!

Wednesday 3 July 2019

And that's the guerrillas done...

Just need to glue the magnets in the trays and edge the bases, but otherwise, that's another batch of Tom's excellent painting based. Much the same process as last time, as previously discussed.

Hopefully, I should be getting a batch of British line back off him soon :D

Chris Stoesen has a Chain of Command/IABSM scenario bundle for sale

The excellent and talented Chris Stoesen is doing a bundle deal on his WW2 Eastern Front scenarios. Allow me to quote:
I put together a combo pack of all my East Front Chain of Command supplements. It totals out to over sixty scenarios. I priced it at $20. 
I hope this will generate some interest. More info on it can be found here.
I had health issues in the beginning of the year and need to raise some money to clear out some bills. Please forgive my begging.
The bundle is only available here.
Thanks for your patience with me.
I commend this to you, not only because it's in a deserving cause, but because the man writes damn good stuff and more scenarios are always good. Even if you don't game Eastern Front, they are good inspiration for your own designs.

May I also therefore recommend the following, should you not have copies:
  • To Covet Glory - 96 pages of Kiss Me Hardy goodness in real life hard copy
  • A whole bunch of scenarios for Sharp Practice and other rules in his Payhip store. I'm particularly fond of The French Coast, as, well, I have these beach boards....

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Basing the Spanish guerillas

Much the same story as the 95th, barring some undercoat on the bases and movement trays, and a coat of Iraqi Sand (I think) on the trays and Tamiya sand texture paint (which I am scraping the bottom of the jar for - it took some serious hammer back when my El Cid cavalry and Parthians got based :D) I did, though, buy some more grass tufts ('PECO' Wild Meadow, actually made by WarWorld Scenics).

Ink, drybrush and grass tomorrow.

Monday 1 July 2019

Monday at the club's temporary home

By dint of a surprisingly small amount of tidying at my end, and a mammoth move of three cupboards worth of scenery and 36 boards from the St. John's Ambulance building, Peterborough Wargames Club is temporarily resident in my workshop/studio for the next two Mondays after today.

The one winning point it has over our regular venue just at the moment? It has air-conditioning, because we fitted air-source heat pump heating, and it does a great job of keeping the place cool when turned to the appropriate setting :D

We could, with hindsight, have just about fitted Posh Lard in!

And to prove it...
Rod and Reuben playing Cruel Seas, and Rod,
Dan, Adie and I playing Rumbleslam in the studio.
There is pretty much room for another 6x4 in the middle.
Shawn and Carl playing Saga; Ash, Pippa,
Grahame and Chris playing something in 6mm
 in the workshop. Harder to squeeze another 6x4,
as there's a fair amount of clutter (temporarily
the scenery cupboards and more permanently
the club's show direction signs and the 2' wall-
mounted worktop). Could be done though.

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