Saturday, 31 May 2008

What's wrong with the Royal Mail?

I just went down to the sorting office today to pick up a package that they had tried to deliver yesterday. This wouldn't be out of the ordinary but this package was posted 2 1/2 weeks ago recorded delivery! What is the Royal Mail coming to, only 1 delivery each day at some indeterminate time, no specified time for collections from post boxes, packages going missing, won't take large packages, no idea when stuff is going to arrive and to cap it all they've put their postage charges up and now their handling charge is up to £8!

What's more disappointing is that I now don't have any confidence that something I post will arrive. It used to be that the Royal Mail had a really good reputation but it seems to me that has gone and they've simply lost the plot.

So effectively we're getting a worse service and paying more for it - come on Royal Mail you can do better than this!

Great Service again from the WCP

I picked up some Brigade late WW1 French, German and USMC figures from The Wargames Command Post and, once again, the service was great. Unfortunately, Bob didn't have the Skirmish Campaigns book I wanted in stock but offered me a refund or to wait until he gets a restock but the figures were sent out straight away.

The USMC and Germans are a supplement to the figures I already have as, when I originally bought them, I didn't get any MGs.

The French are nice figures, which on its own would be reason for getting them, which I am intending to use for both WW1 games and as Haller's Blue Army for Russo-Polish War.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Bolt Action Russian House

My order from Bolt Action arrived this morning. A few packs of early war Russians and two of their resin Russian houses both intended for my Winter War project. I know the architecture probably isn't right but they're the closest I've found so far.

The houses were a little rough around the edges and had plenty of flash (is that the right name when you're talking resin?) in the windows, doorway and around the edges of the roof and the base of the building. Nothing a little filing can't sort though.

The house comes with a white metal door. I'm trying to figure out whether to paint it specifically for winter terrain or if there's some cunning way to make it usable for other seasons.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Projects Update

The Great War

My WW1 early war French arrived from Renegade on Friday. They're nice figures albeit with a couple with a little more flash than usual but easily cleaned up. Unfortunately, the Osprey I had ordered from Amazon as a painting reference seems to have gone AWOL in the post (is it me or is that happening more than it used to?). Fortunately Amazon are sending me another one so that should be sorted later this week. With the early war Germans that I bought from Renegade these will allow me to play out the scenarios from the SkirmishCampaigns: Rommel's Route to Verdun.

I'm planning a game in a couple of weeks using my Brigade US Marines and late war Germans which will recreate an encounter in Belleau Wood. I plan to use Nuts! from Two Hour Wargames as the rules which will really test out how they work without automatic weapons as there won't be any on the table. I'll report back on this one.


I've been starting to plan out how to get the scenarios from the Russo-Polish War 1919: Battles of the Borderlands to the table. My Brigade late war Germans will be useable again but I'd like to get some of the Brigade later war French which look superb; however, with the cost of postage etc. these are starting to look a little pricey. I'm enquiring as to whether the Wargames Command Post actually have any in stock - if they do then I'll try them as their service has been excellent to date. As to the opposition, Lenin has some beautifully painted Copplestone Bolsheviks who will fit the bill. There are a couple of scenarios which need Polish cavalry and, short of converting the BAM WW2 ones, I may have to improvise there (along with the locomotive and railway trucks needed in one of them!). I've also ordered a copy of Warsaw 1920 by Adam Zamoyski on the recommendation of John from the club.

In an attempt to get the maximum use out of my Brigade late war Germans I've also ordered a copy of Osprey's The German Freikorps 1918-23 which may provide further inspiration! I like my figures to do double or even triple duty (does this make me a cheapskate?)

I'm hoping to see my first SCW and IWI figures back from painting next month (fingers crossed) and in the interim I'm ploughing through Antony Beevor's The Battle for Spain, which is proving quite enlightening to someone with only a passing knowledge of the subject. I also picked up a couple of movies as inspiration for IWI (OK - I know they're not likely to be historically accurate Mr Purist - but hey they're more likely to get the juices flowing, if you'll forgive the expression, than most books) - Michael Collins and The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

Winter War etc.

I'm hoping my snow Terrain Mat will arrive next week, after a bit of a wait (I'll let you know what I think overall when it gets here) and that will allow me to sort out the tree basing and the like. I also need to have another look at the basing of the Bake Company Finns I got from eBay as they aren't terribly "winter". I've ordered a couple of the wooden Russian houses from BAM as they seem to be the best I've seen for ones I can get away with for Finland (and also use for Eastern Front when I get around to that). However, the full game will have to wait until the Brigade and BAM Finns are painted as the Baker Co. ones alone aren't quite enough. I've also ordered some early war Russians from BAM for some of the larger scenarios (that and they look pretty smart!).

I've assembled the Anglian T26 and it went together reasonably well. It is a nicely detailed piece and I'm now going to have to decide which shade of green to use. I'm going to avoid markings as I'd like to use it for SCW too (am I frugal or what?).


Hopefully Lenin will be bringing the Artizan US in greatcoats along in a couple of weeks for a late war winter game (on the Terrain Mat all being well). So I should have some pictures of that out soon afterwards.

I'm still in the planning stage for the Poland 1939 project though (i.e. haven't done much other than got the SkirmishCampaigns booklet and an Osprey).

All in all quite a bit of progress but my wallet is feeling a lot lighter so I may have to go and have a lie down now!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Swift Service from The Wargames Command Post

I popped an order for a couple of the excellent SkirmishCampaigns books into The Wargames Command Post on Sunday night and low and behold they arrived today! Pretty decent service when you consider that Monday was a Bank Holiday.

Well done Bob - you can be sure of more orders from me in future!

The Northman Cometh

The errant Finn from my Brigade Games order arrived today - thanks to the great service from Lon Weiss (I always think you can tell how good a company is when things don't go smoothly). Here's a picture:

Monday, 5 May 2008

Project Housekeeping

Like most wargamers I have quite a few projects in progress at any one time and which progresses depends on my mood and what inspires me at the time. I've found that for any project to make it to the table I need to satisfy three basic elements - figures, terrain and rules. Without all three most projects will end up in some part finished limbo whilst I search (sometimes in vain) for the missing element.

Figures are often a starting point for my projects. I see some really nicely sculpted figures and they often inspire me to get into a new period. As you can see from my Salute purchases the work of Paul Hicks is currently being pretty influential in my choices. Lets face it the Irish War of Independence isn't exactly a popular choice!

Terrain seldom forms the basis for a new project but it is essential to it's début on the table. I've always liked my games to be visually appealing and skirmish games demand key terrain as either objectives or simply to block line of sight.

Rules are often a stumbling block as without them it doesn't matter how good the figures and terrain looks the game either simply won't work or won't "feel" right. Fortunately my latest projects are mainly early 20th Century skirmish outings and so the Two Hour Wargames CR2.0/Nuts! system is ideal. For larger games, particularly for earlier periods, I have found you need to have a bespoke rule set to get the proper feel for any period. And just to reiterate the dawn of time to 1485 is NOT a single period!

So what have I got on the go at the moment, in no particular order (does that say something?):

(1) Early WW1: My Renegade purchases (British and Germans) are off to be painted and I'm now planning to expand into French (well, who can resist les pantalons rouge?). My usual practice is to try to make sure at least some of the figures are usable in some other games and so it is with the Brits and Germans who will, with the addition of some German rocket troops, form the basis of some VSF (or ESF to me more precise!). As to terrain, I'm hoping that by avoiding the trenches I can utilise some of the existing terrain pieces I have for this one.

(2) Winter War: Having picked up some Baker Company figures from eBay, I have now added Bolt Action and Brigade figures to bring the numbers up to something usable. Obviously the BAM and Brigade ones still need painting and the basing will need to be aligned. I also have a T26 (Anglian) and Gaz truck (Force of Arms) to build (and I suspect will need to get some more of them too). What I am looking for at the moment are appropriate buildings and a suitable source for more trees! As I've previously mentioned I initially plan to pitch my Finns against Lenin's RCW troops until such time as I can organise some BAM early war Russians. The big advantage with this one is that the Finns can be used right through the Continuation War into the Lapland War.

(3) Irish War of Independence: Inspired by the Musketeer figures I've started assembling some background material (I wanted to know more about it anyway and the figures were simply a kick start). Terrain isn't so much of an issue (unless I want some rural Irish dwellings which are a little problematic) but I'd really like an armoured car for interest and suspect I'll be going with the Sloppy Jalopy Austin one as Copplestone has worn out his moulds for the Rolls Royce A/C he used to make. I'm hoping that my early WW1 Brits will be usable if I want to do an element of the 1916 rising and, stretching it a bit, Free State army for the Civil War.

(4) Early WW2: I do have a decent amount of Brits and Germans in 15mm which I use with the Lardies' IABSM rules but I'd really like to move into 28mm too. Conciously trying to avoid just duplicating the existing theatre I am currently contemplating Poland. BAM have started a nice little range of figures and vehicles which would be useful to explore the beginnings of the Blitzkrieg. The Poles could also face up to my early war Russians (when I get them) as they were sandwiched between Hitler and Stalin at the time (not an enviable position!).

The 15mm forces also need finishing as I have still to base some and add the armour (only some of which I have painted) to enable me to use them for the early fighting in France and then for Sealion (something I have a great deal of interest in - irrespective of how unlikely any invasion was in reality).

(5) Maximilian in Mexico: I've had a set of Freikorp (now LKM) 15mm figures, that I picked up from a chap a the club some time ago, languishing in a box for a while now. The big stumbling block for this one is rules (apart from actually getting them painted, of course) and I'm still searching around for an appropriate set. I've tried a variant of Fire and Fury but it still felt like Fire & Fury to me (which is indelibly linked to ACW in my mind I'm afraid). So the quest goes on.

(6) Tudor Ireland: This is an offshoot of my Border Reiver project inspired by the Vendel figures. They're painted but need the basing finishing. Again the key element missing is rules. I want something that really reflects the core differences between the forces and am still looking at the moment although I do have a home brew set in mind as well.

(7) Montrose: I have had these Redoubt figures sat in a box for several years now as a result of not having a set of rules I was happy with. I'm planning to get these out again in the near future and start the search afresh.

(8) Sudan: Another 15mm project which is partially based. I really need some inspiration to get me restarted on this one. I'd really like to use Science vs Pluck but may have to fall back on Battles for Empire in order to get these to the table.

(9) Gothic Horror: With the figures now based and Rippers selected as the rules I just need to build Whitechapel in order to get these ones to the table.

(10) Spanish Civil War: Having got some of the excellent Anglian Miniatures figures at Salute these are now off for painting. I'm currently looking at terrain options but have a couple of suitable buildings already from my Peninsular War skirmishes. I've just started reading Antony Beevor's book to get me going.

(11) Greek Myth: With a mixture of Foundry and Eureka figures I have the bases covered here (when they're painted) and with Typhon as the rule set I just need to get reinvigorated to get this one going again.

(12) Vietnam: Bizarrely I have both the rules (Two Hour Wargames' FNG) and the terrain sorted (including some Corgi die cast vehicles) but, as yet, no figures!

I think that's enough to be going on with!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Thrilling Expeditions: Valley of the Thunder Lizard

The latest supplement from Rattrap Productions has just made it's PDF debut. Thrilling Expeditions: Valley of the Thunder Lizard is slightly different from previous supplements as it's designed to work with several of their genre rulesets, in this case, .45 Adventure (pulp), Gloire (swashbuckling) and Fantastic Worlds (pulp SF).

Valley of the Thunder Lizard is 126 pages long and is intended to be the first of a series. In brief it covers adventures with dinosaurs, so the Lost World, anything with Doug McClure in it, time travelling tourists in pre-history etc.

It contains a few new rules, some new archetypes (one each for the 3 rule sets) a couple of new special abilities (Big Game Hunter and Tracking), stats for various dinosaurs (including info on how to create them), prehistoric mammals, neanderthals, saurians and scenarios for each of the three genres.

At $12 for the PDF it's pretty good value (especially with current exchange rates) and will make some interesting reading!