Saturday, 28 March 2009

Salute 09 Round Up

Just back from the show and pretty tired but I thought I'd post my thoughts.

The show was pretty well attended but it seemed a little quieter than last year and it also seemed there were a few less traders. These are just my impressions, of course.

Fortunately the DLR was working this year but the Jubilee line was partially closed so I'm sure some people had a less than ideal journey.

The queuing arrangements were reasonably well organised as usual (certainly better than that year we all had to go up the first floor in Olympia 12 at a time in the lift before getting to the Q-Buster entrance). The Q-Buster queue got in a little earlier than the main line as usual and it was pretty lucky for me as (and apologies those who have already heard this more than once!) I went straight to one stand and bought their entire stock of WW1 barbed wire (they only had 10 - and had an offer of a discount if you bought 10). Lenin also found a number of traders who hadn't bought stuff he wanted to buy at all. This sort of thing always puzzles me and in the end can only help discourage people from going to the show.

I managed to pick up all my pre-orders, a few other bits a pieces and then had plenty of time to catch up with lots of old friends from around the country. The general consensus was that the show was pretty much as usual but there wasn't anything that was particularly inspiring.

I watched the TooFatLardies Through the Mud and the Blood game (it was a participation game but I really wanted to see how it was run and would have been pretty distracted if I'd actually been playing) and I'm now very keen to get it to the table.

I had a good chat with Dave from Grand Manner and Nigel from Anglian and took the chance to thank both of them for their excellent products and service.

There were a few nice looking games (I'll post some pictures once I've had a chance to upload them to Picasa) and fur seems to be the in thing for grass, crops etc. I did notice a couple I had seen before (which considering how few shows I attend was a little disappointing).

It was certainly worth me going but I can understand those who would have had to shell out a lot more (parking alone was £12!) not attending.

A Pint of IPA and a Dice Chaser

I managed to get along to the club on Thursday and had a 15mm game of Franks vs Byzantines. I had the Hrul mercenaries in the centre, who had had a bit of a spat with the Byzantine CinC and weren't keen to participate in the upcoming battle. Fortunately that was sorted out and just as we were getting ourselves sorted out the Franks arrived in an enormous wedge.

So there I am in disorder in the camp right in the middle of the Byzantine line with the point of the Frankish wedge heading straight for me. Anyone with normal dice luck would have got formed up pretty sharpish but not me. Despite the best efforts of the rest of our army I was still in disorder in the camp when the Franks charged in. I might have had more time if they hadn't been so focussed but with Iron Mike commanding them there really wasn't much chance of that!

It was about this time that poor old Gav (our CinC and he of the luxury painting shed) had a little extra appear in his beer as I was passing the dice to Eric the Spy.

Fortunately when the Franks came into contact my luck flipped and I managed to drive them off. So, as per usual, I then had to go leaving to the rest to ensure we didn't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Salute - More Preparation

I've got my queue buster ticker and pre-orders are in ready for the big day on Saturday. I've also taken a look at the trader list and made a note of those I really must take a look at. I'm hoping to meet up with quite a few friends at the show too.

I'll probably be posting a few updated during the day to my twitter account at Unfortunately I don't have a camera on my phone so no twitterpics I'm afraid but I do hope to get a few shots which I can post to the blog after the event.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lancia Armoured Truck

It looks like Musketeer Miniatures are about to release their Lancia armoured truck for IWI shortly:

I'm hoping to pick one up at Salute. It is likely to also see some service in 1938!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Triumphant Standards

Along with Through the Mud and the Blood I received a free supplement for the rules covering three separate inter-war periods: the Irish War of Independence, the Freikorps and a Very British Civil War (i.e. the alternative history 1938).

The PDF runs to 33 pages (including the front cover) which comprises a introduction to each period, the forces concerned and how to rate them under the Through the Mud and the Blood rules along with three scenarios each. The scenarios range in size from around 50 figures up to 150 or so. Briefings for both sides are given with all the associated rules information.

I think this clearly demonstrates that the rules have a life outside of WW1 and I look forward to trying them for other periods including Back of Beyond.

Monday, 9 March 2009

First Look: Through the Mud and the Blood

With the significant "investment" I have made in various 28mm WW1 figures and the fun I have had with previous Lardies' rules pre-ordering their new "rules for large skirmishes in the Great War" was a foregone conclusion.

As I ordered the PDF version I now have a copy and have had a chance to peruse them. Obviously I haven't yet played the rules so this is emphatically not a review but rather an overview of what you get.

The rules are 68 pages including covers a few pages of photos and adverts (which you may wish to skip if you don't want your ink cartridge to be emptied!). There are 16 main and two supplementary sections covering all the usual troop types, movement, spotting, firing, close combat etc. The supplementary sections cover Great War artillery and National Guidelines, with the latter covering the structures and tactics of the German, French, British and US armies in a decent amount of detail (about 15 pages worth).

You can clearly see the heritage of the rules themselves with the traditional Lardies' card activitation mechanism combined with the command and control system seen, most recently, in Sharp Practice; however, as usual the Lardies have managed to build on these foundations to create a set of rules with plenty of period features. Period specific weapons and tactics are detailed and the 7 page Artillery supplement provides loads of information and appropriate tables.

All in all this looks like another decent package from the TooFatLardies building on their familiar mechanics but adapting them to the period and adding lots of relevant background information too. I am really looking forward to setting up a game and trying them out.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Salute Preparation

With the cost of entry to Salute getting ever higher I have put my various pre-orders in to ensure that I am saving more in postage than it costs me to get in.

Unfortunately some of the traders who have been at the show in previous years are absent but there still seems to be just enough to make it worth going.

The other key factor is that it is one of the few shows where I will be able to catch up with a decent number of people I wouldn't get to see otherwise. I am hoping that there will be some games there which may provide the inspiration which has been missing from other shows but who knows.

I am keen to see the TooFatLardies game using their new WW1 rules (which I hope to see on Monday) as we are hoping these will fill the niche for the next game size up from Nuts!

The Assault on Innsmouth game should also provide some interest as I have been a long time Lovecraft fan and still have plans of putting such a game together myself (although on a somewhat more modest scale I suspect!).

There are a few other games which, from the very brief descriptions on the Salute site, do sound interesting so combined with the social side it should be a worthwhile trip. Plus the DLR is working this year which should make it all a lot easier!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Project Update

As 2009 rushes by I thought it might be an idea to collect my thoughts as to the "current" projects. These have changed a little from the plan I outlined in December but that's par for the course. Here's what's been happening with my 2008 projects:

28mm Winter War
The Soviets are now based with only a mortar to be completed. I am about to start on the second Bolt Action Miniatures building and, of course, there are the Snapdragon revetments to paint up.

28mm Spanish Civil War
Having based up quite a few for one of the gaming weekends the remainder, including the Assaltos, Carlists, Moroccan Regulares and the Falange are in progress. The Grand Manner buildings have worked out nicely and I'm still toying with the idea of getting their church (on the back of a project later down the list!)

28mm WW1
The early war Brits are nearly all based, apart from the HMGs. I still have some additional figures for the early and later war Germans to finish basing and the late war French to get around to. I'm hoping that the upcoming TooFatLardies rules will spur me into action on these. In any event I am planning to stage a game for late April which should force me to make some progress!

28mm Irish War of Independence
I'm afraid that this hasn't moved forward much since the last game; however, that did prompt me to get the Crossley tenders painted. In reality I only have the Sloppy Jalopy armoured car to assemble and I suspect that my 1938 project may benefit from having that available. Again the BEF figures I have bought, mainly for 1938, will also be useable for the British Army and so will widen the possible scenarios. I am hoping that someone will produce the Lancia armoured carriers:

Musketeer did suggest that they might but were having casting issues IIRC.

28mm Tudor Irish
OK, I have to own up on this one - there has been no real progress at all here. I suspect this is partly because I have been caught up in other things and party because I still have to settle on which rules to use (or to write my own). I often find that without that element being sorted it is difficult to see when a project will make it to the table and so they often get parked.

Moving on to 2009:

28mm Early WW2
The Foundry and Crusader British, German and French figures are being painted at the moment and I've picked up a couple of pieces of armour for the Germans but I am waiting for the launch of the new BEF Miniatures (allegedly at Salute) to see what I can get for the Brits and the French.

28mm 1938 A Very British Civil War
Originally a minor spin off from the previous project this one has really taken on a life of its own and I have been spending quite a bit of time looking around for figures, vehicles and terrain to bring this period to life. The big advantage is the obvious overlap with my Operation Sealion plans and so most of the generic stuff I pick up will work for either.

Musketeer have been the main source for the specific 1938 figures and their BUF and BEF (to be used as Regulars or Territorials as appropriate) are off for painting. I will also be using figures from the early WW2 and IWI projects along with a few appropriate SCW ones. I am also hoping to get some of the upcoming Musketeer militia at Salute (which may also find their way into WW2 as LDV).

Given that terrain has been more difficult to find I have been trying to look for pieces to make the table more obviously English. Picked up some telephone boxes (you can't get more quinticentially English than that - can you?) from Black Cat Bases:

As you can see they've got the basic look but I can't understand why they didn't make them square. The casting is a little on the basic side too. These will need a bit of work but it will be interesting to see if they look better once they're tidied up and painted.

I'm pleased with the Grand Manner manor house which will work nicely and I have my eye on a couple of other pieces which might work but I'd like to have a look at them in the flesh (or is that the resin) at Salute before buying as they are a major "investment".

28mm Wild West
This is pretty much ready to go. Ideally I could do with a couple more buildings to bulk out the town but the figures are painted and based and I plan to use the Two Hour Wargames Six Gun Sound rules. I just need to come up with some scenarios.

28mm Polar Bear Expedition
I managed to pick up the HLBS figures but I now need to work out what to use for opposition. Lenin does have some Copplestone figures in greatcoats so they may well do in the interim but it would be nice to get some which are based with snow (his are for Back of Beyond)!

28mm Greek Myth
No real progress here as yet. Lenin will be painting these figures for me and he's been snowed under with other stuff so I suspect they'll be a little while yet. I have picked up some buts and pieces of minor set dressing but that's pretty much all.

28mm Napoleonics

This wasn't on the agenda in December but I have been thinking of expanding my existing small collection of Peninsular figures for a while and the TooFatLardies' Sharp Practice rules have provided the springboard. I plan to get quite a few more Front Rank figures at Salute to enable a much larger game to be put on. The other reason this has resurfaced is that it gives me an opportunity to use those Grand Manner buildings I mentioned earlier.

15mm early WW2
I have some figures ready for this but it has been on a back burner for a little while. I am thinking of starting a small Operation Sealion campaign with the larger games at 15mm (possibly using a tweaked version of Spearhead) tied in with the 28mm skirmish games. Only time will tell whether this comes off!

15mm Seven Years War
I've had a decent collection of figures to do French & Indian Wars for a number of years now. When I put them together I conciously got the British figures in the traditional tricornes rather than the F&IW campaign dress so that I could use them for the European theatre at some future time. I am thinking of kicking this off again but we'll need to see if it has the "legs" to actually get to the table. I will be putting on a F&IW game in early April which may spur me on though.

Friday, 6 March 2009

On your bike!

Following their acquisition of Bolt Action Miniatures, Warlord Games are giving some sneak peeks of upcoming products including:

I hope it's not too long before this one, and others like him, are released.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

'ello, 'ello, 'ello. What's all this then?

Paul Hicks has been sculpting more figures, this time for Artizan Designs. Apparently these ones will be added to their Thrilling Tales pulp range sometime over the next few months:

Apparently they may be joined by some armed figures too!