Saturday 30 April 2016

Baron Death

Sounds like a lovely character doesn't he? Well - he's not! He was designed a number of years ago by myself and Dan to be the arch-nemesis of the superhero group we created named Delta Wave. Delta Wave isn't the most inspired name for a group, but heck - we were 12!
Baron Death - in the plastic!
 Flicking back through the piles of paper that I've kept from our rather inventive youth. I came across this illustration of the good Baron, done by Dan. In this incarnation of the character he had a habit of stealing people's souls and creating an army of zombies as a result. I like that evilness, so we will stick with it!
His bio states that he is a Pakistani terrorist with a mucked up face. Why would he call himself Baron then? Wouldn't he go with Khan or something? A much later variant saw him as a Belgian. I like the Pakistani angle though - very contemporary, which it wasn't in 1989 when we invented him. He is very ancient, killing people and stealing their souls keeps him alive, so he is a bit like a vampire - with a horde of zombie followers. I think that makes him sufficiently badass to be Delta Wave's nemesis.

The first member of Delta Wave to be invented was a guy called Aphid. He has the power to draw on photosynthesised energy from plants and use it to boost his strength and toughness. He can also project powerful bio-electric blasts. This makes him much cooler than his original incarnation where he was a second rate Ant-Man (so does that make him a third rate superhero?).
A repainted Animal Man becomes the Aphid
The original design for Aphid. Green and gold was just too Australian though...
The next chap I have put together is Ore. He started life with the code-name Dustmaster, but this made him sound like a vacuum cleaner. Ore has the ability to take particles of dust and dirt and cement them together into temporary rock. After a while, without him consciously holding it together, the rock crumbles back into dust and dirt. He went through a bit of a shift in abilities too, where he could simply control dirt and rock. I prefer the original version to be honest.
Ore, standing on a rock pile that he generated  underneath himself. His body is covered in a thin rocky coating that gives him increased toughness in combat.
I can't find any original drawings of Ore (or Dustmaster), so here is a later one that has a couple of panels showing Aphid, Ore, and the hithertofore unmentioned, Aura:
Try to ignore the awful dialogue... and art...
In this version Ore simply wears armour, so I've stuck with a 'clix figure with the same ouline but given him a coating of polyfilla for a rocky carapace.

There are more supers on the painting tray as I write. They will appear soon.


Friday 29 April 2016

Brihuega and Villaviciosa 1710 - a review

I saw this book during some meanderings on the internet looking for literature that covered the War of Spanish Succession in Iberia. There is a whole series from Almena books in Spain that cover battles, wars and campaigns of interest to Spanish readers. I really wanted to have a look at Almansa, but Book Depository didn't have it. This chap weighed in at $26 NZD, so I thought I'd have a look, even though, and please bear this in mind, I don't speak a word of Spanish. Well, maybe the odd word - after all I have sat through three daughters watching Dora the Explorer - but certainly not enough to understand a book written for adults. I was, of course, hoping for pretty pictures.
The cover is pretty...
So what did my $26 buy? First of all, the book is marginally smaller than an Osprey (book, not bird), and has 96 pages. It is nicely presented and full of illustrations which are on almost every page. These are mostly black and white except for 8 colour plates that feature uniforms of the combatants and colour battle maps. As far as I can tell, there are no typos, but as I can't actually tell, I probably can't comment on that.
Example of some of the colour plates
What does the book cover? Well, not that much about Villaviciosa and Brihuega I'm afraid. In a 96 page book coverage of these battles starts on p.70. Leading up to that is a lot of background about the War of Spanish Succession, covering the three main theatres - Spain, Flanders and Italy. It is nice to see these get an even amount of coverage, and the author weaves the three theatres together in his chronological narrative (I can glean that much). Along the way are many contemporary illustrations of personalities, maps and battles, and some modern photographs of fortresses in Spain and Portugal.
Prior to the recap of events during the war is a section on the composition of armies for the period. I made out that in 1703 pikes were phased out of Spanish infantry organisations, along with a few other bits and pieces.
The sorts of maps and illustrations found on virtually every page.
And the battle coverage? Dora the Explorer has failed to prepare me for reading this, which is a shame, although I'm sure that whatever it says in 20 pages I can probably find on Wikipedia anyway. Quite handy is the inclusion of an order of battle that I can understand- and - my goodness! - Frankenberg was a real place with a real person in charge and with real cavalry in the Allied army! Whatever am I going to call my imagi-nation now?
My imagi-nation made it into the history books!
So, the verdict? If you are an English speaker and hablo no espanol, should you buy this book? Unless you are a crazy gringo like myself with a fascination for this campaign, probably not. The uniform details in Charles Grant's book are much more comprehensive, and while the pictures are pretty, they are also rather common. The photographs of the battlefield of Villaviciosa reveal a big plain. And the plain is pretty plain. The aerial photo of Brihuega on the other hand is excellent and a bright spot in the book.

If you are a Spanish speaker, then it is probably a nice addition to the library.

Personally, I'm going to keep it and use it to teach myself more Spanish than Dora ever did, in my pursuit of wargaming this campaign one day. Muy bien!


Thursday 28 April 2016

Huguenots in the post

But not before I've taken pictures of them!
Command group
A group of dragoons - I love the officer with the pistol
Dragoons skirmishing
I love this combo - a mounted dragoon holding his comrades' horses
I like it so much I took two pictures of it!
And after a gentle reminder, I updated these guys to have hat lace and white cravats!
These went into the post half an hour ago, so I hope Geoff is happy with the final result.
Figures are all 28mm Front Rank from their Late Seventeenth Century range and are what I would consider the best figures available not just for this period, but in historical wargaming!


Sunday 24 April 2016

My Wargaming Week 5

We won't mention what happened to number MWW 4...

So this week I have finished some figures for Geoff, and built some jungle terrain for Flames of War in Burma.
The first Japanese troops arrived yesterday
And were cleaned and based by last night.
I built another two T-72s, but then decided I couldn't really justify the Cold War when I've decided to do Japanese from scratch, so I've organised to paint these and swap them with Craig for some painted Japanese. It all works out.
The start of a new game board for super heroes as of this afternoon. The bottom left square will have a building on it soon. The corners are on cork tiles so that the board is modular.
My second game of the week was Commands and Colours Rolica. I played the French again, and again I won. I like this game. The other game I played on Friday night was Flames of War mid war where my Soviets got run over in uncompromising fashion by some Panthers and a Stuka. Fortunately no pictures exist of this humiliation.
And while at Mike's for the game:
I picked up some Staghounds and Engineers for my New Zealand army (which is also my Burma army)
Reading material turned up. The left hand book has some fantastic Angus McBride artwork in it. The books on the right are part of the DC Graphic Novel collection.
The painting tray as of Thursday night. I'm a bit further along now and hope to have them finished very soon.
I've also decided to part with the Arab-Israelis (again) and swap them for a mass of WWII Soviets with Craig. Not that I don't like the '67 and '73 wars, it is just that they haven't been played with in ages. I know that the Soviets will get plenty of use.

I've also organised a number of DBA armies out of my Gallic Wars and Dark Ages collections. I'm going back to my old favourite for some solo gaming. You know, when they are painted.

Blog of the Week
Considering that I haven't written my review yet, it is important that other's know a bit more about the GNW compendium. As such, I'll share this review from everyone's favourite Norwegian, Gunfreak. Spelling in English is not his friend but his review is very balanced and in line with my own thoughts.


Thursday 21 April 2016

Welcome to the jungle

With the arrival of the Pacific theatre in Flames of War, it is time to seriously embark on a project I've been toying with for a while - Burma! I have to say that I am quite partial to the idea of island hopping the Pacific, but when it comes down to it I have a bit of a fascination with the Forgotten Army battling its way through the 'Green Hell'. And to make that hell a bit greener, I've deprived some poor fish of their furnishings and put together some jungle bases:
25 pdr stuck in a clearing somewhere.
All the jungle bases together on a 1' (30cm for the enlightened) square.
  • ASIDE:Actually, it is a funny thing that inches still dominate wargames measurements. The Irregulars use cm when we play FoW, and this can be a bit awkward when playing others from outside our bubble who use inches. I'd be interested to know what people who read the blog prefer to use.
The New Zealanders are going to double as 14th Army troops, and apparently we are going to get digital lists from Wayne Turner to make this official. I just need to build the Japanese to face them. I have a couple of lists already sorted out, now I just need to buy the figures and paint them. The former much easier to do than the latter!


Wednesday 20 April 2016

Painting for Geoff - AWI and 9YW

It's been a while since the last post, and I missed out My Wargaming Week 4, so obviously I've been distracted. Well part of it is the end of term shamozzle. The other part is the arrival of the long awaited and eagerly anticipated Great Northern War Compendium. I've made a promise to myself not to post a review until I've read the whole thing, so it could be a while in coming, because the book(s) is huge! But by way of a quick summary - it is fantastic!
Right, so, onto painting. First up - some Perry Miniatures Hessian Jagers for the American War of Independence:
I don't know if it's just that my eyes and hand are unable to cope, or the size of the sculpts, but I couldn't paint convincing pupils in the eyes of these guys - sorry Geoff.

Followed by a Dutch artillery crew for the Nine Years War:
These guys have eyes - good old Front Rank
I have a dozen or so Nine Years War Dutch Dragoons that have now migrated to the painting tray to wind up this group of figures from Geoff.


Sunday 10 April 2016

My Wargaming Week 3

An interesting week just gone by in one's empires. First and foremost, some painting done for myself:
Irregular Miniatures 15mm Crimean War Russian Hussars
Irregular Miniatures 15mm Crimean War Russian Artillery
Lancashire Games 15mm Crimean War Sardinian Lancers
 Yes, this week saw me complete the last few units for the Crimean War project, and simultaneously decide to abandon it altogether. That is right, my butterfly attention span has drifted back to the Great War, and so I made a swap with John which saw my Battlefront Great War British and German armies come back home:
But... they aren't even painted!
In another fit of craziness I decided that I would abandon all Horse and Musket periods except the Great Northern War. Hence, I have sold off the beginnings of my Napoleonic project and put the Franco-Prussian War stuff into storage. What is replacing them?

First of all, WWI - I have 15mm armies for France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Britain  all in 1914, awaiting a paint brush, as well as the recently returned 1918 British and Germans. These are all to be played with variants of Flames of War, which suits me as it is the most frequently used rules in our club, and I might actually have the hang of most of it.

FoW is also a winner with World War II armies taking centre stage. Mid war Soviets and Germans as well as Late War New Zealanders and Germans. The impetus for this has been the painted Soviets and Kiwis that I am getting from Craig in exchange for painting his bare lead. It means I just need to worry about getting the Germans done. And to that end, today I put down a black ink wash on my panzers:
Grey - just like my cat.
Next step - some decals.
I also painted half a dozen Shermans this week, as Craig's Kiwis didn't have any armour:

I'm waiting on a can of spray varnish to seal some weathering pigments onto them. I also thought I had some British tank decals, but can't find any, so maybe I didn't.
Alongside my Arab-Israeli's and Team Yankee, it is looking like a very FoW year ahead. I have to say that I am also looking at the Pacific War releases and being sorely tempted by them. I'm also pondering giving Allan from Lancashire Games some more cash and putting together some Turks and Imperial British for WWI Palestine. Decisions, decisions.

The funding for any adventures in the Levant and/or Orient will come from the next commission, part of which can be seen here on the painting tray:
Some lovely 28mm figures to get stuck into for Geoff. 10 Perry Hessian jagers and a Front Rank artillery crew.

Blog-Post of the Week

I also thought it worth adding something else to my weekly wrap up, which would be my blog-post of the week. Although I don't comment nearly enough, I enjoy all of the blogs that can be found in my blog-roll on the right hand side of your screen. This week, the honours are shared between two thought provoking pieces. First of all, Trebian's Wargaming for Grown Ups tackled the very grown up issue of women in gaming. His own comments, and the original blog post that inspired it are well worth reading. I wanted to comment, but words just failed me.
Second is Legatus Hedlius with a more mundane topic - tinned corned beef! Very informative, especially from a Great War point of view - although I can't stand the stuff myself. Meat was so plentiful growing up in NZ I never had to resort to getting it from a tin. Shrimps on the other hand...


Sardinian Cavalry

Finished yesterday.

Lancashire Games 15mm, these guys complete the Anglo-Sardinian force for the Crimea project.


Sunday 3 April 2016

My Wargaming Week 2

Another busy week in the hobby.
First up, I've completed the Herman Goering Division commission from Craig. Last photos are here:

 Not forgetting what I completed earlier in the week:

So that makes 3 platoons of 27 figures, 1 platoon of 39 figures, a heavy platoon of 18 figures, a company HQ and a gun platoon of 21 figures altogether. A grand total of 159 figures in 4 weeks. Phew! But that isn't all. I managed to dip the Shermans for my New Zealand 1945 army and matt varnish them:

The first wave of Team Yankee Soviets arrived, and I've sorted them out:

I'll do a proper review soon, but the upshot is that the figures are really nice sculpts let down by some pretty ordinary casting. A lot of flash and mold lines to clean, and the barrels on the AK-74s are a bit flimsy, made worse by the amount of flash attached to many of them. Sad face for you Battlefront :( !

The first T-72 has been constructed and this was pretty easy going. I think I'll enjoy painting them up.

A repaint of the Animal Man heroclix figure. This was a bit of fun for a project that will get its day in the sun soon, I hope. Needless to say that this isn't Animal Man - he is a member of my own Superteam I've designed for gaming with. His superhero name is 'Groover'.

I sold a few bits and pieces - mostly books - and these have funded my accumulation of the last few Great Northern War figures and the last couple of blisters I needed for WWII in Italy. This came on top of exchanging some figures for three Tiger tanks with Paul.

If these don't look like Battlefront tanks, you are both right and wrong. They are the first Tigers that they produced before going to the grey resin most people are familiar with. These came out before the company released the Flames of War rules. Collector's items, I'm sure!

Of course there was also a couple of games of Commands and Colors in there as well, just to prove I don't only collect and paint in this hobby of mine. These have got their own posts.

And finally the painting tray as arranged for this week. I've got some figures to paint for Geoff, but before I do I'm going to so some painting for myself. The Kiwi Shermans and some Russians for the Crimean War should make a nice change of pace.


Saturday 2 April 2016

Commands and Colours Napoleonics, first game

Last night was games night and Mike and I headed out to John's place with C & C Napoleonics. We chose the first scenario, Rolica, with Mike taking the Anglo-Portuguese and me with the French.
 The initial deployment made me a bit jittery. I had to curb my instinct to attack, as I didn't want to give up the advantage of holding the high ground. I decided to occupy the town at the end of the ridge and send the cavalry guard the hill on the right, which was a British objective. I also drew a hand of cards that didn't allow me much control over my centre.
 Mike, on the other hand, was all about the centre, and his cards seemed to push him towards an attack up the guts. What he didn't count on was the superior French melee and advantage of being uphill would make mincemeat of his forces. He soon realised this and withdrew to bombard the hill while moving around the flanks.
 Things really started to get fiery on the French left, seeing both sides lose their cavalry (you can see in the top left of the picture above that a Portuguese unit was forced into square). Meanwhile the British moved up their left and bombarded the French holding that area. I moved my remaining central forces behind the ridgeline and started inching them to my left.
Things were tense at the end of the game. Mike had killed 4 of my units, and 5 victory banners was the wining of the scenario. I had three. I moved my infantry back onto the ridgeline and engaged the Portuguese on the left. I have to admit that there were a couple of lucky dice rolls involved, but I successfully knocked out the last couple of units I needed to take my total to 5 victory banners and the winning of the scenario. General Delaborde made a good fist of keeping the British at bay!

Mike and I both enjoyed the game, and agreed that the extra detail that you don't find in the Ancients version (such as decreasing combat power for reduced units), and the presence of more terrain than what is found on most ancient battlefields, led to a superior game. Discussion moved to the possibility of using miniatures - 2mm micro-blobs or possibly 6mm. I've already built a 3D Hex board for use with the Samurai Battles game, and I have 15mm figures for that, using micro-dice to track losses. All food for thought.