Saturday, June 30, 2018

None Shall Pass; a Lion Rampant game

     While trying to recover from playing a full-on game of WRG Ancients Fifth Edition I needed a simpler way to think. My eye cast itself across the myriad of books and rules that line the walls of my library and fell upon a  copy of Osprey's Lion Rampant; I thought to myself, "There is a simple set of rules" and began to design the following scenario.

       Arthur (Artorius, or some other Briton with a highly unlikely Roman-sounding name)  has gotten wind of a Saxon plan to march up the Old Roman Road (no, not one of those arrow-straight roads that criss-cross Britain, a road that an Old Roman once lived beside, you can see his hut in the pictures) and commit a bit of invading. Arthur objected to this as he was planning on levying taxes on those same people later this year and a change of title might complicate the book-keeping. Thus he called forth his troops and set himself to stop this affront to his dignity (and Exchequer).

Arthur and the boys declare "None Shall Pass!"

Thursday, June 28, 2018

An Indulgence

the source of all the trouble

     A while back oldSarge mentioned his first wargame, this set me to thinking about mine. After a bit of reminiscing I decided that I would like to attempt to re-create that first game. I know that you can never "go back" but that isn't to say that you can't have a second sip of a fine vintage. I rummaged around in the rules vault and discovered that I still had a copy of the WRG rules and Army Lists. Delighted by the discovery I set about my task. This was made difficult by the fact that the original Gauls and Romans belonged to the fine fellow putting on the game (kudos to you, Bob Webb!) and I have started to build both Romans and Gauls several times but never completed the task. Well, the first sign of a good soldier is that difficulty is met with resourcefulness. No Romans, Later Macedonians will do instead. No Gauls, Franks will have to fill the bill. It still was a small, well-trained force faced with hordes of valiant, if undrilled, warriors.

Great Deal from Helion Books

     Helion Books is offering their "Russian Army In The Great Northern War" book at 1/3 off through The League of Augsburg blog this is a great deal on a truly superb book. If you are at all interested in this subject you really should have this book. Don't miss this deal.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

My how the time flies!

     Just over four decades ago I played in my first "real" wargame. I was hooked from the first turn. My first armies were Airfix plastics, long since given away. My first army of metal figures was Byzantines, there was only Hinchliffe available to me at the time and I avidly saved my money and bought a pack every time I had accumulated sufficient cash. They were painted with my Testors model paints and glued to whatever I could find that was roughly the right size for a base. As time passed better figures became available, first the "second generation" Hinchliffes, then Citadel brought a lovely range and just recently I returned to my love of Late Romans because of Gripping Beasts new products.

     Unlike other armies that have come and gone I still have every single Byzantine figure I ever bought. From time to time they still are deployed on the table and they fight as well as ever despite their clearly advancing age. I know I rave a bit about the quality of this or that figure but I think you should understand what we were looking at in the misty dawn of time when I was a new gamer; so I dug out some examples of how things have changed. Behold the sort of progress that upwards of forty years can make!

the family photo, time passes from left to right

Size comparison, Old Glory T-55 vs PSC T-55 vs Peter Pig T-55

    Having put a spot of paint on my new T-55 I decided to see how it compares to the venerable Old Glory version that I have in my AK-47 collection. Once again the grid lines are 1/4". Given its age the Old Glory model holds up rather well.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cold War Workhorse Part II The PSC T-55

   I have had this kit for some time and just now realized that I had not done a review of it. So Here I go...... Plastic Soldier Company has done a great job of bringing affordable, highly-detailed models of the most common tanks to the wargaming community. In this subject they have produced an excellent model of the most common tank in the world; the Russian T-55 (and a good many of its variants). With some estimates running as high as 100,000 models made the T-55 will figure large in any wargaming of the post WW2 era.

front box art

     Molded in a medium gray plastic that shows detail well and cast without flash or noticeable mold-lines this kit provides parts to build six variants of this long serving tank.

Photo review of Conquest miniatures 28mm Medieval Knights

   I had the pleasure of reviewing the latest issue from Conquest Miniatures, Medieval Knights for the period mid1100s-1200AD. Don't let the tragically bad box-art fool you, these are really good figures!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A more or less typical Night with Anton

I have been waiting to post this one for a while as I figured I should wait until Anton came back to the land of the living (sober) after his revelries.  I figured posting would be a good sign so now that he has made several I will launch this missive. 

So, for all of you gentle readers who have never had the pleasure of an evening at Anton's I thought I would write this one up to reflect the modus vivendi of the group. 

Review of the PSC Cold War Soviet Infantry

     I had a chance to review the new Plastic Soldier Company Cold War Soviet Infantry set. Top quality product all around!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

28mm Plastic Horse Size Comparison

     In response to a question I received I did a side-by-side size comparison of some of the plastic model horses in my "to do" pile. The grid in the background is 1/4" graph paper positioned directly behind the models to reduce parallax effects. This is in no way comprehensive, just a way for readers to get an idea of the size, proportions and detail of the various manufacturer's product.

left to right
Perrys Miniatures from their Mounted Men-at-Arms 1450-1500 kit
Conquest Miniatures Medieval Knights 1300
Gripping Beast Late Roman Heavy Cavalry (also Dark Ages Cavalry)
Warlord Lace Wars (they use the same oddly proportioned beast for all of their cavalry)
Victrix Napoleonic Austrian (sorry, I have no Victrix cavalry at all)
Fireforge Mounted Sergeants

Cold War Workhorse the PSC M-60

     I did a review and build of the Plastic Soldier Company's M-60 model for the Michigan Toy Soldier Shop
You can read my review here

     This is what the model looks like once it is built

Photo Review Gripping Beast Late Roman Heavy Cavalry

cover art, nicely done, good painting ideas 
except that the silver-faced helmet was used only for games and exercises, not battle

     I now these have been around a while now, but I finally got a chance to open up the box and start on building them. While I was doing that I thought I would do a quick photo review of the models for anyone that hasn't seen them in the flesh (er....plastic?). 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Kearsarge Komplete

     Well,  I managed to find a few hours and finished this model. Overall it was a fun build. I think the model is effective in conveying the style of the ship, even if 55% of the hull was shortened away.

side-shot, ruler for scale 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sometimes Things Just Happen Part V

     Truth be told, I get bored easily. I just finished painting my way through a small mountain of 1/300 buildings for R.U.P. to use in his upcoming Batteltech Extravaganza. I have a dozen other projects on the "Urgent" pile but I had the itch to build a boat. I remembered that my friend Steve had expressed an interest in having one of my pre-dreadnoughts for his own and that he found the two-tier turrets of the Kearsarge class of USN battleships to be intriguing.

      Then this sort of happened.......

at the end of a couple of hours I had this worked up

another few hours brought further refinements and some paint

     She still needs a fair amount of work; guns, boats, ventilators, masts and railings, but she is taking shape nicely. As usual lots of concessions have been made to both playability and storage-space. A fair half of the hull length is missing as are the attendant midships guns. Other details have been ruthlessly pared down to the bare minimum to reduce breakage and clear deck space for the crew.
The picture below gives you an idea of how much was traded away to reduce the model to a manageable size.

this is the "missing bit" the funnels and cranes will be re-arranged to make sure
 that they appear on the model , the bow and stern have been foreshortened as well 

     I skipped on the step-by-step as there is nothing new in the modelling techniques used in this build. Check "Adventures in Blue Board and Foamcore" for step-by-step articles on my prior projects

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Gift of Brotherhood

I don't normally do too many posts, but this felt merited. I had recently gone to a wedding in northern Illinois (not far from Lake Geneva, in fact) for a friend from college, where I saw a bunch of old fraternity brothers (including the groom and his best man). At the reception, the best man and his wife ran into a problem: many of the people who came had come through a shuttle service, and they had barely missed the next-to-last shuttle to their lodging. They had to leave early the next morning and the final bus to their lodgings would be leaving at midnight.

Thankfully, I brought my Terrain with me and drove them back. Stephen, the best man, offered me money, but I turned it down because friendship, brotherhood, yadda yadda yadda. I got an unremarkable text from him asking me what my address was and didn't think about it until this  showed up.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

All Things In Moderation

     My tiny little blog has been swamped with spam comments. I apologize to everyone who wishes to post a comment, any and all comments will be cleared through to the blog but I don't want to be seen to be endorsing Pakistani "Escort Services" or Indonesian "Computer Solutions" and such. All other comments (good, bad, or indifferent) WILL be posted, I check several times a day to clear the moderation box out, please don't view this as an attempt to control or limit the discussion.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Little Something to Distract The Housemartin

    and a few other people as well, 
I really like the bald fellow with a cigar
Bob Murch has released further miniatures in his Pulp Figures Range among which are these delightfully evocative Mexican Officers. Bob's work just keeps getting better and I was already a big fan! Check out all of his work on his website, oddly enough entitled, Pulp Figures.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Conquest Miniatures Medieval Knights

the front of the box, don't let the box-art fool you, there are real beauties inside!

     Conquest Miniatures has released a new set of knights. These follow on the Norman Knights released some time ago and are of the same stunning quality. Aimed at the period when armored cavalry was just beginning to add heraldry due to the introduction closed helmets. These are perfect for the European wars of the middle 1100s through the middle 1200s as well as the Second and Third Crusades. The models are cast in a hard gray plastic that exhibits superb detail. There is no flash whatsoever and the mold-lines are nearly invisible. Conquest continues to provide sixteen models per box rather than the usual twelve making this kit a significant value as well.

Cold War Workhorse, the PSC M-60A3

     Plastic Soldier Company have released another one of the great workhorse tanks of the Cold War era; the U.S. M-60A3. The kit presents the M-60A3 which is probably the most common version of this iconic tank, serving with the U.S. forces from the late seventies until 2005. This kit provides five examples of the standard M-60A3 that served NATO forces and a dozen other countries. 

     The models are molded in hard gray plastic that takes detail well and are devoid of flash and have nearly invisible mold lines. Overall detail is excellent and the models are crisply cast with no sign of warping or shrinkage. The only thing missing (as in all PSC kits) is a set of decals, although this can be forgiven due to the variations in U.S. marking systems over time and the sheer number of countries that the M-60 has served with. 

     While very well detailed these models are intended for wargamers and are very straightforward in regard to assembly with no tiny fiddly parts to attach (and have broken off during play). The finished kits are sturdy and will hold up well during use being considerably less fragile that corresponding lead or epoxy resin kits.