Monday, June 29, 2020

A "less un-promising problem ..."

So having laid down the gauntlet to Anton and awaiting what will be, I presume, his epic response; I have moved on to other things, as the title says "less un-promising problems.

Have I lost my mind?  Have I meandered into training?  You will have to read on to see.

But here is a very small hint

Robert Watson-Watt, the man who uttered the quote that titles this post.

Notices and Updates

       Several items of interest;

       First; I will be hosting a game on Thursday, 2JUL20 at 1800hrs. I haven't decided yet what we are playing, so if you have an idea feel free to chime in!

       Second, we played another game in the Great Epicurean Wars campaign the other day. A Sneak attack by the Freedonians that resulted in a rather large fight and surprisingly even struggle.

       Third, I will be hosting a Fourth of July party again this year. Very low-key, starting the barbecue up at about 5pm. Bring your own fireworks.

       Fourth, Squadron is having a big closeout sale and is offering a good many of their book sat $5.00US each. This represents a great deal take a look.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Gaming Update 27JUN20 1800hrs

       WOW! It feels good to type that!

        I will endeavor to have the game set up and ready to play to speed things along. Please call or reply in the Comments section if you are planning to attend so that I may suit the size of the game to the expected number of players.

       Currently I am contemplating an action from the Epicurean Wars campaign, if others would prefer different please contact me directly to state your case.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Random Bizarre Inspirations

near-future infantry in 15mm

       From time to time I fall victim to my mouth's tendency to say stupid things. Things like, "I could paint some of those minis for you". Next thing I know I'm painting a bunch of (very cool) figures for somebody else in the gaming group. But the mind-numbing tedium of painting hundred of tiny boots on half as many tiny figures leaves the mind to ponder the cosmos in an unfettered state. While viewing the state of reality in this enhanced level of consciousness my mind turned to the issue of galleases, particularly the scratch-building thereof. A strange thing to be considering, you say.......well I have a fairly strange mind, I reply.

         The upshot of this was that (for me at least)the greatest stumbling block was making and positioning hundreds of tiny oars, a hull could be knocked together in nearly no time at all, masts and rigging a slightly longer time; but oars! Oh, those miserable oars! I thought of their symmetry, I though of their size, I thought of their parallelness (is that even a word?). As despair darkened my thoughts a tiny glimmer appeared in the back corner of my head. An Image of symmetry, an image of size, an image of parallelness. A comb. A cheap plastic comb. The kind that men carried when (unlike today) grooming was something that was done on a regular basis. With that epiphany I secured a pair of cheap combs, some balsa and a sturdy pair of heavy-duty shears; the adventure had begun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

How is your Hokoko Maru this morning?

The Japanese were invited by the Germans and Vichy French to use Madagascar to attack the allies.  As a result of this invitation the Japanese command dispatched two merchant cruisers and four A-1 class Submarines to Madagascar, they also brought along 8 aircraft and six midget subs. 

A smaller force, but powerful in its own right.

Monday, June 22, 2020

I think it is time for a challenge.

I think that what Anton needs is a little challenge for himself and his little friend Proxie.  So I have been working on a little surprise, Anton knows there is a challenge, but I have not officially let him in on it yet.  This is the official gauntlet moment.

In my never ending quest for obscure, but real military matters I stumbled upon the Madagascar campaign, Operation Ironclad, the British invasion of Madagascar.  Any time the Vichy French are showing up the nation of France I am interested.  France itself held out for barely a month in 1940, but the Vichy French in Madagascar fought for more than 6 months.  Along the way I mused to Anton that it would be cool to do the campaign on both air and sea which led to my Blood Red Skies efforts last quarter.  Back in the pre-COVID past I mentioned to Anton that it would be cool to get the boats in 1/200 to go along with the planes, he said it could be done, but they would be big.  I felt it unfair to dump everything on Anton and resolved to leave it alone unless I could work out the Axis side as the Allies would be easier and thus left to Anton.

Well I have done it, I have assembled basically the whole Axis Fleet (Vichy French and Japanese combined) comprising 11 vessels of various shapes.  So Anton I think you and Proxie should get busy making some Allied vessels.

Here is the Vichy French fleet

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Gimme Shelter.......a naval incident

       At long last I have returned to the wargames table, Rich Uncle Pat and Trunkmonkey dropped by yesterday to play a naval scenario from my on-going Thirty Years war Imaginations campaign. It was jolly fun. You can follow all the action here

Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Review; The Saxon Mars and His Force

   The Saxon Mars and His Force
   The Saxon army during the reign of John George III 1680-1691
   Author   Alexander Querengasser
   Illustrator   Sergey Shamenkov
   Publisher   Helion & Co.
   ISBN  978-1-912866-60-1

         I was very interested when I first spotted this title, as a wargamer it is always a temptation to try to build "the whole thing" (which can be overwhelming with the bigger armies) while the Saxon army is well within the reach of the average wargamer. It is a complete army, but small enough in size that you can actually build the whole force without selling your house to finance it. My megalomania aside, this is an excellent book that covers the Saxon army from it's roots at the end of the Thirty Years War and brings it right through to the period of fully professional armies. The process of raising and equipping units is covered as it the maddeningly complex process of paying them. The administrative side of things is heavy going but the reader needs to understand it to have a feel for why armies were so slow to mobilize and many generals were skittish about engaging in battle; units were precious things and very difficult to replace!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wargames Atlantic Dark Ages Irish

       I have to say that I was delighted when I saw that Wargames Atlantic was going to release this set. They will present a perfect opponent for my Post-Roman army and they nicely fill a gap in the Field of Dark Ages Plastics (how many set of Vikings and Saxons do we really need?). I was even more pleased when I got home and opened the box; the miniatures are very well executed, proportions, detail and casting are all top-shelf quality. Molded in a firm, flash free gray plastic there are six different poses and two different dogs (nice big wolfhounds). These are multi-part figures so I'm likely to spent as much time trying out different poses and equipage as I do painting them. But don't take my word for it, look at the pictures below and decide for yourself. As for me, I might just go get another box.......

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

All About Dat Base.....UPDATED

I really have to develop some design standards
 so I can avoid problems like this in the future

       While handling the model of the island of Pinatella I noticed that the latex wallboard compound was flaking off in one particular spot. The flaking wasn't a big surprise as the compound sometimes doesn't want to stick to the blueboard. What concerned me was that it was also the narrowest spot in the circumference of the model and thus the weakest and most subject to flexing during handling. Not wishing to have to return to this project as a repair job at some later date I decided to place the model on a base.
         A quick trip to Hobby Lobby secured a large sheet of matte board in a color that very closely matched the sheets that I use as my ocean terrain. I also located a flat-screen TV box that was large enough to accept the model and the base to ease handling and storage. I cut the sheet of matte board a half-inch smaller than the interior of the box and secured the model to the base using Titebond wood glue.

Fort King George

the inevitable GoogleEarth picture (inevitable, that is, until I get a good drone!)

        This last week found me taking a 3000 mile road-trip to the southeastern portion of the good old US of A; having discharged my responsibilities I found myself with a bit of free time so I swung by the swampy coastline of Georgia for a visit to Fort King George for a some photo-survey action. This little establishment  was founded by Colonel John "Tuscarora Jack" Barnwell tocreate a British claim to Georgia (the Spanish had inconveniently claimed the area a couple of hundred years earlier but had done little to enforce that assertion). Taking note of previous Spanish objections to other nations establishing colonies on land that (on paper at least) belonged to the King of Spain (the French effort came to a bad end) the British built a fort and garrisoned it with an Invalid Company (soldiers that due to age or infirmity were no longer fit for field operations).The longstanding inability of the British to get along with the native inhabitants of the continent argued for a fort as well. The result was this intriguing little establishment. After the fort was abandoned Sir George Oglethorpe established a colony called  Darien at the same location. Having learned from the previous foolishness at Jamestown that there were not any mounds of gold to be dug the practical Sir George Oglethorpe sent them to harvest the obvious natural bounty of the land; timber.  The first thing that the settlers did was to fortify their colony, but this time they chose Saint Simon's Island for their Fort Frederica. There is a pretty good history of all these events available on Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

But it was rigged!!!

       Having watched JJ's Wargames rigging tutorial I decided that if he could do it on 1/700 scale models I would give it a try on my 1/350 scale ships. I found that I lacked the skill that he possesses but, with patience and an embarrassing amount of swearing, I can manage a decent product. I hope I get better with practice.

first up was the Spanish nao, 
in retrospect I should have started with a larger vessel, this thing is tiny

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Book Review, Armies And Enemies of Louis XIV Vol.1

Armies And Enemies Of Louis XIV
Volume 1- Western Europe 1688-1714: France, Britain, Holland
Author        Mark Allen
Illustrator    Mark Allen
Publisher  Helion &Co.
ISBN 978-1-911628-05-7

       I was instantly familiar with the contents of this book as it was published i a long-running series of articles in Wargames Illustrated Magazine between 1990 and 2003. Frankly I was overjoyed as this saves me the trouble of recovering the back copies and finding the relevant articles in my depository of magazines (it also saves me the lost time of sitting and reading off-topic articles on the adjoining pages!). This isn't a book for a casual read, it is set up as a reference volume and is so densely packed with information that there is no room for florid text. The book concentrates on the equipment, dress and organization of the three armies in the title.

       Allen opens with a very brief description of the chronology of the War of the Grand Alliance with some notes as to the changes in methods of war that conflict saw. He then dives into the Dutch army covering its organization down to the structure of individual companies. Their dress and equipment are explored and then the roll-call of each regiment (along with the changes of command over time) with notes to the color illustrations. The illustrations may not be to the liking of some. They are drawn in a primitive, almost child-like manner, but they convey all of the details of the uniforms and provide good color references. Anyone seeking to paint a miniature army will find a flood-tide of data here.

       Next the army of Britain is given a similar examination with attendant references to color plates before the French army is addressed. Here Allen breaks down the chapter into two different section; the first on the army of the Nine Years War then, in the second section, the army of the War of Spanish Succession. The Royal Troops get the lions share of the work as they had, by far, the most complex and detailed uniforms. The line troops, in their rather more pain clothes, get proper coverage but the illustrations are smaller and less detailed.

       Throughout the book great attention is given to flags and standards. This being an era of lax uniform distinctions and numerous and colorful flags the intense coverage allows a gamer to populate his battlefield with many colorful flags (I also avoided painting a few regiments because their flags were just to wild to try painting!). 

        The physical properties of the book are standard Helion quality. Thick card covers embrace a tightly bound 164 pages of top-quality glossy paper. The text is clearly displayed and the color illustrations are true to the originals. A sturdy volume in all.

       Highly recommended

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

.....Just One More thing

       Several people commented that the Monopoly houses were too small to match well with 1/350 scale minis so I reconsidered using them and decided to make my own. As long as I was making them from scratch I decided that I would make buildings with a more "Mediterranean" look; adobe walls stuccoed white and some pantiled roofs.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Pinatella Completed!

       This little diversion has come to a close (almost, I might just put it on a base). I added flocking and made some trees before finishing the paintwork and now I have some eye-candy for the backdrop of my naval games.