- Those Magnificent Flying Machines
- Adventures in Blue Board and Foamcore
- The Lace Wars Project
- The Neulandia VSF campaign
- 28mm Plastic Figure reviews Perry, Victix WF etc etc
- Zvezda and Plastic Soldier Company Wargaming Models
- The Road to Leipzig
- Leipzig Orbats
- MDF Madness
- Rich Uncle Pat and the (non-European) Cold War
- My Own Rules and other wacky ideas
- Fortified Places
- Book Reviews
- The Great Epicurean War
Thursday, August 4, 2022
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Have you had enough of fantasy RPG stuff? Tired of Tolkien? How about some old-fashioned rank&flank massed fantasy battles with loads of beautiful minis? Bastion Gaming Center will be hosting a Conquest Hobby Day on July 30th from Noon to 9pm. to introduce new players (and encourage older ones as well) to Parabellum's fantasy army battle system called Conquest.
There will be a group painting area where we can show off out talents and encourage others, and pick up tips and pointers, a Paint and Take table for interested folks to try their hand along with demo games so that you can give the game system a try. I have seen the minis up close and can say that they are exquisitely detailed and crisply cast so painting will be a joy. If you wish to try a game you can find a free copy of the rules here. There is a regular group playing Conquest on Tuesday evenings aty Bastion and they would be delighted to have new players join in the fun.
On top of everything else there will be free pizza for all participants.
This is really worth a look!
Thursday, July 21, 2022
Saturday, July 16, 2022
This was the last biplane fighter accepted into Imperial Japanese service. It was a product of the "dog-fighting school" of aerial combat and emphasized maneuverability over speed and firepower. Early in the Second Sino-Japanese War it was very effective but it was a design dead-end and the Japanese (and almost all of the rest of the world) got out of the combat biplane business. There is a useful Wiki here.
Both the X-Otic and ICM kits leave a lot to be desired but will do for wargaming items. As usual I assembled these with steel plugs inside the fuselage to allow for mounting on my adjustable magnetic flight bases. I find the biggest disappointment to be that even though the aircraft are shown with spats in the box-art there are none to be found in the kits! I have had these around as completed kits for some time but finally got around to applying paint and decals. With these four I have completed my 1935-1941 collection (yes I know there are tons of Japanese light bombers and fighters not on my list but they are only available as expensive epoxy kits out of the Czech Republic).
Saturday, July 9, 2022
I have been fascinated by maps since my childhood. The concentration of information that a good map represents is a wonderful thing. My wargaming with maps started when my brother and I got a copy of Avalon Hill's "Luftwaffe" for Christmas, we played that so many time the counters fell apart. A short while later we discovered "Panzerblitz" this had geo-morphic maps that contained much more information. It opened our eyes to lanes of fire, reverse slope positions, and using terrain to mask our maneuvers.
Thursday, July 7, 2022
I had fallen victim to a schedule that became wildly more demanding through June. I think that for the next few weeks life may be somewhat more normal. I can't promise a flood of new posts but here are some Victrix 28mm French Guard artillery that I painted in the past couple of weeks. I like them a lot less now, there is little flexibility in the posing and the figures are difficult to arrange around the guns in a convincing manner and still fit them onto a normal-sized base. They are rather pretty sculpts however.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
Rich Uncle Pat has offered to host this weekend's game.
His place at 7pm, Saturday the 11th of June, 2022.
Sunday, June 5, 2022
Wargames Atlantic has provided the opposing forces to the Conquistadors set in the form of Aztec Warriors. As is usual with Wargames Atlantic products the miniatures are cast in a firm medium gray plastic that is nearly perfectly cast with no flash and only the faintest hint of mold lines. Inside the well-illustrated box you will find five sprues that each contain six figures, two in complete feather "armor", two more in padded body protection and the remaining two wearing loincloths. These figures are accompanied by an array of terrifying weapons; obsidian edged wooden clubs and swords.
All of the figures have the arms attaching at the shoulder which allows for the widest set of options regarding positioning. Detail on the figures is crisp with the stone edges of the weapons coming through nicely. As usual with Wargames Atlantic miniatures there is a wide assortment of heads available with fifteen heads on each sprue. These cover the various religious and military orders within the Aztec military system. Pretty much every type of soldier fielded by the Aztec Empire at it's zenith can be represented with the components supplied. A couple of boxes of these will set you up with a great skirmish force to oppose the recently released Conquistadors. Well done indeed!
Friday, May 20, 2022
For ages I have had to put up with pricey horses, either to replace ones that were damaged or to provide horse to figures that came without them. At last someone is marketing affordable, good-looking horses, and that company is one of my new favorites Wargames Atlantic. At long last I can replace the underfed-looking horses in some of my Lace Wars kits with nice powerful steeds. I have had contact with WA and they advise that mounted figures are in the offing (their capacity to have a dozen irons in the fire and still be on top of things never ceases to amaze me). Of course (rather selfishly) I wish for mounted Conquistadors.
The multi-part horses themselves are crisply molded in medium gray plastic that shows not a trace of flash and only the faintest of mold-lines. They are cast in left and right halves with separate heads. The horses are modeled with a halter and reins and a cinch-strap around the belly of the model, blankets are cast separately to add as you see fit. Eighteen horses for $35US is a very good deal, I will most likely be buying several more boxes.
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Fresh off the presses is another great product from Wargames Atlantic; 28mm Conquistadors! I picked this box up from Michigan Toy Soldier the other day. These guys are cast in light gray plastic with no trace of flash and almost no mold lines. At twenty-four figures for $34US you are getting away with less than a dollar and a half each. These figures will also double for Spanish foot of the Italian Wars of the 16th century as well as the Spanish armies in the Low Countries during the Armada period. And of course you could always head west and conquer the Americas, maybe even find the Fountain of Youth or the Lost City of El Dorado.
Monday, May 16, 2022
I had the opportunity to look in on the Death Or Glory tournament at the Best Western Southfield this past weekend. Motor City Mayhem 2022 was one of the circuit of wargames tournaments hosted by Death or Glory over the course of the year. The tournament was a nine-round, three day long event featuring Warhammer 40K. There were other subjects covered as well; Bolt Action and Age of Sigmar both had tournaments over the weekend. The sheer energy of such a large event was impressive, as were the vast number of beautifully painted armies in play. Most impressive of all were the army display bases. Some players must have spent nearly as much time modelling the bases as they did assembling their armies.
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
While waiting for the glue to dry on some figures that I was assembling my wandering eye drifted toward some model aircraft that I had yet to put away in the Pile Of Guilt. The old classic Revell/Monogram kits were destined to employment in my Chinese Air Force (to oppose my recently completed Japanese forces). Knowing how simple and easy to assemble these kits are I thought to myself, "Why not?" (this sort of thinking has led to all sorts of trouble over the decades) and within the hour they were completed. To this day I am amazed at the excellent fit and design of these ancient models. I was forced to wait a couple of days to get them primed due to weather conditions but after that I was done in the blink of an eye. Now I am berating myself for not sticking to plan and finishing the Soviet Air Force, ah well, now I'm back to painting French Guard Artillery and assembling a horde of Victrix Carthaginians for The Housemartin (more on that later).
Saturday, April 30, 2022
After almost a week of alarums and excursions I had a chance to sit down and finish assembling these figures. I am a big fan of plastic minis because they allow for variety in positioning making my minis both more active-looking and personally "mine". This was a difficult case with this set. The Victrix figures are superbly sculpted, have excellent proportions and are very well cast but the sculpting allows for little choice in posing the minis (this is compounded by the fact that few choices of spare arms are offered with the set). I had to try out a great many combinations of arms and head positions to achieve my standard "no two guys alike". But, in the end, everything came together rather well.
Sunday, April 24, 2022
While rummaging around in the Pile of Guilt I found that I had purchased a set of Victrix French artillery. Thinking that my Guard Chassuers have been alone at the task for too long I decided to build and paint these guys. The guns went together like a dream but the figures have specific but arcane instructions as to assembly. More to follow as I make progress.
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Time to move some mountains (and hills, trees, buildings etc) ! This weekend is Bastion Gaming Center's Terrain Blowout Sale. 15% off prices as marked on the full array of terrain. If you need some 40K stuff for that Kill Team you just finished painting, or a load of Sarissa MDF to fill that WW2 table you can get it there. Store opens at noon, sale lasts until closing time at 9pm.
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Here is your chance to ditch all of those old projects that are never going to get finished and make a little coin along the way (maybe even start a NEW project the will "certainly take top priority"). Painted, unpainted, still in the box or never even opened; bring it all on down!
Bastion Gaming Center is hosting a Swap Meet/ Flea Market on Saturday April 16th from noon until three in the afternoon in the main gaming hall. Sixteen 6'x3' tables are available. All gamers and hobbyists are welcome, tables are free but space is limited so get there early to ensure that you can claim your spot.
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Often considered the "junior partner" among the Axis powers in WW2 the Italian army had a longer battle history and wider experience than the Germans. While Adolph and his gang were Anschlussing a friendly Austria the Italians had been fighting campaigns in Africa against Ethiopia, finishing the conquest of Libya and meddling in the Spanish Civil War. The Italian army had no lack of bravery, experience of battle or of fighting in wildly different climates. What they did lack was capable commanders and an advanced armaments industry, this led to them becoming less combat effective as the onset of war forced the pace of weapons development.
This set of minis will allow you to build Italian forces for most of the pre-war conflicts as well and most of the troop types that saw service during the Second World War. The models are cast in the now-familiar soft gray plastic that give very precise detail and exhibits no flash and very few mold lines. Included in the kit are the dizzying array of headgear worn by the Italian army between 1936 and 1943 (some might start before and last longer for all I know), pith helmets, Alpini caps, steel helmets along with an assortment of feathers to mark them as Bersaglieri. Also included are shovels and axes in a surprisingly large quantity. A particularly nice addition is a water-cooler MMG on the smaller command sprue, complete with tripod and arms with hands holding the grips, nicely thought through and parted-out.
the front of the box
Monday, April 4, 2022
Among the many units in the German army that laid claim to the status of "elite" few had a better claim than Panzer Lehr. Composed of veteran (and very often decorated) soldiers drawn from German forces these troops were first assembled into a school unit but ended up being thrown into the maelstrom of combat that was the Normandy Campaign. Almost destroyed there they were withdrawn only to be used in the ill-fated Ardennes Campaign known to the Western Allies as The Battle of the Bulge. A distinctive part of their dress was the panzer-style crossover jacket rather than the usual infantry blouse. This set is molded in the now-standard soft gray plastic that provides a smooth finish and displays detail very well, no flash and very little by way of mold lines ca be seen.
Included in this set is the full array of Late War German infantry small arms; rifles, pistols, SMGs and the ever present MG42. You get a bit of anti-tank ability with the included Panzerfausts and there is even enough spare parts to assemble these models as Panzer crews (seen fighting on foot at the Battle of Arnhem). There is even a jerry-can!
The proportions and posing are natural and effective and the modeling of the uniform captures the comfortable loose fit of the German gear. Molding of the weapons is precise and crisply detailed,
Thursday, March 31, 2022
I traded some built-up aircraft to my buddy Rich for some painted Prussian Landwher, he hates building models, I am no longer fond of painting minis so it was a win-win for both of us. Frankly I think that I came out way ahead on the deal but he won't let me give any further payment. To celebrate the fact that I am now overstaffed I thought that I might take them all out for a review. Now it occurs to me that I need a bigger table!
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
I had sworn to myself that I was done with the Japanese Army Air Force but I spotted this kit at a ridiculously reasonable price (and justified the purchase by thinking that it lowered the overall per unit cost - do I sound like a DoD representative now?). My second thought was that it is a much newer kit and would be less bother to assemble. I was very badly wrong. The kit presented issues that were different, but overall it was every bit as much a bother to get ready for use.
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
At last we have an opponent for the Great War German infantry, and by extension, any Second World War Germans you might have lying about. This versatile set covers French infantry from the switch to the "Horizon Blue" uniform in the middle of the Great War through to the end of Vichy France. The models are cast in a soft (not bendy, just not brittle) gray plastic that takes detail very well and exhibits no flash and nearly no mold lines.
Aside from the officer figure all of the models all wear the knee-length overcoat that was the trademark of the French army in this period. They also are cast with belting in place to support "light kit" or they can have the optional backpack added. As is usual with Wargames Atlantic kits there is a considerable assortment of head options; Adrian helmet, helmet with gas mask (both early and late versions), and the unique Sengalese Tirailleurs with their cloth caps. Officers in kepis are also a choice.
Being spread across two world wars means that there will be a substantial variation in weapons and this is accurately reflected in the array provided. Both Lebel and Berthier rifles are included as are the later rifles for the Second World War. The notorious Chauchatt LMG is included as is its replacement the FM 24/29. Having owned all but the FM 24/29 I can attest that the precisely cast weapons capture the look and detail of the original guns. These guns are molded into at least one of the arms carrying them (no fiddling around trying to hold two loose arms and a tiny model gun while gluing things together!) and you will have loads of spares once you are finished assembling these figures
Having seen these I can hardly wait for the upcoming Russians and British sets (maybe, just maybe, if we all write-in requests we could add Austrian and Italian troops to the Great War ensemble)
Saturday, March 19, 2022
After a couple of very busy weeks I managed to get all of my "in progress" Japanese aircraft finished. This will provide me with pretty much all I need for my Nomonhan campaign as well as the forces for the Second Sino-Japanese War. I have the Russians lined up for my next building effort but I still need to get a couple of Polikarpov R-5 or R-Z bombers and a PO-2. For the Chinese I have a few kits in hand but they had such a complex assortment of aircraft in service that it may take a while to get them collected and assembled. Once the Russians are done I might just jump over to the Finnish Air Force (I have several kits already built and others in the queue) as the Finns and the Russians had a bit of a go-round in 1939.
Friday, March 11, 2022
Just a reminder that the Pro or Con Gaming group will be hosting their annual wargaming convention "Battlefields" on the twelfth of March in the Livonia Elk's Lodge, 31117 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI 48150, USA .
There is a bar and food available at the Lodge as well as many restaurants nearby. I-94 Enterprises, Bastion Gaming Center and Michigan Toy Soldier will be attending merchants. There is also the usual Bring and Buy so you can sell your excess figures and then buy someone else's minis!
This has been a great local convention and isn't one to miss so make plans to attend. Further information can be found at Tabletop Events where you can sign up to run a game or participate in a game and take a look at their Facebook page to see what sort of fun they have been having lately.
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Having gotten tired of the slow progress on my Air Combat forces I decided that the "modelling" approach that I had been using (building whatever took my fancy at the time) simply wasn't getting the job done. I decided to complete one entire force all in one go; first up the forces of Imperial Japan. These aren't quite done as I do need to build three KI-10 fighters, but the monoplanes are built, painted and decaled; they only need matte coating and canopies to be complete.
Next is the rest of the Russians and I can have a go at a really big battle over Nomohan with my Red Stars and Rising Suns rules!
This month's edition of Wargames Illustrated featured a sprue of
Warlord's new "Epic Scale" (known in other terms as 15mm) Napoleonic
infantry. I managed to convince the good folks at Michigan Toy Soldier to
give me an extra copy of the sprues so that I could review both. You
can find the British review here, and a look at the associated mounted troops here.
The minis are cast in a dark blue plastic that is standard hard
styrene which holds detail very well. I would have preferred gray plastic but this allows enthusiastic beginners to play the army right out of the box.
The eight stands of infantry are accompanied by eight skirmishing infantry, a mounted officer and an artillery piece.The groups of soldiers are cast joined at the elbows (as period drill regulations would have them) with their rifles at shoulder arms while the skirmishing infantry are modeled in active poses of firing and loading their guns The figures are cleanly cast with no flash and only the slightest hint of mold lines. The level of detail on the figures is very good, more detailed than many of the metal miniatures that I have seen. They are slightly larger than my old Minifig 15s so they ought to mix well with the new larger figures that fill the market but I would hesitate to try mixing them with the 18mm subjects that some companies produce.
Friday, March 4, 2022
This month's edition of Wargames Illustrated featured a sprue of Warlord's new "Epic Scale" (known in other terms as 15mm) Napoleonic infantry. I managed to convince the good folks at Michigan Toy Soldier to give me an extra copy of the sprues so that I could review both. You can find the French review here, and a look at the associated mounted troops here. The minis are cast in a jarring red plastic that is standard hard styrene. My curmudgeony old self would have preferred gray plastic but having the figures molded in color allows the enthusiastic beginner to feild an army right away.
The groups of soldiers are cast joined at the elbows (as period drill regulations would have them) with their rifles at shoulder arms. The ten stands of infantry bare accompanied by a mounted officer and an artillery piece. The figures are cleanly cast with no flash and only the slightest hint of mold lines. The level of detail on the figures is very good, more detailed than many of the metal miniatures that I have seen. They are slightly larger than my old Minifig 15s so they ought to mix well with the new larger figures that fill the market but I would hesitate to try mixing them with the 18mm subjects that some companies produce.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Wandering into a land of fantasy this set offers a horde of the ever-annoying Goblins. Dangerous more in their numbers than due to any singular battle-prowess the always present Goblins will happily flesh out the armies of bad guys in just about any fantasy world. Fully fitting the Hobbesian description of life outside civil society as "poor, nasty, brutish and short" these ugly little fellows follow the traditional model for goblins; slightly smaller than men their bodies twisted and deformed, their weapons crude and their faces ugly. These are simply excellent figures and anyone in need of a horde of truly unpleasant fellows to inflict upon an adventuring party need look no further.
This set come with six identical sprues, each with five bodies and a surfeit of weapons, arms and heads to assemble on to them. The selection of weapons includes bows, swords, maces, spears and a few odd daggers. There aren't enough to equip the entire force as all archers or spearmen but one can scarcely expect standardization is a force as chaotic as Goblins. The firgures are cats in a hard gray plastic that is flash-free and exhibits very few traces of mold line, The detail is crisp and comprehensive. One neat feature is that each sprue contains a saddle and set of legs to allow a Goblin to ride one of the Giant Spiders previously released by Wargames Atlantic. I can't say they are realistically proportioned, but I will say they are convincingly proportioned and very actively posed. The weapons selection is vast and the choice of nearly twenty heads to add to the five bodies on each sprue means that you will never have to have look-alike troopers in your Goblin band.
Friday, February 25, 2022
Wargames Atlantic provides us with yet another great multi-pose set of sci-fi/near-future minis. This time we have a set of thirty figures entitled "Cannon Fodder" (I assume that morale isn't an issue for these lads). Looking past the rather chilling unit title we see that they are infantry equipped with what would be "low-tech" weapons and minimalist, coverall style, uniforms; either penal battalions or local militia for a 40K sort of environment. They could easily stand in as Imperial Guard or planetary troops in some Grim Dark future.
What really makes this set pop (as with so many other Wargames Atlantic sets) is the simply huge selection of heads and weapons; from bare-headed to helmets that look like 1970's space suit helmets. Each box contains twelves sprues; six each of a small one with the bodies and some heads and a second larger one with an oversized helping of heads, guns, backpacks and arms. The standard weapon looks like a cross between an AK-47 and the Imperial Guard flashlight (err...lasgun) from 40K. Included is a massive underslung gun to give the troops some extra firepower. Realistically proportioned and convincingly posed this set is cast in a hard gray plastic with no trace of flash and very little by way of mold-lines. The selection of poses means that it would a simple thing to build an entire unit of individuals with no two poses the same.
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
At first I was a bit surprised by this box, mostly by the low figure-count. But a more thoughtful moment left me to realize that I am used to building armies of hundreds of figures at a time while a gunfight is a small, quick skirmish. In that regard this box is perfectly sized; I can't think of a single "gun fight" that had more than ten shooters involved (certainly not in any of the movies that I did my "research" in). Inside the box you will find two matching sprues cast in a hard gray plastic that assemble into eight standing and two kneeling gunslingers. The casting work is first-rate with no trace of flash and nearly invisible mold-lines. The figure break-down will allow almost any combination of legs/torso/arms/head which means you could build several boxes of these without any two figures being alike. The selection of weapon is is comprehensive and includes neat items like a bundle of dynamite, an ox skull and a lasso.
Friday, February 11, 2022
Tabletop Events just click this link to go to the Battlefields page
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Flintcon 2022 has come and gone, and what a good time it was! R.U.P. and I set out in the early hours that Saturday morning (despite the 2F temps) and made the trip northward from Detroit to Flint. Rod Cain (the relentlessly energetic organizer of the convention) was on hand to greet everyone as they arrived and pressed me into running my Thirty Years War naval game in the first session as there had been a cancellation. As a naval game is easy to set up I happily agreed and found myself with seven players before I had finished setting things up.
The hall was busy but not too crowded and the usual excellent Flea Market was well stocked and busy (I confess to buying a few items despite my commitment to reducing the Lead Mountain). There was a wide array of historical, fantasy and science-fiction games to choose from simple two-player games to large multi-player formats. Some truly excellent games were on show (as you will see below). I ended up running my game in the second session as well which left me little time to check out the other games on display so I handed my phone to my assistant editor J&R who was kind enough to gather some photographs of the action. I do apologize to anyone whose game was overlooked.
Saturday, January 29, 2022
Rod Cain just emailed me to report that, after a Covid-induced hiatus, Flintcon returns this coming February 5th, 2022! Along with a host of historical games there will be the usual Pathfinder and Starfinder tournaments. Excellent food and drink are available on site and there are several good restaurants nearby.
Check out the Flintcon Facebook page or take a look at https://sites.google.com/site/flintgameconvention/ and you can always reach Rod at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 24, 2022
Spartacon dodged the weather bullet this year (much to my relief) and saw about seventy-five gamers gather to breathe life in to the convention scene once more. With about a dozen games in the first two sessions there was plenty of games to participate in, I confess to skipping the third session as I had to drive home that evening. It was reassuring to see gamers gathering together and sharing a good time, the "new normal" notwithstanding.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Gaming will be happening this Saturday 15JAN22 at 7pm at my place with The Housemartin's Spanish taking on my Prussians using Black Powder rules. This should inspire the rest of the guys that are painting armies to move ahead with their work!
Tom from Texas will be running a Cold War game at Bastion Gaming Center with Allied troops squaring off against Warsaw Pact troops using Team Yankee rules. This is slated to start at 1pm and is open to all. Check their Facebook page for further info.
Thursday, January 6, 2022
I am pretty sure that I am ready for Spartacon 2022. I have gotten all of my aircraft completed, printed out additional aircraft data books so that I can accommodate up to eight players and built six brand-new adjustable flight stands (bringing my current total up sixteen) so as to allow for a full bomber formation to be on the table. All that is left is to pray for nice weather so that the 90 mile trip doesn't turn into a multi-hour nightmare.
The problem with being ready early is that I am constantly tempted to add things to the game (some trees would be nice, just for decoration......) that just increase the amount of stuff I have to transport and keep track of! I'm sure that I will forget something, I just hope it isn't something important.