Sunday, December 24, 2023




Saturday, December 23, 2023

Swiss vs Samurai

 Anton and I managed to get together recently for another one of our WRG 6th (7th?) edition games.  Finally the dice proved kind and ordered up the third book of army lists for our choices.  Finally because I have spent the last four months acquiring and painting a Samurai army and then testing my patience waiting to play it.  Anton selected the early swiss as his force.  As usual, my army is in the background and Anton's is in the foreground.  I outscouted Anton 26:0, so he deployed first.  The terrain gods were kind to me and all but one of the four forests Anton tried to place diced off.  Here are our initial deployments.  

Our gentle readers are asked to kindly excuse the fact that the ENTIRE Swiss force is proxied troops (Gauls rather than 1300's Swiss) My Later period Swiss are poorly treated under the rules and I was wondering how an earlier force would fare. Continue reading to see how things turned our.

Monday, December 11, 2023

UPDATE! Star Wars at R.U.P.S place 16DEC23 at 1900hrs UPDATE!



     R.U.P. has generously offered to run a Star Wars game this coming Saturday. Drop by and join in if you can. I know that the Holiday season tends to eat up everybody's time but it would be great to see some old familiar faces.

Monday, December 4, 2023

The Many Troubles of Marius A.K.A. Thracing Marius


So, recently my scheduled cleared enough to let Anton and I get in one of our ancients matches.  Randomly book One was selected (again) and armies were selected in secret this time.  Anton chose to return to the Marian Romans.  I went out of the box and selected the Thracians.  I out scouted Anton 49:13 so he had to deploy first.  Below are our initial deployments.  I placed 5 wooded areas and a steep hill, but only got 2 of the woods to stick, this was not an auspicious start for my rough terrain army.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Gaming Update, Game at my place Saturday 25NOV23 7pm

          Game will be at my place this Saturday 25NOV23 at 1900hrs.

           Be there or we will insult your ancestors.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Wargames Atlantic 28mm Great War British; Ready for paint at last!


the whole crew; ready to do battle with my painting skills

        Sorry about the long delay between posts but things have been a tad hectic around these parts of late. I have been slowly building these lads over the last ten days or so, striving to ensure that each figure is as different and unique as possible. This is made more difficult due to the smaller selection of weapons available to the the British P.B.I. as compared to the Germans that I did a while ago. 

       I decided to depict the troops as they would be organized for trench raiding or attacking. By the later half of the war the British had given up on the traditional "riflemen are the army" approach and greatly diversified their training and equipment. The whole "walking slowly into machine-gun fire" approach was also recognized as simply mass-murder and tactics, while still evolving, had been vastly revised. While still not up to the German Stosstruppen  level of integration the British had recognized that decision-making and on-call firepower needed to be available to the Squad leader, or at least platoon levels.

        To this end they began organizing troops into attack files of a leader, a couple of soldiers equipped for trench clearing, followed by riflemen to hold positions and backed up by soldiers equipped with rifle-grenades and, last but far from least, a Lewis LMG team. The Wargames Atlantic set provides for all of these except for the rifle-grenadiers (a matter easily fixed with some simple modifications).

Friday, November 3, 2023

The Armée de l'Air arrives (at least some of it) at last

        During a part of my reorganization process (which is pretty much a continuous effort to squeeze more and more toys into a finite amount of space) I was confronted with the realization that I had more model aircraft in my "Spats and Such" collection that there was room available in the Heap of Embarassment*. A sober-minded inventory revealed that there were a dozen of so that could reasonably be passed along to Ebay but that still left me with several kits that had no home. I impose few rules on my hobby but one that I do try to honor is that everything must fit into the assigned space.

        While considering the unhappy thought that I might have to add these rare and wonderful aircraft to the Ebay pile I had an epiphany; I could build them and shift them from the guilt-laden "projects" section of The Vault to the "completed" section as minis that were ready to be used in a game. It also occurred to me that if I built the kits that were in the largest boxes it would free up more space. I didn't quite get that accomplished, but I did get four models in large(ish) boxes assembled and painted. Three of these belonged to the Armée de l'Air, an air force that I had rather badly neglected in my building program.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Last Plane Out

        In my continuing effort to clear at least a small portion of my backlog of unfinished projects I got this little bird done and off the workbench. Rich Uncle Pat had dropped it off ages ago along with some other models to use as eye-candy in his continuing series of African Cold War games. I got the other two done pretty quickly but this model is a terrible eastern-European kit and it was so horrid that I almost trashed it. My inherent cheapness and stubbornness made me push through and see what I could make of it. It still reeks as a model but it will do as a prop in a wargaming setting. Bonus points to anyone that can recognize where the decals came from.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

28mm Wargames Atlantic Partisans, Painted At Last!

        It has been simply AGES since I put these models together. I had started painting them and then.......well you know the story; too many new "bright shiny" toys kept appearing. In an effort to get at least a couple of projects FINISHED this year I sat myself down and got these lads sorted out. Really, painting a few dozen figures should not take a year! So here they are, painted at last. We will start with an archeologist famous for his disdain for Nazis. You can trace his genesis here.

not an exact match with the famous Doctor Jones,
Illinois Smith, perhaps?

Monday, October 23, 2023

Wargames Atlantic 28mm Great War British Infantry

        Well, at long last we get to see these in the flesh. I am perhaps the world's worst person when it comes to patience, I absolutely hate waiting. But, in this case, I will have to say it was worth the wait. These figures are very very good. This set will provide you with thirty of the ubiquitous P.B.I. that carried the "Burden of Empire" across the globe. As with all other W.A. products these are cleanly cast in a firm (but not fragile) gray plastic with no flash and very few mold-lines. Common with other W.A. kits almost every permutation of headgear is covered; soft-hat, steel helmets, steel helmet and gasmask, tropical pith helmets and steel helmets with cloth cover (I am going to have to find some use for the hundreds of spare heads that are beginning to fill my "bits bin").

front of the box, the combination of excellent artwork and nicely painted miniatures is very effective

Saturday, October 21, 2023

When Empires Collide, A Comedy In Five Acts


       Neo Babylonians and Marian Romans, not two empires that ever ran into each other and not two armies that get used very much in Ancient Gaming but I and Anton selected them for our most recent game to amusing Results.   Here are the initial deployments and terrain.  Anton's Marian Romans are proximal, and my Neo Babylonians are distal.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Playing with geometry, or it has come time to sink the sunk costs and rethink things


       I admit it, I am a stubborn person. I tend to stick with things even after it has become obvious that they just aren't working out (as is evidenced by my continuing pursuit of perfecting the the hotdogerito, a hot dog with cheese rolled in a soft taco shell and deep-fried- I swear it will work out eventually!). But in this case I am willing to finally admit defeat. My Red Stars and Rising Suns rules suffer from a fatal flaw that I adopted at inception and was too blind to see. 

       That flaw is the adoption of the concept of hexagonal movement even though I had developed a way to chart movement without the ridiculous constraint of sixty-degree turns. The problem hovered at the edge of my consciousness as I struggled to build movement charts to reflect the different capabilities of the various 1930's era aircraft that I was designing the rules to depict. The realization finally dawned on me that there was no need to ape the six-point movement system that I had inherited from other air war games meant to be played on a hex-map. The circles that I had made could have as many different angles as I wished to paint on them. Simply using octagons would add a good bit more subtly to the turns without much extra complication (aside from me having to re-work all of my existing maneuver books). Octagons are impossible on a printed map as they do not link up without dead spaces. Moving diagonally on this surface would be the same as moving using squares.

       However, without the need to link in a rigid pattern this allows us to move at a forty-five degree angle and maintain a proper center-to-center movement distance. 

       I am not yet totally sold on the idea. A ten-point system would also make sense, or even a twelve-point model. Sailors use sixteen points on the wind don't they? Of course there is the unintended outcome of the maneuvers using up more table-space the more points of turn that we add to the circles. A minimum-sized one hundred-eighty degree turn is two and a third hexes, three octagons and God only knows how many sixteen point spaces (my guess is eight, but I'm unwilling to work that out).
       It seems that I'm in for a LOT of chin-scratching, bourbon-sipping experimentation before I get this worked out. I am open to reader suggestions and ideas.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Airfix 1/72 Henschel HS-123 in Nationaist Chinese colors


       I swear this is the last 1930's bird for a while! After the last two kits I needed to fall back on something that I knew would be a simple and pleasant build; as I was out of Revell Polikarpov I-16s I rummaged around in the Heap of Embarassment until I found this oldie but goodie. I have built this kit twice in the last couple of years; once as a Luftwaffe dive-bomber and again as a fighter from the Spanish Civil War.  I knew this would be, as we used to say, a "shake and bake" much unlike the last couple of models I had worked on. Assemble was a breeze, no putty needed at all and just some light sanding on the seams and a mold-line or two to clean up. I had decided to build this one as a Nationalist Chinese aircraft because the paint scheme was simple and my Chinese Air Force needs to buff it's bombing capabilities.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Gaming Update My Place 14OCT23 1900hrs

        I will be running a game at my place this Saturday, October 14th at 7pm.

        Most likely WW2 tanks, but I'm still deciding

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Redeemed by the decals, Part II, the MisterCraft PZL 11 in 1/72

       I have been on a roll building 1930's aircraft and decided to add another plane to my tiny Polish Air Force. A couple of years back I had purchased a few of these kits from an Ebay source in Poland at very reasonable prices. Up until now they have been tucked away in The Vault. I figured that I ought to add another PZL P-11 to the force since it was three years since I built the first one (a Heller kit which was very nice). Despite being rather newer (and having much better art-work and decals) this kit was a bit of a trudge. Flash on the delicate parts, vague and inaccurate instructions, fit issues and poor design all contributed to a less-than-happy build. What kept me at it was the bold and attractive decal schemes that the kit came with. It seems that in the 1930's every Air Force was more concerned with a flashy appearance than they were with the practicalities of camouflage.

flashy box-art, yes, I am a sucker for it

Redeemed by the decals, building the Airfix 1/72 DeHavilland DH-88

       The original aircraft was purpose-built for the MacRobertson Air Race in 1934. It was designed for extreme long-distance flight (the race was from England to Australia!). To me it epitomises the spirit of the age, style, elegance and performance all combined into one dead-sexy airplane. Wikipedia has a good article on the aircraft and the race here.

       I was going to do a complete write-up on the build of this kit but have since thought better of it. It is a very simple kit and if any care had been taken by the manufacturer it would have been a breeze. First off this is one of the "first generation" plastic models that appeared just after WW2. There is no effort  (and I mean ABSOLUTELY no effort) at cockpit, engine or wheel well detail. It is beyond rudimentary, it should come with a warning that says, "This is a model from your grandfather's time. Buy this only if you wish to experience the frustration, vexation and anger that modelers endured in the 1950's". Parts fit was horrid, flash was ever present and mold risers abounded.  The quality was on a par with the Blohm und Voss BV 141 kit from this same manufacturer. Much muttering of curses and a lot of putty went into the assembly. On the other hand, the decals were superb.


viewing the box-art one would be fooled into thinking that this is a nice, modern kit 
I was

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

1/72 scale Polish PZL P-7

       Having finished the Messerschmitt BF-110 I was looking for something to do, the weather wasn't right for priming minis (well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it) I decided to venture into The Vault and once again confront the Heap of Embarrassment (the collection of unbuilt plastic models, not to be confused with the Mountain of Shame - my pile of unpainted minis). As I stood there soaking in the self-reproach that I always feel when contemplating the sheer size of the task that those models represent I let my eye wander into the darkest corner and there I saw my next project. I had purchased this kit as a "filler" in an order on Ebay, it bumped my purchase over the "free shipping" amount and at five dollars was far cheaper than what shipping would have cost. It is from a company that I had never heard of and the battered box gave little hope of an easy build. To my delight this was a great kit, parts fit was excellent, almost devoid of flash, no warpage and superb decals.

the box art was the reason I bought this kit 

when almost everyone else was flying biplanes this really caught the eye

1/72 Monogram Messerschmitt BF-110

       This model is one of the very first models that I built after I started to take modeling seriously (as opposed to building targets for my BB gun). I managed to fond an original production one from the early '70s so the experience was very close to that first build. It was a straightforward build, I am constantly amazed by the quality of these old kits; no putty needed, little sanding, near-perfect parts fit. The decals were another matter, half a century bouncing around from one basement to another before being built left them in pretty rough shape. It was a fight but I stuck to my guns and used them. I ended up with some silvering around a couple of the decals, much to my dismay. I console myself with the thought that these are wargaming toys, not IPMS competition pieces.

a sleek-looking plane even if it wasn't much of a dogfighter

most countries experimented with the "heavy fighter"concept
only the P-38 could be considered truly successful 
hand-painting the framing on that greenhouse was a pain

don't look too close at those markings,
 I stuck the worst decals on the bottom where they wouldn't often be seen 
ah, the semi-sweet taste of nostalgia, 
it even came in the same box as the kit I built all those decades ago


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

1/72 Heller Dewoitine D 501 in Chinese colors

        During the Sino-Japanese War the Nationalist Air Force was in a desperate position trying acquire and deploy modern fighter aircraft to do battle with the Japanese. This need for aircraft was complicated by corrupt practices wherein the European "experts" hired as advisors also functioned as salesmen for their own profit. The result was a polyglot collection of often obsolescent aircraft. During this period the Chinese purchased twenty-four Dewoitine D-510Cs in 1938 and established a volunteer squadron of French pilots to fly them. After a short time there were disagreements over the terms of the volunteer's contracts and they were dismissed and the aircraft wee turned over to Chinese pilots. Although most Chinese aircraft were either overall light gray or, later on, overall dark green some were camouflaged in different patterns. One of these had a striking color scheme of small squiggly patches of dark green sprayed over a light gray base, I chose to depict that aircraft here.

       Wikipedia has a good short history (along with a list of the many different aircraft that served in the early years of the conflict)

hand painting the pattern was an exacting experience

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Friday, September 22, 2023

Shang It!! Parthians go down in flames

       A word from Anton: In an effort to play something other than one of the five or six "super-armies" in the first book I decided (foolishly in retrospect) to roll dice to randomly select the army that I would use. I ended up with the Parthians (army #51 if anyone still has a copy of the old WRG Ancients Army List book #1 lying around).  After The Housemartin told me what force he had chosen I attempted to craft a force to oppose him. The only reliable forces on the Parthian list are Super-Heavy Cataphract Lancers and Light Cavalry Horse Archers, all of the available allies being trash and no infantry worth the trouble. This was a poor choice to oppose an army equipped almost entirely with Two Hand Cut and Thrust weapons but it was what I had to work with. I'm sure that The Housemartin's retelling of the story will not be too rich in gloating, but it was a debacle.

A note from the Housemartin:  Anton is being overly critical of his troops, it did not end well, but along the way dealing with Anton's army was extremely difficult.  It was like trying to smash water with a hammer.  There was a lot of action, but nothing really happened except my troops kept getting slowly shot down.  


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

02Hundred Hours game packed up and ready to go

        Among a dozen other things demanding my time I managed to get the terrain laid out and finalized for my game at Pro or Con on Saturday. I then recorded the layout by taking pictures from all four directions (hat-tip to R.U.P. for that idea) and then packed it all up in a nice sturdy box for transportation.

a peaceful portion of northern Poland about to erupt into chaos
a view looking north across the table

I flirted with the idea of painting all the terrain black and then doing highlights in gray but the minis are painted in color so I wasn't sure how that would look, so things stayed in color 
looking east

looking south,
 I confess that I know nothing of Polish farming techniques from the middle 20th century 
so I just went for "postcard bucolic"

looking east

Friday, September 15, 2023

Trading Places, more silliness with WRG 6th Edition

 My apologies for the delay in this AAR, I managed to lose my army list and experienced some difficulties rebuilding the thing, for reasons which will be clear shortly.  

So I foolishly allowed Anton to talk me into swapping armies and he ran a Patrician Roman Army and I ran the Arab Conquest.  Anton's army was as follows (foreshadowing of the result Anton was so confident he typed up his army list).   

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

And Suddenly It Is Convention Season Again, Pro-Or-Con 2023 is September 23rd!

photo of the Battlefields 2023 Con 

        I am just getting used to it being Summer and I find Labor Day upon me as well as the beginning of the local convention season. Pro or Con will be run Saturday September 23rd, 2023 at the Livonia Elks Lodge at 31117 Plymouth Roan in Livonia MI. Follow the link to the Tabletop Events registry page and sign up to play or, better yet, run a game. This is a great location with plenty of free parking, an on-site kitchen and bar, loads of nearby restaurants. The convention features a wide variety of games, a friendly atmosphere, and a free bring-and-buy section where you can sell your excess toys and buy someone else's.  This is a great little convention and I always have fun there, make plans to attend!

Crating up the Trench Run for transportation

        Long ago I learned the misery of transporting terrain and minis to a convention only to have them damaged during transit (or by mishandling by players during the game). Over the years I have been progressively increasing the sturdiness of my transportation boxes to the point that I now build self-storing crates for any custom work. The Trench Run model is largely white beaded styrofoam, a desperately insubstantial material to expose to wargamers so I intended to frame it in a plywood crate from the beginning. This was greatly assisted by the fact that I built in on a sheet of 1/4" luan ply with wooden battens underneath for stiffness. All I had to do was add sides and a top.

       I went to Lowe's and bought a sheet of luan plywood, they have a frame-saw there so I saved myself a ton of work and had them cut the sheet into four 2x4 foot rectangles and then cut two of those into 1x4 foot strips. These would provide all the surfaces I needed to completely enclose the model. I grabbed a few sticks of 1"x2"x8' spruce to provide framing.

clamps and Titebond made sure that the sides were firmly attached
the styrofoam model will be glued in place after the crate is finished

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Test-Run of the Trench Run

        Last Saturday we gave the Death to the Death Star scenario a run-through. The battle above the Death Star was epic with the X-Wings flashing back and forth across the table destroying Laser turrets, comms blocks and infrastructure like wild men and blasting the TIE fighters out of the sky in droves. With the path cleared the Y-Wings began their fateful approach only to encounter Darth Vader and his sidekick. The Y-Wings went down but got close enough to actually fire a photon-torpedo (it just impacted on the surface). In the meantime The battle above had grown tighter and more desperate as more TIE Fighters poured into the area and the X-Wings continued to blaze them into atoms. With the failure of the Y-Wings Luke, Wedge, and Porkins broke loose and dived into the trench to take their run at the unprotected exhaust vent.

A frantic furball of elite Alliance pilots and Imperial expendables

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Gaming Update, Game at my place this Saturday 9SEP23 7pm


       J&R will be running his "Death of the Death Star" playtest for the scenario that he is is taking to Pro or Con. This will give a test-run of the larger combat scenario as well as the trench-run rules.

Star Wars Trench Run, The Dark Side Prevails, UPDATED


       Having watched the famous trench run scene a dozen times now I was struck by how very dark it in inside the trench (as it would be, there being no atmosphere to diffuse the light). With that in mind I test painted a couple of smaller sections with a base of flat black paint. In looking at it now it just seems too dark. Thoughts and ideas in the comments section are welcome.

       So, I asked around and the consensus was to  go with a very dark base coat then shoot white down from above to create the shadow effect. I went ahead and painted the entire model black (again) and patiently (yeah, right) waited for it to dry. Once that had (finally) occurred I grabbed a rattle-can of flat white and gave it a shot. The black paint absorbed the white paint like a sponge. And this is 2xPrimer coat paint! I sat back and sipped a bourbon and thought, then I fell asleep (a common occurrence when I devote time to thinking). By the time I awoke the white paint had dried and I gave it another shot, this actually made a difference, which heartened me greatly. I will give it another go in the morning but it is clear to see that some progress is being made. Now I just have to figure out how to paint the bottom of the trench.
a couple of shots of Krylon 2x Primer

the next morning it got a couple more is beginning to really make a difference

I couldn't resist a little photo-editing

Monday, September 4, 2023

Death Star Trench Run Model Completed....except for paint, that is....

        I had an hour free this morning so I sat down and finished the build on the Death Star trench. Nothing special about the build, just the usual blueboard and Titebond, with a few little bits of "Woodsies" (available at most good craft stores, these very useful tiny circles and rectangles save a LOT of time when scratchbuilding). Aside from the Woodsies and the bulk styrofoam packing material the whole thing is scratchbuilt. The big question now is to go with all white with gray and black details or  (having re-watched the scene from the movie, which is much darker than I remember) go with a medium gray and use black and white for the details. 

a pilots eye view of the trench

the right side

the left side
the entire model with the right side laid flat

       In looking at it I think that I need to make the turbo-laser turrets a bit taller, they seem to be getting lost in the sauce. I am sorely tempted to add all sorts of surface detail, but this model is intended for convention use and will see some rough handling and trips in the car so I'm going to hold off for now.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Death Star Trench Run Model; or me and my big, fat mouth!

yeah, something lie that, but tidied up to allow game models to work in the space

        I was leaning on my friends to run a game at Pro Or Con and asked Justice&Rule about his long-posited but never presented Stars Wars "Attack on the Death Star" game. There had been a series of playtests a couple of years back but the project had lain dormant since then (as if I am one to talk, being the King-of-Half-Finished-Projects myself). J&R agreed but on the condition that I build the model of the famed trench with its unguarded exhaust port. A moment's contemplation (all geometric shapes? check, simple black & white palette? check, small size? check) and I agreed. Perhaps I should give things a full-minute's contemplation in the future. Be that as it may I work best with a short deadline and as there is but three slim weeks to Pro Or Con I am on a short leash indeed! So off to the workshop it was.....

Friday, September 1, 2023

Anton has gone DAFT!! A WRG AAR

So Anton came up with a new level of Lunacy to match the Full moon.  After randomly choosing which army book we would use, we each chose the other's army.  That is right, we chose each others armies that we had to fight with.  Anton chose The Patrician Romans for me.  I selected the Arab Conquest Army for him.  And to think we are decades old friends and we did such a thing to each other!   At least we remembered to get a picture at the start.  Neither of us wanted much terrain and basically none of it stuck anyway.  My village (I pretty much always take one) stayed and so did Anton's woods he stuck in the middle of my deployment zone.  Anton BADLY out scouted me 74:13 so I deployed first.  

Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Battle of Bingham Farms

        Tom from Texas was kind enough to host the game last Saturday and, as is his wont, put on a large  ACW battle featuring his massive collection of 15mm minis. The situation was complicated due to a power outage from some local storms but, through herculean efforts, Tom had arranged  a generator would be on hand to provide power and the game could proceed as planned. Pleas excuse the dark pictures in the post below, circumstances were less than optimal. The game was played using Fire & Fury rules with four players to a side.

       Despite my strident protestations I was placed in charge of the Union cavalry. As I predicted this was a poor choice, as much as I love cavalry I am simply out of my depth when conducting operations beyond a straightforward charge. Our primary objective to to take control of the crossroads to facilitate the march toward Richmond (off to the left in the following pictures). I drove my Division forward leaving a single brigade dismounted along the road to cover the following infantry debouching from the defile. I my haste I misjudged the distance that the Rebel cavalry could move and my lead brigade was caught in the flank by the enemy onslaught and shattered (actually the cowards largely surrendered)

opening moves, Union cavalry arrived along the road at the bottom right 
then dashed headlong down the road

the Rebs saw their chance and charged the inattentive Union troopers,
 breaking them in and instant
having shattered the first brigade the Rebs turned toward the following Union brigade
after overrunning the artillery battery left in the roadway
having seen the approaching threat the Union second brigade put up a better fight
 but was thrown back and had to rally east of the highway

the much fought over Union artillery battery 
it never moved or fired a shot the rest of the game

as the Union cavalry rallied the infantry poured onto the battlefield from both sides