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.
- 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
- My Own Rules and other wacky ideas
- Fortified Places
- Book Reviews
- The Great Epicurean War
- Rich Uncle Pat and the (non-European) Cold War
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Friday, September 22, 2023
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
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.
Friday, September 15, 2023
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
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!
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.
Sunday, September 10, 2023
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.
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
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.
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.
Monday, September 4, 2023
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.
Sunday, September 3, 2023
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
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
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)
Monday, August 28, 2023
It's not really that close to the wire, I shot them with matte coat yesterday and was just waiting for it to dry before sending them off to barracks. Not much of a force (the Romans really didn't much go for cavalry and light troops - at least not in the glory days) these guys are just rounding out the packs that I had opened during my foolish "an army in two days" attempt. Two weeks was a more reasonable estimate; all in all I managed 112 Legionnaires, 37 assorted barbarian types, 30 Auxilia and ten mounted figures. There still are some minis left over but I think that I will paint them as Auxilia to even out the force.
Saturday, August 26, 2023
just waiting for the glue to dry before a trip to the flocking bin
Friday, August 25, 2023
As I sat painting my current batch of Romans there was a a nagging thought that I had, at some time in the past, painted Romans. I did some commission work ages past but that wasn't what was bothering me. I just knew that I had a Roman army tucked away somewhere. I dug through the wall of boxes that I keep my painted minis in without success. I checked the "deep storage" area behind the Pile of Plastic Embarrassment without luck. Frustrated, I returned to the game room to ponder and found, peering at me from the back corner of the display case, a Roman army that I had painted to play DBA back when that was a new thing. So, yes, I was wrong, I did have some Romans. I have since added this merry band to my box of Romans as I grind away at finishing the batch on the painting table.
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Despite a constant torrent of interruptions I have been plugging away at these guys. I have set a completion date of 28AUG23 (probably unrealistic but hey,I guy can dream). If they don't make that mark they will go on the back burner while I prep for the game I will be running at Pro-Or-Con on 23SEP2. I'm not sure what I'm going to run just yet, but I'm pretty sure it won't be Romans.
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Our new scheme for our WRG games is to randomly pick a book, then each of us pick an army from the book and tell each other, that way we can tailor our field army to deal with the general opponent. This time around we used Book One (the orange, or "biblical" book). When it cam time to reveal our army selection there was some confusion as we both chose Army 59, the Marian Romans. Our confusion arose as we were both unclear if the other was asking, or telling their army. So we ended up using the army list for among the most famous civil wars in History - those of Julius and Pompey, and Mark Antony and Octavian. Here are the results. Returning to type we failed to photograph the deployments. Below is after turn 1. Anton had 43 scouting points to my 6, so my troops went on the board first.
Thursday, August 17, 2023
In retrospect, my attempt at painting just over 100 Romans in less than three days was probably a bit daft. But I gave a good try, the minis are at about the 60% stage, needing only small details and washes to get them table-ready. With the pressure off I can relax and move at a more congenial pace.Still, I am a bit disappointed that I can longer sit the whole day through and paint minis like I could back in the day
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
At times I am subject to fits of madness, acts of folly that lead people to question if I should be institutionalized. As a child they were seen as the actions of a rambunctious boy, in my teenage years they were viewed as acts of rebellion. Now, as a senior-citizen they are likely to be considered to be the product of approaching senility. But I know the ugly truth, sometimes I just make stupid decisions.
The most recent of these is a by-product of my Thursday games with my best friend, The Housemartin. Our weekly forays into the mysteries of WRG 6th Edition have pointed out the stunning gap in my miniature collection; I possess no Roman armies. Yes, I do have post-Roman Britons and quite a good many Byzantines, but there are no true Romans of any flavor, Republican or Imperial, on my shelves. Last night I decided to try to remedy that inadequacy with the idea of having them ready for Thursday's game, I ventured into The Vault and approached the Mountain of Shame and after thirty minutes of shifting lead I had assembled a significant group of Romans.
So far I have the barbarians and the Falcon minis based and primed. With luck I can get the Old Glory stuff squared away by bedtime and get some paint on the others. If I crush it tomorrow and paint all night they might just be ready in time. Basing details will have to wait for a later time.
There are some things about this hobby that I deeply enjoy; the camaraderie of hanging out with like-minded people, the research into historical events, building terrain or unusual models, the challenge of figuring out an effective strategy given one's troops and the terrain, even running campaigns to link together the battles and place them in context. Then there are things about the hobby that give me no joy; painting minis, the endless task of repairing battle-damage to my miniature forces, and the "herding cats" aspect of getting folks organized for game-day. Finally there are things that I absolutely despise, well actually, there is ONE thing that I actively HATE doing; re-basing miniatures. To me the act of putting that final coat of matte varnish on a completes stand of minis is an almost sacred event. These troops are now ready for action, my labors are over and it is time to start the fun part of the hobby. Pulling minis off of bases just because some rules-writer was too egotistical to respect existing conventions is an utter anathema to me, I have avoided rules that would force me to do so, even stopped playing periods to avoid it. Only once in all my five decades of gaming have I re-based an entire force, that occasion came about when I encountered a truly brilliant set of rules in one of my favorite periods that had long gone unplayed due to horrible old rules (the switch from WRG pike & shot to Tercio a few years back).
In light of that what you see below is a rarity of the highest order, I have just finished rebasing my Dark Ages heavy cavalry. These minis entered my collection in 1978, they are from the ancient Heritage Minis "Lord of the Rings" range Riders of Rohan. For some unfathomable reason I based them individually at that time and have struggled on for decades with the fiddly nature of loose figures. Recently The Housemartin and I have been playing the almost-as-old WRG Ancients 6th edition rules which has called these doughty warriors into service several times and the task of handling the individually mounted minis has been such a bother that I took the drastic step of placing them onto proper bases. I also took the added ordeal of freshening up the paint work (which they badly needed after nearly a half-century of service). Overall I am pleased with the results, am I likely to do this with other older figures? Most likely not.
Friday, August 11, 2023
I have long suffered from a motivational malady wherein I find it harder and harder to find the will to finish a project the closer it gets to completion. The Bastle House project had become one of those problems. for nearly two weeks it sat untended and unloved. Finally I decided to "act like a grown-up" and finish the project so that I could address even older tasks that were still awaiting completion (like the Wargames Atlantic Partisans). The models were complete and painted, wanting only a dark wash and weathering, so that is what I set myself to do.
I mixed up a thin wash of black india ink and acrylic floor polish and gave all of the buildings a thorough coat. This toned-down the differences between the individually hand-painted stones in a most satisfactory manner. Fortunately this took long enough that the first items were dry by the time I was finished with the last item (this prevented me from having an excuse to become distracted by some other gadfly-project). The floor polish imparts a glossy surface that makes weathering and highlighting difficult so I then shot the entire collection with a thin coat of Vallejo Matte Spray. This takes quite a while to dry so I called it quits for the night.
The next morning I returned to the workshop and mixed a simply silly amount of very pale grey paint which I used to dry-brush over the entirety of the exterior surfaces of the models. This gave the models a more uniform look. I took no pictures of these steps as they were frankly stunningly boring and there are far better instructionals on such subjects than I could provide.
This time around we were using the Third (gray) book of armies, Anton chose the Anglo-Normans, and I chose the Ming Chinese. I had decided before we chose which book that I wanted to get the Chinese back on the table so since there is only one Chinese army in the gray book the matter was settled by the choice of books for me. However, I knew Anton would bring LOADS of EHI and 2HCW's so how to contend with what I knew was coming was my issue. On the positive, this time at least we remembered to take a picture of the initial deployment. Anton and I had a draw for Scouting points (57:47 in Anton's favor) so we simultaneously deployed from our respective right flanks.
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Friday, August 4, 2023
In another of our fairly regular collisions, Anton's Catalan Company and My First Crusade Armies clashed recently, with some startling results. Anton's are the near, mine are the far forces.
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
I am Ivor Ironchin, I would like to show you my house, an old Wargames Factory Viking takes the tour
After a long hiatus I have returned to my labors at the Bastle House Project. The experiment with the Small House interior having been satisfactory I continued to use the approach on the much larger house. First, floors were installed and painted in all three levels of the model. Then matte board was cut to fit on the interior walls of the house (be careful to take account of the thickness of the card when making measurements) then laid out flat. The interior face of the wall was sketched out and built onto the flat surface.
Once construction was completed the wall sections were then painted and carefully inserted into the corresponding floor to check for fit and finish. Assured that my measurements were correct the messy business of gluing the interiors in place began. As usual I used my old stand-by, Titebond Carpenter's Wood Glue, this was spread thin and allowed to dry to the point of being tacky while I applied glue to the back of the interior wall section. this was also allowed to dry for a while before being carefully inserted into the model.
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
So Anton decided to change things up in our games. This time we tried randomly assigning the book, then we each chose an army from that book and told each other what our armies would be. The book rolled for was the second army book (the yellow one) Anton chose the Varangian/Russ and I chose the Feudal Spanish, let the planning and counter planning commence! Below you see the two armies on the table after the terrain was set.
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Friday, July 21, 2023
So Anton and I recently played another one of our afternoon WRG games. This time Anton ended up in the Orange book (book 1) and I ended up in the Yellow book (book 2). Anton selected the Roman era Spanish, and I selected the Normans. We hope you will enjoy the results.
Here is the terrain for the game and both of our armies laid out on the table (Anton is near, mine is the further)
Monday, July 17, 2023
As most readers know I just returned from a trip to my ancestral homeland; the Emerald Isle of Ireland. This trip was taken through the agency of a guided tour company and was jolly fun. Two weeks (or rather less as we lost two days due to flight cancellations from United Airlines) touring the south-west of Ireland (my family hails from County Cork). It was edifying, delicious and (literally) intoxicating. My tour-mates were a diverse and amusing group and by the end of the trip some strong friendships had been forged. Unfortunately it wasn't designed by a history buff; we sailed past ring-forts, pele towers, castles and battlefields at 100kph while on the way to falconry demonstrations, sheep-dog performances and such. It was all good for the passing tourist but it left me wishing for a "Let Me Off Here" button.
The countryside was beautiful to the point of breath-taking, the food was ample and inventively tasty, the beer and whiskey flowed at a rapid pace and the people were uniformly friendly. I plan on returning but I will also be certain to remain the captain of my own destiny during the return visit. A vacation-home rental and careful use of the omnipresent public transportation will allow me to visit the vast array of historic places at my own pace rather than the "OK folks, we have an hour here" pace of a tightly scheduled tour. The Dublin area alone could absorb two weeks of steady exploring. Then there's the Neolithic sites like Newgrange..........