January 07, 2017

Double trouble

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Time for yet another distraction – this time around an early Mustang P51-B (Revell) and Il2m3 Sturmovik (Eduard). Both kits are quite simple, quick builds… which didn’t stop me from making several mistakes with each of them. Still, they turned out well enough and here they are.

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December 31, 2016

2016 in review and plans for 2017

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Last day of a rather dismal wargaming year, if I can say it myself. Highlights of the year:

  • Managed to paint basic forces for both US and VC locals in my Vietnam project
  • Also for Vietnam project, a shedload of jungle terrain pieces was completed. This may very well the greatest ‘success’ of the year, since it was a horribly tedious task I undertook most unwillingly. Still, I pushed through, good lad there…
  • For Dux Britaniarum, I’ve painted the Saxons, so I now have both sides at home.
  • I’ve added a couple of units and artillery to my 6mm ACW collection.
  • Over last couple of months my interest in 6mm Napolenic project woke up again. As result, I’ve made some progress with Teugen-Hausen OOB and added three infantry batalions and two cavalry regiments.
  • Terrain board project proceeds at glacial speed. 21 basic boards are now ready for use. So far, four of them were used for a photo shoot, the rest is still waiting for their premiere apperance.

On the other hand, the simple fact is that I hardly played any games this year. This in itself is worrying, but what bothers me much more is the fact that I didn’t really mind that much. Seems to me that both my personal engagement in the hobby as well as that of my wargaming buddies is slowly winidng down. Over last couple of years our focus seems to be shifting in direction of boardgames such as Command&Colors (both ancient and Napoleonic), Combat Commander and most recently, Wing Leader. Common denominator for all of them (beside the fact that they’re from GMT) is that they’re quick to pick and set up, have simple rules and an average game doesn’t last longer than three hours, often much less.

It will come hardly as a surprise then when I say thatI have pretty much lost the insight into whatever developments and trends may have taken place in the hobby over the course of past year. The only major event that registered on my radar was the change of editor of Miniature Wargames magazine, which signaled a change in course for that magazine for me and prompted me to a binge purchase of PDF issues of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. Other than that, things have been going on without any major upheavals and disturbances in my personal wargaming bubble – no new projects started, no new rulesets, no major miniature purchases. Seems like not following the news or trends is a bit of a bliss, allowing me to consolidate on stuff I already have going on, rather than jumping from one shiny new thing to another!

Allright, so what about 2017?

  • First and foremost, play a bit more. One game per month may be over-ambitious, but that’s the goal for this year.
  • Which leads me to the second goal – looking into solo gaming. One sad trend I cannot overlook any longer is the simple fact that gathering together a group of three or four friends in same place at same time seems to be more and more difficult. Often even arranging a one on one game is a bit of a challenge. So solo gaming seems to be the most obvious solution to this problem.
  • Regarding painting projects, I hope my current momentum will last a bit longer and allow me to paint figures necessary for Teugen-Hausen scenario. I’m about halfway there, which means about 1000 more 6mm minis that require attention.
  • I would also like to expand on my Vietnam collection – helicopters and VC main force units are in the pipeline. Maybe some additional terrain, while I’m at it.
  • Chain of Command from Too Fat Lardies – this ruleset has peaked my interest and I have already a shedload of 20mm minis for a one of their mini-campaigns. Need to paint some bits and pieces and make couple of meters of boccage as well as a couple of buildings.
  • Ancients – strangely enough, I never had a chance to play what I consider my ‘first love’. I have a sizeable Greek hoplite army. They need an opponent, most probably early Achaemenid Persians. Two rulesets need testing – ‘Impetus’ and ‘Spear and Sword’.

OK, that’s it for now, Happy New Wargaming Year to you all. See you on the other side! Smile

December 24, 2016

Day of hussars

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Yet again Christmas is upon us and what better way to celebrate that fact than posting another entry on this somewhat neglected blog! So first of all, if you happen to read it in a couple of next days – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May 2017 bring you a shedload of games and miniatures, both painted and otherwise. Smile

Anyway… a week or so ago, I finished yet another unit intended for my personal return to General de Brigade and more specifically for scenario for Teugen-Hausen from one of scenario books by Partisan Press. This particular unit – 4th Austrian Hussar regiment, 40 figures strong – was a bit of time sink hole, but it turned out quite nicely in the end.

As I prepare for the ‘photo shoot’, I recalled that earlier this year I’ve also painted a unit of 1st French Hussar regiment. And so, you get a ‘2 for 1’ deal here.

Figures from both units come from Adler Miniatures.

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December 18, 2016

FIrst Huey–the story continues

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Spent two more hours on Huey ‘pilot project’ and the results are not too shabby. Not too shabby at all! The construction itself is pretty straightforward, although the fit of individual comopnents is ‘basic’ to say the least.

Also, as I suspected, the construction of rotor sub-assembly contained a hidden trap for the unweary. Rotor blades are installed on the shaft one at the time, with the lower one being mounted through a small square-shaped frame. Well. if one is not careful. the actual removal if this component can potentially weaken the plastic square to a point where it snaps off, either during removal process or at later time. As every plastic model kit modeller will tell you, when components are cut out of their sprue, there is a tension, which often can snap ‘the weakest link’. Whic, in this case, are the sides of little frame supposed to be used when mounting the blade in place. In my case, the frame held during removal process, but snapped as soon as I touched it later on. Once again, Tamiya’s Extra Thin Cement came to the rescue and salvaged a potentially critical situation.

The rest of construction process is quite uneventful. I am still not conviced that a mixed medium (pewter, plastics and resin) approach had to be used here, but once the kit is put together, certainly it certainly looks the part!

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December 17, 2016

Paint it black

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Blaim it in on TV show ‘Tour of duty’ - whenever I see a Huey, I hear ‘Paint it black’.

Anyway, this post isn’t about flashbacks from my teens, but a flashback from about six or seven years ago, when Battlefront decided for some unexplainable reason to transplant their ‘Flames of War’ ruleset into Vietnam conflict. I guess things didn’t work out too well with that idea, but since Battlefront never does anything half-hearted, we’ve got a shedload of minis out of that misadventure… Perhaps the most valuable addition, if one’s to draw the conclusions of the fact how hard they’re to find these days, are helicopters that are symptomatic with Vietnam conflict – Bell UH-1 Iroquois, better known as ‘Huey’.

Since I’ve started to think about getting into Vietnam conflict, I’ve managed to acquire couple of those models. But, as so often, once acquired, they landed in a box and have been resting there ever since. That is until today, when I’ve dug them out of the stash and cracked open one of the boxes.

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What I found in it was a bit of a surprise – a strange mix of resin, metal and plastic components which took aback even a moderately experienced model builder like myself. Body of the helicopter consists of three resin components, which aren’t exactly best moulds I’ve seen. They do seem however to fit together resonably well. Main rotor assembly seems fiddly and metal parts are covered in flash. I do however like the fact that both the rotor and the stand are attached to the fuselage with rare earth magnets, making them removable for storage and transport purposes. Somebody at Battlefront did use their nuggets!

So… initial impression is overall cautiously positive – with a little TLC, this could turn out to be a pretty decent ‘Huey’. Will report again, once I get started with the construction.

November 18, 2016

C4 Open 2016

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And we're at this time of the year yet again - C4 Open model exhibition took place two weeks ago. A bit of mixed feelings this time around - still a lot of great models, but number of more advanced dioramas decreased yet again. Don't know what to think of it.

In any case, if you click on image below, you'll navigate to a Google album with shedload of pictures of models displayed in this year's exhibition. Direct album embedding is apparently no longer available in Blogger.



October 30, 2016

Unexpected treat

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Last Sunday I had the pleasure of enjoying an unexpected treat – a huge (by our local standards) game of General de Brigade. And no tiny 6mm midgets on that occasion, my dearies!We would be running that game the way wargaming magazines and Warlord Games have learned us over the years is the propper manner – 28mm plastics as long as the eye could reach, and a lot of them too!

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Having the pleasure of seeing somewhere near 1500 28mm Napoleonic miniatures may be a common thing for those of you who are lucky enough to live in the land of the Queen and huge wargaming clubs, but let me tell you – here in southern Sweden it’s a rare sight indeed. My hat is definitely off for D., whos collection provided lion share of the figures on the table – very well done indeed, mate!

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The game

Allright, so what about the game then? Well… I’m actually still trying to wrap my head around it. If I understand things correctly we run one of scenarios from Caliver Books’ latest scenario book for General de Brigade, dealing with 1813. The one we picked had rather traditional format – two long lines of infantry and artillery opposing each other, the village in the middle provided the major objective. Prussians apparently had some beer in local beer house and Frenchies, for whatever reason, didn’t seem to appreciate the idea of Germans having good time and and decided to crash the party. And yes, it would be one of those ‘hammer to the teeth’ affairs where attackers would rush into defenders along entire line and hope of the best.

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Over next four or so hours, we managed to play grand total of five, maybe six rounds. I must admit that being busy trying to shove in as many Frenchmen into the village in the middle, I didn’t pay much attention to what happened on my flanks. Things seemed to go rather well on my left. On my right, I did manage to observe that my fellow comrade in arms had rather dismal luck with his dice rolls and failed to make any impression on Prussian defensive line.

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Yours truly tried his best to keep some sort of order among French columns marching toward the village. These columns, consisting of mainly second line troops constantly blasted by artillery batteries supporting two German Jaeger battalions parked in the village and having no intention sharing that beer, had a devil of a time. By round three I managed to reach the edge of the village, but once there, my assault pretty much stalled. By round five one of my battalion routed of the table, while the two battalions that managed to reach the objective intact were repulsed, with some losses. Prussians simply refused to be dislodged from their position. With just under an hour remaining of the playing time, I did the thing I hate being done to myself – I declared that since we wouldn’t be making any headway in remaining time, we may just as well quit for the day.

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Musings after the battle

First of all, thanks again to the guys based in Lund for letting me participate in their game! Visual aspect of well-painted 28mm Napoleonic miniatures deployed en massé on a large table is something every wargamer should experience at least once.

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Having said that… Damn, General de Brigade is reaaaaaly slow and ponderous game system. In our game, we had three players a side and things should have moved along at a decent speed, but the average time to complete one turn was still somewhere around 30 minutes. I honestly fail to see how, using this ruleset, one can complete a scenario of decent size in a single gaming session. This in itself doesn’t mean that BdeB is a bad ruleset, but I’m starting to wonder if I can use it for purely practical reasons. Say whatever you want about ‘Black Powder’, but that thing at least moves along at decent pace.

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