Monday, 8 October 2018

Cruel Seas

I've been watching with interest the online chatter about Cruel Seas...the forthcoming naval game from Warlord Games.

The game features skirmishes between S Boats and MTBs which is one of my favourite settings for naval games.

There is some useful info Here and Here.

The models look fantastic and are very tempting but I have big concerns about the amount of space needed for this size of action.  The starter set includes 6 MTBs and 4 S Boats...given the high speed manoeuvring that usually goes on in this kind of game it feels like a standard size table will become very crowded very quickly.  If larger boats such as trawlers or freighters are included (posts suggest the game may go up to Destroyer level) I can't help feeling the table will become a crowded marina.

I've played coastal games using David Manley's Action Stations (the best rules I've come across for Narrow Seas games) in 1:600 and 1:1200. For me 1:600 is probably ideal.

The game is due out in time for Xmas and priced around £50...I'm still tempted but not totally convinced.  I'm going to weaken and get it...aren't I???

Monday, 1 October 2018

More Test of Honour/Ronin...

I'm feeling very proud of myself...I bought some buildings a couple of weeks ago at Colours and I've actually built some of them!  Normally purchases would lie in a bag for several months (who am I kidding...years!) quietly maturing like a fine wine before I get around to building or painting them but a fit of enthusiasm meant I took on a couple of my Japanese buildings and even painted some figures, bought (I think) at Salute earlier this year.

The figures are a boxed set of Chobei's Renegades from Warlord Games. 

According to his Wikipedia entry Banzuiin Chobei was a "historical street tough" who became a bit of a Robin Hood type figure.  I liked the description on his Wiki page of him setting up an "employment agency for Ronin".  

The Test of Honour figures are pretty fiddly to put together...separate bodies, arms, legs, heads and weapons... but I've now managed to work out a system for working out which arm goes where and these went together much quicker than my previous efforts.

Looking at discussions online there seem to be optimal builds of Test of Honour forces in terms of weapon choices but I just went with what seemed like a good mix...I can't be faffed with tweaking force composition to that extent.

The man himself...quite a 'chunky' chap!

The buildings are from Sarissa Precision.  Making things isn't really my forte and I was quite worried about fitting these together, especially the watermill,  but they were actually surprisingly straightforward.  There were a  couple of points where an extra pair of hands would have been useful but it was a lot easier than I expected.  Both are really very pretty and should look good on the table

Sunday, 16 September 2018

I have been to Colours

Colours always seems to mark the end of the summer and the beginning of Autumn. I missed it last year ( I think I was in Glasgow) but this year I was offered a lift over to Newbury by Eric the Shed which made the trip even easier and we zipped down the M4, luckily avoiding the traffic from the County Show that seemed to snarl up the Newbury junction just after we arrived.

Colours moved to a 1 day show a couple of years ago and I think it's all the better for it.  It seemed pretty busy but, as it is spread over 3 large floors of the racecourse it never felt overcrowded...apart from the Bring and Buy which as usual was a sea of backpacks and fetid wargamers.  I managed to worm through to the front a couple of times but didn't spot any great bargains.

I'd gone with a pretty tight shopping list and, for once, actually stuck to it!  I bought some MDF buildings from Sarissa and Blotz for my Japanese and Cowboy projects but that (apart from a coffee) was that.

On to the photos.  As usual I missed loads and only snapped a few shots of games that caught my eye.  I thought the range of games on offer was pretty impressive...apologies to those that I missed or who I haven't credited.

A lot of the games were quite modest in scale but there were a couple of exceptions.  This is one of them: For King And Parliament by Simon Miller:

This was a demo of Spectre Ops:

Another of the larger games, this is The Retreat from Moscow but Wessex Games:

My favourite of the show!  This is a WW1 game set in the Middle East by Adrian Shepherd.  Very impressive and lots of nice little dioramas within the game itself:

A Sharp Practice Boshin Wars game

There were a few Cold War games...this was one but I don't have the detail on who or what:

The Spectre ops game again: 

Ronin by Liverpool Wargames Association.  This was the Siege of Haengju.  Some nice touches in the scenery including a clever Zen Garden


Another of my favourites...a really nice WW2 desert game by Maidenhead Reapers featuring a LRDG raid on an airfield:

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Flying Tiger magnetic sheets

Thanks to a post on Bob Cordery's excellent Wargaming Miscellany blog I was alerted to a deal at the Flying Tiger chain of stores.

I'd never come across these before but the seem to have stores all across the UK.  originally from Denmark they sell a wide range of Ikea-ish small craft and household items.

The one that had caught Bob's eye was a magnetic pad, I guess designed to stick on a fridge etc as a wipeable memo  pad (it comes with a pen).

Conveniently these are A4 sized, so ideal for lining a box of toy soldiers!  The pads retail for £2 each so a pretty reasonable price.  As there was a shop in Kingston I hopped on a bus and picked up a few.

Worth picking up if you have a store near you.

Friday, 17 August 2018

'Mon the Accies!!

More additions to my Lanarkshire themed VBCW force.  My armed miners were all very enthusiastic but I figured they'd need a bit of support from some well-drilled regulars.  Luckily the Cameronians were based in Hamilton in the inter-war period

And for a bit more dash and flair we have the Provisional wing of Hamilton Academicals FC....

The Cameronians are by Reiver Castings and the armed footballers are from Irregular Miniatures.

Although I'm not a great football fan I found a fascinating website which gives historical strips for teams in Scotland and England... Link.  Now I just need to decide whether to deploy them in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Eventually...Test of Honour

This is one of those blog posts that has been lurking in Draft Limbo for several months and was doomed to never see the light of day.  I have a couple of these which get started in a fit of enthusiasm and then fall by the wayside.  I usually end up deleting them as they aren't relevant but this one has survived the cull and, thanks to a bout of painting, has finally seen the light of day.

I bought Test of Honour back in April at Salute.  I've always been a fan of Samurai based games and played quite a few using Ronin (by Osprey)...amazingly when I checked on the blog posts, my last game was 5 years ago!  I'd picked up some of their smaller packs a while before and eventually weakened and bought the boxed set as it was going for a good discount at Salute.

So what's in the box?  Well...lots of stuff....

Card 'top down' buildings...I'll use model buildings instead

Lots and lots of figures

movement bases for 3 figures

Guides for assembling the figures... still a bit confusing...

The figures are actually the old Wargames Factory figures and are exceptionally fiddly to put together.  They come with legs separate legs, bodies (in 2 halves) and arms...and that's before you start working through the variety of heads and weapons they can be equipped with!  There are enough figures supplied to make 30 figures which is more than you'll need for a game so there is plenty of scope to have some variety in the weapons and poses.

I had real problems working out the arms in might just be me but I have real trouble picturing what the eventual pose will be until I've glued the arms on.  As I use superglue this can mean that I end with figures in very bizarre poses which are no use for holding weapons.  Eventually I'd managed a production line system for the figures which seemed to work better and I'd grasped which arms did what.  

The other issue I had is the range of weapons: the figure below is holding a sword with what appears to be some kind of ball on the blade.  I'd wondered if he was using his katana to slice oranges for his lunch but apparently it's actually meant to be positioned the other way round as though he is drawing it from the scabbard and the ball fits into one of the hands (if you've worked out which hand is which)… he's since been given a katana-ectomy and has a nice new sword without attached fruit.

My only other niggle with the figures is that they feel very light but this was easily remedied by gluing a penny underneath the base.  This might all sound a bit moany...the figures are actually very nice.  I've put together a dozen of them and I'm pleased with the results.  I chickened out of trying to paint the Mon patterns on their Sashimono and bought some transfers from Veni Vidi Vici.  A handy tip I'd found online was to use the 25mm transfers for the large flags and 15mm for the individual sashimono.

Now to work on another dozen or so figures and then actually try the rules out!

Civilians from Perry

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Boardgame catchup

I managed a couple of boardgames over the last week or 2.   My son and I had a game of Labyrinth (from GMT Games).  There is more info on it here but essentially it's a challenging, and a little bleak , game pitting the US against Jihadists, trying to bring peace and stability to the world or to destabilise countries and gain influence (you decide which one's which!).  It's a great game but not always necessarily 'fun'.  It was a pretty close game until my son managed to set off the nukes (that he'd acquired while destabilising Pakistan)  in the US giving him an automatic win!

Labyrinth the War on Terror Board Game

There was an interesting article in the last issue of Tabletop Gaming about boardgames that the CIA use for training purposes...someone had cleverly spotted that government produced material lies in the public domain if it hasn't been classified and quickly sent in a FOI request.  The CIA released a stack of everything to do with the projects (including practically every memo and rough notes) and there are several interesting games including one designed by Volko Ruhnke who designed Labyrinth and who happens to work with the CIA.

There are some interesting articles on the CIA games here and here

Last week I popped over to my friend Andrew's and we played out one of the scenarios from the GMT Games (I'm increasingly a fan of this company).  This was the battle of Eutaw Springs in which the British were unsportingly attacked by the nefarious colonials while out picking vegetables for breakfast!

A fun game with a lot of material in the box.  By the end of the evening (we didn't quite complete all the turns) the British were just about holding off the Swamp Fox and his mates but it was all beginning to fall apart.  If we'd had an extra half hour to play out the last couple of turns I reckon I would have caved in.  Great fun!