Monday, 25 August 2014

Projects Update - August

I don't recommend that you hold your breath for regular updates, but I will try…

So, in historical order, this is some of what is on my painting table right now:

Played a game of SAGA: The Crescent and Cross against Whisperin' Al last weekend and that reminded me that I have several SAGA warbands to finish or more likely actually start! One is Vikings, but anyone who knows me will not be surprised to hear that my Viking warband is a little bit "different" and not exactly historical in that it is entirely female and made up from the Shadowforge Valkyrie range, which are sold by Fighting 15s in the UK. Being fantasy figures the ladies were of course somewhat more expensive than typical historical ranges, but I was lucky enough to be able to pick up the core of the warband on sale, which was nice.

Empire of the Steppes
Even though I do occasionally paint figures for other people, as someone who can paint to, what I am told, is a reasonable standard, I generally consider buying painted figures myself as cheating! However, I have broken that rule a few times in recent years and in particular have picked up painted Song Dynasty Chinese and Mongol armies in 28mm, both from The Assault Group. My excuse is that I would never have got round to painting large ancients armies myself, which is probably true, and I have at least totally rebased them and am slowly adding a bit more detail to the figures as well as painting up a few more to complete the armies. As the title implies, my current plan is to use them with Chris Peers' Empire of the Steppes as I am not a great fan of the various generic ancient rule sets and prefer rules that are a little more specific as to time and place.

6mm Moderns
Circa 1985, this was my first proper wargaming period, i.e. with metal toys and army lists, and, though I am still struggling to find the perfect set of rules, it is probably still my favourite period and scale and I consequently have a number of 6mm moderns projects on the go at the moment. One of which is rebuilding what was, back in the day, my favourite Challenger army, the American 9th High Technology Light Division, much of which I stupidly sold off a decade or two ago. Fortunately, the FAV and HMMWV variants, the former being the signature vehicle of the 9th, are still available from Scotia. This particular organisation was originally developed, in response to the Iranian Revolution, for rapid deployment in the Middle East and I thus already have plenty of suitable opposition for it having armies for the Arab-Israeli and Iran-Iraq Wars.

15mm Moderns
Another setting that Whisperin' Al and I played recently trying out the new, and currently free, Rapid Deployment rules from Sabresquadron. In spite of my failed attempts at creating a balanced scenario, the rules worked well and it was good to get my, now quite extensive, 15mm moderns collection onto the table. My main supplier for this period is of course QRF, but I have also been picking up some of the old Roskopf 1/100th scale plastic models, see photo, which can occasionally be acquired quite cheaply.

28mm Moderns
Actually not for me, but have another batch of the excellent and, unfortunately, now very difficult to get hold off Mongrel BAOR figures in progress. As someone who was an army cadet in the eighties I find these figures very nostalgic to paint, even if painting DPM is a bit of a nightmare!

Finally succumbed to buying into this recently having, in spite of loving the anime inspired look of the game, resisted for some time, primarily because of how expensive the figures are! It was actually watching a demonstration of the game being played that finally tipped me over the edge as it sounds like a decent set of rules. Having said that I am not a tournament gamer so chances are that I will never actually play Infinity itself, but the figures at least should make it onto the table using another set of rules, which brings me on to…

Five Parsecs from Home
I had spotted a number of favourable reports regarding Five Men in Normandy, but as I was not in need of yet another set of WWII skirmish rules I pretty much ignored them. However, when I subsequently saw a post for an SF variant that sounded exactly like my sort of thing, in particular the "people with collections of strange scifi characters will have a good time here" comment, I was intrigued enough to want to know more and buy Five Parsecs from Home. Have subsequently also bought the WWII set too and, if I can finally get my games room tidy enough to be able to use the table, am planning to certainly run a solo SF campaign and possible a WWII one too. Will try and report more on the rules once I have had a chance to actually do more than read them.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Modern Wargamer

The Modern Wargamer

Amongst my gaming peers I used to be known as "The Modern Wargamer" not because I used particularly new sets of rules, but rather because my main interest was in post 1945 warfare, which at that time in the eighties meant primarily the relatively recent Vietnam War and speculative World War 3. Since those days my interests have broadened somewhat I now have figures for just about every period in history from Chinese Warring States armies through to various flavours of science fiction. However, whilst I am no longer all that interested in Vietnam, having played far too much of it, as a child of the Cold War, WW3 is still one of my favourite settings for a game.

So back in the eighties I was reading about WW3 in Red Storm Rising, watching it in Red Dawn, roleplaying it using Twilight: 2000 and wargaming it using Harpoon and TTG's Challenger rules for 1/3000th scale naval and 1/300th scale land warfare respectively. Looking back at all three of those they now look hideously complicated, but somehow I manage to cope with them and I became infamous for being able to run Challenger without needing to look at the quick reference sheet! Challenger eventually gave way to Command Decision and Modern Spearhead and WW3 to the Arab-Israeli Wars, the latter change being in the main down to scenery or rather my lack of any for West Germany! After that modern gaming took a bit of backseat and I even sold off a couple of my 1/300th modern armies, something that I do now regret doing.

More recently my interest in moderns has resurfaced thanks in part to the release of the Cold War Commander (CWC) rules and the 1/600th moderns from Oddzial Osmy. Having said that though neither those rules nor the figures are where my modern gaming is heading. Toy wise I just have far too much still invested in 1/300th to contemplate a switch to 1/600th, even though the Oddzial Osmy miniatures are very good indeed, much better in fact than some of my now 20 plus year old 1/300th miniatures. As for the rules, whilst CWC produce a perfectly playable game, they were not quite what I was looking for, plus my regular opponent is no great fan of the Warmaster style command mechanism.

Having failed to find a set of modern rules that really inspired me I did the obvious thing and started to trawl the internet to see what else was available and was pleasantly surprised to find not one, but two free sets that both sound very much like the sort of thing I was looking for. The two sets are Brigade Commander by Andy Watkins and NATO Brigade Commander by Tim Gow and I am already starting to reorganise my 1/300th scale modern toys in line with these rules. By reorganise of course what I actually mean is dunk the miniatures in a bath of kitchen cleaner to strip off the several coats of paint that they have had over the years!

Anyway once the toys have been repainted and rebased I am looking forward to returning to the eighties and giving both rules a play test...


Saturday, 3 March 2012

New Year, New Projects

First proper post so I thought I ought to start with a brief overview, in no particular order, of what's new on the wargaming front.

28mm Italian Wars
I picked up Foundry's Condottiere Dogs of War rules for half price during one of their many, many, many sales last year and whilst the rules, written by Frank Chadwick no less, are not particularly ground breaking and the lastest Foundry figures are, in my opinion, nowhere near as good as their, rapidly disappearing, older ranges, it was still enough to inspire me to get into this period. However, though I already had a few of the aforementioned older Foundry figures, I will mostly be using the Perry plastics and have already started work on the infantry, though I am waiting for the release of their plastic Mounted Men at Arms to give me some cavalry.

15mm Rhodesia
The fortuitous combination of me winning up a copy of the Man Among Men supplement for Seek Out, Close With and Destroy by Iron Ivan Games on eBay and Old Glory releasing an Alouette III helicopter has resurrected this project, which is essentially an offshoot of my AK47 Republic collection from Peter Pig. However, for the rules I will probably actually use Force on Force from Ambush Alley Games, for which a supplement specifically covering "Bush Wars" is due out in May. I am also going to fund the Alouette purchases by selling off my 15mm Vietnam collection as I have played far too much of that particular period over the years and I also think low intensity counterinsurgency, such as Rhodesia, makes a far more interesting game.

15mm Barbarossa
Inspired by my regular opponent Whisperin' Al's excellent looking 15mm 1940 France game, I felt compelled to do something similar and, wanting to do something that was also Early War, picked on the German invasion of Russia in 1941 or Operation Barbarossa. Like the aforementioned Italian Wars project I am trying to do this one on the cheap, especially as I have had to invest quite a bit in new 15mm terrain, so to date the toys are again also mostly plastics from The Plastic Soldier Company and, appropriately for the Soviet vehicles, Zvezda. Rules will be I Ain't Been Shot Mum from Too Fat Lardies and specifically their Vyazma or Bust campaign. You can see the progress I am making in this photo album.

6mm Science Fiction
For a long while I have been carefully avoiding getting into 15mm SF gaming, a scale that seems very much in vogue at the moment, as I already have large collections of both 25mm and 28mm SF figures. However, a game of Tomorrow's War, again with Whisperin' Al, in which we concluded that smaller figures would allow for for manoeuvre got me seriously considering 15mm. Having given that some thought I am now wondering if the better option would be to drop the scale down to 6mm and use different rules such as Dirtside II from GZG or Iron Cow 2103AD from Wessex Games. There are a number of great ranges of 6mm SF models available from the likes of Brigade Models, Dark Realm Miniatures and of course the aforementioned GZG. Am also looking at Old Crow for terrain.

28mm Post Apocalypse
My introduction to the world of the Xenozoic was through the supplement produced for GDW's Twilight: 2000 RPG and for a long time I had been hankering after running a miniatures game based on it. I already had dinosaurs purchased for Pulp games and die-cast Cadillacs were easily sourced on eBay, but what I was lacking was suitable rules. That was solved last month when Two Hour Wargames released their Motor City BC supplement, which, when combined with their Adventures in the Lost Lands supplement, provides pretty much everything you need for "Thrilling Adventures in a World Gone Mad!" Still not quite sure what human figures to use though...

That's about it for now, though I am off to Overlord in Abingdon tomorrow, so who knows what new shiny thing will catch my eye! 

Monday, 13 June 2011

New Blog

Given the rumoured impending demise of Apple's MobileMe web hosting service I have decided to transfer my blog to Blogger for now and see how it works out. If you look at my old blog you will see that it was not updated all that often and one reason for that was the limitations of using iWeb and MobileMe, so hopefully using a more flexible blogging platform may help me post a little more frequently, though don't hold your breath.

For those of you who did not follow the old blog, I post mainly about my main hobby, which is miniatures wargaming, otherwise known as playing with toy soldiers, but I also occasionally post on tech and new media related subjects and on cult TV and movies, being a bit of an all round geek. So if any of those subjects are of interest to you, please follow me and I will see what I can do to occasionally provide something that is either informative or entertaining.

Finally for now, why Lenin? Well it’s a complicated story involving an ex-girlfriend, a stuffed toy rabbit and West End Games’ The Price of Freedom role playing game. Now I bet you wish you hadn’t asked!