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Readers Digest version Feb-19 – Star Wars Legion and Great Northern War

The last blog post was 28 days ago, that is the longest gap I have had since I started this blog in 2016 – my objective was to do a blog post every week or so.  I am slowly working away on a few hobby things but work and some personal issues has lead to some difficulties to find some time to write stuff down – I still do some Twitter binges as I find it a fantastic forum for miniatures and wargaming – it is friendly and inspirational.

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However here is a condensed catch-up blog of what hobby related activities I undertook during February 2019 – I hope it will suffice!

Roll a One blog 10th February – Star Wars Legion, first two Games

We Spent this week preparing and playing Star Wars what a Legion it was fantastic fun. We had a go at the learning scenario and then we did a more involved scenario with some objective in a little desert village.  I lost both of the battles… here are some pictures.

 

The Little One gave me a new nick name – Roll a Blank! However overall we had a blast and have played a few more time since. Fun game and thumbs up from the Little One.

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Roll a One blog 17th February – Some more Legion Building

A relatively calm week, we got a MDF piece for the Legion Desert terrain. Following some preparation we think it blends in nicely with the other terrain although it is made from MDF.

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Good value at about a tenner, and gives some options for fighting on the roof.

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Roll a One blog 25th February – Mapping it all Up, Bad Elephant Joke, Painting the Monastery/Cloister

I pulled the famous finger out of that infamous place and have now started with this years Joy of Six project for real – Poltava 1709. The Battlefield will be 16 by 5 feet and I did a rough map on how it will look in the end and have started planning the various key terrain elements (All miniature 6mm Baccus).

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Some of the key features on the left hand side are seen below, the Swedish Camp, Poltava with Siege lines, although I think they actually were on the left of Poltava in this picture. We can also see the Monastery, the Swedish Camp and some of the Russian Redoubts.

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Here is the Monastery made from models from Total Battle Miniatures. I think it will do the trick it will be place on a hill with trees.

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I have also got myself a whole camping worth of tents to do the Swedish Camp with a design based on how a battalion camped during the era (with the latrines to the left).

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I even found a guy in the Baccus camp pack who looked just perfect to convert to a man having a dump in the latrine area – he looks very peaceful and reflective, perhaps he was unwell on the day and could not be with the army (lucky guy!).

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Roll a One blog 3rd March – Russian Redoubts

The Russian redoubts are another of the key components of the Poltava Battlefield, here are my take on them (note due to ground scale vs figure scale these had to be relatively small).  I have just got the miniatures so only did a few for test purposes.

I first made some using clay but whilst in a Wickes (UK DIY shop) on another mission I noticed that the were selling Pine Glass Bead Moulding (basically strips of wood) that had a very interesting profile (see below, they are product code 121231 at Wickes and comes in lengths of 2.4 meters – plenty for my current needs).

 

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That was all, I think I am all up to date now, until next roll Ones!

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Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One – Part 2 (+ Basing and Mats)

This, as indicated by the Part 2, is a follow-up of the posting last week where I discussed some painting approaches we have taken to quickly complete the necessary painting of the 2 No. Star Wars Legion Base Sets the Little One got for Christmas, so we could get it on a table and play it.  It is worth checking out that blog post here.

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Today we will cover:

  • Some Tatooine like buildings we got through Ebay
  • Approach to basing and terrain mats
  • The barricades
  • Storing the stuff in the Base Box

Tatooine Buildings

Last time I showed some Tatooine style of buildings we ordered from e-bay, they arrived last week and looked great. Being 3D printed they had some layers visible, but not too much to upset us.

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We added some Vallejo mud paste on the models here and there to add some further interest. It was then primed with black gesso.

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Then from left to right, heavy drybrush with the buffy colour (let dry), then a wash with sepia ink (diluted with water say 1/2 ink/water), then drybrush with the lighter colour.

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We then detailed some part with a drybrush of saddle brown followed by a leather red (Vallejo), whilst other parts in metallic bronze. I then washed these details with a rust wash.  The moisture collectors were painted like the barricades below.  We think it is good enough for the table.

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I have bought another two buildings from the same seller at eBay (3dwgprinted), and will paint them in the same style once they arrive (this should give us a good start with some terrain).

 

Some thoughts on Terrain for Star Wars Legion

One of the cool things with Star Wars are the different environments where the action could take place.  It could be a fight on Tatooine in a desert environment, in a forest like Endor, snow like Hoth, or in space ship (like the opening scene from a New Hope) or a base.  This, to us, is one of the many fascinating aspects of a sci-fi fantasy world.  The bases the game comes with are dark grey for the Imperials and Burgundy red for the Rebels, they are 3mm thick (see picture below).

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Here are ours by the way.

 

We could have left them like this or put some texture on them, but what? – Space based flooring, desert sand, forest, snow? Instead we decided to go for Clear Acrylic bases, and got them from here https://justlasered.co.uk/shop/star-wars-legion-clear-bases/ .

Incidentally they do some other cool stuff, worth checking out (these are in 28mm scale).

Sorry, back to the bases.

This is how the bases turned out and how they look on a gaming surface (based on a sneaky little skirmish we had over the weekend using the Little Ones “Alcoholic-Free Beers and Pretzel Rules”).  I think the bases works well.

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We have ordered a 6 by 3 desert mat after shopping around a little bit – it looks like this.

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It looks good and will also be useful for some of my Mahdist war stuff I was working on last year as well.  However the piece of fabric we used to take the pictures above I have to admit looks smashing too.

This was a piece of fabric bought from ebay. It sells in 1/2 meter lengths and is about 1 metre wide, so you would need to buy 2 No. for a 3 by 3 mat (total cost of £13) and 4 No. for a 6 by 3 mat (total cost of £26). It is shown in the screen shot below.

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The things is that there are many different colour schemes of this pattern/style which would give you the ability to get a few different options for the look of your table.

 

I have only bought the one shown in the pictures above (so not sure how the other patterns would look on the table). Also remember that these are pieces of fabric, not comparable with the quality of the wargames mats in cloth or other materials you can buy commercially, they also come in a 1 metre width (that is 3 ¼ feet so will not do your normal 4 feet width) – but perhaps worth considering to give some variety.  It is hard to beat £13 for a 3 by 3 mat.   I might have ordered one or two more varieties and will report back once they arrive.

Barricades

There are some barricades that comes with the game – we are yet to figure out how these would work in practice! I suppose they are included as a substitute for other terrain, but I always find them funny especially if both sides are using them.  It is a little bit like some kind of paintball range where the opponents meet up instead of a more believable skirmish in a more improvised location, or where only one side has set up defences.  However perhaps I am overthinking this.

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We base coated these with black gesso and then dry brushed them with a medium grey followed by a very light grey. We then used a pale grey wash over them (we used the Vallejo Pale Grey Wash).

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Storage in the Base Box

We cut a few pieces of 3mm foamboard we had lying around to allow us more efficiently utilise one of the Legion Boxes for storing the miniatures (all the other stuff fits in one of the two boxes).  This is how they were cut (all the same length as one side of the box). Making sure the walker would fit as shown.

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Then inserted in the box.

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We then cut another piece on top to be able to store more soldiers, and added a handle to be able to lift it up easily – we used an old little toy model cat.

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Perfect (not for travelling around with, but enough for us to gently put back into storage).

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Plenty of space to fit those speeder bikes when done, and further expansions.

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More or less done.

But that cat does look scared, with all those rebels around! / Hope that was of some interest!

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Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One

The Little One got two base sets and a few extra things for Star Wars Legion this Christmas – a great idea on the surface but it leads to a lot of miniatures needing to get painted.  Friends of this blog knows me foremost as a 6mm army painter doing some ventures into 15mm with some WW2 stuff.  The only thing I do in 28mm is my Mutant 1984 project.  I have neither the patience nor (perhaps more importantly) the skill, to paint 28mm miniatures at any bigger scale.  I suppose it has to do with being restless and untalented or something like that.

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Contents of a Star Wars Legion Base Set

I also wanted the Little One to be involved and to feel ownership of the project – Star Wars Legion is his game, it is his miniatures, but I am happy to help him as much at it takes. We went to a few gaming shops before Christmas and he really wanted Star Wars Legion and for us to paint the miniatures and make some terrain together. I figured I had to find a quick and easy way to paint these miniatures – so I could get back to my historical stuff but also so we could get this to the table as soon as possible.

The things we need to paint are:

  1. Rebel Soldiers – a total of 4 squads (28 foot soldiers) and 2 AT-RT operators.
  2. Storm Troopers (28 No.), Snow Troopers (7 No.) and Scout Speeder Bike Riders (4 No.)
  3. Vehicles – AT-RTs (2 No.) and Speeder Bikes (4 No.)
  4. Commanders/Special Operatives – Dart Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Boba Fett and the General.

We will discuss 1 and 2 in this post and then in a later 3 and 4 when they are done.

Rebel Soldiers

In searching for a method/style to do the Rebels I stumble upon this YouTube video by Mini Junkie. Very quickly I realised this is what we needed and the approach we take is not identical but very much influenced by this excellent video.

It uses mainly inks to achieve a nice result, we used a desert yellow as a base for our models, then added the inks and some washes (in line with the ones stated in the video, as we did not have all of the exact matches – the inks are the most important bit). Then we dry-brushed the weapons with gun metal, the trousers with some brown and then added just a little bit of highlighting on the shirt and the faces – all stages easily done by the Little One. We did it in a assembly line fashion, colour by colour – I may have been quicker but we both did the work.

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The Little One inking away!

Here is the result – good enough for the table (on temporary bases, we will base all of them on transparent acrylic bases at the end of this project).

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We did a few head and weapon swaps to get some more variety in the 7 poses.

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He was really happy at the end!

…and the two riders (vehicles still in progress)

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Storm Troopers et al

The other big part is the Storm Troopers (and the Scouts and Snow Troopers) and the Mini Junkie offers another speed paint video on Storm Troopers (there is a part 2 to watch as well).

This is basically a spray white, ink black details, gloss varnish, apply wash and go.  We have started getting through them but they are not yet completed, need to gloss them and then wash them in the next step.

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Base coat with Black Ink Applied by the little one, next step gloss and then dark wash.

We have both enjoyed this so far and I am actually getting excited about playing a few games, we have started to look at some tutorials on YouTube on how to play the game, and it has attracted some unexpected interest.

The important thing to remember with children is the attention span for things like painting – take it slow and do not do too long sessions. I can sit for hours splashing paint whilst listening to a Podcast with no problem, but the Little One finds this boring.  I have set up the project so he gets an idea how to do each step and feels part of the final product.

I really enjoy doing this project with the Little One and his enthusiasm for the process is growing as he realised that most things can be broken down to simple steps, to produce adequate results without too much effort and difficulty.  My job is not done here but at least I can walk away from this shift with a smile on my face.

Both videos above offer some simple approaches to get tabletop standard results, I told the Little One it is like a colouring picture, just keep within the “lines”. Apply ink on the trousers, then the shirt, then the vest, etc. Any mistakes just add a little bit of the base colour again and ink over.  Do not stress – tabletop standard, his miniatures, if he likes them then they are good enough.

Next we will be doing some Vehicles and start on the terrain stuff we ordered from eBay.

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I like these – I will let you know more once we get them through the post.

/ Hope that was of some interest and thanks to the Mini Junkie for the excellent stuff he is doing with his Videos.

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Some Platoons for France 1940 and a kind of a review by the Little One of Airfix Battles

I have finally finished my France 1940 15mm Platoons I have been working on.  I intend to use these with the excellent Too Fat Lardies France 1940 supplement I bought some time ago (link here).  I have talked about the book before and it is a fantastic resource for any Platoon based WW2 Gaming.  Here they are, I used Skytrex (link here) and Peter Pig (link here) miniatures.

I bought the Little One a copy of the Airfix Battle game for us to try out over Christmas and we took it with us to the holidays in Sweden. He rather likes it and I thought why not ask him to write a short review/reflection of the game I have added it at the end of this blog post.

British 1940 Regulation Platoon (Skytrex and Peter Pig)

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Platoon Structure with support (note that I made prone Bren Gunner Teams as well as walking, with the same for Boyes Anti-tank team and the 2″ inch mortar team).
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I think these relatively old Skytrex Models are just fine.
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I did base them eventually – part of Machine Gun Team and a 2pdr AT Gun (these are Peter Pig)
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Peter Pig Anti-Tank Rifle Teams
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2″ mortar teams
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A British Squad (All Skytrex apart from the Bren Gunner from Peter Pig) on the left and the Platoon Sgt and the Lt on the right (both from Peter Pig)

German First Wave Platoon (Peter Pig)

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Some regulars and a Sniper
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Infantry Gun
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Platoon Structure with Supports
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Based up Squad on the Left and Platoon HQ on the left

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Mortar and Anti-tank Rifle Teams
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Nice weekend of basing

 

Airfix Battles – A review by the Little One

I find Airfix Battles a good game because everything you need sits in a small box – flat miniature soldiers, tanks and guns. The rules are simple to understand for a 10-year old wargamer. However I have played a lot of games before so maybe they are a little bit more difficult for you.  There a paper sheets that are used to play on and some terrain features you place on the mat. These are ruins, hedges and difficult ground.  It takes on some things that I like with WW2, such as Tigers, Bazookas and Pak-40 guns.  However, it is a little bit unrealistic as you can shoot in a curved trajectory (kind of) and mortars and artillery do not seem very powerful – I read in a book that artillery was the biggest cause of death in WW2. Also the ranges are a little bit strange, the MG-34, Browning and Sniper Rifle has the same range.  My Papa, that is what I call my dad, tells me there should be figures with the game, but we have plenty at home and the flats works well for travel.  It also shows how dangerous war is – so you have to manage your units carefully and protect your commanders as they are important to allow you do things like getting cards and playing orders.  You can also use the set to play other games on while you travel, we played What a Tanker using the Panzers vs the Shermans – that was fun!

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The Game comes with two thin sheets of paper you can use instead of a battle mat, they look ok.
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Here are some of the unit cards, showing a lot of useful information like the number of stars (this is how much the unit is worth), how may are in the unit, what the units skill is (the dice), how much it moves, what weapons it carries (with range and damage) and any special abilities.
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I like this game.  Our games have taken between 20 minutes to 2 hours.
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I think the rough terrain markers are funny – maybe they could have used something less boring like some stony ground of something.  My Papa hates markers like this – I am less bothered and just get on with things.  That is clearly one of his rolls by the way.

The other day we used miniatures to play the game, it made my Papa a little bit happier and we had a very good time.  He does not like this game as much as I do.  I really like it.  There is also a way you can play against yourself in Solo mode – I like it and it is harder than playing against Papa because I roll very well for both sides.

I really like games and I think I have learned a few things from this one that I will try to use in my own rule set I have been working on.

As Papa would have said, I hope that was of some interest.

– The Little One (you can read more about the game here)

Below are some more of the pictures we have taken of our games.

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Some progress on the Poltava Battle and Grand Thoughts (TMT)

In summary, not done too much in the last three weeks, some “diversionary-but-I-hope-of-some-interest-blur” to fill out the blog and then some pictures of new stuff at the end.

This is my 8th consecutive year of putting on a table at Joy of Six. With the exception of 2016 when Neil Shuck and I ran Saga in 6mm, Nick Dorrell and I have staged a range of Battles from the Great Northern War (GNW), including Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Lesnaya 1708 and Horka 1708.  I think it has been an fair run and I am currently debating with myself whether the table this year, Poltava 1709, will be the last GNW table I do.  I feel like it has been a good run and looking at all these tables in the pictures below I enjoyed all the effort I put in and when we presented them, I have been told, others enjoyed them too.

 

There are a few more battles of the war that I think would be interesting to put on the table, including:

  • Narva 1700. Swedish attack on fortified Russians with a snow blizzard during the battle.  A few Swedes against many, many Russians.
  • The Duna Crossing 1701. Swedish river assault supported by floating Gun Platforms, etc. Against the Saxons.
  • Battle of Helsingborg 1710. Fighting on Swedish soil with the Danes last attempt at getting the Scanian lands.

Actually there are many more and if you go to the eminent webpage Tacitus.nu there is a nice table showing all the bigger engagements of the War, when they occurred, who the Swedes fought and who was the main Swedish Commander (link here, and while you are there you will find detailed uniform information for some of the largest battles, based on some of the best resources available).

It is strange, having read so many GNW books and painted so many 6mm miniatures from the Baccus GNW range, that I still have this fascination for the period.  I still remember my Father’s retelling of the bravery of the soldiers in the Dal Regiment, when its Battalions breached the defences at the Battle of Narva in 1700 under the leadership of Magnus Stenbock, then a Colonel, who later (I suppose subject to some argument) became one of the Greatest Generals of the era. Another story was the one about the Duna crossing and I remember I closed my eyes and felt the splashes of water from the cannon balls landing next to the rowing boats as the Swedish advance force pressed on toward the river bank on the other side.  There is no historical era that is even close with regards to the level of satisfaction and sense of adventure in my opinion – but then I am unashamedly biased.  All the other stuff I do are also very interesting but are truly just diversions, I suppose the Great Northern War is what they call “a first love”.

I seem to have convinced myself to keep on going but we will see how this year goes.  There is a small benefit in that apart from making the mat/terrain there is limited work in setting up most of the tables after I have finished the Poltava Battle this year, as any painting required will be limited (I have extensive Saxon, Swedish, Russian and Danish armies, so I am reasonably well covered. Some of them I have based for Summer and Winter).

So.., how is Poltava going?

In an earlier posting about a year ago, I was stressing about Poltava (that Posting was actually reasonably interesting, with a link here). I want “my” Poltava to tell the story about the battle not just as a line of Soldiers facing each other at the final attack of the decimated Swedish force against the overwhelming Russian packed lines.

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The Key Features required

Given this, the following needs to be done (with level of completeness given as a percentage, where 0% means done shit all and 100% all done and dusted):

  1. Finish all the Swedish and Russian miniatures (for the main action, but also for detachment around the battlefield) – 95%
  2. Swedish Camp – 50% (have a lot of Swedish supply wagons, just need to do some camp bases)
  3. Swedish Siege Lines around Poltava – 0%
  4. The Poltava Fortress and Town – 25% (have some houses I can reuse, but will need to do the wooden walls and towers)
  5. Russian Redoubts – 0%
  6. Cossacks / Kalmyck irregular cavalry – 100%
  7. Monastery on the Hill – 0% (but have bought the models)
  8. Surrounding Villages – 50% (I will use some existing ones but need to buy some more)
  9. Russian Camp – 0%
  10. The Battle Mat – 0% (I think a 12 by 4 sheet will do).

The fact that almost all the miniatures are painted is a very good place to be, but I learned not to underestimate the time it will take to do the other stuff – especially the battle mat.  The above is the tracker I am using for the Project.

Just before Christmas I did some bases of town folks I will use as Poltava Militia – now do they really look like we would imagine a militia unit of the region?  Maybe not but I felt that the Streltzy code would make them look too uniformed, too organised – so I did them like this.  The idea was that each miniatures was painted differently, I think I achieved the look I wanted.  Note that I have not yet based them as I want to do this when I know how I make the Poltava town/fortress section of the battlefield – so the bases can blend in nicely.

This week I also did some more Dragoons, it seems like there is always more Russian Dragoons to be made – I think that may be it for this time. However,  I will do another review just to make sure. I have run out 60 by 30mm bases at this time, so I will have to base them later.

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/ Hope that was of some interest, all the best to you.

 

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2018 is almost over…

I had a lot of fun with the hobby in 2018 and this is my year end account of a lot of the things that has been and some things to come.  I really hope that your 2019 will be great and I am really grateful for all of you who visit this blog on a regular or occasional basis. One of the best things, this year, is that the Little One is getting more interested and involved in the hobby – thanks Mate!

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Also a big thank you to Nick Dorrell, who I did the Horka Battle with at Joy of Six in the Summer, also all the Twitter people (it is a very nice place to be, I call myself Per at Roll a One there), and all the fantastic hobby related podcasts I listen to in between the audible books whilst I try to put paint in the right places. These include, the Too Fat Lardies Oddcast, the Veteran Wargames, the Grognard’s Files, the WSS Podcast, Henry Hyde’s Battlegames (not strictly a podcast but he has done a lot of great ones this year), Wargames Recon, and Trouble at T’Mill.

I also regularly listen to the Meeples and Miniatures podcast and inspired by them the Little One and I thought we would do our own top 5 games we played this year, in no particular order.

  • What a Tanker – this is so much fun and it inspired me to do a lot of Russian and Finnish tanks during the Sovietic Summer Offensive 1944. I also did a List for the Finnish Tanker (see more below). A brilliantly simple, but not simplistic game, that I really recommend anyone to try (link to the rules here).
  • Bag the Hun – Provoked by some of the Twitter chums, you know who you are, but again got me a reason to explore some of the Finnish connection. The Finns basically flew the shit of the machines they had and painting those tumbling dice plane has been great fun (see more below). We only did a few games to learn the rules – we will definitely fly more next year (link to the rules here).
  • Maurice – we just pulled this out for our Christmas game but ended up playing another two games in the last few days. I had forgotten how good of a game this is, it really gives a very nice feeling of the larger battle with the cards adding that narrative feel and grand excitement to the outcome of the battle.  I wrote about this battle in the last blog post (see here) and a link to the rules here.
  • Saga – we have had fun this year using the Second edition of the rules (see more below) and we recently got the book of battles that is a fantastic product – that could be used for other games than Saga (link to the rules here).
  • Mutants and Death Ray Guns – In the quest for rule sets for my Mutant 1984 project (see more below) we have had some fun games using these rules. Perfect for smallish skirmish (link to the rules here).

Next year we are looking forward to playing all of the above, but also a few other games:

  • Star Wars Legion – the Little One got a fair amount for this game over Christmas. Looking forward to see if the force is with us or not. I am not a great fan in doing 28mm painting because it takes too long and I am crap at it – so I think we have more than our hand full with this project.
  • Chain of Command – I want to finish the Swedish platoon write-up and do a few Scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell.  Part of this plan had some of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here. I also would like to do some scenarios based on some of the fighting in the ‘Unknown Soldier’ book/movie during the Finnish Continuation war (I made some assault boats I really would like to put in a scenario). I also need to finish the Germans for the 29th Lets Go Pint sized campaign.

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Other stuff – I am excited about the Rebels and Patriot Rules, as we have enjoyed playing Pikeman’s Lament and the Rampant rules.  I also think the Little One is getting ready for a few more involved rulesets, like Twilight of the Sun King and some higher level WW2 rules.  In addition I will do the final battle of the Towards Moscow Trilogy, Poltava 1709, at Joy of Six, but plenty more of that next year.

Here are a summary of the projects I have been working on this year….

Kirbekan 1885 – 6mm Sudan/Egypt Colonial Project

This project was started this year to try out Peter Rileys draft “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” rules.  It has been fun to paint the Baccus colonial range. I will need to get some terrain together so I can have a go with the rules next year. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – making a start

Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – a little more effort (Part 2)

Kirbekan 1885 – (Mostly) Some Mahdists

Kirbekan 1885 – End of the Beginning (Part 4)

Bison Riders – 6mm Armies of Dragon Pass Project (or something similar)

Rapier Miniatures are doing some fantastic Glorantha stuff in 6mm and 28mm, I could not resist to get a few of their Bison riders. They painted up really well. Here are few pictures and a link to the relevant blog posting below.

Riders on the Storm Bull

WW2 Platoons, 15mm for Chain of Command (or any other platoon based game)

I painted a fair few Platoons with supports this year, including a Swedish what-if platoon (with some initial notes on the composition to do a list for Chain of Command). Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – the bare bones

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Part 2 fleshing it out

29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – the American Platoon

29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – Houses and Battlefield Clutter in 15mm

More Platoons (Soviet and Italian) for Chain of Command and Lights

Russian Scout Platoon for CoC, Painting Rig and Strelkovy

Greek WW2 Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

Finnish Continuation War – Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

Finnish Assault Boats for Chain of Command

Winter War Terrain, 15mm Chain of Command

I also did a full set of markers etc, to use for winter war gaming of Chain of Command. I especially enjoyed doing the patrol markers and the tall pine trees. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Markers for Winter War Chain of Command, Marching Colours and Henry Hyde

The Winter War effort continues – Making tall pine trees

More Markers for Chain of Command and Command & Colors Romans

Vulgar Display of Power – Just a little bit of progress on the Winter War Stuff

Boxing up the Winter War for a while

What a Finnish Tanker – Mikä tankkeri!, 15mm

Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below. We have played a lot of games with these rules and made a list for the Finnish Tanker so we could play Continuation War scenarios. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Who needs a Tiger when you have Sisu? – Finnish Late Continuation War Career Ladder for What a Tanker

More options for the Finnish Tanker

Finnish Aircraft – Bag the Hun, 1/600 Tumbling Dice Airplanes

Excellent fun painting these, putting decals on and exploring this ruleset.  Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Finnish Aircraft and a Swedish Army

The Russian Army at Horka and some more 1/600 aircraft

Got myself a Hex Mat

Horka 1708, 6mm Great Northern War, Twilight of the Sun King

This was this years grand project, the biggest one we have done to date.  Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

The What-if Battle Horka 1708 at Joy of Six 2018

(TMT) Horka 1708 – Making the Battle Mat – Part 1

(TMT) Horka 1708 – Making the Mat – Part 2 and ready and steady for Joy of Six 2018

Mutant 1984, 28mm Post-apocalyptic madness

This is my old 1980s RPG nostalgia project. I let you read up on it, I even built a 28mm log cabin. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Older blokes in robes! work in progress and the Grognard Files

Limited progress, but bear with me!

Pushing forward towards Moscow and Nekropolis

More Mutant 1984, other RPGs and all is the Dice’s Fault

Painted Cabin and Snowmobiles – Mutant 1984

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 1 Opening Scence

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 2 – The Attack of the Robots

Saga in 6mm

Have a look at this massive blog post.

GNW Horka 1708 update, Tiny Tin Troops, 2nd Edition Saga and Helion Books

/ I hope that was of some interest, I will be back next year at some point.

Featured

A Christmas Carolean Battle Tale

To Katie, Henry, Mike and Neil (I will explain later),

I have a twitter account Per at RollaOne (@roll_a_one) were I ran a vote on whether to do a Christmas game with Swedes fighting Danes or Saxons. Here are the results. Being Swedish I did not want to us to do a game without the Swedes on the table.  It would have been a strange Great Northern War battle without them anyway.

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So here a presentation of the forces and a short AAR with some picture of the Battle…

The Rules, Opposing Commanders and their Forces

We decided to use the Maurice Rules for the game and made two 100-pointish armies each. 1 unit is represented by 2 No. 60 by 30mm bases (a battery by 1 No. smaller base) – normally you use 4 square bases for a unit – this is 2 bases – the only issue is that the column formation looks funny – I can live with that.

maurice-coverMaurice is an excellent game by Sam Mustafa and you can download some information on his webpage, including a lite version that you can play with (link here).  The rules works well for us and suits the way we play.

We have not done a what-if, instead it is a just a battalion level clash with familiar names of regiments for both sides, but with two totally fictitious Generals (quickly sketched up by yours truly).

I am using Maurice because I would like to do a little campaign, at some point, of the Swedish lacklustre efforts against the Prussians during the Seven Years War.  This is a chance to dust off these rules that I think gives a fun flair and works for the Period.  It is a card driven system, cards are used for activation and in additon can give bonus to firing (called Volley in the game), actions (charge, march, bombard, rally) or events can be played.  You can also buy national advantages that gives your army bonuses.  There is also a good campaign system, heroes (notables that work as supporting Commanders) and other stuff not covered here.

I made some notes on Maurice earlier with regards to the Great Northern War era (link to that blog post here).  In addition we are using the special rules for stationary artillery and pikes (for the Swedes).

This is not a review of the rules and I will just discuss the set-up and the result of the Battle briefly, there are a lot of reviews and playthroughs on the net, as the game has been around for some time, that you may want to check out. I really like the concept and the card system.  As you will see in the actual game we played it creates a narrative.

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Some of the optional national characteristics cards we will be using (more detail below).

The Danish Side

The Danish Major General Schmeicel is a tired and laconic individual, but can cause some occasional spark on the battlefield.  He is mainly an infantry specialist and have fought many campaigns in central Europe and his men are well drilled in firing – in accordance with the Dutch School.  This places less emphasis on the bayonet and is highly dependent on platoon firing with a rippling of fire down the whole length of the battalion. His strength lies in a prolonged firefight again the inferior firing Swedish units but will find it difficult once caught in the melee. The conscript horse units are represented by Dragoons.

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Major General Schmeicel

For the Danish side we went for the following:

  • National Advantage: Lethal Volleys – 12 AP (this to represent better fire drill than the charge oriented Swedes)
  • 8 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 48 AP
  • 2 No. Regular Cavalry  (Trained) – 12 AP
  • 3 No. Regular Cavalry (Conscript) – 12 AP
  • 4 No. Artillery units – 10 AP
  • Improve two units to Elite – 5 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 1 No. Infantry)
  • A total of 99 AP, 16 infantry bases, 10 cavalry bases and 4 Artillery bases.

We are also assuming Stationary batteries for the Artillery (See Chapter 10 – advanced rules).  In this era

Resulting in the following force:

  • Foot Guard/Queens Req, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Grenadiers, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Marine Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Frijs Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Arnoldts, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Zepelin Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Staffels/Kragh, Regular Infantry, Trained

  • Viborg/Aarhus National, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Horse Guard, Regular Cavalry, Elite
  • 2nd Fynske, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Life Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
  • Bulow Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
  • Jyske Land Dragoon, Regular Cavalray, Conscript
  • 1 to 4 Artillery Units

The Swedish Side

The Swedish Major General Stryptagh has risen quickly through the ranks and is one of the Kings youngest Generals. Keen to impress, he is rash and a fully aligned with the Swedish offensive tactical doctrine (Gå-På).  He needs to get into contact as quickly as possible to win the day with superior shock cavalry as well as pike armed infantry units, hitting hard. The religious doctrine is represented in the use of clerics which is more to give an edge than clerics running around throwing incence.  The cleric will be marked using individually bases figures. There is no difference between Cavalry and Dragoons in the Swedish army in this game, or in reality, the are all count as galloping shock attacking cavalry.

As elegantly described in the book “Vägen till Poltava” (‘The Road to Poltava’, by Konovaltjuk and Lyth) the Swedish doctrine of marching slowly and steadily, towards the enemy in silence, then fire a Salvo at 70 steps and then at 30 steps from the enemy, with no reloading, before charging in, was based on simple mathematics.

Here is a rough translation of the relevant passage.

“The Swedish method of infantry attack was based on the limited accuracy (spread) of musket fire and the time to reload for a new salvo.  The spread meant that units preferred to shoot at the same time with many weapons – salvo fire – and hoped this would create gaps in the human wall in front of them, even though many shots failed to ignite or missed their targets.  A salvo had a limited impact on distances above 70 steps (50 meters) – except against cavalry that had a bigger target area and were the horses reaction was more important than the riders. In shooting repeated salvos, whether they were fired by rank, platoon or by all, you had to wait for all to reload.  The time for unified reloading has been discussed a lot and sometimes assessed to be at least one minute and up to two minutes.  In a minute the enemy had time to march one hundred steps (75-80 meters) and run 150 steps.  If the effective range for a salvo was 70 steps the unit that opened fire at a longer distance became a defenceless target for the opponent that calmly and steadily advanced and fired its salvo at a shorter distance and therefore with a bigger impact. The Gå-På method was based on this simple calculation.”

In reality it seems that the first and second salvos were fired even closer as the war progressed.  It was very effective and very often led to a routing enemy at or before contact with no protracted melee. The horse charged in with a wedge shaped formation as was equally offensive and did normally not fire any weapons at all.

For the Swedish side we went for the following:

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Major General Stryptagh
  • National Advantage: Cavaliers – 9 AP (Shock Cavalry), Clerics – 9 AP (to illustrate Swedish Determination) and A la Baïonnette! – 9 AP (shock infantry)
  • 5 No. Regular Cavalry  (Trained) – 30 AP
  • 5 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 30 AP
  • Improve four units to Elite – 14 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 3 No. Infantry)
  • Also Swedish infantry are armed with pike and we are using the advance rules for Pikes (See Chapter 10 – Advanced Rules). Typically a third of the Soldier had pikes in the early Stages of the War.
  • A total of 101 AP. 10 No. Cavalry Bases and 10 No. Infantry Bases.

Resulting in the following force:

  • Närke-Varmland, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Västerbotten, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Västermanland, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Kronobergs, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Södermanland, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Queen Dowagers Horse, Regular Cavalry, Elite
  • Bremiska Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Bassewitz Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Norra Skanska Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Nylands Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained

We then made our selection from the Winter based stuff, we used about 25% of it.

The Battlefield

We fought the battle on the dining table, using a 3 by 4.5 feet snow mat I have had for some time. With the relative small forces at hand (and a base width at 30mm) this should work fine.

We drew the following battle field card.

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That is not my hairline but Maurice de Saxe.

Going through the motions of the card we find that we can place a maximum of 1 hill, 2 marshes, 1 rocky ground, 2 towns/village, and 6 wood terrain features (the red around marking around the forest number indicates that it is mandatory to choose some forest features (makes sense since the battles is in a woodland area).

Next was scouting and this is done by rolling a die each.  The Little One rolled 6 and I rolled, yes you got it, One!. There are modifiers based on the number of units you have of the type on the card (regular cavalry and irregular infantry in this case) but there was no point checking this, the Little One won. He wanted to be the attacker! – it was what the Swedes did in this era.

We ended up choosing two town/village and a few forest terrain areas. The table was set up as follows.

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Swedes on the Left hand side and the longer Danish line on the left. There is a village on the Left Danish flank as well as on the Right.

In addition being the attacker the Little One was allowed an additional ‘mercenary’ units – we just added another Swedish infantry unit.

We then recorded our Army Morale values which were 17 for the Danes and 11 for the Swedes, this is based on number regular of units!

A little bit of shuffling and card allocation later we could start the Battle.

The Battle

The Jingle Bells rang and we were ready to get going….

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“Straighten the Lines, the Swedes are coming” was heard over the snow cladded fields!.
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Village of Højreflanken in the background, with the Danish Dragoons and Cuirassiers getting ready for rumble
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The Danish Commander shouting his orders of the day, “Stand and deliver!”.
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The Venstreflanke Village on the left, with a tasty objective marker!
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The Swede breaking the line to get around the forest area! The Dinosaur was not part of the game.
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An excellent opportunity to cause some disruption from a distance, but sadly Ones are not very useful, not even with “Well Laid Guns!”
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Neither is Two
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…as I said above, 4 rolls an no effect at all… 
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Swedish left flank Cavalry ploughing forward. They then ended up more or less staying there to the end. Perhaps they got lost?
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Another Bombardment opportunity… the other rolls as bad, no yield at all.
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And the right cavalry is coming too!
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The Centre gets organised for the attack!
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I think I rolled more Ones than any other number on this day… but then what is the name of this blog? – it is not just a gimmick!
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That regiment is getting far too close….
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Nearly there, now our Lethal Volleys and Cannister fire will rip the Swedes into pieces!.  “GIVE FiRE!”
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But the order seems too late, as the Little One plays this interruption and get the first Volley in. Causing one level of disruption on the Grenadier Unit.
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I got 3 hits on my volley but failed to cause any damage from any of the hits (yes it is a roll to hit, then to damage depending on unit quality system)
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On his round he decided not to do any firing, which means I do not fire back either. However I had got lucky and I got this card. So I told him we would shoot.
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However I only managed two hits (cannister rolls two dice for hits) with minimal damage caused.
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He then went all in with this card and it felt like the beginning of the end…
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My Grenadier’s shat themselves. A white field coloured brown!
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My diversion on my left flank! Going on the attack, but he dealt with that swiftly later on.
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Raptured Danish line
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Rolling like a God that Little One!
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Another set of hits!
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Another one… 
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Diminishing Danes…
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The Little One managed to rally most of the Little Pathetic disruption/damage I had caused.
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…and even had time to use a round to play an event to cause me even more overall morale loss – the Death of a Hero on the Battlefield!
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Nearly there….
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And a round later! Not the happies nation in the World on this day.  Perhaps a Danish player would have done better, sorry (Jeg er ked af jeg rodet op!).

Assessment

The Game got a thumbs up from the Little One.  I have to agree, although the write-up perhaps gives the impression of Swedish onslaught it hang somewhat in the balance. The cards are interesting and the national characteristics gives the right Great Northern War feel we get from the traditional history books.

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We had blast, but then we always do. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a really good Christmas if that is your thing, if not have a blast anyway. I will be back with some reflective stuff before the end of the year.  That will be the normal review of the Year, from this/my blogs perspective (and there is a wide variety of stuff to cover), and some Crystal ball gazing for next year. Hope you will be back for that! The next big project is Poltava, with some 350 bases on the table (the battle we just presented above had 50 bases) at Joy of Six in July – it will be a spectacle.  Here is a “nice” video about the battle from YouTube.

A sad but also, I hope, inspiring end to this post…

Being somewhat detached from worldly events at times, I totally missed that  my favourite Danish Artist Kim Larsen died earlier this year, on the 30th September 2018. This was after a long battle with prostate cancer.

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I remember many drunken occasions in my youth listening to his band Gasolin and have been listening to him since. I have included my favourite song below – “Det bedste til mig og mine venner” (“The best to me and my friends”).

This year I have also sadly been reminded of the issues of mental health within my family, friends and in the work place. I am happy that the awareness and understanding is increasing in our society but I think there is a lot more to do.  In the wargaming community I especially applaud efforts from Katie Aidley, Henry Hyde and the Meeples and Miniatures crew (of course there are others too).  They have all in their own way inspired me to reflect, consider and learn new things about these issues.  This blog post is truly dedicated to them.

I let you explore the fantastic creative work of these fantastic people on your own, but here is a little bit of help for you to get started.

Katie Aidley – https://katiesgamecorner.com/

Henry Hyde – http://henrys-wargaming.co.uk/

Meeples and Miniatures – https://meeples.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/meeples-miniatures-episode-257-the-devil-in-your-head/

I had a Christmas Greeting from an ex-colleague who retired a few years ago, he said some nice things, and one part really made me happy “…working with you was a pleasure. And I noted you covered by back quite a lot”. He actually covered mine and many others backs all the time. It is what builds strong teams, friendships and people! Look out for each other!, … and yourself!.

Remember, “the best for me and my friends!”.

Rest in peace Kim.