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The Swedish Infantry for Horka 1709 and some post-Salute 2018 Stuff

“…but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.” 

From about a week ago!

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We have been busy with the Little Ones year end Rugby Tournament the last week so I have not been doing that much hobby wise lately.  We went to Isle of Wight and had a blast – it is a wonderful part of the world.

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The Little One getting ready for another day of fun!

 

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Isle of Wight is a nice part of England and with the ferry crossing it almost feels like a “proper holiday!”

I realise that it is now about 10 days ago since Salute 2018, so I think there are plenty of better places for an overview of Salute –  I suggest you try Big Lee’s most excellent blog here.   Alternatively, or as well, you could go to youtube and watch the terrain tutors very nice video of the show (press play below) – if you have not checked out his other stuff do that as well.

What follows are just a few snippets of things from my personal experience.

Twisting the Dragon’s Tail

On St George’s Day! 100 years ago the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.   The idea was to block the canal entrance by sinking obsolete ships – this to stop U-boats and light shipping from leaving port.

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Lovely model of the Vindictive (An Arrogant Class Cruiser).  Her guns were replaced with flamethrowers, howitzers and mortars for the raid.

The game presented by the Maidstone Wargames society showed the actions of the HMS Vindictive that carried a troop or royal marines that were to take out some German Gun positions.  It was a beautifully presented game and the ship was a thing of beauty and  scratch built (using a lot of tomato pure tubes as sheeting material – that is hard core in my books – “What a we having for Dinner today?”, “It is another round of Pasta with Tomato Sauce!”).

Mission Command: Normandy

Mission Command is a new set of WW2 rules that promises to capture the essence of tactical and operational combat for company level to division level.  It captures the way in which different armies (nationalities) operated in practice in terms of tactical and operational command, control and communication.  It was a pleasure to have a chat with the guys.  I found it intriguing – more information here.  It is currently at the final stages of playtesting and a relatively inexpensive beta ruleset can be obtain through the link above.  The game is Umpired and orders are given at the beginning of them game but can be modified.  However the changes to the orders have to be achieved within command structures where the fog of war, imperfect information and confusion can cause unintended outcomes.

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Mission Command: Normandy. Bocage, I think they are from the Tree Fella!  Ground scale is 1mm equals 2 meters.  Each figure represents 5 to 10 men and a vehicle model 2 to 5 vehicles.  They used flames of war based models on the day.  Further theatres and armies will be covered. I really like the players manual that can be downloaded from the their page – it has some interesting overviews of doctrine, practice and organisation for the Americans, British and Germans (here).

The Battle of Foy

Most of us remember this from the phenomenal Band of Brothers book and TV-series.  This table was a joy to watch and the group presenting it was passionate about sharing their enthusiasm.  I have a special place somewhere for snow terrain and this one was inspiring.  The miniatures used were 20mm and it was played using the Bolt Action rules.  The tall pine trees are made with the same technique as I used from my trees earlier in the year (more about how to make them here).

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Tumbling Dice and another Diversion – Bag the Finn!

Paul at Tumbling Dice (link here) have a nice range of 1/600 aircraft and I bought myself a bundle of his nice aircraft that I want to use for some aerial dogfights between Finland and Soviet.  They are very nice and they are relatively easy to paint them and it will not cost you a fortune to get started.  I have some already that I used for Battle of Britain 1940.

I also got myself a selection of books from Amazon recently about the Finnish and Sovietic air force of the period – mostly second hand from Amazon at a not too heavy cost.

 

I will be using the Too Fat Lardies rules Bag the Hun for these (link here).  The Scramble supplement have a little piece of using the Rules for the Finnish Winter War to get me started, but I think I will focus on the Continuation War period – those Brewster Buffalos looks far too cool!.

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A selection of Aircraft used by the Finnish Airforce in the Winter War and early part of the Continuation War, including the Bristol Blenheim, Gloster Gladiator, Brewster Buffalo, Curtiss Mohawk, Morane-Saulnier MS406, Fokker DXXI and VL Myrsky.  This is from the Tumbling Dice trade stand from Salute. They are between 10mm to 20mm long.

 

I was not going to but I got some of Lifecolors nice paints for this project (I got all the colours individually, from their paint set pictures below a part from the black as I thought I could get away with it!).  This is a perfect on the move project as it does not take a lot of space – a handful of paints and a handful of planes and you can take off anywhere!

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The full set from Lifecolor

The only question is what playing surface to use.  It would be really good have a aerial picture with good resolution of a winter land scape from above.  Have not seen anyone doing one and I do not know where to get a good resolution picture from – any ideas gladly taken?

 

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Like this but, taken from a higher altitude.

 

Eureka!

With some help from the Welsh Wizard, Mike Hobbs, we manage to order for a sufficient amount to get a healthy discount from Eureka (more here) – who did their annual trip from down under to Salute. They have a good selection of stuff and I got myself a lot of 15mm (some WW2 Australians with Great Coat and Russian Partisans) and some 28mm stuff (for my Mutant 1984).

 

I will show these in a later post as I have no intention of doing anything with them at the moment.  Big shout out to Nic and crew – see you next year!

 

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My favourite miniature in my Eureka Order was this Boiler Suit Monkey with a Submachine Gun M/45B – also known as Carl Gustav.  Today an obsolete weapon (being developed in the 1940s) having its last years of service with the Swedish Home Guards.  But in Mutant 1984 this is a potent and useful weapon.

 

 

What a Tanker!

Too Fat Lardies were demonstrating their What a Tanker game and it looked great.  Go and do yourself a favour and buy the book from here.  If you need a little more convincing check out the stuff below.  Had a good chat with Rich, Nick and Sidney – thanks for your time!

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The Command Dice results

For more on the game if you do not want to take my word for it.

A video by the Lardies themselves:

Also check out these links for podcast whilst you paint your tanks:

  • The Veteran Wargamer (Jay) have gone Tank Mad in a wonderful way – check out his two podcasts for more here and here.
  • ..and the Meeples and Miniatures here.

We are hopefully doing a game of What a Tanker this weekend using some 15mm German tanks vs Russian or American tanks – preparations are underway more to come.

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However 6mm may be a good option and I spotted Baccus Shermans and Panzer IVs at Salute – they look very nice and the Sherman is due out very soon.

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Baccus tanks – very nice!

 

Stäket 1719

Michael Leck and friends, as have become tradition, presented yet another stunning table with a historical battle with a Swedish denominator – this time depicting the battle of Stäket 1719 (more here). This is a small battle at the end of the Northern War with with the King having been shot in Norway in 1718 and with the Russians and Cossacks terrorising the Swedish east coast with a fleet of Galleys (this was know as the Russian Harryings (Rysshärjningarna).  The attack was repulsed but the Russians managed to escape without any damage to their fleet allowing them to continue their harrying the following year.

 

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Mr Leck himself – setting things up!
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The Pikeman’s Lamen rules that Michael co-wrote with Dan Mersey were used to run the Battle
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Jan’s homemade galleys – they were “mass produced” by making a master and a mould!
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Overview!   You can read more about this battle on the Dalauppror blog here.

 

The galleys and the terrain boards (and a few of the miniatures) were made by Jan (who is another exile Swede living in the UK). The rest of the miniatures were flown in with Michael and chums.

As I have declated before Michael, and I, used to roll dice and use our imagination in the same role-playing club many moons ago.  It is always nice to see him and his latest stuff – he actually brought me two presents, a giant stag beetle and a Swedish king.  Many thanks Michael!

 

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This Giant Stag Beetle will be bent into shape and used for my Mutant 1984 project.  It is one of the most memorable monsters from the 1980s rpg.  The miniature is 28mm.

 

 

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This is the stats from the original 1984 rulebook, not very clever but big!  A gigantic Stagbeetle is 7 meters long, 2 meters tall and 2.5 meters wide. It is very aggressive. Its colour is blue-black with blue jaws.

 

 

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The next gift came in a nice box and is a miniature depicting the Swedish King Gustav Vasa. The model is based on a painting by Carl Larsson showing his entry to Stockholm as King 1523 (more about him here).

 

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This is Michae’s painted version of the model.  Mine is on the lead mountain – maturing as Sidney would say.  Some more background on the model can be found here.

How much is your collection worth!

I also had a nice chat and a coffee with good friend Peter Riley who is running the Wargamer Collection Calculator (I have discussed them before on the blog, here) that now features a wargames directory with more than 1,000 traders, clubs and societies – is your club on it?  Their base offer is in effect a collection manager where you can log you wargames collection in words and pictures with some high level estimate of its potential worth – perhaps for the purpose of using this as a basis for a separate insurance of your collection.  Even if you do not want to insure your collection you could perhaps use it as a collection manager. Registration is free.  Check them out here.

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…I think that represents a biased but still fair sample of Salute goodies!  I forgot the Daleks, here we go.

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Horka 1708 update – Swedish Infantry and Artillery thoughts

I have been working away with the Horka project and here is the Swedish Infantry contingent. 28 bases (compared to the 64 Russian ones, presented earlier here).

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I am also working on Artillery and have come to some kind of compromise for artillery. The Russian used a lot of smaller artillery pieces – battalion guns.  In the accounts of Poltava once of the key elements is the Russian Artillery ripping away the advancing Swedes, changing to shrapnel for the last 200 meters.  Placing a few cannons on the sides, as is the typical set-up, where the cannons representing 8 to 16 pieces of something like are shown as two bases on the sides, that does not really convey the story.  So I will use thin frontage bases (15mm wide)  and put them between the Russian battalions to illustrate these pieces.  It may be overkill from a ratio vs model count – but we can deal with this and having a quick glance at the way it looks I do not think there is a way back.  More about artillery in a later post.  This was just me getting carried away!

 

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Fire!
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Looks good enough for me!

 

/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boxing up the Winter War for a while

Second blog update today, as I was a week behind due to various reasons…

I made a New Year resolution of getting my Winter War progressed and I think I have done so during January and February (if you go back and check some of the previous blogs). However it is time to box it up for now and progress with the hobby day job of getting ready for Joy of Six this year – I have no idea about my current progress on this project as I do some stuff on it every now and then. I will spend the next few weeks getting this back on track – I suspect that I will need to paint a fair few Swedish infantry units.  So the Winter war gets packed away …. (links to the relevant blog entries forming part of the winter war stuff at the end of this blog posting).

….and the 6mm Great Northern War is back in focus.

However before the snow melts let us have a look at some of the Winter War stuff I have been working on since the last Winter War blog update 2 weeks ago.  First some road tiles and then a log fire.

 

Doing Winter Roads

I wanted to make some wintery roads and got myself some self-adhesive vinyl planks.  I have used these before and they come in 3 foot lengths. At these lengths they are fragile and can easily snap but it allows the creation of longer pieces – which I like. If I am not careful enough I have to make a new one! – no problem.  You could make shorter lengths if you are worried about handling and storing them.

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About a tenner from Wickes – 7 planks.

The width of the Raate road was 5m (so in 15mm the same as 50mm).  The planks are 150mm so I used the whole plank width to be able to model the cleared sides of the road as well as the elevated road surface in the middle. I did this by cutting 50mm wide lengths from a plank and sticking them on the top of the base plank I was doing.

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Like this!

Then I mixed some brown emulsion, caulk (decorators  filler, or alternatively an acrylic sealant), bird sand until I get a Nutella like consistency!

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Then I covered the roads with the brown mix, I added some extra sand on the sides and added some tyre tracks with a kebab stick.

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Then I let it dry for a an evening and then shook of any excess sand and trimmed the sides to make them less straight.

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Then I drybrushed the road sections with white acrylic hobby paint.

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Then I added (on the sides of the road only) the snow flock mixed with mod podge (matt) or PVA glue and a dash of white paint (acrylic) – I think I prefer the mod podge but pva glue is more affordable.  On the top of the road surface I use mod podge mixed 1 to 2.5 with Water (you could use PVA instead of Mod Podge) and sprinkle some snow flock over it (I did not include any acrylic paint in the mix that went of the road).  Let it dry and apply some Varnish on top (matte variety).

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Looks pretty good to me!

 

Log fire prototype

I wanted some fires on the table for a scenario where the column of Sovietic vehicles have stopped and the Sovietic soldiers have dug in and Finns attack at dawn while it is still dark.  I had seen some LEDs being used for fire/smoke markers in the past (using the round LED flickering candles).

I went on eBay and ordered a set of red constant light LED 3mm 9v-12v (I got ten for £3.99 including postage)  and the same but orange flickering (random flashing).  I also got a tube of bare conductive electric paint glue (to avoid needing to solder the wire) for £6.91 and a battery holder with a switch for £3.94.

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Then I connected up 2 of the orange and one of the red LEDs with the battery box (adding 8 1.5V batteries of course).  If you do this, be careful and do not leave it unattended until you are sure it is working as sparks can fly and cause devastation even at these low voltages. Anyway here is how it looks like.

Then I put the construct and some of the cabling on a base and glued it down with hot glue, covered it up with non-drying clay, put some stones around the fire, a dollop of clear silicone on top and pulled it up a little bit to look like flames.

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Halfway through the process!

 

Here is the finished article.

I really enjoyed doing this, a few notes:

  • Unless you have a permanent setting where the cabling and LED are in you board there will be an elevation around the fire – I suspect no one would put a fire on top of a little hill surrounded by enemies, if they would make a fire at all!  If I develop this further I may look at incorporating this into the roads with fires on the sides (in the ditches) or having small hills on the sides with the fires at the start of the slopes.
  • There are some lower voltage LED that would required smaller flat batteries, I may look into this instead.
  • It was a fun little diversion.

/Until next

Winter war related blog postings to date

Christmas, TMT Progress and Talvisota / Winter War Chain of Command – Part 1 The Soviet Platoon

Year End and Talvisota / Winter War Chain of Command – Part 2 The Finnish Platoon

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

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

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Work is taking more than its fair share of my time at the moment, but it happens to most of us.  However, I have had some time to get some things done over the last week or so, this is just a summary of that.  As always, I do hope it is of some interest.

  • Chain of Command – dice, casualty markers and suppression markers
  • Gaslands – finally a game

Finnish and Sovietic dice

I am currently working on some terrain and markers for winter war Chain of Command.  I wanted to have some dedicated Finnish and Sovietic dice so looked around and found a fair few Sovietic options but only one Finnish (very nice ones, sold by Dice of War in Australia, see here). These are not specific ones needed for the game, just the type where the 6 is replaced by a unit or a country symbol and could therefore be used for any game that uses D6s. I wanted to have blue ones for the Finns and Red ones for the Soviets, and thought I could perhaps do some myself.  I found some 16mm blank dice on ebay and got myself a few different colours (these are from China so will take a week or two to arrive!, at least if you live in the UK).

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I then ordered some labels/stickers from Amazon (13mm).

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From Label Planets website (link here) you can get a word template for this label set and buy bigger quantities as well.  From this you can design your own labels.

I wanted to have 1 to 5 in the same font as used for the Chain of Command rules.  This font is called Vulgar Display of Power (download it here).  In addition I wanted the hammer and sickle for the Soviets and the hat emblem that the normal enlisted men had for the Finns, replacing number 6.

 

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Here is are the files with the sheet I made for the Soviets (Russian Dice) and sheet for the Finns (Finnish Dice), these are word files.  You can change these to add your own colours and symbols.

I have to admit that I had some problem with the laser printer I was using in aligning the sheet so that it printed out correctly (I wasted three sheets but luckily managed to get two done, which was all I needed)- the final result is not perfect and if you have trouble I can only say I am sorry.

This is how they turned out.

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I will make some yellow Sovietic ones and some white for Finns for Command Dice rolls.

Dead Soviets

One of the striking things with the Winter War are all the pictures of dead Sovietic soldiers especially in the fighting North of Lake Ladoga. Behind my romanticised view of the war and Finnish bias, I am not immune to the hell those Sovietic soldiers had to go through trapped on those wintery stretches of roads, with inadequate supplies of just about everything.  Go to the Wikipedia page and read about the Battle of Suomussalmi (link here) and check the losses on both sides – 50% losses for the Soviets and less than 10% for the Finns.

To create a reminder of this I did a few terrain features with dead Sovietic soldiers (I keep on using this term as the soldiers in the Red army were not only of Russian nationality).  They were based on Peter Pig casualty markers (based on anything with a great coat and headswaps to pointy Russian hats and early war helmets).

 

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Some Casualties, clay, stones and twigs from the garden

 

…and here with some painting, winterization and blood (sorry!).

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Suppression Markers

These are based on the concept of snow flying around as bullets hit the area.  I used something called Universal Cooker Hood Filter to do the effect. It is like cotton but much stronger, I attached a part of it with superglue and when dry I dragged it out and trimmed it. I also added a little bit of snow flock carefully on the cloud.  I think they do the job well enough.

 

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Ivan with his LMG is under fire and splinters are flying from the tree stump
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A simpler construction
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Snow splashing around a stone
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The full collection

Explosion Markers

I have seen explosions markers made out of clump foliage and wanted to make some for the winter war table as it will contrasts nicely with the snowy background, and also have some practical game purpose.  So I searched around the net for some ideas and found a few different options.

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Ivan successfully rolled 12 saving throws

I made my set of  explosion markers by following the recipe by the Terrain Tutor (link here).  Always excellent, this time he blew me away again!

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Terrain Tutor – check him out! Excellent.

 

I also had a game of Gaslands with my micro cars! (using 50% templates), and it was great, but more on that another time.

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/ All the best (yes I know I should be doing GNW!)

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More Markers for Chain of Command and Command & Colors Romans

This is a follow-on from the post two weeks show some more Chain of Command markers I need to play the game.  These are the ones I have done (for other markers go here):

  • Patrol Markers – done, see below.
  • Suppression fire – done, see below.

Patrol Markers

John Bond has a good guide on doing patrol markers and I was going to do them in this fashion using poker chips and then put stickers on – elegant and what you need (link here).

Having read the guide I got myself some Poker chips and found some Finnish and Sovietic symbols on the net to make the stickers from. I then thought that it would be cool to add some skiers on the finish ones and then it all went in another direction, adding stumps, trees and bushes.  Overkill – perhaps, but why not? Difficult to turn these around to indicate that they are locked down!  Had great fun doing them.

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The Finnish Patrol Markers on Blue Poker Chips

 

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“Should I take out the platoon now or tell the others?” (Battle Front Miniature with a twig and some trees)
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“Can’t wait for this patrol phase to be over so I can get into the Sauna again!” (Peter Pig German Ski Trooper with some trees)
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“I wished the Russians could have moved Leningrad instead of the border” (Peter Pig German Ski Trooper with a Piece of Clump Foliage pretending to be a bush)
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“Finally it is a little bit downhill!” (Peter Pig German Skitrooper with clump foliage and twig)
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“The Officer said that the wolves will eat well this winter – I get it now”, (You guessed it another Peter Pig German Ski trooper with a tree).
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The Sovietic Patrol Markers
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“Do not worry about the yellow snow, it was me. I see Finns over there” (Battlefront Miniatures with Peter Pig Russian Early Helmet head swap, a twig and some clump foliage).
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“Look they are cooking Sausages!” (Battlefront Miniatures , a twig and some clump foliage)
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“Forward comrade, for the Motherland” (Battlefront Miniatures , a tree and some clump foliage).
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“Aren’t we a little expose here Comrade?” (Battlefront Miniatures and a twig).
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“There is something moving over that field” (Battlefront Miniatures , a twig and a tree).

Suppression Fire

I made these from 10mm wide strips of some wood I had lying around – I suppose I could have used lollipop sticks as well. I added some twigs, green foam, stones and winterises and added some fluffy stuffing mixed with pva glue and some white paint. The last part to stimulate snow flying as shots are being fired.

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Bases before snow is added

 

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With snow and flying snow, to indicate areas that are being subject to firing.

I am going to make the suppression markers the same, but smaller.

Romans for Command & Colors

I also had my order in from Marching in Colours (link here) of some various miniatures – excellent as always.  I spent the weekend basing and a very limited amount of detailing a large lot of Roman (and allied) infantry that I will be using for my Command and Colors game (see more here although I have changed some of the proposed basing conventions).  I will do a write up of progress so far next week and also discuss the amount of bases and hexagons needed for this project. I am also working on the forces that will serve under the Barca family, but that will take some time to complete as I will need to focus on the Great Northern War stuff for the next few months.

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The Republican War Machine. I am doing 2 bases per Command & Color unit. Loose one get a dead parrot marker, loose two give it back and loose a base. loose three get the dead parrot marker again, etc. 50 by 20mm bases!
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Hastati/Princeps/Triari
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Velites
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Samnite Warriors
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Auxilia (Italian Allies)

/ Hope that was of some interest

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The Winter War effort continues – Making tall pine trees

If you recall episode 6 of the Band of Brothers TV series about the Battle of the Bulge, you may remember the wintery forest fighting scenes (well that was most of it anyway).  I really like the cinema photography of that episode (as well as many of the others) and the relatively clear line of sight with regards to obstacles – the dominant thing at forest floor level being the tree trunks.  Of course the Ardennes is not only tall pine trees but it is the tall pine trees that, in my view, helps to set the scene.  What breaks the line of site is not necessary the trees but the white fog that sweeps the forest and the uncertainty is what is lurking out there.

Mature Scandinavian pine forests look very much the same.

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Scandinavian Forest

Most winter wargames tables have traditional looking Christmas Trees with some snow – it is the ticket to add  some winter feel to your terrain.  The pine tree is an evergreen and the Christmas tree shape is easy to deal with and to pimp up to look wintery.  They are also relatively cheap, and easy to manage on the wargames table.  I have use these to, in my opinion, great effect for my Fraustadt 1706 and Gadebush 1712 tables that was laid out at Joy of Six in the past.

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I know I used this picture recently, but it is just to make a point!

However, in adhering to my new year resolution of doing some Chain of Command Winter war (that is the war fought between Finland and Soviet Union 1939 to 1940) I wanted to try to get some tall pine trees on the table.  I looked around the net for some commercial ones but did not find anything that I particularly liked.

I then stumbled upon an excellent video (link here) from the world of railway modelling and followed it to the letter, with the following exceptions:

  • Basing – I based mine on 40mm washers
  • Skipped the step on the highlighting with the turf (as, in my case, I will highlight with snow)
  • I did not add the additional branches on the tree trunk (but perhaps will do that later).
  • I added some snow (step 1 a mix of snowflock, white paint and glue added on the edges of the branches, dry, step 2 apply hairspray to the tree and let snowflock drop over the tree standing from above).

Have a look at the video (link here) by Luke Towan.

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That thing of using the steel brush on the balsa to create something that looks like a tree trunk is just amazingly efficient.

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Before and after the Steelbrushing

This is how mine turned out – a compromise if we compare to the picture of the forest above – but spot on for what I was looking for!

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I did a total of 19 in the first batch (as I can not count to 20 yet! – it seems).  I have made enough to do another 70 or so, but not sure how many I need.

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Took them for a test drive and I like the way they add to the overall look.

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Now I need to figure out a practical way of basing them  so they do not fall that easily – I suppose a bigger base with magnets or something like that.

The video show what material you will need to make the trees, it should be all straightforward, but if not let me know.  I speculate that the total outlay for doing the 95 trees would be in range of £70 to £100, which is less than £1 per tree.   I will let you know when I have finished my batch as I do not know how much spray paint and glue I will be using yet.  It is not a difficult project to do, but I trust that you are careful when you use any sharp tools and read the recommendations on any packaging on the materials that you use. I am not saying this as a general statement to absolve myself of any responsibility when you are sent on a violent trip to God-only-knows-where from spray glue fumes or sent to hospital to put your cut off finger back – I am saying this because I still tend to rush into things without considering the safety of myself or more importantly others around me before the production of a piece of shitty wargames terrain.

They are relatively sturdy (the spray glue and in my case the additional hairspray to apply the snow creates some rigidity) and will probably last for a while.  I suppose a few more coatings of hairspray would make it even stronger (use poundshop hairspray).

I am using mine to do Winter War using Chain of Command, but I suppose the trees could serve equally well in many other conflicts using other rules. 😉

I intend to do some for Summer actions during the Continuation war at some point, but without the snow of course.

 

/ Next time some more markers, take care

 

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

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I spent most of this weekend in Hospital as the Little Ones appendix needed to come out – he is the bravest of boys.  He was disappointed as we missed the Rugby tournament on Sunday and our little family derby of Gaslands on Saturday. Anyway he is recovering at home at the moment and there will be no rugby or karate for a month, but the Doctor said nothing about wargaming!.

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I used to tell the kids, when they were younger that I fought in the Finnish winter war, and that my appendix removal scar was from a bayonet. This was in hand-to-hand combat against a never ending onslaught of Russian infantry.  But they soon realised it was a very economical truth and the closest I have ever been to the Winter War, was when I was playing the board game Artic Storm (link here) a few years ago. I suppose the Little One now has all the props he needs to replicate this “legendary” dad joke himself one of these days.

On the subject of the Winter War, one of the resolutions from the last (excluding the bonus one) blog (link here) was to get some Winter War Chain of command on the gaming table. I have all the miniatures I need but I am still lacking in terrain and markers. This blog entry is about some of the markers I have been doing in the early days of what I hope will be a fantastic new year.

With regards to markers I would need the following:

  • Patrol markers – not done. I got some Poker Chips from and will labelled these with Sovietic and Finnish symbols, that I will print on some adhesive labels.  As you may be aware these are used in the little pregame to establish the location of the Jump-off points. I am not too worried about the fact that they are not blending in on the table and since they do not stay on the table.  Maybe it would be cooler to use some Ski troops for the Finns and Scouts for the Soviets?
  • Shock makers – done, see below.
  • Jump-off Points – done, see below.
  • Pinned Markers – I will try to make these to simulate snow that flies in the air as a consequence of heavy firing on the ground. I will be trying this out this weekend as I have a little idea.
  • Broken – I will break a twig and put it on a base, simulating a broken piece of timber! Simple and a little bit of funny.
  • Tactical markers – done, see below.
  • Overwatch markers – done, see below.

Shock Markers

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These are done in the same way as the “Dead Parrot Markers” I wrote about earlier (First part and the second part) but I used 20mm washers instead of 15mm ones. The dead soldiers are from various Peter Pig packs (WW1 and WW2) and a few models just clipped from the base and laid down.  I also played around with some heads and helmets – it would not be funny otherwise.

 

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Finnish Shock Markers

 

 

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Sovietic Shock Markers

 

Jump off points

These were fun to do and as they stay on the table during the game I wanted these to blend in the overall terrain, as opposed to the Patrol Markers that are only used during the Patrol Phase.

I have to admit that I found it difficult to find anything pre-made that would fit the Finnish Forests. I have some Jerry Cans and Barrels but would find it unlikely that it would be lying around the forest in the type of situations we mostly find ourselves in a Winter Scenario.

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Pre-painting Jump-Off points.
Finnish Ones

First I added some stones and twigs to the bases (the twigs was actually from some metal model tree I have had in my bit box for ages, but I suppose you can get any twigs from a bush or something).  Most Finnish units were equipped with Skis so I made a set of skis and poles for each base.  I made the skis from plasticard (get a health lottery card and you enough for plenty of skis) cut thin, with one end sharpened and slightly bent, I also added a very small piece of Bluetac to give the illusion of bindings on the skis (i.e. where the soldier would attach the boot).  I also had some pieces of Stowage and small boxes that I had lying around that I bought from the Scene ages ago (link here), I also added some helmets as I had some left over heads from my head swapping exercises (I got these from Peter Pig, link here).  Finally added some snow flock mixed with PVA glue and some white paint, then flocked them again.

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The Finnish Jump-Off points
Sovietic Ones

Similar to the finnish ones but no skis (some units had Skis but this was rare, especially in the beginning of the war) again boxes and stowage from the Scene stuff.  The first one is with a dead horse (again from Peter Pig – Odds and Animals – link here) – there are also some dead cows if you prefer, I also flattened a piece of bluetac and cut out a flag sized square and used a piece of paper clip for the pole (unrealistic spread of the flag perhaps, but I just wanted to make it clear that it was a flag), third one a dead Russian and for the last one I added two rifles made from “rifle parts” from sacrificed models.

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The Russian Jump-off Points

 

Tactical move marker

These are just small triangles made from plasticard with some snow effect on top that I will place in front of the unit.

 

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A Section advancing in tactical mode

 

Overwatch

as for the tactical move marker but a different shape.

 

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A Medium Maxim Machine Gun at the ready

 

I also completed some defensive positions, the Russians did not have sections and the smallest unit is the squad at 15 man strong that gives the need for some very big ones.

In other news

Got some pictures from Marching in Colour painting services (link here) that I am using for some of my projects. Another load of about 60 Polemos bases worth of 6mm stuff that he has base painted for me.  If you are able to, do your lead mountain a favour and ask him for a quote!

I gave special thanks to Henry Hyde in a recent blog (at the end of this one) and he has recently started a Patreon campaign to raise funds to allow him to produce wargaming related material.  I urge you to read his own words here as they are better than any I would be able to produce, and if it is your kind of thing, give him a few bucks.

I have known Henry for a few years now and remember him coming to Joy of Six a few years back when he was the Editor of the Miniature Wargames magazine (with Battlegames).  He had travelled up from South of England in the morning, set up his tripod, took a few pictures of our Klissow game, had a short and insightful discussion with me on 18th century warfare in general and the Great Northern War in particular and then he moved on to the next table. Two months later I got my issue of Miniatures Warfare and on the cover was a picture from our Klissow 1702 game.

 

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Ugly labels on the bases and I had forgotten to paint the pikes, but there it was – Some 6mm Baccus on the cover of a Wargames Magazine. Peter Berry told me it was the second time he had Baccus Miniatures on the cover of a wargames glossy.

 

Having read Battlegames (in the day) and Miniature Wargames (and still doing so), the Wargames Compendium and listened to Henry on numerous Podcasts and followed his work, and interest, with regards to the physical and mental health of others, it is fair to say that he has had and will have an important role to play in our hobby (here is another link to the page where you can pledge your support).

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/ All the best, hope I will have the rest of the markers done by the end of next week.

 

 

Featured

2017 ending 2018 coming!

 

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Swedish attack on Saxon defensive position (Baccus Miniatures) with seasonal flair. The Swedish tactics of just marching on with resolve and in silence and then throw their snowballs, or perhaps fire their muskets, at short distance followed by a full on charge is just about to be implemented.  The most important factor to the outcome is the morale and resolve of the Saxons who are desperately firing away at the Swedes – will they stand to the Swedish onslaught or shit themselves and run away?

A long one again, sorry…but a lot of pictures…

 I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.

This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year.  My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped.  I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence.  That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.

With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time.  The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.

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Saga at Joy of Six 2016

Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.

The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches.  In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant.  It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above.  This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here).  A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.

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Each line a unit of 12 men. You loose one man you take away a single base, you loose one more (2 in total) you take away another single base, you loose another man (3 in total) you put the single base back and take away a base with two, and so on. Simple and I promise less fiddly and complicated than you are currently thinking.
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I only did 1 and 2 miniature bases for the Lancers (8 in each units) but it still works with the same principles as above.

Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it.   Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!

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2 by 2 feet table
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Ottoman Cavalry charging the Russian Dragoons who were supposed to protect the wagons.  1-2-3 basing system in use (Baccus and Perfect Six)

Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.

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As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences.  I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).

On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system.  I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us.  The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean.  I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.

The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.

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Gaming on the Doormat!

 

We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf,  Maurice, to mention a few.  I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more.  I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.

 

I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.

Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.

Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.

The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this).  This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.

I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here).  I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.

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The field of Battle for Horka (link to it in the text above)
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Figuring out the battlefield for Horka

Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi  (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break.  It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.

The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi.  In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy.  Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence.  The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave  warriors.  With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith.  The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice.  They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path. 

Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”

I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.

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Still from the Movie Tuntematon sotilas [Unknown Soldier] (2017). Vänrikki Kariluoto readying a grenade during some trench fighting and Corporal Rokka getting ready to charge in and clean the next stretch of trench with his Suomi KP/-31 Submachine Gun.  Corporal Rokka is a typical example of a Big Man and a Veteran of the Winter War.

 I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year.  Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting.  I will not fail these platoons this year.  I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here.  I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better).  I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.

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Some of the Finns I prepared – an Engineering Section. The NCO is screaming – “Why the hell did you paint us and left us spend the whole year fully winter dressed in a box! Get your bloody act together!, or perhaps he is screaming Mitä helvettiä?, Levitä laardi! (What the hell?, spread the Lard!)

Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.

I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases.  I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here.  I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and  I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.

Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here).  I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.

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Perry’s 95th Riflemen but not like you are used seeing them. Proud soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth army, a mix of pure humans, mutants and mutated animals, on a rescue mission to a forbidden zone.  Crocodile head from the Crooked dice and high tech rifle from my old bit box (?).

 

I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).

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These Ladies would be part of a small security unit frozen in Cryonics freezers and woken up when the level of radiation had reached a survivable level. Now they have found a harsh and wild world, but they still have some powerful weapons, plenty of ammunition and their power packs are fully charged.
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In one of the classical adventures for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant that is the inspiration to this project, called Nekropolis, the PCs have an encounter with a group of rats.  This gang is my homage to those guys.

 

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The Original Picture from the scenario – Nekropolis, den Grå Döden Del 1, 1985, TAMB Äventyrspel AB

Gaslands (6mm) 

Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.

This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories).  This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here).  Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.

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50% movement templates with the 6mm cars.

In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.

I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.

Some thanks and then I will let you go

I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.

Meeples and Miniatures – solid show, like a Volvo of the 240 series. Solid running top notch quality!

The Too Fat Lardies Oddcasts – effortless delivery of wargaming wisdom! Only 4 episodes so far but it feels like it has been around for ages.

Veteran Wargamer – excellent! Jay has definitely helped me make my gaming more fun!

WSS Podcast – at times feels like listening to one of those annuals I got as a kid, great stuff!

Wargames Recon – enthusiasm can go a long way, this one goes miles!

If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show.  If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there.  The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.

Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it.  At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up.  Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.

I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.

Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done!   Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!

Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally.  I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.

Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby!  Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year.  Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it.  The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry!  Here is a link to the video on YouTube.

/ All the best and see you in 2018