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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

Featured

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

 

Featured

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.

 

 

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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

These ruins do not look very good Papa, do they?

If you have followed this blog you know that I have been doing some Terminator stuff to get the Little One a little bit more involved in the non-electronic side of the gaming hobby.  Initially I wanted to get the box, paint a set and get a few games of it before going on to more things.  Last week I finished painting another starter set worth of miniatures as well as 7 specialized machines and a handful of resistance specials (this includes the ones with the headswaps from Badsquiddo Games (link here) I showed in the blog last time, see link here). Basic quick paintjobs based on the little ones preferred uniform colours and ready for the table!

I also converted an old German Paratrooper set to a resistance mortar (as these are no longer for sale) and did a headswap from a celtic dog handler to avoid the German look, I then used the three dogs in the set to do some sniffer dogs for the game (Again, these are also sold out. These are dogs that can identify a robot infiltrator and consequently the model can be attacked – in game terms the model can sneak around freely until (1) a dog handler challenges it or (2) it attacks).  I felt the game needed some sniffer dogs as well as some mortar support for the resistance.

This was based on the following two packs from Warlord Games (link here).

Obviously the ones originally produced for the game look much better (but this solution works for us!). If they are offered again the resistance of course will be futile, but until then here we are.

The game comes with some cardboard terrain, including some flat ruins as shown in the picture below.  On inspection and reflection the little one looked at me and said “These ruins do not look very good Papa, do they?”. I agreed that they didn’t but instead said, “They are ok, we just use our imagination!”, thinking that I had other things to do, like this years installment of the Towards Moscow Project that needs to be ready for the Joy of Six or, even closer, the Kalisz Battle for Salute.  I seemed to have wiggled myself of the hook!

 

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Nothing wrong with these but I find mixing 3D (like minatures) with 2D is, let us be honest, far from appealing in any sense.

 

Later that evening when the Little One was visiting Neverland I packed up the stuff from the game we had played and looked at those ruined tiles again – Nice artwork aside, they did not look that good.  I went on ebay and ordered some mdf ruins (yes I could have used 6mm floor insulation foam and cut my own shapes) but I this stage I thought I just get some mdf ruins and paint them black and drybrush them in grey – job done!

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This is what I got! I used about half of the stuff I got in doing the four ruins presented later. I, as always unless I mention it, have no affiliation with this seller and can really recommend these. It is very good value for money!

 

After a few days they arrived but when I had assembled them I got second thoughts about how to finish them and instead of just painting them after assembly I pimped them up a little bit before priming. I cut out some bases from some vinyl floor tiling material I had lying around (left over from the Saga table I did last year) and glued the ruins on top (I used hard as nails adhesive).  I then applied some PVA glue on the ground and added sand. For the walls I applied a thin, but rough coat of modelling paste on the walls. I took some stones from the garden, cut some cocktail sticks and matches into small pieces, cut up some pieces of plastic into small squares and mixed it all with PVA glue and applied it here and there. I also added some small stones on the edges of collapsed flooring and wall sections. In addition I added thin sand on top of each wall (using PVA) that was not broken (to take away the evenness of the laser cut). I also had a few crates etc I added here and there.  I ended up with this!

Once it was properly dry (With PVA it takes a while) I primed it in Black Gesso, painted the ground brown, then drybrushed it with a light brown. For the walls and rubble I just dry brushed it with a dark grey followed by a light grey. I added a few dry tufts.

I got thumbs up from the Little One and they have already been put to use in a skirmish today.  I am just waiting for him to tell me “This game mat does not look very good, does it!” (It is made of paper and from the basic box!)..

Here are some shots from the opening of that game.

So until I get the mat request, I will now fully dedicate my modelling hours to the Towards Moscow Project.  Here is the current progress, mostly thanks to Chris at Marching in Colours! A few more models to be inked, detailed, flagged-up and based.

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I also got some table flags that I will use when  I do Winter War gaming. I thought it added a nice touch, although I did surprise a friend of mine when he came over and noticed the Soviet flag. However, the explanation about using it when I played with toy soldiers seemed to make him think I was more weird than what the flag itself implied. I have also ordered a King’s Colours flag (or Great Union flag, that was used by England and Scotland up to 1801) and a Nouvelle France flag for my French Indian War Battles, and a Swedish and Tsarist Russian Flag for the Towards Moscow Battles.

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/ All the best, and although “I will be back!”, there will be no terminators next time, I promise.

 

Double Joy at Six, Tiger Lillies, bare winter trees and headswaps

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A little bit longer blog this time…

Neil Shuck doing Sharp Practice in 6mm at Joy of Six

There are some very good news indeed with regards to Joy of Six this year, from my and I believe many others perspective, as Neil Shuck will be running some Sharp Practice in 6mm using my French Indian War stuff I did last year. You may recall that I and Neil did the Saga in 6mm last year. Neil will be developing a scenario so we are not yet fully sure what will happen on the day, but we will let you know as and when the mystery unfolds.

Most of you, I suppose, know that Neil Shuck is the man behind the, in my opinion, best wargames podcast available called “Meeples and Miniatures”.  If you have not listened to Neil and his co-host give it a go, it is more than worth it (there is a link below).  I have been listening to it for years and it has given my joy, inspiration as well as sound investment advice.

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There are of course other podcasts out there, including the new, and equally, addictive Veteran Wargamer as well as the long running Wargames Recon show that are also very good.  As I have said before listening to podcasts and audiobooks is my way of keeping my hands free to do painting and modelling.

Joy of Six is a show that from one perspective could be seen as an exclusive 6mm event but that would be a very (did I say very) narrow view, instead I, and perhaps you should too, see it as a fantastic event that bring something to all wargamers.  To get an idea what it is all about you should check out the link to the show report from 2016 below. Personally it is another chance to see Dan Hodgson’s amazing Star Wars stuff that I totally missed out on last time due to the demand around the Saga tables.

Thanks Neil! Looking forward to seeing you again.

I will be running the Great Northern War Battle of Lesnaya 1708, if I ever get there!

Here are a few useful links with regards to the above:

  1. Joy of Six to be held in Sheffield on the 16th July 2017
  2. Sharp Practice in 6mm (many more associated posts on the blog)
  3. Saga in 6mm that I did with Neil last year.
  4. Joy of Six show report from 2016, Part 1 and Part 2.
  5. Meeples and Miniatures webpage, the best wargames show.
  6. Veteran Wargamers webpage, the best new wargames show.
  7. Wargames Recon webpage, the longest running wargames show on the planet.

Bare Winter Trees for my Chain of Command Winter War Project

I am finishing of the stuff I need for running some Winter War battles with regards to terrain and markers (see more background here and here). Trees are very important to get the right feeling and my current focus are on these.  I already have a fair few pine type of trees (Christmas trees) and these are just the same Summer and Winter apart from some snow flock on top,  but also wanted some bare (leaf less) winter trees.  To get the right look I have considered Sea foam (but it seems to brittle for my requirements), making it with wires (but it seems too time consuming to do large quantities) or to go out looking for twiglets (but this gives limited amount of branches, unless you look very hard!).  What follows is how I intend to do my bare forest.

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A picture of a river with some bare trees in the foreground during the Winter War, the objective of this little note.  Picture taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

 

 I went to eBay and found these trees (see below) and thought I give it a try. As they come from China it could have taken a while to get them in the post – but I was pleasantly surprised to get them delivered in a week.

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The look pretty much like the picture and if you were in severe rush you could probably base them and field them like this.  I took a few more steps and I have written a narrative of what I did in the text for each picture on what I did. I thought this could have some general interest.

What you need:

  1. The trees shown above (go to ebay and search for them, you can by other quantities, the one above is for 50 trees 5X 10X).
  2. Something to cut with (whatever you have clippers, nail scissors, etc. The plastic is very soft)
  3. Washers (for bases) mine were 25cm in diameter.
  4. Super glue
  5. Putty or green stuff
  6. Primer (I used Black Gesso)
  7. Paints for the trunk and branches (see below for the ones I used)
  8. Modge Podge (Matte), but perhaps PVA is as good
  9. Modelling Snow Flock
  10. Some sealer (have not done that yet) – maybe a matte spray varnish would be best?

 

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As they come, a plastic brownish feel and those arrow heads at the end.  I suppose they are there to help keeping it together if you apply clump foliage. There is some nice structure on the trunk making it look like a tree.
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I cut away all the arrow heads (and also the bottom part that is still present on the picture).
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I superglued it on a washer (yes I did forget a few of the arrowheads but sorted that out later) and put some putty to support it at the bottom.
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I prime it black using Black Gesso. I find Gesso very good for priming plastic stuff.
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I used Vallejo model colour and did a heavy drybrush over the whole tree and then a 50/50 mix with whire of light drybrushing. I feel this is a better generic tree colour than the brown before!  I may do a few to look like birch trees when I do full production later.
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I applied Modge Podge (Matte) on the branches where I wanted snow to stick. Do not cover everywhere as it more effectful to see some of the branches too. Put some on the base as well. Try to put on generously wihout too much drip (if that makes sense!).
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Let it snow, I use spoon to apply the snow modelling flock from above.  Shake off and apply more Modge Podge until you are happy with the result.

 

 

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The finalized tree next to a little Cabin (I do not remember who produced these and it broke my heart covering the nicely modelled roof with Modge Podge and Snowflock!, but now I think it was worth it) and a Finnish Submachine gunner in 15mm (from Resistant Rooster I believe with a Peter Pig headswap). Maybe the trees would work in 28mm too?  I will try to make the bases less bulky in the future and will not put on any sand and keep them as they are after applying the putty as they will be covered with snow anyway. All I need to do is to put the production machine on and do another 119 of these!

 

 

Tiger Lillies

I went to see Tiger Lillies perform at the Camden Roundhouse in London this Friday. The concert was in celebration of their latest album released last week called ‘Cold Night in Soho’. It was their only gig in London as was advertised and promised as a night to remember.  As I may have uttered before, the first time I heard them I was not sure whether it was absolute rubbish or bloody brilliant – I settled for the latter and this concert yet again proved that decision was the right one, being a mixture of old and new and I really enjoyed every minute.

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This is one of those very fine British cultural treasures and to quote the roundhouse webpage, “The music they produce is a mixture of pre-war Berlin cabaret, anarchic opera an gypsy music, echoing the voices of Bertholt Brecht and Jacques Brel”.  Check them out here.

Could not resist chopping some heads

With regards to the Genisys project I did say I did not need any more miniatures, but I got a good deal on the John Connor and a Lieutenant set the other day so I could not resist getting these.  What would the resistance be without John Connor?. Also I thought I would convert some of the resistance soldiers by using heads from Badsquiddo games (link here., I recommend a visit) to bring some gender balance in the resistance to the machines.  Just as a note, one of the miniatures on each sprue in the box is a woman, but I wanted some more variety.  I had also waited for an opportunity to use these heads since became aware of what Annie at Badsquiddo is doing.

Here are the shots of the resistance miniatures with the headswaps done (have not yet started painting them).

You may think the heads are a bit too big, and perhaps they are?  They are good enough for my purposes. However, and this is great, they are sold in three different sizes fine, pulp and heroic. I bought the heroic ones and perhaps a size or two down would work better.

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Incoming ships

I also got my order of “wave whatever” ships for the X-wing miniature games, I have lost count of what wave it is (I think it is Wave 10!). However, they are very nice indeed and I suppose we have to test fly them soon.

The Quadjumper and Upsilon-class Shuttle from the Force Awakens movie as well as Sabine’s TIE fighter from the Rebels series.

I also got some plastic toy cars that I intend to use for the Winter War project, but more on that another time.

Thanks for not asking about progress on the TMT project!

/ May the force be with you

All relatively quiet on the hobby front and Black Sabbath

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Black Sabbath

Today my uncle would have been 65 years old as he passed away far too early. I thought about him yesterday as I went to see Black Sabbath at the O2 and how much he would have enjoyed watching the show. He played the album Paranoid for my cousin and I when we were very young and it blew my mind away.  I have been listening to Black Sabbath ever since.  This tour that is very near its end is suitably called “The End” and it is nice to see them a last time especially when they were playing songs from the first four albums of which none felt surplus to the requirement of providing a damn good show.  When I first heard about this tour I had hoped to see Bill Ward (the original drummer) in the line-up but that was not to happen. However, Tommy Clufetos, always plays drums like there is no tomorrow.  It was the best show I have been to for a long time. A lady in her seventies, who was sitting next to us, had come with her daughter and they both sang along word by word with every song played – that could have made my day in its own right.  Thank you Black Sabbath for all these fantastic years and for being one of the most influential bands in shaping what we today call (and some of us love) Heavy Metal – Hats off!

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Black Sabbath playing my favourite song Children of the Grave

Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today
Will the sun rise up tomorrow bringing peace in any way?
Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear?
Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear?

From Children of the Grave, by Black Sabbath

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The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

All relatively quiet on the hobby front (code for “Done f**k all!”)

On the hobby front I have continued doing some snow basing for the Chain of Command Finnish and Soviets, but nothing substantial. Let us see how the next week goes.  I did rectify that house I discussed in last week’s entry and added some snow to make it look a little bit more wintery.  I am currently waiting for some stuff I have ordered that I need to finalise the terrain.  I hope to write a blog entry about the terrain and the markers I will be using in a not too distant future, maybe in about two weeks time if it goes as planned.

I found myself buying a platoon worth of Soviet Scouts (see here) in 15mm from Peter Pig that I thought I would use to fight my Continuation War Finns. They have recently expanded the range significantly and I found what I needed.  No idea when I will do these but when I make a decision I do not want availability to hinder progress! Pictures from the Peter Pig website. Wonderful stuff.

I also found a pack of the 1984 set for the Terminator: Genisys game I have been on about in the last few postings.  This set includes the main characters from the first two movies, the “Arnold Machine”, Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, T-1000 (Police Officer version) and three police officers (I got these from Wayland Games). Not sure what I will do with these but I could not resist.   I also got two more starter sets! I bought these from Buysend.com for £10.49 each (as at 31/01/17, see here). The set is similar to the one you can buy from the Warlords website (as at 31/01/17) for a reduced cost of £35 as discussed last time. The key difference between the set is that the main rulebook and the bonus metal model (Kyle Reese in resistance outfit) is not included in the cheaper set  Since I already have the rulebook and metal figure I thought it was good value to get another 10 machines and 16 resistance soldiers for a tenner. I think that would be all I need for now for this game.

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/ And I am feeling good!