Monday, 22 August 2016

The Return of the Idiot

It seems like an age, since I posted anything, of any relevance, on here......
Life has an unfortunate way, of placing various obstacles into your path, and before you know it, months have flown by, dust and cobwebs have settled into place, so with some trepidation, I brush them away, and settle down to try and breath a bit of life back into my poor old neglected blog.

So, what wonders have passed across the Desk of Doom? Well, to be perfectly honest, not a lot, as usual with me, I have drifted from one thing, to another, with odd figures, have been finished, and bits of plastic tortured into various shapes, and welded together with liquid poly.
In need of some inspiration, I decide to head off to Partizan.
Now it would not be me, if there was not some dumb arse drama issue involved, and after arranging to pick up a couple of mates, a spanner gets thrown into the works, now being the dad of a special needs child, I have a certain level of responsibility, we are currently in the middle of the school summer holidays, and trying to fill up a day, for an autistic 17 year old, who does not like other children, crowds, loud noises and dogs, is really hard work, and my poor wife manages this, on her own for most of the week, so when I am not working, at the weekends, I take up the slack, and give my poor wife a break. So, to take the best part of a day out of the weekend, is a big deal for me, and after agreeing that it would be ok to go, my wife decides to change her mind!!
Some intense 11th hour negotiations take place, and we finally reach a compromise, and I get a leave pass to head North to Newark

Partizan has moved house, and its shiny new venue, is the George Stevenson Hall, located on the Newark Showground, for those of you who can recall the gloom of Kelham Hall, the blinding lightness of this great new venue, may have come as a bit of a shock.
The intrepid threesome, roll up, and pay their dues, for the princely sum of £4, we are granted entrance, and are handed a nice little figure as well ( some sort of Crimean war nurse it seems).
The new venue is lovely, light and airy, loads of room to stroll about, the stalls go around the outside, and the games take up the centre space.
The games themselves are split into two zones, Demonstration, and Participation, so at one end you can join in and chuck a few dice, and at the other, you can marvel at the set ups from the Demo game crowd.
Loads of choice on the trader front, with the usual culprits, from the Kelham days, and a few new faces, so money will more than likely be spent, with one of our gang spending more than the other two added together.
I spent most of my day, generally chatting, with assorted mates, it did me a massive power of good, to go to the show, sometimes you get stuck in a bit of a rut, and I needed a kick up the arse, to get moving again, and to start enjoying this hobby again.
Now I would like to tell you about all the games, but to be honest, I did not have a camera, and I really did not spend  alot of time looking at them. There were some lovely looking games on show, and they all semed to uphold the usual high standard you expect to see at Partizan.
My spending was minimal, just a few packs of figures

From UnderFire Miniatures, I picked up his latest Bundeswehr releases, and a few additions to my DDR NVA collection, I will do a review of these at some stage, as they are my current favourites, in my period of choice (at this moment in time)
A token pack of Spanish Civil War Republican infantry from Empress Miniatures, my enthusiasm for this period has somewhat waned, and I really don't know why.
So, not a huge amount of cash blown by me.

Overall, well what can I say, another great Partizan show, to add to the list of all the other great Partizan shows I had attended, the new venue is great, and its on our side of Newark, so a lot easier to get to.
Congratulation to the organisers, done it again gents.

Now, keep your eyes peeled, because, this blog is going to turn into a VLOG!!!!
Yes, I am going live action, so instead of reading the drivel, I type on here, you can see moving images, and listen to my dulcet tones, as I cover a number of different topics, from  miniatures reviews, to "How to's", so if you ever wondered just how I can waste the best part of an hour, painting a face on a figure, you can bore yourself stupid watching me do it.

Oh the horror of it all

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Been A while

Since I last typed any sort of nonsense on here.
I am still around, just not done much worth sharing TBH, at the moment I am working on a charity build, having taken on the Tank Girl Tank for The Frothers Charity Figure thing from a couple of years back. Hope to have the finished model squared away for Partizan on 21st August.
Apart from that.........errrrrrrrrrrr..........yeah.
Boring old git these days.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bundeswehr and National Volksarmee - Another Review

Because then, at least I am typing something on here.

You may, or may not recall, as I cycle through wargaming periods quicker ,than  a drugged up Lance Armstrong in the Tour De France!! I purchased some very nice East German NVA figures in 28mm, from a company called UnderFire Miniatures, and did a little review.

Now as you all know, I am easily distracted from a project, and this time I can blame the TV, I did go through a "War and Peace"crisis, as the BBC aired their latest Sunday evening drama, but a few hours wrestling with them horrible Perry figures, and it passed, then along comes More 4, with its Walter Presents nonsense, and he declares that "Deutschland 83" was worth showing, and I decided to give it a look, the rest as they say, is history........

I dug around in my boxes of shame, and rediscovered the NVA packs, then I went online, and made the mistake of having a quick glance at the UnderFire Miniatures website.
Well now, they have added to the range, in the shape of two more NVA packs, and the start of some Bundeswehr opponents for them. So I had to order them, as it seemed impolite not to.

A little parcel duly  arrived, and here is a Villageidiot style review of the contents.

Bundeswehr 1 pack

The pack contains, as its obviously clear from the picture, four rifle armed infantry, now these lads are firmly rooted in the 1980s, as clearly depicted by the uniforms, and equipment, so no Flecktarn to paint (Hurrah).
Sculpted by Tony Boustead, the same person responsible for the previously released NVA models.
The models are well cast, with a little mould line clean up required, but nothing too taxing. Once again, these lads are on the tall side, and measure up at around 34mm to the top of their heads, the figures are slim build, none of your chunky lads here.

This is no problem, as they match perfectly with the previously released NVA models, and as the only company producing figures for this period now, you don't have to match them with other figures.

Scale wise, yes as you already know, I am a scale nazi, they probably scale out at about 1/50th

I popped one onto my scale mat, and he works out at about 5ft 7" in 1/48th.

Onto the equipment, and the models appear to have all the correct bits n pieces, the webbing looks right, the G3 magazine pouches are spot on, and they have the kidney pouch respirators, on the rear there is the entrenching tool, small pouch,and a water bottle.
The G3 assault rifle is beautifully detailed, and is not overly large, often an issue with figures.
The uniform would be the old Moleskin issue, greenish grey, with the American style helmet, the helmets are bare, and I did expect them to have the camo covers on them, but thats a minor gripe, and easily sorted with a paintjob, or by adding loads of foliage..

Its good to see these figures appear, and I hope that we get a few more packs,always difficult when beginning a new range, and its a bit of a niche area, so congratulations to UnderFire for commissioning this range
 It has inspired me to drag out all my old model plans, and after a bit of jiggery pokery, I came up with this

Yeah ,Marder 1A2, its what every Bundeswehr Panzer Grenadier wants to drive about it, expect a  1/50th scale, hacked up plasticard mess to roll off my bench...........eventually :-)
There are a few more packs to come in this range, and I hope we will get some light support weapons, including the MG3
So West Germany done, lets hop over the Iron Curtain, and have a look at the East.

National Volksarmee 2 packs

To round out the East German side, we have two new packs of NVA figures, and once again, nice clean castings, that require a minimum clean up.
The first pack contains a platoon command group, comprising an officer/NCO, radio operator, RPG gunner, and a sniper 
The second pack contains three infantrymen armed with the German equivalent of the AK47, and a kneeling figure aiming his RPG7.
The figures have a mix of helmets, some are plain, others have the net or camo cover, they all have the right selection of equipment, and the detail on the kit, and weapons is just fantastic.
These two new packs will enable you to make up a good mix of vehicle squads for either BMP mounted sections or the BTR60 ones

So lets put this one to bed, if you are interested in gaming a 1980s Cold War what if, and you choose to  take the 28mm route, then you will not be disappointed with these models.
Price wise, they are £8.00 for four figures, this includes postage, and is about par for the course these days, you do get a quality selection of figures for your pennies, so the cost is pretty damn reasonable.
Get you backsides over to 

and order a few packs :-)

Now, do I contact Mr Boustead, and see if he is able to sculpt some B.A.O.R and Soviets?
I have this urge you see :-)

Until next time fellow figure fondlers.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

2016 - Back To Blogging, with a review

My God, Last Post September 2015!!!
Where the hell did all those months go :-(

Yes its been a while, but to be brutally honest, I've not felt much like blogging, in fact I've not felt much about the hobby at all. It must be a winter thing, as I always get on a massive downer at this time of year ,struggling to do very much, and flitting from one unfinished piece of work, to another, seems to be the order of the day.
         I have managed to finish a few bits, mostly models that I made for Fenris Games, I went on a massive Frostgrave bender, before realising that playing with myself was the only option there!!!
So, back into the box went the war band, I still have some work to do for Fenris, but the inspiration for figures has gone by the by. Next up, Fury Road, I got lots of cars, fiddled with some bits n bobs, and then realised that playing with myself was the only option there...............I think you can guess what happens next?

So, lets get this blog thing rolling, with a review of the latest bit of  wargaming frippery to fall through my letter box.

Painting War Magazine-Spanish Civil War

Not much of a surprise, me ordering this, as most of you can see the attraction, but whats it like inside?
Well now, its a shiny A4 soft back magazine, full colour printing throughout, and very cleverly laid out.  The models themselves are incredibly well painted, and you would expect nothing less from the talented Ruben Torregrosa, at first glance, most modest painters would think, no way can I paint to that standard, but what this clever little guide does, is to lead you through the methods used by Ruben, to paint his models to the high standards seen in the images.
The first 45 pages of the magazine act as an introduction to how Ruben paints his figures, covering  such topics as how to paint faces, and clothing. There are sections dedicated to painting various pieces of equipment, how to paint horses and even how to base your models.
From page 48 onwards, we are treated to a series of images relating to no less than 40 individual models, all 28mm, and mostly from the Empress range

Each page covers an individual model, listing the Vallejo paints used, and packed with useful painting hints, its not only a great painting guide, but  also choc full of very useable uniform information, it provides the budding SCW gamer with a wealth of excellent information.
You don't have to be an SCW fan to buy this, as its a great stand alone guide to painting figures.
I ordered mine direct from Spain, its actually cheaper to do so, I always like to give money direct to the producing company, rather than through a third party, I'm a weirdo like that.

So if you are serious about putting together a Spanish Civil War collection, add this magazine to your list of "must buys" you won't regret it.

My biggest gripe, well why did no bugger do this when I had the models in my Anglian Miniatures range?
Its a fantastic advert for the Empress range, and I had hoped that we would see some new models added to their range, but so far nothing doing :-(

If I could find a sculptor as good as Paul Hicks, I would get back into the period, and start anothr range............I wonder if there are any Spanish figure sculptors who fancy having a go?

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Chain Of Command Espana Attempt Number 2........

Back to Sunny Spain

Having a week off work, means that I get the chance to dig out the old Spanish Civil War collection, and jog on over to New Buckingham Historical Wargamers to put on a game.

Once again, its the turn of Chain of Command, for those of you unfamiliar with these rules, they are a platoon level skirmish set, primarily designed for WW2 games, but if you click on the linky

You can grab yourself a free, yes thats right FREE, set of lists to help you construct your forces for the SCW. Too Fat Lardies offer a great deal of support for their rulesets, and Chain of Command is no exception, for those of you wanting to have a go, but are not sure how the rules work, then we have a solution for you too

They have created a series of videos, running through the rules, above is part one, and its well worth clicking through and watching the whole set, because it gives a very good insight on how the rules work.

Right then, car loaded and off to the club I go. Its takes a litle while to get into the hall, as the promised Tapdancers are not there, so the hall is firmly locked, and I have no keys!!!!
Rescue arrives, in the shape of Andrew Knapp, and he scoots off to get the keys.

Once inside, with the help of a few club members, I get set up and ready to go, and this is how the board turns out

I decide the "Attack on an Objective" scenario would be a good one to play out, the objective being  holding the junction on the far side of the river, that joins the main Madrid road

Objective, reach the road, control the junction

Clive Waterhouse has brought along his collection of Anarchist FAI/CNT militia, and adding those to my figures gives the Republican commanders a full platoon to play with.
After rolling for support options, they decide a bit of command assistance is required, so they add El Hombre, which gives them a bit of flexibility, and to boost their firepower, they take an LMG team, not much to add, but it proves to be an excellent choice in the end.
I manage to scrape together a Foreign legion platoon, minus a few bits n bobs ( No 50mm mortars, and no scouts).  There support options are a lot better, and they trundle out a Panzer 1, and give themselves a bit of heavy firepower, by buying an 81mm mortar with an observer to direct its fire.
One learn straight away, I do not have enough figures painted to put on a decent game, and I fully intend to buckle down, and get more stuff finished.
The patrol phase gets underway, and we are fortunate that a new member has turned up, his name is Paul, and he knows the rules!! Hurrah :-)
Paul helps us to fumble our way through the patrol phase, and eventually we get some jump off points sorted.
Patrol markers on the move, with the Nationalists getting over the river, which proved to be very useful in the game.

Another learn, get there early, get set up quickly, and put a time limit on the patrol phase. I spent far too long farting about with terrain, and the patrol phase got very tactical, meaning that the game proper did not kick off until after 9pm; not good.

So lets bung a few pics up, with some captions, rather than a blow by blow, he rolled a 6 and 1 and 2 etc etc

The Anarchists take cover, with their LMG covering the road, this turned out to be their most effective weapon, trading fire with a Legion squad in the house opposite, and towards the end, firing in desperation on the advancing Pz1

Legion Condor in the guise of Panzergruppe Drohne men in a Panzer 1A begin their attack on the town

The Anarchists view of the approaching danger

Anarchist commanders agonizing over their next move.
They decide to move forwards, but are caught in the open by the Nationalists firing their 81mm Mortar, and forcing them down to take cover, they never recovered from this, and spent most of the game pinned in the olive grove

The Legionarios break out of cover, and start to attack the houses.

They know that the Anarchists are hiding in the houses, after being fired on by them.

The relentles advance of the Nationalist super weapon, and thats the fun of these SCW games, no uber tanks. Where a Pz1 is a game winner. This one trundles on, with LMG fire pattering off its front armour, as the Anarchists try to get a lucky shot through the vision slits.

Anarchists debating their orders, in true style, Andy and Clive debated their moves, trying to marshall the scant forces available to them, at one stage I thought they were going to vote on them!. A gleeful Nationalist commander, in the shape of Stephen, watches their efforts.

The endgame begins, the Legionarios asaault the houses, dring the Anarchists out by bayonet point, and  they rout in confusion. The Nationalists take two of the Anarchist jump off points, and its virtually game over.

What can I say? 
Well, after our first efforts, I am glad to say that this game went a lot better. I think it really is a case of play play and play some more, so the rules stick. The rules themselves give you a great tactical game, and remove the usual I go, you go sequence favoured by quite a few rulesets.
The Anarchists were hampered by their lack of command dice, just 4 to roll each turn, and having no junior leaders in their squads, getting them to do anything was quite hard, which is why taking the El Hombre option was such a good idea, they have a woeful lack of firepower too, not helped by the Nationalist side rolling low dice on the support options ( still not entirely certain we have got this bit right)
The Legion found it a lot easier, having an abundance of commanders to activate, and that extra command dice made a difference. Picking the tank, and the Mortar gave them a definate advantage, and the effective deployment of these, meant the Anarchists had a tough time of it. There was a lot of hiding in houses, but once we got going, it was a bit more fluid moving.

We could not fight it out to a conclusion, as we ran out of time, this was more due to the fact that we had to refer to the rules a fair bit, plus we began the game a bit too late. Once we have had a few more games, I think its going to be easy to get a game finished in time, and I'm loking forwards to having another go.

So, in conclusion, the Chain of Command rules give a fast, fun and thinking game, making players look very hard at what they are doing.

Thanks go out to Andy, Alan, Clive and Stephen, for puting up with me fumbling my way through the game, and also to Paul for stepping in with useful advice, to help us along.


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Random Musings on a Rainy Weekend...........

After the somewhat optimistic post about taking advantage of the nice weather, I find myself gazing through the rain streaked window, watching the gale force wind ,swirling various things around our lovely garden, summertime has been and gone, end of July, more like bloody November here at Higgins Towers.

Not the most ideal weather, for a session of making terrain boards on the patio.

   Driven indoors, and at a bit of a loose end, yes ok, I did say I would finish Pyrrhus, but I did'nt enjoy painting the models, and the frustration at my inability, to plonk some pigment on a Cretan Archer, had me desk diving again.
 The dedicated followers of my idiot ravings on here know by now, that means,
 I will find something, then get fixated, try to paint it, get frustrated, put it away, sulk a bit, then, hmmm I wonder whats under there?.................I think you can understand the cycle of despair by now.

    Well, Spain has returned to the desk, I had the lads on standby anyway, so it was a simple process to push Pyrrhus into a box, and fill the desk with random Anarchists, and a token ethnic minority, in the shape of a Moroccan cavalry scout I have converted.

 We now have this view, when we plant our fat arse onto the leather desk chair.

Lets have a closer look

Its mostly militia on this side, in various stages of paintyness, lots of converted loveliness in this lot, mostly head swappery, so we have a few lovely ladies, a wounded Legionario, with an attending Medico. Over the back there is the Moroccan scout, and accompaniying him, we have a Militia despatch rider slaking his thirst, whilst holding his trusty Motorcycle. The other two models are crew from the Anarchist car, remember that project? :-)

I work on a number of figures at a time, so you tend to find a weird selection of half painted nonsense littering my painting space, as I get towards finishing an individual figure, I then concentrate on that one, and try to get it off the lids, and onto a base.
The figures on the right are a lot further forwards, and I will try to get those squared away this week.
No organisation at all, and thats perhaps why I don't get a lot of stuff done.

Down here, we have some Legionarios, the plan was to send these "up North" to the talented Andrew Taylor, to get him to slap some of his excellent paintyness onto them. Sadly, real life intervenes, and I have limited funds, so I shall have to add my own Paintyness to them, until my financial embarrassment passes, and I can employ Mr Taylor's talents on some other models.

Sometimes though, you get some completed models, and this motley crew will be joining the FAI/CNT force, once I get their basework squared away
From left to right, converted Anglian/Empress militiaman (headswap) Footsore/Musketeer Brigand, Anglian/Empress Militia, with a Crooked Dice Female head swap, and on the end, an Artisan Design partisan/resistance fighter. Just goes to show how a little application, and a careful trawl through various ranges, can add a lot of variety to your militia force.

For those of you how wish to engage in some head switching fun, I shall point you in the general direction of this, rather iffy, video presentation, which may, or may not help you in your endeavours.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

I'm Getting Board..................

As the summer slowly ticks away, I've suddenly realised, that if I want to take advantage of the nice weather, I had best get my arse into gear :-)

I have these boards to do you see, as New Buckingham don't possess any sandy, scrub type terrain, I thought I should make some of my own to take over, of course there is an ulterior motive to this, I want to do the boards, so I can use them to put on a game at a show, this show most likely being one of the Partizan ones.

So, into the garage I dive, and dig out the collection of pink boards, then lay them out on the grass to have a dekko at what I have.

So people, here is the cunning plan.
The board will be sort of flat, up to the bit at the end, where it will climb up towards a small plateau

The hill section at the end will consist of a small village town, climbing up to a church at the top.

Something along those lines, with perhaps not so many buildings, more perhaps like this

Now I have a problem do I embed the road sections into the boards, or make some lay on stuff to use instead?
I suppose, using lay on sections will mean the boards will get more use, making them a bit more generic, I shall have to experiment with some bits n bobs, and see what I can come up with

So, a little bit of work to do, and first off, I will try to shape the hill section at the end, and then work out the layout of the town. I already have a church, it will get a few alterations, so it does not look like the original model (Empress) can't be having that now can we :-)

Ok, so the game will consist of, the road to Madrid, running down the rough centre of the board, the town/village on the hill, the rest of the terrain I will figure out as I go along.

I do want to include an Olive Tree plantation, along with a little processing plant, and that will be made from this

I kinda threw this together, just to get it on the board for a game on two, and its really not that well painted,  so bringing it back to life is another little side project, plus I get to practise a bit with painting buildings, and yes It won't be a twee little whitewashed job.
I don't like the roof, these tile sheets, are just far too uniform, so that just has to go.
I managed to pick up some sheets on E-Bay, the idea now being to cut them up, and do a bit of subtle rearranging, to get a more random look to them, and this messing about with tile sheets is all going to help in the long run, as there will be a few roofs to construct.
The model will get a new board to sit on, with some added scenic items to set the scene, and I am going to replace all the doors, with something more Spanish looking.

Hoping to post some progress pics as I put it all together.

So keep watching folks.