Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Oh I do Like to be beside the seaside... and other thoughts.

So Gentle reade here we are a scant 48 hours before we leave for War Torn is (possibly not) sunny Scarborough wondering what sort of weekend it will turn out to be. Last year's show was small but still a laugh. This year promises to be much bigger with some large Demo games ansd several competitons. Scarborough is a pleasant Victorian seaside town- especially if you avoid the Kiss me quck hats and the candy floss. Hopefully this year I'll have chosen a better hotel. The Grand- last year is a fine building - though the food could be better- or atb least edible- but the worst thing about the grand was the average age of the rest of the clientele-about 157- the absolute nadir - amongst several low points was the noise of 200 septagenarians coach travellers masticating gummily at their porrige for breakfast. Gentle reader I fairly fled the scene- tripping over sundry Zimmer frames as modbility scooters as I fled. There but for the Grace of God !! However this year we are at a different hotel so all should be well. Rest assured that I shall in the fullness tell all!! The other night I was looking out some info I needed in old copies of Miniature Wargames- these early issues from the 1980s. Now if there ever was a "Golden Age" for me this was probably it. The hobby has grown past its infancy - there are a good selection of figure ranges and the writers are intelligent and don't treat theri readers as if they are 12 . Articles have information in them- though there are still turkeys!1 and eye candy is not the raison D'etre of the publication. There is an assumption that you dear reader can actually read and write yourself. Compare with todays magazines WI is all shazam Kapow eye candy for the hard of thinking. Battlegames still thinks its 1972- well the 1st 13 issues do which are the only ones I have - it may have changed since- Miniature Wargames is the only fully rounded magazine we have but it has of course changed as the hobby has changed. My question here is the chicken and egg one. Did Wargmaers become thicker so the mags responded to demand or did the magazines dumb down. Answers on the back of a ten pound note to ...

Friday, 15 June 2012

Getting my choppers out!

I have to say I'm a bit please with myself. Not in any major way but there I was taking some pics for various articles- as you do - well as I do and amonst several not bad sort of pics was this little cracker. What it depicts is a flight of 4 AlouetteIII helicopters in Rhodesian service flying over the bush sometime around 1975. To be precise there are 3 "G-cars" and one "K-car". The G-catrs have the twin .30 cal and the K-car a 20mm cannon. These are 1/100th scale- that 15mm for chaps who don't do scale- models from our "Lil'flyin choppers" range of post WW2 aircraft. Made by Paul Cotton- who also painted 'em they serve to move about my as yet unpainted Fireforce.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sanginguary Carnage at Bloody Bottom

So there we wre six TWATS at the wargames table staring at Jim the Painters 10mm SYW collection which is fiarly awesome- best part of 3000 of the little fellas Prussian and Austrian combined. As far as I recall the Austrians had 12 infantry units 7 cavalry and a measly 2 guns The Prussians 13 infantry 5 cavalry and 4 guns- though they may have had fewer cavalry and more infantry- How the hell you are supposed to tell with 10mm is a mystery to me especially when they are more than a foot away. Nevertheless off we went. Rules were Vlley and Bayonet- one of the best "Big Battle" sets I have come across not without its faults but still well ahead of many. The Prussian arrival was a tad scattered and their advance guard came in for a lot of stick- eventually destroyed to a man but theyb died hard helped mostly by a quirk of the rules that allowed nothing for flank or rear attacks- making the Sydlitz style out flanking manovre of the Austrian cavalry significantly less successful than the Austrian commanders had hoped However it was successful enough to put the prussians on the back foot until their rearguard arived on the Austrain left flank- not unexpectedly but still a little re-deployment was called for during our turn- this is am IGOUGO style game - not normally my favourite but this is one of the better ones. Not at all skaken by the mauling of their advance guard (there seemed to be few rules for contagion here) the mass of the Prussians now got stuck in and a mutual bloodbath ensued. Another rules quirk meant that the side moving forward was at an immediated disadvantage over stationary troops. At time this meant that trops standing still to recover from disorder were actually stronger than the troops who had just beaten them and were following up. Thus - for both sides - it was hard to capitalise on local advantage The second picture show this in action the battle will sway back and forth reducing both of these forces to mere shadow for no major effect. To all intents and purposes the battle now became a simple dice rolling excercise unlss one side or another could gain a little local numeriacal superiority and gang up 2 to 1 on an enemy unit For those wargamers who find dice rolling fun I suppose this would be the epitome of their hobby- not me dudes - the repitition became a little tedious so I applied myself to my pint of Steel Town from the AConsett Brewery- one of the dozen o so micro breweries within strking distance of where I live . Back to the war. Exhaustion was now beginning to set in as troops on both sides simply gave up the Ghost. All of the Prussian Cavalry were dead or routed and the Austrain horse little better Only 2 units remaining by the end of play. The Austrian infantry - 8 rather shaky units were hanging on by the skin of their teeth and the remaining 8 Prussian units were no better. Each side had fought the other to a standstill. Disorder and exhaution markers littered the table. This had been that rare thing an actualk draw.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Stuff that gives you the right hump!!

When it comes to wargaming I'm a fiarly fastidious chap and as I walk about at shows or view the blogs/ read the magazine I still find that there are things that give me the right Hump. Mostly these are sins of ommission - worse when I commit 'em myself than when I see them on other tables or collections No1 Shyte basing!. This term covers a multitude of sins. Most obvious are those blokes who don't paint the bloody edges. Surely if you terrain your bases or even simply paint them one colour you paint the edges too- why leave them staring white- if you use mounting board- or plastic black if you use those nasty plastic bases? Surely you paint the edges to blend in - ish- with the table surface andor the rest of the base? Why have the edges sticking out like a politician at a Truth convention- (I was going to say like a Vicar in a knocking shop but you have to be so PC these days). It just looks odd and unfinished- ewven when the bases have been deliberately edged black. An off shoot of this is "Gloop dribble" - that of course is when your terrainig material dribbles over the edge of the base. Run around the edge of the stand with a blade too scrape the excess off or you'll get knobbly bits- even "whinnits" or possibly "klingons" - and yes its the base I'm talking about- Personal hygene I leave to each of you !! No2 Mixed basing - we've all seen this. Armies on the table where the basing for one side isn't the same- some units stick out like a sore thumb- choose you own similie this time. A few units like this on any given game can spoil the whole visual effect. No3 Paper Flags Now paper flags are fine thing I use them a fair bit but the number of times I've seen them both at shows and in the pages of magazines looking like supermarket price tags is amazing . Flags do not look like this . Animate the things even just a little bit but most of all PAINT THE BLOODY EDGES MAN!! The white edges on a colured flag reallly do get noticed. I've missed it enough times myself only to mutter and curse later on. So after tha little rantette- what gives you- Gentle reader- the right Hump ??