Back from the Warfare 2017 show, held at the Rivermead sports centre in Caversham near Reading.
I like Warfare. It's a two-day show, and has got plenty of traders, a bring and buy, a fair number of demo games to wonder at, and vast numbers of competition games to raise a quizzical eyebrow at!
I went both days: Saturday in the afternoon and first thing Sunday morning. I'm told Saturday morning was absolutely jam-packed, with the traders doing roaring business, and a three stack high bring-and-buy being emptied almost as soon as the items could be out out., but when I was there on the Saturday, it was just right: enough people for a good buzz, but not enough to have to fight your way through the hazards of backpack hell and wargamer fug. First thing Sunday morning was quite empty, but the halls were filling nicely as I left just after eleven.
The demo game that really caught my eye was a huge 28mm ACW game from Earlswood Wargames Club covering one bit of Gettysburg (Lee's right hook):
There were several other big battles elsewhere in the hall, including a nice ECW game, a couple of big Ancients games, and even Team Yankee played, as far as I could see, in 15mm on Saturday and microarmour on Sunday.
I didn't spend too much money: and that mainly on undercoat and a few bits of scenery. Unusually for me, however, I did buy something from the bring and buy: five 15mm late war Panzer IVs which I got for only £26. They're only averagely painted, and a bit over-washed, but five camo-ed tanks for about what you'd pay in the raw is well worth it...especially as they will serve as a second platoon on the rare occasions that I need more than five Panzer IVs.
All in all, a couple of good visits to a great show.
Bit of a choice this morning between writing my shopping list for Warfare or updating the painting challenge...but duty won out, so here we go:
In no particular order, today's update includes:
Sapperwith some more lovely 28mm figures: this time ECW cavalry
New entrant David Scott lands with a bang as he submits a whole company of 15mm British airborne troops together with a load of other Late War Brits as well. If his experience with painting British Paras was the same as mine, he can now be found in the corner of the room mumbling "Dennison smocks, Dennison smocks"!
There's some more Soviets from Andy Duffelland some much earlier Frenchies as well
Mr Helliwellalso mixes his periods: some WW2 Germans and a few WoR command figures
Mervyn sends in the Maiden Guard for his ancient Indians, with the young ladies in question finished just in time to hit the tabletop tonight
A huge offering from Lloyd Bowlerthis week: the Hat finishes some more small ships, and then going mad on his Latins with three 28mm Roman units
Fellow Lardy James Tree has been converting the scenarios in the Chain of Command Operation Martlet pint-sized campaign pack to I Ain't Been Shot, Mum, and posting the results on the IABSM Facebook page.
Here's the report from the second scenario in the pack: troops from the British 49th Infantry Division push on against some rather battered opponents from the German 12th SS Panzer Grenadiers.
See how they get on by clicking on the picture, below.
Best of all, James makes it easy for you to play the scenario yourself. Please do...and send your own AARs in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm still waiting for my twenty-two Polish 7TP tanks to arrive, so still picking at bits of the lead mountain to pass the time.
Today's offering is a couple of units that have been waiting for paint for some time. First up is the last of the Thrainites (space dwarves) from Khurasan: a squad of light mortar teams. Nice models that paint up well, but they are a slightly different size to the rest of the Thrainite figures. Not enough to stand out too much, but enough that I noticed!
Next up are more space dwarves, but this time from Rebel Miniatures. These are the two packs they have in their Sons of Thunder range: a basic infantry platoon, and then a smaller pack with some command figures and heavier weapons.
I mixed the two packs together and achieved three eight-dwarf squads, each with two Light Support Weapons, and a couple of Big Men. I even have five left over to man some kind of support weapon.
Now these figures are properly, dwarvishly small. Whereas Khurasan's Thrainites are easily approaching the normal height for a 15mm figure (and their command figure is more like 20mm), the Rebel Sons of Thunder are each only about a centimetre tall, if that. Seeing them in their sabot bases as in the photo, above, reminded me of playing with 10mm figures...but maybe that's exactly what space dwarves should look like. The clue is in the name!
Anyway, nice looking figures, just a shame the range isn't bigger.
Whilst I'm waiting for my company of 7TP tanks to arrive (well, I've actually ordered twenty-two of the things so that I can field a full jw company and a mixed jw/dw company!) I've been pottering around working on those odds and sods that always inhabit the outskirts of the painting table/lead mountain.
These are large construction walkers that come in three varieties: A, B and C:
A: a general purpose mecha with hands
B: a loader much like the exo-skeleton worn by Ripley to fight the alient queen at the end of Aliens
C: a site clearance version with chainsaw, flamer, and gripping hands options
The pictures on the GZG site (and the models I'd seen on their stand at shows) looked great, so all I had to do now was to build them.
Unlike a lot of mecha models, the GZG set come with one part per section of the body and limbs. So a leg consists of a toe, a heel, a shin, a thigh that connects to the hip piece. This allows you to pose and animate the mecha in a thousand different ways...but is, if I might say so, quite difficult to build. Emptying the little plastic bag that one mecha comes in literally gives you a pile of very similar one centimetre by one centimetre by one centimetre chunks of metal.
Worse, try as I might, I couldn't find any instructions on the GZG website. Only the helpful comment that "some modelling skills and experience of metal kit building are advised"! Well, as my East London friends would say, I should cocoa!
Yes, they are quite tricky to build...requiring superglue, accelerator spray (well, I use PVA glue as my accelerator!) and quite a lot of patience. That said, when I was working out how they went together (lots of reference to the pictures of the completed mecha on the GZG website required) I did manage to build one up to the hips and get it to stand up straight without using any glue, so when they do go together, they go together well.
Now that they are finished, however, I am very happy with them, very happy indeed. The pictures show the B and C variants with a Battlefront 15mm WW2 US infantryman as a size comparison.
As you can see, I painted mine in construction yellow with a brown wash and light dry-brush of GW's rust-colour from their Dry range. I then added warning patches on several of the flat panels. The windscreen I painted dark green, then scuffed with white. A couple of other bits of detail (lights and the spotlight) and done.
In all, I'm very happy with them. Tough to build, but they look good, and are ideal either for dressing a sci-fi battlefield or giving some of my militia/miners a bit of unexpected oomph!
The second TFL Oddcast is now available for download.
This time, the terrible trio of Big Rich, Nick and Sid took the advantage of a long drive to Crisis in Antwerp to discuss their hopes for the show and, the big issue of the oddcast, their experiences walking battlefields and how that relates to their wargaming.
In addition to publishing the company-sized WW2 game I Ain't Been Shot, Mum, the TooFatLardies also publish the very popular platoon-sized WW2 game Chain of Command.
In addition to the rules, TFL also publish a series of "pint-sized campaigns": scenario booklets for CoC that cover very specific actions over the course of 6-8 games priced, as the name suggests, at the price of a pint of beer.
One such booklet covers Operation Martlet: the combined arms operation launched by the British 49th Division immediately prior to Operation Epsom to seize the Rauray Spur from the defenders from 12 SS Hitlerjugend.
The pint-sized campaigns can be fairly easily translated for use with IABSM, and this is what James Tree has done for his latest AAR, lifted from the TFL Facebook page.
Click on the picture below to see how he got on...
About a week since the last Painting Challenge post, so a quick Tuesday update to make sure I keep on top of things.
Only eight weeks until the end of the year, so it's time to get painting/ photographing/ submitting to make sure you don't miss out on all those points amassed over the last ten months. There are still several 'regulars' who haven't submitted anything yet this year...
Right, onto those who have. In no particular order, today's update includes:
I've finally got around to finishing my Tah-Sig force (15mm sci-fi from Khurasan Miniatures).
Today's completed painting was the Company HQ (two Big Men, one two-man Sniper team, and to three-man mortar teams) and 2nd Platoon HQ (two Big Men, three two-man Infantry Support Weapon teams) for a total of eighteen figures.
That now gives me a complete company of two platoons, supported by a squad of main battle tanks. Done!
It's action on the Russian Front this time, as the Germans try to break through Soviet lines and get their men off the other end of the table.
Click on the picture below to see all:
As I've said before, I still haven't heard back from Burt that I'm okay to reproduce/translate his work onto this site, so I hope he doesn't mind. Apologies for any errors in translation btw: they are all mine.
I've set myself the target of finishing all the Tah-Sig I have to paint before allowing myself to buy or paint anything else.
It's proving reasonably difficult, as all the thrill of painting a new army has worn off now, so it's just a question of grinding through the final few figures.
So, first up is the final squad from Platoon #2: eight Tah-Sig foot from Khurasan:
All that now leaves me is Platoon #2's command (eight figures, half way through); and the company command squad of Big Men, mortars and a sniper (another eight figures, all undercoated). Maybe by this time next week...
One thing I have also managed to finish is the promised Garshaw main battle tanks. If you remember, these come from Dark Star Games:
These are painted in the same way as the already-featured Paghgaw IFV, but with a grey base colour rather than green, and with a Platoon #2 infantryman for size comparison.
To re-cap: an undercoat of red, masking tape in rough stripes, an overcoat in grey, peel off masking tape and finish with a very light dry-brush.
Although the technique has 'worked', again I am not too sure if I like it. Will have to actually play a game on proper sci-fi terrain to see. I do like the shape and look of the models, I hasten to add, it's just my paint job I'm not too sure about. Feel free to comment with what you think.
Note also that although I say the technique 'worked', the tank at the back suffered from very bad undercoat peeling when I took the tape off. Rather than be bothered to start the whole process again, I decided to treat it as battle damage, so re-painted in the metallic blue I use for all Tah-Sig equipment, then scuffed it up a bit.
The peel was probably due to me not washing the resin before painting. Either that or not letting the undercoat dry properly. In other words...my fault!
Those of you who listened to the first Lardy Oddcast will have heard Nick Skinner mention that one of the key influences on "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum" was the book "The Sharp End of War" by John Ellis. Inspired by Nick's words, I quickly Googled the book and managed to buy an 'as new' hardback copy for just 1p, plus £2.80 p&p.
I'm now three quarters of the way through it, and can understand exactly where Nick is coming from: it's an excellent examination of the experience of the fighting man in World War II. It's not about strategy, tactics or weapons but only about what the soldiers had to go through, what they had to endure.
The chapter headings give you the book's contents: the physical setting; combat/infantry; combat/artillery and armour; casualties; discipline & morale; relaxation; and attitudes.
I've just finished the section on the rations that the troops had to put up with and, having enjoyed a day of fine wines and dining, can only sympathise absolutely. I don't think I've ever eaten 'bully beef' and I don't think I ever want to:
Such was the case in Eritrea, where bully beef was the staple item. During the day the tins often became too hot to handle and when opened they spewed out their contents, a revolting oily liquid containing a few strings of gut-like meat.
This book is thoroughly recommended. My only real criticism is that it only covers the Allied troops' war experience, saying nothing about troops from the Axis forces or Soviet Union. Information on them would have been nice as a comparison, but then the book would have had to be three times the size!
I'd advise anyone interested in WW2 history to get a copy as soon as possible.
The publicity I gave the Challenge at the weekend seems to have worked nicely: enough entries to warrant an update already, and it's only Thursday. This includes a new entrant, Steven Lampon, showing that it's never to late to join the Challenge!
So, in no particular order, here are today's entries:
Steven Lampon is new to the Challenge, but opens with an impressive 668 point entry featuring some gorgeously painted figures
Talking of Mark Luther and the GA Lardy Day (see last Sunday's post), here's another great after action report from Mark and friends.
This is a 6mm IABSM game played at Giga-bites Café in the Spring of 2017. The starting point for the scenario is the action that took place on the outskirts of Kolonie on the Belgium-Dutch border on the morning of September 14, 1944.
The Allied bridgehead was held by the 5th Coldstream Guards (11 Armoured Division) with C Squadron of the 15/19 Hussars just down the road. The German units coming down the road straight for the canal consisted of 6 Luftwaffe BewahrungsBatalillon zur besondere Verwendung (a Luftwaffe penal unit) and Sturmgeschutze from 2/559 schwere Heeres Panzerjager Abteilung.
With the infantry element of my Tah-Sig force almost complete (only 24 to go!), it's time to start thinking about what armour they will have in support.
Khurasan haven't yet got around to releasing any vehicles for the Tah-Sig (assume my usual complaint about infantry-only sci-fi ranges is repeated here) so it was time to have a look around the web to see what else was available.
Paghgaw IFV: image from the Dark Star Website
I've had my eye on the Dark Star 'Other Factions' range for some time. The tanks are an unusual shape (pizza slices, as my daughter called them) but as they are long and low, I think they suit the Tah-Sig perfectly: matching the idea of them wearing armoured environmental suits as well.
Only problem is that the tanks are only available by mail order from the States, and with each vehicle being $18, the poor old pound still hovering around the $1.30 mark, and with postage and tax on top, they end up being pretty expensive. About £25 each in fact!
Well, my children don't really need to eat at every meal, so I bit the bullet and ordered four: three Garshaw AFVs and one Paghgaw IFV to use as a command vehicle.
Here's my attempt at the Paghhaw:
I decided not to use the suggested chain guns on the front but, as it's a support tank, to use the wider, howitzer-looking gun that comes as an option with each AFV.
The tank also comes with a separate drone which, as you can see, I have modelled floating above the vehicle. That was fairly each to do: a pin drill and a bit of wire was all that was needed.
The unusual paint scheme is a bit of an experiment. It was done old-school style: the tank was sprayed in the dark red colour, then I put masking tape strips where I wanted the stripes to be. Another spray, this time in the green, leave to dry, then peel off the masking tape to get the camo pattern. Then a quick touch up and drybrush to bring out the detail.
To be absolutely honest, I'm not sure I like it! I'm going to paint the other three in grey with red stripes as opposed to green, and see if I like them more. It is certainly eye-catching, so we'll have to see if it grows on me once deployed onto the tabletop proper.
Here's the Garshaw from the Dark Star website. My version to follow in a later post...
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.