Friday, April 26, 2019

Space Kitties Above and Beyond!

Staying with the 15mm SF theme a little longer, here are some more forces that I finished over the winter for my Kzinti-themed feline army.  

Two drones for initial recce and probe missions.    I can’t recall who I got these from, I suspect they are Ground Zero Games but I can’t recall the product code.   The models have some shooty things, so depending on how my opponent James and I agree to rate them, they might pack a little punch.   Useful for forcing the enemy to reveal himself.


Two skimmers for Close Air Support.   The models are from Ground Zero Games.  They carry a big and wicked looking gun of some sort, and two missile pods, so they should prove useful.  I painted them in the same scheme as my ground armour units.


Being metal, and quite chunky, the stands didn’t work at first.  I had to drill out the hole in the bottom of the model quite a bit until it was deep and wide enough to keep the model on the socket of the base.

I coated them with what I thought was Testor’s Dullcote, but in fact it was semi-gloss, so they are a tad shinier than I would like, but none the worse for it, I suppose.


And here they are with their big brother, a previously completed 15mm Khurasan model, to complete the air wing.   That should keep the hoomanz’ heads down!  


I have a few squads of Khurasan infantry to complete for my Kzinti force, and by then hopefully James and I will be able to schedule a scrap by then.   At some point I would consider getting some human figures of my own, high tech enough to match these cats and do something from the Larry Niven inspired Man-Kzin Wars, but that is a project for down the road, and would entail looking at some rules sets, possibly the classic Star Grunt or maybe the Quadrant 13 SF rules from Too Fat Lardies by Robert Avery.   

Blessings to your thrusters!



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Meowzers! Space Kitties On Jet Bikes!

A quick post to show off with some rather dark photos to show off some more figures in my 15mm SF project.   They are Khurasan Tigrids on jet bikes, because while cats (well, at least my cats) are notoriously slothful, until that moment at 3 in the morning they get up to zoom around the house on jet bikes.  It’s like harassing fire, it leaves the hoomans tired and irritable and ill-equipped to defend against them.  Or the hoomans just capitulate and feed them at 5am, like I do.

I painted these fellows over the winter months, using the same Citadel Khorne Red that is the signature for my Kzinti-inspired army, with colour coding on the shoulder plates to tell the various sections apart.  I have three sections of three of these fellows, enough for a recon in force or quick raiding and general hell-raising, following the general idea that a Kzinti-type force would specialize in fast, aggressive (if not always well thought out) tactics.

Fairly simple paint job over a black base coat to convey the armour segments on the troops and the various parts of the bikes, with a splash of colour for the engines.  I like the blue of the jet engines.

With a mix of missiles for the leaders and Tesla-type guns for their wingcats, these troops are ready to take on my friend James’ hoomans when we finally get our SF armies together.


Marshall Luigi, my resident Kzin, doesn’t seem that interested in having a jetbike.


Blessings to your kitties!


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Donnybrook in Dublin

For years I have admired the Napoleonic battle reports posted on Joy and Forgetfulness, the blog of the mysterious and erudite author and wargamer, Conrad Kinch.   Between elegantly presented tables, port and cheeseboards, and the witty and dashing cast of characters brought to life there, wargaming has seldom looked so genteel and appealing as it does on young Kinch’s blog.   Last week I finally had the chance to make it over the sea to Ireland.  I had planned to go to Dublin two years ago for the baptism of the young Kinch twins, but sadly that never worked out, so it was a delight to finally arrive there, where CK and his lovely wife Lizzy showered us with warmth and hospitality.  Minutes after entering their house, my fiancee Joy was snuggling with the young and handsome Master Kinch.

After four days in the West of Ireland, we returned to Dublin, where Kinch had arranged a refight of Waterloo.  After dinner, the gentlemen withdrew to Kinch’s war-games room, a place of wonders - and silly hats.  

 The splendid table.  Note the wine glass used as an objective marker.  “Why do you have to refight Waterloo?”  asked Joy, innocently.  “I mean, you know what happened, why redo it?”   Some things will have to be explained over time in this relationship.

As you can see from the dice, we were playing Command and Colours Napoleonics, with 20mm figures.  Very posh.

Some of the Dublin gaming brain trust assembled.   I couldn’t have wanted to have enjoyed better company.   Marshall DeGourmand, second from right, tries to persuade the English team that they should just give up now.

 Since I am something of a Bonapartist, I volunteered for the French side, commanding the French right flank.  As I recall, DeGourmand is saying something like “Go and die there.   There, sir!”  His order were shockingly simple and to the point, though slurred somewhat by the fearful amounts of drink (note the bottle on the table).

With furrowed brow, I watched as my brave chaps threw themselves on Plancenoit, drawing the entire English left into a vicious meat grinder.   As you can see, I am propping myself unsteadily on the table, praying that I can get this done before my troops all die and before the Prussians arrive, but it wasn’t looking good.

 They weren’t giving up Plancenoit without a fight.

 Bantering with my opposite number, General Oisin, who seems confident that the Prussian sausage-munchers will arrive and bail him out of his predicament (they did).

Sadly we called it a night when the port ran out and the English had managed to fend off our fine French fellows, thus making Joy’s question, “Why bother”, uncomfortably acute.  


Also sadly, I don’t have a photo of CK himself, but he was a grand host and it was a gaming night for the books, though I’m blessed if I know how I walked back to my hotel.

Thanks, old chap, for a splendid time of it.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Farewell to Forgotten and Glorious ACW ,Minis

I was saddened recently to learn that Forgotten and Glorious miniatures will soon be no more.   They are (soon were) a French-based manufacturer of 28mm figures, and had a small but lovely range of 28mm ACWs.    As their website says, they will be out of business in 5 days, on April 15, and their figures will no longer be available.   I have no idea why they are closing - perhaps it is because their figures were never cheap - a command group of 6 foot sold for 15 euros, and the postage from Europe probably didn't help.

Here are some of their figures from my collection, and some more here.

They are lovely and full of detail and great fun to paint.

I have really agonized on ordering some more before they're gone, but I think I am going to resist pulling the trigger on this one.   I have a goodly number of ACW figures to paint, including two boxes of Perry plastics, and a regiment of Renegade figures that have languished, half painted, for two years now - and that's just the ACW part of my lead and plastic mountain!

However, if 28mm ACW is your thing, I would encourage you to have a look at their website before these figures are gone.



Monday, April 8, 2019

A New Look And An Artist To Follow

Today I’m celebrating my renewed interest in this blog with a new look for the header and a bit of a plug for one of my favourite artists.

 I discovered Tim Godden on Twitter a few years back and was immediately captivated by the poignant simplicity of his Great War artwork.   Tim’s characters are human, often youthful, and heartbreakingly vulnerable.   The art doesn’t hit you over the head with a message, and it seldom displays actual combat. It doesn’t have to.  Like the film sequences of the laughing, snaggle-toothed soldiers in Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old, Godden reminds us that these were real people, with real hopes, fears, and emotions.

The image on the left of the header is one I personally commissioned from Tim, and depicts one of the famous Great War padres, Tubby Clayton.  It shows him as the kind host of Talbot House, or “TocH” as it was known in the War.   If you’ve ever been to Poperinge, Belgium, you probably know about it.  The image on the right of the header is entitled “Soldier Scholar” and I think we can all relate to the young man reading the book.   I also like the fact that both figures in the header are smoking pipes, a practice I have, sadly, discontinued but long enjoyed.

I have a triptych of Tim Godden prints in my war-games room.   The image on the right, though it didn’t photograph that well, is entitled “His First Night Patrol”.   I love the harsh geometry of the flare and the fragility of the three figures.  Will they make it back?   

 The figure on the bottom left shows a young Canadian soldier reflecting on his experience at Passchendaele.  The rain and the mud and his lost expression are highly evocative.  It was in my office for a long time, but as I prepare to retire in a year I’ve started moving things home.   This print seems a good addition to the games room, to remind me about what war-games actually speak of.

Finally, in our kitchen upstairs my fiancee Joy agreed to let me hang another triptych of Godden’s work, showing three Great War soldiers with cats.  Tim tells me that his three cats all agreed to be models!  Joy, who is very much a dog person, says the three images remind her of me, the cat-loving soldier she allowed into her life.  I am pleased that she likes them.


You can follow Tim on Twitter @TJGodden and you browse and even buy his artwork here.  Be warned that browsing may cut into your war-games budget, but I hope you will love his work as much as I do.



Friday, April 5, 2019

Revisiting My "Rockies Ablaze" Project

Longer ago than I care to remember, when this blog was a going concern, I took some steps towards starting a Pulp/Horror project set in western Canada, involving Mounties, moose, werewolves, and nefarious Zeppelin troopers.  My name for this madness was “The Rockies Ablaze.  Well, 2016 came and went, life and death and a new life all got in the way, but I am thinking about gaming again and want to revisit this project.

I noticed from my old posts on this project that back in 2015 I was racking my head trying to find some 28mm figures that would do for late 1930s Canadian Army, as you can’t have Nazi Zeppelintruppen roaming around western Canada, that just won’t do, and the Mounties may need some backup.  I was thinking several sections of Regulars would be required if I could find suitable figures in greatcoats/winter dress, and there don’t seem to be too many of those about.

Fortunately a fellow on the TooFatLardies Yahoo group kindly answered my query and pointed me to these chaps from Gorgon Studios, which I think may be an Australian outfit, but I’m not too sure.   Anyway, they do a line of British infantry, which seems to be intended for the 1940 Norway campaign, but these figures seem like they would serve as representatives of Canada’s minuscule prewar Permanent Force.



These fellows have the box respirator that interwar and early WW2 Commonwealth troops carried, so that works well.  It would be better if they were in nice warm fur hats, but I suppose some RMC martinet type has insisted that they all wear the regulation tin hats.   I have a reinforced section of riflemen plus command, a Bren and a sniper team, and some signallers ordered, so they should provide some effective support to my Mounties.

While I wait for them to arrive, I think I shall move those Bob Murch mad trappers back onto the painting table and get them done.   And there’s a model zeppelin to assemble.

Blessings to your plans!



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Scenes From Hot Lead 2019

Last weekend was Hot Lead, southern Ontario’s biggest (and, I think, best) tabletop wargames convention, which celebrated it’s 25th anniversary, a  considerable achievement for its organizers.   I was able to get to Stratford and attend Friday and Saturday.  I did a little admin to help the redshirt crew of organizers, got to play a bit, and got some images of some of the many games.

One of the many tables hosted by OHA (Ontario Hobbit Adventures), a super-dedicated group of gamers dedicated to the Games Workshop LOTR rules.  The terrain is quite stellar.

The Battle of Britain, one of several large-scale games run by Bill Bean.

Adam Gow’s fantastic samurai table using Test of Honour rules.   The photo doesn’t do this table justice, but the stone pillars along the path and the buildings all featured hand-soldered LED diodes.   It was quite magical.

Some chaps came up from the States to run this Battle of Hastings game, using a new set of ancient and medieval rules called TRIUMPH!   I wasn’t really tracking the game, but people seemed to enjoy these rules.

Dan Hutter’s crzy multiplayer games are a Hotlead fixture.   This is an ancients skirnish game set in the back of beyond of the Roman Empire.   Dan described it as “lying, bribing, cheating and back stabbing”.


Three more tables run by the Ontario Hobbit Adventures club.   The quality of the bespoke scenery attracted a lot of attention and admiration.


Another of Bill Bean’s BIG WW2 aerial games.   These B17s are off to bomb the Reich.

But they’ve met some opposition.

 I had a chance to command a MIG-15 in a 1950s melee with some NATO Sabres, in one of Keith Burnett’s meticulously organized games, this one using Check Your Six rules.   It was very zooms and shooty, but the NATO flyboys had the worse of it.

 Another Hot Lead veteran game master, Ian Tetlow, ran a reprise of his 1914 Le Cateau game.   Here the Kaiser’s hosts prepare to step off.

 Somewhere in this terrain lurk the BEF defenders.

 The German objective, this British battery, ignores the skirmish behind it.  They obviously have a more important fire mission.

 A very big Star Wars game.

 Another of Dan Hutter’s crazy multiplayer games, and a Hot Lead tradition, “Mongols With Mausers”.  Chinese warlords, Mongol bandits, European adventures, Reds and Whites mix it up on the Silk Road in the 1920s.

 Of course there are silly hats.


Dan receives the Emperor’s congratulations on a fine game.


 An amazing 1/32nd scale WW2 game using the FL What a Tanker! rules.

Basically a big game of cat and mouse. 

 With big cats.

 Speaking of big cats, this Leopard from James Manto’s 20mm Afghanistan collection watches as ISAF and ANA forces move forward against heavy Taliban resistance, 

James’ terrain is all home made and very effective.

I didn’t get the chance to stay on Sunday or see the epic SF/steampunk game which is another Hot Lead tradition, but it was a grand time out and good to see the hobby going strong.  There was some talk from the veteran gamesters about passing the torch on, and after 25 years, I don’t blame them for thinking that they’ve done their bit.   Sometimes I find that wargaming is a lot like church, in that people with gray hair worry about the institution dying out, but I saw enough younger gamers present that I’m not too worried about the future.

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