Monday, 27 April 2015

Quite Ugly One Morning

So on Saturday morning I treated my lawn with weed and feed type product to reduce the number of daisies and dandelions and rescue the tired looking grass. On Sunday morning I awoke to a lawn full of daisies, dandelions and blackened grass. Not the effect I was looking for at all.
So I had a full English breakfast with North Staffordshire oatcakes, savory pancakes that you wrap the bacon and eggs in and the greatest culinary delight that there is. Sated and with a much higher cholesterol level, I decided to see if I'd got my painting mojo back. I'd only painted a few figures in the past month and they were only OK, see a previous blog.
Northstar had been been offering lucky bags on sale, 20 random figures from their Osprey rules ranges (Ronin, Fistful of Kung Fu etc) plus a free Sumo figure for £10. I love these lucky bags as there are very few figures I can't use, so I brought 2. Lots of Samurai, some pirates, street gang bangers and some Victorian adventures that I can use in pulp, colonial and VBCW.
First up a zombie fighting street gang. Destiny is a Hasslefree Foxy Brown tribute, Big Francis is one of the sumo figures with a shaved head and a big chain. The other 2, Delroy and George, are built using bodies from zombie figures with heads etc from the bits box.

Next up is the other sumo, the tattoos on his chest are supposed to be red skulls but the look like strawberries so he shall be henceforth be known as Ichigo (think it's Japanese for Strawberry but it could be for soup)

There were a couple of cultists in the box so a gave one a glowing torch and 1 a pick. Not sure what to do with these but will look the part in a zombie game or even in VBCW meets IHMN.

Finally a couple of footmen for Lord Percy in VBCW

I'm  definitely starting to get my mojo back although it's still a little too much about finishing the figure than getting it right (see above).
The blog title is from a Christopher Brookmyre book and if you like dark comedy thrillers written by a furious Scotsman I can strongly recommend his work.
And finally a modern classic, music didn't end in 1981,


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

People Choice Prize

So I won the Peoples Choice Award in the Analogue Hobbies V Painting Challenge for this bit of madness

Yes it's flying carpet wars and no I can't believe it it either. What was a random piece of whimsy seem to really please everyone. Thank you all, maybe I'm not the only lunatic in the world.
So my prize was a 35 euro from Barrage Miniatures (see sidebar), a company I'd not used before. I contacted Alf Barrage and placed an order for an armoured car and some boats. The communications with Alf were great, always trust a man with a Hunter S. Thompson motto on the page. The parcel was despatched the next day and arrived from Spain today. Alf even threw in an extra boat, thank you for that Alf.

The armoured car is a resin Ehrhardt E-V/4 Armoured Car that will look like this when done

Ehrhardt E-V/4 Armoured Car 1:56 (28mm)

but at the moment looks like this

Difficult to tell from an unpainted kit it it looks very promising and will make a cool addition to my VBCW collection.
The best things are the boats, which are really great and were cheap (12 euros each)

I can now launch amphibious operations from 1650 to 1939. In addition to these 3 Alf gave me a free extra boat

Overall I am chuffed with my purchases and the service from Barrage was great.

Right off to get a sou'wester, in the mean time listen to this,

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Battle of Getme Drift

So in the spirit of trying out new things on my blog I thought I'd do an after action report on a solo colonial game I fought today using my own rules.
I enjoy solo wargaming, I can spend a week on a single game / problem and all disputes are solved amicably in my favour. The trick is to get the mechanics right and to pick the right sort of battle, meeting encounters and ambushes work best. I have a 3'x4' fixed space in my painting room which enables me to set up skirmish games for a long time.
It's 1896 in the German colony of Kamerun, West Africa, Getme Drift is a farmstead and church on the fringes of the jungle run by Reverend Jakob Schmelling, his wife Marta and their 2 sons Johan and Curt (that name seems to get around). They have 2 farm workers, Matthew and Mark. Due to their remoteness the colonial administration regularly sends patrols through the region.

Getme Drift starting position


 The Schmelling Family

As the next patrol, under Sergeant Christian Alder and Corporal Joshua N'Komo arrives at Getme Drift a force of 14 fierce natives and a leader appears out of the jungle intent on taking livestock, supplies and killing colonial invaders. The location, type and size of native force is generated at random and ends the set up phase

Natives appear

The 2nd turn  begins with an initiative roll, highest score goes first. Each unit then throws for activation before it can move. Units that fail have to stay still but can fire and shuffle their position without advancing or changing facing etc. The colonials went first and the Schmelling boys and Matthew advanced to the fence to delay the natives. The patrol advanced towards the barn where it would secure the cart and pack mules before engaging with the natives.The colonials ended their turn rolling for reinforcements, none came. The natives advanced through the terrain and a unit of 11 natives with a leader arrived behind the fierce natives to end the turn

The colonials won initiative again and the Schmelling boys reached the fence and fired at the natives who weren't obscured by the terrain. Too rash and all missed. The patrol however failed its activation and stopped, the escorting askaris have an NCO so can split into 2 units and they passed the activation test but stayed with the cart. No reinforcements for the colonials though.
The next turn sees the natives with the initiative, however luck is with the Schmellings and the Fierce natives fail their activation test and stall. The natives behind pass and swing left behind the fierce natives. 8 bow armed natives arrive on the left of battle.
The Schmellings and the cart fail activation but the askaris under Cpl N'komo pass and run towards the ploughed field in the centre to support the Schmellings. Even though they failed activation the Schmelling boys and Matthew can fire at the advancing fierce warriors. 3 shots, 2 hits, 2 saves. No luck again, however saves are converted into pinning shots and added to the fierce warriors activation score. To activate they must roll against their leadership, -1 per pin. The colonial turn ends with the crew of the Valkyrie arriving as reinforcements. These are my favourite unit and are an all female unit under the command of Princess Cecile.

Crew of the Valkyrie

These are produced by Hinterland miniatures in the US (see sidebar) and are proper figures, dignified and ready for proper fighting, not some teenage post-Buffy fantasy (though I'm prone to them). They generally appear in my colonial and VBCW skirmishes and are very steady.
Colonials have initiative for next turn and Askari run into ploughed field and defend the hedge. Cart advances and Valkyrie crew from defensive line vs the bowmen. The Schmelling boys fire but miss. The fierce warriors activate and charge the fence and in the melee kill both the Johan and Curt Schmelling. Matthew knocks his attacker back but then legs it - as you would.

 Death of Johan and Curt

Matthew fails his morale test and exits. The Schmellings run towards the askaris and safety. The Cart and pack horse reach the barn, the askaris and Sgt Alder debus and get ready to fight. The askari open fire and kill the 1st native. The female askari squad arrives under the command of Able Seawoman Hild Schumacher. 

Only the fierce warriors pass activation and run along the fence toward the askari. Only one reaches to fight Cpl N'Komo who knocks his block off. Native reinforcements are starting to slow down, only 7 in last 2 turns.

Turn 7 and the Schmellings and reserve askaris advance towards their fallen sons to recover the bodies. Valkyrie crew move to enfilade the attacking native, leaving the askari women to deal with the bowmen. The Askari in the field fire and take out 2 more natives.
The natives are activated and get in position to charge but the fierce natives are stalled again.
Turn 7 and the Valkyrie crew fire on the natives in the centre and kill 3 including the leader. The askari fire at same unit and kill one. The natives fail the rout test and exit map.
In a final desperate act the fierce warriors charge the askari and kill 2, including cpl N'komo whose actions almost certainly saved the day, and lose one man but the askari hold. The bowmen kill one of the askari women. but most importantly of all recieve no reinforcements.

At the start of the next turn the natives get the initiative and decide to retreat, outnumbered and outgunned. A pyrrhic victory. The farm is safe but the Schmellings future is over, sorry Curt I wasn't expecting you to die. Jakob takes to drink and spends the rest of his life ranting at the world from street corners. Marta leaves with the crew of the Valkyrie and travels the world as one of the crew. Matthew and Mark return, make peace with the natives and turn the farm into a successful business trading ivory for beef.
Hope you enjoyed this. All the terrain was obviously scratch built and most of the figures were Wargames Foundry, really great but so expensive. I do like this type of battle, in this case the colonial reinforcements arrived too early and the natives didn't get enough men later on. Also it appears that unlke Star Trek if you want to live don't get a name.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Apocalypse Survivors

Thank you for all you kind comments and help. I don't intend to publish this frequently but I'd done some stuff.
After 3 weeks of not picking up a brush I'm back in the groove. I have been receiving a steady stream of parcels since the end of the Painting Challenge to rebuild my depleted lead mountain. I told myself I would wait until the Border Reiver show in September but there was so much good stuff that I couldn't resit.
Top of the list were some Hasslefree post apocalyptic survivors and a big ass box of zombies, which I will try and paint in grey scale. First of all  the survivors, these are as usual all beautifully sculpted and cast. They were a joy to paint and overall I'm pretty happy with these, although there is too much rubble on the bases and once again the photography leaves something to be desired, I need a proper camera, tripod and lights, oh and some natural ability.
I am somewhat of a failed perfectionist, my desire to achieve perfection is imperfect. The result of this is a could do better attitude, which I think is more constructive. Don't do resting on my laurels, you end up sitting on dead plants. Anyway enough rambling and on to the figures.
First up the veterans

Vic - hardened helicopter pilot

Laurie - channelling Katniss Everdeen

Next up the cheerleader gang

Summer - cheerleader from Rydell High

Eve - Lara Croft wannabe in a Royal Academy T shirt

Kirsten - another of the cheerleader gang

 Morgan - mod girl 

I'm planning to use Akula's Rules ( with some RPG tweaks. I've still got a slack handful of survivors to paint and then on to zombies

Finally to end on the best record ever made

Sunday, 12 April 2015

First Post on First Ever Blog

Welcome to my first blog

Hasslefree "Snake Plisken"

I recently participated in the V Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (I'm MartinC in the challenge) and it was a such a joyous experience that I decided to have a go a publishing a blog.
My first real memories of wargaming are going to the model shop as a child to be bought a box of Airfix model soldiers with my Grandparents. I still remember the excitement and awe as I walked through canyons of boxes of soldiers and models. Each box full of adventures and acts of daring do.
At University I got drawn into the world of Warhammer and D and D but never really liked magic and the fact the most of the regiments on the table were there to act as target practice, although I did like the rules mechanics.
The hobby disappeared from my life for many years but in my early 40's I got a bout of clinical depression, which is a terrible name for the affliction and would be much better if it were called "Clinical Can't be Bothered". The choices were become part of the Prozac nation or find something constructive to occupy my brain. I dug out the remaining pile of figures and began to paint with 20 year old Citadel paints. It was fab. My brain got re-engaged and I was amazed at the range and quality of figures that had become available in my absence.
So what do I collect and paint. Like most people with this hobby the problem is what not to collect. I collect what ever looks cool to paint from Troy to WW2 weird war, but all in 28mm (my eyes and painting skills aren't up to anything smaller) I tend to buy armies, they are cheaper and give me a body of work to get my teeth in.
Currently I have a wide range of armies from Troy to ACW, I also have large collections of Old West, Colonial, Samurai, lots of flying carpets and VBCW figures, plus lots of other bits and pieces. As you can see very much a butterfly and currently I'm drawn to Zombies
During the painting challenge I completed the 2 ACW armies but subsequently I have purchased an extra 60 figures from an antique shop for £10 so more painting there, some tasks are never done, especially when you have no will power.
I'll close this opening post with some images of the things I painted during the challenge.

Perry 114th Pennsylvania

Black Tree Miniatures Flying Carpet

Clockwork Goblin Grizzly Walker

Empress Miniatures Rolls Royce Armoured Car

Aventine Miniatures Republican Roman Centurian

Hope you enjoyed this 1st post, let me know what you think.