Sunday, November 27, 2016

Castro and a new miniature project

Well, I hope everyone in the US had a good Thanksgiving.  I had to work on Friday and Sat. and since I am salary, I got no additional pay for working on days that I would normally have off.  8(

Anyway, I still have not yet started listening to my current audio book selection, The League. With Fidel Castro finally dying, I am very tempted to instead start listening to the audio book, One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro at the Brink of Nuclear War, by Michael Dobbs.  I was actually planning to listen to that book and read 15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation, by L. Douglas Keeney, and The Fires of October: The Planned US Invasion of Cuba During the Missile Crisis of 1962, by Blaine Pardoe, and finally, Blue Moon over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis, by William Eckers, Michael Dobbs, and Kennith Jack.  I was thinking of rounding up the lot with a book on the overall US nuclear deterrent called, To Kill Nations: American Strategy in the Air-Atomic Age and the Rise of Mutually Assured Destruction, by Edward Kaplan.  But again with the death of Castro in the news and the talk of the Cuban Missile Crisis again, makes me think that I might step up my time line on reading on that topic.  It is also got me possibly itching on pulling out my 1/300 Pentomic army to be worked on so I can start nuking the Russians.  Or at least play some games of "Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies" by Victory Point Games.


If you don't remember, back in August of 2013, I was part of the NSDMG game at Gen Con based on the Cuban Missile Crisis.  (blog entry here) I was in the session as the Cuban's and I was the Curtis LeMay equal for the Cubans and came really close to getting rid of Fidel so we could get the war started with the Americans.  

So anyways, what is the new miniature project?  I bought a painted 10mm Russo-Turkish War project for about 60% of the cost that it would take me to buy the miniatures and get them painted.  I got the first of the two boxes.  They are nicely painted, but I am going to re-mount them to a different base size.  I plan to use them with the Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames, or Neil Thomas' Wargaming the 19th Century Europe, or with Rick Priestley's Black Powder rules.  Basically I have almost everything for a Russian Infantry Division (12 battalions) and a Turkish Independent Rifle Brigade (8 battalions) plus each have their artillery batteries.  I don't have any pictures yet as I am waiting for the bases to show up so I and remount them first.  It is a large project, but oddly I will only need one 4L Really Useful Box with a tray and one 1.75L Really Useful Box to store the whole project.  So it really is not that large for storage.  

Be seeing you 

Sapper
 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Still alive...not much to add

Really have not been doing anything related to the hobby, so I figure I should at least pop in and let people know that I am still alive since it has been almost a month since my last entry.  I had to cancel my RCW game this month due to work schedule and doctor visits (just the periodical check-ups, nothing bad).  I am hoping to get a game in next month, but I have another dentist appointment on a Saturday as they found one of my fillings is chipping away and they need to re-do it.  Good news is that this will be free since this was a filling from earlier in the year.  Until later...

Be seeing you,

Joe

Monday, October 17, 2016

New miniatures painted by Fernando

As I mention in my previous entry, I was not able to photograph them outside with natural sunlight, so they appear darker then they are in person.  So let start our journey on what I got painted by Fernando on this last batch.  Also a reminder that by clicking on the picture, there should be a bigger version of it.
  
First up is some more figures for the Russian Civil War
Above is the second half of the Siberian Rifles formation.  This will now give me four units of ten for them.

These two are more for a Pulpy RCW scenario or other games needing Soviet spies, but they are my two Cheka agents, Natasha & Boris...and yes, I have a moose and squirrel that will be in my next batch of miniatures to be painted.

These next two units are for both the Interventionist Allies in the RCW and also for War Plan Crimson
First is some more Canadians.  I needed them to increase the units to be ten man units and some extra Lewis guns teams.

Now is another force of US infantry.  This will give me eight 10-figure units for War Plan Crimson since they will be the attackers.  There is a lot of BARs in this group, but they will replace some of the rifles in the RCW intervention force so in the Crimson games each 10 figure unit will have a BAR.

Next up is a figures for War Plan Crimson and an interwar Cold War skirmish with the Soviets called Ice Station Lima, which is Tiger Miniatures tip of their hat to the novel and movie, "Ice Station Zebra".
First is are heroes of Archaeologists & Scientists.  I actually like the figure on the far right as he is holding a Spanish Conquistador's helmet!  What is that doing all the way up in the Arctic, is a mystery!

Now is a unit of troopers to protect our heroes.  Half are wearing fur coats and the others are wearing skin coats.  

Next is a machine gun team to help protect the heroes' discovery site. 

Well, we have to get the mysterious dingus back to civilization!  What better means for transportation than a reindeer (or caribou if you insist) drawn sled? 

Of course, we have to have the bad guys to try to stop the heroes from just sledding off into the sunset with the dingus!

Next up is more Tiger Miniatures goodness that can be used for War Plan Crimson, Ice Station Lima, or for its only mini-project, Death Hunt.  This is another Tiger Miniatures wink to another movie, "Death Hunt", which is a highly fictional account of the famous pursuit of a mad trapper in the Yukon in 1931-32 by the name of Albert Johnson.  It really is an amazing criminal and survival adventure which you should read up on, even if just the Wiki article.
The three guys in white are the three heroes from the movie, Death Hunt.  Unfortunately, the one on the right should actually be a black American instead of white.  I am going to fix that later.  To the right of them are four Canadian Mounties in winter gear and finally, the mad trapper himself, Albert Johnson.

In the movie, Albert Johnson, played by Charles Bronson, was actually not a bad guy.  Not only was he being pursued by the Mounties, lead by the actor Lee Marvin, but also being pursued by the other trappers that he had a run in with at the beginning of the movie.  Well, these guys are them!  This could make for an interest three game of survival with one player being Albert Johnson, another being the Mounties, the third being the trappers.

This now leads into more figures that are tied into War Plan Crimson, Ice Station Lima, Death Hunt, and now, the Yukon Perils!  Actually the two sets of figures above will also work for the Yukon Perils games too.
Of course we should start off with the good guys of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police lead by SGT Preston and his loyal dog, Yukon King.
 
Next are the trouble makers for SGT Preston's toopers in the line of mad trappers!
 
Now are some treeline toughs that might be trouble or just some rugged individuals. 
 
Some more rugged individuals for the Mounties to deal with or protect. 
 
Yeah, these are Polar Explorers, but could easily be in the Yukon.  Why would explorers be so heavily armed is a good question for the the Mounties to ask! 
 
Being really the only representation of the Canadian government in the Yukon, the Mounties must also deal with checking up on the Inuits and make sure they are not making any trouble. 
 
If they are not diligent in their duties, the Mounties may have to deal with an Inuit rebellion! 
 
Finally, someone that is non-threatening and will probably be needed to be saved by the Mounties at some time during their time in the Yukon.  But what will they need to be saved from?

Why from a polar bear, of course!  But could there be something more dangerous in the Yukon?

Hmm, well a couple of angry Sasquatches would be worst than a polar bear...but could there be something else?

 A family of displaced Yetis!


Now for a moment of Zen...
Be seeing you,
Sapper 











Sunday, October 16, 2016

Review of Fernando Enterprises Miniature Painting Service's packing

Hello,

I know that I spoke of Fernando's Painting Service before, but I never showed pictures of how they pack the painted miniatures for the return shipping.  So I decided to take some pictures of the unpacking of my latest order that I got back earlier but didn't have time to open until today.  I am quite happy with how well protected they were packaged.

I also took pictures of the painted figures which I was not able to do outside for natural light, so the pictures I took are really not that good.  Maybe next weekend, I can get outside with them and get better pictures.  I am going to put them in a separate entry later tonight or tomorrow.

So lets look at the how Fernando's packing with comments under the pictures...

So I didn't quite took a picture of the big outer box, but as you can see above after the outer box is opened and there is a layer of bubble wrap and packing peanuts.  It is a nice heavy cardboard type for box. 
Under that layer of packaging were three more heavy cardboard boxes with the miniatures packed inside them.

Inside each of the smaller boxes are the painted figures individually wrapped in foam.  The box is packed so the figures can not bounce around.  In each box is a list of the miniatures with the ID number on it so you can open them in order to be put in their regular storage.  In this box was two figures that were broken during shipping to Fernando and they were returned so I can do something with them if I want. 
Here is an individual figure wrapped in the foam.  In this picture, I didn't get the cardboard backing on the opposite side that gives a stiffener to the foam so to protect the figures weapons.  I also want to point out how they folded the end of the tape over to give you a tab to grab to pull the tape off...nice!
Here you see the figure and the amount of foam used to protect the paint job, plus the cardboard stiffer.
Not all of the figures that I have done individually based, as in case of this machine gun team.  In most of these cases, they place them in a even in a smaller box for protection.
As you can see, they pack the small box so nothing can move about during shipping!
Now you can see how much space that they filled in around the figures to fill in that smaller box!

I plan to get another batch of Russian Civil War figures off to be painted in a month or so.  Cheers to Fernando!

Be seeing you,
Sapper

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Game AAR - Franco-Prussian War...or, How the French stopped Bismarck

Saturday, I played in a game of 28mm Franco-Prussian War using the Larry Brom's Chasspots & Needleguns.  Blake had us over at his place for the game and provided all of the figures and terrain.  I have mixed feelings about the mechanics of the rules, but it didn't help that my dice rolling was horrible.  Glenn & Curtis played the French, each with a regiment of French Foreign Legion.  Curtis was also running an artillery battalion and a battalion of light cavalry.  Blake and me where pushing a regiment of Bavarians and a battalion of artillery, plus I also had a battalion of heavy cavalry.  The game end with a massive French victory.  Now, on to the pictures...

Glenn and Blake faced off against each other on the left side of this picture.  Blake is advancing in Double Line formations.  I am facing off against Curtis.  I am advancing in Field Columns as I am trying to get to the town first and occupy it for the fortification. 
This picture shows the German heavy cavalry and the heavy siege guns under my command. Notice the nice clear firing lane down main street for Curtis' artillery...the bane of my existence.
So, here we see the French guns are still not shot yet, but the French cavalry has moved and moved quite well for speed!  In response, I did the proper tactic of forming square with my flank battalion.  Note the middle battalion prior to the firing for the first turn.
Now, the French cannons fired, I took heavy losses and was forced back...way back!  This was running back and forth was pretty much the rest of the game for me.
Blake's forces are suffering losses to French Chasspot rifles with greatly out ranges our Dreyse needle gun rifles....like 24" to our 16" range!  Notice also that Blake's artillery is not anywhere where it could fire...yeah, there is a reason I am mentioning this...
Turn two, I change formations to get out of column and the French cavalry charges my square!
Freaking French artillery!!!!  Turn two's firing hit my lead battalion causing them to withdraw all the way back past the rear battalion.  Compare the locations from the prior picture.
Still on turn two, my square shoots up a quarter of the French cavalry, then fails their morale and runs away!  Seriously?!?!? 

Turn three sees my two battalions that have not routed wheel to face the right flank.  The ashamed battalion that routed from a square has retreated to just out of the the picture on the left, but they are still in the game.  Curtis advanced one battalion of infantry in Field Column to support his light cavalry.  I decided to charge my heavy cavalry into this column of infantry before they have time to change formation and the French light cavalry counter charged me on the flank.  That is what the big mass of figures are at the top of the picture.  In desperation, I fired my siege guns into the melee causing one hit to all three units, but everyone passed their morale.
The French won the melee, barely!  I had beaten all of the light cavalry and almost beaten all of the French infantry before my heavy cavalry's bottle failed.  So I had to route and the French held.  The heavy cavalry was later routed off the board by the French cavalry.  That was pretty much it on my flank.  For the rest of the game, I tried to get out of the line of site of the French artillery, but couldn't.  Every time I advanced, I was forced to recoil the same distance back...sigh.  But what about Blake's flank?
For those unfamiliar with the curse of Blake, he has some of the worst dice rolling known to man!  He never could get his artillery to where it was need to shoot because he regularly failed his command rolls to move!  For an example, the pictures above and below are from the same turn in which he tried to use the free action card to do something too... He only needed to roll an eight or less on a d10...
So his infantry advanced into the jaws of death unsupported while the French danced all around him...
Yes, that is a French battalion that behind Blake's force.  Yes, the French moved that fast!

I didn't look at what the total losses where for both sides, but we started off with 46 stands (I think the French had 43 starting.)  At 20 stands lost, the game is over.  At the end of turn 4, we had lost 19 stands!  I am not sure how many stands we lost in turn 5, but it was several.  The French, I think, lost maybe five stands total?  I know I got killed two cavalry and one infantry stand, and might have gotten another.  Blake might have gotten one or two infantry stands too.  Just thank goodness that we left our flags back in Munich. <>

Be seeing you

Sapper



Monday, September 19, 2016

Game AAR - Smiling Ali's Manpower, Inc. has a recruitment drive

Hello,

Well, Blake once again ran another Darkest Africa game at his home (big thanks!) and Glenn and I were the opposing players.  Blake was again using The Sword & the Flame's Sword of Africa supplement. The game was Arabs vs Azande natives and Glenn and rolled off for sides, with who every had the highest die gets the Arab and the lower die gets the natives.  I got the high die, so I played the free market temporary manpower corporation on another recruitment drive for unskilled labor for some clients, and like all good job headhunters, the name of my clients are confidential!

So, Glenn's pool of unskilled labor was six units of 10 spearmen, one unit of 10 bowmen, and one unit of muskets, plus a chief and a shaman.  My band of recruiters were three units of ten Arabic recruiters with a mix of muskets and rifles, two units of Ruga-Ruga talent scouts armed with muskets, an old cannon manned by Arab Health and Safety Officers, and finally Smilin' Ali, the owner and director of this corporation.  

The game started off will Smilin' Ali trying to persuade Chief Glenn to subcontract some of his employees to my manpower corporation and to avoid a messy legal battle with my recruiters.  Sadly he said no, so it was time to make an offer of new employment to Chief Glenn's employees by direct means. [Remember, by clicking on the picture, it will give you a bigger picture.]



I didn't take pictures of the initial set up, that this was about half way through the first turn and had not moved most of my units.  On the left flank are my three units of Arab recruiters.  On the other side of the trail is my Health & Safety cannon and Smilin' Ali standing behind them.  On the right is one of my two Ruga-Ruga talent scouts.  The other unit is just on the other side of that copse of trees.  Across from me from left to right is two units of spearmen, the unit of archers, another unit of spearmen, two units of spearmen in front of Chief Glenn's offices.  In front of those two units of spearmen is the musket unit.  Outside of the picture on the right is the final unit of spearmen.  Barely visible on the trail in the very back is Chief Glenn and his charmin' shaman.


 Here is a picture of the far right flank.





In the finest tradition of our Darkest Africa games the first fire is done by a cannon.  Since this is irregular crewed cannon, I have to roll a die before firing to see if can fire.  I passed every rolled to fire the cannon through the game.  However, since my cannon was crewed by Health & Safety officers, they deliberating shot to avoid hitting anyone!  Only on the first turn did they hurt anyone when they hit the leader of the native musket unit.  Of course, we think that guy was faking his injury so he could make a Workers' Comp. claim.   To give an idea how badly they fired, in theory, I should have averaged 12 hits over the course of the game, but I only got 1!  So this will be the last time we will mention the cannon being involved in the game.



On the left flank Chief Glenn got two units over the stream.  However, the range on my muskets and rifles could shoot up the native archers as they were out of range.  I shot enough of the archers in one round that they routed off the board.


Meanwhile on the right flank, the left unit of Ruga-Ruga traded shots with the native muskets.  While the right unit of Ruga-Ruga were actually Kentuckian riflemen lead by Davy Crockett in disguise, plus were cheating by using rifles with scopes!  Unlike my Health & Safety cannon (OK, this will be the last time I will mention it), these guys shot well over their average!  In theory, they should have hit four natives during the game.  In their first first fire, they hit five (!) figures.  In their next fire they hit four more natives! 



Yeah, that is how I image they were talking between themselves.


Back on the the left flank, the charmin' shaman tried to cast a spell on one of the recruiting parties.  It appears that he forgot that by wearing his mask that it will muffle his voice.



So the first group of job applicants rush forward to give their resumes to my recruiters!
 

After the first screening of the applicants, only six of the ten passed the drug testing screen.  Next was hands on testing for determining if they meet the job position's physical requirements.


I am sorry, but you just don't meet our requirements for a management position with Smilin' Ali's Manpower, Inc.  However, I feel that one of our customers, will be happy to contract you through us. 



At the end of the game, I have four Workers' Comp cases to file as three of my Arab recruiters and one Ruga-Ruga talent scouts (not from the Kentucky riflemen unit) got hurt. 



Unfortunately for Chief Glenn, he will have a bunch of positions to fill in the future.  He loss all ten archers, six musketeers, and eleven spearmen.  It also appears that he lose six elves and one ape wearing power armor!  I don't remember shooting them, but that Kentucky riflemen unit must have shot them while I wasn't looking to see what they taste like.

No worry about all of those open job positions, Chief!  Just call Smilin' Ali's Manpower, Inc., and ask for Babs!

On a serious note (What? Too late now), this game was way too weighed in favor for the Arabs.  Blake agrees in the future that he needs a lot more terrain for the natives to get closer to the Arabs with less losses so they got a chance to get in hand to hand and balancing the scenario.  Either that or a unit of Arabs should be remove or two or three more native spearmen units should be added.  Also, slavery is bad, but I couldn't help letting my dark humor come out.

Cheers,

Sapper