Friday, 21 November 2014

Naval November

On Wednesday evening I had very intense hobby session. Mrs Monty and the girls had gone to bad and our livingroom was deadly silent. Thus I took the nearly finished 1/1200 HMS Royal Sovereign and a skein of rayon threat and started to rig my first ship:
The ship is from Langton Models' excellent 1/1200 range. It comes with a hull of two or three parts and seperate masts and sails. I decided to take white metal sails which are thicker but easier to assemble than etched brass sails.
After assembling the small ship I painted the hull and the masts seperately and glued them together afterwards. As usual I used Vallejo Model Colours and some Armypainter washes.
Finally I covered the whole ship with matt varnish and made the rigging of rayon embroidery threat. Probably the rigging is not correct in the details but for a landlubber as I am it's satisfying I presume. Unfortunately I hit the main mast with my forearm yesterday so the rigging sags at some points. Clumsy me!

Typing these words I realize that I forgot to assemble the ratlines. I'll have to catch up on that this weekend.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Defending the bridge head - Another Retreat from Moscow game report...

Some time ago when we played our latest game of White Death. Another playtest of our ruleset for 1812. This time we played an episode from the Battle of Berezina in late November 1812.

More precisely we recreated the 28th November 1812. Part of the French retreaters had already reached the western banks of Berezina River and were regrouping there. But meanwhile the Russians under General Chichagov were approaching and tried to empocket the bridge head. Finally General Fournier and General Doumerc saved the French by leading a daring cavalry charge with the reamins of their forces.
The battlefield... Berezina River is somewhere on this side of the board.
We as players led three warbands of retreating soldiers. It was pur goal to stand firm long enought to buy time for the cuirassiers to gather and prepare to charge. Regarding the rules this worked by special event cards which we were able to collect during the game. After this we were free to launch the cavalry charge or wait a little longer to collect more cards. The more cards the more powerful the charge but the Russians became more numerous and more dangerous during the game as well. A difficult situation...
Our warbands taking their initial positions.
Anyway a very exiting game arose and we had to fight hard to resist the Russian pressure. Here are some impressions from the game:
One of our soldiers taking cover behind a tree.

Allied troops ready to fire at the approaching Russians.

Luckily we had some artillerymen who where able to man a gun we found.

Chichgov's Russian in sight

They're fielding a sledge gun. Dangerous !

A Russian Jaeger officer leading the troops.

The Russians advance across the clearing in the middle of the board.

Their pressure becomes more and more unstoppable...

...but our curassiers gather as well. Relief seemed near!

More Russians...

Then suddenly Russian hussars appearing at our flank...

... luckily they meet the Old Guard our best fighters there...

...and underlie.
After we repulsed this charge our boys were at the end of their tether. Thus we decided to launch the French cavalry charge and luckily it was a success. Thus we defended the French bridge head and Napoleon and his troops are able to retreat further west...

Once again an absolutely entertaining and exciting game. Actually the core rules for our very own 1812 ruleset are working very well. Hopefully we'll manage to do some playtesting of the campaign rules this winter.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Winter is coming - Taking Curt's challenge again..

Winter is coming and that doesn't only mean the festive season but Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge as well. 
"Official" picture by Curt
After my first participation last year I was lucky enough to get a slot this year again. This time the motto is "Anti-Heroes, Rogues and Ruffians". As usual the challenge lasts from early December (5th) 2014 until 20th March 2015 (spring) and the participants achieve points for painted figures they send pictures of to Curt. In addition he created a couple of bonus rounds which aren't mandatory but very gainful with 50 points for each fulfilled one. So my primary target is to complete each and every of the bonus rounds as I did last year:

1st Bonus Round: Cold (14th December):
There are some nice 1812 Poles by Paul Hicks (release by Murawski Miniatures) which are waiting for paint. Wonderful sculpts by this master of his business! At least a couple of them should be finished in time to achieve this bonus round.
Picture by Murawski Miniatures
2nd Bonus Round: Mounts and Riders (28th December):
Actually I wanted to start my Saga Normans earliert but probably they'll have to wait until December to become my entry for this round.

3rd Bonus Round: Victorian (11th January):
A unit of colonial British troops as a start for my North-West Frontier collection could be nice I presume. Or some of their 1860s British intervention force maybe...
Picture by Perry Miniatures
4th Bonus Round: Myth (25th January):
As mascot for my Vikings for the Of Gods and Mortal ruleset I bought a 40mm Thor from Wargames Foundry a couple of months ago. A good entry for this round I think.

 5th Bomus Round: Hot (8th February):
Not sure yet... Maybe another addition for the North-West Frontier project. Actually I have more than one unit ready to be painted...
Picture by Perry Miniatures
6th Bonus Round: Comedic (22nd February):
First I thought of some animals in uniform like Eureka's SYW Teddy Bears but more likely I'll go for a figure or two from Warlord Games' Dad's Army. Probably not the whole bunch since I'm not sure what to use them for afterwards... So maybe I'll turn to some of Artizan's Thrilling Tales figures. They make interesting sets and at least Big Joe and his mates should be comedic enough, shouldn't they?
7th Bonus Round: Anti-Hero (8th March):
Another difficult choice... Although I was first thinking of some great military leaders who finally failed tragically like Napoleon or Rommel but I'm not sure whether they really satisfy the term "Anti-Hero". So maybe I'll go for one of Batman's incarnations by Knight Models.
And besides this?
Actually I should paint a couple of French Napoleonics and a bunch of late WW1 Tommies during winter. We'll see how many of those chaps I'll be able to add to my Painting Challenge Account. Anyway my goal for this time is 750 points. That is slightly more than last year and would bring me into the midfield of the painters. With 350 points for the bonus rounds (7 x 50 points = 350 points) that would mean another 400 points to reach with painted miniatures. For example 80 28mm figures on foot or 40 mounted figures... Rather a lot for me but I'll take the challenge !
If anyone of you is interested in a little side challenge then let me know.
Last year Sir Michael from Awdry Towers and me decided to take all the bonus round together and in the end we suceeded. On the other hand I lost the 600 points race against Fran who got a pair of painted Scotsmen as price then. 
Although I don't fear to loose a bet I presume racing for points isn't my cup of tea. I'm simply too slow with painting...

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

In Flanders Fields...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
("In Flanders Fields" by LtCol JohnMcCrae)

As wargamers we recreate armed conflicts from past centuries and decades, first and foremost because of historical interest and because of the exciting games we create and play with our fellows. But besides this we have a certain measure of responsibility when bringing battles to live. After all it's a very bloody business which we simulate and illustrate. A business in which millions of people lost their lives. Therefore a lot of wargamers have a certain bond to military tradition and remembrance for those who were killed on the battlefields of history. And so do I.
Today the end of World War I has its anniversary and a lot of countries hold Remembrance Day. Although German Volkstrauertag is on 16th November let me join your international fellowship and let me pause for a minute and think of those who have died in the line of duty.
There's so much nonsense coming from the EU why don't those chaps in Brussels create a united and uniting Remembrance Day?
Lest we forget !
And with that I don't care which nationality the soldiers had who gave their lives for king or country. Shame on those who caused such grief but honourable remembrance for those who suffered thus badly.

Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a poppy here although I would go for wearing it with honour this very day and close ranks with you fellows in France, Belgium, the United States, Great Britain, the Commonwealth and wherever Remembrance Day is celebrated today. If anyone of you get's hold of a plain and simple poppy for me I would appreciate if you could send it to me. Of course I would either be willing to pay for it or donate an appropriate amount to the British legion and the German Kriegsgräberfürsorge.

For the last weeks I haven't been able to get McCrae's poem out of my head. I heard I very often when I was working the miniatures for the vignette above and found the following interpretation particularly impressive. It's underlaid with the melody of "Abide with me".

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Crisis 2014 - Picture Report

As I already reported Crisis was an awesome show. There were a lot of clubs presenting excellent wargaming tables and interesting games. Additionally a lot of internationally well known traders came their and offered their stunning ranges. During the show I took far more than 100 photos and have sorted out the best of them.

But first of all many, many thanks to the TSA for organizing and running this extraordinary event !
The information stand of the TSA
But now for the pictures... First for a selection of the traders which were present. Although there were many more like Empress, Pendraken, Wargames Foundry and many more, I picked only those I made personal acquaintance with. For a complete list look here. Unfortunately Stronghold Terrain is missing in my pictures because the stall was always so crowded that I didn't get a nice picture of those nice people.
Sascha and his fellow from Black Hussar miniatures... Excellent 28mm for SYW they have.
Martin and Diane from Warbases in action...
Ged from Gringo40s (the handsome chap behind the Space Marine of course).
Wayne from Wargames Illustrated and his charming wife Vhairi.
Annie, the Dice Bag Lady
Gripping Beast explaining Jugula
And besides this the awesome tables everywhere around:
A mixed crusader army storming a city in the holy land.
Chaaaaaaarge !
Deus vult !

A stunning Japan board with loads of samurai and ashigaru.
A very interesting airplane game.
A huge Warhammer 40K game.
Obviously Tyranids attacking an Imperial stronghold.
Air defense.
Yom Kippur War with lots of tanks.
WWII - Flames of War I presume.
A stunning strategy board with 10mm or 6mm figures.
Crush the Kaiser in small scale.
Another view of the table.
The most impressive and justly awarded table about Keren 1941
Brave Tommies preparing their advance.
Charging with artillery support...
... and air support.
A view from the Italian position.
The broadcasting house at the foot of the hill.
D-Day landings
Brave Americans trying to settle on the beaches of Normandy.
But they come under heavy fire.
Last but not least our table about the French intervention in Mexico.
Kalle, Holger and me busy with a young prospect.
The safe fortress is far away for the Imperial forces.
The Belgians fought bravely in the rearguard.
Actually that's it. A great weekend out with the boys and a lot of nice wargaming things to see and to try on Crisis 2014. Although it's a year away I'm looking forward to the succeeding event next year.

Nearly I forgot to mention that I bought a couple of things. No show without loot:

My loot from Crisis 2014.
But this time only an advance order from Warbases and a couple of single blisters from different companies. One of them is my present for the Santa Clause...

Further reading (more Crisis pictures):
- Brückenkopf Report Parts 1, 2 and 3
Have a look at those sources. There are some excellent tables I didn't get good photos from. Don't miss them.