Wednesday, 20 March 2019

I'm Back.

My first duty on arriving home was to look at the mail, sure enough a small box from Warlord Games was waiting for me. Inside were a few goodies, some dead livestock to litter the Normandy battlefield and the new Fortress Budapest campaign book, this came with not only the special figure, a Hungarian legend of the siege but also a sprue of around six soldiers, I think these too are Hungarian although I have not looked too closely at them yet.

"Sword behind the Shield" Helion.
 I got the book because it piqued my interest and I have drawn maps for a serious history of the campaign in the past, I also wanted to get the scenarios to add to what I have, I will have to adjust the troops used as I do not plan to get Hungarians or Soviets (yet) but don't see that as a problem. I already have a Warlord campaign book and thought it OK, another lazy effort on their part. This book has a completely different feel to it, the historical information is just enough to hook you in but the scenarios seem to be much better thought out and look very interesting. It was obviously written by someone not just intent on fleecing the reader but someone who has put a lot of effort and work into providing a useful tool for Bolt Action players which happily coincides with Warlord's aims. The recent Western Desert campaign book has also received a lot of praise so on the back of this along with 'Budapest' I have pre-ordered their upcoming D-Day campaign book.

What about the holiday you ask, or may close down at this point. It was great, Vietnam is a wonderful holiday destination and the people are wonderful as well. There is a nice contrast from the more old fashioned and restrained North through the slightly more touristy Centre to the madness of the thoroughly modern South. The country has a very young population which is as much preoccupied with Facebook, Instagram and selfies as the rest of the world, they are however very polite, helpful and on the face of it happy. The late war does not seem to overshadow anything although don't make the mistake that the Americans were allies and not invaders or you will be swiftly disabused, unlike John Cleese I did not mention the war and when it was brought up I politely nodded and kept my opinions to myself. The only people the Vietnamese do not like are the Chinese. Chinese investment in the country however is very high and large portions in the Centre and South will soon be turned into the Florida of the Far East, do visit before this if you can. I do have to mention that despite the nation not having any fat people and all the women being impossibly slim they do love their food, it is a foodie's paradise, we had two food tours and a cooking course and I had to beg off half way through them all as I simply could not eat any more. So there we have it, a great time away and back fully recharged wondering what I was doing at this time a week ago .......

Goodbye Vietnam

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Deadzone and Cystoscopy.

I didn't plan much for last night at the club as my holiday looms and I had other things preying on my mind (see below), so I took up Simon's offer for some fun with Deadzone, a sci-fi skirmish, a few people were MIA this week so only three games were on offer other than Deadzone; X-Wing, Frostgrave and Age of Sigmar, not a historical game in sight.

Deadzone is much like a host of other games of its type, lovely figures, small table, plays quickly and doesn't last long, despite this the book looked fairly complex to me as opposed to say Dead Man's Hand which has about 10 pages of rules. The game itself proved to be fairly simple although like any game you play for the first time you will not be able to appreciate any subtleties. In the first skirmish I was given The Plague, horrible looking people up to no good, I think the enemy were humans or one faction of them. I simply tried my best and rushed in, obviously I was quickly shot down and Simon won the game comfortably. In the second we changed sides, I had learned a little and, like Simon before me led the humans to a resounding victory. At one point I fired frag grenades into a large melee involving some of my own men as I was getting nowhere in hand to hand.

The Plague
I get trounced.
I win.

I have played Deadzone once before but a much larger game, it is not to be taken seriously and is good fun and fine for a club night. I was a tad distracted last night but I rallied and enjoyed the game, the second far more than the first.

I sent off another order to Rubicon on Tuesday night, a truck each for the British and Germans, I have been watching quite a few Bolt Action games on YouTube and can now understand why people bring transports. Bolt Action allows every truck to have a machine gun, despite this running against commonsense, yes I know some trucks had them but you won't see many in period photographs, to me it is simply annoying and gamesmanship, so, like not putting .50 Cal's on my British halftracks I don't do it. Anyway, I digress, the truck models are due for delivery today, superb turnaround from Rubicon.

Julian 'Del Boy' Ankers at the club when I told him I had ordered the trucks told me he had got several for the price of one on eBay (grrr), I looked this morning and could not see any bargains at all, in fact one guy wanted (with postage) £13 more than Rubicon was charging. There is obviously a knack to this. I have been very successful with my eBay selling over the past few weeks and got rid of the last of my stuff this morning, kerching! So possibly more Bolt Action stuff on the horizon when I get home.

I had a cystoscopy a few hours ago something I have been fearful about for over a week now, it is a check up on your bladder by a camera which goes in through your penis, I feel your eyes watering already. This is a by product of not getting enough antibiotics way back in December, I knew my bladder was not the problem but hey, I didn't do seven years at university. I made it to the waiting room at Lancaster and waited my turn with a woman shouting at her dad and sharing sandwiches and coffee while the woman next to me was praying, seriously, praying in a low voice. The woman next to her was flicking through Youtube videos and the rest of us got to listen at high volume to about five seconds of each one. Thankfully I was then called away, I couldn't really understand the doctor and had to ask several times what he had said, I winged it once and guessed right according to what he then said.

I was then led to a small room, told to drop my underpants and trousers to my ankles and lie on a bed, the Doc said he would be putting an anesthetic in my penis and it might be cold and a tad uncomfortable, he was definitely right about the second part as I let out a low "Wooooooooo". Before I knew it the camera was in and I could see what was happening on a monitor to my left, big deal, just red or yellowish flesh with veins all over, I gritted my teeth and shut my eyes despite there really being no pain, only a slight strange feeling and a need to pee, I merely wished for it to be over. It must have took less than ten minutes and that was it, nothing to report. It is more painful now going to the toilet than it was during the procedure, it can take a day or so for this feeling to go. I am now really, really looking forward to getting away on Friday morning. The procedure is not as bad as you think but you can still live without it.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

What happened there?

Stewart turned up on Saturday morning for our planned wargame weekend, first up was several games of X-Wing then a War and Conquest game to refresh the rules for April (see below). X-Wing is undoubtedly Stewart's game and I like to think WAC is mine, pride cometh before a fall.

I ran four X-Wings in the first game as I had had success with this at the club and was quietly confidentish, I completely mucked things up and on one turn I did not even get a shot off, I was then taught how to really play the game, first blood to Stewart. In the second game I took two B-Wings, these fly like bricks, an X-Wing and an A-Wing, Stewart had the Hounds Tooth a big ugly monster of a ship, but one which never seems to have much success, especially at the club, another two ships escorted the beast. I got everything right this time and got a very good win destroying all the enemy, my first ever win against Stewart, honours even. For our final bash we both had Imperials and both had two Tie Defenders along with one more ship, I had an Aggressor and Stewart took an Interceptor. I was out of my depth and had a bit of bad luck, I thought I would get rid of the Interceptor first and got it down to three hull points, I hit it nine times more and not one shot got through! I quickly lost the plot and Stewart won 2/1, but I was happy with that I expected it to be 3/0.

Sunday dawned and it was Saxon Heptarchy vs Carolingians, I took two elite Gedriht units, a group of Geoguth and one of Ceorls, I also took some cavalry as a reserve, then I took the Franks, yes, those Franks, but this time I gave them more men so that they would always have the chance of gaining the Warband bonus, I also gave them their own general and heavy throwing weapons, surely they would not let me down with all this lavished on them? The Carolingians had two elite units, some average troops, a large unit of cavalry and some unreliable types. We both had skirmishers, I had three units and Stewart had two.

Stewart had to deploy first and it was a typical battle line, I formed the same opposite, my intention was to break the Carolingian right and roll up the line while holding my own right back until they were forced into combat. Stewart moved his cavalry into skirmish and headed for the opposite flank, I was happy with this and moved my slingers behind the line to meet them, my right could be exposed by the cavalry. However I saw an excellent opportunity to ride down the enemy skirmishers opposite my cavalry, I covered them with my archers as they moved forward, before I could charge Stewart caught me out by charging the archers, a move which was unexpected and routed them, this meant the cavalry were now targets and they took enough casualties to rout, elsewhere that turn I had another unit of archers run, three surprising routs in one turn, not good.

The sun shines on the Carolingians.
The confident Saxons
Still looking good.
The pendulum just about to swing.

I now threw the Franks forward and sure enough my plan worked and they beat their foes and swept them away, Stewart had come off his hill so my right was now engaged as well, I was winning these combats, the Carolingian cavalry now turned and came back. I rallied my cavalry and set them towards the enemy, Stewart looked crestfallen. Another Carolingian unit ran and my young Geoguth held their opponents to a draw, it looked like it was all over. I then made a stupid move with the Franks, counting on them moving an elite unit, which they almost did, but in the round after my forces took a severe beating, so bad the tide turned and they failed to recover, as time passed more and more Saxons fled to the rear. It was my turn to look downhearted. Stewart had grabbed a splendid victory from the jaws of defeat, even my King was captured, a black day for the Heptarchy. When will I ever learn about those damn Franks, although they could say I have to shoulder most of the blame for mucking up their move, I threw away a good opportunity there.

With most of the army running I surrender my sword.

So a good two days fighting and Stewart grabbing the laurels and no doubt driving home reliving his glory. I had even used my new Saxon dice, I was never happy with the orange ones and they just felt wrong, these svelte blue and black dice are fine despite my loss.

If you are a regular here you will know I went to a couple of War and Conquest events twice a year for a time, I like the game that much, sadly these events have not continued, for several reasons which I won't bore you with, so I decided to hold my own. I could easily fit four tables in to my Post Office but decided to go with three for a trial, this due to circumstances beyond my control has dwindled to two, no matter it is going ahead, two games on Saturday and one on Sunday.

I have been eBaying with some success recently and intend to do more once I return from holiday as decided to clear out stuff I never play with, most of my ACW ships have now gone and I have amassed enough for another couple of models for Bolt Action.

View From The Window

 It is a beautiful day here, the sun is shining and although cool it looks like warming up, very different from this time last year or any other year. Are we going to get a good year like last year, has global warming at last caught up with us after decades of warnings or is it simply something to cheer us up before we get back to more rain, rain, rain. Fingers crossed. Weather should not be a problem for me from next Friday as I am off to Vietnam, even the rain if any should be warm.

I have been having a pretty terrible time since just before Christmas when I got a urinary infection, due to no one believing me that the infection had not gone I had two periods where it recovered its strength and came back to haunt me. The main reason this happened of course is that the NHS is reluctant to prescribe you more antibiotics than they need to, not how many you need. You can get an operation or several to change your sex, you can get dancing lessons and slimming courses free gratis, you can even get an £8,000 bionic penis if your performance is not up to scratch, but you can't get another weeks antibiotics to cure you. I have changed my pharmacy because despite having around ten people behind the desk it takes them four days to get my prescriptions ready and if they are ready they are usually wrong. I also went to the Hospital last Thursday for treatment and could not get it because one of the consultants decided not to turn up. I go again this Wednesday, let's see if I have more success this time.

I cannot be racist because I don't like a lot more white people than I do coloured people, in fact I can count on one hand how many non whites I have taken a dislike to. Why do I mention this, because as of today I refuse to listen or speak to anyone on the phone with an accent from the subcontinent. I, like most people get the usual scammer once a week at least, yesterday I had four, this morning I had two, one, without blinking introducing himself as Johnny O'Connor, it is never Mohammed, Arnav, Eshan or whatever, it is Malcolm, or Eugene or Felicity! I did have to give one caller 10/10 for audacity, the Tax Regulator seemingly, they were going to bring a £3,000 cheque to me but first I had to pay £150 tax, this was to be in the form of three iTunes cards at £50 each, once they had the numbers they would have the cheque to me in half an hour. How does anyone fall for this, also have the Nigerians sold out?

Should the ISIS woman and her kid get back in to the UK, NO.Where were all the bleeding heart celebrities, politicians and do gooders when the poor Pakistani woman under death threat wanted to come here, nowhere to be seen or heard, shameful.

Just when you thought politicians couldn't get any worse we have a bunch stamping their feet and withdrawing from their parties in righteous indignation, not indignant enough to offer up by-elections to see if their constituents agree with them mind. What a shambles, no matter what side of the debate you are on the country seems to be in the hands of 650 selfish, jobsworth incompetents. Pitt, Gladstone, Disraeli and Churchill amongst others must be turning in their graves. God help us.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

We wus Robbed Sir.

 Muskets and Tomahawks last night, I arrived a bit late so the terrain had all been set out and as I chose to be British I was handed my OOB and orders. There was a French spy around, a Jesuit priest who we had to apprehend while keeping the unruly savages at bay, as we were the vanguard our forces arrived piecemeal so for the start of the game and most of the rest of it I had two light companies. To get further troops we had to reach certain points on the table, so it was my own fault I left my regulars to near the end.

As my Jocks set about reaching the first reinforcement point it became apparent that there were a lot of Indians in them nearby woods. I thought here was an opportunity to get some points by wiping out the savages while holding the left flank as Rob made his way to rescue the settlers near the river. As ever my shooting was terrible and it took me a long time to make the left secure, so much so I did not make my way to the next reinforcement point until almost too late. Rob meanwhile took cover in a redoubt while the women we had to rescue huddled in a nearby building, a bunch of very brave Indians was whittling his men down despite the cover. What about the priest, well that fool was running about in circles getting nowhere (dice led), but always just on the other side of the river so we could not get at him as French irregulars began to arrive. He eventually made it to safety.

An Indian chief called out Rob's commander to a duel, and in front of their men they set too with gusto, cheered on by us on the sidelines, the combat was ferocious but not deadly and eventually each was dragged away bloody and exhausted by their men. They returned to the fray a few moments later and this time the savage did not survive, huzzah!

Victory for Rob's guy.

I had eventually cleared the forest to my front and moved on the remaining Indians in the centre, the regulars had now arrived and a volley sent them to the happy hunting grounds. With the women safe, apart from one unlucky madam, the British began their withdrawal. It was time to count up points and I felt fairly confident, I had stopped Julian from scalping most of my dead and had dealt out a fair amount of damage for a score of 16. Ryan had saved the priest and leapt forward with around 32, Julian had captured a donkey and a maid so again reaped huge rewards, Rob had saved most of the women so again needed a calculator to add up his points. I was last, and last by a long shot, despite having wiped out more First Nations than John Wayne while holding the left flank.

The regulars turn up late.
The mad Jesuit is eventually saved and high fived!
Don't look Daphne.
 Another good game and a lot of fun, elsewhere we had a rowdy RPG and Deadzone going on, I am playing Deadzone next week.

 My last (for the time being) WWII kit, the Sherman arrived very quickly from Rubicon, as with all their kits you can choose which tank you want to build, with this kit you can build four, not much difference in three of them until you come to the Firefly version. My British needed a bit more punch to tackle the Germans in Normandy, although they do have a M10 tank destroyer with a 17pdr, now they have two with the addition of the Firefly.

You can go mad trying to work out what green was used by Allied tanks and what is the best equivalent, I use Russian Uniform, drybrushed with the same colour with some white added, the tracks are Track Primer and the rubber on the wheels Dark Rubber. I had decided to use mud (MIG Europe Dry Mud) on this vehicle but found on opening the tub it had solidified, so no go there. The lower surfaces were drybrushed with Flat Earth. I found some bits and pieces to put on the rear deck, you can't put too much on due to the long 'bustle' needed for the recoil of the 17pdr. The markings are for 29th Brigade, 11th Armoured Division, at first I put the blue squadron markings on, then decided you could hardly see them on the green back ground, so I overlaid yellow markings, but these again are not as bright as perhaps they should be. I then realised that the number 53 on the chassis went with the blue and not the yellow, this of course played on my mind until I eventually replaced them with the proper number, 52. No, I must not paint over the yellow, daft idea.....

I had noticed before the strange wavy pattern on the end of the 17pdr gun, I found out that it was to disguise the length of the barrel, the Germans came to fear the killing power of the gun and as there was only one tank in a troop armed with the 17pdr, if they could they would knock that tank out first. Quite clever and maybe enough to allow the British tank to get the first round off, a bit like the false bow wave on a ship to confuse U-Boats. You learn something new all the time.

I finished my extra WWII infantry this morning so it will be on with the SYW grenadiers now.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Garde Ecossais

Another bunch of Scots for the Seven Years War with more to be added later, I had a look at the Perry AWI Highlanders and think they would do for a couple of battalions and fit well with my Front Rank figures. There is also one more Scots battalion I can add to the French. So the long term plan for the rest of the year which has just come to me, is the Highland battalions for the British, Scots and Irish for the French along with another artillery battery and cavalry regiment for each and we will see where I am after that.

You really have to fit the uniform to the figures with SYW, and I think the only thing with these troops was the missing shoulder tab, which I could have painted on but didn't and the cuffs which I did paint properly with the blue slash. I get all my information from the Kronoskaf site which I take to be correct in most details and is a fantastic research site for wargamers, I even gave them some money.

I have got the Bolt Action bug again and having got the Tiger I cheap I decided as you know to buy the newly released Jagdpanther, I also got a few more figures to add to the infantry, and of course I had to even up the odds for the Allies hence the Firefly (which wasn't called a Firefly during the war but is recognised as such today). I got it built the same day it arrived and am now in the stages of painting it.

I also got myself some black acrylic skull markers for stamina in Black Powder and team casualties in Bolt Action from the excellent Charlie Foxtrot Models, Colin even put in some further examples for me, it pays to have friends in the hobby. His wonderful Eastern Front buildings are almost enough to tempt me to get Russians.

Son Stewart is coming over this coming weekend for some games, X-Wing on Saturday and War and Conquest on Sunday, the latter will be a 'training' game as we have not played for a while and I have organised a WAC weekend here in April. There was to be six of us but we are now four, so I am looking forward to that.