Monday, 16 July 2018

D i s a s t e r !

I settled down on Saturday morning to tidy up some loose ends re map projects, I managed one then got distracted by a fly, I can't concentrate with constant buzzing so gave it a dose of spray. This went over the desk so I picked up my stylus to give it a quick wipe and the thing came apart in my hand while little bits of circuit board flew like shrapnel. Revenge of the Flies, yeah, been there, but really just me being clumsy and Wacom not putting a thread on the pen rather than a smooth pull.

Horrified I went online to see if I could get a new pen tout suite, no one would deliver on a Sunday, so I settled for 'next day' which meant Monday, today, my tracking email however says it will be delivered before 9pm tonight, hardly next day in my mind. Funnily enough the ParcelFarce man just pulled up and had a small pen sized box in his hand, my spirits soared, only to be dashed as it is not for me, the Gods can be cruel. I am back to finger crossing, I have a lot of work on and don't want to waste a day.

I have managed to get back to some painting over the weekend due to the missus being away and no pen, His Majesty's Fifth of Foot are therefore coming along just fine and I suspect I may finish them this week, or at least get them to the basing stage. I am also learning how to use my wet palette properly, if you rub too long at the same spot you can wear away the paper and get through to the sponge underneath so it pays to move the paint around or be more gentle perhaps. I also may have put too much water in as when I went back to the palette after several hours the paint was a bit too runny having absorbed a lot of liquid. I find it very good for when you want to mix paints for a certain colour. Overall very pleased with it.

Dead Man's Hand tomorrow at the club and I am expecting a visit from WAC player Mike Jordan at the weekend for a feast of Ancient gaming, Mike has a large Early Imperial Roman army and I thought I would give it a game with each of my 'Ancient' armies, the Patricians, EIR and Seleucids, they will be larger games than normal at 3,500 points each.

Friday, 13 July 2018


I have not managed to pick up a paint brush for a couple of weeks now, mainly due to the hot weather and the 'stuff it' attitude it can lead to, but I intend to do a couple of hours tonight, I am home alone, again, as my missus does a 500 mile round trip for a night's babysitting, yes, I know it is mad.

Thank god I can now switch the TV on again without finding out the News has been delayed or moved, I still have to dodge Wimbledon but I can live with that. I opened the PO on Wednesday morning ready to empathise with any crestfallen England supporters who wandered in only to find that the first three men I asked, like me, were not interested in football and had not watched the game! Neither yesterday nor today has anyone mentioned it, no glum faces, no hint of national disaster, no tantrums, nothing, there's hope for us yet.

I am lost again with things to entertain me on the magic lantern, I have binged on the shows I enjoyed and tried several new ones. I am catching up with an old series while I paint, very loosely based on the Salem witch trials, surprisingly it is OK, good enough to paint by anyway. I also took on 'Happy' a weird series about an alcoholic ex-cop, they are always ex-cops, who is visited by a little girl's imaginary friend, a blue unicorn, wait don't go! Very brutal and very surreal but surprisingly I enjoyed it. Now here comes a real recommendation, GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a take on something which happened back in the '80's, it is heading for the 'next big thing' on TV, mark my words. It is sharp, well acted and non PC, it's on Netflix.

The only movie I have caught up with has been Downsizing, it had promise but went right off the radar, now I know why, it is desperate. The premise is that to save the planet you can volunteer to be reduced to about four inches tall then your money lasts longer and you save the eco system etc. But would you like to spend your life with the sort of people who would do that to save trees, no, I didn't think so. There really is no point to the story and it also doesn't make any sense, before I reached for the remote I hoped someone would step on all the little people. No wonder Matt Damon goes through the whole movie with a sour face, I would have squashed him myself to put him out of his misery.

As well as my normal mapping projects, back to WWI after some 18th and 17th C jobs, I have been working with Simon Miller of 'To The Strongest' fame on a scenario for his new ECW rules, Simon has a lot of excellent ideas to support his rule sets and I hope to play a small part in them.

I am not going to get that two hours tonight, I have faffed about now for a couple of hours and am losing the will to start, maybe an hour......

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Another clammy club night yesterday, Bolt Action this week, something nice and simple. Only a token force at the club, four guys with Bloodbowl games and Simon and I playing with real soldiers although I will admit the Bloodbowl looks like fun, albeit serious fun, with some very respectable paint jobs.

Anyway, back to wargaming, I asked Simon to have a go at a scenario I have played before, a defended hilltop with hasty defences, it turned out alright before so I hoped it would do again. We scrounged about for suitable terrain and tried to remember it was somewhere in Russia so no buildings or other signs of civilisation as the Soviets counterattacked. I put two regular squads up gunned with some assault rifles in the trenches along with my sniper and commander, off table were three Ostruppen squads, rubbish troops but I wanted to outnumber Simon. I don't normally take a sniper as they annoy the hell out of me in this game but I was expecting Simon to have one, but he didn't, there also was no sign of his favourite flamethrower either, but he did have four large squads, one of green troops and his KV1, I took a Marder to sort that out along with panzerfausts.

I was hit pretty badly during the preparatory bombardment and went Down to clear the pins, I should have simply rallied, this gave Simon time to approach the hill. I rolled for the Ostruppen in turn two but only one of them turned up, I had an idea to conceal this squad behind a hill so that I could flank the KV if and when it moved on my left, I left the Marder in reserve. I lost my sniper to a Russian assault but things began to go splendidly as my defenders hit back, the Russian forces were seriously depleted things were looking good, but I still had one Ostruppen refusing to come to the party. I brought the Marder on as Simon advanced his tank, bang, a hit, but the crew frowned as they saw their shot ricochet off the steel monster.

There was further fanatical fighting on the hill and I now took my ambushers forward and took a flank shot with a panzerfaust, fizzzzzzzz, nothing, the green troops now took fire and were destroyed by the Soviet tank's protecting squad along with its cheeky rear machine gun. Simon's luck had changed and it was the Germans who were now on the back foot. At last my remaining Ostruppen turned up but did not have the legs to make the hill and win me a point, and just when I needed him my officer and his mate were wiped out. The Marder took several more shots at the KV and missed as did another panzerfaust, all these shots rolled a one.

At the end Simon had two more points than me if I remember correctly, it had looked so good half way through, but I didn't do so well in the second half and the order dice favoured the Russians for the last couple of turns, the rest is history. Again the scenario played well, a real bloody fight for both sides, I took a chance with the Ostruppen and it didn't work, they were too easily killed off by return fire and their morale was terrible, hence one unit remaining off for four turns, perhaps I should have put them in the trenches and brought the Regulars on as reinforcements, but them they did sterling service in the trenches.

So there we go, I really should play more or at least remember to bring my order dice and my index for the next game, grrrr. I apologise for the poor photographs, my new phone is not as forgiving as my iPad, which I shall return to at once.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

An Unexpected Parcel

Ever since I got back from Tankfest I have been playing catch up, I have two projects 99% complete but am waiting for the authors to confirm the last maps are fine and we are good to go. I have a third which is 80% done and again am waiting for the last map, I don't like waiting, my store of patience ran out a long time ago, but hey I have plenty of other maps to draw. My missus very kindly took over my days in the PO this week in order to let me get on.

With the weekend away and so much to do I decided to give the club a miss this week so no battle reports. The missus shouted up yesterday that the Postie had just delivered a parcel for me, I was a bit unsure as I have not ordered anything for a couple of weeks now, but she was adamant and it was a large box, sure enough there it was. From Celestial Games, not a name familiar with me so I was still none the wiser, I then opened it up and SURPRISE, it was my second Kickstarter, the long awaited wet palette, I still await the first.

It is a neat item and a perfect size for my desk, it also comes with a magnetic, I don't know, normal palette with five paint holders on it, perfect for washes. I managed to get some painting done last night at last after a long break and the palette works perfectly, I opened it up a short time ago and the three colours I was mixing last night are still wet, result.

I finished my second SYW unit, a French battalion from the Regiment Aquitaine, well over a week ago but have not managed to get around to putting up a picture, so here it is. I promptly ordered up the flags for my next four regiments, no patience you see, the British 5th Foot and 2nd Battalion 3rd Foot Guards (Scots) along with Gardes Lorraine and Regiment Bretagne for the French. I only have the figures for the 5th which I am painting now.

Aventine have the first of their new Successor cataphracts out this month, beautiful figures but I am holding off for the Agema cataphracts and Companions, although I was sorely tempted to get some. I figure that by the time the 5th are done I might be right on time for those last two cavalry units for my Seleucids. I might also have some cash by then to buy them.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Tankfest 2018

Got to Graham's on time last Friday, met Stewart on the way outside Euston Station, so after a quick beer we set off for Poole, needless to say the roads were busy, what a surprise. I visited Poole on several occasions when guarding the country from the Red Bear, and it still looks like a good run ashore. That evening we had a dreadful experience at the Fort Raj restaurant despite it being lauded on TripAdvisor, number one of Dad's Dinner Disasters.

We got up early on the Saturday, had breakfast and took a taxi, Graham wasn't keen to park Blue Thunder (new car) in a field and we expected to have a couple of beers at some point, with the meter hitting £40 we realised we had made a mistake. Anyway we arrived to join a rather large queue, safeguarded by armed Police! The queue went down fairly quickly but would have went quicker if there had been a separate entrance for people not carrying bags containing dangerous bottles of water and sandwiches. After all anyone could see that the make up of the crowd was 100% wargamers/tank nerds, myself included.

There were a few tanks dotted around the entrance and once in we passed through a large food and drinks area which also included stalls from charities, model shops and military clothing sellers along with others with links to militaria and tanks etc. There was another such area at the far end of the complex beyond the arena. I got a programme which included a time table for both Saturday and Sunday, which turned out to be the same for the arena, there were other things going on, a very large and popular games area courtesy of World of Tanks who were the sponsers for the event. There was also a programme of Meet and Greets where Vloggers held court for an hour or so, I was ridiculed as a fanboy by my sons for pointing out that Lindybeige was in the house, he passed me at one point. I did go along to see him on the Sunday but it really was simply a meet and greet and not Lindy regaling us with his military knowledge, I had nothing to ask him so I returned to the arena, to more barbs from the boys. We stayed watching tanks roll around the arena until half way through the afternoon in blazing heat, we then took some time to look around the periphery at what was on offer and eventually made our way to a taxi stand and back to the hotel, Graham bit the bullet for that one.

The meal on the Saturday night also turned out to be another failure, another superb restaurant which wasn't, number two of Dad's Dinner Disasters, we did however have a stroll along the seafront and a few beers while watching idiots jumping into the briny to impress their girlfriends by drowning while drunk.

Blue Thunder made it to Tankfest on the Sunday while our wallets heaved a sigh of relief. We decided we would take in the main museum, the conservation area and the tank park and then catch up with what we had missed the previous afternoon. The museum is first class, it has all sorts of tanks in it, the conservation area was jam packed with vehicles waiting for some TLC and the vehicle park, with the tanks which were being driven around the arena, was also a great visit. We caught up with the arena programme in the afternoon and decided not to wait for the finale which included a 'battle' as the earlier battle was not impressive and we had seen all the tanks involved.

Anything bad, not really, I thought the food and drink was very expensive and the quality differed from stall to stall, some first class others bog standard. There was supposed to be 20,000 visitors, I am not sure whether this was over the weekend or for the Saturday only, despite there being so many people I can't say we suffered from overcrowding, we had good views of the arena on both days and I managed to examine everything I wanted to see without any pushing and shoving. And despite my past experiences the portable loos remained clean all weekend.

So, a great Father's Day present from Stewart and a great weekend for the three of us despite driving back hungry. And I still have Graham's present to go, lucky man.

A quick word about the above models from Armortek, these were just superb, there were painted versions running around a small track, over bridges and raised terrain, but the shiny one's had a charm all of their own. You buy the shell then add what you want, this normally consists of the mechanical package which has the engine and gun works or/and the digital package with the sounds and other stuff. The price of course is eye watering at several thousand pounds for the finished item but they do look wonderful. Armortek was mostly German vehicles although they had British guns and the Rolls Royce armoured car, there was one more model company there, from the Far East, and they had a more diverse collection with British and Russian tanks. Gorgeous.