Friday, 24 July 2020

Fraught Friday

 To mask or not, that is the question? So far numbers in here, which are never overwhelming, the masks are narrowly ahead 60-40 I would say, and no, I will not be putting myself in harms way to police it. Mind you the atmosphere here I suspect is different to the lower half of the country.

Anyway, still no games, I am really missing the afternoons off, I was tempted to have a solo game this Thursday but I got an invite by a customer to pop down and see his model railway layout, so I did that instead. Railway modellers and wargamers while in many respects the same are at the same time very different. We are both slaves to detail, we enjoy building and painting our models and terrain putting the time in to research and the enjoyment of pointing out those little foibles which make it all worth while; my 58th Pennsylvania for instance carries a blue banner with a red circle for Gettysburg because their original colours were in for repair. Mike has a very complex and large layout in his garage, there are 49 engines on it and three can operate at the one time, the models cover everything you could imagine to be found on a British railway system of the late 50's early 60's and even more, pubs, police stations, bus stations, telephone repair men you name it they were there. I was even allowed to 'drive' two trains around. There are more railway modellers in Warton than wargamers, I know at least four personally, so what is the difference, despite my admiration for the layout I could never see me taking this up as a hobby, I can understand it but compared to the cut and thrust of commanding armies and enjoying the highs and lows of battle it would not be for me, but in the end, each to their own.

I have all but completed the Para platoon with HQ and supports being added to the three squads this week. All I have on the paint tray now are a couple of snipers an extra MMG and some odd figures which I may as well complete. I also for the first time in a long time managed some painting in the PO, it has been that quiet, most of the stuff I get now I scan and simply put in the bag, all the work being done by the sender, perhaps I could just hang some bags outside. I think another week will see me finish the Airborne project, I have been reading "Bloody Streets" about the fall of Berlin and have come across the 1st Marine Division which fought in the city, so perhaps I should get a Kriegsmarine squad to add to my Fall of the Reich troops, then all I will need is Berlin itself.

Another reason why the solo wargaming has dried up is that the map projects are beginning to come in again, I had no sooner completed some new Atlas maps and a set for "Eighth Army vs Rommel" than seven renders are required for "Target Saigon 2", three are in colour so I shall enjoy those.

The spare/guest bedroom has now been finished, the plague put it off for nearly four months and during the resettling I found more of my artwork, pen and ink drawings. Son Stewart also talked me into giving him a loan of two of my pictures which I now have no room for and are in storage until I make the PO into a large wargame room, I have several more which sadly will have to wait. A long time ago I saw hanging in a print shop in Glasgow several 'wash' paintings which on closer inspection turned out to be British infantry squares, they were very well done. I attempted something similar for the ACW and Stewart has them on his study wall, I was quite chuffed.

On loan.
On loan.

Why fraught Friday, my granddaughters are here from today.

Friday, 17 July 2020

More ramblings

 Another wargame free week, I am really getting withdrawal symptoms now, again this has mainly been due to map work and real life commitments and the PO getting back to normal. I was hoping to do something this weekend but we are out tomorrow and I think SWMBO has call on my time for Sunday.

The Paras are going ahead at a good pace, the third squad will be varnished and based by Sunday night and I am already half way through my supports, this means to all intents and purposes the guys can drop in on a battlefield near here in a week. As usual I wasn't happy though, I could if needed use Army figures for any missing from the Para OOB, but having wargamers ACDC I just had to order up a couple of Airborne snipers, I got these from Warlord and for some reason one has his scarf wrapped around his head ala Rambo, I am not keen on that but his oppo will arrive first if a sniper is needed. I also realised for Chain of Command an MMG has five crew and a Junior Leader, so a few more add ons were required as the crew is only three figures so I got these from Artizan. Along with the gift of a Para officer from mate Rob this should be the end of the Para force.

Rob's gift, basing up next.

Figures finished, figures half done and figures in the queue.
 Once again I will be at the end of the painting queue, my intention is to add some Dark Age figures to those armies and then get another four battalions for the Seven Years War once the LMF receives an injection. Two British or possibly Hanoverian and two French, the latter will be bog standard as for a French force I have very few battalions in white.

In our Zoom meet this week the person with the most wargame figures was to go last, typical of our wargame roots we had a rule where 3 6-12mm figures would count as one 28mm. Ryan went first with 400, I was last with 7,220, I may have underestimated my ACW troops who came in at 4,000, I also thought Dan and Matt would have beat me as they have large collections in the smaller scales but rules is rules. All the historical gamers had very large numbers of troops and it was a fairly close call.

Although most of us that night had large collections this is not true of the club overall, this gave me pause for thought, are large wargame armies going to die out, to me wargaming allows me to 'lead' armies, not forage parties. To do certain periods properly you need big armies, Napoleonics and Seven Years War for instance and these periods once you get bitten will generally lead to big armies whether you intended that or not. The weekly club meeting does not lend itself well to big games, time being the principle killer and not the space or indeed the figures themselves, this leaves home grown games and I find these harder and harder to organise on a large scale. I once fought the second day at Gettysburg, Longstreet's attack, here at home over two days with eight of us involved, but that was a long time ago. Now I do not have anything against Skirmish gaming and play several examples and thoroughly enjoy them, Bolt Action, Chain of Command, Muskets and Tomahawks, Dead Man's Hand to name a few but when was the last time you saw a big game rule set create as much excitement as Too Fat Lardies new Infamy, Infamy?

While I have my 'whats it all about Alfie' cap on how many paints do you have or use? I just counted and I have about 100, one or two are doubled up but I have to admit there are others which are only opened once in a blue moon and for some reason I have a set of half a dozen or so which to be honest you would be hard put to tell apart. I am using 16 different pots for my new Parachute platoon with only the jacket and trousers using more than a dab.

Seen recently online, not mine.

My grandson was here last week and we played a 'wargame', we used old WH40K plastic figures which had been his fathers, I made the rules up on the fly and he wins every game. This time however it was different before he went home he asked that the next time we play can we play with the real soldiers. As the next visit is at his house he can only train with X-Wing, no matter it bodes well for the future, as we all know you either have wargaming in your blood or you don't.

Friday, 10 July 2020

A weight off my mind

Fairly quiet week where the lockdown really got on my nerves, I had to put a rictus smile on my face as people came in wanting to be served and further annoyed me while I sat falling asleep in the corner in my 'Frasier's Dad's Chair'.

I did manage a few things, the Paras are ongoing with the 1st Squad complete, the second ready for varnishing and the third next in the queue. Not difficult to paint and lovely figures to boot so I may have them dropping into Nazi held Europe fairly soon, even if it is solo.

In between the above I kept going back to my station, I decided to make some place names, so that I can get the most use out of it I made three, French, German and Russian, I was also tempted to do a Polish one as my Red horde close in on the Reich, but that can wait for now. I also managed at last to get the foam ballast I have been looking for, this is lovely stuff as the rails fit into it and you get 5m of the stuff for a reasonable price. I had wanted a textured ballast but that remains unavailable and having no patience I took the basic one, considering how often we have rails in our games I could have waited but no.

On the same subject mate Stuart designed and printed off a pile of luggage for my station, I had asked for a couple of suitcases but he has outdone himself and has produced some excellent pieces. They are waiting for me at the local PO depot as there was not enough postage on the package, and here was me thinking I was in 'the trade' so to speak and these things were irrelevant to me, wink, wink.

 Up until recently I have had no mapping projects, I got a small one in a couple of weeks ago, but this morning I have gone to the opposite end of the scale with the publishing house open for business. The Atlas now has a completion date of February 2021 so this means at least seven maps a month until then, however these have to be done in between other work and I have to rely on the author sending maps far quicker than he has done so far. Hard on the heels of the Atlas news I received eleven maps to be drawn for "Eighth Army versus Rommel" by James Colvin, there will be no falling asleep in the chair now.

As you can see the end of the week has brightened up for me, I also managed a haircut, I had to jump through several easy hoops to get the cut and hold a mask on throughout but I managed, so with a weight off my mind (come on) I skipped back to Casa Anderson. Oh and one grateful customer mentioned my new look today, oh pleeease.

Ugly Duckling.
Beautiful Swan.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Groundhog Month

No wargaming again this week solo or otherwise, the main reason being I have gone back to normal hours and only have a Thursday afternoon to myself, and weekends of course, although to be honest the footfall in the afternoons is pretty pitiful and I could probably manage a solo game. As usual there is confusion, despite notices, as to whether I am open or not, there is also a bi-annual rumour of the PO closing down completely from some demented local who knows more than I do seemingly.

Anyway for the past week I have been busy building my railway station from Sarissa, they have several but I went for one which I hoped looked generic and could be used both in the West and East. It turned out to be quite a large kit but went together without a hitch, I didn't want it to stand out as I said so went for muted colours, once finished it still looked rather plain and obviously needed some posters, so, Russian or French, or even perhaps German or Polish, I had to make my mind up, I went with French. I also thought that I would nevertheless make some station name plates in French and Russian, unless you get really close you cannot tell the writing is French, so from a table top view the station can be anywhere. The platform looked a bit bare so I put a couple of pieces on and will paint some more later, my friend Stuart who runs Magpie Designer very kindly offered to print some 3D suitcases for me so they will also be done later. All I need now is some ballast for the railway tracks, there is a foam one which would be perfect but I cannot source it anywhere as it is sold out, so keeping my eye on that for now, I really don't want the hassle of making my own.

The Paras are now organised, cleaned and primed and I should be getting to them tomorrow, especially if this dreadful weather continues, heavy rain, high winds and cold here, but that is actually normal here in July now, summer has come early for several years. As usual I looked at the Para organisation in Chain of Command and found it did not measure up to the actual organisation in the field, I always start with CoC as I find Bolt Action is not conducive to historical units, you can use them but have to ignore the books. The Para platoon for late war consists of three squads armed with 3 SMG's, six rifles (one a sniper), a Bren and one 2" smoke mortar. The mortar guy has an SMG and a cut down version of the 2" mortar, the sniper has a rifle with a scope and is more than likely a marksman rather than a real sniper, I believe the real snipers were held at Company level, I am not mocking the marksman just putting him in a wargaming context, I was a good shot but not a sniper by any means. I once pointed a rifle at my CO and got hit over the head with it as he frantically jumped aside and grabbed it, but that's another story. I read that not all squads took their mortar along so to save me several pounds I only went for two figures with the mortar, thinking that I could swap it out for the extra Bren, if I so need a third I can requisition a regular army one. The platoon HQ also had a reserve weapons pool, mine will have a Bren which can be given to any rifleman in a squad, now I have read that there may have been a PIAT here as well but I lean towards these being Company level weapons so support rather than integral. There are several ways I can deal with the marksman and I have decided that if he gets a 1 on rolling to hit he can roll again, that seems to be the simplest solution, the same could work in Bolt Action a reroll for a miss.

 The Paras will keep me busy for the next three to four weeks I think, WWII figures are not hard to paint although I am waiting for the bases from Warbases who have only just returned to work. Rubicon will be releasing their new PzIII kits near the end of the month, I have an idea to at least get the command tank version, I may also get the late version as these turn up in odd places during the fall of the Reich and even in Normandy in '44. After that probably another few SYW battalions.

I could have finished the station a day earlier but I was dragged to a garden centre, why do sane people have the urge to go to these places and spend a small fortune while being asked for £20 for a tea and scone. I just kept schtum for a quiet wife and set off, on the way we stopped in Lancaster and I nipped to my favourite sweet shop for my liquorice fix, duly waiting my turn at the door, two packets of Zoots, one Catherine Wheels, one Jelly Bellys and I was made. Things got better at the Garden Centre when I noticed a £1 range which has excellent Liquorice Comfits or Torpedoes, oh and the missus got some plants.

Not much going on on the entertainment front either at the moment, I have tried a few things but nothing which made me want to repeat the experience, apart from two, Money Heist and Kingdom. Money Heist is a Spanish production and is a bit different from your normal bank robbing movie and very clever with it. Yes I have a moan, the production is dubbed and a couple of the voices don't seem to fit the characters, but that is a minor complaint, I am now on Part 4.

Kingdom is a Korean zombie movie but set in what I guess is the 16thC, it is typical of Eastern movies, the acting and expressions in places a tad OTT and at times comical, but like a snake it has drawn me in and I cannot shake it. A perfect piece of nonsense for a night locked down.