Monday, June 29, 2015

Comic reading

Recently JB, author of Leadplague, had a run down of some influential comic books, which prompted me to order some from the ever handy inter-library loan service. While most of the titles recommended were not available, I was able to get a copy of The Incal, and Judge Dredd Case files.  My wife had her wisdom teeth taken out last week, so I had plenty of time to read, and managed to get through all three books.

The Incal: The epic conspiracy
This book is part of a larger Incal cycle, which unfortunately continues beyond this volume.  Unfortunate, because this might be the only one I can get through the library.  However, the story that is contained here is pretty good, particularly the first part, which is set in a hive city and features John Difool finding the titular Incal. Lots of great artwork here, as might be expected from Moebius. The story gets decidedly weirder as it goes on, and the travelers featured on the cover here travel "down and out" so to speak.  The hive world scenes would be useful I think for Rogue Trader/Necromunda, and some of the other sequences were pretty evocative for gaming as well.

Judge Dredd Case Files V1 and V2

I am sure that most of you are familiar with Judge Dredd, if only because of "I am the Law!"  In any case, Judge Dredd is from a future Mega City One (the East coast of the US) where Judges are selected/created to enforce the law in a strict, and sometime brutal way. These two books collect most of the first Dredd stories from the 2000AD comic book.  These volumes are in black and white (as was the majority of the source art I believe), and I really enjoyed some of the longer stories that would have stretched out over multiple issues, particularly the Judge Cal sequence.  Plenty more of these are available from the library, so I will be getting a few more of them.

Happily Judge Dredd miniatures are available from both Wargames Foundry and Warlords Games (from Mongoose) I believe that the ranges are broadly compatible, but it is hard to say for sure without having them in front of you (and I have read that some of the Mongoose figures are not necessarily internally compatible, being from different sculptors). Foundry's figures are specific characters, taken from these early Dredd stories, which is nice, since I now know the stories behind the evocative figures.  Mongoose's figures seem more in support of skirmish gaming, and are more generic in nature (citizens, Judges, punks, etc.)

In any case, plenty of figures available to create some Mega City One skirmish action, or battles between judges from different Mega Cities.

Some of the figures would also be useful for Rogue Trader-esque games, which of course makes sense, given the influence of Dredd and 2000AD generally on Rogue Trader (and Necromunda).  In particular the MegaCitizens A and B would be great to mix in with more "standard" 40k civilian types, and more random weapons are always useful as well. Plus Walter.  Everyone needs Walter the Wobot.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Age of Sigmar

You have probably already seen these pictures from a White Dwarf leak, but if not...

New Sigmarites

By the power of giant feet and giant shoulder pads, I am Sigmar!
New Chaos
Yo dawg, I heard you like muscles...
Supposedly the contents of the Age of Sigmar (Aos) boxed set that may or may not be the 9th edition of Warhammer. [there is some talk that this is really a separate skirmish only game, and that "real" 9th edition will come later]

Have to say that I am not terribly impressed... the technical quality is surely there, but blech.  This is not what I want in Warhammer.  There was talk of this having rules similar to LotR, which would be good, but then again it would be even less like traditional Warhammer Fantasy than this looks like.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Homage to Catalonia

This week at work I read George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia , his 1936/37 account of his brief time in the Spanish Civil war, and the Barcelona fighting between the anarchists and communists. Mr. Orwell fought as a member of a later suppressed Marxist militia (POUM), and was seriously wounded on the front lines near Huesca. He then returns to Barcelona to find his organisation has been suppressed, and his membership in the party a liability, and manages to escape Spain.

The book itself is excellent, and very readable, as one might expect from Mr. Orwell. Reading it contrasts the civil war in Spain with the experiences of soldiers in the Great War, particularly as Mr. Orwell was involved in static trench fighting and sieges, neither changed much by the limited introduction of airplanes and tanks. Mr. Orwell himself comments on this, as much of the equipment issued at this stage of the war to the Anarchist Militias is very old, or home made.

War-gaming the Spanish Civil War is very popular, at least outside of Spain.  With the sort of "proto-WWII" feel of the war, but Great War style battles, and the large international aspect, it seems to attract war-gamers interested in the more colorful aspects of the war, as well as those interested in smaller scale actions. (company or smaller)

Another reason for its popularity may lie with the excellent miniatures sold by Empress Miniatures. Great looking figures, and at £7 for 4 figures, a nice price as well.

Picture from Empress

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fury (2014 Movie)

This week I slogged through Fury, the 2014 movie staring Brad Pitt as a WWII American tank commander in the last days of the Third Reich.  Mr. Pitt commands a M4 Easy Eight called Fury, with a hardened veteran crew that needs a replacement assistant driver, naturally supplied by a brand new guy who has been in the army only a couple months, and is a clerk typist, not a tank crew man (much like the character in Saving Private Ryan).  After a few experiences, the new guy becomes part of the crew, learns to kill Nazis, and then is a hero.

First the good stuff: I did like how the tanks and equipment were real (mostly) and watching the tanks operate with infantry was pretty interesting.  Tank rounds seemed to either penetrate or be deflected, rather than be absorbed by armor, which was an interesting change over most movies. Shia the beef was also pretty good in his role as the gunner of the tank, so apparently small doses of him are not bad.

The Hollywood element was a bit much though, for example when dueling with a Tiger I, they both rush towards one another, and the Sherman manages to out turn the Tiger to shoot it in the rear (although Wikipedia says that a Tiger I could traverse the main gun 360 degrees in 19 seconds, so...).  [I was also going to say that the tank should have been a Tiger II or a Panther at this stage of the war, but apparently a few old Tigers really did fight in the last days of the war]  A character also takes two potato masher grenades inside the tank, but remains whole so that another character can weep over them later... which stands out in comparison to the unrelenting (and unneeded) gore of the rest of the film (and no one ever bails out of a knocked out tank).  There is also the obligatory "totally-consensual-and-not-at-all-rape" scene with a contemporarily attractive and dressed girl, which is in contrast to her more period appropriate cousin.

Over all the movie was just ok, and I am glad that I did not pay to see it in the theater.

If you were interested in gaming the battle between the Tiger and the tanks, Plastic Soldier Company sells a 15mm Tiger I, but not an Easy Eight to represent the titular tank, although that can be sourced from Battlefront. The supporting tanks seem to be a mix of M4A3s, which Battlefront has in plastic.  [they also seem to have plastic Pershings, which means you could easily field more on your table top than fought in the whole of the war]

Friday, May 8, 2015

Painting Preview

A few preview pictures for your review. I say preview, because I took them on my phone, and because I was not able to get the colors to come out very well, so please assume they are both sharper and more nicely colored! Sometime I will get around to taking better shots. Obviously both set of figures need further base work as well. 

 First up is an INQ28 group, consisting of four members of the Watch, a local police force.  They are built from Empire handgunner bodies, various Cadian arms, and some other bitz.  They were also an experiment in undercoating in a color closer to the final, as you can see from the light blue around their feet.  Unfortunately, the light blue was much harder to cover up than I anticipated, and I would not repeat its use even for mostly blue figures. 

The next figure is a mild conversion of a Reaper Bones figure.  I replaced the head and added a shield, both of which were very easy conversions, as a sharp knife cuts right through the vinyl.  Painted as a somewhat generic chaos champion, with no cult markings so that he can be either undivided, or Nurgle as needed (the armor being green tinted).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rebel Blockade Runner


Ignore the contents of my counter... the light was good there. 

The "real" CR90 should be about 150 m long, so this works out to ~1/360 scale
For a fifth birthday gift, I got #1 child got the pictured Electronic Rebel Blockade Runner, which was new in box from 1996!  Bought on ebay for not very much at all, particularly considering how long it had been moldering away in a box.  The batteries were still good, and the lights and sound work as well as they did back when it was released.

This will eventually pull double duty as a X-wing piece, although I have to figure out or acquire the rules for the official piece, and make a base.  It probably could stand to be detailed a little more, and would benefit from some weathering... this is after all for Star Wars, and grubby is the goal!

At 16 inches long this works out to about ~1/360 scale, and is too small as compared to the 1/270 scale of the official X-wing miniatures, but it is still quite a bit larger than the "official" figure.  (plus it has lights and sounds!)  It will be pretty dominating on the table top, since it is about 44% of a total table length!

The important part is that the kid liked it, and was zooming it around the room after opening it, and really, that makes it worth while.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Defeat by Phillippe-Paul De Ségur

As I have mentioned before, I have been doing a lot of reading lately (and not as much hobby as a result).
Probably not a period picture...
Thanks to my local library, I have just finished reading Defeat by Philippe-Paul de Ségur, who was an Aide-de-camp during Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and thus, was there to see much of what he writes about in this book discussing the Grand Army's invasion of Russia, and its subsequent defeat by winter and poor planning. This version of his book is a abridgment of the original two volumes (Histoire de Napoléon et de la grande armée pendant l'année 1812) published in 1824.

The book is full of vivid detail, although it tends more to salacious anecdotes than to detailed history, as might be expected by the publication date (and possibly due to the abridgment as well).  The author seems to have a poor opinion of Berthier, Napoleon's chief of staff and blames him in part for some of the disaster. By contrast, de Ségur, paints Eugéne de Beauhamis in a very heroic light.  (interestingly both Berthier and Eugéne were relatives by marriage to the King of Bavaria).  As might be expected from an Aide-de-camp, the more personal stories tend to be of arguments between the marshals, and not of combat action.

The book is full of great scenes like this one:

The terrain he [Napoleon] had to cross to reach Moscow presented a strange appearance.  Enormous fires had been lit in the middle of the fields, in thick, cold mud, and were being fed with mahogany furniture and gilded windows and doors.  Around these fires, on litters of dam straw, ill-protected by a few boards, soldiers and their officers, mud-stained and smoke-blackened, were seated in splendid armchairs, or lying on silk sofas. At their feet were heaped or spread out cashmere shawls, the rarest of Siberian furs, cloth of gold from persia, and silver dishes in which they were eating coarse black bread, baked in the ashed, and half-cooked, bloody horseflesh - strange combination of abundance and famine, wealth and filth, luxury and poverty! 


So, an interesting book, and you should check it out.
Gaming: As you might expect, the Perrys have a complete range of figures that would be useful for gaming the various parts of the 1812 expedition, both in the beginning as the Grand Army, and the disastrous retreat.  It has certainly increased my interest in the retreat, and in the following 1813 campaigns.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eureka 28mm Chaos

Now that is Chaos
I am the egg man! 
Not just goat men. Coming out in the next few months from Eureka Miniatures, although they will have some stock at Salute.

Pretty good looking figures, and the one Eureka 28mm figure I have is a good size, so these should work pretty well with older GW Chaos figures.  Should also be good for inquisitors to hunt down.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Terrain

I have been thinking a lot lately about Terrain for wargames. Seeing posts like this one from Eric the Shed, and this one from Whiskey priest do not help.

I have some sort of crazy ideas to have a table absolutely packed with terrain, done up to model train layout levels...  so nearly unplayable and certainly illogical given the frequency of games around here.

On a more practical note, a couple of months ago now, I had a quiet afternoon, and while the kids were sleeping, I got out all of my various "nearly built" terrain pieces.  By nearly built, I mean that they are not really kits, and would require very little to finish up. (so not my large box of unbuilt Cities of Death buildings)

As you can see it is a pretty sizable amount, particularly considering that the board that they are sitting on is ~two foot by three foot.  Mostly various plasticville stuff, with the GW crashed Aquila lander and the old 3rd edition ruins.  I should be sensible and work on finishing some of this stuff instead of dreaming of blocks of art deco flats...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Been away

It has been two months since I have posted here on the blog.  Not for lack of interest, but rather from lack of material.  I have not finished anything lately, and indeed have been pretty short of hobby time generally. I have been reading quite a bit, but nothing that really motivated me to post.

So, yeah, still alive, and I will hopefully have something to post... soon.