An Increase in the Tank Park

I was out of Manila this weekend and discovered a model shop which had a supply of 1/72 scale modern tanks. There were also a few packets of 1/72 scale plastic figures as well but it was the tanks I was interested in.

I picked up a Challenger and a Merkava for the collection. I will get around to doing an unboxing of these later but a quick look has me salivating with the detail.

They go along with the M1 Abrams and the T-72 collection along with the lone T-80 and ZTZ-99.

What I would like to add to round out the modern collection would be a Leopard 2 and an AMX-56 LeClerc.

Now I just need to time to start to sit down and bill some of these (or buy some more early World War 2 tanks).

Blitzkrieg Commander III – The Final Decision

Reading the Pendraken forum on the Blitzkrieg Commander III topic, Pendraken have made a final decision on what will happen with BKC III. The poll run in in the Pendraken forum was clearly in favour a full reprint of BKC III. As I have had a chance to look through the rules, finally, more closely, I can see why this is necessary.

This is commercially a difficult decision for Pendraken as they have decided:

  • to pull PKB III from sale
  • to provide a copy of BKC III.1 when it is produced
  • to attempt to do it all over a three month period

It will of course cost Pendraken moneywise but I can only applaud Pendraken for their commitment to quality. Pendraken notes with regards to their next steps:

 

The immediate job is to get to work on revising BKC-III into the rulebook we were all hoping for. The army lists will be our starting point, reverting those back to BKC-II and then tweaking and editing them where necessary based on previous BKC feedback. Second will be the scenarios which will also largely revert to BKC-II, unless anything comes up from our new team that requires a change/tweak. And then from there we’ll go through the actual rules of the book, page by page, doing one of three things:

  • Leaving as is
  • Clarifying/amending to make it work better/properly
  • Reverting back to BKC-II.s:

Pendraken have build a core of people, experienced playtesters and members of the original feedback team for earlier versions of BKC. Pendraken are also accepting comments from BKC users on the forum on:

  • What is the issue?
  • What would be the fix?
  • What other areas of the rules would this fix impact on?
  • What questions does this issue/fix raise?

Lastly, Pendraken noted on the time they expect to take on this,”We want to get this done as quickly as possible, so we’re setting ourselves a timescale of 2-3 months to fix everything”.

Personally I think that is a very aggressive target. I hope they can meet it but I expect it will drift as they get into trying to fix some of the rules that appear to be broken.

Blitzkrieg Commander III

Like many, I waited and looked forward to the arrival of Blitzkrieg Commander III. I have enjoyed playing versions I and II over many years, although I will admit, I’ve not played enough games as there was always something else to play, something new and shiny. I also played a bit of Cold War Commander and Future War Commander. I liked the rule system and the way the games flowed, permitting a narrative to develop.

I purchased BKCIII online through Wargame Vault as my preferred method of dealing with printed matter these days is electronically.  The hard copy version is available from Pendraken Miniatures, the new owners of the rules.

A furore appears to have erupted over these rules. While there may have been a few errors through the rules, normal enough in published wargame rules, the major part of the furore appears to be around the Army Lists included in the rules, so much so that Pendraken Miniatures on their forum are holding a poll to see how folks want them corrected.

Pendraken noted that as far as errors went, the

obvious starting point is the army lists and at the moment I don’t have an answer to that question. The author spent hundreds of hours on the stats to put together the new army lists. When we received them we checked the basics, do the correct nations have the right kit, do the obvious vehicles/guns appear in the right areas, etc. We checked a bunch of units with their BKC-II equivalents and then put together some matching battlegroups using both old/new lists to see how much they differed points wise. Nothing glaring jumped out during that process. Other people went through them and brought back a few queries which were then discussed further and we made some edits. Clearly we didn’t do enough though.

Being an old wargamer (sigh and getting older), I am still amazed at the way gamers get heated over lists. I come from a period of wargaming where if you didn’t like the list, you changed it based on your own research. This begs the question, are wargamers as a group doing less research these days than we did in the past?

To be fair, I can remember the heated debates that erupted in the 1980s and 1990s with the various WRG army lists but if I wasn’t happy with a list, I changed it. If I could justify the change, my opponents generally accepted it.

Pendraken went on to further note that an

annoying number of errors that have managed to get through the extensive checking process, some a result of the last minute tweaks, others a lag over from the merging of BKC-II and the first BKC-III draft. Some simply mistakes.

Again, way back in the 1980s we were used to rules being published and then errata sheets being issued. If I recall correctly even BKCI had one or two errata sheets issued.

Not every change in the rules is an error however. I guess some of the complaints are because folks just don’t like some rule changes. If you don’t like them, then change them!

Pendraken in a refreshingly honest way finally noted that

the end result of all of this is that we’ve not done a good enough job and BKC-III is not up to the standard that everyone wanted it to be.

They go on to point out the cost of the project so far, which is quite significant. Pendraken are calling for opinions on how to “fix” the rules/lists via an online poll and the two favoured options from folks so far are New PDF Lists and Complete Reprint. Personally I am comfortable with PDF lists (and errata sheet where needed) as I am used to this type of solution from the past.  I would suggest to Pendraken that as they correct their errors, they can release a new PDF version of the rules to allow those of us with digital copies to have the updates in the rules. Printed copies have the advantage here as the updates can be written in the rules themselves. That will also become the source document for the time they decide to reprint.

My biggest complaint however is that to vote you have to be logged on to the forum so must enrol. I am also a little unhappy that those voting for one solution or other may not have purchased the rules and therefore have no real experience of the problems.

Oh, and one last comment – so far I don’t really have a problem with the lists. In fact, I purchased a Belgian Army the other night from Scotia Grendel Productions, based on the BKCIII lists.

Update on 7 May 2017: OK, so I have had a chance to start to read the rules and the lists. Actually I started with the lsts, with the Belgian list in particular and the 47mm ATG the Belgians had 750 of is missing. A few more days reading this week then I might stay with BKCII until the fixes start appearing.

Review: Maximinus Thrax – From Common Soldier to Emperor of Rome – Paul N Pearson

Maximinus ThraxFrom Common Soldier to Emperor of Rome – Paul N Pearson
published by Pen & Sword
Pages: 296
ISBN: 9781473847033
Published: 24th August 2016

Maximinus Thrax, the Thracian, originally named Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus, was born circa 173 CE in Thrace and died in 238 CE, near Aquileia. He was the first soldier to rise through the ranks to become Roman emperor although his reign only lasted 3 years (235–238 CE). He was a Thracian tribesman “of frightening appearance and colossal size”. There were many feats of the strongman told about him and it was these strongman feats that brought him to the attention of emperor Severus. Maximinus was enlisted into the imperial bodyguard where he had a distinguished military career eventually achieving a senior command in the Roman invasion of Persia in 232 CE. Later he became emperor in a military coup. He was eventually ousted in a civil war pushed by the Senate against him.

I have been very much looking forward to my review copy of this arriving which, after a couple of redirects, finally found its way to me in the Philippines. I have been looking forward to this for a couple of reasons. One is that my knowledge of Rome is mostly based in the times of Augustus and earlier and second, I have been reading a fair bit of historical fiction of late set in the period of Rome in the second and third centuries CE. Harry Sidebottom’s series, Throne of the Caesars, is set in the reigns of Alexander Severus and Maximinus Thrax.

Pearson’s work is a narrative history of the life and times of Maximinus Thrax up to and past his assassination. It reads like a thriller, equipped as it is with various accounts of the treachery and assassination that were central to Roman politics.

Pearson covers the subject well, so well and in such an interesting manner that I am now looking for further reading concerning those times. The book itself is a great read and only real world time constraints (my day job) forced me to put it down at night.

My biggest surprise concerning Maximinus is that he has not been the subject of a movie yet.

I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has in interest in these times. I can also thoroughly recommend it to those who you who don’t as I am sure after reading this volume you will be searching for more information about this interesting period.

A Self Indulgence – the Wargaming Tasks for 2017

Last weekend I had the time to indulge myself in my fantasy – the painting queue for 2017. I had originally thought it was not that extensive as I had not purchased all that much in the way of new lead in 2016 and besides, I did not have too much left over for painting from 2014 and 2015.

The painting queue follows in not particular order!

World War II Aerial Combat. The aircraft mix in these packets are from Raiden Miniatures and are in 1/285th scale. They are:

  • Russian
    • 6 x Tupolev SB-3
    • 6 x I-16 ‘Rata’
  • Finnish
    • 4 x Fiat G.50
    • 4 x Fokker D.XXI
    • 4 x Brewster Buffalo

Russian/Finnish WW2 Aircraft
The rules are Raiden Miniatures Fast Play Aerial Combat Rules. I have version 1.1.

Any of the World War II aerial combat rules could be used. The beauty with the Winter War is that a mix of aircraft seldom seen on the wargames table is possible with the Finns using equipment from Italy, the Netherlands and the USA, among others.

Raiden also make a US WW2 aircraft carrier flight deck, the USS Enterprise, for flight and combat operations. It is a kit in 51 parts and I am not sure if it is made or not currently. See http://www.raidenminiatures.co.uk/4.html for details.

Thunderbolt and Lightning Air Combat Rules
Thunderbolt and Lightning Air Combat Rules
Starmada vessels from Brigade Models. In this case, the PacFed fleet. I have a PacFed Future War Commander Army tucked away up here and this is the off-planet version of those. The PacFed are loosely based around a “Pacific Federation” and contain a lot of vessels with Australian type names.

PacFed Starship Fleet
PacFed Starship Fleet
As an opponent to the PacFed I looked to ONESS – loosely based around German forces. Somewhere at mum’s I have the ground fleet to complement this. This also is from Brigade Models.

20170112_225409
The ONESS Starmada Fleet
Baccus 6mm figures make up the rest of my Singapore DBA Project. Armies still to be painted are:

  • II/9a Syracusan in Sicily 410-210BC
  • II/8 Campanian, Apulian, Lucanian and Bruttian 420-203BC
  • 11/39a Iberian 240-20BC
  • II/11 Gallic 400-50BC
  • II/32a Later Carthaginian 275-202BC

The 6mm Ancients
The 6mm Ancients
Speaking of Brigade Models, I acquired a US Aeronef fleet. This was for part of the Peshawar project but with the purchase of Imperial Skies, the project has expanded somewhat (see below for how much). Of course what is illustrated and discussed here does not mention the British, French and Prussian Aeronefs that are already in the collection.

These then are the US Aeronef fleet. Quite a tidy force. I have been trying to think of an alternative paint scheme other that the Great White Fleet colours of, well, white!

US Aeronefs
US Aeronefs
The perfect opponent for the Americans above – the forces of the Rising Sun. Both Fleets (the US and Japanese) are substantial and would be the two most powerful fleets in the collection.

As with the Americans I am trying to think of a colour scheme that is not the Japanese naval vessels at Tsushima!

Japanese Aeronefs
Japanese Aeronefs
I wanted a bit of fun so I added a Scandinavian Union fleet. Dumpy vessels certainly but they have a certain attraction as well. These are also from Brigade Models and I am pondering colour schemes for them.

These were never envisaged for the Peshawar Project however they will make a good opponent for the BENELUX forces described below.

Scandinavian Union
Scandinavian Union
For a little South American Aeronef action I picked up some Argentinians. These look sufficiently different to other ‘nefs to keep the interest up.

Rather than a standard grey or Victorian Livery for these I have been toying with the idea of basing a paint scheme around light blue and white – same colour as the shirts of the Pumas. Again, Brigade Models.

Argentinian Aeronefs
Argentinian Aeronefs
And if the Argentinians are light blue and white then the Brazilians should be both hairless and based around green and gold colours. I have an idea for that with an antique style of gold colouring.

Brazilian Aeronefs
Brazilian Aeronefs
An opponent for the Scandinavian Union, and possibly the Italians. The Benelux Aeronef fleet consists of vessels from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Benelux Aeronefs
Benelux Aeronefs
The above-mentioned Italian Aeronefs.

Italian Aeronefs
Italian Aeronefs
The last of the Aeronefs in this years paint queue, the Russians. They are also one of the protagonists in the Peshawar campaign. For colours on these I am thinking, maybe, something like Port Arthur 1905.

Russian Aeronefs
Russian Aeronefs
A couple of years ago I picked up two armies for the Great Pacific War. Here are the Chilean/Peruvian Army and the Bolivian forces. I am planning on using these with the 1859, 1866 or 1870 rules. A project that has been on the back-burner for three years now.

10mm Chilean/Peruvian and Bolivian forces
10mm Chilean/Peruvian and Bolivian forces
I have had an interest in both the English Civil War and the 30 Years War for many years and picking up Baccus 6mm‘s English Civil War boxed set seemed like a good way of getting into it. The set gives me two armies, a couple of houses, Polemos rules and 60mm bases.

I am planning on using these with the Baroque Rules from Dadi and Piombo as well.

ECW - Polemos and Baroque
ECW – Polemos and Baroque
Navwar 1/3000 scale World War I Austrian ships – battleships to destroyers/torpedo boats. I have their main opponent, the Italian fleet, painted and here already. It must be said that during the war, both the Italian Royal Navy and the Austro-Hungarian Navy kept their most modern capital ships inside their bases (Pola and Kotor for the Austrian Fleet, Brindisi and Taranto for the Italian fleet), leaving mostly submarines, destroyers, torpedo boats and scout cruisers to do any fighting.

World War 1 Austrian Fleet
World War 1 Austrian Fleet
Heroics and Ros figures have been used for my Cold War Poles – an opponent for my Cold War Danes.

Cold War Commander Poles
Cold War Commander Poles

In addition to all that, there are a few other items on the list including:

  • Anthony’s 20mm World War II British
  • Finish off the 1/285 scale World War II Japanese
  • 1/285 scale World War II Hungarians
  • 1/300 scale Cold War Commander Danes to be completed
  • 1/1200 scale Coastal Warfare Ships
  • The 1/3000 scale Jutland Fleets
  • Houston Ships Italians and Austrians from the Battle of Lissa
  • Dystopian Wars fleets, and
  • Peshawar, 2mm ground forces

So – a painting queue that for 2017 should keep me busy well into 2020!

23 April 2017 – Update: Nothing. Nada. Not done a thing! Maybe I need to motivate myself and buy some more figures.

I May Have Overacheived – Wargame Figures Breeding

I thought I would write a quick, self-indulgent, “what are the Wargaming plans for 2017” post. I thought a good place to start may be to audit that lead pile here. Crap. It is way bigger than I thought and after three hours checking boxes, identifying the contents and making a note, I have decided that this will become Saturday’s task.

I knew I had some Aeronefs here and some 6mm figures to paint but after failing to quickly identify two 6mm ancient DBA armies (I will need to take them out of the bag and look closely at the figures) as well as only getting through half the unpainted Aeronefs, I threw in the towel for tonight.

Identified so far are 6 Aeronef forces (overachieved), two Starmada fleets, five 6mm DBA armies, 6 land ironclad armies (minus the vehicles), one land ironclads army’s vehicles, a butt-load of 2mm (1/1200) terrain items, 1/3000 scale WW1 ships, 1/1200 Houston ships, 1/1200 coastal vessels, 1/300 BKCII Japanese and Hungarians, two 15mm DBA armies, 1/1200 modern aircraft, 1/285 Winter War air forces and Anthony’s 20mm World War 2 Brits, I am still only about half way through this lead pile. Then there is the lead pile at mother’s!

Oh well, upward and onward, the audit will continue on Saturday and I am sure I will be self indulgent enough to write it all up Saturday night or Sunday! One thing is sure. I will cease buying figures this year until I clear some of the backlog, unless it is to round out collections!

Christmas Stocking Fillers

Christmas has gone and so has New Year’s Eve. I avoid making New Year’s Resolutions, partly because reflecting on what you are doing and what you will do is something that should be an ongoing process. Having said that, in nautical terms, i am getting very broad across the beam although I have a good deal of ballast to counter that. It is time to slim up so that is one task on my 2017 and beyond.

Work also will be interesting this year as one contract finishes and I chase another. I will be looking for something to start around July or so.

I did reflect on those things that went well and those that failed in the year just past, however, a product of the odd beer and a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve back in Manila. It is, however, time to think about the plans for the coming year, doubly so as a week has already gone.

#fails

Simply … I did next to no wargaming, or painting. I also managed to add another few kilograms overall to my already portly body shape. I kept getting great ideas, especially for wargaming projects, but managed to not spend anytime actually starting any of them. Worst of all, I missed getting back to Oz and visiting mother for about 8 months, which was very frustrating.

#ftw

There were some high spots however. Settled well into the second year of working in the Philippines and had the project progressing well. I also managed to read a lot, thank goodness for Kindle and a decent smartphone – I get to read almost anywhere.

#christmas_gifts

#books

So, as I had a little spare case this year, I spoiled myself with some Christmas gifts, and they will form the basis of the 2017 wargaming efforts.

Warship 2014
Warship 2014

First off was the two Warships I had missed from 2014 and 2015. I had not had a chance to purchase these before but they went into my Christmas stocking this year (it was a big stocking). Warship 2014 is the 36th edition and contains a variety of articles including a detailed technical description of the Queen Elizabeth (the UK’s only aircraft carrier – I guess because the French had one); details of Germany’s Braunschweig and Deutschland classes; the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour; IJN armoured cruisers; the escape of the Jean Bart from Saint-Nazaire; the submarine Mariotte; the IJN light carrier Ryûjô; Russia’s turret frigates, the Admiral Lazarev and Admiral Spiridov; and some other articles.

Warship 2015
Warship 2015

Warship 2015 is the first I have seen available in a Kindle format. It was tempting to acquire the Kindle Version, especially as it was half the price of the printed version, but I just could not give up the feel of the paper versions of this publication yet. This issue contains among other items, the Battleships of the Patrie Class; Postwar Weapons in the Royal Navy; the Tragedy of the Submarine Mariotte; Developments in Modern Carrier Aviation; and an early surface engagement between British and Japanese surface forces in WW2. I am looking forward to finishing Warship 2014 to get into Warship 2015.

Warship 2016 - New Cover Format
Warship 2016 – New Cover Format

Warship 2016 is the first of the recent series to come without a dust jacket (why did they call them dust jackets?). It long the previous 37 editions is a mix of different articles concerning naval matters from various periods of essentially 20th and 21st Century history.

This edition has articles on the Bougainville colonial sloops; an Italian colonial sloop Eritrea; the Japanese Asashio class destroyers; Fugas class minesweepers; divisional tactics at the Battle of Jutland and the conclusion to the Naval War in the Adriatic theater in WWI. There is also a piece on the use of ‘highball” on a ship – from the target ship’s perspective, in this case the French battleship Courbet.

#rules

DBA Version 3.0
DBA Version 3.0

I finally got around to acquiring a copy of De Bellis Antiquitatis, my favourite ancient wargaming rules. Plans for 2017 include not just learning these but getting some games in. I have a number of armies in Manila in 6mm and as the playing area is 2-foot square (60cm x 60cm) I also have the space to game.

This will likely make a nice project for 2017. More on that later in a separate post. I can. however, see my 6mm Numidians and 6mm Romans coming out for some early games and also provide an incentive for me to complete my DBA 6mm terrain pieces.

Imperial Skies - I was not part of the kickstarter but I do like the rules
Imperial Skies – I was not part of the kickstarter but I do like the rules

I also ordered copy of Imperial Skies from Brigade Models in the UK.

I had not been part of the kickstarter but these rules look to be a good alternative to Aeronef. I also acquired the dice and turn rulers.

#figures

Ros and Heroics 6mm (1/300th scale) Poles
Ros and Heroics 6mm (1/300th scale) Poles

I purchased some opposition for my 1/300th scale modern Danes. These are in the form of some Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale Poles. We will have sometime this year some T-55s out against some Centurions. This will be part of a separate little project, part of which will be to complete the Danes and relocate them from mother’s garage to the Philippines. These will be used with Cold War Commander. I must admit, whilst the GHQ castings are superb detail wise, I still like the Heroics and Ros for wargames figures.

Aeronefs ... lots of them!
Aeronefs … lots of them!

Naturally, having purchased Imperial skies one needed some Aeronefs to go along with the new rules. Brigade Models Christmas discount helped me to acquire Argentinian, Brazilian and BENELUX fleets for this game and for use with Aeronef as well. I also acquired some Italian ‘nefs in the purchase along with some Russians to round out my Peshawar project, if I ever get back to that.

I really am looking forward to getting some paint on these models.

Baccus 6mm ECW Boxed Set
Baccus 6mm ECW Boxed Set

Last of the stocking fillers was the Baccus 6mm English Civil War boxed set. This consists of butt-loads of figures, bases, buildings and Polemos rules. I will admit up front that I purchased these to play with the Impetus Rules however the beauty of the Polemos basing is that I can also use these as based for bopth Polemos and Impetus.

Another project for 2017 for later description.

Overall, Santa was very kind to me at Christmas, as well he should have been!

Quality Reading

Quality Reading at its best!
Quality Reading at its best!

One of the nice things about slipping back to Oz periodically is to catch up on some quality reading.

I did! Nine Phantom comics with 12 stories. That should keep me going until my next trip back to Australia!

As the bloke in Nambucca News Agent said, “no one used to buy these except me but now a lot of blokes come on and buy”.

“It’s the pictures”, I said!

Right – story number one about Mr Walker (*for Ghost who walks)

Merry Christmas

Ho, ho, bloody ho!
Ho, ho, bloody ho!

As Christmas Day has just slid past in Oz, at least on the East Coast, I thought I should get my Christmas Greetings out. Today was great, a nice relaxed day, large lunch, afternoon nap and now sitting in the cool of the evening and reflecting on the past year. More on that later.

Today, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy New Year. As for me, I promise never again to spend nearly 6 hours with three gay hairdressers for a Christmas Party appearance. I certainly will never bleach my beard again … the smell was overpowering. The sparkling grey hair has turned to Ash Blonde so is due for the chop later this week.

Normal Thomo is resuming life as we know it!

WIP – 3 Projects Running – Naturally

Like all good wargamers I am quickly and easily distracted by new, bright shiny objects. As a result, I have three projects on the go at the moment.

Only three projects
Only three projects

Firstly are the 20mm World War 2 figures being painted up for Anthony. Today was spent wrestling with the Platoon 20 6-pdr anti-tank gun. Working out the way it all goes together with no reference works was a wee challenge. I spend some time with Mr Google looking for pictures of completed guns in particular to work out how the shields go on the front and how the trails attach to the rear. Currently the first wheel has been attached.

Then there are the 3mm Napoleonics. An infantry brigade and a cavalry regiment ready for sand and then painting.

Lastly I started with Coastal Forces, commencing with S-26, S-27, S-28 and S-29, German Schnellboot. The boats where cleaned up, machine guns attached to the rear and then added to bases. Bases have had some sea effects added using Woodland Scenics Flex Paste. Painting these will be covered in a later post.

Yep. Back into the groove – too many projects, not enough time (and damn, I super glued my fingers so have no fingerprints. It will be challenging using the bio-metric door locks at the office tomorrow!)