Painting Mojo and Thomo’s New Hole (temporary)

Thomo’s New Hole – work and wargame area combined and old Chichi who likes curling up on my computer bag and sleep here.

Thomo’s Hole has moved from Manila to Pampanga. This is a new temporary hole as Thomo’s permanent “he is never moving again … ever” hole is under construction. The new location is the province of Pampanga, famous for its food, volcanoes, screwing up air traffic for weeks in the 1990s, old US Air Bases and for being a considerably less expensive and lower stress environment to live in compared to Manila. I did think I was rather clever, managing to finish the move the day before Typhoon Rolly ripped through southern Luzon, however, perhaps I did not throw enough virgins into the volcanoes as Typhoon Ulysses managed to catch me at home last week (and scared the living you know what out of me).

Kits, wargame figures and my Commands and Colous Collection – unpacked bag of books on the bottom shelf

I think I will have enough space here, in the new temporary Hole, for the completion of some kits as well as playing some board games and figure games.

I should note that there are a number of bags of books upstairs still to be unpacked and some additional figures as well. I’ll get around to them in the near future when I can purchase an additional book case.

So what am I starting with to get the wargames rolling I hear you ask?

I had a hard look at what I had here and considered doing some rapid painting of some 6mm ancients and finish either the Punic Wars or Erik Bloodaxe sets.

I then considered getting stuck into painting the several thousand 6mm Greeks I have laying around.

The new local!

I then thought it a good idea to either finish up my World War 2 North Africa Italians but then I would need to purchase some 8th Army figures and vehicles and all wargamers know where that leads – on to the Afrika Korps and from there late war British and Americans. Yes, that way lies madness – or at least the normal wargamers megalomania.

I am also cautious at the moment about ordering items for delivery from the UK given the state of international logistics in these plague-ridden times.

That also ruled out the American Civil War project I have been considering.

I thought about painting my Early World War 2 Belgians – there are not so many and I have some other early World War 2 foes they can fight.

I then had a brainwave, for something really simple to play as a project. Why not refight the entire Peloponnesian War, both land and sea, over the coming months, until the permanent location is complete?

Right then, that’s decided.

I had one additional problem to deal with. Again, with all the moving and some work stress, I had lost my painting mojo. I looked at the projects here, both big and small, and settled on the idea of picking something that was already undercoated and ready to go and could be managed in small chunks.

World War 2 coastal vessels. So the 1/1200 scale Hallmark coastal vessels were examined and whilst there are some big vessels there, such as destroyers, liberty ships and such, 12 S-Boote and 4 R-Boote seem to fit the bill. I started them tonight and have the sea bases completed, well except for the wakes, they come when the hulls are painted.

Mojo Restored!


Play nice, roll high, and enjoy the game!

Sportsmanship vs Gamesmanship – from the Quarantined Wargamer

Big Lee Hadley is the owner of a YouTube channel, the Quarantined Wargamer, that I enjoy visiting, and I must admit, I do seem to agree with a lot of what he says. A couple of days ago he posted a video about Sportsmanship vs Gamesmanship in Wargaming. Have a look at it below.

Watching this brought a few flashbacks to my early years in wargaming, a time when we were all younger and winning was the thing. I recall many wargames – generally those under WRG Ancient an other Rules, where the games broke down, almost to fisticuffs over a rule interpretation or understanding an order. Competition games were even worse where the best efforts of the rules lawyer were to be seen, arguing that as the rules specifically did not rule out Ancient Gauls delivering a tactical nuclear strike on the hated Romans, there was, indeed, no reason why they couldn’t – well except for the fact that there was no way to assess it.

It seemed in those times that when heading out for a wargame, you packed your army, your rules, measuring stick, dice (both D6 and average dice), your army standing orders crafted over many previous games and covering all eventualities including Custer riding over the hill in front of the 7th cavalry and, last of all, analgesics for the headache that you knew was coming. It was in this early period of wargaming that I discovered there was nothing wrong with popping a few aspirin washed down with a beer. Either the aspirin or the beer worked.

In one memorable case, one gamer assisting me with a demonstration game in Hyde Park in Sydney, even cheated then. This gamer was famous, squire, for his 18-inch long 12-inch ruler!

So, what was Big Lee on about? Sportsmanship is assisting your opponent, especially newer members of the hobby, to understand why some moves are better than others, why it is better for your bowmen over there to fire on those naked berserkers than the shield wall and so on. Gamesmanship is doing everything you can to win at any cost, even if this means being a little “economical” with the interpretation of the rules.

Being a sportsman doesn’t mean you can’t get in your opponents head, or at least try. A bit of sledging here, a quizzical look there and second guessing your opponent is not a bad thing, especially against older experienced players who are your regular opponents. All aspects of the game should be fun.

In many respects, I am kind of glad of my current wargaming solitude. I play with myself, so no longer have the annoyance of players leaking gamesmanship all over the table. In this increasingly polarized world, it does make sense to relax, be nice and enjoy your hobby. After all, winning isn’t everything! Really, it’s not!

THERE’S a breathless hush in the Close to-night –
Ten to make and the match to win –
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

Vitai Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt

The next post from here will be game based – yes gentle reader, I am planning on playing with myself some more. My target, refight the entire Peloponnesian War between now and the end of January. Well, we all have to dream 🙂


Play nice, roll high, and enjoy the game!

Greeks and another Diversion

Back in May 2019 in Moving Right Along – Wargaming Tasks – 2019 update!, back before the plague, I noted that I had received

Heroics and Ros 6mm Greeks for yet another Ancient project. I am still waiting on the delivery from Rapier Miniatures, but I fear these are the first order to the Philippines to go astray as it has been over 6 months now Update (May 1st) – I just received an email from Stefan at Rapier (not bad, about one hour after posting this) to note that the parcel was sent but they will send again. Brilliant service guys – thank you.

The Rapier Greeks duly arrived and the original parcel was received back at Rapier in the UK a few days after a replacement order was sent to me. Ah the vagaries of PhilPost. I digress however.

Last year I had also read a fair bit of Greek history, both land battles and naval, and had decided, with all those 6mm Greeks, along with a couple of fleet packs of Navwar’s 1/1200 ancient ships and a copy of GMT’s Galley, to refight the Peloponnesian War, both on land and sea, as a project.

Reading Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece – A Guide to Their History, Topography and Archaeology – Book Review along with Great Battles of the Classical Greek World – Review and it occurred to me that I would have the figures available and the information to pretty much refight all the Greek vs Greek battles of the classical world in 6mm on a 2 foot square board (yes, wargamer’s megalomania at its best).

Enter the plague! Several months of listless inactivity followed by a home move out of Metro Manila to a province and I had achieved absolutely nothing. In my defense, there was a good deal of work pressure at the same time as quarantine lockdowns and what-not (yes, I know, an excuse not a reason).

Tonight, sitting in the new residence (temporary for about 6 months while the final Thomo’s Hole is being constructed) and it occurred to me that to get rolling on this project, I could use my Commands and Colors (C&C) set. I have all six expansions from the Ancient C&C, although I had not placed the Spartan expansion figure stickers on the blocks for that yet. I started that tonight.

I now have a project, doable in short order — refighting the classical Greek world using C&C. I have the blocks, I have the reference material and best of all, I don’t need much space or to paint anything. When I get up to the Peloponnesian War I will probably consider breaking out War Galley as well. However, for the time being, it’s lock shields and advance!

Ancient History Does Exist in Asia!

The Koreans ready to take the field again – figures from Alain Touller, painting from yours truly

There have been a lot of tweets recently, wargame based, dealing with ancient history and ancient wargaming. Most (if not all) have been Eurocentric. I can understand this as the largest market for wargame figures and for the consumption of Ancient History, have been Europeans – be they in Europe, the UK, the US and Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

The wargame figures and related publications cover Europe, and the Middle East across to India (think Alexander the Great).  Even Central and South America gets a look in with Aztec, Maya and Inca, although I suspect that is mainly because Aztec and Inca were conquered at the time by European freebooters.

The coverage of Asian warfare and Ancient History, with a few exceptions, is lagging far behind that of Europe and the Near East. The Japanese, Mongol, Korean and Chinese armies were the first of the Far East armies to start to be covered, in part because there was enough accessible information in English to provide information to the figure manufacturer and wargamer. The effect of cinema must also bear some responsibility here as well along with the achievements of some of those Asian nations.

The Khmer – undercoated and maiden guard painted – Irregular Miniatures

Other areas have lagged behind. Burmese, Thai and Khmer armies have been researched and modelled at least in 15mm scale (in part, perhaps because of the Khmer maiden guard). Cham and recently Sumatran and Javanese.

Sitting here in the Philippines for the past 6 years I have slowly been acquiring some information about the pre-Jesuit Philippines. This has not been easy to acquire. One reason given has been the lack of written history, and/or the inability to write it down. The Laguna Copperplate Inscription (Filipino: Inskripsyon sa Binatbat na Tanso ng Laguna) from about 1200 years ago  certainly belies the ability to write things down here.

15mm Burmese and Khmer. Prepped, based and undercoated. Now just waiting for the application of the brush. I must get around to finishing these!

In December 2014 I hunted through the National Bookstore for some information. Alas, I am still searching for a good reference work, preferably in English, my Tagalog is not up to anything that complicated yet, covering the pre-Jesuit Philippines. There were, it seems quite a few kingdoms, sultanates etc. across the archipelago in the past, with influences from India, China, Arab, Malay and of course, local.

A rich history I am sure, and one with much trading, political skullduggery, feats of arms and such but so little written about it. A history that likely touched the Indonesian Archipelago as well.

Any references gladly accepted – and lets remember that Ancient History is worldwide!


In my preferred wargame scale of 6mm, as far as I am aware, Baccus 6mm, and Heroics and Ros only model Samurai. Rapier Miniatures make Mongols and Irregular at least cover more areas, namely, Samurai, Chinese, Mongol, Tibetan, Burmese, and Khmer. Koreans, Sumatrans, Javanese are in short supply.

DBA Competition — Landwaster 2020

Landwaster has been an annual competition on the DBA calendar in Australia for a number of years now. Mercifully for the plague-infested world, it comes along late in the year and as most of Australia seems to have a lid on the plague currently (touch wood and whistle), this year Landwaster is on. Unlike previous years, this year it is moving temporarily from Canberra to Goulburn on Sunday 22nd November 2020 at the Goulburn Workers Club, 1 McKell Pl Goulburn NSW.

David Lawrence, the organiser, noted:

Landwaster is a happening thing and we have had an initial rush of entrants – but we still have room for more. The doors to the club will open at 10:00AM and the first game will kick off at 10:30AM.  

There will be a charge of $10 per entry to cover the hall hire and trophies.

He further notes, that with regards to meeting a COVID safe environment for the DBA games:

… for the present environment all players must use their own army, terrain, dice and measuring sticks.  For this reason I am not offering up my stable of armies or terrain.

The usual suspects as sponsors for the tournament have been rounded up and are:

  • Brian Hall of Hall of Ancient Warriors will be providing the first place trophy
  • Ray Compton of Essex Miniatures Australia will be providing discount vouchers for 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Mick Sellman of Mick’s Metal Models will be providing an army as the Magister Militum Prize
  • Dean Bedlington of Olympian Games will be providing prize vouchers for the Executioner Award, Mithradates Trophy and Last Place
  • Barry Scarlett of Leadbears Tufts will also be providing a voucher for all of the above awards.

There s a limit of  20 entries to maintain suitable social distancing so the entries will be recorded based on email timestamps and capping the entries at 20.

Come and join them for the premiere DBA event of the ACT and surrounds (I will, alas, be watching from afar, from the Philippines). David goes on to note that “for the Canberra gamers –  remember it is only 1 hour up the road.  For Sydney based players I have cut your drive by an hour.”

Come on, sign up and play. After months of lockdowns and quarantine, blow the dust of the armies and have some face-to-face games again.

See the flyer attached here Landwaster 2020 Flyer (PDF)

Another Proof Added to “Why the Southern Hemisphere is on Top of the Globe”

Quite a few years ago, in 1995 or 1996 if my aging memory isn’t failing me, I was asked to present a light talk at a company event in Trondheim, Norway. Norwegians are lovely folks, friendly, helpful and generous. They have an interesting sense of humour and when you are winding them up, you are expected to smile so they know you are teasing them. It was at the start of a large project so I wanted to both entertain and instruct. I started to think about the orientation of the globe. I presented a number of “facts” that proved Australia was on the top of the globe, and Norway on the bottom.

Why Australia is at the Top of the World records the three or four original “proofs” I presented as well as some added later. Stanley Friedman kindly provided an additional (and now the 9th) proof. It goes something like this:

Polaris (the Pole Star or North Star) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor (α Ursae Minoris). It also happens to appear at a fixed point in the sky of the Northern Hemisphere with the rest of the constellations and stars revolving around that point. As we determined that stars are a sign of up and as the Northern Hemisphere has less stars than the Southern Hemisphere and must be less up, therefore down, Polaris must be the fulcrum that allowing for the various astronomical attractions and such, the earth rests and revolves upon. This is further confirmed by Proof Number 6, the Rotational Proof that has the earth rotating clockwise!

Thanks Stanley for the proof, this has been added the page here. Other proofs are welcome.

Wargame Outcomes

The other day I was pondering the use of alternate methods of randomizing in Wargames. The usual method is to throw dice of course, be they the standard 6-sided dice (D6), average dice (faces of 233445), or one of the specials such as a 4-sided, 12-sided, 20-sided dice etc.

Dice rolls, regardless of the number of faces, usually provide three outcomes. Either I win, you win or it’s a tie. Three outcomes then had me thinking of using the old rock, paper, scissors (or the extended rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock) for outcome generation. Using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock as the example (indeed, any number of odd combinations can be used) provides for one tie, two win and two loss outcomes per round.

With 5 possible outcomes, the Win 2, Lose 2, Tie one compares with rolling two 6-sided dice where ceteris paribus (OK, so I didn’t need to use the Latin term for “everything else being equal” but it does make this post sound a little more highbrow 😉) the outcomes are 15 wins, 15 losses and 6 ties.

20% ties on rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock compares with 16.7% using two dice, so ties are a little less likely using two dice. However, and here is where it gets interesting, using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does provide for a less random outcome as we try and second guess our opponents of their next hand gestures.

Time to ‘fess up. I have no idea where I am going with this thought, just that I am going somewhere or considering an alternative. I know there are some wargames where rock, paper, scissors is used to determine one-on-one hand-to-hand combat, but I am trying to think of a way to use in mass battles.

Mind you, rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does not have the same satisfying sound as a handful of dice bouncing around the dice tray and spinning to a stop to reveal a brace of ones and twos when you only needed one six!

Modern Spearhead and Shako

I’ve been quiet for a while but then this Tweet from @Thewargamesroom

set my mind to thinking, especially when Keith noted that he played the game on a 3’x2′ table.

As I am space challenged currently, and as Keith noted that it worked well at that alternative scale, I thought should have a look for these rules and see if I could get some modern gaming in with myself.

The Spearhead and Modern Spearhead rules were written by Arty Conliffe. I searched for Modern Spearhead and found only one place that had them on their catalogue, however, On Matters Military, sold out in July 2020.

I then thought to give Amazon a try and searched for publications from Arty Conliffe. I came across this gem!

Wow! Just WOW!

I think I will go home tonight and carefully place my copy of Shako (and Shako II for that matter) in the vault and leave it there.

What other old rulesets have you run across that are currently for sale at ridiculous prices?

Big Ideas to Grow Historical Wargming

A few days ago I posted a link to a Little Wars video asking the question, Is Historical Wargaming Dying Out? I also added my thoughts to the question as well.

More power to the guys at Little Wars, they released a follow-on video offering some ideas and suggestions (five of them to be accurate) for growing tabletop wargaming.

The suggestions are all quite good and certainly may help to promote the game. The Gateway Product and Curated YouTube channels I think were excellent ideas. To attract those in the 20 to 35 age group, the approach really needs to be electronic to start with. For those in the 15 to 25 age group, the competition is tough as it is mobile phone based games along with XBox, Playstation and Nintendo.

I will admit that having worked in IT for more years than I care to remember, I like the tactile nature of tabletop gaming — research, painting, pushing figures around a table, two out of three parts are unrelated to my day job.

Anyhow, do have a look at the video and see of you can think of something to:

  1. promote the hobby
  2. attract new gamers

Right then, back out with the paintbrushes.

Roll sixes, stay safe, wash your hands!

Salad Rolls

That ain’t a cheeseburger – it’s a salad roll

Feeling like a visit to TGIF last Sunday after a spot of shopping in Glorietta Mall, I stopped in and was thinking that a cheeseburger and a beer would be a suitable Sunday evening repast.

So, after completing the contact tracing form, being shot in the head (36.3 degrees for those interested) and disinfecting my hands for the ninth time that day in some Isopropyl alcohol, I followed the arrows on the floor to my socially distant seat. Next to the QR code menu and ordering link, I saw the abomination illustrated to the right.

Cheeseburger at Handlebar, Plobacion, Makati City

First, let me state up front, I have no issues with vegies, in fact, I even enjoy some of them on my cheeseburgers. However, there is only one true definition of a burger and that is a piece of meat between two buns! And that meat should be beef.

The cheeseburger to the left is the perfect example. Well seasoned minced beef patty, built on a bed of lettuce, tomato and in this case fresh onion, with cheese on the top and a toasted bun, toasted to give it the extra strength to hold together until the last mouthful.

The burger should not require any utensils to eat it with other than those provided by the good Lord at your birth – your hands and fingers!

So called “chicken burgers” are chicken sandwiches or chicken rolls. “Pulled pork” cannot be used in a burger, but can in a roll, a baguette, a Philly.

Apart from the beef patty, cheese, tomato, lettuce and onion (whether raw or caramelised), the burger can also contain bacon, egg, beetroot (Aussie burgers standard issue) and arguably pineapple – there is a debate about whether pineapple can be used, similar to the Hawaiian pizza debate. Add to that a condiment of choice – tomato sauce/ketchup or BBQ or HP/A1.

So, the picture at the top is NOT a burger – it is a salad roll!