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!

De Bellis Antiquitatis 3.0

DBA3Finally, I received my copy of De Bellis Antiquitatis version 3.0 (DBA 3.0). Of course, ordering it was a joy but receiving it was a bit of a trial. Ordered and paid for through Amazon UK, the book was dispatched air mail on 4 November 2014. Judging by the Post Office stamp on the parcel, it arrived in Manila on 5 December, a full month later. Eight days was the turnaround to Kuala Lumpur so obviously the flight from KL to Manila takes 22 days.

It then took from 5 December to 12 December to work its way though the Philippines Post Office and for me to get a card to collect the goods from then Post Office. I collected the rules today.

Whilst I can’t understand why the Philippines Post Office does not just deliver books as there is no duty payable on them, I can understand it taking 7 days to get the notice to me as there was a distraction called Typhoon Ruby here so I won’t complain about that last delay.

Still, it’s good to have a meaty read for the soon-to-be-flight back to Oz for Christmas. From what I have seen so far, I am looking forward to playing with these rules in then future.

Philippine History – Now That’s Frustrating

I was in the National Bookstore again today searching for a book on a topic near and dear to the heart of me, history. Ancient history to be accurate. Philippine ancient history to be really accurate. From what I can see, Philippine History only seems to start around 1581 with the arrival of a Jesuit.

I kept checking history books and apart from being filled with what seemed to be polemic and chapters on how wonderful Filipinos are, some even had chapters on Jewish inventions, like Google, for goodness sake, in a book on Philippines History. There was nothing I would describe as objective history and certainly nothing on life here before the Jesuits.

Now I will admit I was only having a quick scan of the books, scanning the odd chapter and the table of contents but what I saw was not really all that encouraging for a view of life in ancient times. The word “pre-history” turned up a lot to describe everything before the Jesuits as no one could write then and the most useful thing I learned was that Barangay may have referred to a boat (thank you Jesuits for that piece of information) and four Filipinos turned up in Japan (two blokes and two ladies) in the 600s or 800s C.E., and they were not the first singing group to go there!

I would be happy if someone could point me to a decent history of the early Philippines but so far everything I’ve seen suggests that this may not be all that likely to find.

I think I need to find a bigger bookshop.

DBA Version 3.0 – on the way

DBA 3.0 - on the way!
DBA 3.0 – on the way!

I spent 10 minutes over coffee this morning at the office and got around to ordering DBA 3.0. It is the first book I’ve ordered for delivery in Manila so I am curious to see whether there are duties payable or not.

There are a couple of other books (actual ones with paper) that I want to get but I think for that order I will have them sent to Mum’s in Oz and pick them up over Christmas.

In the meantime, I’m starting to think about DBA 3.0 seriously now and perhaps a December competition in Kuala Lumpur on the way home to Oz for Christmas!

Field of Glory On-line — A Poor Replacement for the Gun Bar

My left overtakes Anthony's right at the end (my troops look darker)
My left overtakes Anthony’s right at the end (my troops look darker)

I’m now in Manila and the Gun Bar is firmly located in Singapore for the foreseeable future. How ever will I get my regular dose of beating up on Anthony? Simple really. Field of Glory On-line. Neither of us really likes Field of Glory rules but the on-line version has us not worrying so much about the rules as everything is resolved internally, in the computer’s memory.

The other down side is that it is impossible to determine if there is any dice feng shui, something we have got used to at the Gun Bar.

We just finished a game, 800 points a side and therefore a big game. We tend to start one big (800 point) digital army game and one scenario game (with both sides being played). The scenario games can be quite challenging. When we both lose the same side, it does suggest that the scenario is unbalanced.

Anthony's left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.
Anthony’s left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.

The last digital game we played however was from the Eternak Empire Group. I took the Ottoman out against the German knights led Knights Army. The two illustrations here are the position at the end. My left flank had overwhelmed and broken his right flank whilst his left flank had achieved the same result with my right. I had, however, manager to secure sufficient casulaties in the Knight to win.

The Ottoman Forced are shaded slightly.

We are in the process now of starting another game – this time my Sassanians are shaping up against a Principate Roman force.

BANG ON!

Post DeBAKLe 2013 — What to paint next?

So, as the dust settles on my weekend in Kuala Lumpur, I now have the agonising problem of what to paint next. Today I slapped some paint onto some half-finished Republican Romans in 6mm, partly because they have been sitting in front of me half painted for two years now (part of the 6mm DBA project) and partly because I have no idea what to paint next.

That’s one of the problems of having a short-time frame challenge. When it’s over, what to do next.

I looked at the Arabs for an opponent for the Nubians for games here and then thought, “nah, the only 15mm ancient DBA armies I have ever painted were for specific competitions!”

Would you believe that over the years I have only painted four? The Rajput (Cancon 2011), the Koguryo Korean and Later Hungarian (Cancon  2013 and the Worlds) and the Nubian (DeBAKLe 2013). Looks like the Arabs are heading back into the stock bucket.

There are, of course, several hundred middle and late 1/300 World War 2 Russians that need paint. There are also the World War 2 Japanese and Hungarians in 1/300.  There are Future War Commander forces waiting paint, as well as Aeronefs. I have a 15mm Later Crusader DBMM army  also waiting paint. There are aircraft for the three modern naval fleets. I could finish the basing of the 15mm American Civil War Union forces. I could paint the Rebels (I have hundreds of them as well). Then there is the 6mm DBA project. I also have 15mm Greeks for DBA to sort out and organise as well.

Hmm, maybe I’ll just sit down and read a book tonight and plan a few future projects. Yes, that’s it. The solution to the wargamer’s quandary!

When you do not know what to paint from the lead pile, plan another project!

DeBAKLe 2013 — the AAR

The guys getting ready for start of DeBAKLe 2013  -- organiser David Khoo is sitting, back to the camera preparing the first round draw
The guys getting ready for start of DeBAKLe 2013 — organiser David Khoo is sitting, back to the camera preparing the first round draw

I stood in the maelstrom that was emigration from Malaysia at 2CIQ (Tuas Second Link) on the way back to Singapore and as I was jostled in the crowd for around 30 minutes, my mind started to drift off to contemplate the weekend in Kuala Lumpur — pondering not just DeBAKLe 2013 but also the general wargaming scene in Malaysia. It does appear healthier than here in Singapore with quite an active group of wargamers meeting regularly to battle through different periods of history.  There is currently a large Napoleonic campaign in under-way (Leipzig) with the battle being broken down into component parts and played over different weekends.

At dinner with some of the guys on Saturday night (great choice of dishes by the way guys and a good reason for my weight having shot through the roof again – love eating in Malaysia) inevitably conversation was centred around wargaming, and armies and tactics, this was a refreshing change for me where wargaming conversation in Singapore is all too infrequent.

For DeBAKLe 2013 there were a mix of experienced players and new, a good sign for the hobby there, as was the fact that there were 14 players at DeBAKLe 2013, the number up on previous years and causing David (who organises it) to consider four rounds next year.

As readers of Thomo’s Hole will know, I had painted a Nubian Army to take to DeBAKLe 2013 over the five days before leaving for the competition. I am still pleased with that effort and some nice things were said about the appearance of the army there.

On to my games.

Game 1 -- vs the Ch'in (Book II/4a) -- after the first moves
Game 1 — vs the Ch’in (Book II/4a) — after the first moves

This was my first battle – the Ch’in were fielded by AJ KJ and in what was a huge surprise to me, I was the attacker. It was a surprise as the Ch’in aggression was 3 and mine was 1. So, the Nubians invaded Ch’in China!

AJ KJ laid out two woods and a road. His army consisted of two heavy chariots (a sweet target for my bows), some cavalry and mostly warband and bows. The Nubians (Book I/3) consisted of two warbands, seven bows (one of which was the general) and three Psiloi.

Game 1 - at the death
Game 1 – after my first casulalty

AJ KJ advanced over the table and tried to keep his heavy chariots away from my bows. He was successful in doing that however I managed after an early set back to remove his Cavalry, Psiloi and a Bow. I had lost two Bows by this stage.

AJ KJ marched his warband into the wood to clear out the Psiloi there whilst I prepared to roll up AJ’s right flank.

The best tactic possible then came into play. When AJ’s KJ’s warband hit my Psiloi, the battle factor was 2-1 in his favour and looking at little awkward for the Nubians. The die were cast and the result was a role of 6-1 in my favour. Scratch a warband.

Game one then was a 4-2 victory to me – scoring me 8 points and AJ KJ 2.

Game 2 vs Faris's Patrician Romans - Book II/83 (west)
Game 2 vs Faris’s Patrician Romans – Book II/83b (east)

Faris was my next opponent and he was using Patrician Romans – a nice force because of the variations possible. He had a mix of knights, cavalry, auxilia, light horse, blades and psiloi. A good mix to take on the Nubians with a lot of good match-ups likely from his side of the table.

The Patrician’s are aggression 0 and I am aggression 1 but I lost the attacker/defender roll and laid out the terrain. Two sand dunes and an area of rough ground. We deployed and my plan was to move things around so that my warband and psiloi faced off against his auxilia whilst my bows concentrated on his knights and cavalry and tried to stay away from his blades.

The end of game 2 - and another win
The end of game 2 – and another win

Faris came forward and tried to get his bow killers into contact with the bows. However, I managed to keep out of the way of the Auxilia and manoeuvred the bows to get some shots on the cataphracts. Cataphracts died. It was a hard victory however as Faris managed to get some good troops into my bows and managed to kill my general. At that point I was three elements down (two bows and a psiloi, one of bows was the general however) and Faris was also three elements down. I rolled for PIPs and needed to roll at least 2 to do anything. A role of 4 saw me able to position myself well against his Psiloi and the result was a 4-3 victory my way, with another 8 points. Faris picked up 5 I think for this – 3 points for killing a general and two for the other two elements.

I was in the top four at this point (surprisingly) and so it was on to the final round.

Deployed ready to face the Anglo-Saxons (Actually, I think these were Anglo-Danish so IV/71)
Deployed ready to face the Anglo-Saxons (Actually, I think these were Anglo-Danish so IV/71)

I’ve been reading a lot of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series recently so when I saw the Anglo-Saxons, a mix of blades and spears (the shield wall) I thought of Uhtred! This battle was against Tony, also undefeated at this stage and his army was a mix of blades, spears and the odd Psiloi. They were aggression 1, same as me, but I ended up being the defender again. I placed my two areas of sand dune and one of rough going.

We deployed and started to play. My only real hope in this battle was to get my warband into his infantry and hope for a quick kill. The shield wall rather than the blades was the target.

I used my light troops to anchor my left flank on sand dunes and arrayed myself between dunes, narrowing his attack frontage and I hoped keeping enough of his troops out of the battle until I could make some inroads into his forces.

Tony left me an opening on the right of his centre and I was starting to work that. I really only needed to hold his centre and then start to wrap around it and even though it was the bows doing it, I figured I had a good chance to start to roll him up.

The opening combat was therefore my bow general against his blades – a starting factor of 2-5 his way. I added one as I was a general and he subtracted one as he was overlapped so now 3-4. I rolled one on my dice roll so a roll of 4 or better on Tony’s and I was toast. He rolled 4 or better. The rest of my combats were closer but all my elements lost and were pushed back. Game over! I lost it 1-0 with the general being the casualty so 11 points for Tony and none for me.

Joint sixth place
Joint sixth place

After the game totals were all tallied, I had come in a creditable (well, I thought it was creditable) sixth place using the Nubians, not a world beating army but with all those bows, one to strike, if not fear, at least a little uncertainty into the hearts of opponents.

Deployed for a Big Battle DBA
Deployed for a Big Battle DBA

To finish the wargaming off for the day, we had a Big Battle DBA – which our side managed to lose conclusively with two commands broken and the third one element from breaking.

All in all, it was a great day.

After the wargaming was over, we adjourned to a Chinese Restaurant somewhere in Shah Alam or the Klang Valley for some typically great Malaysian Chinese food.

Thanks to the Broken Bayonets for a wonderful weekend of gaming and special thanks to David Khoo and his family for putting me up and feeding me (more about the burger later).

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 5

The Nubians Complete
The Nubians Complete

Day 5 and today was broken up into short painting periods – over lunch, over afternoon coffee, waiting for the baked beans to heat and so on. However, pretty much everything was done before today, all that was needed was the odd light touch-up and dry brush plus add an anachronistic touch for someone on Saturday to be able to say, “hey, Nubians never had [insert favourite anachonism]. Still, I think they look dark and menacing as they stand. I’m also quite happy with the way the dry terrain turned out. Looks sufficiently Sudanish!

My view of the Nubians
My view of the Nubians

My view of the Nubians is also nice and I hope this is the only bit I see of them, although I suspect I will see more of them running away than staying to fight the same day 🙂 Next task is to spend half an hour or so tomorrow looking for my rules. I also need to cut out some terrain pieces and nobble up a camp. And I need to buy my bus ticket so I can tell Dave where to meet me. I’m quite looking forward to DeBAKLe 2013, it will be good to catch up with the Broken Bayonets after the last time (that was 10 years ago IIRC). Lastly, I’ll leave you with a hawk’s eye view of the army.

A hawk's eye view of the Nubians
A hawk’s eye view of the Nubians

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 4

2014-02-12 01.48.56Day 4 painting was a little less than planned (doesn’t that always happen when you are getting close to your target?)! Domestic matters took over in the evening and they went longer than expected – still, a picnic dinner at the beach at sunset was a welcome change of scenery. It also gave me a chance to stop into the Samsung store in VivoCity and find out that whilst my phone is genuine (I never doubted that), my S-View cover is probably a fake (I had started to suspect that after the upgrade to Kit Kat when S-View stopped working). I’ll deal with that later.

On to the painting.

I managed to finish the figures except for a final dry brush on the tunics and completing the shields on the warband. That will be done over lunch today. After that, I’ll add some clumps of grass to the bases, even out the colour on the edge of the bases then when the glue and paint dries, varnish them last thing tonight.

I am wondering whether or not to “weather” the army – that is, make the soldiers look a wee bit dusty. Still pondering that.

However, I’m starting to feel confident that they will be finished today (Day 5) and ready to use tomorrow.

As for DeBAKLe 2013, I still need to book my bus ride to Kuala Lumpur and make some terrain to take with me – namely sand dunes as the Nubians are a dry climate army.

The next post should have the pin-up shot of the Nubians, finished and ready for battle. Now where did I put my copy of the rules?

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 3

Day 3 Painting Progress
Day 3 Painting Progress

Day 3 started fine, warm and sunny. An altogether nice day. I did a little painting in the morning, then headed out for some meetings and lunch and back again in the early afternoon.

Today I got the block colours done on the rest of the figures, although I still need to do the shields on the warband.

Fear of leopard skins had me madly searching this morning for various large animals that roamed the area occupied by the ancient Nubians, at the same time as the ancient Nubians were around.

Apart from leopards, there were lions, oryx and various antelopes mercifully in single shades. The colours of their pelts ranged from white to almost black with a few shades of “Frasier Browns”1 thrown in for good measure.

I painted various browns. Some white was added for the headband and arrow flights (the flights will appear grey when finished), bow, arrows and quivers painted and hair painted. For the warband I mixed some red and brown to give a kind of natural red hat for the warband. Bird feathers are white. For the chief I saw an illustration with a number of Nubians and one was in a long tunic with coloured strips on it. I ignored the fact that the illustration was a female and went ahead and gave the boss stripes.

Lastly, I did some interpretive leopard skins on two figures. You can see my poor interpretation below. 🙂

My interpretive attempt at a 15mm leopard skin ... well, I ain't no Rembrandt!
My interpretive attempt at a 15mm leopard skin … well, I ain’t no Rembrandt!

Footnotes

1. From the TV series Frasier, one of my favourite exchanges (see http://www.kacl780.net/frasier/transcripts/season_9/episode_7/bla_z_boy.html for the full script)

Niles: What color is the new carpet?
Frasier: I’m going up a shade… to “Harvest Wheat.”
Niles: I thought the next shade up was “Buff.”
Frasier: It used to be, but they’ve discovered a whole new color in
between.
Niles: So now it’s “Tofu, Putty, Oatmeal”…
Both: “Almond, Harvest Wheat”…
Frasier: “and Buff.”
Niles: That’s going to be hard to get used to.