The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Actually, here in Makati City, he rarely rings. It takes about a week for a parcel to arrive in the Philippines from England. It then takes another week for the parcel to travel a few kilometres from the main Post Office to Makati Central Post Office. It then takes between two weeks and a month or two for the notice of arrive to travel the one kilometre from Makati Post Office to the condominium or the office.

Still, it is great when the notices arrive and you can step back into 1954 to collect the parcels from the Post Office.

Four Parcels containing three different wargaming periods

Box number one (large, top right) contained some goodies from Brigade Models of the UK . The box contained Aeronefs and Cold War Commander Indonesians in 6mm. The Aeronefs the Spanish Fleet Pack #2, Item #: VANFP-1702; Spanish Fleet Pack #1, Item #: VANFP-1701; Spanish Torpedo Flotilla, Item #: VANFP-1711; Indonesian Army Group, Item #: IC-1401; and some bits and pieces.

I am trying to clear my painting queue now to get into both these sets. The Spanish ‘nefs in particular are sweet.

World War 2 Belgians

In the small flat box to the bottom right is a Belgian World War 2 army from Scotia Grendel. I built these from the Blitzkreig Commander III lists before noticing some basic problems with that list, like the missing 75mm guns!

Anyway, there is some nice stuff in there and I can always find an excuse to send off for some more figures from Scotia, and order the missing 75mms then.

The white parcel contained reinforcements from Magister Militum for the little coastal project, namely some more Germans, a few more British and the Italians. The Motoscafo Armato Silurante, (MAS boats), were a class of fast torpedo armed vessel used by the Regia Marina and the models from Hallmark are sweet. More competition for the painting queue.

Lastly, the big box underneath contains three books for review. These will be coming up soon.

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.

Work in Progress – Russians

Soviet KV-1 Heavy tanks
Soviet KV-1 Heavy tanks

I decided that I needed to catch up on some of the half (quarter, eighth, sixteenth …) finished work in the man cave. Looking for something quick and easy but something I could try some new techniques on as well, I decided to go back to the 6mm World War 2 Russians.

Back on 27 August 2012 I finished the first batch of tanks for the Russians, a battalion of Lend Lease Valentines. I decided to do some more Russian vehicles and try some weathering effects on them with two of Tamiya’s Tank Weathering shades.

A Gaz (Soviet Jeep) and command group
A Gaz (Soviet Jeep) and command group – the C-in-C in fact. I use the trees to flag command elements in BKC

I also decided to do a base of infantry – just to see that needed to be painted and what could be left.

The pictures here are the vehicles I have finished so far. I have a battalion of T34/76s almost ready for basing and that will take care of the Soviet armour for this project – well except for the addition of some T34/85s so I can build the force for late war as well.

The image on the left are some KV-1s finished, the image on the right is a command group next to a particularly tall tree and below we have a BA-10 Armoured Car.

Soviet BA-10 Armoured Car
Soviet BA-10 Armoured Car

Early War Russians – 4000 points

Well, a little more than 4,000 points – 4,755 to be exact, for Blitzkrieg Commander. I’m tempted to do a third infantry company and maybe a little extra in the way of support troops – will see. At least for early war Russians this seems about right – light tanks, medium tanks, a few heavy tanks and a bit of artillery. Goodness knows what will happen when I start to calculate the late war stuff – most of the early Russians walked to battle so transport is cheap.

Anyway, the list as it is at the moment consists of:

  BKCII List Russian Early War 1941-42
1 CO (CV8)
2 HQ (CV7)
2 HQ (CV8)
4 Recce Unit (BA-6/BA-10)
18 Infantry Unit (Regulars)
6 Infantry Upgrade (Anti-Tank Rifle)
6 Support Unit (MG, Maxim)
2 Support Unit (ATG, 45mm)
2 Support Unit (Mortar 82mm)
9 Light Tank Unit (Valentine)
9 Medium Tank Unit (T-34/76, mid)
3 Heavy Tank Unit (KV-1B)
4 Artillery Unit (76mm)
3 Artillery Unit (122mm)
1 Ground-Attack Unit (P-39)
9 Transport Unit (Horses, Cavalry)

Given that the late war units are somewhat more expensive, I think working to 6,000 points for them might be the go.

On the Painting Table

I started to paint the Romans for my DBA project here the other day then stopped. Doug noted in his blog, A Lead Odyssey when looking at his late war Germans for Blitzkrieg Commander II that if he built 4000 points worth of Germans, it wasn’t many troops but would work well on the table space we had available to play on.

I thought, I should start organising my Russians then, especially as I knew I had too many of them and as Doug had suggested swapping our surplus stock. I decided that the easiest way was to base the forces ready for play and organise as I went along. I can worry about painting them later.

Good idea. I started the other night then, using Flames of War small bases for both infantry and vehicles. They work well and I don’t really like the 40mm x 20mm base for the infantry that he is using – the troops look too spread that way.

Last night I had clicked over 4000 points worth of early war Russians – but that was without any air support, light tanks, artillery or anti-tank guns. It only included 3 x KV-1 Heavy tanks and 9 T34/76 tanks (10 if you count the command base). And that was with only one company of infantry.

4000 points? Hmm, I think I will go to 6000 points as that way I can manage a full battalion of infantry plus a light and a medium tank battalion along with a platoon of heavy tanks for support. That works.

Now I just have to work out how to fit the 24 cavalry figures into the army.

Ooo, Nice and Shiny

I’m a wargamer and as such, I’m like a moth to a flame. I see something bright and shiny over there and I fly off in that direction.

I sat down for a whole 10 minutes tonight and undertook a quick summary of what I had on the go. This was partly brought on by Doug’s post about his WWII Germans. So, apart from several bazillion Russians (where did all these T34s come from), here in sunny Singapore I also have two Future War Commander forces awaiting paint, two Squadron Commander sides, 6x6mm DBA armies, 2x15mm DBA armies and a DBMM army of some 400 points that I was trying to get completed for Cancon 2012 but think I will fail on that one.

Oh, and did I mention the 15mm American Civil War? No? Well that’s because I have finally bitten the bullet as it were and after having these figures in stock for 10 years now decided that I was not going to get around to painting the buggers so thought I would send them off to a painting service. More on that later. Anthony and I have been playing American Civil War, first with On To Richmond and lately with the original Fire and Fury.

The other wargaming of late has been with Field of Glory online. Whilst I have never really liked the tabletop rules, the online game works fine – probably because I can’t actually see the calculation mechanisms at work. Those I do recommend, especially for the wargamer who spends a lot of time travelling. The nice thing is that it works well on hotel Internet connections which in many locations are not known for their speed.

Now trying to focus and get something happening this week as I have a whole week in Singapore with no trips planned until next week. To the paint table!

6mm World War 2 Italians

P3142839 Last night I cleaned up the figures and based them ready for painting. Because these figures are in a very open order I decided to base them before painting. This will make them easier to handle whilst painting.

I decided to base the artillery on larger bases including the crews and some artillery tractors as these are not really moved during battle but are normally parked behind the battle area.

Also based ready for painting are a couple of aircraft – a JU87B Stuka dive bomber and a Caprioni CA310 medium bomber. Not shown but also being prepared (with great frustration to me) is a Fiat CR42 biplane – certainly one of the best aeroplanes of early in World War 2.

All the figures and vehicles here are from Heroics and Ros with the exception of the Dovunque-Viberti Radio trucks and the 65mm Anti-Tank gun Portees (and Portee is an artillery piece mounted in a truck) – the Autocannone 75/27 su Ceirano. They are from Armstrong Miniatures, a small producer who makes the oddball stuff not made by the major manufacturers.

Time to start painting!