And Speaking of Slingshot

slingshot_288Issue 288 of Slingshot arrived a couple of days ago. With the changeover of editors and one thing and another it seems to be running a month or two behind schedule as issue 288 is the May/June issue.

I always look forward to the arrival of Slingshot and have for many years now. Not every issue is full of stuff of interest to me but generally there is enough content of interest to keep me, well, looking forward to the arrival of the next issue.

Slingshot is the official organ of the Society of Ancients and concentrates on ancient military history and ancient wargaming. This issue has some interesting reading including:

  • Part 5 of a Short History of the Iberian Peninsula from 400CE to 1100CE
  • St Albans, 17th February 1461
  • Part 3 of Transjordanian Tales
  • The Roman Republic Against the Italian Gauls
  • Gauls and Romans Scenario
  • The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
  • Tablets of Stone
  • as well as book and wargame figure reviews.

As I mentioned, this is always a good read and well worth the annual membership fee.

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames – Issue 366

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames - issue 366 cover
Miniature Wargames with Battlegames – issue 366 cover

The October issue arrived on my iPad a couple of weeks ago but I have not got around to looking at it until today,. There has been a veritable avalanche of reading here at Thomo’s Hole with Ancient Warfare, Medieval Warfare, Strategy and Tactics, World at War and a number of books all turning or up being ordered over recent weeks, In addition, for the past two weeks I have been addicted with the Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell — having read all six books of the first series over the last 16 days or so.

Today I finally got around to having a good look through it.

The first thing I noticed is that Mike Siggins is not waxing whatever within the magazine this month. As I understand he has stepped back from the hobby a wee bit — not such a strange occurrence as I guess we all do it at times.

There is a major piece on the late Don Featherstone, a doyen of the hobby and one that I owe a debt of gratitude to for introducing me to the hobby (and indeed, many figure manufacturers and credit card companies that I am also indebted to).

Other items in the magazine this month include:

  • Neil Shuck (of Meeples and Miniatures fame) having a gripe about historical accuracy on TV and then looking at hobby news and some new products
  • Diane Sutherland building North American Indian huts
  • John Treadaway discussing scenery in fantasy wargaming
  • Daniel Mersey (of Dux Bellorum, amongst others fame) is looking at something a little different – a chase basically
  • Leslie Tipping has a piece on a western gunfight, Hollywood style)
  • Henry Hyde (the editor) sets a command challenge based Don Featherstone’s War Games
  • Rob Young, another naval wargames nut like moi, looks at making cheap ironclads using tealights for turrets1
  • Conrad Kinch is touring battlefields
  • There are pieces on:
    • The Great Siege of Malta (Gary Mitchell)
    • Obituaries for Don Featherstone (Chris Scott and Charles Grant)
    • Combined Arms Wargaming (Franz Ehart)
  • John Treadaway looks at Crooked Dice – a small company  with an interesting game system
  • plus the usual Recce of new books and such
  • And finally, Henry presents a one-page, sort of, idiots guide to painting horses

The lunch hour wasn’t long enough to get through it all today but there is the bus trip home and there is some interesting reading. I am also getting more comfortable with what the magazine is becoming — it does seem to be starting to deliver at last.

Good value for the wargamer, especially the digital edition.

1. Look out B, Thomo is looking at your candlemaking in a new way

Warning Order — Issue 35

wo35I’m a bit behind with my reading and only now starting to catch up with some of my favourite reads. Warning Order is the Warning Order is the official online magazine of the Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society (WFHGS) — a wargaming club. Yes, I had to read for an atlas (or at least Google Maps) to work out where Wasatch was.

It is a free, full colour online club magazine that can be downloaded in PDF format. It is also a good read and generally there is something interesting in it. The  WFHGS concentrates mainly on 15mm gaming for large games and skirmishes in 25mm. Apart from the 25mm, that fits with most of my gaming as well — at least where there are non-mechanized armies involved rather than navies, tanks and the other weird stuff I get in to.

This issue has some Colonial action on the Northwest frontier, some Napoleonic action in the Peninsula, some Fire and Fury American Civil War, reviews and a reflection on the past.

It is worth having a look – it can be downloaded from:

And for the record, Wasatch is in Utah, USA.

Strategy and Tactics – Fail Safe: Nuclear Warfare in the Cold War

ST283M-2I remember the Cold War. Seeing the title of issue 283 of Strategy & Tactics when I took it out of the envelope in the elevator heading back up to the apartment last night brought back some memories.

I can remember life in the early 1970s in particular, the Cold War was well underway and at that time it was not clear who was winning. At that time many of us thought it was better not to win the Cold War as we didn’t want to upset the other guy – after all, they were always considered a bit unstable in the eyes of the Free World.

Ban the Bomb, protests against stationing US Nuclear Forces in Britain, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the gulags, so many memories flooding back in. Really, it had me feeling that Generation X and Generation Y never understood the stress of being a Baby Boomer.

Fail Safe ((now there is another term fresh from the Cold War that takes on a whole new meaning these days)) is a look at the manned bombers carrying nuclear weapons in the period 1945 to 1960 and the story of the doctrine that directed and restricted their use. For another view on that, I can thoroughly recommend watching Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. That really caught the mood of the time well and is a superb black comedy. The article in S&T however has some really neat photographs of some of the nuclear capable aircraft of the time – I can almost feel another wargaming period coming on!

In this issue also is a look at Saladin – not so much the chivalrous warrior this time but more the ruthless contender reaching for power.

The Pontiac Conspiracy

In 1763, after the British had won the French-Indian Wars, Fort Pitt was besieged by a confederation of Indians unhappy with British rule and the policies of General Jeffrey Amherst in particular. This was the decisive battle in what became known as Pontiac’s War. Pontiac was an Ottowa Indian and leader of the confederation.

At this battle, British officers at Fort Pitt attempted to infect the besieging Native Americans with smallpox – an early example of biochemical warfare. The plan was to send blankets exposed to the smallpox virus to the Indians and hope it caught. The article also looks at the Battle of Bushy Run where the British did manage some effective infantry tactics.

There is an examination of Tulagi, the August 1942 landing on Tulagi to support the Guadalcanal landings.

Other notes and articles this month deal with the birth of the Roman Navy; Japan’s rise to naval dominance; submarines in the Gallipoli Campaign; and a piece on Admiral George Stephen Morrison (father of singer Jim Morrison of the Doors fame) and one of the commanders of the US naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin at the opening of the Vietnam War when North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked US Navy warships.

Another good read coming up over the next few nights. I do enjoy this magazine, even without the game it is good value for money and any of the games that are interesting can be purchased later anyway. In fact, after a quick read of the Cold War piece I am starting to consider that as a board game to add to the collection.

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames – Issue 365

2013-08-23 09.34.20The September issue arrived on my iPad the other day, in fact, about the same time as the last issue of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy.

I must admit to some favouritism so was reading Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy (WS&S) first.

The first thing that was noticeable about this month’s Miniature Wargames with Battlegames (MWwB) is the impressive collection of Baccus Miniatures on the front cover. This was a shot taken from the Joy of Six Show in Sheffield in July and is a game portraying the Battle of Klissow in 1702. Impressive!

This issue of MWwB also includes the Colours 2013 Show Guide – which if nothing else, reminds me that Colours was one of my three favourite wargame shows when I was living in the UK (the other two being the Triples at Sheffield and Salute – just because of its sheer size).

Apart from the Show Guide, the issue this month follows the same format as previous issues with the usual columns and sections – Neil Shuck handling Forward Observer for wargaming generally following on after Henry’s editorial. Perhaps my favourite regular piece is Diane Sutherland’s terrain and this month she is burning things – or more correctly, producing some fire and smoke. John Treadaway’s Fantasy Facts provides steps into the cinematic, with items on such worthy topics as Dan Dare and Space Vixens from Mars amongst others. Conrad Kinch’s column is in there too – talking about something or other – birthdays, battles and what have you.

There are pieces on the Battle of Aspern-Essling; a Command Challenge set in Poland in WW2; Arthur Harman discussing that hoary old chestnut of how to bring youngsters into the hobby; the already mentioned Colours Show Guide and a veritable shed-load of juicy advertisements; amphibious operations circa 425 BCE; and Part 2 of Salamanca.

Mike Siggins is waxing something lyrical again and there is the usual Recce section towards the end.

Whilst I like the direction the MWwB is taken, I will admit that this lunch hour I shall finish off WS&S first!

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy – Issue 68

2013-08-23 10.57.53Last night I downloaded the latest issue of what is at the moment my favourite Wargames Magazine. It was 12:30 am but I had to spend some time having a good look through it.

As with issue 67 before, I found myself falling into the usual reading pattern for this magazine – start with a quick look at Richard Clarke’s column “Up Front”, followed by Rick Priestley’s “This Gaming Life” and then back to the editorial. The other articles will provide some much needed quality reading over the next few days.

The theme for this issue is the The Battle of the Nations – Leipzig, 1813. There are 5 articles based around that battle and as I keep umming and ahing about moving into Napoleonics, this should cause me more consternation – doubly so as Anthony has been receiving some Napoleonic reinforcements.

Other articles include an interview with Phil Smith of Osprey Publishing; a piece on the 6th SS Panzer Army (think Tigers); Leach and Hogan at Festubert (Word War 1); Scipio vs Caesar (Ancients); Weathering tanks and other vehicles; modelling the 8th Army in plastic; doing really very nice bases; and some game reports (think Western, then VSF).

Also we have Mike Evans writing a column; Sam Mustafa on complexity in gaming; plus the usual figure, game and book reviews.

It was 1:00am and time for sleep but as it is approaching beer o’clock here in Singapore, I’ll be the soul sat at the bar with a pint in one hand and WS&S on the iPad in the other.

Available from Karwansaray Publishers in hard copy and digital and thoroughly recommended.

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames – Issue 364

Cover of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames Issue 364
Cover of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames Issue 364

The August issue arrived on my iPad on the 19th of July – just as I was heading out for quick one on the way home – which turned into a pizza at Bella Pizza followed by further shenanigans at Uncabunca … one arrived  back in the Hole at 2:30am and in no condition to read. As I staggered in though I also checked the letterbox and found Strategy and Tactics – War in the Pacific and Slingshot 287 Mar/Apr 2013 in there as well so my reading pile had increased considerably on that one night.

Saturday was, of course, the Rapid Fire – Game 1 – First Battle in the Gun Bar and BBQ day so no chance of reading then and Monday and Tuesday I have been pouring over Slingshot and S&T, planning the rest of my week’s reading and wondering where I put the 10mm War in the Pacific figures.

I noted before that I was hoping that Miniature Wargames with Battlegames (MWwB) would improve and I think it is starting to come together now. I will admit straight up that my favourite wargame magazine at the moment is still Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy but MWwB is starting to get there – and like WSS this is a digital edition.

This month’s issue has the usual columns and sections – Neil Shuck handling Forward Observer for wargaming generally following on after Henry’s editorial. Perhaps my favourite regular piece is Diane Sutherland’s terrain and other item constructions and this month she is building canoes. John  Treadaway is now a regular looking after fantasy and science fiction and is always an interesting read. John is also talking to Kevin Dallimore (that legendary painter of figures) later in the issue and I am certain that will be my evening’s reading tonight over a pork chop.

Conrad Kinch’s column may be an improvement on last month’s (I won’t know for a while as that is about the last thing I read there) and Richard Clarke of TooFatLardies fame who is an interesting read and is presenting a Command Challenge (although the cartoon like call-outs in that article are a bit 14-year-old schoolboyish).

Mike Siggin’s is waxing something again and there is the usual Recce section towards the end.

The feature articles of interest this month include:

  • Condottiere
  • A visual guide to British troops in the tropics
  • Some Very British Civil War – this time in the Mersey tunnels
  • An ACW battle (Wilson’s Creek) – with the Black Powder rules adapted for it
  • and Henry has a piece on his Peninsular War project – Salamanca

Overall, it looks like the magazine is improving – let’s hope it continues to do so.

Strategy and Tactics – War in the Pacific

S_TAlso arriving last Friday in Singapore and adding to my reading list pile was issue #282 of Strategy and Tactics magazine. The issue with this issue for me is the main article concerns the War of the Pacific (Guerra del Pacífico).

War of the Pacific was a war fought between Chile on the one side and Bolivia and Peru on the other over a piece of desert rich with one of the key ingredients to gunpowder. Bolivia lost its access to the sea as a result of this war.

I have some ships in 1/2400th on my painting queue for this war as well as some 10mm figures from Pendraken Miniatures. I also discussed a brief history of this conflict in The War of the Pacific – 1879 to 1883 – Naval Matters and War of the Pacific – 1879 to 1883.

Why is this an issue? It is tempting to put everything aside tonight and start painting these little beasties – sigh, another bright shiny object.

Other Articles in the latest issue of Strategy and Tactics includes:

Churchill (Winston) vs. the Zeppelins – the story of the WW1 German zeppelin blitz against England in 1915

Charlemagne’s Empire – a military analysis of the founding of the Holy Roman Empire in AD 800

The Indo-Pakistan Wars – a detailed analysis of the wars India has fought and won against Pakistan since 1948 (which kind of fits in with the naval vessels I’ve been painting recently)

Another good issue and recommended.

Wargames Illustrated – Review Subscription or Not?

imageIt used to be Miniature Wargames that I looked at from time to time and thought, “once again, it promises so much but it never actually delivers”. At those times I was receiving Wargames Illustrated (WI) on subscription in Australia. Then I moved to Singapore and took a subscription here for WI – starved as I was at the time for Wargaming content to life. To be honest, for a house magazine, it was good. It almost persuaded me to try Flames of War, or at least the eye candy almost persuaded me.

Lately though there has been a sameness about each issue and whilst I appreciate the attempt to ensure that about half the magazine only is devoted to Flames of War the magazine is, just, well, boring really.

However, in what is one of those twists of annoying fate, the issue immediately after the one my subscription finished on is an issue about the Russian and Japanese. This is because they are covering the addition of the Japanese to Flames of War, but one of the battles they are covering is Nomonhan (more correctly Khalkin-gol as that is the name in the local language). After my time in Mongolia, this is a battle I have an interest in. There is also a piece on the Russian Civil War, also something of interest, in part as it spilled into Mongolia.

But subscribe for another year? Fork out US $96 ((how do they justify AU $144 for Aussie and New Zealand subscriptions?)) for another 12 months of hard copy magazines? Yes, I can get some nice figures from them if I subscribe but it is a hard copy magazine at a time when I like digital magazines – they arrive in my inbox straight away and are light and easy to carry and store – and they are considerably cheaper.

Sigh – maybe a quick look at Anthony’s before I make up my mind. Last thing I need is some figures in a period I am not involved in yet to send me off an yet another tangent!

Wargames Illustrated! Go digital please!

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy – Issue 67

2013-07-01 13.52.20

OK – I got a good look at lunch today and some reading in on Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, issue 67, from Karwansaray Publishers.

As I mentioned Wargames Soldiers and Strategy this magazine is probably my favourite at the moment, leastwise until Miniature Wargames with Battlegames settles in to its new format.

I like the mix of articles which, whilst there may be a theme running through the magazine, also includes enough general wargames content to excite and inspire.

With issue 67 I found myself falling into the usual reading pattern for this magazine – start with Richard Clarke’s column “Up Front”, followed by Rick Priestley’s “This Gaming Life” and then back to the editorial. The articles will provide the lunch reading for the rest of the week.

The theme for this issue is the Land of the Rising Sun – think samurai – wargaming with them, painting them, reviewing the miniatures, sort of a Samurai starter.

Other articles are based on Braddock Down (English Civil War), some Victorian Science Fiction and fantasy, painting 10mm figures, Mayan gaming based around the movie Apocalypto, Chain of Command – TooFatLardies WW2 rules as well as regular reviews of books, figures, rules and boardgames. 

Lunch was over too soon today!