Curse You Bob Flywheel

Damn, there I was the other day quite comfortable with the state of my 1/300 [1/285] Aerial Wargaming. I had rules and aircraft for the Winter War – the Finns were complete and the Soviets would not take long. I had decided that Bag the Hun from the Lardies could be added to the rules library and I had even made a cursory look through the free scenario book, resisting manfully adding any more lead to my collection this year*.

Then you had to mention Korea and visions of MiG Alley spring to mind, as well as some interesting aircraft. I could see some B-29s (does anyone still make them in 1/300 [1/285] scale anymore) trundling along on a bombing run with some MiG-15s and/or Yak-15s trying to attack them. Enter some UN support – P-51Ds and Meteors of the RAAF, F-80s, F-82s or F-86s of the USAF not forgetting some F-84s.

Add some Yak-9s and La-7s to the mix and not only are there some interesting games possible but a fine collection of aircraft for the display shelf as well.

Of course, as one would have some B-29s available, late World War 2 air raids over Japan or Japanese held islands by the USAAF are a possibility. The P-51Ds (admittedly in RAAF colours) could be repurposed as escorts for the bombers in WW2. Attacking them would be some Japanese Nakajima Ki-44s (Tojo or Shoki) and some Mitsubishi J2Ms (Raiden) to attack them. Throw in a Shinden and there is another set.

Some early WW2 combat collections have been popping up in my head as well, in part the fault of the scenario book from the Lardies, in part from Bob’s off hand remark about the Korean Airwar.

When will this wargames megoalomania end?

This has been an insight into how a wargamer’s mind works! Curse you Bob Flywheel!

* there are some orders for lead under way at the moment but they had all been ordered, online and via Australia Post, prior to the start of 2020.

Inclusiveness in Wargaming – Women

Back in September this year I wrote a post about Inclusiveness in Wargaming and Tastelessness. This week the guys at Little Wars TV along with Jasper from Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy looked at one of the items from the Great Wargaming Survey, made more interesting as now there is five years data available for comparison.

This YouTube video looked at Women in Wargaming and less than perfect attitude of some male gamers. It is a short video and well worth the time to look at … and maybe if more folks see this, we may also see an increase in the umber of women involved in Wargaming.

I hope we have come further than the comment from H. G. Wells on wargames, in that they were “a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books,” and now, wargames are now a game for people who ust like to play with toy soldiers and all that entails. Do watch the clip below.

Inclusiveness in Wargaming and Tastelessness

My favourite wargames magazine is Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy. For those more Facebook savvy it can be found in Facebook at @WSSMagazine. It is a magazine that I will unreservedly recommend to anyone at all interested or involved in the hobby of wargaming. Every couple of months a new issue arrives and becomes my main reading for a few days. Apart from wargame based articles from different periods of history, there are also regular columnists providing opinion pieces or generic discussions on modern wargaming. I should note now too that I am a figure gamer first but somewhat period agnostic, although I have a love of the ancient world1.

Rick Priestly, a very well know wargaming personality, for example, writes from time to time as does Richard Clarke from Two Fat Lardies. This month Richard Clarke took to task Rick Priestly’s comments in a previous issue on equality between armies in battle and therefore in wargaming. After all, if there is only 300 of you against tens of thousands of enemies you would just walk away, right? Well except for that well known case. Clarke’s discussion was written in a gentlemanly manner and is the sort of debate that fosters the expansion and improvement of the hobby.

The 6mm Camillan Roman DBA Army – figures by Baccus, painting by numbers!

However, I was disturbed in this last issue (Issue 104) with both an advertisement and an opinion piece for essentially unrelated but related reasons, if that makes sense.

The advertisement on page 21 is of the gory, painted Wild West Exodus figure of Legendary Vor Khet. The figure is of a large, ugly monster who is devouring pieces of what was clearly, recently a human figure. Perhaps I am a little old fashioned, or perhaps just old, and think that this is a level of excess that is a bridge too far to be acceptable. One thing it did do was resonated with comments in a later opinion piece in the same issue.

The opinion piece was by Chris King, whose column “The Irregular” carried a piece titled “Inclusion”. In this piece he talks about the future growth of the hobby relying on the hobby welcoming “people to the hobby, regardless of their race, their nationality, their gender, their beliefs, their abilities or any other label or lifestyle choices.”

Certainly there have been a number of what could academically be described as “misogynistic incidents” over recent years but could be better described by the less academic term of “bloody stupid behaviour by people who obviously believe the size of the object hanging between their thighs is an indication of intelligence, skill, ability and privilege”. There were a number of tweets floating around late last year if I recall correctly (or perhaps early this year) where at least one female wargamer in the UK was receiving support from a section of the wargames community as a result of issues with others.

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

In Australia in video games rather than more “traditional” wargames, Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen, a presenter for many years on the Good Game, was the target of cyber bullying and doxing (doxxing?) comments, even though her gaming skill (and the fact that she could put together a coherent sentence) rated her way in excess of most of her detractors.

The 2mm division assembles

Wargaming is not a large hobby relative to other pasttimes but it seems to be a bitchy one, and for no good reason. Criticism, and not constructive criticism, is levelled at wargmers based on ridiculous items such as figure scale (6mm and 2mm gamers have heard them all); rule sets (the pro-DBx anti-DBx arguments come to mind along with the DBA 2.2 vs DBA 3.0 debates); historical vs fantasy; technical questions such as “how good was the Bismarck ” in naval circles; and so on.

Forums, arguably so 20th Century in these days of Facebook and Twitter, have become more acrimonious places generally (there are some exceptions). One whose acronym means more to me now as I have worked in IT for 45 years as a “temporary file”, is a prime example and one I gave up on 10 years ago.

It is a hobby, a pastime, to coin the dictionary definition, “an activity that someone does regularly for enjoyment rather than work; a hobby”. My work day is full of stress and pressure so what can be better than sitting down in the evening, loved ones around, a good coffee or single malt in hand, and read or prepare for a future wargame project?

My early World War 2 Soviet Battlegroup

So, I agree with Chris King’s piece in WSS. Wargaming should be inclusive, not exclusive. We should be welcoming those who want to play with little toy soldiers or boardgames with open arms, making them feel welcome and help the hobby to expand. Wargaming is a worldwide pastime now. I am writing this from Manila, Philippines (there is a Manila in Australia too – just to be clear) and there is a healthy wargame club, the Makati Marauders, about a 1km walk from where I am living currently plus a large boardgames group. I know of a healthy number of players in South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India. I know gamers in Brazil and Japan. So a hobby that was originally “Britocentric2“, then became “Eurocentric3” is now truly international with games played on all continents. There must be room for everyone in the hobby, especially for those of us a little old fashioned who like to handle the games pieces rather than just shuffle images around on a screen.

Play nice in the sandpit kids!

1. I just put some random photos of wargame figures through this piece to remind folks what my pastime is
2. OK, I wasn’t sure of a term to describe something that started in England (and Germany too I guess) then spread through many parts of the Commonwealth so being a good English speaker, I just made a word up
3. OK, so I think I just made up another one 🙂

Still Waiting for the Postman

Back on 8 August, in the post, Waiting for the Postman, I noted that I’d ordered some wargaming items mail order, including some board games, figures, flight deck decals and so on. I also noted that the delays in delivery are all at this end of the world.

The Navwar Ships

The ships from Navwar were cleared through customs back at the end of July. They were despatched to the delivery office, Makati Central Post Office, on 2 August 2019. It is now 12 days later and they still, apparently, have not been able to travel the 7kms from the Customs Office to the main post office in one of Metro Manila’s CBDs. Remember, these items arrived in Manila on 19 July. Still, I am patient.

The GMT Board Games Parcel

The GMT Board Games have now cleared customs yesterday, and today were, were despatched the 7kms to Makati.

I am confident that they will arrive just I am not sure exactly when.

When they do arrive, the service at Makati Central Post Office is absolutely brilliant – but I am impatient – want toys now 😉

Waiting for the Postman

I’m waiting for some ancient galleys

I’ve ordered some wargaming items mail order. This includes some board games, figures, flight deck decals and so on. The connections internationally to the Philippines are good, it all slows down however when it arrives in country.

I ordered some ships from Navwar before I left Australia on my last trip back and asked for them to be sent with tracking. Here is the tracking report. They were posted on 10 July 2019 and arrived in the Philippines on 19 July 2019. Not so bad.

It took 12 days to pass a customs examination and then on 2 August, the parcel was placed en route to the delivery office. This is a distance of about 7.5 kilometers or so, a distance I could walk in about 90 minutes. 6 days have passed and it has not arrived there yet.

Board games from the US

I also had tracking on an order of two board games from the US (see left). These were despatched on 1 August, arriving in the Philippines on 8 August. Not bad. They have now gone for customs examination. I am guessing this will take another three or four weeks to pass that inspection then find its way to Makati – or I will get a notice that tells me I need to go to customs to pay a fee.

It would be difficult to set up an industry here that relied on the Post Office being able to deliver and despatch items quickly. In the meantime, mercifully, I still have many more books to review to keep me busy this long weekend coming.

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

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!

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.

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames

2013-06-22 12.44.16My digital copy of this magazine turned up the other day and some travelling recently has let me catch up with the contents of it faster than I normally do (the wargaming magazines tend to be lunchtime reading for me so it can take a few lunches before I get through one – a reason my magazine reading is falling behind schedule).

I noted before on 26 April 2013 the Miniature Wargames with Battlegames looked more like an expanded Battlegames than an expanded Miniature Wargames. Still, it was a pleasing read then. I was interested then to see how Henry Hyde, the editor, managed an issue with presumable more time to prepare than the first issue.

This issue was better than the last (always an positive when you have just resubscribed) with a number of interesting articles. Neil Schuck (known for his podcasts, the Simple Tags and View from the Verandah) provides the column, forward observer, looking at new items and matters of interest – this month concentrating on the UK Games Expo ((held at the Metropole Hotel, one I know well from business trips to London in the 1980s)) as well as some World War II, Steampunk, Medieval and SciFi scenery.

Diane Sutherland shows how to make a French-Indian Wars fort. A very talented woman Diane, especially in regards to scenery and such. There is a good World War 1 piece on Messines. The Irishman Conrad Kinch and Mike Siggins both take me back to the 1970s with their old style of writing and in Kinch’s case, the faux Flash Gordon-esque “bring me the bore worms” – missing was Princess Aura’s “No! Not the bore worms!” Also missing was the evil pause, it should be “bring me  … the bore worms”. Please, it is 2013 and I am a grown adult who likes to play with toy soldiers, not a sixth-former trying to sound like a 1940s fighter pilot ((I should also mention that Flash Gordon is one of my favourite SciFi tales from the 1930s “I’d much rather see you on my side, than scattered into… atoms.” and “take him to the Disintegrating Room”)).

Perhaps my favourite articles this time were provided my John Treadaway. Treadaway is one of the organisers of Salute, the big London Wargames show. He is also responsible for my feelings of complete inadequacy with my figure painting. Lastly, however, he is also known for his role in Slammers Hammers, a SciFi world and game. I had noticed articles about it in the past in previous issues of Miniature Wargames and not paid any attention. Last night, after dinner, over coffee I read Treadaway’s description of Slammers Hammers and was quite impressed. Come September I shall start looking more at this.

There are also articles on Command Challenge; Whispering Death (my father was taken in by that propaganda); Medieval tournament brawling; some Arthur Harman (that is tonight’s reading on the flight back to Singapore); and the Recce section looking at new releases of figures, books and such.

Overall, the magazine still looks and reads like an expanded Battlegames but I think it is improving and starting to deliver what Miniature Wargames had for recent years promised to but never delivered. A good magazine for a general wargamer.

Still recommended.

Details from Atlantic Publishers or the Facebook page.

Miniature Wargames and Battlegames to combine

I take a couple of wargames magazines or related publications on subscription. Wargames Illustrated I take in paper format because that’s the only way to get it. Miniature Wargames and Battlegames I take electronically (along with Wargames Soldier and Strategy, Ancient Warfare and Medieval Warfare).I do prefer electronically, it is much easier dragging around magazines inside my iPad than just inside my computer bag – a lot lighter too.

Well, my subscriptions are just about up for Battlegames and Miniature Wargames but when I renew I will have a new magazine to read – Miniature Wargames with Battlegames,

Apparently, according to Atlantic Publishers, issue 361 of Miniature Wargames will be the first Miniature Wargames with Battlegames. It is due for release in April 2013, the date set to coincide with Salute 2013 in London.

Henry Hyde takes over the reins as the editor of the new magazine. I’m not sure what Andrew Hubbeck (the current editor) is off to do – Atlantic Publishers just noted that he is “taking the opportunity to bid you farewell in his final editorial and [they are] sure you will join [them] in wishing him well as he moves on to new challenges”. I’m not sure if there is a euphemism in there or not.

I’ll look forward to the new magazine, I like Battlegames slightly more than I like Miniature Wargames so it will be interesting to see how the new publication goes.

Oh, and the new magazine will contain more pages. I wonder, are they trying to build to the size of Wargames Illustrated?

The official announcement can be read here.