YouTube – In the Mail 01

I sent a small order off to Heroics and Ros just after Christmas for more artillerymen and some more armour for the Poles (and therefore also for the Danes). T-72s and Leopards arrived in the mail recently – this is what was in the packet and will be used for Cold War Commander.

Video is here:

I also ordered and received some Ancient Britons. These will form part of a new project that is setting up in my brain currently – but more on that later.

Comments are welcome and have a safe Easter!

Advertisements

The Naval War in the Baltic – 1939-1945 – Review

I read Freeing the Baltic 1918-1920 about six months ago and as a result I was looking forward to The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945. Wow! I wasn’t disappointed.  This book arrived a couple of months ago and I finally had a week where I read rather than painted figures or headed to the pub and this was on the top of the reading pile.

The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945 was originally published on 17 May 2017 however it appears to have been sold out and is now due to re-release on 28 February 2018. The author is Poul Grooss. The book is 400 pages long with ISBN 9781526700001.

Poul Grooss is a retired Danish Naval Captain whose career was 40 years long. He served as an intelligence officer and Soviet analyst. He also speaks Russian. He currently is a teacher at the Royal Danish Naval Academy.

I reckoned I knew a bit about World War II and I also knew there was a lot I didn’t know. Reading Grooss’s book has reminded me of how little I do actually know. Grooss starts setting the scene in the book by describing the geography and the history of the Baltic region, then goes on to discuss the political manoeuvring and naval developments between the wars. His coverage of the 1939 to 1945 period starts with the attack on Poland then looks at the Baltic region through to 1941. Later chapters cover the attack on the Soviet Union to Spring 1942; the war between Spring 1942 and 1944; Spring 1944 to New Year 1944/1945; then from that New Year, month by month to the end of the war. He then looks at the aftermath of the war and a retrospective.

The book is easy to read and Grooss has taken advantage of his Russian language skills to collect data from sources not usually referred to western histories. Grooss was writing for the general reader but has managed to write a book that will appeal to both general readers and the more professional historian.

He covers and uncovers the degree of Swedish cooperation with the Germans. He covers the interactions between the Soviets and the Swedes and while this is a naval history of the Baltic, the land battles are included for context, especially Kronstadt and Leningrad. Hitler’s desire to hang on to Narva is also covered.

The Baltic was a training ground for German U-boat crews but what really amazed me was the quantity of mines that were laid there and the amount of shipping that suffered. I should also mention that the Swedes were not as pro-German as we perhaps think, permitting the British to build a listening station on Swedish soil, for example. Both the Germans and the British seemed to have a laissez faire attitude to Swedish neutrality.

This book is not all about Sweden though. Grooss also covers the minor states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) as well as Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland and of course the main protagonists. The book is supported by many fine photographs, most of which have not been seen in print before as well as well drawn maps. There are a number of appendices and indexes with an index of people and another of ships. There is an appendix containing a chronology of the conflict, a glossary of abbreviations, ranks, terminology and explanations. Another appendix is a cross-reference of place names in various languages as well as an extensive list of sources and bibliography. This book is one I will return to many times in the future I think. For the naval historian, the wargamer and the general reader, it is well worth waiting for this re-release and grabbing a copy.

New Year, New Projects … or …?

It is now the middle of January 2018 and already over 4% of the year has passed by. Normally at the start of the year I sit down and consider wargaming projects and other items I want to get through in the coming year at the same time reflecting on the previous years efforts. So, what did I achieve in 2017. Pretty much nothing. I did read a few books,  I did clean up and prepare some figures for painting at some time in the future, I had a couple of wargames (DBA in 6mm) with a mate and I finally got off my expansive behind and went to the Makati Marauders and played some boardgames. I also added a little to the lead-pile – mostly in the area of aeronefs and 1/1200 scale coastal ships although there was one 6mm Cold War Commander army added as well. I bought a lot of rare earth magnets too.

Not very much really.

What do I have planned for tonight? Same as every night Pinky, World Domination! Oops, sorry, channeling Pinky and the Brain

Plans for 2018? Paint. Game. Read!

Painting

I have a substantial lead pile here and this includes 2017 purchases as well as stock I brought up from mum’s on my last trip back to Oz. The painting queue starts with completing the painting and basing for the 6mm CWC Danish followed by the 6mm BKCII Italians.

Next under brush is likely to be the 1/1200 scale coastal forces – British and Germans first, then the Italians.

Completing the painting of the BKCII Japanese is the last of the already prepared items to be painted in immediate painting queue.

Preparation and Painting

Now we start to get into the lead-pile in earnest. So many choices here:

  • Imperial Skies Aeronefs
  • 2mm ground forces for Aeronefs
  • 1/3000 scale warships for WW1 (Jutland)
  • 1/3000 scale warships for WW2 (Matapan, Philippine Sea, Bismark, Spanish, Dutch)
  • 1/3000 scale modern naval fleet (Russian)
  • 6mm Punic Wars DBA project
  • Spacecraft
  • 1/2400 ancient naval vessels
  • 1/2400 Napoleonic naval
  • 6mm BKCII Hungarians
  • BKCII Late War Soviets

The list goes on!

Construction

There are a number of kits at home as well – both modern tanks in 1/72 scale and 1/700 scale World War 2 battleships. I would like to get back into modelling again and refresh/rediscover my previous modelling skills.

Reading

I have a fallen behind on my reading rate lately. I want to get back to averaging a book every two weeks. Fiction for relaxation, non-fiction for learning and challenging my thinking.

Gaming

As I have been particularly inert in getting to the local gaming clubs, I need to get off my rapidly becoming more extensive bottom and get to the local club at least once every two weeks.

So, that is the plan for 2018. Somewhat less structured than previous years but a guide to the next few months never-the-less.

Watch this space for updates.

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!

The Great Wargaming Survey 2016

I am a bit late getting to this this year however it is time for the Great Wargaming Survey 2016. The survey only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to complete and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JXXW7TD. As Guy Bowers & Jasper Oorthuys of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine note:

Apart from rolling dice, there seem to be few things wargamers like to do better than discuss the state of their hobby. The purpose of this survey is to answer some of the questions that regularly come up in such debates. Unlike previous editions, results will be published online only for everyone to read.

As before, and thanks to our gracious sponsors, we have quite a few prizes to be won. Leave your email address at the end of the survey to be entered into the raffle. Entering the contest does not automatically mean we’ll subscribe you to any communication. That is a separate question which does not influence the raffle in any way.

As a thank-you for taking part, everyone who completes the survey will get a €5 gift code for the Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy / Karwansaray Publishers webshop. Though it does not apply to shipping costs, this code can be used for any (combination of) item(s) in the shop.

Finally, filling out the entire survey shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes, and we’re taking responses until August 19th, 2016.

Go on, fill it out. You know you want to!

 

Issues 1 to 6 of The Courier – For Sale

In cleaning up around the place I decided that I could part with issues 1 to 6 of the Courier. Having read these about 50 times each I thought it was time to pass them on to someone else. These date back over 35 years so are older than many wargamers these days. Read some early words from some of the grandfathers of wargaming.

These items are up on eBay – see http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/-/152077029572?

Peshawar – Some Test Basing

2mm figures based and flocked
2mm figures based and flocked – a little out of focus

I have been a little remiss in the area of time management lately and have managed for a couple of months to do no preparation or painting, not just of the Peshawar project but pretty much of anything. Some of it I can put down to a combination of beer and rugby, but mostly it has been too much work combined with inertia.

I decided tonight to finish the painting and basing of two test pieces. They are the ones illustrated.

I am trying to decide whether to use a sand/dry brush/a little flock for the base or just flock only on a dark brown base. I am leaning towards the base on the right.

The images are a little out of focus – I guess macro on my phone is not as good as it could be. The squares you see a 10mm by 10mm giving you and idea of the size of the figures.

I am sure I will look at these figures again 30 or 40 times before I settle on one form or another.

Figure sale – a mate’s dilema

Friend Douglas is off on a long term jaunt to Scotland. He’s accepted a job there and will be travelling shortly to the land of Auchentoshan, gentlemen in skirts, and haggis and neeps.

His dilemma – sell off part of his lead pile (both painted and unpainted) or store it. Storing it takes it out of action for so long that when he gets back the items will no longer be bright and shiny. Selling them means that when he gets back he will need to look for other new bright and shiny things.

Hmm, actually it is not so much a dilemma now as more a quandary – with the quandary being how fast can he sell the lead off.

Take a stroll to his blog where he has listed what he is looking at to get rid of (I can almost see the tears in his eyes).

His blog is Lead Odyssey – and the items for sale are listed on this page.

A Moment’s Indecision

I’ve been caught with a moment’s indecision. I am siting back in Oz at the moment, typing this from my local office (read, the area under mum’s house what has all my crap stored), and having a wargamer’s moment of doubt.

  • What project do I do next?
  • Do I start a new project or finish one if the existing ones?
  • Do I touch up some almost completed figures that I am not using for the moment?
Part of Thomo's Macksville Hole
Part of Thomo’s Macksville Hole

All these questions and more are causing me to lose sleep … well, not so much lose sleep but rather engage my waking, thinking hours when I am not wrestling with project plans, migration strategies, status reports and reconciliation of data that is unrelated in format or content.

There is a strong desire to complete more of the Peshawar project, at least the conventional land forces and all the terrain items I have to do.

There are two Aeronef fleets here in Oz and two waiting paint in Manila. I can work on them, finish those up here (add a metal washer to the flight stand for stability and paint the stands blue) or work out a better method of mounting the ‘nefs (rare earth magnets maybe) as well as mount and paint from scratch those in Manila.

Part of the Macksville lead pile
Part of the Macksville lead pile

I have the 10mm South American Armies (Chile and Bolivia) to mount and base and find some rules to use.  was thinking of 1870 but I am open to suggestions.

 

There are still 6 x 6mm ancient armies for DBA in Manila ready to base and paint to finish the Singapore Ancient Project.

I was also looking at the World War 2 fleets for the USN, IJN and RN – all Pacific action and probably around 300 vessels to research the camouflage on and paint. Then there are a number of other fleets – Italians and RN from the Mediterranean (think Matapan) and German vessels from the Atlantic. All are in 1/3000 scale and are Navwar.

Then in Manila there are also the fleets from Jutland and probably soon some 3mm Napoleonics. Oh and there are a number of board games I want to get around to playing as well!

The rest of the lead pile ... yes, neat is not in my vocabulary here
The rest of the lead pile … yes, neat is not in my vocabulary here

Did I also mention the modern 1/700 scale aircraft I have to complete the three modern fleets?

 

Or I could just do what every wargamer does when they can’t make up their mind and open a beer and hunt online for a new period or figures, because you can never have too many!

Something shiny and bright that comes to mind in 6mm Seven Years War or Great Northern War for use with either Polemos or Horse, Foot and Guns (I blame you for that Doug!).

Lastly there are a few elements left to round out my Danish Moderns or, and here is something novel, I could finish either my World War 2 Desert Italians or my 6mm Napoleonic Prussians.

One day I will be able to devote sufficient time to see a project through to the end … one day … but not today!

BrisCon – Brisbane Wargame Convention

For a number of years there have been no real Brisbane based gaming conventions. This has changed finally with a resurrection of BrisCon.

What: BrisCon held by Brisbane Gaming Society
When: April 30, May 1 2016
Where: Brisbane Table Tennis Association hall http://www.brisbanetabletennis.org.au/
Details: www.briscon2016.com

The newly minted Brisbane Gaming Society is rebooting BrisCon on the May Day weekend THIS YEAR.

Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1 are the days. More details can be found at the BrisCon website above but the fantastic Brisbane Table Tennis Center at Downey Park in Windsor has been secured for the convention. The organisers hope to grow it to a full three day convention over the next couple of years.

The organisers have noted that it is essentially being funded by the small executive committee of the Brisbane Gaming Society so could do with all the help they can get make this happen.

Also required are:

  • volunteers
  • Games Managers

Current competitions being organised are”

  • Queensland Team Yankee Championships along with a mid-war FOW comp
  • Drop Zone Commander competition

The organisers are looking for Games Managers for games such as:

  • ancients
  • X-Wing
  • 40k and/or WarMachine
  • Kings of War
  • Infinity
  • Bolt Action.

It would be great for specific clubs to get behind these games, and specific retailers or distributors to sponsor each one. If you want to be a Games Manager for one of these systems, or any other, please let the organisers know (briscongamesmanager@gmail.com). They are also looking for display and participation games. If you are a retailer then also drop them a line at brisbanegamingsociety@gmail.com as they would love to have retailers involved.

The center has a good cafeteria, and more than enough room for their first attempt where they are aiming to fill 50 tables of gamers, plus some demo/participation games, a second hand stall and retailer booths.

Check out their website and if you are planning on being near Brisbane at the end of April, pack your dice and some figures.