Sunday, 27 June 2010


Myself, Shaun, Rich and Khally (Rich's daughter) braved the evils of Ilford this morning to attend Loughton Strike Force's annual wargames show, Rampage.

It is a "local show for local people" and has a reputation for dying in the early afternoon. A couple of years of minimal promotion hasn't helped but the current committee have been a much better job.
Held in a school the main show is held in the gym and the CCTV sign tickled my fancy though I can only imagine what anyone viewing the footage may think. Maybe time-capsule the tapes and see what they make of them in 2110.

We went toting Rich's Flying Lead - Afghanistan demo game, club flyers, Shaun's Bring and Buy offerings plus the stated intention to be home by half two!

Probably not as helpful an attitude as could be, but lined up against the football, F1 and the cricket you could be forgiven for having such a ruthless MO. We weren't the only ones!

Conidering the above, we were genuinely impressed with a good early morning turnout of punters for traders from as far afield as the midlands setting out stalls.

In honesty the show itself is secondary to the tournament gaming that runs both Sat and Sun with easily 80+ gamers taking part today. I spied Flames of War and a large contingent of Fields of Glory gamers battling it out in blissfull ignorance of events elsewhere.

To thier credit the Rampage boys had set up a projector for the England game. They did run out of bacon at midday though!!

Rich got a good footfall past the table and plenty of genuine intrest, plus a good few club flyers grew legs. The table was definately one of the better efforts put forward and the level of Rich's effort was obvious for all to see.

Returning from a wander I was enthusiatically, rather than effectively, leading the Taliban against a retreating British patrol who had Ross Kemp himself in tow. What a target!!

However, my dice were actually WORSE than previously and the Joy of War cards decided not to save me. As such, I lost.... to a girl, though I was at a wargames show talking...... to a girl.
Despite, as mentioned, the show being towards the smaller end of the spectrum , the cross section of games, traders and TOYS on offer cover a large proportion of "the hobby".

This was my first show for a while and what really struck me was the range of quality hard plastics offered by Perry, Warlord, Victrix and Mantic to name but a few. It would seem to be an area that after years of "light resistance" has come on leaps and bounds at prices that put GW to shame!

Despite finding these, very tempting offerings from Second City, my wallet stayed firmly in my back pocket (BOO!) as the Star Wars RPG has completed its first chapter and been mothballed for a while. I have found and tagged thier webite though (YAY!).

They also do a range of excellent internal sci-fi scenery including console panels, stasis pods and a set of great cantina scenery. Pay-pal stands at the ready :)

6mm Napoleonics with the battle of Quatre Bras. Too small a scale for me to paint or play with but impressive when well done, which it was.

Wings of War vs King Kong was the table next to us and I don't think a single punter played a game all day, or at least before half past one, which was a bit of shame.

We all had a good day/morning out and with a FEW purchases and MANY ideas I look forward to the next one :)

Might even take the missus.... ??

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Three Day Pass

He wants YOU..... for his deep space lunch!

Its actually Thursday morning as I type and i'm gearing up for a full day in one of two chairs. The painting chair and the X-Box chair! England take on Australia (Cricket) in the one day format from 14:00 which will provide some background viewing :)

As you may have guessed i've finished the Brood-Lord and feel able to claim another 3 painting points and i'm very pleased with the result. Huzzah!
Yesterday afternoon I reintroduced myself to batch painting, working 7 'stealers through basecoat and wash.

ALWAYS something of a chore at the halfway point but is ALWAYS worth the result. Good prep and all that.

I'm also chalking up a bit of list of paints to replace. Hobby materials are just about my only GW expenditure these days. The updated release of Warhammer isn't even that tempting. Bit of a shame really but it would seem that i've just moved on.

Anyway, time to wear a groove!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Make Love, not War

So, continuing a theme, Dempsey and Makepeace or am I on my own again?

Chalk and cheese 80s cop show based in London with Mr Dempsey a hard bitten Noo Yoiker and Ms Makepeace from an affluent middle class family. One episode involved "Make Love not War" t-shirts soaked in a Cocaine solution to aid smuggling.
Anyway, these two reminded me of them. As Heresy's offering a la Fifth Element I hadn't planned on her being quite so punkish, but its where the process took me. Somewhat organic, it was a pleasurable paint none the less.

Ostensibly they were painted for the Star War RPG campaign the first chapter of which was concluded Tuesday night just gone. As I said to the lads its been a real pleasure to run rediscovering my love of RPG and giving me an excellent creative outlet.

I already have a number of ideas to open Chapter 2 with and a decent list of hobby projects to boot. Plenty of time though. I do just need to tap events up and sort the last few bits out though.
As mentioned previouly we've returned to Jon's D&D and i'm really looking forward to it. As much as i've enjoyed running a campaign it'll be just as good to take part. As GM your rarely get to put so much in to any one character. So many tend to end up as the player's XP!

As such, i've got this little chap sorted out (that's a penny he's based on) procured from Hasslefree with a few minor editions from the bits box. I give you Tobias Flynn, slightly psycotic Halfing Rogue with the brogue :)
Specialising in acrobatics, stealth, bluster and the harp he should be a lot of fun. Maybe not so much for Jon. Ho ho, he he, har har!!

Thats 6 more points in the bag and i've got 3 days leave this week. The plan is to paint as many 'stealers as possible and get in some decent X-Box time a la Wolfenstein.

Should be good :)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Return to Literary Corner

Why do all of my recent post start with text next to an offset photo?

To be honest its an aesthetics thing combined with minor OCD. In other words its a gamer thing.

Everyone likes nice figures on a nice table but why do we all stack dice? I know its not just me!

Once upon a while I go I went on holiday and took some books with me. You may remember the post. Maybe that one is just me :)

Anyway, I've finally finished War of the World. Between 2000AD and Rugby World the train home is my main opportunity to read. As such progress was a little slow at times.

This was, however, entirely down to me. I rarely read Penguin classics and I must say that I found Mr Wells' prose much easier on the gray matter than I expected.

The language used is relatively floral in-line with the time of its setting, the late 19th Century, but remains clear, concise and very readable at all times. Quite gripping in a suitably understated way the story is well told an eminently believable.
A hearty recommendation to the reader at large. Pipe and slippers optional :)

Going for something completely different, though in the "classic" vein, I'm currently reading Starship Troopers. I was interested as the "seminal" inspiration for so much of the Sci-Fi hobby and its write up as "a political essay as well as a novel".
As of page 82 of 222 I couldn't recommend it more highly.

Meanwhile, I've painted my Space Hulk Librarian. Well pleased, there's not a weak model in the set. Another 3 painting points in the bag.

Meanwhile 22 'stealers have been production line purpled. I was always going to paint these guys first as the "chore" before the Termies. I can see myself being very wrong about that one.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

It's only a game.....

.... so put up a real good fight! I'm gonna be snookering you tonight. Dah da da, dah da dah!!

No-one else remember that one? Snooker game-show with Jim Davidson and John Virgo? No?

Thursday night saw the shed being properly christened as N21's premier wargames facility. Rich and Shaun popped round for an evening of Flying Lead.

Its been far too long since the three of us got together but the easy banter soon returned over a fish and chip supper.

Thankfully, so did my recollection of the rules.

Rich is the hallowed author of Flying Lead, available through Ganesha Games, using the Songs of Blades and Heroes core mechanics.

As we were drinking MY tea around MY gaming table I was fully expectant of receiving a good kicking across the table. Its the RULES don't you know :)

Rich has worked himself up a lovely set of figures and scenarios for Afghanistan 2010 and production values were as high as always.

As I'm sure Rich's attire suggests we're quite an irreverent set of gamers looking for a good game. We like to play the period rather than the rules, "feel" being all important.

I've always found it interesting how different gamers and groups feel differently about playing certain periods and forces for reasons of ethics and taste.

We were all once engaged in a very large WWII Normandy tank hunt during a weekend's gaming at a village hall. The caretaker popped by and, genuinely interested, told us about his time as a Sherman gunner fighting his way through the bocage.

We all felt like naughty schoolboys caught doing something bad. He went home to bring back sheaf's of photos loving the fact that we were interested.

Discussing a possible Pegasus Bridge game, the idea of using real squad lists was excitedly suggested. When we caught up with ourselves we rejected the idea as too close to the knuckle. How would you feel firing "your" MG-42 at a "real" soldier.

Yet playing an SS unit is absolutely fine to many, popular if anything. To me it seems to be a matter of abstraction. I've wandered past an Israeli vs Palestinian West Bank game at a show thinking "that looks great, but surely that's a bit keen?". I find the conflict of particular interest but don't know if I could actually game it. Each to their own!

So, on to the game.
1s are particularly important within Flying Lead. Every figure has a quality rating between 2 and 5, lower is better. When activated you can choose to attempt 1, 2 or 3 actions. Each roll equal or under gets you an action. Any roll of snake-eyes ends your turn.

So, playing percentages means doing the easier, less important stuff first but how much fun would that be?
So, our scenario saw a British "brick" patrol holed up with two casualties, one walker and one on a stretcher, whilst the local Afghans close in.

Shaun took the Afghans whilst I had the Brits and Rich supervised.

I had a Viking patrol rolling onto one table edge with Shaun taking the other three. It would be three turns until the guy on the stretcher became critical and dice would be rolled for him.
Remembering my way back into the rules during the first turns I relied on my elite status and "2" rated leaders, going for three activations from the off.

Three turns in and three sets of snake-eyes saw the Afghans closing fast whilst the Viking had stalled.
With the enemy at the gates I actually decided to starting thinking about what I was doing. Thankfully Lady Luck intervened.

Another feature of the game are a deck of Fog Of War cards. Roll off at the beginning of each turn and if you double your opponent, receive a card. Shaun had had three in three turns and the curse of the host was being fulfilled!

At this point the lad on the stretcher had been put out of his misery by a grenade blast and the brick leader, dubbed "Wales", had been dropped by AK fire. The Afghans were a revolting unwashed mass!When I FINALLY got hold of a FoW card it gave me two more draws resulting in a Hellfire strike from a UAV and an off table sniper strike.

Immediately used, four Afghan fighters were caught in the open by the Hellfire ,and sent scurrying, whilst the sniper force the Afghan commander co-ordinating the attack to seek some immediate cover.

This was the turning point with my dice finally balancing out their initial poor performance. Shaun's had been exemplary and became merely "average". As always, the cav arrived in the nick of time, aggressively clearing out the cowering Afghans with grenades and burst fire.

Three plucky Brits were medi-vaced out in the back of the Viking whilst the Afghans melted back into the local population. We ran through the victory points to discover that I'd somehow grasped an unlikely victory. Thanks be to off table support!!

An excellent game all round. The mechanisms all work slickly and the core rules can be applied across a number of periods.

I rather fancy doing so for AWI and cracking my Royal Welch Fusiliers out of their carry case.

Good stuff :)

Friday, 11 June 2010

Hamming it up

Afternoon people.

I went and saw Spam-a-lot last Saturday at New Wimbledon Theatre and it was excellent!! No womble jokes but the quality of the ham would have put Marks and Sparks to shame.

All the best gags were rolled out with an extra few thrown in to keep the faithful guessing. The whole "hue tracks of land" bit had Lancelot outed from the closet with the lady of the lake turning up on a regular basis.

Marcus Brigstock played Arthur, which I didn't think was very "him", pretty well and was something of the straight man of the piece.

Rude Frenchmen (really??), The Knights who say you know what, Tim the Sorceror, Brave Sir Robin, a fluffy bunny and a shrubbery. All accompanied by a bottle of Holy Gr-Ail, I kid thee not.

Winner :)

All good fun, which has always been my prime motivation for gaming, other than my crippling dork-side ....obviously.

So I decided to take a little bit more of that attitude down to the club on Tuesday for the next round of Uncharted Seas.

'Twas a fairly quiet evening. We've decided to have our latest six month meeting and there are some dificult decisions to be made, so levity seemed approprite.

Eventually, it was sorted out that I was to take on Malk and his Dragon Lords, including his dragon. I've been AWARE of the flying rules existence for a while now. I've downloaded, printed and even LOOKED at them. I hadn't actually played with them, which is when I actually pay atttention, so it was going to be interesting.

I'd heard about thier effectiveness and was relatively wary. I was even less impressed when the game started, once again, with the wind in the faces of my sailed cruiser. I did actually pay attention this time and kept my fleet together, moving at thier slower pace.

I hadn't played against Dragon Lords either and Malk was soon demonstrating their effectiveness at range. Tacking to and fro he maintained his range from me sending in broadsides with relative impunity. It was most instructional!!

Despite some useful manouvring of my own to return fire, aped i'm sure, it soon becam clear that I needed to close the range. Initially wary of the dragon and targeting it early, I soon realised that I couldn't be held up by it and pushed on.

And then in the space of two turns the destruction was unleashed. I reckon it was because Malk was leant me the use of his dice. Quite simply, they betrayed him!!

Somehow, my two battleships had taken and prized his batleship and twin heavy cruisers and heavily injured the dragon to the point of ineffectiveness. The game turned viciously and I somehow scored the most decisive victory that the campaign has seen to date. I still don't know quite how.

A game against an excellent opponent that taught me plenty and somehow landed in my lap. Can't ask for anymore really. I duely apologised and tried not to gurn too much.

Last night's game however was almost a very different story. Almost :)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Back in the Saddle

YEE-HAWW!! Get up there little doh-gees, I've a been a paintin'

With LIFE and the house back in groove I've managed to get in some decent brush-time. I and the missus had a proper day off yesterday, went nowhere, and both indulged our respective hobbies.

I've also introduced her to the first boxed set of Rome, which received whichever was the actual positive thumb positioning, and we got through the first three episodes.

I've finished off Captain Throne here and feel entirely justified in claiming 3 full painting points.

He's a gorgeous figure in his own right, with a high level of detail, that I've thoroughly enjoyed painting, not least for moving on my painting technique a shade or two. ZING!!

I'm really pleased with the final finish, especially the yellow. I'd read an article about using Iyanden Darksun (GW Foundation Paint) and working up by adding Bleached Bone. Looking a bit dusty and overworked at times a couple of intermediate yellow washes really did the trick. A final "glaze" of Gryphonne Sepia, never previously used, had me happy as a sand-boy :)

Next up was El Brood-Lord and the grand importance of setting the colour scheme. A critical decision for any painting project I felt the need to take my time, furrowing my brow appropriately.

With a total of 23 of the ceramite shredding gribblys to complete I felt the need to balance complexity against repeatability quite carefully. I want to make a good job but would hate to leave them looking overly "vanilla".

I quite quickly decide to go "classic", as is Space Hulk, producing a true lurker of the depths. Something slightly vampiric felt a good option.

So, Warlock Purple drybrushed with Hormugaunt Purple and Shadow Grey, keeping in mind the purple wash to come. Accents are provided by dark red spine, jaws and chest (Gore d-brushed Blood) with pink forehead, joints, hands and feet. Painting up the skulls first, to show the colour balance, i'm going with a dark bone claws.
The first shot is basecoat, the second washed. Just a bit of Devlin Mud for the base. I'll be waiting for an order of a few paints before going to much further. GW no longer do a pink!!

The foundation paints, however, are excellent. I find myself using them more and more. I've started the librarian and having basecoated Dark Flesh I've d-brushed up to Snakebite as a base for all of the bone, gold and purity seals. With the other Terminators this will give me a strong base for the reds. The strength of the Mordian Blue allows it to go straight over the top, no worries.

The red and orange FP's have been added to the order. My paypal account has done the honours, courtesy of the recently sold Everblight.

Recycle, recycle, recycle.......

PS: Hmmm, B-Lord photos seem a bit dark, might try again.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

First Contact

In terms of planning I mean and the hoary old chestnut that no plan survives contact with the enemy. But REALLY!!

I just wanted to have a barbie, have a bit of a chuckle, be "proud father" to my gaming shed and do some roleplay.

After a reasonable weekend and a nice Monday, Tuesday just had to rain. Mr Chrisitian got stuck at work and Jon got lost on the way over and seems to have changed his mobile number!!

Still, a bone-headed obstinance (mine) still managed to produce a VERY smokey barbie and a selection of charcoal grilled meat products. Thank you Mr Dawe.

After giving up Jon for lost we played a couple of hands of Munchkin and shot the sh!t. I basked in the glory of the shed. So, on reflection, three out of four is pretty good.

We'll just have another go in a couple of weeks time and Jon has kindly volunteered to provide Hob-Nobs. Well done that man :)

I did a long day at work and then the ironing yesterday so tonight i'm going to make a start on my Brood-Lord. It's the little things......