Monday, 29 November 2010

The Devil in the Detail

Last night I got round to finishing off the English Electric Lightning kit that I've been working on and I'm fairly pleased with the result.
It's also been a bit of an eye-opener confirming the fact that I am a wargamer and by no means a scale modeller. I originally put the kit on my B-Day list as a nostalgic throwback to my youth, inspired by that Captain Slow chap from Top Gear. What I didn't remember was exactly how much work one of these kits can be.

Building it was fine as was applying the base colours, though I had decided from early on to paint over the canopy and save myself some work that I wasn't entirely sure I was up for in several ways.Everything started going a bit Pete Tong once I applied a black wash, which wasn't thin enough and then split anyway. Sorting that out produced a finish that would have been fine for a Star Wars freighter but not really for a scale model.

Applying the HUGE number of transfers brightened things up considerably and forced me to improve that skill somewhat, which is never a bad thing. The last 10% didn't quite make it though. Whilst Googling up some reference material I came across this chap's scale modelling site and his effort which features a host of metal and resin details parts, including the "extensive Flightpath kit".
Having seen scale modellers at shows, of varying quality, I've picked up the odd technique but never really appreciated the depth of their craft, until now that is.

Wargames figures are often horribly out of scale with huge hands clasping tree trunk rifles painted relatively garishly. All of this is often necessary so you can actually see any detail at all. It's telling that as sculpts get finer so the quality of the paint-job needs to follow.

The Lightning has involved just as much time and effort as the Falcon, and as such is another 10 PPs, and at time has been frustrating. It has however been useful to have been pushed outside of my Hobby comfort-zone, which has reminded me of where that stands.

Learning a little can be worth an awful lot :)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

This is the Modern World....

Lots of off centre photos recently so here's one on the left rather than the right. Variety and all that.

Said photo, and that below, is of an Afghanistan 2010 game that Rich J put on at the club this week. Rich wrote the Afghan supplement for Ambush Alley, and I've enjoyed a number of games played with it, but this week was a bigger, 6"x8", game using FUBAR, primarily to see exactly how quick-play they are (approx 3.5 hours!).

As I've mentioned previously general gaming opinion is fairly split as to wether it's "Okay" to play some of the more modern periods, especially those that are ongoing.

Personally, I don't have any problem doing so but each to thier own.

One group who definatley don't have a problem was the RAF group running an Afghan game last weekend at Warfare and they'd actually served there! In fact, for them it was another way to raise awareness. I remember going to Salute the year that Black Hawk Down had been released for a glut of, highly enjoyable, Somali gaming and any number of companies releasing Somali ranges at that time.

You could argue that it was a far more limited action and /or a classic elite vs mob conflict but it seemed, to me at least, that it was more acceptable due to the lack of humanitarian fall-out transmitted into peoples living rooms a la HD.

It's worth noting that a lot of Afghan rulesets are supported and played by serving soldiers, whilst also making contributions to Help For Heroes, which has to be applauded. Whoever thought something so nerdy could be such a potntial force for real good! Personally I was busy across the hall with the Bullz taking on Ian's undefeated and greatkly feared league leading Amazons. These were my first two rolls with the blocking dice!!Mainly through the power of the Tackle skill, thank you Nuffle, the scoreboard was unbothered in the first half, despite me rolling an awful lot of pushbacks and a rapidly filling KO box, which was also shortened by a pitch invasion.

Recieving a touch-back at the start of the second half, Yusuf the potentially unstoppable actually was making great use of Break Tackle for a two turn score. I awaited the Amazon back-lash. Which fortunately, for me, never got going due to three quick female casualties, including a death, one of these from a fan-thrown rock!

4 versus 7 was never going to be easy and Ian almost got the score, ably assisted by more push-back rolls, only to be felled at the last! Rarely was a 1-nil win such a tense affair.

Thank god it's not real eh?.... eh?

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Reading between the lines

I've said it before, so I'll say it again "Wargames shows show you the best and the worst of the hobby, all in the same room!".

Having said that I've always enjoyed a show, better or worse, for any number of reasons and today's trot out to Warfare with Mr C was no different.

There was some nice stuff, see below, amongst what was something of a sea of mediocrity (nothing personal!). On the way round we did make a number of observations that I shall now inflict upon you :)

During the drive we'd got a bit misty eyed about 40K and various campaign and tourney weekends of yore. Then we watched one guy use True Line Of Sight to shoot down a Raider through a dense wood by shooting UNDER the branches whilst another chap had deployed a Razorback on top of a Bastion. Never mind!

The Flames of War tourney had close to 40 players and plenty of really nice tables to play across. 40K and Fantasy had maybe 20 players combined and whatever was left in the bottom of the scenery boxes. Interesting!!

Going back to the quality of demo / participation games, there were a lot of nice, tidy 4x4 tables about. Think high-end club game. Nothing wrong with that in itself, we as the club have done the same, and I found many of these tables giving more for my attention to be caught by but is this some form of erosion?

Just a question as to be honest, by rule of thumb, the larger the table was the less of an impresion it made. Is GRAND gaming making way for the more PRACTICAL? It has been for me for some time! Along with Zombies, I've been noticing a rise in 15mm Sci-Fi and one game I stood and watched play through, as well as the Mantic rules, was GruntZ. Impressed!!

Shaun has made some purchases in that direction and I can feel the draw strengthening. A bit of lunch-time e-browsing is in order!
As for my own purchases I picked up some bits from Second City to go towards the potential revival of the Star Wars RPG, sometime in the new year, in the way of some shoot-out cover and someone to have a shoot-out with.

I also had a good chat with some old GW mates, now with Warlord, whilst making a (purchasing)start on Zombie Village. The garden was out of stock, possibly til the next year, but after listening quizically for a while Dave dug me out a little gem...... a blister of dead livestock.Just what every Zombie Village needs :)


Both England and Wasps won. Hoorah. I've inflicted enough :)

Friday, 19 November 2010

A Show of Arms

It's turning into a particuarly good gaming week.

Last night was a bit more D&D and after resting up we began our assualt on THE WELL OF DEAMONS (eeek!) by, eventually, beating up Ghasts, Wall-Crawlers and a few Gnolls.

Despite having just pinged up to 5th level we took a while to work ou the kinks before eventually hitting our well oiled groove. Part of that is down to how many "buffs" Rob's Dwarven Cleric can kick out.

"Bull Strength"-ing MrC's Paladin is akin to giving him a huge steroid shot. He seems to be getting into the rage side quite. It all probably means that this way a huge beastie comes!
We shall see.

Tuesday night was open gaming down at the club and the chance to try out FUBAR, a free set of rules that in thier entirety cover two sides of A4.

Going for a bit of WWII Pacific action, Shaun and I attempted to defend our attol from those horrible USMC types, commanded by Rich and Charlie.

In short we failed and at that rather horribly. It WAS mainly down to a mismatch of forces and a misunderstanding about bunkers, honest, but it was a good nights gaming and the rules work simply but well but still dispensing with I Go You Go. Result!

Meanwhile TFI Friday rules as I'm off to Twickers tomorrow for the Rugby and then Reading on Sunday for Warfare, which will be only my second show of the year.

Really looking for both. Pies and inspiration all round then!

All good :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Fly me to the Moon....

.... and let me play upon the Death-Star. Let me see what life is like on Alderaan and Man-da-lore!

Ahem. So, as threatened, the Falcon is all finished.

Not that it's been keeping me up all night but I've been unsure as to how many PPs to allocate. As you can hopefully see she's a big old girl, the ship that is, but size isn't everything. The PP scale was set on how much time and effort any figure / project required.

The clip-kit went together in one decent evening's work, the minimal paint work took a liitle less. Another evening went on transfers, mainly considering what, where and how many [Side Note: I simply stopped when the balance looked right, which was with less than I had envisaged]. A couple of lazy evenings wash and weather work finished the job.

10 PPs is equivalent to 5 "standard" 28mm figures and time-wise i feel that that equates about right.

Please feel free to coment otherwise..... no Sith death-grips I promise :)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Numbers Game

WARNING: Another Rugby related post. For direct access to the hobby content feel free to skip to the end: WARNING

Statistics can be used to prove just about anything, 76% of all people know that!

England took on Australia at Twickenham on Saturday. I, along with others, was in the pub.. shouting.
Possession, territory, tackles made and missed, strikes against the head, penalty count, line-outs won and lost, linebreaks. All these can be and are analysed, almost to death, along with patterns of play in super slow-mo. It gives ex-internationals a career after retirement.

England got ahead on all counts and the result was a 35-18 drubbing of the green and gold, with at least two clear chances missed for want of the final pass. RE-SULT!!
Meanwhile, late this afternoon Wasps ground out a two point win against Bath, 18-16, with just one try scored. With both attacks fairly shackled by defense, errors and a ropey ref there was a LOT of kicking, from hand and otherwise.

With Danny Cipriani leaving for Melbourne at the end of last season we looked a bit light on cover at 10, fly-half, and so it has proved. Two particular injuries have seen club stalwart Mark Van Gisbergen moved up from 15, full-back.

As excellent a player as he undoubtedly is he's simply not an experienced 10, which is more about distribution than kicking. Yesterday he was every inch a 15 in a 10's shirt and, in the crowd's opinion, far too keen to kick away possession for territory.

It's all about the numbers and at the moment it's not helping our play. Thankfully the pack was strong and avoided the three sin binnings that saw us play with 14 for a full quarter of last week's defeat.

Bath missed the last kick of the game for us to claim an ugly two point win. Still a win though. All about the numbers!!


So after all that excitement I found a bit of time this evening to wash down the Falcon. I had been a little dubious as to how the Ogryn Flesh might cover the pre-painted finish but raw from the pot did a good job. Possibly a little heavy in places, with a few brush-marks, but a good coverage that tomorrow night's weathering will see right.

And I even got dinner cooked for me :)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Alternative Armies

The extra-ordinary seems increasing more mainstream these days, especially within gaming as a wider genre.

Personally I've noted something of a Zombie uprising, with barely a week passing without my attention being drawn to another set of impressive, wallet threatening, undead figures. A recently viewed modern "Scrubs"set entertained and tempted me greatly.

Alternative WWII also seems to be on the march with occult Nazis of every shade, shape and size unleashing barely controlled monstrosities from alternate dimensions.

These thoughts snuck up on me last night whilst reawakening the X-Box via Wolfenstein.

I spent the evening eventually taking down a Queen Geist end of level beastie (twice!) and then unsuccessfully battling a platoon of Wehrmacht led by a pair of demonically enhanced Fraulein that you wouldn't want to take home to Mother.
All good fun and despite setting up a good hobby "rhythm" over the last some months, which has been very productive, it was nice to take a break :)

With the pending arrival of Chrimble a semi-related project, previously lurking in a darkened alley, shall now be brought to the fore to be christened Zombie Village [dramatic jingle]

I've been keeping my virtual eye on a relatively new scenery company, Architects of War, and their impressively excellent offerings;
These two will go on the Chrimble list, to be received from others and / or myself, along with a Perry's North American Farmhouse and 30 of Mantic's incredibly fine zombies.

This will provide me the basis with a rather nice setting for all sorts of Zombie gaming including, but not limited to;

- French Indian /AWI / War of 1812 with Zombies
- Wild West with Zombies.......... Zombie Indians???
- WWII: Invasion of America (occult or otherwise) with Zombies
- Mid West B Movies (60s / 70s) with Zombies
- Mid West present day Zombie survivalists
- Mid West Pulp City with Zombies
- Star Wars RPG with Zombies

So, All Things Zombie then and Ganesha / Two Hour Wargames for the rules most likely.

P.S: SOME progress with the Falcon but not a lot, POSSIBLY over the weekend but there's a lot of rugby on :)

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Will to Win

Not too much achieved recently as it will all be bits and pieces for a while so instead you get a bit more filler / witty insight. The choice is yours :)

Rugby Union: England went down to to the All Blacks but they played well and put up a good fight. McCaw's boys were pushed in to committing a number of infringements in the last 10, and got away with the majority, but that's just top level pro sport.

At the end of the game what cheered so many fans of the red rose was that it was a COMPETITIVE performance and, as a fan, you can't honestly ask much more. It's why you watch. At the top end its often about "who wants it more".

Competitiveness within the gaming community is often a far more divisive issue. Specifically, where is your line, how much do you want to win?

Obviously this is a matter for each individual gamer, but one that many can get particularly defensive and / or vociferous about.

Personally, I LIKE to win, who doesn't, and always TRY to take a loss with good grace. I can find it harder to take said losses when, for whatever reason, I take a proper shoeing but I always TRY to have the same good grace when, for whatever reason, I dish one out.

Over the years I've irregularly attended plenty of campaign and tournament weekends, with varying results. The investment in time, money and effort for such events is substantial and I've found that taking a shoeing at such an event REALLY sucks.

Having always considered myself a "casual", yet regular, gamer playing and painting, a significant aspect of the hobby for me, primarily for FUN this was when that I decided, for myself at least, that there is nothing wrong with playing competitively.

Competitive games are the best and most enjoyable that I've ever played. Competitive for all involved that is!

These days I tailor my play to whoever may be good enough to give me a game. Push rules at me and I'll push them back, assuming that I can, show me latitude and I'll actively seek to return the favour.

Personal choice but for me it really is only a game :)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Reaching for the Skies!!

Do you remember either of these?

If you then, ermmm..... well done? No, really, well done they were two of my birthday presents, from July, and with a bit of a project gap it was they were the first of the many, many, MANY reserve items that I reached for.

I've always had a "thing" for he English Electric Lightning, my ultimate cold war jet and GB's premier suspersonic interceptor previously described as a huge engine attached to a fuel tank with a seat

Anyway, all built and awaiting paint. I'll be picking up one of GW's flying stems so that I can have it in a climb.... reaching for the sky! Big kid points :)

Another of Revell's pre-painted clip together kits, Mr Solo's pride and joy went together in a longish evening and isn't as big as I feared it might be.

I've left the top plate loose so that I can paint it in too parts. Not a full respray but I'll be adding some dark red sections and attaching various Future-Punk Tau transfers before a strong wash of Ogryn Flesh prior to drybrushed highlights / weathering.

Not sure how well the washes will take to the pre-painted finish so I'll need to mis up a big-ish pot of magic soapy wash.

May the farce be with me........ yet again!