Books I have read and recommend.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Reviews a'plenty PART THREE!

ABOVE: LASER TOUCH markers on the Left, and TFL Markers on the Right, as modelled by Corporal Harris wearing khaki in 28mm

Hi Guys
Continuing with my reviews I thought I'd mention a new manufacturer of 'Gaming aids' here in Australia.
Laser Touch create gaming aids / 'Markers' for wargamers, and other useful things like Foam Cary Trays.
Craig is the man in charge.
I noticed he created markers for 'BOLT ACTION' so approached him about making markers for 'Chain Of Command' (CoC).
It took a while but eventually I was able to have the following markers produced:

Patrol Markers
Tactical Movement
Covering Fire

Laser Touch Produce 'CoC Token Sets' and Patrol markers (a bag of 4 'Large' Markers) with your Army / Formation's symbol.
There are plenty to chose from including:

Jap Army
Brit 8th Army
US 82nd Airborne
US 101st Airborne
German Luftwaffe (FJ), and:
US 29th Division
  just to name a few.
ABOVE: Again the Laser Touch markers are no the Left with the TFL markers on the right.
The Markers themselves are attractive, sturdy and practical.
Each token set comes with 3 each of the 'Tactical Move, Overwatch, Covering Fire and Immobilised' markers and 20 'SHOCK' (blood splatter) markers.
Each set retails for a reasonable $38.50 AUD.
PATROL MARKERS are available separately
I recommend you check Laser Touch out,...

 ABOVE: "Despite some 'shock' Lancer Corporal Jenkins maintained overwatch". 
 BELOW: "Cpl Tomkin's lads moved tactically down the village road",...
 BELOW: Various 'Wound / Shock' tokens. Top: Laser Touch Blood Splatter, Middle: Gale Force 9 I think. Bottom: TFL.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Reviews a'plenty: PART TWO

Hi Team
Yet more reviews
Yesterday I was out at EUREKA MINIATURES and as usual I was treated to a sneak peek at some of the upcoming releases and some of the currently available but not well known products
Firstly a look at some cute 'Pulp' characters.
I really like the female sculpts that EUREKA produce. The always look so 'Girly' rather than simply male figures with longer hair and breasts.
These US G.I Janes' are excellent examples:
The ladies can be purchased with backpacks and Garrison Caps / bareheaded or if you're so inclined with Rocket Packs and 'Futuristic' helmets.
BELOW: The MG Team is my favourite.
I can just see this young lady lying prone behind this MMG with her feet casually swaying to and fro as she sends some tracers down range,...
BELOW: Seems Rosie the Riveter is not content on the production line anymore,...
She means to do some harm to the vile Nazis with her spanner!

Now Last time I posted I mentioned that GUNNER DUNBAR (GD) was now taking commissions to paint miniatures.
I recently sent him some EMPRESS MINIATURES 28mm Modern Australians.
The EMPRESS MINIATURES are very nice sculpts and the fit in very well with my predominantly EUREKA MINIATURES Afghanistan Campaign collection.
Firstly to the actually painting that Dan did.
I'm simply blown away at how well GD captured the Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform  (DPCU) 'Oz Cam' pattern.
Not only are the colours and pattern spot on, but they subtle shading and subdued style works perfectly in this scale
He also added Goggles to the Helmets (with Green stuff I suspect) free of charge and without my prompting!!!!
How cool is that?! I mean, it hadn't even crossed my mine to request the modification but it's an obvious one really as ALL Australian Troops are issue Eye Protection as standard and no Digger would leave his FOB without them on him.
(Mods were done AFTER these photos were taken)
I could have had them painted in DigiCam, DPDU (the 2nd 'D' is for Desert) or DPCU.
I chose DPCU as it was the most common pattern used throughout Australia's commitment to OP SLIPPER (2001-14)
The photos speak for themselves.
Again, I cant recommend GD highly enough.

 BELOW: DPCU (left) DPDU (right)

Now as for the actual miniatures.
They are excellent.
As far as I know no one else does Aussie Diggers in 28mm apart from some SASR types that EUREKA do on Motorcycles and Quad Bikes
The sculpting is crisp with little flash to speak off. The range is comprehensive and there are no 'silly' poses.
One criticism,...
No self respecting Digger would EVER use his master hand to make a hand signal.
This chap below would get his arse so kicked by the Platoon Sergeant to using his master hand and taking his eyes away from where his muzzle is pointing whilst on patrol!!!

I purchased these Diggers from ELITE MINIATURES AUSTRALIA whom I HIGHLY recommend to anyone in Australia or New Zealand!
Service is OUTSTANDING and the owner Nathan is a top bloke and Ex Australian Soldier so he knows his stuff.
That's all for now.
More reviews shortly including a look at Chain Of Command V Bolt Action.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reviews a'plenty PART ONE

Hi Team
I've a couple of reviews I need to share.
First I need to tell you about a FANTASTIC Painting service now available here in Australia.
My good mate 'Gunner Dunbar is now taking Commissions to paint your miniatures.
I've been having miniatures painted by Dan for some time now and I can tell you that he's the most talented artist I know who is currently 'painting for profit' at a price that wont cause your Minister For War and Finances to have a meltdown.
He is talented, quick, outstanding value and his communication with you the customer is beyond anything I've experienced with other painting services.
Not only will he paint your miniatures but he will modify them and or build them.
you can see Gunner Dunbar's rates and examples of his work here:
 Here are some photos of just some of his outstanding work:

ABOVE: AB Miniatures 18mm Wurttemburg Light Infantry
BELOW: Converted AB Miniatures 18mm Bavarians. Heads swapped to create Bavarian Guard Grenadiers


ABOVE AND BELOW: Converted PERRY MINIATURES rifles to represent Richard Sharpe's men. 

I can't recommend Gunner Dunbar more highly.
I rate his standard as 'SHOWCASE'.
There is a LABLE below (Dan Dunbar) where you can see more examples of his work!
5 out of 5!

Next I'd like to make mention of a new TERRAIN supplier.
Let's face it, most of us neglect that aspect of wargaming.
For the most part we insist on having at least half decent miniatures on our tables but then we drop the ball an use shoddy terrain.
Either we cant afford the good stuff, or we lack the time and or effort / skill required to make affordable stuff.
Good news.
Now you can purchase ready made, 'Good to Go' wargames quality terrain from STANLEY'S TERRAIN
No need to assemble or paint it. Just take it out of the box it comes in and place it on the table.
No, its not a 'Museum Quality' stuff,.. but its serviceable and value for money.
Here's some samples:

I myself have purchased a Minefield and a walled field / enclosure and I'm very happy.
Highly recommended.

I'm Back!

Hi Team
Well, as you may have noticed its been about 6 MONTHS since my last Blog Entry.
Sorry about that.
I was recently discharged from the army after 32 and a bit years of service and the adjustment has been a challenge.
Furthermore my treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, the reason for my discharge) has also been something that has required a bit of 'adapting' to.
Anyway, I'm back now and have a fair bit of stuff of a wargames nature to share, which I will do very shortly.
A huge thanks to my wife who has got me through this,....

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Tale of Two Farms

A Tale of Two (or is it three) farms

If there is one area of tabletop war gaming that is usually and painfully underdone it the area of nice, quality terrain.
How often have we seen nicely painted miniatures manoeuvring across a table top covered in terrain that quite frankly is an eyesore?
For most of us building nice terrain is a real challenge.
It's one thing to paint a beautifully sculpted miniature but it's another to creat a realistic model of contemporary buildings.
As a child I loved the old Airfix buildings. Remember the Roman Fort and US Cavalry fort? The D-Day gun emplacement sets, the Jungle HQ, the Arabian / French Foreign Legion Fort and of course the Pontoon Bridge set were 'must have' items. 
Alas they are not available in either 15mm or 28mm.
So it was a case of either scratch building or buying 'ready made' resin models.
And then came the MDF kits!
There has been a lot of buzz about these kits, particularly the very nice 4Ground kits.
They are however rather pricey.
Today I'm going to explore two or three recent kits that have become available. Kits that allow we budding architects to build that most desired of buildings, La Haye Sainte of Waterloo fame!
You've all probably heard of Warlord Games La Haye Sainte (LHS) box sets. There are two. The 'Battle Set'

and the 'Collectors Set'

There is however another set.
Battlefield Accessories (Mike Parker) has produced his own version. This is available through Eureka Miniatures.
The Battlefield Accessories (BA) version of LHS was released almost on the same day as the Warlord Games (WLG) version so I suspect not many people will be aware of its existence.

There is a third manufacturer.
4Ground has made a version of LHS, but unfortunately I want be reviewing that kit, just the Warlord Games and BA versions.
Given the 4Ground version is selling for a not inconsiderable £275 (about $500 something) I can just continue to dream.
No, I'll be looking at the 'less expensive' versions.
I'll do the review over a couple of posts.
First I'll share my thoughts on the pros and cons of the two sets I'm reviewing, (the WLG 'Battle Set' and the BA LHS set).
Once discussing the content and first impressions are dealt with ill discussing building the kits, which was easier to do, and which is more detailed and practical for gaming with.

Ok. First impressions?
The WLG battle set come in a rather nice box with artwork depicting the famous farm house on that fateful June day in 1815.
Opening up the box we find all the contents listed
La Haye Sainte contains:

Laser-cut wooden farmhouse, out-buildings, walls and pond including construction guides and acetate windows
Laser-cut wooden tables and chairs – use as firing steps
Two laser-cut wooden carts and plough (barricade)
Six metal branches to form an abatis
Major Von Baring, King’s German Legion 2nd Light Battalion (exclusive metal figure)
15 metal King’s German Legion 2nd Light Battalion with rifles and muskets
5 King’s German Legion light infantry
36 French Light Infantry (30 plastic and 6 metal) including full-colour flag sheet and waterslide decals
Lieutenant Vieux (exclusive metal figure) and five metal French Engineers with muskets or tools
12-page scenario booklet

The first thing I noticed was the very professional packaging.
There is a interesting 'Scenario' booklet aimed at the gamer using the Black Powder rules.
As you can see you receive 62 miniatures, about half are plastics. Let's say you get $160 of miniatures to go with the farmhouse. So for $385 AUD you can say that that the farmhouse costs you $225 give or take.
This observation is important to consider.

By contrast you will notice the BA version of LHS comes in a plain white box. Within you you will find the lazier cut 'bits and pieces' necessary to construct the farmhouse of LHS.
There are also photo copy standard pictures of all the various buildings and walls that are required to be assembled to build the farmhouse complex.
There are no miniatures to speak of. There are also assembly instructions / construction guide as such, just the photocopy pictures.
However I've found the photocopy pictures are all I really needed. That said Mike has posted a very very handy uTube video that shows you how to construct a building and Mike promises that more instructional videos will follow shortly.
You can see the first video here:

What's really cool about the video guide is not only are you shown how to construct one of the buildings from the BA LHS set but Mike provides heaps of nifty little tips.
Even if you don't buy his LHS set or any of the other BA offerings it's worth watching if you intend to build any lazercut MDF buildings

Let's now talk value for money.
I've seen both models constructed.
To be honest there is really nothing in real 'model quality' to split them. Both are nice models. Both appear relatively easy to construct.
Both are made from quality materials.
Looking at the building instructions shows that the BA version is a more detailed model in regards to building interiors, with interior walls, lofts and staircases in some buildings.
The WLGs model has several carts and pieces of furniture which are nice.
Both models are very suitable to skirmish style games.
But what leaves me feeling that the BA model is better value for my money is the bottom line price.
The BA version retails for $175 AUD plus a flat $15 postage domestic or $25 international.
The WLG version costs $385 AUD plus postage. I've no idea on what postage to us here in Australia will be. I'd buy it directly from WAR AND PEACE GAMES here in Australia and save on postage. Besides, WAR AND PEACE are great to deal with.

Yes,.. WLG gives you 62 miniatures and YES you get a plough, two nifty carts and some furniture but I personally don't need 41 extra French infantry and 21 KGL riflemen.
Even if I did I'd rather purchase my miniatures from Perry to match the rest of my Napoleonic collection. I'm not saying the Warlord games miniatures are not nice, but what if my collection is Perry, or Victrix, or Front Rank?

And what if I want the farmhouse for playing WW2 games exclusively because Napoleonic's just ain't my thing.
Well, you get the idea.
The other issue for me is also the fact that the BA version is Aussie made!
That's right! Home grown Aussie made terrain!
For me supporting the domestic manufacturers such as Eureka Miniatures, Adventure Miniatures and Battlefield Accessories is important.

All that said, IF I was recently getting into Napoleonic gaming AND I was a fan of Warlord Games miniatures (and they are fine miniatures just not to my taste) then the WLGs battle set is a good starting point. Even more so if your rules of choice are BLACK POWDER.
Also consider looking at the WLGs COLLECTOR Edition of LHS.
In that set you get even more miniatures and some nice additional terrain pieces including the famous 'Sand pit' that riflemen from the 95th fought.
Resin pile of dead Frenchmen (used by the King’s German Legion to block the gateway after they burnt the gates for warmth the night before!)
6 French Voltigeurs skirmishing
Marshall Ney (Bravest of the Brave)
4 French casualties
Mounted French Officer
36 plastic French Line Infantry (6 metal command and 30 plastic infantry)
6 Luneberg Light Infantry
6 British 95th Rifles
1 British Rocketeer and a horse.
1 Nassau officer using cooking pot to extinguish the barn fire (exclusive metal model)
6  Nassau infantry
36 plastic Hanoverian Infantry (6 metal command, 30 plastic infantry)
Farmer’s wife tending young calf (exclusive metal model – she refused to leave the poor newborn and stayed with it during the battle…)
Abatis branches
Cost? $478 USD. I suspect it would sell here in Australia for around the vicinity of $525-550 AUD, but I must stress I'm just speculating on the Aussie $ cost.

Now, as we progress with the review I will look closer at the miniatures that come in the Warlord Games sets but for now let's just focus on the Farm Buildings because let's face it, this isn't a figure review.
So that's all for now.
In my next post we'll look at both construction and a side by side comparison of the two sets.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bloody Run. AAR number 6 in our LONGSTREET campaign

Hi Everyone
This is the 6th AAR in my LONGSTREET Campaign.
Stan and I fought this engagement over 3 weeks ago but due to some technical issues, (my laptop died) I've only now managed to upload the AAR.
We're now into the last battle of the year 1863.
The LONGSTREET campaign system sees 1 battle in 1863, 2 in '62, 3 in '63, 2 in '64 and one final battle in 1865.
The card decks favours the Rebs in 1861 and 1862. By 1863 the decks are evening out and the Yanks get the advantage from '64 onwards.
Obviously as the commander of the Federals I was keen to be moving into 1864.
So now we find ourselves facing the Confederates across a icy stream called 'Bloody Run' due to the rich red mud and soil of its banks.
It would soon be known as 'Bloody' Run for another reason,...


NOTE: Stan played the 'CONFUSSION' card and the men from Maine went retreating back across the run,...

After the battle the Union troops settled down on the southern bank and licked it's wounds as the Confederates withdrew south.
President Lincoln visited the Brigade two days after the battle and moved amongst the men with words of encouragement and thanks for their efforts.
In particular he praised the men from Maine, many of the officers of whom he had met before when the manned the heavy artillery around Washington D.C.
The Brigade also received reinforcements in the form of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry.  
The Brigade now looked like this:

11th NY Fire Zouaves: Cautious Veterans (5 Bases)
1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment: Eager Veterans (6 Bases) HERO
The Utah Volunteers: Eager Veterans (6 Bases) 'OLD RELIABLES'
28th Massachusetts 'Irish': Seasoned Veterans (5 Bases) HERO
44th New York: Cautious Recruits (5 Bases)
146th New York: Seasoned Recruits (7 Bases)
5th New York Volunteer Infantry: Seasoned Veterans (6 Bases)

1st US Artillery: 2 x Howitzers
2nd US Artillery: 2 Light Rifles
5th US Artillery: 1 x 6 Pdr and 1 Howitzer
6th Massachusetts Artillery: 3 Light Rifles 
Major General Rawlins has 19 EPIC POINTS!