Gladiators.

For a bit of light relief, Brian, Evan, Chris and I have been running a Gladiator campaign using the Two Hour Wargames set: Red Sand Blue Sky.

Each of us has generated a Gladiator and hope the fight him from the Fringes of the Empire through to the Colosseum in Rome and hopefully win his freedom. Once we have played through this we should have enough knowledge of the rules to run our own Ludos, this is the main objective (it probably came from watching the recent Spartacus TV series too much).

Evan and I have gone for a Retiarius fighter, Brian a Murmillo and Chris a Dimachaerus. For a list of types the wiki page is as good a start as any:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_gladiator_types

Being a proper wargames campaign I made a map and have it on a pin board with flags to show each fighters progress.

Gladiator Campaign map 2

Also I’ve been keeping a campaign journal- once it has been completed I’ll post it here too (though you’ll have to wait to see just how bad out humour gets). Evan is currently in the lead with Flobodon (from parts unknown) though Brian with Romulus Roman has won more fights, Chris (Edmund from England) and I (Knut the German) are battling for not being last.

For figures I bought some of the rather nice Crusader Miniatures 2nd hand from LAF to which I added a couple of packs from the Foundry range.

IMG_6115 (2)

As you can see I’ve gone for a blue as my team colour when with get round to battling pitting our familia against each others.

As a game Red Sand Blue Sky is great fun, quick to set up and quick to play though a match. I made up a pair of boards from mounting card and sand with a quick dry brush of paint. By running 2 games at once the four of us can clear a months of game time in an easy, sociable and enjoyable evening.

IMG_6095

A Hoplomachus and a Dimachaerus (Chris) fight for the entertainment of the crowd.

A Hoplomachus and a Dimachaerus (Chris) fight for the entertainment of the crowd.

Advantage to Chris at this point I guess.

Advantage to Chris at this point I guess.

For the record (and I imagine it will only make sense to my British readers out there) my favourite was Panther, Jet was far too obvious.

Cheers,

Pete.

Advertisements

LCW- Painted figures.

I’ve finished the first batch of my 1/35 figures for Little Cold Wars.

IMG_6103

IMG_6102

IMG_6101

The West Germans are old Airfix and the Soviets are old ESCI. They were painted with acrylics then given a coat of PVA then two coats of gloss spray varnish. This should toughen them enough for gaming.

Next up will be the balance of the Soviets- though I’m undecided between Blue berets for the VDV or Black for the Naval Infantry.

Cheers,

Pete.

More WW1 tanks.

I’m still collecting 20mm WW1 tank kits with no real purpose in mind other than I like it, though I often consider some sort of Plan 1919, the ideas were there for the genesis of modern mechanized warfare but (fortunately) the war ended before they had to be implemented.

These two are from Early War Minitures: http://earlywarminiatures.com/

IMG_6062

We have a Mark V female which made its debut at the Battle of Hamel and a Mark IX supply/ personnel carrier tank, a few were finished by the time of the armistice but did not any service.

IMG_6060

IMG_6061

The last Mark IX can be found in the Bovington Tank Museum.

I did find this short video of a Mark IX being used for amphibious trials post- armistice.

Cheers,

Pete.

A Trip to Bullecourt Museum – Huddersfield.

On Sunday I took a trip with my Brother in Law and oldest Nephew to the little local military museum across the other side of town to me.

I’d heard it was a little “quirky” so I went with fairly low expectations but happily it was far better than I was expecting and had indeed been lead to believe.

Housed in an old Drill hall it covers the period from Waterloo to the present in a series of glass cabinets. There is quite a bit of local interest too; from talking with the owner/ proprietor it seems that they get left quite a few things from when relatives clear houses that belonged that older generation, that is sadly passing with increasing rapidity.

A general view of the hall.

A general view of the hall.

We went round the museum clockwise starting with the oldest display case.

IMG-20140824-00003

Apologies for the low level of photo quality – using a phone camera through glass isn’t the easiest of tasks.

IMG-20140824-00004

IMG-20140824-00008

IMG-20140824-00010

IMG-20140824-00009

IMG-20140824-00019

Moving in to WW” which makes up the majority of the collection:

A rather nice Bren LMG on a tripod.

A rather nice Bren LMG on a tripod.

IMG-20140824-00012

IMG-20140824-00013

IMG-20140824-00015

IMG-20140824-00017

This unusual canoe was another gift, puportedly it is from WW2, a one man design with a sail and floatation chambers that can be attached to the outside. If anyone has any extra information that they can give on this it would be more than welcome.

This unusual canoe was another gift, puportedly it is from WW2, a one man design with a sail and floatation chambers that can be attached to the outside. If anyone has any extra information that they can give on this it would be more than welcome.

The item that I was most keen to see was a map that I knew that they possessed; it is of Huddersfield, printed and annotated by the Germans to be used in the administration of the town in a post successful Operation Sealion environment. Chilling stuff really….

IMG-20140824-00006

IMG-20140824-00005

A quirky little place that appeals to my sense of aesthetics, not as flash as the Royal Armouries or IWM North but better for it. Well worth a hour or two of your time if you are in the area.

Extra info here: http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/community/localorgs/orgdetails.asp?OrgID=2717

Cheers,

Pete.

Converting a Land Rover (1/76)

My shed has been resembling a small scale back street garage recently (probably due to those Discovery Channel show I watch when insomnia strikes). I have chosen to make a tracked Land Rover.

It was inspired by a blog post by Mike over at the Bunker Talk blog who was showning off his latest diecast finds. I thought one looked perfect for a conversion I had in mind but had other wise dismissed as too awkward.

So the next time I went into town I had a poke about and bought myself one of these:

IMG_6110

and one of these:

IMG_6112

to make one of these:

The track assemblies aren’t perfect but close enough for me:

IMG_6111

A bit of cutting freed the plastic parts:

IMG_6113

and after a little trimming I was left with these:

IMG_6114

The remained of the diecast was saved to be turned into part of a scrap heap. The next step will be to make up the plastic Land Rover but leave off the wheels then attempt to marry the two parts together.

To be continued….

Cheers,

Pete.

MANTIS Air Defence system.

I’m often drawn to the weird and quirky (my scattergun approach to gaming that I’ve displayed here should illustrate this) so when I saw that MJ Figures on of the newer companies offering 20mm goodies had released a set of modern automated base defence turrets I ordered a set straight away.

IMG_6065

Basically a full package consists of 6 35mm turrets and 2 radar sets that can track and destroy any incoming missiles that are aim at the base it is protecting.

The following links should explain it better:

http://www.army-technology.com/projects/mantis/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A4chstbereichschutzsystem_MANTIS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyshield

The link to the MJ figures site is:

http://mjfigures.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=148_18_150_151&zenid=8e702762a47aafc0b5e99405b842f0d9

As you can see I bought half a systems worth, I’m sure I can work them into some sort of base defence game. Also I’ve got the half baked idea to put them to some Sci- Fi use in the future… we’ll have to see.

Cheers,

Pete.

A Stalingrad AAR.

As promised these are a few pictures from a recent Stalingrad game. Not as many pictures as I would have liked as the camera batteries died not long after play commenced….

In a previous post I showed off my sewer collection whilst testing some rules for their use; given how well that test went I was keen to get them in a full game. The idea of staging an urban game with a parallel sewer network beneath had been one of my gaming objectives since I saw a demo table using the same principles in the very early 2000s (I know I’m not originally but it was a great table and more importantly inspired me- surely the point of any demo?).

I decided on a simple attack and defence scenario, the Germans were attempting to shift a group of stubborn Soviets out of their assigned area. To do so they had a infantry platoon of a HQ and 3 squads, 2 Engineers squads: 1 with a Flamethrower and 1 with demolition charges as well as a STUGIII. The Soviets had 2 squads of infantry, 1 squad of militia, 2 Anti tank rifles and a small but capable Engineer team, additionally they had plenty of Molotov cocktails that they could either cache in buildings or distribute before the start.

If any one wants the briefings or house rules just let me know.

I made the sewer network before I set up the above ground parts. The idea was to give the Soviets options to reinforce through the sewers quickly and relatively safely as well as the opportunity to try and use them to get behind the advancing Germans.

The sewer network- looking at it from the German side of the board.

The sewer network- looking at it from the German side of the board.

Then I set up the urban terrain: the black counter represent manhole covers- I did have some better ones but they are AWOL in the shed….

Above ground- again from the German side.

Above ground- again from the German side.

Both parts side by side. The attack came from the left of the picture.

Both parts side by side. The attack came from the left of the picture.

The game went well. Both players (Brian- Soviet and Evan- German) suffered from either extreme of luck throughout the game. We used the random events from the latest version of NUTS! (Two Hour Wargames) and they added a nice dangerous feel that felt right for the game, though Brian may dispute thiss as a booby trap was generated that took out his Anti Tank rifle team as it tried to close on the STUG. However the next turn saw reinforcements arrive in his favour- this came in the form of a very welcome T70, it’s 45mm gun being better (just) than the PTRD 41 that he had just lost.

Soviet defenders man the barricades.

Soviet defenders man the barricades.

Supported by the STUGIII the Heer advances.

Supported by the STUGIII the Heer advances.

Underneath the Soviets push forwards.

Underneath the Soviets push forwards.

Given the lethality of Machine Guns advancing from building to building is the only way forward.

Given the lethality of Machine Guns advancing from building to building is the only way forward.

Using the MG34s to cover his advance up the board Evan made decent progress, his slighht edge in his figures rating also helped. Sadly I had not factored enough time in the evening for the game. Urban games always soak up more men and time than a rural one; adding an extra level just increases this. So we had to finish and pack up before a definitive conclusion- a rematch is planned for a yet to be determined Sunday afternoon..

The sewers were a big hit and some good suggestions came out during the evening. Mainly extend the sewers so they cover the table from edge to edge. This would give the attacker the option to set up initially sub surface. Also using bomb craters to allow ‘down only’ access to the sewers (either in the middle of the street or through a ruin’s cellar) to add extra option to game play.

Of course you don’t need a fancy set up to try a similar game, sketch maps and printouts would do the job fine, possibly better as they could allow for hidden movement; that would keep both sides guessing. However as I said at the start the visual side was the main reason for doing this set up. I would recommend Mark’s Island of fire for inspiration but the price that is goes for is eye- watering.

Cheers,

Pete.