Thursday, 1 December 2016

1/2400 HMS Ark Royal 1915

The wind down from Jutland continues with this lovely little addition to the collection, a 1/2400 scale model of the first ever ship specifically designed as a Seaplane Carrier.

The model is from the US company WTJ and I picked it up earlier in the year with my last batch of Jutland ships. It's about the size of a small Light Cruiser and comes with two planes sculpted on board, one on the fore deck and one emerging from the hangar. A great little model and a must for any WW1 Naval collection.

The real thing saw action during the Great War in the Dardanelles flying in support of the Gallipoli Campaign as well as launching an (unsuccessful) attack on Goeben in the final year of the conflict.

It's amazing to think how far aircraft carriers would come in the short time between the World Wars.

Not much Naval painting on the go at the moment, I've got an Armed Merchant half done but not rushing with it. I've joined the The Seventh Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge this year after forgetting to join first the last couple of years, hopefully it will keep the painting juices flowing through the winter.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Saxon 15mm SYW Minden Infantry

One of my main focuses this year was to try and keep up a steady flow of finished units in an attempt to keep a level of discipline to my painting. So the idea was to complete a unit every 10 days and only start on other units once that "weeks" unit was complete.

I have to say that even with other major projects on the go it has really kept output up and there is a small, but noticeable dent in the lead mountain. I have got through quite a bit of Seven Years War this year (approaching 300 figures) getting some British Infantry and Cavalry done along with some French Guard. Next up out of the box file full of 15mm Figs was the Saxons Infantry contingent from Minden.

This week I based up the 5 battalions of 16 Figs each that have been completed over the last couple of months. Two of the units are Mini Figs the other units are a bit more unusual.

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away, well about 25 years ago, the members of Leeds Wargames Club were looking to move into 15mm SYW and decided collectively to commission their own figure as a generic basic Infantry type to cheaply fill out the "meat" of the Infantry Battalions.

The figures were made by Steve Royen former owner of Hallmark Figures, they are true 15mm, ie considerably smaller than todays 18mm fare. The idea at the time was to use the Mini Figs command packs to complete the units.

These first two units represent the two Kurprinzessin Grenadier Battalions who formed part of the Saxon Infantry Contingent at Minden, these are all Minifigs.

Next up is two shots of the Prinz Sachsen Gotha Battalion which is comprised of the "home made" figures and some Minifigs command figs, the later have been reworked since the original plan was hatched and they are larger than the old traditional style. The pose of the command team is a sloping advance which makes the fit slightly better.

Two shots next of the Prinz Anton Battalion, based on 40 x 20 mm bases.

Finally we have the Graf Brühl Battalion in all its glory. The flags are made by Maverick Models and I am going to reserve my judgement on them for now. Great service and communication from the company, they also allow you to buy individual unit flags rather than buying a sheet of 3 and throwing two away.

My issue with the flags is the finish, I ordered the "effect" type and it does not work very well in this scale, it detracts from the detail on the flag and I am sure that the standard flat finish would be much better at this size. I will certainly be ordering from Maverick again as the price and selection is good, I will just avoid the effect type. I am already halfway through the next unit of the 14 Saxon Infantry Battalions in the French Army, the next 5 are scheduled just after Xmas.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

28mm "Princess Bride" Style Miniatures Review

The 4 fig set
When I saw these fantastic figures recently I just knew I had to have a set. The film on which they "may" have been based is without doubt one of the greatest motion picture of all time.

If you meet someone for the first time and just say "Princess Bride" to them and they look blank, walk away. If they "know" their face will Light up and they will quote from the film and you, you will have a friend for life. You either get PB or you don't, a mix of fairy tale, fantasy, action, romance (is this kissing book ?) and humour, it is just brilliant.

The figures themselves are heroic 28mm in scale, metal and represent 4 of the main characters in the story. They are made by a new company (to me anyway) called Antediluvian Miniatures.

If you click on the link above it will take you straight to the figures, they are not available separately but in a set of 4 for £16 plus reasonable postage.

Fantastic turn around time, they arrived 3 days after ordering, the box contained not only the figures but a bag of Haribo, perfect to munch on when watching the film for the 127th time.

"You seem a decent fellow.... I hate to kill you"
The first figure the hired swordsman is stood sword outstretched in a lunge, the details and character are fantastic, all the figures are very cleanly cast (the pictures show the figures straight out of the box) and I only found a couple of small pieces to trim away before priming and these were supporting sword scabbard.

"You seem a decent fellow...... I hate to die"
Next up our hero and "Dread Pirate" again a lovely cast, thin but then so was the character.

"I only doggy paddle"
Then we have the Giant, suitably sized of course.

"Never get involved in a land war in Asia"
And finally our Sicilian "mastermind"

Great figures, I recommend them to anyone, really looking forward to painting these up. Not sure what I will use them for, I'm sure I will be able to work out something in 7tv or EotD for them.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Project Jutland - The Podcast

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of chatting with Andy and Greg from the Man Battlestations site based in the US for about an hour about Project Jutland and Naval Gaming in general. It was great fun speaking with the guys and the podcast has come out great. Click on the link below and have a listen, I am on after about 30 minutes.

If you haven't come across Man Battlestations before the guys run a cracking site on which they cover all manner of Naval matters from Historical to Fantasy to Space based games. There is a monthly podcast a blog and a forum to look at on the site so get down there and check it out.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

1/2400 HMS Courageous 1917

With the madness of Project Jutland over I wasn't able to go cold turkey and just suddenly stop my 1/2400 WW1 ships habit, medically it would be dangerous !

So with reference material to hand I selected a number of ships to supplement the Jutland collection. There are a few Dreadnoughts who weren't present due to mechanical issues plus the ships which entered service afterwards.

HMS Courageous is one of those ships along with her "sisters" Furious and Glorious which was high on my list of wants. I picked up this GHQ model on a recent visit to Wargames Emporium in Sheffield.

It was an interesting painting phase on this, firstly it wasn't in a batch of twenty or so ships as I had done with the Jutland work, this was on its own. I also decided after some help from people on the net to have steel grey decks on the ship, apparently wood decks weren't fitted to save weight. The overall look therefore is a bit different to my previous fare.

Completed in November 1916 she was classed as a Cruiser but was really an attempt to push the high speed low armour Battlecruiser idea to its absolute limit. Armed with 4 x 15" guns she could definitely pack a punch and with a top speed of 32 knots Courageous was a full 11 knots faster than the battle line and 7 knots faster than the "fast" Battleships of the Queen Elizabeth Class.

But there was a down side and that was armour, effectively she was somewhere between an Armoured Cruiser and a light Cruiser, the 3" belt armour would stop the water getting in but not much else.

She saw action in the second Battle of Helgoland Blight in late 1917 and certainly adds a different dimension to WW1 Naval games, I look forward to seeing her in action.

I currently have Ark Royal and an Armed Merchant Cruiser in the ship yard and plan to finish off a ship every couple of weeks or so to get myself off the habit.

It's the WW1 Gaming Event at the Armouries this weekend so I might see you there.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Project Jutland - A Grand Day Out

FIASCO Leeds Royal Armouries 2016

SMS Derfflinger in action.
A quick update on the Project as this week saw the first public outing for the game, my local wargames club in Leeds has run the FIASCO show for many years and it seemed like the perfect place to get all the models on the table for the first time, after all most of the committee have been involved in the playtesting at some stage getting a table wasn't going to be an issue.

There was never any real intent to game the action on the day, club members are busy with various bits and pieces during the course of the show so dedicating time to rolling dice would be a bit difficult.

I had ironed the cloths before hand but that and an uneven table weren't ideal, we also had an issue with our projector which didn't work as we would like as it was too bright in the corner we were in but Soldier on we did.

The table is 8 Foot wide at the flag end and then 12 ft deep before a 12 ft x 4ft end T to allow the end of the German line to fit on. Even with this size of table there wasn't much space left, you can see how close some of the British Ships are to this end and the rear of the German line was 3cm from the far corner.

The set up was based on the above map showing the Fleets at 18.30 just as the big guns opened up prior to the first turn away by Scheer, it's the best time for getting the maximum amount of ships on the table on the table at one time. Queen Mary and Indy sadly stayed in the box so their are just 248 ships on the table.

The 5 Minute Fleet hoping it doesn't see action
Our gunnery ground scale is 1cm = 125 yards and with Marlborough opening fire at 13000 yards this is how the actual game will look. With visibility being a key factor in the refight we can afford to flatten the T out to make a 18 x 8 game for the attempt at this action. It will mean about half of the German High Seas Fleet will start off table but as it can't be seen anyway it's not really an issue.

We had lots of people come up and chat about various aspects of the game. It was great to talk to people who had followed the progress of the Project on this blog, I think there was only about 20 minutes in the day when I wasn't chatting to someone. I did notice a few people who came up whilst I was mid conversation and my apologies to those I didn't get to speak to.

British Line
German Line
So next time out it will get "for real", back at the Royal Armouries for their WW1 gaming weekend where we will be hoping to do some gaming ! If your around come and say hello.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

X Wing - The Campaign - Game 28 - Get that "Bleeping" Droid

Princess Leia on the Run

Welcome back, after a long break for Jutland related activities, if you didn't know this is a continuation of the X Wing Campaign, full explanation and details of Campaign rules are here. The set up page is updated on a regular basis. The upgraded Imperial List is in play.

Mission Briefing


We have received a long range message from the Tantive VI which has the vital supporter of the Rebellion, Princess Leia on board. She is carrying crucial information about the Death Star in a rather excitable droid.

The ship has been under attack from an Imperial Star Destroyer and managed to narrowly jump away however the jump drives have now failed and the Princess is in a vulnerable position whilst the repairs are underway.

It's highly likely that the Imperials will launch an attack with whatever forces they can muster so get in position and protect that ship.

May the Force be with you"

Team "Rebel Scum"

Rick O'Shea in his K6/B Wing (Hex Ace) (Squadron Leader)
Spike Sharpie, PS 4 E Wing (Quad Ace)
Pop Cicle, PS 4 K-Wing (Ace)
Captain Tangent, PS3 T-70 X Wing
Ensign W K Junior PS4 T-70 X Wing (Ace)
Laa Laa Dameron PS1 T-70 X Wing (Rookie)
Tinky Winky Dameron PS1 A Wing  (Rookie)

Tantive VI with Princess Leia and R2-D2 as crew plus 22 points of upgrades chosen by Rebel Players.

Team "Glorious Empire"

Sqn 1 (on table)

Tie Interceptor  PS6 Royal Guard Pilot with Marksmanship
Tie Interceptor  PS1 Alpha Sqn Pilot Pilot
Tie Interceptor  PS 3 Avenger Sqn Pilot

Sqn 2 (on table)

Tie FO, PS 8 Omega Leader with Comm Relay
Tie FO PS4 Epsilon Ace with Comm Relay
Tie FO PS3 Zeta Squadron Pilot with Comm Relay

Sqn 3 (Roll for entry 1 attack die, from turn 3, Crit turn 3, any hit turn 4 else they arrive turn 5 random entry, d4 to determine table edge)

Tie Bomber, Major Rhymer PS 7, 2 x Concussion Missile, 2 x Plasma Torpedoes
Tie Bomber  x 2, 2 PS4 as above

Sqn 4 (Roll for entry 1 attack die, from turn 5, Crit turn 5, any hit turn 6 else they arrive turn 7 random entry, d4 to determine table edge)

Tie Fighter PS6 Dark Curse
Tie Fighter PS 3 x 1 & PS1 x 1

Empire ship selection is as follows, 2 Imperial ships per Rebel player, half start on table. Divide into 4 Sqns, No 1 will be Interceptors, 2 Tie F/Os 3 Bombers and 4 Standard Ties. First pilot in each Sqn will be a random named pilot remaining are random Sqn Pilots. All upgrades are random.

Set Up

Hwk is a K Wing mapping program not updated

Game should be played on a 5 x 3 table.

Set up

Rebel Players set up the Tantive up in the centre of their table edge and put their ships within range 3 of the large ships base.

Imperial players set up on their table edge.

There is no other Terrain.

The game will last until a victory is obtained.

See Special Rules for game play.

Special Rules

Tantive Hyperdrive - The drive is currently not functioning, during the energy allocation phase the Rebel Player may place upto 4 energy tokens on the hyperdrive card. At the end of the turn he rolls 1 Attack die per Energy token in the box. Each 2 hits (Not Crits) gain a Hyperdrive Token. After the dice are rolled the Energy Tokens are removed.

6 Hyperdrive Tokens are required to fix the drive.

After turn 1 the rebel player will gain 1 Attack Die per Hyperdrive Token in the box. Any Crit Hits by Imperial ships on the rear section of the Tantive will remove an Energy Token.

Jump to Hyperspace  - To leave the table you need to declare your attempt and then try and gain 2 critical hits, hits from previous rolls carry forward. You cannot attempt to jump until after turn 4.

Turn 1. Roll 3 attack die
Turn 2. Roll 3 attack die + Pilot Skill / 2 (round up)
Turn 3. Automatically jump

Large Ship Bases - Ships may come into contact with the base of the Tantive and fly over or onto it with no adverse effect and can fire \ be shot at as normal.

Victory Conditions

Rebel Victory - The Tantive exits the table using its Hyperdrive or no Imperial Ships are left on the table.
Imperial Victory - The Tantive is crippled or leaves the table at sub light speed.
Draw - Any other result.

How did we get on

Well first of all apologies for the delay with this one, we actually played this game back in August but a combination of holidays, work and the mighty Project Jutland have delayed most things none WW1 Naval.

We continue to grow even after two years of this madness and we had Seven Rebel pilots mustered for the game and this week saw our second new Rookie in 2 games, so everyone welcome Tinky Winky Dameron, Poe and Laa Laas other brother.

Turn 2 didn't go too well for the Rebels as the K Wing somehow managed to get itself out in front of the rest of the Rebels and into the sights of the three Interceptors who had maintained a tight formation. Some nice shooting and the Pop Cicle was down to 1 hull point very early in the game.

After the establishing the worlds worst ever mission to kill ratio Captain Tangent seems to have come into his own recently, I think he deserves the nickname "The Vulture" as he managed to scoop another kill in this game finishing off a Tie F/O which Rick O'Shea had just failed to finish off.

Turn 4 saw the Bombers come into play but rather then go mission critical they started chasing Rebel Scum around the table which was to cost the Imperials dearly, The Tantive was building up energy but still had enough power left to take out one of the Interceptors as they broke through the Rebel lines towards the prize.

After getting some decent hits on the big Rebel ship the Interceptors were all gone the next turn as the Tantive first took one out and then Laa Laa managed to notch up his first kill in his second game as he vapourised the last of that Squadron.

The Imperials were in trouble now, out numbered and with the main strike force dogfighting time was running out. The Bombers were silenced one by one after having some success on the Tantive however the last flight of Ties were delayed and when the last Tie F/O accidentally flew off the table on turn 7 before the Standard Ties arrived the Rebels won by default as there were no Imperials on the table.

The only conciliation for Team Empire was the comedy moment when the Rookie A Wing flew off the table (must have been something in the water tonight) coupled with Spike Sharpies Z2-K8 Droid which flatly refused to do anything all game.

Result (2 pts for a win, 1 for a draw)

Rebel Win

Campaign overall score is, Empire 24 pts, Rebels 32 pts

X Wing madness will return with game 29 on 2nd of November 2016 when our intrepid pilots will be trying to steal an experimental Imperial Fighter.

Lesson 1 stay on the table !


Jim head mechanic in the Rebel Garage is mostly wearing Navy Blue Court Shoes

Pilot upgrades prior to start of game 28


Rebel Pilot results below,

Pilot Spike Sharpie - E Wing (PS4), survived, 0 kills, 4 GC - Totals, Missions 28, 24 GC, 21 kills
Pilot Rick O'Shea - K6/B Wing (PS6), survived, 1 kills, 7 GC - Totals, Missions 27, 11 GC, 38 kills
Pilot Pop Cicle - K Wing (PS4) survived, 0 kills, 3 GC - Totals, Missions 21, 4 GC, 6 kills
Pilot Captain Tangent - T70 X Wing (PS3), survived, 1 kill, 4 GC, Totals, Missions 16, 9 GC, 3 kills
Pilot Ensign WK Jnr (PS4) - T70 X Wing survived, 1 kill, 7 GC- Totals Missions 11, 12 GC, 10 kills
Pilot Laa Laa Dameron (PS1) - T70 X Wing survived, 2 kills, 7 GC - Totals Missions 2, 9 GC, 2 kills
Pilot Tinky Winky Dameron (PS1) - A Wing survived, 0 kills, 2 GC - Totals Missions 1, 2 GC, 0 kills

Performance of note - Ensign WK Jnr became a double ace.

Not Present

Pilot Crank Case - Y Wing (PS4) Totals, Missions 20, 3 GC 13 kills
Pilot Obi Two - X Wing (PS1), Totals, Missions 2, 3 GC, 0 kills
Pilot Oi M'Groin - Y Wing (2), Totals, Missions 4, 3 GC 0 kills
Pilot Sir Jeremy Dodger - X Wing (2), Totals Missions 3, 7 GC, 2 kills
Pilot Twiki Bond - A Wing (1), Totals Missions 1, 6 GC, 0 kills
Pilot Baby Brian - X Wing (1) survived, 0 kills, 1GC - Totals Missions 3, 1 GC, 0 kills

Roll of Honour (At the going down of the twin suns, we will remember them)

Pilot Brian sadly lost after only 2 missions, RIP
Pilot Commander Wayne Kerr veteran of 7 Missions, RIP

Ship Zone

Uber geeks area for those who want to see what our intrepid pilots fly.

A Kalidor Crescent is bought for 5 GC and adds a pilot skill slot.

Spike Sharpie, Kalidor Crescent with Sniper Trait - E Wing with Shield Upgrade & Z2-K8 Droid

Pop Cicle - K Wing - with Advanced Homing Missiles, Auto Turret and Flechette Torpedoes

Rick O'Shea, Kalidor Crescent x 3, Lighting Reflexes, Playing Possum and Chess Player- K6/B Wing with Heavy Laser Cannon, Engine Upgrade, Advanced Sensors, Chaff Dispenser and Advanced Proton Torpedoes

WK Jnr - T70 X Wing with R2-D2 mech, Kalidor Cresecent and Danger Sense.

Crank Case, Kalidor Crescent with Barrel Roll - Y Wing with Adv Proton Torpedoes (x2) and Plasma Cannon Turret.

Captain Tangent - Kalidor Crescent, T70 X Wing unmodified.

Laa Laa Dameron - T70 X Wing unmodified.

Tinky Winky Dameron - A Wing unmodified

Obi Two - X Wing unmodified.
Baby Brian - awaiting new ship
Oi Mi'Groin - Y Wing with R10 Astromech and Autoturret
Sir Jeremy Dodger - X Wing with R2-D2 and shield upgrade
Twiki Bond - A Wing unmodified

Previous Game Links