Sunday, 18 December 2011

My attention deficit and a new year update!

It's been a while since the last post; work, energy and distractions have been conspiring against me I think. This post has been developing in draft form over a number of weeks so it is a bit of a ramble. I should really break it up into a number of posts but as I've been writing this on the blogger Android app it's in the too hard basket!

So what's been happening? Work has been pretty manic since I got back from holiday with a lot of report deadlines and presenting to Council, community boards and the local iwi forum. Fun and games really, I managed to avoid public speaking for my first 18 months in the job but recently the floodgates have really opened. Anyway, things aren't likely to quiet down at all in the week before Christmas.

I did manage to have an unexpectedly long weekend though, the lovely A being sent to hospital on last Wednesday afternoon with suspected appendicitis. Two days off work hanging around hospital with a very hurriedly packed bag devoid of wargaming entertainments ensued. Thank heavens for smart phones! Result being a very sore and drugged up A feeling like she's been whacked in the stomach with a bag of apples. The poor thing, very definitely un-fun and not to be recommended. Hooray for Tramadol! (Not the nicest of drugs as it turns out)

Along with this excitement, my adventures in Skyrim and football management heroics in FIFA haven't left me much time for painting. To be honest, around 5-a-side football and late evenings at board meetings I haven't really had the inclination to paint; a few virtual premier league fixtures or an icy dungeon of two being a bit more attractive.


I have started to get back into the swing of things, though much of what I've been doing has been in the imagination department without achieving much that's tangible. I picked up a paintbrush last weekend while A was working on a uni assignment, and black primed the bases on my Mortar platoon. I'm learning things as I go, such as why its a good idea to moderate your usage of grit on bases. I went a bit overboard with the consequence that the bases sucked up paint like nobody's business and the process took about 4 times longer than it should have. More surface area and I guess it has the effect of making the surface porous. I hope to finish these bases soon - so hopefully you will get to see photos of my first completed unit! Looking forward to that post, I can tell you.

The terrain that Garth and I ordered a while back has started to arrive. I'm impressed with the ruined Italian monastery; the pre-paint is nice and I'm looking forward to seeing it on the table. We've also had two sets of battlefield in a box rural roads arrive. Equally impressed with the quality, though I fear we may have gone overboard as there are a LOT of roads! Unfortunately Waylands was out of stock for the battlefield in a box rivers set so we were refunded. Will keep an eye on availability as I do intend to purchase them.

The next step for terrain will be trees, walls and probably some home made hills. If anyone could recommend products/brands we'd appreciate it; we're not really sure where to start when it comes to trees. We're also waiting on the release of Italian buildings by; if their north African range is anything to go by, they look to be good quality and very reasonably priced.

I've been listening to the "what would patton do" podcast during my commute to work and the frequent trips to Auckland to see A. I've been getting through their back catalogue at a fair rate of knots; I'm currently up to episode 20 out of approximately 30 episodes so far. I'm learning a lot from the podcasts, though given my lack of experience in actually gaming flames of war it's mostly been lessons in theory. It has REALLY been getting me amped to play this game, which is certainly at odds with the lack of progress I've made in the painting department.

I'm going to try and use this as motivation to get back on the painting wagon over my three week Christmas break. We've deliberately got little planned for the break; A and I are both a bit worn out from work and our 3 weeks in America at the end of October so we are looking forward to taking it easy and not spending money! We're camping up the top of the coromandel for new years, but apart from that I think it'll be a bit of hiking, relaxation and I'm hoping a bit of painting too. New Years update: despite the forecast I reluctantly succumbed to the others' enthusiasm and pressed ahead with the camping trip. They didn't bring wet weather gear and their tents leaked. Consequence: we left after the first night while we could still get over the ford. Lesson: don't let others' enthusiasm override the weather forecast and your own experience of local conditions!

My pace so far makes me regret somewhat opting for infantry as my starting army - there is so much to get through! I just need to keep my eye on the prize and get to it I guess! Unfortunately Garth won't be making it up over the summer so we won't be able to have a game together for quite some time. He has done a lot of painting and really is in a position where he can start gaming. I'm going to try and encourage him to pick up a game or two down in Wellington - he might as well receive some benefit from the hard work he's put in while he's waiting for me. The happy side of it is that it buys me more time!

One of the advantages of my army selection (NZ rifle company from the Cassino book) is that the miniatures will to a large extent ( subject to varying support options) be interchangeable with the early war source books such as hellfire and back and burning empires. This means that with some additional effort ill be able to play late war Cassino as well as early war Crete and Greece. Crete has got me particularly excited - I'd love to sit down with the hellfire and burning empires books and Anthony Beevor's 'Crete' and work out some historical scenarios. Kiwis vs Fallschirmjager! Perfect!

Lastly, the terrain mat from has finally arrived. We ordered it at the start of November and it just happened to arrive at the family business on the Saturday of Christmas Eve. After another attempted delivery after boxing day I went into panic mode a bit and left a note on the door for alternative delivery. At roughly $50 USD shipping wasn't that keen for it to be returned to sender! I must say that I think it's worth every penny it took to get it here. It looks great, appears to be very hardy and should be a much better and in-theme option than the old flimsy GW flocked-paper mat I have already. My only regret is that we didn't opt for a mat bigger than the 6'x4'. Oh, and that we didn't wait with basing so that we could match colours to the board. I definitely think that I'll go to them again for similar products. When we eventually make it to playing north Africa I reckon a large desert mat would be awesome!


Well I haven't got anywhere yet with infinity other than acquiring a starting force of miniatures. I bought human sphere recently and I've barely had the chance to open it! It's a pity really as the mechanics of the game excite me; I just can't quite see myself getting a force painted any time soon with so many flames of war miniatures at the front of the line. I have set myself a small goal for the summer, though, and that's to get the miniatures cleaned, prepped and primed. That way I can even have a go at trying the rules out on the table if the opportunity presents itself! While I haven't played it yet, I do see Infinity as a great game for my circle of friends (none of whom have expressed interest - yet) given its low buy-in cost, aesthetics, flexibility and cinematic mechanics. The sooner I get some form of miniature on the table to demonstrate the better!

Unfortunately, I'm not realistically going to be able to participate in the infinity tournament that's being organised as a part of a larger tournament in Auckland early next year. There has been some discussion of it amongst kiwis on the infinity forums for some time now - in fact (and a bit embarrassingly) I think it was my discussions with community members about starting infinity that partly prompted the discussion that lead to the idea to include an infinity segment in the tournament. Feel bad for not making it, but unless I have a painting epiphany in January I can't see it happening!

In other Infinity news, I read on the interwebs that a campaign/scenario supplement may be released in early 2012. I waxed poetical on the matter in an earlier blog post, and I must say I'm still that enthusiastic. I may not be close to getting infinity on the table, but I'm a sucker for rules books!


Well I'm still waiting on the warhammer historical books I've got on order - Trafalgar, two old west supplements and the two warmaster ancients rulebooks. Bought and paid for might I add. They hadn't arrived after a good 6 weeks, and after a few weeks of not having my emails replied to I sat up late so that I could telephone during UK opening hours. The guy on the phone was apologetic and polite, and arranged for new copies of the books to be sent by priority courier, the tracking code for which he would email to me. Well I haven't yet recieved an email with the tracking code, and three weeks on the books haven't arrived. Understandable perhaps given that it is Christmas time, but I really don't think there is much excuse for the poor customer service. Frustrating! I guess I'll sit up late this week and make another phone call. New Years update: still no sign of the books and no contact from them. Looks like I'll be making another phone call in a week or so. Really, deeply disappointed in their performance. In this day and age it just isn't acceptable.

That's probably enough for one post - I've other things I'd like to post about but this has been languishing in draft long enough! And sorry to ignore your advice re: aesthetics on this one Frontline - I'll make more of an effort when I'm not posting off my phone!

I hope to talk about my historical gaming interests, board games (of the wargame variety), video games and blogs that I've found particularly interesting and inspirational during 2011.

Happy New Year and cheers!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Glorious distractions

Just a quick update to explain away my quietness on the blog over the last two weeks!

Having not been properly gainfully employed for too long (I was quite some time at university) the novelty of regular pay has not worn off even after 22 months in the job.  I don't expect that it ever will!  Up until late October I'd only taken about two weeks of my annual leave entitlement; we get 4 weeks each year in New Zealand so I'd managed to accrue a fair bit.  The great thing is that it's paid leave so I came home from my three-week holiday to the Americas flush! And promptly went and built myself a new gaming PC...

I did do my best to justify the purchase, at least rhetorically!  My older PC was a Core 2 Duo that I built back in 2005/2006.  It certainly wasn't on it's last legs and could play most new games that came out - though on low settings (thankfully I'm mostly a fan of RPGs and strategy games which aren't spec whores like cutting-edge first person shooters).  But I thought what the hell, I'd got 6-7 years out of my old computer, I don't know when I'm likely to have extra cash in the future, and to be honest with the way compute technology is at the moment its the perfect time to build a gaming computer.  The technology race has slowed down a bit to the point where brand new upgrades only give minimal improvement and there isn't a whole lot of contrast anymore to affordable PCs.

Anyway, the connection to wargaming is that I've been a bit distracted by new games over the past two weeks, while also getting back into the swing of things at work after my holiday.  My gaming purchases are the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and FIFA 12.  The consequence of this is that I haven't actually achieved anything in the wargaming field since Garth and I ordered some terrain from Waylands back on 13 November.  I'm going to have to get disciplined and at least try and do a little bit every night.  We shall see.

As for the games, I'm really loving them.  I haven't been able to play anything at the top end of the spec spectrum in a very long time; it's just wonderful how smooth and beautiful the graphics are.  I guess a fairly chunky graphics card, a Core i7 and 16Gb of RAM do that!  Yes!  16Gb!  Just insane.

Skyrim is so very much better than Oblivion; I'm very impressed.  The world is so much more interesting, and the atmosphere and flavour of everything really pulls you in.  It's the first Elder Scrolls game that I've really enjoyed playing.  I dabbled with Morrowwind and did my best to get into Oblivion (Morrowind was certainly better than Oblivion in my opinion), but neither of them had the combination of aesthetics, gameplay and atmospherics that Skyrim has.  The ambient sounds and tension as you work your way through wight-infested barrows really are very immersive - and the fights are a lot of fun.  Anyway, enough gushing.

What is in the immediate future for wargaming?  Well firstly I'm going to finish basing my Kiwi mortar platoon.  Secondly I'm going to finish cleaning and prime a Commonwealth platoon and then into the grind of painting.  It isn't going to be a quick project, especially with Summer coming up, but I'd at least like to get those two things done before Christmas.  I'd also like to make a start on one of my Infinity miniatures.  All that beauty in a box and it's just sitting there.  Need to get onto it.  I've also got terrain to make and a table to build.  It does seem a bit insurmountable at the moment, especially considering that this weekend just been was my first weekend at home in two months.  Hopefully I'll have a quiet Christmas holiday!  I'm taking three weeks off so in between hanging out with the lovely A I'd like to get some painting done.

In other matters, the books that I bought from Warhammer Historical in their sale have not yet arrived (I ordered them on 5 and 12 October and previous parcels have taken under three weeks to arrive).  I bought Trafalgar, Warmaster Ancients, Warmaster Ancient Armies an two of the Legends of the Old West supplements.  To be frank, I'm a little pissed off.  I've sent two emails to Warhammer Historical over the past two weeks and have not yet had a reply.  Today I posted a message to them on their website.  If I don't hear from them in 48 hours I'm going to give them a call - not my preferred option given the time difference and the cost of calling international, but I probably don't have much choice in the matter.  It's a little bit frustrating really.  I love the products but the retail service they provide really isn't up to the modern standard.  Their books are probably overpriced, and their shipping definitely is.  I'm willing to pay full price for the books because they're great products, but when you pay premium dollar you expect premium service.  I'm not really pissed off with the staff; I'm sure they're understaffed and get minimal support from GW, including investment in an adequate online shopping solution.  I'm so used to receiving automatic notifications and prompt customer support that it really gets up my nose when an online store doesn't provide it - it's got to be a fundamental aspect of conducting business online I reckon.  So the punchline is, if you're going to purchase products from Warhammer Historical be aware that you're not likely to get much customer service.  I'm unlikely to shop with them again.

Anyway, enough of a rant.  Best wishes to everyone leading into Christmas, I'll let you know of any progress I make with the painting!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Viva Las Vegas and no habla espanol

Well I made it back safe from my trip! Didn't get arrested, mugged or sick (well, sick that wasn't related to jagermeister and my debut cigar) so I think it was a success!

The short of it is, I really didn't like LA, Vegas was fun but crass and exhausting, Oaxaca was beautiful, and San Agustinillo on the Oaxacan coast was simply amazing. I'm not in a hurry to go back to urban America (though I'd love to go back and do the western national parks), but I will definitely go back to Mexico. Such a great place with fantastic cuisine, friendly and hospitable people, and some must see sights. And pretty cheap too!

So things have obviously been a bit quiet on the wargaming front. I've got 400 blog posts to catch up on in my Google reader (along with 300 work emails to catch up on during the day) to begin with, and I haven't managed to get near any painting since I've been back. I did have to go down to Wellington for a course on my first day back at work, so I stayed with Garth and in between beers we ordered the beginnings of our terrain table. A work in progress.

In other news, much of my time this week has been spent ordering and putting together the components for a new pc. One of the joys of paid annual leave - you come home flush! I'll post some details when its done, but suffice to say, skyrim will be beautiful!

I'll leave you on an interesting note...I went to the gun store in Vegas and shot an MP40 and an M249 SAW. Good fun! The MP40 was pretty soft, certainly a spray weapon. I shot a pretty tight group with the SAW though so happy with that!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Hasta la vista!

Well I'm flying out for Los Angeles first thing in the morning, so I won't be posting on the blog much over the next few weeks.  It's possible that I will get the chance to post something while I'm away, though I won't be doing anything related to wargaming other than thinking idly!

We've got two days in LA, during which the lovely A intends to hug a few cartoon characters, before picking up my brother and his girlfriend from the airport and driving to Las Vegas.  We're heading there to a wedding of a highschool friend of mine, and will be there a week.  There will be some pretty epic piss-ups there I'd say - it's not every day you get to have a stag do in Vegas after all!  We'll be doing all of the usual things, including a token bit of gambling (I'm not a gambler), a trip out to the grand canyon, and going to a show of Cirque du Soleil.  Should be fun!  I'm just really looking forward to some time off work and being able to relax and blow some money without a conscience.  I've been saving for quite a while for this trip so have really been skimping.  It'll be a relief to just let loose.  Fortunately I'll be getting paid while I'm away (this working thing rocks - paid annual leave!) and the back pay for this year's pay review will also be deposited into my bank account while I'm away.  I'll be coming back more flush than when I leave!  Not a bad place to start with some purchases for my wargames table eh?!

So after Las Vegas we're flying to Oaxaca for 4 days (splitting off from my brother and his girlfriend who are spending some time in Mexico City).  We're doing a cooking course with a local chef and will hopefully make it out to see some of the local artisans.  After that the girls are heading home and my brother and I are heading to the coast to a place called San Agustinillo on the Pacific coast.  I gather it's relatively secluded and totally relaxing!  Should be a nice change of pace before we get on the long flight back to New Zealand.

Anyway, back to wargaming.  Not too much has been happening, though I have made a bit of progress over the last week.  I've started basing my mortar platoon. I've built up the bases with a polyfilla product, glued grit on top of that and sealed the grit on with another coat of watered down PVA.  Now that the PVA has dried (and when I'm back from holiday) I'll brush undercoat it with primer, apply a base coat or two of green ochre, and dry brush light flesh over the top (see Garth's photographs below for the effect of this paint scheme - I rather like it).  I've got various flocks, static grasses and shrubbery to apply to finish it off.

I've also started cleaning my first Commonwealth Platoon.  Sadly I didn't meet my goal of having the whole platoon primed before I leave - I've just been too busy!  I have really got back into the bug over the last week and I guess the opportunity to do some more painting is something to look forward to for when I get back from my holiday.

I've made a few more purchases towards my NZ rifle company over the last few weeks.  My 2nd and 3rd Commonwealth Rifle Platoons arrived, along with a pack of snipers.  I've subsequently ordered and received a blister of Royal Engineers (with the intention of incorporating them with the sticky bomb figures from the commonwealth platoon to form the company pioneer section) and another pack of PIATS.  I should have enough to really flesh out the infantry part of my company as well as some of the optional choices.

In other news, in a moment of weakness I went and ordered Infinity: Human Sphere while Maelstrom still had it in stock.  It arrived about a week later which is pretty impressive!  I haven't had the chance to look at it yet; it's now waiting for when I return from holiday, after which I'm heading straight to Wellington for a work seminar - perhaps I'll take it on the plane.

The only thing I'm waiting for now is my order from Warhammer Historical.  Garth's has arrived; hopefully mine hasn't gone astray.

Anyway, I'd better go and get a bit of sleep before the long flight tomorrow.  I've just returned from a dinner at a great Japanese restaurant, complete with Sake - so I've got a bit of a glow on so I probably need the sleep, and a bit of hydration!

Take care guys, cheers!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Warhammer-Historical kaput?

I've gone a bit mad over the past few weeks with the 50% off sale at, picking up copies of Trafalgar, Warmaster Ancients, Warmaster Ancient Battles and two supplements for Legends of the Old West.

I'm glad that I did.

I wrote to the people at Warhammer-Historical when they shifted to telephone only sales on the core rulebook for legends of the old west asking if I could still obtain a copy. They wrote back three days later to tell me that it was now out of print and unavailable for order. I replied with a question as to whether there was any likelihood of it being reprinted in the future, to which question I got the answer "sadly this is highly unlikely".

I surmise, then, that this sale was probably designed for the purpose of clearing out all remaining stock in anticipation for warhammer historical shutting its doors. This is only guess work on my part, mind you. It could be that they're discontinuing their support for earlier rulesets, or as I have seen suggested on various blogs and forums around the internet, as a precursor to a pdf only business model. These latter two options seem strange when you consider that warhammer historical have only recently published a number of titles. Why else would they be liquidating their stock if not in anticipation of closure? I confess that I don't know enough about publishing or retail to answer this question. Perhaps one of you might.

If this is indeed the end of warhammer historical, I'm sad. It's been around a long time; it was certainly around back when I first started wargaming back in the late 1990s to early 2000s. To me it represents a part of the company that still gets pleasure out of making games for gamers. Without warhammer historical and the specialist games, all we're left with are the cash cow core games and abominations such as dreadfleet. As far as I'm concerned, no thanks.

I do wonder what possessed GW not to make a go of their warhammer historical line. The books are quality products which they could have sold to gamers of their core games looking for something new (who would likely still consume their hobby products lines if not their miniatures), or anyone else who happened to see a book on the shelf of their FLGS and pick it up, having been sold on the impressive production values. It must have been able to make money for them. They effectively just choked the products off by only making them available on their website. I think the problem is likely to be that the products do not fit within the business model of GW's retail arm (if you'd like to pursue this discussion further, please see an excellent article on the topic on the frontline gamer blog, see my blogroll).

I also feel for the talented folk who have poured their time and energy into these products. They're clearly passionate about what they were doing, and equally clearly they wanted to share that passion with us. A pity they didn't work with another publisher willing to give their products support.

I hope that I'm wrong; if I'm right, it's a shame. In the meantime, Garth did manage to pick up a copy of LotOW! Phew!

(p.s. sorry for any formatting issues, I'm blogging from my phone in bed and it's possible that the paragraphing won't pull through.


Sunday, 9 October 2011


It's about time that I reported on my wargaming goings-on.  I've had a busy few weeks around work and trip planning.  Unfortunately my painting output has been very low; I hope to remedy that and get at least something done before I head on holiday in two weeks!  So what have I been up to?

I've been acquiring the necessary materials for basing my mortar platoon for flames of war.  This has meant purchasing various types of basing grit and flock from Waylands, as well as grabbing more mundane items such as PVA glue and Selley's "filla".  Now it's just a matter of plucking up my courage and having a go at it; having not used the filla material before I'm a wee bit nervous about how easy it will be to apply and fearful about ruining the miniatures.  Probably nothing to worry about!

I made some progress with my read-through of Waterloo over the weekend (though not much).  So far I'm finding it very easy to follow.  It's got enough of the Warhammer mechanics to make it familiar while at the same time being very reflective of the period.  Definitely a bit less of a mouthful than General de Brigade to begin with, and I look forward to trying the rules out.  I'll post some more detailed thoughts when I've finished my read through; though my comments won't be of much value in respect of its worth as a ruleset given my relative inexperience!

The courier man has been busy on my behalf over the last two weeks.  The Flames of War supplement "Hellfire and Back" for early-mid war Africa/Mediterranean has arrived, and I must say I'm very impressed with the quality of the book.  It is beautifully hard bound and not much smaller than the Flames of War core rulebook, which is a bit of a beast in itself.  I haven't really taken too much time to look into it yet as it won't be providing the list for my first Flames of War army (I'm going late war Cassino for that).  I think the book will provide the list for my second army though - either an adaption of my late war kiwis into early war Div Cav, or a British Armoured Squadron for the desert.

The first of the Commonwealth Infantry platoons I ordered from Wayland Games has arrived, with two more and a sniper blister still on the way.  I haven't done anything more than unpack them and arrange them into their stands.  I'm very happy with the sculpts; they're very dynamic and characterful, and I'm glad that I decided to go with them over the late war Rifle Company miniatures.  I've been playing around a lot with the list on, and I'm just not sure what else I'm going to take.  This is the difficulty in not having played any games yet (well, no proper games) and not having a firm idea as to the relative strengths of different units.  At the moment I'm thinking of keeping things fairly balanced, with some mortars, HMGs, AT guns, artillery, recon (armoured cars or carriers - I'm quite enamoured of the Staghound) and an Armoured Platoon of Shermans.  I'm a bit worried that this is spreading things a bit thin though.  I think I'll get this army together, run it, and then make changes accordingly.  That way I'll have the full range of options right from the get go and so will have plenty of flexibility.

My order of Infinity from Maelstrom Games has also finally arrived!  It appears that the parcel was missent to Vancouver.  Not sure how Vancouver could have been confused with the Maori name of my home town or with New Zealand; I'm just glad it got here!  It'd taken quite some time for the items to get back in stock with Maelstrom, and when they shipped Garth's order of Nomads shipped at the same time.  His arrived 2-3 weeks ago, and I've been watching the post anxiously ever since.  I've taken a look at the miniatures but little else.  Once again I'm impressed with the level of detail and the dynamic poses of the miniatures "in the flesh".  I don't think I'll get to painting these in a hurry as I'm trying to prioritise my Flames of War so that I've got something on the table to game with.  The temptation might get me over the summer though, we'll see.  I've had a private message from a kiwi on the Infinity Community Forums about having Infinity at the next Battlecry.  Sadly I'm unlikely to be in the position to play in time for the tournament, but I'd very much like to attend just to take a look at Infinity in action as well as seeing the other games that people play.  I've had very little exposure to other gamers yet other than Garth given where I live, so I'd definitely like to take the opportunity to "get out".

I've also been caught out by a 50% off sale at the Warhammer-Historical website!  The sale popped up just after I'd bought the Waterloo book for $80.00.  Typical!  I couldn't really resist though, and picked up Trafalgar, Warmaster Ancients and Warmaster Ancient Battles all for half price.  Garth picked up copies of Waterloo and Legends of the Old West (he's since gone and bought some Black Scorpion miniatures - they look cool!).  I bought Trafalgar because I'm a sucker for the period and because Garth already has a copy.  We're pretty keen to give the game a go in the future, though it will be a while before it makes it's way to the top of our priority list for miniatures.  I bought Warmaster Ancients because I'm in love with half a hundred historical periods and I really doubt my ability and attention span as far as painting them all in 28mm goes!  Hopefully at some stage in the future Garth and I will be able to branch out into some 6-10mm wargaming.  I'd love to do War of the Roses to begin with!

Garth is looking at Legends of the Old West as a campaign skirmish game to replace his old love Mordheim.  We played a lot of the game in high school; sadly we let all of our miniatures and the original terrain go.  I remember enjoying the system a lot, though we did think that there were some limitations to the rules.  I like the idea of getting back into this kind of "progressive campaign" skirmish gaming, though.  To this end I went back to the Warhammer-Historical store a few days later to consider purchasing the rules; sadly they were only taking phone orders for them as they'd largely sold out.  Oh well.  I'm not sure I needed to buy another rule book - I've comprehensively failed in my resolution not to purchase any more!

So what else is on the cards?  No more miniature purchases, for a start!  Garth and I are planning on picking up a bit of terrain for Flames of War when I get back from holiday in mid-November.  I should come home with plenty of change, so I'm going to divert a wee bit of it towards a gaming mat (I'm thinking from and some pre-made terrain.  That will give us the foundation of the board, and we can work on making anything else we need from there.  Given my slackness with painting over the last 2-3 weeks (I've just been exhausted after work and weekends have been busy) I've decided to set myself a realistic goal for the two weeks before I go away.  I'm going to base my mortar platoon and have them finished, as well as clean and prime my Commonwealth Platoon ready for painting when I get back.  This is a little bit of work, but shouldn't get in the way of my trip preparations.

Speaking of priming, and as a closing note, I popped into one of Games Workshop's Auckland mall stores a few weekends ago to pick up a spray can of black primer (unfortunately no one will ship these to me, and I don't often get the chance to go wargames shopping in person).  While the lovely A stood outside and stared in horror, I negotiated my way through the melee and managed to reach the counter.  I sympathise with A, I really can't stand those stores and couldn't even when I used to play Warhammer/40k.  I think it's something to do with the concentrated teenage enthusiasm.  Anyway, when I was going through the motions of paying $30 for a can of black primer (when did things get this expensive?) I had a yarn to the GW staffer and he was a really nice guy.  We talked about the Waterloo book that had just been released (I think I sold it to him, haha!) as well as a wee chat about Warhammer-Historical's Kampfgruppe Normandy rules (he tried to sell these to me as an alternative to Flames of War for the WWII period - failed).  It goes to show that while I'm not at all a fan of the company, they do employ some nice people!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Procrastination happens on holidays too!

Hello everyone.

Being on 2 weeks leave (and the current crappy weather!) should have given me ample opportunity to get a serious amount of painting in. Trouble is it hasn't.
I find it absolutely astounding how much time I have been able to waste by eating copious amounts of toast and watching far, far too much Oprah and mid-day Television...

So, in the first week of my break I have only managed to get 2 Stukas completed out of the goal I set my self for the first week of 8 stands of infantry, 3 stukas and priming all my Tiger tanks.
I suppose I can console myself with the fact that I do have 4 stands of infantry that just need to be based.

Here are my completed Stukas.

I'm quiet liking how they turned out at the moment. I was a bit apprehensive of the colour scheme I had set out on, but it certainly grew on me while painting. There are a few things I would do better next time around. Perhaps some better research into making them look more historically accurate and I have made a few small mistakes on the decals but I can live with that.

Another thing that needs to be worked on is finding a better place to take photos of the miniatures...

Please feel free to comment, suggest and criticise!

Apart from that it has been a fairly exciting week in which I have spent large sums of money on buying Rulebooks and Boardgames!
Warhammer Historicals is currently having 50% off all their historical gaming rulebooks!! If you have been weighing up whether to purchase any of these products now is your chance! The average price of one of their books with the 50% off applied is about  NZ$20, with shipping to New Zealand at a flatrate of around NZ$12.
Between Mike and I we now probably have their entire collection (whether or not we utilize them is another matter).
I'm unsure of how long this promotion lasts but I kind of gather it will be a very limited time and a once in a blue moon opportunity.

The other thing I am excited about is my Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game from Fantasy Flight has arrived and I hope to be giving it a go sometime this weekend. From the reviews I have been reading it looks to be a fun game!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Post blogging furlough

It's been a bit of a lazy week for me in the blogging department I'm afraid.  I seem to be very low on energy at the moment; I'm going to bed tired and waking up tired.  All of the strong black coffee I'm drinking to get me through the working day probably isn't helping!  Just generally a bit run down after a long winter and football season I think.  That and I've had only 2 and a half weeks off work since I started this job 19 months ago!  This has largely been in aid of saving up enough leave so that I can go to a friend's wedding in Las Vegas in October.  We've got two days in Los Angeles, a week in Vegas and then we're flying to Oaxaca in Mexico for about a week and a half.  Really looking forward to Mexico, especially the local cuisine; hopefully my stomach is up to it, I plan on dosing myself on acidophilus yoghurt and plenty of active manuka honey before I go.  Probably just a placebo.  We'll see.  This travel newbie will probably be taught a lesson!  At least the lovely A is a bit of a travel veteran!

I'm hoping Oaxacan cuisine will blow my mind, rather than something else!

Anyway, all of this means that I've been having a bit of trouble sitting down to the painting table for any more than an hour on a week night.  With the lovely A down for the weekend, fishing in the Hauraki Gulf on Saturday and a bit of a lazy day on Sunday (eating the catch), I haven't got very far with the painting this week.  I'm almost done with the mortar platoon, so I will try and finish that at on Monday/Tuesday this week.  I'll either then start on a 25pdr or move on to try my hand at basing...I'll see how I feel.  It is a bit frustrating to be making such slow progress; hopefully I'll have a bit more energy after my time away.

I've been a bit busy on the shopping front, and I confess that I've broken my resolution not to purchase any more rule books!  I've gone and bought the Waterloo rulebook from Warhammer Historical.  Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Games Workshop at the moment and the way they run the Warhammer Historical "red-headed step-child" of their business is probably a case in point.  However regardless of other criticisms that might be made of Games Workshop, they have great production standards and graphic designers when it comes to books.  It really is a huge, gorgeous book.  Probably the highest quality rules book in my collection of rules books!  As for the rules themselves, well I've been a little daunted by the prospect of General de Brigade as my first foray into Napoleonic gaming, and a little underwhelmed by Black Powder and the philosophy behind it.  Hopefully the Warhammer Historical will prove to be a happy medium.  Garth and I are familiar with the way in which Games Workshop rules work (though this is apparently derived from the War of the Ring rules, which I haven't played), so this will hopefully mean that we can get up to speed quickly.  Did I spin that well enough?  To be honest I was really just sold on the big, beautiful book and had to have it!

Once I've had a chance to read through the book ill post my thoughts and some nice glossy photos. It will be a while before I'll be able to comment on the rules in a qualified way; hopefully Garth and I will be able to proxy a game when we catch up over the summer. Garth has also purhased the Warhammer Historical Trafalgar rules and has been making favourable noises so far. In these two rulesets we've got our favourite period of warfare covered. Regarding some extra motivations behind Trafalgar, we're both huge fans of Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey-Maturin series (the source material behind the Master and Commander film for the uninitiated) and the 1/1200 scale miniatures that are available look amazing. We really do have eclectic tastes. I look forward to reading about Garth's impressions of the book some time soon! As for the near future on this blog, I'll be continuing with a commentary on my meagre painting efforts and terrain/basing for our Flames of War project. I'll also be posting 'un-boxings' of each of my recent purchases as they arrive (Infinity miniatures, Flames of War sourcebook and miniatures still to come). I'll also be talking a little about my Friday night foray into 40k for he first time in 10 years (a mixed experience). Other ideas are a look at the 'wargaming' boardgames in my collection, as well as at what has really inspired me to wargame particular periods or genres. Enough for now! Cheers!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A few musings on the New Zealand Division

Just a few quick thoughts while I'm waiting on my dinner to cook.  My first awareness of the battle for Crete was through a painting that hung in my highschool library.  I think that it had been donated by the RSA (Returned Services Association) and I expect that it was a print, though it may very well have been the original.  The painting depicted troops from the New Zealand Division fighting off the descending Fallschirmjager.  I enjoyed that painting very much; I always get a little bit moist-eyed when I think about how magnificently brave all of those who participated in the war were, but I also think that my appreciation for the painting was also because it displayed New Zealand's place in history.  It's hard not to feel sometimes that we are so very far away from the important things that are going on!  Not a particularly forgiveable feeling given that I am well aware of New Zealand's history, and that I have an undergraduate degree in History!  I couldn't find any images of the painting online, I'll do some further digging and try and post one if I can.

Back to the basing for my Commonwealth Infantry, if I am to model them taking cover behind rock formations, then I'd also like to model a little bit of battlefield detritus along with them - perhaps some ammunition boxes, water bottles, discarded magazines, et cetera.  I haven't done any research into any miniature lines for these things yet, but I expect that there will be something along those lines being sold somewhere!

Garth and I have been exchanging a wee bit of banter while we've been planning our forces for Flames of War.  He thought that I should model flames onto my Churchill tanks to save time and hassle during our games.  My delighted riposte was that he should probably model his Fallschirmjager hanging from trees!

In other news, my copy of Hellfire and Back has shipped, as have a few other things.  I'll post an update and perhaps an unboxing when they arrive!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Commonwealth Infantry

Well I've made a decision in respect of my British infantry dilemma for Flames of War, largely due to seeing the pictures of LintMan's Commonwealth Infantry over at  I ordered a blister of the Commonwealth Infantry today, and will be using them for my Mediterranean British/New Zealand Infantry.  The plan is to save the Rifle Company Box for a Turning Tide company later on in the piece.  Garth impulsed purchased a Panzer Lehr box (cheap, it must be said) a while back, so it'll be nice to have something to face him with, though I imagine I'll get sick of painting infantry!  I've also got the Hellfire and Back book on order.  In the meantime, I'll finish off my British (Italy) Mortar Platoon and get to work on my British (Italy) Machine-gun Platoon.

Lintman's photographs have motivated me to consider doing some kind of scenic basing.  What I'd like to do is base the infantry on quite rocky terrain, for them to take cover behind, with patches of arid grass and the odd olive tree.  I've got a vision on what I'd like it to look like, it'll just depend whether I can find the right trees to go with it, or manage to whip them together myself.  If anyone knows of any such products please get in touch!

I've been looking at pictures of Cretan landscapes so as to get a feel for what the terrain is like (I'm hoping that the basing will pass for Italy, Crete and Greece).  I'd like to use somewhat spindly and asymmetrical trees to try and capture the look from the pictures above.  I get the feeling that slightly wind-swept trees (in one direction or another) might be easier to position on the bases as well.

From these next two photos I can see that there is some variation in colour in the shrubs and foliage.  To recreate this I might a greater mix of shades of static grass/flock.  The photo below shows that Cassino may be more lush (though this may depend on the season, this isn't exactly thorough research), though I think I can probably get away with a slightly more arid Italy (and the photographs from the war may not show a whole lot of forestation).


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Current painted miniatures.

Hi there.

Thought I might put up some photos of the stuff that I have done so far.
This weekend I have managed to get about 4 teams of FJ infantry done in full including basing and 2 teams painted up but not yet based, so a pretty busy weekend for me.

Hope you like them. Please excuse the photo spam ;)

Im happy with my efforts so far. I'll probably go back at some stage and do some more highlighting, particularly the German grey helmets.


Infinity reinforcements and a British mispurchase

Well it seems that Infinity products are back in stock at Maelstrom, as my last two orders have been combined and shipped after a delay of three weeks.  I wasn't at all worried as I have plenty to do in the painting department, though it's always nice to have a reason to check the mail in the morning.  Damned addictive internet purchasing.

Djanbazan with Heavy Machinegun
So a fair few Haqqislam reinforcements are winging their way towards me as I speak.  Once this order has deployed I'll have the following miniatures:

  • 3x Ghulam with Rifle and Light Shotgun;
  • 1x Jannissaire with AP Rifle;
  • 1x Naffatun with Rifle and Light Flamethrower;
  • 1x Hunzakut with Sniper Rifle;
  • 2x Naffatun with Rifle and Heavy Flamethrower;
  • 1x Djanbazan with Sniper Rifle; and
  • 1x Djanbazan with Heavy Machinegun.

Naffatun with Heavy Flamethrower
As a "WYSIWYG" list without any proxying, this comes to the following:


 GROUP 1 (Regs: 9/Irrs: 1):

  GHULAM Lieutenant Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife (13)
    MOV:4-4  CC:13  BS:11  PH:10  WIP:14  ARM:1  BTS:0  W:1  
    Regular, Not Impetuous, No Cube

  2x GHULAM Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife (13)
    MOV:4-4  CC:13  BS:11  PH:10  WIP:14  ARM:1  BTS:0  W:1  
    Regular, Not Impetuous, No Cube

  NAFFATÛN Rifle + Light Flamethrower / Pistol, Knife (10)
    MOV:4-4  CC:13  BS:11  PH:10  WIP:14  ARM:1  BTS:0  W:1  
    Regular, Not Impetuous, No Cube

  2x NAFFATÛN Rifle + Heavy Flamethrower / Pistol, Knife (12)
    MOV:4-4  CC:13  BS:11  PH:10  WIP:14  ARM:1  BTS:0  W:1  
    Regular, Not Impetuous, No Cube

  HUNZAKUT  Sniper Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife (25 | 0.5)
    MOV:4-4  CC:13  BS:11  PH:12  WIP:14  ARM:0  BTS:0  W:1  
    Irregular, Not Impetuous, No Cube
    CH: Camouflage, Infiltration, Deployable Repeater

  JANISSARY AP Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, CCW (45)
    MOV:4-2  CC:15  BS:13  PH:14  WIP:14  ARM:4  BTS:-3  W:2  
    Regular, Not Impetuous, No Cube
    Religious Troop

  DJANBAZAN Sniper Rifle / Pistol, CCW (33 | 1)
    MOV:4-2  CC:14  BS:12  PH:11  WIP:14  ARM:2  BTS:0  W:1  
    Regular, Not Impetuous, Cube
    Multiterrain, Regeneration, Multispectral Visor L2

  DJANBAZAN HMG / Pistol, CCW (36 | 1.5)
    MOV:4-2  CC:14  BS:12  PH:11  WIP:14  ARM:2  BTS:0  W:1  
    Regular, Not Impetuous, Cube
    Multiterrain, Regeneration, Multispectral Visor L2

 212 Points | SWC: 3

Army Infinity v.3.0. -

Hassassin Fiday
I'm unlikely to play a game at 212 points and I want a little more flexibility in my  options for 200 points, so I think the above will give me plenty of options to try out for 150 points, which is the limit that Garth and I are looking at starting with.  I'm not really interested in fielding a Hunzakut with Sniper Rifle as I'd much prefer to go with the Light Grenade Launcher option which will be a proxy.  I also have little interest in fielding a Naffatun with Light Flamethrower as I'm told they're much less effective than a Heavy Flamethrower at a small increase in points cost.  However, it is a 10 point miniature that I could slot in as an afterthought if I have 10 points leftover sometime.  Its also a nice model, and I'd be comfortable proxying it for a Heavy and using it.

Hassassin Lasiq
As for additions from here, I'd like to add a Muyib with Light Grenade Launcher (for a regular replacement for the Hunzakut, with higher BS), a Fiday for the brilliantly nonchalant pose and the potential for some close combat fun, and a Lasiq for the great sculpt and the supposedly deadly Viral Sniper Rifle.  I will also pick up the Khawarij miniature as I absolutely love it; I understand that it isn't particularly effective in the game at the moment, but I'm willing to give it a try purely because of the aesthetics and the fluff behind them.

It will be quite some time before Garth and I manage to get some Infinity on the table; I doubt we'll have had a full game by the end of February judging by the way I've been going with getting my Flames of War army painted (though I'd like to try out the rules mechanics with unpainted miniatures and slapped together terrain much sooner than that).  It's not just the painting though, it'll take me quite some time to get sufficient terrain together.  I'm also a little worried about the quality of my painting when applied to such lovely sculpts; I very much want to do them justice, so I'd like to get this 15mm Flames of War army under my belt, and hopefully some other 28mm figures, before I slap anything onto these miniatures.  I'd be grateful if anyone could point me towards some painting tutorial resources!  I'd like to carefully plan how I'm going to paint my Haqqislam miniatures.

As for the other half of the title, I fear that I may have made a bit of a misjudgement in my Flames of War purchases.  You see, I ordered the British Late War Rifle Company box and the Royal Artillery Battery box as the basis for my British Rifles force in the Italian theatre for Cassino or Fortress Europe.  However, the Rifle Company sculpts really are intended for Normandy/France rather than for Italy.  Indeed, Battlefront do produce British infantry for the Italian theatre in blister.  I was prepared to paint them in the Italy colour-scheme and just live with it; however, given that Battlefront has announced the release of the book "Burning Empires" covering the early to mid war periods in the Mediterranean, I think that this theatre will become the main focus for Garth and I in Flames of War, so I'd like for things to look right.  I will be patient, though.  On the off chance that Battlefront will release new sculpts in support of this book, I'll paint my British (Italy) MG Platoon next and hold off on making a decision on the late war company box.

The Games of War website has the following product for the Burning Empires book:
Burning Empires, The Battle for The Mediterranean, is a 184 page hardback book that includes:
  • The history of the Early War battles in Greece, Crete and Syria;
  • Italian Briefing: Fucileri, Blackshirt and Alpini forces;
  • Greek Briefings: Mechanised Battalion and Infantry Company;
  • German Briefings: SS, Gebirgsjager, Fallschirmjager and Luftlandesturm forces;
  • French Briefing: Infantry force playable as either pro-Axis Vichy or pro-Allied Free French;
  • Rules for Airbourne Assaults;
  • British, Italian, French, German and American Raiding and Garrison Forces for Early and Mid War raiding battles;
  • Four Raiding Missions and the Seize Outpost Mission, featuring the new Desert Fort; and
  • Painting Guides and inspirational colour photographs.
I'm pretty excited!  I'll go into the reasons for my interest in this theatre in a future post, but suffice to say both Garth and I are very keen to take a look at this book, and fortunately it ought to pit my British/Commonwealth Infantry against his Fallschirmjager again!

In addition to this blog, I'm also considering starting up a google group for our gaming group so that we have somewhere that we can keep each other apprised of progress, have a yarn, and organise ourselves for games.    If anyone has experience with using google groups and has any comment as to whether this might be worthwhile, I'd appreciate a chat!

Lastly, you'll note that I've been a little bit more creative with the placement of pictures in this blog post.  With the consequence that some of the picture margins aren't quite right and are encroaching onto the text.  If anyone knows an easy way of fixing this, please let me know!  I'm new to blogging (indeed, I'm new to anything but reading webpages), so I'm willing to take all of the help that I can get!