Saturday, 7 May 2016

Night Boat From Cairo

The next game takes place at the Port of Sidi-bin-kebabbi on the Nile (next Friday to be more specific). Von Holenstein and the Axis have to arrive, meet and then board the Paddle Steamer Osiris whilst the Allies and the Society of the Golden Dawn stop them.

Here are some preliminary photos of the wharf and jetty. The Jetty is new but expect to see recycled pieces of terrain in different guises as we make the most of what we have. It may well be the case that  cranes, boxes and market stalls re appear.

We await the arrival of the Paddle Steamer 'Osiris' known locally as the 'Night Boat from Cairo'. No doubt this game will be sheer Madness!

With apologies to Graham 'Suggs' MacPhearson

It’s just gone noon half past monsoon
On the banks of the River Nile
Here comes the boat only half afloat
Oarsman grins a toothless smile
Only just one more to this desolate shore
Last boat along the River Nile
Doesn’t seem to care no more wind in his hair
As he reaches his last half mile
The oar snaps in his hand before he reaches dry land
But the sound doesn’t dampen his smile
Just pokes at wet sand
With an oar in his hand
Floats off down the River Nile
Floats off down the River Nile
I see the Osiris has safely docked

Friday, 6 May 2016

Mid day at the Oasis

We had a short vehicle based skirmish game last week. The Axis and Allies had both sent scouting forces out to secure an Oasis. Locals were there to ensure the Infidels did not ruin the only source of drinking water in that part of the Desert.

Prior to the game all three sides rolled for aggression. Having nominated my scouts as Italians with DAK support,  I was required to suffer a -1 to my roll as a consequence of  the result of prior losses. If the Arabs rolled higher than the other two sides they would attack them on sight.

This was a speedy affair and although we had infantry mounted in the vehicles it was very much an ad hoc Axis Unit fighting the SAS and LRDG. You might very well predict the outcome, I couldn't possible comment.

Axis forces lined  up at the start

LRDG and the SAS on the Southern flank

The village complete with Angry Arabs and spitting Camels. Both sides headed towards the village with the Locals not surprisingly picking on the Italians and not the British

LRDG outflank the north of the village

Luigi is deployed from the Improved Heavy Flamethrower disguised as a Chianti Bowser and takes out the Local militia in a gush of flame. He is cited for crimes against humanity as he flames not just the enraged Arabs but also the rest of the village.

Gruber's 222 goes up in flames, the victim of repeated targeting by a Humber Armoured Car and a captured Italian 20mm Breda mounted on a Chevrolet Truck

 One small consolation is the solitary LRDG Truck that is hit by the Italians.

The Italian's were comprehensively defeated as they were picked off by the superior LRDG vehicles. The only survivor was Luigi and his Flame Truck.  He did however remove all the Arabs from play.

A quick enjoyable name. No infantry were deployed and it was an opportunity to reveal Luigi in his Desert Camouflage. The fuel line to the truck was made from some aquarium hose which was push over the top of lugs drilled and pinned into the truck and the back of his thrower.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Soviet plastics 2

I finally bit the bullet and started to prep my Soviet plastics in between finishing off a couple of Soviet metal uniform 'testers' and waiting for the base coat on my last section of DAK figures to dry.

I usually base my 28mm figures on 2pm pieces, but this isn't going to work in this case. The reason is that the figures don't have a 'mini base' of their own that can be used to provide some adhesion. Therefore I cut the first section off their sprues and pinned the soles of their feet to the round bases that came with the plastic set. Thankfully some bright spark made these round bases the same size as a 2p piece. 

I drilled though the whole base, pinned the figure and then filed off underneath to make sure the base was smooth. This left a small gap between the shoes or knees of the figure and the base. I filled that gap with green stuff to provide extra support and then textured the rest of the base with filler.  I could then prime the figures with AP Uniform Grey spray.  This helps seal the filler and hopefully should stop any crumbling.  I took a photo of one of the figures pre filling to give an indication of the gap that I left. They should end up the same 'thickness' as if I had based them in my usual style.

I also fixed the right arm on one of the kneeling figures as I wanted to test for a half decent fit for the SMG. Ideally I would paint then glue but I may have to change this process. I am fairly sure that I will add the heads later as that will make painting the uniforms easier.

I am painting a Shtrafbat or penal unit of unfortunate 'tramplers' . They will not all be armed and won't have full kit which is the advantage of the Warlord box set as the figures do not have moulded weapons. These unarmed figures are probably going to have to be those in the most active positions. I have a few spare arms so hopefully that will give a little variety outside of the arms that came in the set itself.

There is one prone figure per sprue. I was going to convert some of these to casualty figures but I picked up some resin casualties at Salute and can save myself the trouble.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Post Salute Thoughts

I probably spent longer than ever at Salute this year, leaving just after 4pm. I arrived early and stood in the queue gassing prior to entry as I wanted to get some of Annie's Female WW2 Soviets from Bad Squiddo Games before they sold out. Sure enough her stand was a veritable scrum of avid purchasers but I got what I wanted.  I then spent the next two hours wandering around with no real intent simply looking at what was what.

It did seem busier than last year and the downside of this was that I encountered a few rude individuals, ignorant of the  impact of their overly large rucksacks on others as they  forced their way through to the front of the trade stands. If you are that desperate for something, why not just pre order?

On the upside I then took the opportunity to play the Royal Navy Field Gun competition based on that which was part of the Royal Tournament, organised by the SL Warlords. Whilst I was there,  the elderly gentleman who moulded, cast and painted all the figures turned up and had a game. He (in the guise of The Fleet Air Arm) beat his grandson by a narrow margin of 4. The figures were excellent, especially the wheel men carrying the wheels across the Chasm.

The warlords said that they had already had ex Field Gunners announce themselves as well as an Instructor and one 'Referee'. I remember seeing this competition at Earls Court as a young boy. If this makes no sense to you then You Tube it. I doubt they would run it now for Health and Safety reasons but it is one of the things that defines the Royal Navy.

No photos of the game as it involves fast time dice rolling but the pre game set up and figures are below. Good simple fun.

As things quietened down I had a chance to spend my cash, picking up  Bicorne ECW musketeers on a whim (like I need a new period !) and some cheap Foundry Crimean Russians from Colonel Bill  so that I can add them to the already huge Crimean mountain.

I met an old friend for our yearly catch up over coffee and cake. This will be his last Salute as he has moved to Shrewsbury and will now go to shows closer to his new home.  I know he is looking for a club in that area. I also had a long chat with Dave Brown who was trialing his new Pickets Charge rules in an Antietam game before picking up some paint, spray cans of anti shine varnish and  the obligatory trip to Warbases.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Warlord sense of humour

Our internet has returned with the arrival of a new router.

I was checking the emails and found one from Warlord. After I had started reading it my suspicions were aroused and then confirmed by the date of the newsletter - 1st April. It related to the forthcoming release of some experimental WW2 Japanese Tanks that included these.

My favourite is the bottom one but Clint will appreciate that his VBCW carrier has similar problems to the middle tank.

The hyperlink to the article is here

Excellent stuff


Saturday, 2 April 2016

Soviet Plastics

Yesterday the postman arrived with a package for me from Amazon . I had a text from the Mk1 daughter whilst I was at work in which she confessed  that she had ripped the box open thinking it was 'Lush' soap only to find that it was 'my stuff'.

In the process of cleaning the sprues in warm water of one of the arms came off. Rather than risk losing it  I decided to dry fit one of the figures with the arms prior to giving him his PPsh SMG. One word sums this effort up, irritating. 

I would have preferred to have attached the arms then painted the guts of the figure before adding the SMG. However the blasted thing doesn't want to fit.  I tried several versions of the SMG and none seemed to work adequately despite a bit of shaving of the hard plastic.

I gave up in the end and returned to some basing. I will come back to the Russians once I have searched and looked at Intraweb guides as I am sure I am doing something wrong.

DAK Sentries

I have finished these beauties from Artizan Designs. Afrika Korps sentries.

I really like them for two reasons. The first is the quality of the miniature which makes them very easy to paint and highlight and the second is the fact that they are not 'fully loaded' with every standard piece of equipment known to man.

I particularly like the guy with the roll neck jumper under his tunic and the holder of the Iron Cross. I painted them using three different base uniform colours to reflect the mismatched and battle worn clothing of these gritty experienced troops.   Really pleased with the way these have turned out.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Indian slang

Today I was dealing with a matter at work when I came across the Indian term of a 'Lakh' or in my case 6 Lakh.

I had no idea which currency Lakh related to or if indeed it was a currency at all. I am reasonably good on these and can normally spot the difference between a Dong and Canadian Tire Currency.

A spot of research on Wikipedia (as always cross checked with other more accurate  sources) shows that a Lakh is 'usually' deemed to equate to about 100,000. It seems that in days gone by it represented the  rvalue of the maximum number of Indian 100 Rupee notes that you could fit or stuff in, wait for it..... 'a small suitcase' !

That the size of the suitcase is not stated nor why someone thought it necessary to distinguish between a small or medium sized suitcase is now immaterial and I suppose that this is the Indian equivalent of a UK 'wad' of cash.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Nightmare weekend

I have spent most of this weekend in a car. Or more accurately I have spent most of the weekend driving it.

On Friday morning we drove down to Plymouth to collect Mk1 daughter, then returned on Saturday   only to collect Mk2 daughter and Boyfriend Ver2.2 before heading to Cambridge for a 50th Birthday party. This was made all the more entertaining by filling up at a petrol station whilst dressed as Tom Baker in full 1970's Dr Who garb.

My original choice of costume was to go as Frank'n'Furter, Tim Curry's character from the Rocky Horror Show but thus was vetoed not just by the family but also by Boyfriend Ver2.2 The fact that he is named Brad rather disappointed me to be honest.

A good night but we returned home to find we had acquired an additional shower in the kitchen. Cue the turning off of the mains water.  Have you seen the cost of plumbers over Bank Holidays? We can wait until tomorrow for Bob the Builder to turn up, I went in early and deloused at work

On Sunday night we were hit by Storm Katie. One of our trees lost a large limb which collapsed on the neighbours fence as well as destroying the washing line and posts. Not impressed.

Today we lost the Internet. The router has 'big problems' according to the nice lady from Bulgaria who handled the call on behalf of Sky. New router on the way, just the small issue of paying for it.
The fact that the weather was nice where she was did nothing to allay the 'Snapchat' withdrawal of my 13 year old.

On the upside I was therefore able to justify some retail therapy and bought some more figures without complaint from the War Dept. Furthermore my Osprey on Russian Crimean Uniforms arrive whilst I was at work.

Back to the paints tomorrow for the last DAK push

Friday, 11 March 2016

Khazi Game Photo's

Some close ups of the game in Khazi.

The market in full flow. Thugee's can be seen sizing up potential victims

This is the Post Office with Murkovs Ice Cream Van next to it. Due to an unfortunate typographical error and confusion with the I and the U on the QWERTY typewriter keyboard, the sign placed on the door by the Constabulary following the robbery indicates that ''This Post Office is Shit'

This is the local Police Station. Please note that detainees have ready access to a cell containing complimentary fresh air before they are brought into the station to confess their guilt when questioned.

Rick's Cafe American in close up. The Henri Mankini quartet can be seen pounding out some serious tunes. The sanitary facilities include the only flushing toilet in Khazi.

The death of Roberto Mankini. Hacked down for the sum of 3 Gold Coins

Unpleasantness at Khazi

The Khazi game was played at the end of last year. It was a preamble for some more 'normal' Bolt Action games set in the desert. The game was a mixture of role play and house rules, nothing sophisticated, just some fun.


The  Axis and Allied commands are both seeking information from the occupants of the town that may help with the identification of the location of an ancient artifice. Both commands must enter the town and try and acquire as much information as they can. They have three agents each that can attempt to enter the town and interact with the locals.

The local Thugee's will interfere with any attempts by 'Foreigners' to enter the market. This may mean looting, robbing and murdering visitors.


The Allies and Axis had randomly determined bags of gold with which they could use to bribe the locals. Success/failure was on the roll of a D6.  Each gold coin was an extra 'blip' on a dice roll. The number of coins used to bribe had to be declared before the dice were rolled.

Both sides were given prior notice and had the opportunity of being creative in 'making money' on the day. Innovation would be rewarded!

Each side had three agents who were sent in one at a time.

Rich as Head Thugee had to disrupt Allied and Axis activity, the more disruptive the better. He had some scripted characters and events and some activation requirements.

The Game

Craig sent a van full of Allied troops dressed up,as Germans. He pulled up behind the Post Office, climbed onto the roof, forced his way in and then proceeded to rob it. Clearly he had put the acquisition of gold coins ahead of intelligence.

He was lucky, complete surprise, no 1's and sack loads of Egyptian Pounds. His troops were dressed in German Uniforms so that if it all went wrong the Axis took the blame ! Sneaky.......

However I was not using Germans in the game at all. I sent in my Italians, the first of whom was Mr Murkov, purveyor of the finest Italian Ice Creams who drove straight to the Police Station in his ice cream van to apply for his All Day Refreshment Licence. Very fortunately the Chief of Police rolled a double 1 and not only was the licence granted to sell ice creams anywhere within the town, but the cost was only a dozen Tutti Frutti Specials for the local constabulary.

The game continued with both sides gaining intelligence with varying degrees of success although Rich did intervene and robbed Craig of some valuable coins.

Unknown to Craig the Post Office in Egypt was actually run by Italians so in kidnapping the postmaster he had unknowingly incapacitated my Secret Agent.

Tragedy struck when Rich's Thug was a little heavy handed in robbing the archaeologist 'Roberto Mankini' striking him a fatal blow.This tragic incident took place directly outside Rick's Place where Roberto's brother, Henri, was playing with his Jazz Band.

I can't say too much on the success or otherwise of the intelligence gathering as that is something that has yet to be played out, but a good night was had by all.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Khazi, your new holiday destination

Retrieved from an old railway station, here are some photographs of the less than picturesque destination of Khazi. A hotbed of vice and avarice, the role of Chief of Police at this market town attracts those who wish to line their pockets with huge wads of cash.

From a distance and viewed through the (currently) unpolluted feature known locally as 'The Pond, Khazi looks like a desert travellers ideal Oasis

The view of the main through road and market area. The Post Office is centre on the left, Ricks place is to the right and the Police Station is at the far end of the market. All the buildings were scratch built as were the market stalls

This is a side view of the town, the Oasis is to the right (off camera)

The Police Station is to the right, next to it is the Mosque

Another view of the town from the opposite side looking towards the Post Office

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Flying Officer Lee

I like 'specials'. In particular I like them when they add something to the game. Not necessarily a character with special rules, more a special character. Rather like 'Welsh Dai' the shepherd who gets 'really annoyed' if one of his sheep is caught in the crossfire but otherwise plays no role and has no impact on a game,  vignettes and one off figures have the potential to add humour and chance.

Last year Warlord released a figure of Christopher Lee shortly after his death. Lee was a Flying  Officer in the Intelligence branch of the RAF and served in North Africa  (Including as a liaison officer with the SAS and the LRDG) and in Italy where he memorably served with the Ghurka Rifles at Monte Cassino.

There is lots of potential for scenarios here. Lee spoke Italian, French, Spanish and German fluently  as well as passable Swedish, Russian and Greek, meaning he could be placed in theatre almost anywhere in WW2 especially if you add in his known contact with the Ghurkas.

My FO Lee is now all painted and finished in Desert/Mediterranean kit. Just be cautious that he might turn into a Vampire if wounded!

Friday, 4 March 2016

The Eyes have it

One of the decisions that the average painter has to make when painting 28mm figures is whether to paint the eyes or not. I admit I have flittered with either painting in  or leaving the eyes over time. I have now come to the realisation that in most cases the quality of the miniature itself will dictate that decision. Either that or I cannot face painting the eyes of a unit of  32 Crimean Russians.

This week I have made steady progress with my DAK  to the point where I am putting together and basing the figures. Just a few tweaks will be needed to finish them and this should all be done by tomorrow. Most of these are Perry plastics but I bought the Artizan DAK sentry pack before Christmas and have undercoated them and started on the flesh work. The sculpts are really good and the temptation was there to 'do the eyes' because there are only four figures whilst the remainder of the Perrys are 'eyeless' with a dark wash giving the impression of eye sockets.

For a long time I had problems painting eyes until a friend 'God bless you, Jim' suggested that I paint the whites, then paint two straight lines in black. One vertical across the centre of the eye and the next horizontal across the top to represent the eyelid. This is very simple and avoids the Mad 100yard stare (in most cases). If you do get this then it is quite easy to touch up and 'repair'.

However you still get a few nightmares. As I am right handed I find it easier to paint the left eye than the right and occasionally it all goes a bit 'Pete Tong'. As an example, here is one of the sentries before he was given remedial eye surgery.

I have named him Kristoff Toon in homage to Christpher Lloyd's character in 'Who framed Roger Rabbit'. You might see the similarity !

Having read and heard this subject debated I have come to the conclusion that actually in most cases I won't paint the eyes in unless the figure is a 'character' or I otherwise deem it necessary. However that hasn't really helped and I am back to square one.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Rush commences and a new member of the team arrives

With just over a month to go before Salute I have a self imposed target of finishing my DAK before April 16th. They have sat in my cupboard for far too long, so long in fact that the blu tack temporarily basing them to their 2p coins is hard and brittle.

I intend to have the second squad and command finished by Thursday bar the varnishing and that will give me some time to prime and paint the remaining sprue plus the 4 Artizan DAK sentries that I bought recently before April.

This will give me a full Zug plus a 50mm mortar and ATR as well as a couple of sentries. Certainly enough for a desert skirmish or two but probably not enough to compete with Craig's LRDG and SAS. The one thing I have noticed is the difference in detail between metal and plastic sculpts. The Artizan figures are full of it where's the Perry plastics are, shall we say, a little bland. Having said that, from a distance you cannot tell which is which and that is the whole point.

Assuming that I finish these, next years plastics will be some Russians that I can hack away at and convert into a Penal Unit. That should be simple enough, even for me, no equipment and no weapons for half of them, the rest have only Moisin Nagant and a couple of rounds.  Of course the Commissars behind them might have a Ppsh or two 'pour encourages les autres'.

Photos of the DAK as they stumble into the sunshine in a day or two.

My brother gave me an excellent Christmas present the year. I present to you 'Keef' the Zombie gnome. Named after a certain musician who should theoretically be a Zombie given the amount of pharmaceuticals they have added to their bloodstream over the years, his role is to protect the gooseberry bushes on the allotment as well as laying down a few tunes. He came already painted, I was tempted to give him a couple of highlights and dipping him in Army Painter strong tone before he went outside.....