Sunday, 31 March 2013

Heroes and Villans

The work continues on the house....

American riflemen are inspecting the building work having chased off yesterday's Indians.

I have been reading Redcoats and Rebels by Hugh Bicheno.

It is a highly amusing read, particularly if you buy into the romantic Walter Scottesque version of the events presented as American History. The book has a supposedly parallel TV series, presented by Richard Holmes - which according to utube presents the British version of events. The series is interesting but Holmes is less pithy and certainly less caustic than Bicheno. And the view he offers is a perfect example of how television dumbs down subjects.

As for whether he offers a British view? Well let's just say he doesn't indulge in American jingosim and the hero worship of the myth of the Founding Fathers.

I mean who knew that while the Continental army was on the point of mutiny over not being paid or fed, that Franklin was skimming the 'aid' being sent by the French?

Though perhaps my favourite example of jingosism is this piece by Kassidy Emerson relating to the Female Hero of the American Revolution, Jane McCrea. Oh the irony of a loyalist woman, being killed by loyalist Indians, as she is travelling to be with her loyalist officer fiance - no doubt because of the harassment she would have suffered from rebels - being seen as a heroine of the Revolution. Especially as her death was used as propaganda against the Indians and would be used as a justification for the genocidal wars of the next century, and political correctness of renaming them native Americans.

And it is this war that intrigues me, and will be the focus for the forces I am building. Initially focusing on the Saratoa campaign, but expanding them to cover the New York State guerrilla wars that continued long after the main war had been brought to a conclusion.


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Exterior Decorating

The painting of the house progresses...

Once the painting is done, I will add the roof to the veranda, and do the basing.

And having discovered what my toddler did to my camera, here is non-blurry shot of the woodland Indians with the house...


Friday, 29 March 2013

No Place for Civilians

I have started painting the house, and ordered some trees and civilians - oh the joys of playing a game with civilians:).... oh that more games would actually have a context for fighting.


I notice the amateur economists have been picking over the corpse of the miniwargaming utube video - I won't link to it, they have got enough publicity for their idiotic efforts.

There are a number of things that amuse me about the video.

The main one is that two years or so ago they made the headlines in the incestuous world of GW hating with a video in which they claimed that GW pricing had provoked them into advising customers not to buy GW products, and generally suggested that GW was on the wane, that they were ditching the company and that PP would overtake them.

Yet apparently GW accounts for 80% of their sales, and that because of the new terms and conditions they will no longer be able to sell GW products, which makes the website unprofitable - hence they are going to close it - except for magnets and some other stuff (which may or may not include their own game)

The other thing that made me laugh was their claim that they had brought a large number of people into the hobby, and had subsequently lost them to internet retailers offering a larger discount. Being nice guys (they would like you to think) they don't mind this. Which is nice, but GW clearly does not have this laisse faire attitude, and they do want to keep the customers that they have introduced to their game through their shops.

Obviously the GW hate brigade have been all over this, with accusations flying concerning monopolies, price gouging, unethical behaviour, GW having more concern for share holders than players - veterans in particular (somehow those veterans always get the rough end of the stick according to interwebz wisdom).

But let's stop for a moment...

When Maelstrom went down - after they had wisely moved the money around to take advantage of the bankruptcy laws - they had a debt of @£100,000. Who took the hit on this is not entirely clear, the distributor supplying them said that the loss had set back their plans for expansion, but it wouldn't be surprising if GW were one of the creditors getting pennys in the pound for the debt owed. True, the debt was bought out by Wayland Games, and presumably paid off.

This is the perhaps the most high profile example, but there are others - for instance the Australian distributor for Privateer Press went bust a couple of years ago (which may or may not be an indication of actual Australian market conditions).

Now you might argue that GW drove Maelstrom out of business with the trade embargo to non EU countries, and you would not be wrong. But for the time being let us not get into that.

Which brings us to Wal-Mart.

I name that corporation as it has a GDP of medium sized country, and a particular business philosophy that runs directly contrary to the business model being followed by GW.

At the risk of being accused of being an AM radio listener - something considered heresy by the hate brigade who demand low prices to feed their plastic obesity issues - I recall Gerald Celente pointing out the business madness of a pencil manufacturer offering their product at a particular price for 10 units and discount for 100 units (either the pencil is worth 10p, or it is not). He was using the example as an illustration of the importance of localism, and why the low price corporate wellfare culture has driven out competition and destroyed small business (and itself but for the bank bail out - don't worry the Rothschilds and Rockerfellers still get their 4% on the currency being printed around the world) - I refer you to the Robert Greenwald documentary to understand the true price of low price.

If one looks objectively at GW, it is quite clear that the various arms of GW are very much localised.

For instance the Australian price rises coincided with the expense of a moulding/distribution centre - those who followed the farce of the Wargame Factory collapse will understand the cost implications of this (even allowing for the Wargame Factory facility being essentially a cost free charity scam ). GW Australia is paying 30% more in wages than other parts of the business, therefore the selling price is proportionately more.

And looking at the changes to the American terms and conditions it is clear that they are seeking to address the particular market conditions, namely the LGS.

Because here's a thing.

Why should a LGS provide space for gaming, seek to build up 'communities', if only 'suckers' actually buy their figures in the shop?

Therefore it makes sense to harmonise prices at full retail price.

And despite miniwargaming's self justification for their poor level of service - according to Jadedgamercast - it seems they will still be selling the product in their shop.

Of course none of this will stop the haters from hating - or inventing idiocy to promote memes that the stoopid will pick up on and believe - but the fact of the matter is this....

GW is and always has been run by businessmen, to provide hobbyists with employment.


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Defending the Homestead

The Americans continue to muster, in the form of the militia...

As I am waiting for the Continental command to arrive - Old Glory was out of stock and awaiting new delivery from the US - I decided to turn my mind to buildings.

Buildings play a significant role in Muskets and Tomahawks.

First I built a house...

I realised I was getting obsessive when I started cutting out 1/16th" plasticard tiles for the roof.

And the obsession clearly has grown for I have started work on a barn....


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Good Vibrations

The British are done...

And the rebellious colonists have taken up their rifles...
And I have no clue what the kids have done to the macro settings of the camera...

And my copy of Muskets and Tomahawks has arrived.

I must say that having read the rules through once, I am very impressed. The mechanics are simple but the interaction with the special rules section makes for a deep game experience.

What I particularly like is the option to take light infantry as skirmishers, or as line infantry. Which may seem like an odd thing to say, but given the theatre of operations and the nature of the warfare this is a very subtle and authentic.


Monday, 18 March 2013

One little, Two Little...

I've painted some Peter Pig Woodland Indians....

As you would have been able to see rather more clearly if the kids had not been messing around with my camera (well one child in particular, who is nearly three and has a knack of finding how change the settings of all manner of electrical devices)

Still they are very nice figures, perhaps not so anatomically elegant as the Blue Moon figures, but the detail is deeper and they paint up very well.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Imperial Ambitions

The first unit of the 53rd is done...

It certainly an odd time for GW.

In the ongoing legal battle between GW and Chapterhouse, the designer at Mantic Games has been giving evidence about how he designed Space Marines and associated products - presumably as part of Chapterhouse's bogative defence.

And then there is this odd quote from Rick Priestly in an interview with the Realm of Chaos blog.

" The modern studio isn’t a studio in the same way; it isn’t a collection of artists and creatives sharing ideas and driving each other on. It’s become the promotions department of a toy company – things move on!"

Ok, this is old news, the interview being a month old, but I have noticed that it has been taken up by the hate brigade.

Now forgive for pointing out the obvious that the reason the rules for Warhammer and 40k were written was to promote toys at a toy company. And the reason that collection of artists and creatives were sharing ideas was to push toys at a toy company. And since Rick Priestly joined/set up Warlord Games to produce rule books was to push toys for a toy company. And the reason the Gates of Antares Kickstarter failed was because there were no toys to push and people don't tend to by artistic and creative ideas - though one has to admire Mr Priestly's testicular fortitude for attempting to be the Damian Hurst of wargaming.

Still, for those who want to go off one about GW never let common sense get in the way of rant.

In which case it is lucky the 53rd are on hand, as the hate brigade remind me of American 'patriots'. They appear happy to blather about tyranny and taxation, but appear completely unaware of the company being put together by the 'Founding Fathers'...


Friday, 15 March 2013

On to Albany

Another unit of British awaits basing....

Having already painted a unit of the 9th Regiment of Foot, it seemed only fitting to have a unit of the 53rd.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Historical Realities

The second unit of British is done...

This is a very interesting interview with Thadeus Russell on Coast to Coast am.

It offers much food for thought for wargamers wishing to address historical realities.


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Hearts of Oak

The first unit of the British is done...

As I am still awaiting my copy of the Musket and Tomahawks rules my plan is not definite, but at the moment my plan is to make units of 10 British, from the same regiment. That way I can combine them and add grenadiers to make them standard units of 24 for Black Powder rules.

I am looking at the movement trays from Warbases to make for easier movement.

Of course the penny bases means that I can crack open my copy of Charge by Charles Grant. Which reminds me I need to get a coat hanger and try to work out how to make an artillery template.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The British are Coming

Here come the 9th Regiment of Foot....

The unit is half done.


Monday, 11 March 2013

Reinforcements Arrive

The Spanish artillery gun progresses....

Though progress may well grind to a dead stop, as the first troops for the revolutionary wars have arrived.

They are Blue Moon minis, and are very god sculpts. I am certainly looking forward to painting them, and getting back to my 15mm roots.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Did You Ever Notice

The highlighting is done on the Spanish General...

Just waiting for the varnish to dry before doing the base.

I found myself wondering in recent weeks why this blog was getting traffic relating to my coverage of Battlefoam's bogus legal case against Outrider Hobbies some years ago,

For those with short memories, Battlefoam took Outrider to court claiming that Outrider had breached 'pending patents', among other things, and may have tried to prove their case by getting a 'friend', Jim Kavourias, to perjure himself.

A quick reminder of the judge's comments with regard to this matter...

"It is, of course, possible that the fifth round pick of the Florida Marlins in the 2000 draft is both a fan of Diablo bats and a collector in the war gaming miniature market who is familiar with Battle Foam’s products. It is also possible that the baseball player who provided the testimonial for Diablo bats and the confused customer who contacted Battle Foam simply share the same name. A third possibility is decidedly less savory and, hopefully, is not the case here."

Thus I was interested to hear Craig on the recent issue of D6 Generation using his Did You Ever Notice segment to accuse those who disapprove of Romeo's business practices of being 'Hammerheads' among other things.

Apparently, "two or three people" have been saying nasty things about Mr Filip, and have gone so far as to give a dollar to the Kickstarter, in which Mr Gallant and Mr Filip are business partners, to continue this 'campaign'. Which leads me to surmise that the recent spike in traffic relates to these activities.

As a long time listener of the D6 Generation, I wish Craig well with his writing. And as Battlefoam sponsors the show, Romeo has been a guest host, and is apparently a personal friend of Craig's - and they are now engaged in this Kickstarter joint enterprise - I fully expect him to ignore, and ridicule the dislike many people have for Mr Filip.

But let's face it, Mr Filip is no shrinking violet when it comes to trolling the internet, and has a long record of engaging in precisely the kind of activity that Mr Gallant ascribes to 'Hammerheads' - sarky comments about 'cardboard boxes', the flame wars against Outrider, spats with Sabol, not to mention the odd ding dong with disgruntled customers; are all examples that spring to mind.

What makes Craig choosing to use his 'no hate' platform, and his normally sane and sober Did You Ever Notice segment to attack these people on behalf of his friend, is that the Kickstarter has reached it's goal - which is a feat in itself for a game in an odd scale, that is best described as a niche - so I really don't see his problem.

Unless he is attempting to call for civilised and rational discussion on the interwebz.

In which case I would refer him to King Canute.


Friday, 8 March 2013


For a change of pace, I decided to paint a general for the Spanish....

Base and shading done... 

I was rather surprised to find how many figures I had for the Spanish. And more worrying was that I couldn't remember which figures were supposed to go with which unit.

Hey ho!

Which in turn prompted me to dig out the units I have already done....

I think I might paint some more... always assuming the AWI figures don't turn up first;)


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Staring Though the Letterbox

More highlighting on the Hellbrute...

I finally gave into temptation, and cast aside procrastination, by placing an order for the AWI figures. The figures I choose are a mixture of Peter Pig and Blue Moon. I know I said I would wait for the rules, but....

The problem I kept running into when trying to find 25mm figures was I didn't like the posing of the American figures. Which is perhaps a shallow reason.

However the more I thought about it the more sense it made to go for the smaller scale, especially as the figure ranges offered the aesthetic I was looking for. It also addresses a bugbear of mine with regard to ground scale; as impressive as 25mm figures undoubtedly are on a standard 6 by 4 table they do produce absurdities within the game - particularly in terms of weapon ranges - and as I am looking for a game that can be played on a smaller table, the switch to the smaller scale makes even more sense.

As part of my research into the period, I have been listening to a series of lectures on Utube by Professor Freeman at Yale university. The lectures are interesting, and Ms Freeman entertaining (if you can get past her laugh ;)) but I do find it wearisome that she does not see the irony of her pushing of memes, such as arrogant British etc, that are largely 19th century American nationalist myth making.

But then it would be unfair to single the professor out for criticism, as the pushing of these memes is something I have come across frequently when researching various aspects of the conflict - though curiously this jingoism is not something that appears in blogs and websites by people wargaming the conflict.

Clearly wargamers are too intelligent to fall for mythtory.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Long Pockets, Short Arms

The Hellbrute proceeds slowly...

Everything was going swimmingly until I got a little heavy handed with the varnish I used to protect what I had already done - which in turn reactivated some of the ink that hadn't properly set - which means that I can't do much until the new layer of varnish dries and I can start working on the armour.

Still I am rather pleased with the metal medium, it really makes the colour pop.

My window shopping for American War of Independence, has led to a problem. Namely that there are some really nice 15mm figures out there. I am very tempted... very tempted... particularly by the Peter Pig and Blue Moon miniatures.

While I was window shopping, I happened across a discussion - (actually I was looking for pictures of the Bill Gaskin's fantastic AWI collection) - on TMP regarding Wargames Illustrated.

What interested me - quite apart from the commissioning policy for articles that pretty much explains why the magazine is devoid of content - was the questions it raised with regard to Rick Priestly.

I realise that he is a 'big name' in the 'wargame industry' but the critics do have a point... let's just say I stopped buying the Sunday Times when they replaced an eclectic, informative, trivia column with Tara Palmer Tompkinson's diary. I also find myself in agreement with those wondering about the wisdom of battle reports and discussion of rules mechanics, particularly when it is so obviously done at the expense of historical content.

I do still have a look at WI, and WSS, (my local branch doesn't carry MW) if I happen to be in Smiths, but they rarely (very rarely) tempt me to part with actual cash.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Planning for Tomorrow

I've been experimenting with metal medium for the highlighting...

The Perry's have announced their plastic AWI Infantry is now up for pre-order... WoooOOOOOooot.... well sort of.

I really like the posing of the figures, which break out of the standard marching/shooting paradigm. The problem is that the American figures, across a number of manufacturers, are either marching or shooting. Which on the face of it is rather absurd to have the disciplined Redcoats in a mixture of poses and American militia units marching around like Prussian grenadiers.

One solution is just to paint the new figures as Americans, I guess.

Another is to accept that actually this is really rather historical.

Though in terms of a skirmish game is perhaps less than useful.

Still it does give me something to look forward to when they hit the shelves of the local shop that carries Perry figures. I did consider pre-ordering a box or two, but I think in the long run it is better to support the local shop, so that they will continue to stock wargame figures.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Stop, Oh Wait, Just A Minute....

Clearly 18th century baroque is leaching into the 41st century...

As I wait for the Muskets and Tomahawks rule book to arrive my window shopping for figures continues.  Though I have decided to not actually place an order until I have the rue book in my hot little hands for two reasons.

The first is that I want to check on the basing, and specifically how basing deals with regular irregular troops. The other reason is I want to see how important Indians are in game terms.

This latter reason is perhaps the more important because it will factor into which campaign I will focus on.

I am currently leaning towards the southern campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas, but only slightly behind is the conflicts around the Great Lakes. Obviously the latter would mean that Indians play a larger role int he game, and perhaps plays more into the spirit of the rules which were designed for the French Indian wars. Not to mention that it offers possibilities for naval battles.

But until the postman arrives there is little more I can do than press my nose against the virtual shop window, and read history...


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Nerd Rage and Warpaint

The painting has slowed down somewhat...

Elsewhere tThe interwebz has gone mad again... which can only mean that GW has released a new codex or army book (but then the interwebz goes mad these days at everything GW does).

Apparently the new Daemons are too random - it is terrible that the forces of chaos should be chaotic - and therefore it is problematic for tournament gamers/interwebz experts/serious players/whiners/or whoever.

What amuses me about those complaining is that they haven't actually noticed that GW doesn't want them to play the company's games, and they are attempting to drive them out of the 'hobby'. Anyone, who lived through the rage quitting surrounding 8th, knows that the game, and the culture, was infinitely improved by the exodus to Warmahordes.

And the company is attempting to pull off the same trick with 6th ed.

It remains to be seen how long it takes before the complainers get the message and move on.

Speaking of moving on, I ordered the Muskets and Tomahawks rulebook today.

Thus, I have spent a few hours looking at the various ranges of figures for the American War of Independence/Revolution. Ok, I know I said I would wait for the new Perry plastics - and I know I said I would finish my outstanding projects before starting anything new - but I really like the Hessian Jager command group on the Perry website, and I am sure I can find a use for the gallows by Battleflag and, as much as I am snooty about the sculpts by Redoubt, I do like their Indian villagers.

 I might even dig out the outstanding Spanish militia I have floating around to scratch the historical painting itch I have at present..... oh I know they are not Hessians.... ummmm gold mitres *drool*....


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Drums and Smoke Signals Beckon

And so the pirates are done....

Back in the dim and distant past, when I started wargaming, the period I choose was the American War of Independence (or American Revolution, if you prefer). However like most wargaming projects this plan did not survive contact with the enemy, as my opponent wanted to do the Seven Years War, so my British force ended up more European in compostion, and my 15mm Minifigs Howe's Light Infantry found themselves deployed out of theatre.

However over the years my interest in the conflict has remained, and several abortive attempts have been made to restart projects.

News that the Perry's are going to release plastic British infantry, combined with Muskets and Tomahawks, has made my wargaming OCD kick into high gear. Add to this the incredibly low buy in price - the Perry box will make about a 400 point list - or put it another way, a 200 point list, and regiment for Black Powder.

Thus I have been pricing up various combinations of militia and Indians.

It does seem odd to be thinking about a game in which the terrain costs twice as much as the figures.