Thursday, 30 January 2014

Distance Learning

Some Fuzzy Wuzzies...
As I have been painting more lately, I find myself running out of podcasts to act as aural wallpaper.

This problem is compounded by a number of podcasts that used to count me among their listeners, pissing me off to the point that I can no longer bare to listen to them.... yeah, I get it... you have been brainwashed by forums to hate GW I don't want to hear about it.... I can read...

So I have found myself listening to university lectures. On a slightly depressing note I find myself wondering how stoopid university students are that they are supposedly learning this stuff. But I would like to point to two lecture series given by Richard Bulliet, History of the Modern Middle East, and History of Iran in the Safavid Period. Both of these series are highly entertaining and informative, even if Buillet does have the standard American distorted views on Europe.

What is odd about Bulliet's views on Europe, particularly his creation of a false dichotomy by portraying Europe as violent and the Islamic world as a garden of peace, is that by the end of his lectures I found myself with a better understanding of the general history - as opposed by to the clash of cultures model of history - which by extension Bulliet seems to partially support by his American views of Europe.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Conspicuous Consumption

More Egyptians...
The plan is to go to Vapartn... Varpant... the wargames show in York on Sunday with the lad. Like any good gamer Poo Bah I have a little list of things I want to get, the top of that list is to see if I can get a cheap copy of Wings of War, as it is a game I really like and the rules are simple enough for the kids to play.

Next up on the painting table are some Fuzzy Wuzzies.


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Friday, 24 January 2014

Plugging Away

The Sudan figures arrived yesterday, so I made a start with some Egyptians...
And here is some more Germans...

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Breaking the Rules

Some more Germans are finished... cue blurry photo....
I have succumbed to the Pendraken sale, and branched out into another period, namely the Sudan.

The reasons behind it are numerous, firstly that the most fun game I have ever played was set in that period - without going into great detail I was a cavalry commander who in order to save my command was forced to blow up the limbers. Secondly I was looking for a game that I could play as an imagi-nation. And lastly because I wanted something that I could use to res-erect the rules project that I started way back when I thought 28mm Russian Civil War was the way to go.

The missus is somewhat of a mathmagician, and so the other night I was picking her brains to see if their was a mathematical formula on which I could hang my hat on, in order to create that mythical thing, the balanced game. During the discussion I had somewhat of a revelation.

While she was explaining probability, it suddenly struck me that if I changed the numbers, I was using for game phases, to symbols the mechanics would work just as well, and it would get around the issue weighted numbers; i.e. a 1 is seen as stronger/weaker than a 4.

The next problem is that rather than write a rule-book, my aim is to use cards (with a QRF) to drive the game. The problem being that I am a tiny bit rubbish at anything to do with graphic design, pagination, etc. Though I have managed to create a powerpoint slide, which in itself is a minor miracle given my masculine inability to read instruction manuals - see picture above.


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Ol' Monsieur McDonald's Farm

The ruined farm, and tile is done...
Give us a twirl....
A close up of the mortar pit....
And with the help of my enthusiastic assistants some pics of the project so far...

Friday, 17 January 2014

Achievement Unlocked

I've been working on various bits and pieces this week, perhaps too many small projects, as none of them have actually got finished.
This is the board for the fortified farm. The planking needs painting but otherwise it is done.

Apologies for updating unfinished projects but I am currently using this blog as a form of Kanban board and after a week of chopping and changing of projects I really felt the need to have some sort of achievement.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Amuse Bouche

Pendraken have announced their annual painting competition.

So I thought I would give it a go....

These are half finished.

I really should read the manual for the camera, as my current approach of pressing buttons until such point as I stumble across a picture that is vaguely in focus is perhaps not the best way to get a decent close up picture.

That said, the extra effort in painting the figures is rather satisfying. And they certainly are marvellous figures and well worth the time.


Away from the enjoyable side of the hobby, it seems the hysterical loons who inhabit the online 40K 'community'  have gone out of their collective minds yet again.

The dual cause is the release of the new Tyranid codex combined with news that anything goes at Warhammer World events.

With regard to the Tyranids, I am reminded that this kind of lunacy accompanies every codex release. And, amusingly, the rage has been growing for a week or so based on rumours and the pronouncements of various 'community' websites and blogs. What no one seems to have noticed is that the record of these websites is rather poor when making judgements about the 'tier'/'power level' of new codexs.

The perfect example is the Screamer Star. Did any of these sites spot this build? No. Instead they blathered on about random charts, and how said random charts would make it impossible to be a 'competative' army because 'competative' armies have to be predictable.

A few months pass, and off go Team America (and it is fair to point to this team, as these 'community websites and the brainless types who repeat this nonsense tend to be American) to the ETC promising to teach the world how 40K is meant to be played. And then a week later they return with various lame excuses, having put up their usual lamentable performance (I'm sure they did  very well, but one can't resist a dig given the humourless boasting that accompanies this team). How could the national representatives of the nation that pwns 40K, and without whom there would be no game, not see this built?

Probably because the Spanish guy how found it doesn't spend his time whittering about nonsense in the 'community', and instead bothers to play the game and make his own decisions.

The ranting about the announcement by Warhammer World is even more idiotic.

Apparently because GW has decided that they will no longer restrict Forgeworld - and some other things - from their tournaments, this means that it is "OFFICIAL". And as we all know that if it is "OFFICIAL" that means that it is manditory - that is except when it comes to the rule about dicing for disagreements and respecting your opponent, in which case the "OFFICIAL" rule is to be ignored, until there is an "OFFICIAL" FAQ - at which point the "OFFICIAL" rule about respecting your opponent can be "officially" ignored.


Apparently within the 'community' there is a rule that says you have to play with anyone who asks you for a game, and you have to go to every tournament.

Therefore there is the possibility that you might ask someone for a game and they will pull out a Titan, and you cannot refuse to play them.

Oh and because of this possibility, you will be forced to spend an inordinate amount of money on books and pdfs, in order that if you are ambushed in this way, you will be at least cognoscente of what may or may not be allowed.

I suppose given the toxic atomosphere of the 'community' and the linga franca from the porn industry that passes for jargon, it is hardly surprising that people can't just use the word 'no' - since they are no doubt already 'lubed up' and ready for the 'anal raping'... of course they will be 'fluffed' prior to the visit to the - inaptly named - FLGS.

What sparked my curiousity about the GW announcement - beside the change to the 70% rule and that now all conversions must use GW parts - was that experimental rules will now be allowed. This combined with the announcement that White Dwarf is to change to something called Warhammer Visions (if they payed for this title they really need to ask for their money back).

I suspect this will lead to more rage within the 'community', as it may well be a case of' be carful what you wish fo'r. As one of the common memes when discussing White Dwarf is the nostalgic wish for it to return to the good old days, in which editions came with experimental rules, and army lists - you know things that move the game along and keep people interested. And more shockingly still there is the suggestion floating around that readers will be able to submit content - just like in the halcyon days of yore.

Of course this is supposition on my part, that the new magazine will contain such experimental rules, but it would be good if it did. Personally, the reason I stopped buying it was the new format, with it's 1990's layout, it just made it obvious that those writing it either didn't have much to say or were too frightened to say it if they did, and instead were using the blank arty spacing as musak.

Of course if the new magazine does go down this path the 'community' may just burst it's collective brain cell at the thought of having to obsessively download additional pdfs in order to stay in the 'community' loop.

I do hope so...


For those who have hobbies for fun and pleasure, and perhaps are in the mood for something different, get yourself a pack or two of Pendraken minis and enter the painting competition. The posting of entries starts at the beginning of February, and the closing date for entries is 28th February.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Support Act

The latest addition to my growing New Army is some artillery....
The glue on the netting is still drying, so I'll have to wait for that before painting it.

I used tuille, as the holes are about the right scale, the problem with it is to get the paint to stick. I gave it a coat of Vallejo foundation white, and have tried three time to colour it. I suspect that I will have to use neat paint, and let it dry out a bit before trying to apply it.

The bases are magnetised, which is handy as I suspect this artillery will play very little role in my games, but the German artillery will more than likely be manning these positions.


Tuesday, 7 January 2014


So that's 5 sections of British infantry painted...
I've started working on a barn and farm yard to go with the ruined farmhouse. Which has led to a slight dilemma. Everyone has a mental picture of the first world war looked like, and it is a picture that is perpetuated in documentaries and drama documentaries and dramas. The problem is that when you look at the actual raw footage, particularly from the early and mid-war, which is the period I have decided upon wargaming - ironically because it more closely resembles the popular image - the battlefield looks nothing like the popular image.

The trees have leaves, there are bushes, houses are pretty much intact - except for wooden houses (I saw a marvelous (well may not marvelous, in that sense) picture of German troops in a Polish town, in which all the houses were destroyed, except for the chimney stacks) - on the horizon there is the occasional puff of smoke, but it is hardly the hell that is indoctrinated in schools and pushed by film makers (at which point I could get into the Micheal Gove article, but I will leave that to the Liberal chimpers who are pushing the issue for political reasons). When considering this issue, I find myself coming back to Siegfried Sassoon, who apparently spent the afternoon of the first day of the Somme, lying out in the long grass in front of the parapet sunbathing... long grass? long grass? How dare he challenge the image of mud portrayed in TV dramas and comedy shows..... no wait I said I wouldn't get into the Micheal Gove thing....

Which is all a long winded way of saying I have built a barn to go with the ruined farm house but am very reluctant to go any further in it's ruination than the three holes in the wall I have made so far and posing the doors at an artistic angle.


Saturday, 4 January 2014

Burning Down the House

I'm still learning how to use the airbrush, but I quite pleased with the effects on the ruined farmhouse....

Friday, 3 January 2014

Strong Points

The second tile is finished...
Some might quibble about the difference in hues between the first and second tile - and clearly I must be one of those to even mention it - but - and paradoxically given the prior sub-statment - I am happy.

The plan  for the next tile is make a position centred upon a ruined farm, with the aim of extending back into a village that will be in the second line of tiles.

Here is the unpainted farmhouse...
So last night child 1 decided that it would be a good idea to jump over some cushions and while in mid-air ro touch his toe like Sporticus in Lazytown - result, a four hour wait in A&E to deal with the broken elbow. So in between trying to keep a frightened five year old calm, and reassure him that despite what he may have seen on Horrible Histories they were not going to cut his arm off (BBC children's programming has a lot to answer for) when he fell asleep I was able to read this months Miniature Wargames.

This in itself was a rare treat, as normally I buy it, browse it while holding court on the throne, and the next I see of it is a torn up, scribbled on, generally unreadable magazine peeping out from under a piece of furniture.

I particularly enjoyed the profile piece by John Treadaway on Jon Tuffley from GZG. His views on metals vs resin were interesting but this really stood out of the interview to me...

"There is a downside, however: I tend to be very careful with Web forums and so forth - I try to keep clear of some of them just because of the sheer volume of comment. It makes it very hard to concentrate on what you are trying to do, what direction you are trying to head in, when everybody gets to put in their (usually wildly differing) opinion. Sometimes, I find an open public discussion on everything is simply too distracting for me, so it has to be handled very carefully.
It is also very easy, as a manufacturer, to fall into the trap of assuming that a few very loud voices on some forums actually represent the views of the majority of your customer base, in many cases they don't. Although a lot of people may read them, the number who actively and regularly post can be quite small and it is dangerously easy to lose sight of the much larger number of happy but 'silent' customers out there."

Which I wholeheartedly agree with.

What he forgot to add was that manufacturers, and publishers, should also be rather careful when engaging with customers on the said forums, as recent events have highlighted.

And as I previously noted, my willingness to purchase from TFL has been lessened due to Rich's interactions on his own forum and around the web.



Thursday, 2 January 2014

In Praise of Jervis Johnson

It's a while since I wrote about GW games... but then it's a while since I wrote anything...


As I have been busily working away on building trenches, and enjoying my hobby, I found myself over Christmas running out of podcasts to act as aural wallpaper... and so I started listening to shows that I have for one reason or another stopped listening to. From this it appears that the hysterical types who populate the GW hobby are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, for various reasons.

As with most nervous breakdowns the neurosis makes little sense when viewed with any sort of perspective - for instance the idea that being able to take super heavies in 'competative' games is the downfall of 40k is particularly ironic as the very same people who are currently raging are the self same types who for years have been telling 'fluff' players that they should either accept taking the hardest units possible or get lost.

I suspect that much of the angst is being generated by the thought of having to accept concepts that have until now have been macho reflex responses - for instance accepting comp, talking to your opponent to see what sort of game they want to play, realizing the limitations of the nihilism of the dogma that has been poisoning the 'community' for a very long time etc.


As much of the current nonsense relates to the fragility of the male ego - and many of the 'community leaders' (code for big mouth types) setting the agenda are TO's - one really needs to take much of the outrage with a pinch of salt. Not least because if one does actually bother to think about the current situation - and adopt a genuine historical perspective - all that is really happening is that GW has dug out some old copies of Tony Bath's scenario and campaign books, realized that the reason WRG went from being 'THE' ruleset to being the ebay bargain was because the rules were overly generalised and the lists overly specific - I am thinking here of the double ammo rule on chariots and elephants not really meshing with the 12 archer elephants in the Burmese army - and rather than accept that the rest fo the Burmese army was really rather bad - the decision was made to do away with the doubly ammo rule in order that the status quo remianed (bitter moi? non.... grrrr).

Because let's face it....

All the recent changes have been made to make GW more fun, less sterile, and to deflate the egos of the tossers who believe wargaming is an exercise in  psychic vamperism.

The sane reaction to this would be to change the way in which 'tournaments' are organised in order to make them campaign events, in which the coveted table 1 becomes the focus for a wider game - rather than an insular game with itself - it appears that this is beyond anyone. Probably because the real secret of fight club is that no one has the wit to come up with thinking of anything more creative than punching each other.

All of which is a shame as lately I have been thinking about doing some more work on my Imperial Guard Police project - especially as I have got a airbrush and compressor.

And I can't help sorry for Jervis.

Yeah he's probably made a comfortable life for himself and his family out of GW - and good luck to him - but I came across (and not in a pervy way) an old copy of White Dwarf, and there he is in his dark glasses, looking all punk and dangerous, along with the other contributors (in their dark glasses looking all punk and dangerous) the difference being that Jervis is the only one who has not got his own range of figures, rules, novels or whatever. Instead he is locked into the world of accountants and pandering to Americans that has become GW.

At least Rick Priestly has managed to pander to yanks and accountants, from his barn conversion, from the safety of his'punk and dangerous' (if you consider Lily Alan punk) Bolt Action rules.

But poor old, decent, Jervis is stuck in the 4th level of hell that consists of the counter cultural anarchist games company that broke free from the constraints of the back biting Peter Pan world of wargaming  broke all the rules, made money, made big money... in fact defied the stock market crash of 2008 by being a company without debt and an dividend (nerds will blather on about this and that codex but this is the realty of the recent stock price rise)...

He's kind of the Bono of wrgaming.... if you are being unkind.... and let's face it at the moment unkindness is the order of the day where GW is concerned.... but not...

If he were, he would have bailed long ago... have a tax haven in Holland and be on tap for the murderous Clinton's latest money making scheme for 'liberals'.... cholera in Haiti anyone?

It's really rather a tragic situation, in the truest sense.

As a hobby, we have gone from the Aurora Banana Splits models and converting Airfix Confederates to Greek Hoplites to....

Well who knows what will come?

For me it is Pendraken WWI minis...