Saturday, 20 September 2008

Nothing worth watching on the TV so...

     Above: Polish Militia backed by foot knights. Something religious going on in the background.

                                                       Above: Generic European peasants.

                     Above: Duke Henry II the Pious with Hospitallers and Teutons on ride-past.

                                               Above: Close up of Polish Militia Command.
                                                              Click on piccy to enlarge.
Suddenly remembered that I promised to put some piccys of my 25mm medieval Poles and Russians on the blog. Figures are mostly Irregular although others are from all over the place including an inn doorman from someone's fantasy range and an Essex ancient Greek figure in the close up of the Polish Militia. The standard bearer is actually a conversion from an old Mini Figs Gallic trumpety thing blower.
Standards for Duke Henry, the Hospitallers and the Teutons are contemporary. As for the rest, the standards are proper Polish standards but not necessarily from early medieval. I think they are at least a couple of decades on. I'm pretty chuffed with them anyway.

Russian 20th Century rifles...who'd have one, eh?

Here is a little piece that made me chuckle. Hopefully it will do the same for you.

I found it on the  website. I hope they don't mind that I've reproduced it here so there are the credits at both top and bottom to avoid any copyright problems.   

And to keep this post from becoming just a boring news spread, I'm sharing an amusing article I read on the Modern Crossfire Yahoo Discussion group:

AK-47: It works though you have never cleaned it. Ever.
AR-15: You have $9 per ounce special non-detergent synthetic Teflon infused oil for cleaning.
Mosin-Nagant: It was last cleaned in Berlin in 1945.

AK-47: You are able to hit the broad side of a barn from inside.
AR-15: You are able to hit the broad side of a barn from 600 meters.
Mosin-Nagant: You can hit the barn from two miles away.

AK-47: Cheap mags are fun to buy.
AR-15: Cheap mags melt.
Mosin-Nagant: What's a mag?

AK-47: Your safety can be heard from 300 meters away.
AR-15 You can silently flip off the safety with your finger on the trigger.
Mosin-Nagant: What's a safety?

AK-47: Your rifle comes with a cheap nylon sling.
AR-15: Your rifle has a 9-point stealth tactical suspension system.
Mosin-Nagant: Your rifle has a dog collar.

AK: Your bayonet makes a good wire cutter.
AR-15: Your bayonet is actually a pretty good steak knife.
Mosin-Nagant: Your bayonet is longer than your leg.

AK-47: You can put a .30" hole through 12" of oak.
AR-15: You can put one hole in a paper target at 100 meters with 10 rounds.
Mosin-Nagant: You knock down everyone else's target with the shockwave of your bullet going downrange.

AK-47: When out of ammo, your rifle will nominally pass as a club.
AR-15: When out of ammo, your rifle makes a great wiffle bat.
Mosin-Nagant: When out of ammo, your rifle makes a supreme war club, pike, boat oar, tent pole, or firewood.

AK-47: Recoil is manageable, even fun.
AR-15: What's a recoil?
Mosin-Nagant: Recoil is often used to fix shoulders dislocated by the previous shot.

AK-47: Your sight adjustment goes to 10, and you've never bothered moving it.
AR-15: Your sight adjustment is incremented in fractions of minute of angle.
Mosin-Nagant: Your sight adjustment goes to 2000 meters, and you've actually tried it. 

AK-47: Your rifle can be used by any two-bit nation's most illiterate conscripts to fight elite forces worldwide.
AR-15: Your rifle is used by elite forces worldwide to fight two-bit nations' most illiterate conscripts.
Mosin-Nagant: Your rifle has fought against itself - and won everytime.

AK-47: Your rifle won some revolutions.
AR-15: Your rifle drove Saddam out of Kuwait.
Mosin-Nagant: Your rifle won a pole vault event.

AK-47: You paid $330.
AR-15: You paid $900.
Mosin-Nagant: You paid $59.95.

AK-47: You buy cheap ammo by the case.
AR-15: You lovingly reload precision crafted rounds one by one.
Mosin-Nagant: You dig your ammo out of a farmer's field in Ukraine and it works just fine.

AK-47: You can intimidate your foe with the bayonet mounted.
AR-15: Your foes laugh when you mount your bayonet.
Mosin-Nagant: You can bayonet your foe on the other side of the stream without leaving the comfort of your hole.

AK-47: Any fool can be taught to field strip it.
AR-15: Anyone with an IQ over 160 can be taught to field strip it.
Mosin-Nagant: What's field stripping?

AK-47: Service life, 50 years.
AR-15: Service life, 40 years.
Mosin-Nagant: Service life, 101 years, and counting.

AK-47: It's easier to buy a new rifle when you want to change cartridge sizes.
AR-15: You can change cartridge sizes with the push of a couple of pins and a new upper.
Mosin-Nagant: You believe no real man would dare risk the ridicule of his friends by suggesting there is anything but 7.62x54 R.

AK-47: You can repair your rifle with a big hammer and a swift kick.
AR-15: You can repair your rifle by taking it to a certified gunsmith, if it's under
Mosin-Nagant: If your rifle breaks, you pick up another one.

AK-47: You consider it a badge of honor when you get your handguards burst into
AR-15: You consider it a badge of honor when you shoot a sub-MOA 5 shot group.
Mosin-Nagant: You consider it a badge of honor when you cycle 5 rounds without the aid of a 2x4.

AK-47: You can accessorize you rifle with a new muzzle brake or a nice stock set.
AR-15: Your rifle's accessories are eight times more valuable than your rifle.
Mosin-Nagant: Your rifle's accessory is a small tin can with a funny lid, but it's buried under an apartment building somewhere in Budapest.

AK-47: Your rifle's finish is varnish and paint.
AR-15: Your rifle's finish is Teflon and high-tech polymers.
Mosin-Nagant: Your rifle's finish is low-grade shellac, cosmoline, and Olga's toe nail polish.

AK-47: After cleaning your rifle you have a strong urge for a stiff shot of vodka.
AR-15: After cleaning your rifle you have a strong urge for hot dogs and apple pie.
Mosin-Nagant: After cleaning your rifle you have a strong urge for shishkabob.

AK-47: After a long day the range, you relax by watching Red Dawn.
AR-15: After a long day at the range, you relax by watching Black Hawk Down.
Mosin-Nagant: After a long day at the range, you relax by visiting the chiropractor.

AK-47: Late at night you sometimes have to fight the urge to hold your rifle over your head and shout "Wolverines!"
AR-15: Late at night you sometimes have to fight the urge to clear your house, slicing the pie from room to room.
Mosin-Nagant: Late at night, you sometimes have to fight the urge to dig a fighting trench in the yard to sleep in.

AK-47: Your wife tolerates your autographed framed picture of Mikhail Kalashnikov.
AR-15: Your wife tolerates your autographed framed picture of Eugene Stoner.
Mosin-Nagant: Are there even photographs of Sergi Ivanovich Mosin and Leon Nagant?

A link to the Modern Crossfire Yahoo Discussion group:

(I didn't put the link there but it seemed the decent thing to do so I'm following suit.)

Friday, 19 September 2008

Nothing at all to do with wargaming (1)

 Just read on the WHU website that the talismanic striker Ashton is going to be out for about a month with an ankle injury. What is it with him, eh? No sooner does he get fit and is in the running  for a position in the national side then, Bang! Out of it again.  Bloke needs a good injury-free run - preferably until the end of the season.
So, looking at my sheet,  he's going to miss at least Newcstle (H), Watford (A), (Carling Cup), Fulham (A), Bolton (H) and possibly Hull (A). With a bit of luck he'll be back int he running come the game at Upton Park against my pet hate Arsenal on the 26th October.  Then maybe he can stay fit.
Don't train, that's the trick. Paul Mcgrath -him of the dodgy knees who played for Villa quite a few years ago, (wonder what happened to him)- never trained as strenuously as the rest and he was okay. Mind you, he was a central defender so pace wasn't really a necessity, just useful.
In the meantime, how about a combination of Cole or di Michele up front and Sears just behind... in pouncing mode, the lad's gotta learn sometime, and anyway, he did alright for the few outings he had with the first team last season. Etherington on the left and Bellamy on the right, pace all round. Just got to keep an eye on the rear line now.
Nothing else to report except I wonder where Mr's Hilton and Imrie are going with their humungously sized 28mm Napoleonic battalions...and who's going to supply the opposition! If nothing else. it's going to look pretty damned tasty. Good luck with that one fellas.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Hopefully I won't get sued for this one

As one was having a little trawl earlier -as one does- on some completely different topic, one just happened to come across this site:    

All you WW I and WW II wargaming terrain builders out there might find some useful little wall adornments among the items shown.   (But don't tell anyone that I told you.) 

Nothing much else happening here, although I have completed one section of one base of the Russian Medieval Walls (hereafter RMW, too much typing otherwise). Roof is on, the whole thing is glued down to the base and everything...apart from painting; I'm waiting until all three bits -another pice of wall and the central tower- are done before I post any more piccy's. (The others were just a taster.)

Keep it upright


Sunday, 14 September 2008

Taking the Plunge

Well. after a few days of umming and ahring, (not convinced that is the correct spelling but you get my general meaning), I thought I'd have a go at making the first town wall piece for my 10 mm Medieval Mongols and Russians.
Top: Just to show progress so far. A single 120mm length of city walls with earthen bank in front, arrow slits in the overhanging bit at the top but as yet no roof or rear. tree to the left and figure in front for an idea of scale. By the way, the tree is just in front of the build, not just in front of the camera.
Bottom: A slightly clearer piccy of the wall with a base of Chinese crossbowmen (Irregular) in front. Instead of using polystyrene tiles (which I have a box of left over from back in the day before foamboard), I found some poly blocks of just the exact height required. Only trimming into earthen bank shape on the one side needed. I thought! HA! Little did I remember from my old poly using days. 
Trimming poly, what a swine that is. I wouldn't even recommend it  to someone I didn't like; it's a bitch with a capital 'B' and all the other letters. Flaming stuff gets everywhere and its got the adhesive qualities -by using static plastic trickery- of superglue! Can't seem to shift it, it sticks to your hands, craft knife blades, clothes, every bloody thing. but I'm stuck with it (no pun intended), so I'll just have to soldier on.
What a mission this is turning out to be. Started off all bright and cheerful; I had planned at least five pieces of 300mm long wall with a wall-tower-wall set up. On top of that will be the main gate, probably on the same length base. Now I think before I get it all finished I am going to need some serious inspiration...and I do mean serious inspiration.
Halfway down the back wall now, with at least 30 rows of picks on each side of the central upright.
Going by the number of picks used to date, I can mentally picture at least half of the South American rainforest being denuded of trees in my quest.
More piccys as I go.
Had a telephonee call from MO yesterday. Remember him, the one currently basking in the sun under a cloud free sky in Tunisia? Apparently, not so much of the cloud free. THEY HAVE HAD SOME RAIN!! Ha! He goes all that way to get rained on. Different rain, he says. What?? It's much warmer and dries up within minutes. He'll be telling me it's dry rain next. He did say that while it was not too clever in the weather stakes, it didn't stop them getting out and about. They went to Carthage -or at least what the Roman's left of it. Good stuff, can't wait to see the piccys.
Good match on Saturday, listened to it on one of the local radio stations. The only problem was the ref got a game-changing decision wrong and the Baggies won, although the Irons had a good go for the equaliser. Nice open game but 2-2 or 3-3 would have been a fairer result. Another case in favour of video inquest. Not to take anything away from West Brom, they need the points more than WH do at the moment...just as long as it doesn't come back to bit WH on the  backside near the end of the season.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A Few Good (Little) Men

10mm Mongols,
In the main, back to 10mm for this posting.
Top - Mongol Light Cavalry supporting a base of Medium Cavalry.
Lower -a unit of Chinese Militia Spearmen.
All Irregular Minis.
I took advantage of the second reasonble day on the trot to rush out into the back garden like a man possessed and take a few piccys. A couple of the results above. A few years ago I acquired a job lot of terrain coloured carpet tiles. The base is one of them cut up in a rather nice hill shape. (Kindly ignore the garden table, just concentrate on the figures.)
I sat down yesterday armed with a a box of toothpicks, a pencil, some paper and a 6" ruler. Made a few line drawings for the Russian city walls and found out one thing for's going to take a s**t load of toothpicks to make it look any good!
I have an idea of a hint of a plan. Use two levels of polystyrene bits for the earthen bank on the outside walls, this should cut down the horizontal picks to about 15  high. Of course, on the inside walls the b****y things go all the way down, no smutty comments, thank you. Then the walkway base. Above that there will be an angled roof over the battlements. At best guess the walls will be something between 90 and 100mm high. Of course, the towers will be taller and then there is the gatehouse. Not too sure whether the Great Gate at Kiev is a good idea after downloading some piccys... bit of a monster. Therefore, something a bit less ostentatious is going to have to do; but I'm quietly confident it's going to be the mutts nads when it's finished.
England, eh? Who would have thought it? Played their socks off especially Rooney in Part Two; dominated all across the midfield. In my opinion he was man of the match. Yeah, yeah, I know Master Walcott got three of the goals but -to use an Americanism- Rooney was 'awesome'.  The annoying thing is that I'm not a great lover of Man U but at least they are higher in my personal  reckoning than Arsenal. Don't know why, just never liked Arsenal, even when the likes of Charlie George, Frank McClintock, Bob Wilson, George Graham et al were playing for them. Just me, I suppose.
Bestest footballing moment, apart from the 66 final that is; the 1-0 FA Cup victory in 1980, with our Trev heading the winner. What more could you ask for.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Amazing Thing Weather

Nothing whatsoever to do with wargames but I woke up this morning (blues riff if you please), looked out of the window and IT WASN'T RAINING! Now I know this won't mean much to anyone who was born 'offshore' but, believe it or not, even us Brits get mightily narked off with an almost constant vertical river. So it was an extremely welcome change to get up to sunshine. A bit of sunshine makes one want to do all sorts of crazy things, like go out. Mind you, brought back to earth with a bump when Middle Offspring (MO) phoned and informed me that he and his girlfriend had arrived in Tunisia where apparently it's silly hot. He's havng a well earned break from the West End, I've seen the show five times (The Buddy Holly Story, brilliant. Go see it. That's it, plug over.)
I know all about silly hot  coz me an' missus were there in June in the middle of a heatwave -a Mediterranean country with a heatwave, sounds wierd- but believe me it was a nice and warm 44 C (that's 111 F in old money, I know, I checked). Suddenly the whole world -well the bit where we were- was populated by two legged lobsters, amazing sight, I didn't know people really could go that colour! Whereas at this moment England it's currently a nice and sultry...19C.
Not difficult to see why people go abroad is it?

Monday, 8 September 2008

First Rant of the blog

Went into T'cos, our local supermarket yesterday for some more skewers. There weren't any on the rack so I accosted a wandering staff member.

'Sorry, I haven't seen any of them for ages.' 

'Are you likely to get any more in?' I asked in a despondant voice, thinking back to the last time I bought any...last Spring as I remembered. 

She brightened visibly, 'Possibly next year ready for the barbeque season.' 

My faith in the supermarket chain plummeted. Still, other alternatives were possible, after all, H'base sold BBQ's and they were just over the road.

Thus fortified I ventured across the Queen's Highway, through the doors and.....same response.

The word on the tip of my tongue was something akin to small spherical objects but fortunately it stayed there. Of course, once out of the shop I had what Connelly aptly calls ' A Wee Swearie'.

It's close to Autumn now, I said to myself, who on earth has a BBQ in the Autumn? (Actually, I can think of a few diehard souls. No-one that you would know though.) 

So now, I am distinctly stymied in my plans to recreate the marvelous medieval wooden walls of Kiev or Novgorod in 10mm -maybe until next years BBQ season comes around.

On a slightly more positive note, cocktail sticks might work and of course are available all year round. Just a hell of a lot shorter and thinner which means more potential for losing the tips of fingers to craft knife or modelling saw accidents.

But hey ho, no pain no gain. What they don't tell you is that blood stains wood just as effectively as any paint wash I know of.

Continuing on the Mongol Theme

Last night I found a CD with some juicy piccys (I think they're juicy anyway) of my 25mm Mongols and Polish taken in the back garden on the sunny day that we had a couple of years ago. The  majority of the figures are Irregular but there are a few other manufacturers in there as well, some of which deserve the title ancient as they are that old.
Top picture is of is of the keshik at the front and a mixed unit of cavalry behind. Keshik are First Corps, remainder are Irregular.
Middle is of medium cavalry, Curteys, with a couple of First Corps crossbowmen on the end.
Bottom is of some baggage camels (Irregular) and a slightly converted camel herder (First Corps).
Pictures of the Polish to came later, after all, one doesn't want to peak too soon does one? (No bishop and actress jokes, thank you very much.)
So, Curbs has gone. Guilty by media if you ask me. So yes, he made a few safe but injury prone signings, but  at the time experience was a prerequisite. Some of these injuries i.e. Dyer, Ashton and Foubert to name but a few, could not have been forecast -especially not all within the same time period. And they still ended the season in a very respectable 10th. Now the money has said that cuts have to be made, squads too big. So what does it go and do...flog nearly all the experience and hope that the bargain basement foreigners and local youngsters coming through can keep them up. They are good but no Man U if you know what I mean. No wonder there is an air of despondancy creeping in on the web sites.
England, what can you say. They went there to do a job of work and they did it. Could have done it a bit better though. More of the ball being picked out of the back of their net would have been good. Although in the teams defence a five man back line in a chequerboard with a four man midfield would be enough to kill flamboyant football from any team. They tried to look for the killer pass on the floor and a veritable octopus of blue covered legs got in the way. A chip over the top usually had at least two or sometimes three blue shirts closing down before the first bounce or it was overhit to try to get behind said defenders. What can you do?
One thing that did strike me as a bit odd. You play two out and out wingers whose job is get past defenders then cross the ball onto a waiting English head. Correct me if I'm wrong but Defoe is not really a target man for crosses in the box, now is he? Heskey, yes; Crouch, definitely but Defoe, nah. Keep it on the ground and he's your man, anything above that and it becomes a defenders training session.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

As Promised

Above is a photograph of the 10mm skewer and scourer trees as promised. The only reason They have been left on the temporary bases is so that they don't fall over!! The only thing missing is a 10mm figure for scale purposes but trust me, they look the dogs danglys. At some stage, when I can get some foamboard, I will base them up in a woody/foresty fashion and let you know how they look.

By the way, since the first post about the trees, I have made 25 of the little buggers.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The Last Word in Commanders

I found this picture taken at the same show as the other three, the WMMS show now in Wolvo-hampton instead of Walsall.
Caption: The Mongol keshik protect their leader, the Great Snoopy Bahadur.
(Aside, the chaps on the hill to the left of Snoopy Bahadur are the figures that can be seen in glorious close up on the Irregular Miniatures web site under 25mm Mongols.) 
Nothing more to be said really.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A Nicked Idea for Trees

There has not been a lot on the rule writing or painting fronts recently as I have been more actively engaged in changing my career path.
Aside from the real world, I am looking forward to Derby this year. I am unsure at the moment as to which 10mm army to get. Irregular (see link on left) and Pendraken do a fair range of Normans, Medievals and Arabs, so Russisans, Polish, Crusader or even Khwarizmians are all contenders. Magister Militum and Kallistra both are producing Mongols which will be worth a look at, while the former also has a decent looking Samurai range. Also need to get some siege stuff for the marauding Mongols and Chin. Got a rather grandiose idea for making a Russisan wooden walled city for a spectacular (hopefully) display game. You never know, the rules might get a playtest while I'm at it. 25
Wargamers today just don't know how good they've got it. Spoilt rotten for choice and scale whereas back in my day....yawn, yawn.
Also, in the larger scales, I could do with some 25mm Carthaginian cavalry for a previous project that ran out of steam a bit because I only had Numidian light cavalry.  This was an inherited army that's been sitting in the lead mountain for some years, thought I'd do something with it. So far well chuffed, conversions galore -head, arm, torso, swaps on mostly ooooollllldddd Mini Figs castings from the original Mac and Pune book by WRG. Numidian infantry, Carthaginian Citizen Spears, Gauls, Spanish etc, etc. All good stuff.
Whilst meandering through my bookmarked sites the other day I came across this little gem -
The article was obviously geared towards 25mm trees but, as Eastern Europe was covered with vast swathes of pine forest, I wondered if the idea could work for 10mm as well to fit in with my latest venture. Several mugs of tea and seconds of serious thought later I came up with the following Baldrician style 'cunning plan'.
Use pan scourers (48p for a pack of 4) and wooden skewers (80p for a pack over about 50), both items available from a certain 5 lettered supermarket chain that begins with T -I should imagine the other chains have similar items at roughly the same prices.
The only variation to the original is that the plastic tops from 2ltr milk cartons are used as a temporary bases. (Aside. They can also be used for temporary painting bases for figures. Score them first and use a glue gun.) This is done by poking a hole in the centre of the top and pushing in a pre-cut, pre stained or painted, 80ish mm length of skewer. The scourers can be ripped in half lengthways or the basic scourer can be ripped apart into decreasingly sized cirles or ovals.
The cut or ripped pieces of scourer are pushed onto the skewer and wood glue is applied only to the top surface, with enough blobbed on to form a bond between the scourer and the skewer. The use of the carton tops holds the tree upright while the glue dries.
Once they are dry, they are trimmed into a pine tree shape and can be drybrushed in various highlighting colours such as a lighter green or shades of yellow. if required flock can be glued on by  dabbing blobs of wood glue around in a haphazard fashion. Alternatively,or by using a simple plastic plant spraypot, (mine came from H'base and cost less that £2.50), wood glue thinned 50-50 with water and sprayed on. The only problem with this is that the spray has no respect for anything else and you could end up with the trunk covered as well. The bottom line is, do what you think looks good. You can even have some of each for variety. At a pinch small blobs of glue on the edges and dipped in brown railway flock bits could show little cones. (Getting all anoracky now.)
Now that I know the system works I will try to publish some photos of said trees next time.
Another good win for the Irons on Saturday...with a little help from the third team of three on the park dressed in black. Paul Ince wasn't too chuffed but shame, as our friends across the pond are oft heard to say, 'What goes around, comes around'. In this game luck counts for a lot and wearing red instead of claret and blue before officially moving was not the best or luckiest of career moves. Long memories us WHU supporters.
And, while we are on the subject of footy, when are the press going to stop hounding Curbishley. West Ham finished reasonably well considering the abscence of major squad members last year, had the best start for a few this year and he's still got some of his best players to came back. What the hell happened to longevity in Hammers managers eh? Give the bloke some backing for crying out loud. Okay, maybe some of the derisory noises that were heard in the Carling Cup against Macclesfield were justified but without thinking too hard, in the past West Ham seem to have made a habit of going out to lower division sides and yet the manager still kept his job.