Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Other Obsessions

The Conscripts who come over on Thursdays may have wonder WTF was going on next to the TV credenza in the corner...

Blogging is a funny thing. It allows a person to share information about themselves with virtually the entire planet. (This assumes, of course, that the rest of the planet cares what that person has to say).

Blogging also allows an outlet for creativity in writing about the things that get us excited and passionate. For the Conscripts, this is mainly tabletop wargaming in its myriad forms, but I know that the guys have other hobbies too.

For me, in addition to an obsession with sports cars, motorcycles and other things that go, I also love to collect vintage Kenner Star Wars toys - you know, the old 3-3/4" figures, the vehicles that they ride in, and playsets where they hang out.

So, as people do nowadays, I've started another blog to showcase some of the stuff in my collection. If you are also a person of a certain age who has fond memories of playing with Star Wars toys as a kid, you may want to surf over and check it out: Vintage Kenner Star Wars Toys.  I'll be aiming to update the blog every week with an in-depth "photo essay" on a vintage Kenner vehicle or playset.

Anyway, I'll hope to see you over on the other blog too if you're interested. I'm still working on some ideas on combining wargaming and vintage Star Wars. What's 3-3/4", about 95mm scale...?


Just a few of the goodies you will find over at the Vintage Kenner Star Wars blog...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Colonials - 10th Hussars with Lances

10th Hussars ready for the Sudan
The submissions for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge continue.  This one features more Sudan era stuff from Perry Miniatures' amazing collection.  These are members of the 10th Hussars with lances.

Fun to experiment with the look of this horse
The Sudan was very hard on British cavalry.  Although the terrain is "open", it was often broken and rocky, and the dervishes would hide - unafraid of the horses - and ambush the riders, downing the horses with wooden weapons and unhorsing the riders (and worse). 

Those are pretty serious lances...those dervishes must have been tricky!
The lances gave the cavalry troopers a way to get at the dervishes, or at least gave the dervishes something to think about before trying their ambush.

Victims of Krylon's sh*t primer.  F*ck you Krylon.
These Perry castings are just stunning, amazing to paint.  So it was with considerable anger that I lost two of them to bad Krylon primer.  Once again Krylon, it's not me - it's you.  Get bent. Oh well - it's my own damn fault for trying them again!

Off the painting table, and hopefully on to the gaming table soon
I continue to fade into the distance in the painting challenge standings, but I am still working away at more submissions to meet my goal of 1440 points.  I'm just over half-way there, not bad progress so far.  I will never catch some of the leaders but I am glad to have so many of these dusty pending historical figures done!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chemical Commies - And Return of Primer Rage

Funny smell? No worries - the Chemical Commies are safe...
More Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge stuff.  This is a group of Soviet troops in MOPP gear from Eureka.  They are 28mm castings from the special-weapon section of the range - two RPGs, on PK machine gunner and one fellow with a flame thrower.  These troops are known with affection among our group as the "Chemical Commies".

RPG guy on the left shows some effect from bad primer
MOPP gear is very terrifying to see, and the Soviet MOPP gear has to be one of the scariest-looking of the scary.  They are really fun figures to paint, and they were the first purchase of what created a still-unmatched bout of collection escalation amongst the Fawcett Avenue gamers. 

Chemical Commie RPG troops
The fun in this instance was spoiled somewhat by bad primer.  Longer time blog readers may recall that I previously had a run-in with Krylon primer.  Well, that was almost a year ago.  I was out of my "go-to" spray primer, so I thought - what the heck, it's been a year, that must have been a bad batch, I should lighten up and try Krylon again, right?


Flamethrower and PKMG - perfect for everything from NATO to Zombies
Fortunately I was able to somewhat save these figures.  Some Perry Hussars were not so luck (see a later post for that).  So f*ck you Krylon, and the horse you rode in on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Couple More Syrian T-62s

More Syrian T-62s ready to roll out
I continue to fall further and further behind in Curt C's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (it's all I can do to cling to 10th place) but I can at least make some more progress towards my "par" goal.  Here are another two Syrian T-62s.  These castings are from QRF, and bases are from Warbases out of Scotland.

The antennas are cut from floral wire
My Syrian forces now boast 13 T-62s - a healthy company of Soviet-supplied armour and more than enough to fill an average gaming table with flaming tank wrecks. 

There is still more armour to go on the to-do/wish list for my Golan Heights Project (IShermans, PT-76s, more T-55s, etc.) but I am pretty happy with where this collection is at, and I look forward to rolling out another game sometime in the winter.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Road trip! and 15mm Tomorrow's War batrep

Imagine Games & Hobbies, yesterday
So last Thursday, Conscript Perry hosted the weekly game at his part-time (and very cool) place of employment, Imagine Games & Hobbies in the Exchange district of downtown Winnipeg. Conscript Greg and I brought out our opposing forces (Control Battalion and Earth Force, respectively) as well as some scatter terrain for the game.

I was actually pretty impressed with the terrain board that we got to use at the store - it was a 6x4 board with beach on two sides. I'd just happened to bring out palm trees for the vegetation component so it worked out perfectly. We set up a small urban area around a chemical refinery which was conveniently placed to discharge maximum effluent into the local aqueous ecosystem... 'cause that's the way Binary Petroleum rolls ;-)

I brought out the rusty shanties - still very happy with how these came out...

 ... and Greg brought some very nice Miniature Building Authority middle-eastern stuff, it all looked very cool indeed.

On to the game... the scenario was that the Earth Force had been ordered to take control of the area. Unfortunately the Control Battalion had gotten there first. You can see the CB initial positions in the photo above - CB squad on the roof of the building at centre left, with their MBT behind that. The rest of the CB deployed to the northeast of that position. EF would enter on the road at bottom right. The EF had 10 turns to break the CB force.
EF Merka tank takes point on the drive up "Hell's Highway"...

EF APCs roll out behind the Merka. They take a hard right and cut across to engage the rest of the CB force.

In an exchange of fire with the CB tank, the latter is immobilized but on the next turn the Merka is destroyed as it tries to withdraw out of LOS.

 EF APC comes face to face with its CB opposite number...

EF APC engages not one but two enemy APCs... (second one visible at top right of photo).

Meanwhile the lead EF element's transport has been destroyed.

Dice come up big for the EF in a shot at a CB transport AFV...

... as it is comprehensively destroyed!

EF infantry are pinned down by CB defensive fire.

Meanwhile, EF infantry have deployed and close assaulted the lone CB squad in the building just in front of the CB tank. The assault was successful - the CB squad was outnumbered and already had suffered some casualties from shooting. Hot rolling by the EF carried the day. The victors then went on overwatch...

... to support their comrades across the way, who had set up an assault on the CB in the building at centre.

The CB force had suffered enough casualties at that point that their higher command ordered them to withdraw, leaving the objective to the EF.

Victory for the Earth Force! Kill the planet with toxic emissions!!  Thanks to Perry for letting us play at his joint, it was fun - and especially to Greg for running the scenario and for bringing out his scary Control Battalion guys!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Escape from the Empire!

Last Thursday we played a multi-player Star Wars Miniatures Battles game with an interesting (I thought) premise - the origin of Han Solo. Nerds will know that Mr. Solo was formerly an officer in the Imperial Navy and was cashiered after attacking a fellow officer who was about to murder a Wookiee prisoner, Chewbacca. This started the whole "life debt" thing between Han and Chewie that continued until episode 6 or later. Anyway the scenario is Han's escape from Imperial custody - stealing a TIE fighter and escaping to join the Bounty Hunter's Union, or whatever. Above we see Our Heroes having disembarked from their TIE fighter (battle damaged!), accompanied by another defecting Imperial pilot, Phil.

Turn 2 and Phil has already been "defeated". Oh well, he wasn't "canon" anyway ;-)

Some bounty hunters want to put Han and Chewie through a traditional hazing ritual, running agauntlet of blaster fire.

Imperials appear on the scene, bent on apprehending the fugitives. Han takes aim...

 "I didn't hit it that hard - it must've had a self-destruct!"

 Chewie's down and the Imperials form a gunline. Han is headed for the Spice Mines for sure...

Even the bounty hunters were made short work of by the planetary militia. A brief game, but at least it looked good. I always enjoy rolling out the Star Wars toys.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Afghan Army Squad & T-55MV - 28mm

DRA squad, mortar team and T-55 MV
More stuff for Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  In my email to Curt I gave this entry the pseudo-Ludlum-esque title of "The Afghan Assortment".  It includes a squad of DRA troops, a DRA mortar team and a T-55MV.  Apologies for the quality of some of the photos - I just couldn't get the light right...

DRA squad on the move
The infantry are from Mongrel Miniatures, a line now only available from UK retailer Newline Designs.  They represent the troops of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the puppet regime the Soviets propped up with their 10-year occupation.  I always love the name of these Communist regimes - the DRA was hardly "democratic", and I don't think it was a "republic", but anyway...

DRA officer and radio trooper
The DRA forces were trained and equipped by the Soviets, in theory fighting the Mujahideen.  I'm sure they did that, but they often fought with them as well, turning against those who armed and trained them.  As such these are great models to have for my Afghanistan collection, as they can fight against the Soviets, or with them, or sometimes both in one scenario. They will fight with all of the credibility and reliability of an Environment Canada Climate guess forecast.

RPD gunner with his squad
The squad has eight troopers, including one with an RPD MG. The mortar team is a two-man group, and I quite like how they are flinching as they prepare to unleash another round...

DRA mortar team
I think these models would do to also represent today's Hamid Karzai Kleptocracy Heroin National Militia Afghan National Army. They would have more "western" kit, but I'm sure some part of their structure is still using Soviet-era equipment - the country was/is still awash with it.

The tank model is interesting - it is actually a 1/50 scale James Bond toy.  I believe the intrepid agent 007 drove one of these things to some net positive effect during the Peirce Brosnan era. And so of course there is a quite nice die-cast toy to commemorate the moment!  It really is a great little model, and paints up nicely. And how odd - it is so hard to find properly scaled 28mm modern tanks (i.e. not 1/56 scale) to see something so niche as a T-55MV appear in 28mm is really a surprise!

DRA troops with their T-55 MV
The T-55MV is an upgraded version of the venerable Soviet battle chariot, the T-55.  The "MV" version features reactive armour, improved optics, smokes launchers, an improved gun that can fire ATGM rounds down the tube and other bits.  I doubt the T-55MV would last very long against front line western tanks today (or even a T-80 or T-90), but it would give you a leg up against your neighbour's T-55s...

Fighting to ensure the security of heroin against terrorism in Afghanistan
The Soviet Union equipped the DRA with some T-55 units, but I doubt they went to the trouble to upgrade them to "MV" status, so this vehicle would be much more of a contemporary thing.  But it is still widely deployed - heck even the Russians still have a few - so the model will do nicely to represent everything from the current Afghan Heroin Smuggling Ring Regime to any generic "Republic of Bezerkostan" situation on the gaming table.

Curt's Painting Challenge continues - I am desperately clinging to 10th place, but I'm hoping to move up.  More submissions to follow...