New Arrivals

Just arrived is a whole new bunch of wargames books from Warlord Games, this time their WWII skirmish game, "Bolt Action", plus a couple of army books.

I haven't read them through in great detail as yet, but I've seen enough to know that they have quite a few mechanisms in common with the others of theirs I've seen (Black Powder, Pike & Shot and Hail Caesar), and like them, enough differences to trip up the unwary.

This is clearly not a game designed to please those wargamers who become enraged when the different muzzle velocities of the Lee-Enfield SMLE Mk.IV and the Kar.98 aren't accurately modelled and reflected in combat outcomes on the tabletop. No indeed, they appear to be aimed at much more well-balanced gamers, people who prefer to have fun instead of a pedantry-inspired stroke.

I also bought a set of their "Order Dice.
These are really pretty much of a gimmick; they can easily be replaced by ordinary six-sided dice, or even card chits or the like. However, I've got them now and no doubt they'll do exactly what they're designed to do, which is to display what orders you've given each unit.

Warlord also sent me, unsolicited, some samples of their 28mm pewter figures: three in total (or four if you count the wounded guy being carried). Two (or three) Brave Lads and one Dirty Nazi.
They're not too bad at all. Well sculpted and cast, and quite characterful. It's good business I think; as a customer it makes me feel good to receive these little tokens, and it shows off the quality of their wares in a very tangible way. I doubt that I'll be buying any, just because 28mm metal figures are getting to be out of my price range these days, and reasonably good plastics are readily available, but I do appreciate the gesture. And you never know; after all, I have woeful self-control when it comes to buying more little metal dollies.

I intend to use my 15mm stuff for this. There are a couple of advantages: first, I already have a bunch of figures and vehicles, and second, I can cut all the distances down to centimetres instead of inches and have a decent game on a much smaller table area.

Most annoying ever...

The most annoying character I ever encountered was in a Champions game, built by my friend Mark purely to break the game (I suspect).

The character's name was Nexus. He had only two powers: Duplication (12 duplicates) and a Speed of 12 (out of a maximum of 12). This in a game where a SPD of 6 was pretty damn good.

What this meant, effectively, was that in any given combat Turn, once he'd spent his first action on splitting into his duplicates, Nexus (Mark) got 144 actions. The rest of us got 4 or 5 or 6 or 7. That meant that for 95% of the game, we were lying around twiddling our thumbs while Nexus scampered around doing EVERYTHING. It also meant that a Turn took a long, long time to resolve.

Then, due to everyone ignoring my inspired tactical genius, my blind acrobatic Daredevilesque character ended up fighting a ten-armed octopus villain and getting entangled, while Nexus took on the villain I should have been fighting, the one with the mega-flash attack which blinded all his duplicates at once.

Absolute fiasco.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

More 15mm Traveller figures — huzzah!


The RAFM 15mm Traveller miniatures (which, apparently, aren't Traveller miniatures any more) I ordered at the beginning of October LAST YEAR have finally arrived. The original order went astray in the post, so they sent me out replacements, which now are here and ready for me to start painting.

Since we almost never use miniatures in our Traveller game, this might seem like a whole lot of wasted effort. Perhaps it might be time to hunt down a decent set of sci-fi skirmish rules.


Painting wargames miniatures en masse is incredibly tedious.
If it wasn't so expensive I'd be paying somebody else to do it for me.

Red Priest

I've had this guy sitting unpainted by my worktable for many, many years. I got him down to experiment with Vallejo's "Smoke" glaze (over his coat-of-plates), and figured that since I'd started on him I might as well finish him off. He came in a pack of two; I can't remember who made them, but I think it might have been Citadel, possibly from the Mordheim range, though I wouldn't swear to it.

The Red Priests are a fairly unpleasant, fanatical bunch who lurk about in the background of my campaign. They're cultists of the Great Old Ones, and that's never good. Fortunately, their reputation makes it hard for them to achieve any great degree of overt power, but they're the sort of sneaky bastards who get up to all kinds of shenanigans in the background.

This is the other one that came in the pack; I painted him a long, long time ago. This one isn't intended to be of any particular sect.

SiG 33 auf Pz.I

These are a pair of 15mm (1:100 scale) WWII vehicles from Battlefront, the SiG 150mm infantry gun mounted on a Panzer 1 chassis, sometimes known as the Bison 1.

All in all I'm reasonably happy with the way they've turned out; I think I'm getting the hang of painting Panzer Grey. But compared to guys like Ritterkrieg I can't paint 15mm figures for toffee, my eyes and fingers are just getting too aged and decrepit.

 Feel free to click on the images to see larger, more bloated versions.

15mm SdKfz 231 (6-rad)

 SdKfz 231 (6-rad) from Battlefront.

I added the Nazi air-recognition flag from Green Stuff, to cover up a nasty glob of resin left over from a miscasting fault. I could have ground off all the excess resin I suppose, but I would also have had to re-do the panel lines, so this was the easier option. In retrospect, it would have been easier (and probably given a better result) to use PVA-soaked tissue rather than Green Stuff. Live and learn.

I also had to replace the turret hatches; the ones supplied with the model were rather ill-fitting.

I have another one in the pipeline as well; I'd like to give it the big frame-antenna they used early in the war, but I'm not sure if my soldering skills are up to the task. I guess all I can do is try

More Monsters

Freshly arrived from Lulu is this new OSRIC/AD&D monster book by Rafael Chandler.

I've not done more with it yet than flip through it and write my name on the inside cover, so I can't really comment much yet on its contents. On the outside though, it fits in almost perfectly with my other AD&D manuals — it's clearly been closely modelled on the style of the MM2. The binding is glossier, and I suspect not as hard-wearing as those ancient volumes, but the graphic design is very similar (in spite of the 3e/Pathfinder-style cover critter).

Internally, the layout is basically the same as the MM1 and MM2, though the text is in a larger font (not a bad thing, in my view). It's liberally illustrated in black & white or greyscale throughout, and generally speaking the illustrations are pretty good.

The paper is a smooth, matte, bright-white stock designed for digital printing. It's not as heavy as the rag-paper used in the first AD&D manuals, but it's not as flimsy or shoddy as that used in some of the AD&D2 books. It feels like it should take pen and/or pencil annotations just fine.

On brief acquaintance, I'm pretty happy with it. Now to actually read the thing and see what I can do with it to help in the noble quest to make my players' lives a living hell.

A couple of days later.....

Well OK, so now that I've given it the once-through I'd have to say that I'm not completely over the moon about it, but it's not a complete load of old cobblers either.

There are some good, interesting monsters in there, but many of them are clearly designed to suit a very specific campaign style — and that's not really my style at all. I'd much prefer it if they had their campaign-specific fluff stripped out, and to have them presented in a much more general-purpose style.

I'd also have to say that I'm not that fond of being beaten over the head with an author's own politics/ethics/morality, even when I happen to agree with some of it. I get the strong feeling from this collection of monsters that I'd find Chandler's own campaign intolerably preachy.

I wouldn't say that I wasted my money, but I can't see it being as useful as I had hoped.

Carden-Loyd MG Carrier (15mm)

These are some of my 15mm (1:100 scale) 3d-printed 1930s British Carden-Loyd MG carriers, printed by Shapeways in FUD resin. This reall...