Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review of U.S. Navy Seawolves by Daniel E. Kelly

Author:  Daniel E. Kelly.
Title:  U.S. Navy Seawolves - The Elite HAL-3 Helicopter Squadron in Vietnam.
Publisher:  Presidio Press.
Copyright:  2002.
Pages:  269.
Price:  $7.99 (US).

U.S. Navy Seawolves - The Elite HAL-3 Helicopter Squadron in Vietnam by Daniel E. Kelly is a fast-paced book.  I enjoyed reading it.  It takes about how the Navy organized a attack helicopter service for its SEAL teams along the Mekong delta and around Saigon.  The description of actual combat operations took place in 1967 to the Tet Offensive of 1968.

I didn't realize how active the Navy was involved along the Mekong with its "brown-water navy" of riverine craft and swift boats.  SEAL teams were still relatively new in Vietnam.  I also realized the helicopter pilots were their own unique breed.  My uncle was an Army helicopter pilot in both Vietnam and Korea.  However, he never did talk about the combat and rescue missions he flew before dying several years ago.

I would have liked to have known more.  However, U.S. Navy Seawolves gave me some insight into the world of a combat helicopter pilot.  Recommend.

Monday, December 22, 2014

End of the year painting projects...

I completed a 72 figure 1870 Bavarian infantry regiment this morning.  But the bases need flocking.  This means all my 28mm 1870 Germans are done!  I started 28mm Franco-Prussian War in 2011.  It's now almost 2015 and I have an entire 54 figure 28mm 1870 French Turco infantry regiment to finish painting along with another 4 pdr French artillery battery.

When I started this project, I didn't intend for it to take over eighteen months.  I've been side tracked several times.  I look forward to be finished with everything by the end of February 2015.

I'm currently working on some 30mm Warmachine Warjacks and an unit of heavy infantry for my Menoth Protectorate army.  I also have an entire 30mm Mercenary Steelhead Company army to assemble and paint in the coming year.  There are also loose ends like a 28mm Viking army and 30mm WH40K Baneblade to paint and assemble, also.

Those are my goals for 2015 as far as gaming miniatures go...

Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year,

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review of Battle for the Falklands: The Winter War by Bishop & Witherow

Authors:  Patrick Bishop and John Witherow.
Title:  Battle for the Falklands - The Winter War.
Publisher:  Harper Press.
Copyright:  1982.
Pages:  157.
Price:  $4.99 US (ebook).

Overview and impressions:
The Falklands War was a new subject for me.  I read the book by Patrick Bishop and John Witherow.  It was an unexpected conflict.  Argentine invaded the territory and the UK came back to reclaim it.  I'm not sure if they're still arguing over who should control the islands.

The conflict could be divided between the air/sea battles and the land invasion.  From what I read, the whole thing was a close run affair until the actual D-Day.  The British used regular army troops.  The Argentines had conscripts.  Both sides fought well.

The Argentines could have done much more damage if their bombs had properly armed when their pilots flew at twenty to thirty feet in the air.  The ship missiles did enough damage to the British Navy to make them think twice about their anti-missile defenses.  By the time of the ground of war, the Argentine will to fight was done for.  The Argentines had time to entrench and fortify their positions.  But no one wanted to die in the Falklands.

I enjoyed the read.  Though I admit it's biased because the authors are UK newspaper reporters.  I wouldn't mind reading someone from the Argentine perspective.  Unfortunately, I'm not fluent in Spanish.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review of Hill 488 by Ray Hildreth and Charles Sasser

Authors:  Ray Hildreth and Charles Sasser.
Title:  Hill 488.
Publisher:  Pocket Books.
Copyright:  2003.
Pages:  359.
Cost:  $7.00

Overviews and impressions:
Hill 488 is the first hand account of the 1st Platoon, 1st Recon Battalion, 1st Marine Division stationed on Hill 488 and the VC/NVA battalion that attacked it on June 13, 1966.  One Congressional Medal, four Navy Crosses, thirteen Silver stars, and 18 Purple Hearts were awarded to the unit.  The highest decoration of any small unit in US history.

The books is engrossing.  Hildreth tells his story from first person.  Sasser shifts to third person during some of the battle scenes to keep the narrative moving.  I felt I was on top of Hill 488 with the Marines when they were attacked.  It's the closest I've come to actually being in combat since reading We Were Soldier...  And Young Once.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Review of Warriors of Thlassa Mey by Dennis McCarty

Author:  Dennis McCarty.
Title:  Warriors of Thlassa Mey.
Publisher:  Del Rey Books.
Copyright: 1987 (out of print).
Pages:  337.
Price:  $3.50 (US).

Overview and impressions:
This is the second books in the Thlassa Mey series.  The heroes are scattered around the inland sea.  Slowly, they're drawn together to the Temple of the lost Polonians.  The mad wizard Alyubol has plans for them there involving the desecration of an ancient king at Sparth's Head Castle.

The novel builds up to that ending.  More background is given about the various places of the Thlassa Mey.  The reader learns more about Palamon, the disgraced knight of Pallas who has been given the quest of stopping Alyubol.  Still, an enjoyable read.  Recommended.

Review of Flight to Thlassa Mey by Dennis McCarty

Author:  Dennis McCarty.
Title:  Flight to Thlassa Mey.
Publisher:  Del Rey.
Copyright:  1986 (out of print).
Pages:  319.
Price:  $2.95 (US).

Overview and impressions:
This was a fantasy novel set around a young princess and a knight turned bouncer as they fled around the inland sea called the Thlassa Mey.  They were constantly being chased by Lothar the Pale's troops and the minion of the insane wizard Alyubol.

The novel takes off from there.  I read it in the 1980s when I was graduating high school and needed diversions from my daily life.  I hated high school and couldn't look forward to college.  Reading was a way I'd keep my mind occupied with other thoughts besides working at McDonalds and not having a car.

Recommended for a rousing epic fantasy fan.

Review of Agent of Byzantium by Harry Turtledove

Author:  Harry Turtledove.
Title:  Agent of Byzantium.
Publisher:  Worldwide.
Copyright:  1988 (out of print).
Pages:  256.
Price:  $3.95 (US).

Overview and impressions:
I read this book when I was in college.  The previous book I'd read before that was "A Rebel in Time" by Harry Harrison.  Agent of Byzantium was my introduction to alternative history novels.

The book is a collection of short stories involving Basil Argyros, a magistos of the Emperor.  Argyros is involved in discovering the formula for gun powder, the printing press, and preventing a barbarian invasion of nomads upon the Byzantium and Persian empires.

The main premise of the book is the conversion of Mohammed to Christianity and not founding Islam.  The alternative historical Europe proceeds from there.

It was a good novel when I read it.  I didn't realize it was so short.  I wouldn't mind rereading it.  I tried picking through it today.  But the dust mites were so bad, my eyes watered horribly.  I hope this won't happen with the other old paperbacks I bought today.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Photos from WH40K Game, 06DEC14

Here are photos from a WH40K game I played with Curtis Turner (Hostile Contact):

                                          Wrecked Land Raider blocked my Terminators from advancing.    

     Curtis's Lord on a Juggernaut was the second time in 10 years he'd actually used the figure in a game!

                           Chaos space marines rolling up my center and left flank at the end of the game.

                                          I was left with one figure on the table at the end of the game!

Painting Challenge 2015....

Things have slowed down for me considerably as far as painting is concerned.  I wanted to start painting for others locally starting in September 2014.  But my family situation went from worse to insane with my father's stroke and stomach cancer.  I'm losing track of the weeks.  It hasn't allowed much time for hobbies.  But I need my downtime so I don't go crazy from my family.

So I've taken time time during the week to paint at night.  Here is what I've accomplished painting for 2014:

30mm Menoth Protectorate Army
30mm WH40K Stormraven Gunship
30mm WHFB High Elf cavalry
28mm FPW 1870 Prussians
28mm FPW 1870 Imperial French
28mm FPW 1870 Bavarians

I have two 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry battalions to finish painting, one 28mm 1870 French Turco infantry regiment, and 28mm 1870 French artillery battery.

I put finishing all the 28mm 1870 FPW armies at the end of February 2015.  With the completion of that project, I'll move onto my second project for 2015.  Namely, finishing my 30mm Menoth Protectorate army.
That is to be followed by a second Warmachine army, the Steelhead Company mercenaries.  I also have a 30mm WH40K Baneblade tank kit to assemble and paint.

If I get anymore done next year, great.  But I'm not pushing myself because of time constraints.  Hopefully, I'll get more free time as things progress....

Learning to read ancient Egypt: Part 1

They say the way to hell is paved with good intentions.  I bought a small library of books on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs with the intention of teaching myself ancient Egyptian.  Of all the things I could do with my time, I decided upon doing this.  I would have been better off learning Norwegian or Japanese.

Alas, I'd already bought the books including one called "Learning to Read Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs."

So about a month ago, I finally get around to learning the first lesson.  Each hieroglyph stands for a consonant.  I'm in the process of learning 1 consonant signs.  This whole process has been interrupted by my father's deteriorating medical conditions.  I'm sending a good part of my day watching him.

I should be using my downtime with my father to study ancient Egyptian.  I've spent my free time watching American football or English Premier League soccer.  I haven't finished the first lesson.  I want to finish it.  I'll go through the first part of the lesson and then move onto determinative signs.

I'm not good at languages because of my written dyslexia.  I had troubles through out high school and college with both German and Latin.  I still think I can get more accomplished if I devote my downtime to studying and working out the hieroglyphs.  Still, it's slow going.  But I think with enough time, I'll be able master it and then move on....

Monday, December 1, 2014

15mm SYW Game AAR, 28NOV14

We game the day after Thanksgiving.  I ran a small 15mm SYW British/Hanoverian army.  Don Cox ran a 15mm SYW French army.  We did a generic meeting engagement using Koenigs Krieg 2nd edition rules.  Again, the dice weren't kind to me.  So I lost...

                                          15mm French infantry brigade.

                                          15mm SYW British infantry brigade.

                                          Don Cox advancing his troops.

                                          The British left flank before the cavalry collapse.
                        Remaining British infantry brigade forms square in the face of French Horse.

                              The battle of the other flanks.  French and British dragoons going at it.

                                          French Horse attacking my infantry in square.                          

By the time we got to army morale, I blew my roll and the remaining British forces withdrew from the battlefield.  So much for my dice rolling...                

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review of Gone Native by Alan G. Cornett

Author:  Alan G. Cornett.
Title:  Gone Native - An NCO's Story.
Publisher:  Ballantine Books.
Copyright:  2000.
Pages:  292.
Price:  $7.99.

Impressions and Overview:
Gone Native:  An NCO's Story is a fast read.  The author is a former medic who served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne, the Green Berets, and the Phoenix Program.  Alan Cornett eventually finished up as a senior NCO serving in Western Europe during the 1980s.

However, he had problems along the way.  Cornett admits to serving time in the brig for assaulting an officer and other violations.  He flunked out of college.  Cornett got his draft notice and volunteered for the Green Berets in 1966.  He would then spend seven years in Vietnam.  Along the way, Cornett became fluent in Vietnamese and worked with the ARVN Rangers capturing high level Viet Cong officers in the central highlands.

Overall, it's an interesting account of a senior American NCO with a checkered past.  Recommended.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

28mm 1882 Egyptian Campaign AAR, 21NOV14

Here are photos of my game with Don Cox at a local gaming store in St. Louis, MO:

                                          28mm 1882 British infantry company in line.

                                         28mm 1882 British line advancing.

                                          28mm 1882 Egyptian infantry company firing.

                          28mm 1882 British survivors rout off the board after I failed multiple morale rolls.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trying to paint 28mm 1870 Franco-Prussian War forces and other nonsense...

My weeks are filled taking care of my father.  He's wheelchair bound and recovering from a stroke.  This hasn't allowed me much time for other things like painting, reading, and writing.

I did get a 28mm British Colonial game using The Sword and the Flame in with a friend Friday evening.  I'll post photos up tomorrow evening when I get a chance.

I'm in the process of painting 28mm FPW figures.  The current unit is the 4th Bavarian infantry regiment.  I have the 1st Turco Regiment to finish once I'm done with the 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry.  Then it's on another 28mm 1870 French artillery battery.  I'll then be done with all the 28mm FPW armies!  This project has taken over three years.  That's too long...

I've shifted my reading to a book on the Vietnam War called "Gone Native."  I'm about 40% finished.  I need to find sometime and just read it.  "Gone Native" is an easy read and flows easy.  Unlike some Vietnam books I've read, I can read a chapter and come back to the book later on and pick up where I left off.  I'll have an entire review on the blog when I'm done with it...

I've also started learning to read Egyptian hieroglyphs.  I'm working on the first sections trying to memorize the 1 one sign consonants right now.  Once I've mastered them, I'll move onto the next section.  But that's been slow going, too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review of A History of Ancient Egypt by John Romer

Author:  John Romer.
Title:  A History of Ancient Egypt - From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid, Volume 1.
Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press.
Copyright:  2013.
Pages:  475.
Price:  $29.99.

Overview and Impressions:
John Romer's A History of Ancient Egypt is more archeology than history.  Romer starts in seventh millennium BCE and works forward through pre-dynasty Egypt.

This book is more an academic work than a general history.  The author starts off with the agricultural revolution that swept the neolithic Near East.  Building up farming techniques and pottery, Romer argues a case for the differing settlements of the Nile valley.

Unfortunately, there's no military history in this book for your average gamer.  It's more the technical workings of civilization from the neolithic stone age into the early bronze age.  Romer makes a convincing case that the tools that brought about civilization in ancient Egypt were home grown

What helped Egypt succeed was an abundance of agriculture and necessary trade routes.  It also allowed Egypt to became one of the first imperial states in the later part of its long history.  Romer concludes Volume 1 with King Khufu and the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The logistics that went into the construction of these monuments is impressive.  Romer estimates at least ten percent of the population was involved the construction of the first pyramids from 2650-2550 BCE.  About 25,000 men were needed to actually build the structures, while over 5,000 stone masons were employed on site to quarry and carve the limestone with copper chisels.  But those are only estimates.

Recommended reading for the scholarly.  Volume 2 will cover the rest of ancient Egypt from Khufu's death through the Roman occupation, which is due out sometime next year.        

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review of Fangs of the Lone Wolf by Dodge Billingsley

Author:  Dodge Billingsley.
Title:  Fangs of the Lone Wolf - Chechen Tactics in the Russian Chechen Wars 1994-2009.
Publisher:  Helion and Company.
Date Published:  2013.
Pages:  181.
Price:  $45.00 (US).

I started this book last weekend.  I finished this evening.  This has to be some of most depressing reading I've done.  However, the author does an excellent job describing the tactics and battles fought by the Chechen insurgents in their two wars with Russia.

There are thirty vignettes in the books.  Each is usable for different gaming scenarios.  The Chechens start the first war in high spirits.  But the strain of guerrilla warfare wore down the different bands of fighters.  The Second Chechen War of 1999-2009 proved the Russians learning from their mistakes and bought the fight back to the Chechen safe-havens in the mountains.  The split between the pro-Moscow Chechen government troops and the rebels also put another nail into the guerrilla movement.

The fighting still drags on in Chechnya.  The reason Russia wants the province is oil.  Barring the political reasons for the fighting, many of the Chechens fought because the Russians invaded their homeland or they;d lost love ones in the conflict.

Recommended hard copy with color maps, prints, and photos.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Impressions of Analog Magazine

Title:  Analog Science Fiction And Fact - October 2014.
Publisher:  Dell Publishing.
Page:  112.
Price:  $4.99 (US).

Impressions and Overview:

I liked the science related articles.  They had direct bearings on how one writes science fiction.  I've pondered over issues like the number of technological civilizations throughout the universe.  Or where human is the first technological civilization in the cosmos to arise.  So, I enjoyed the scientific articles.

But the short stories left me cold.  I didn't enjoy any of this month's stories.  I don't know if that's me or whether I the selection of stories were weak.  I have a particular bent in my reading.  I like hard science-fiction.  I also like military sci-fi and space opera, too.  Part of my problem it's been over 25 years since I read any science fiction short stories.  The last time I read anything was as a sophomore in high school.

I read for pleasure when I rode the bus.  I seem to remember reading a lot of Author C. Clarke and Asimov at the time.  My tastes later grew into high fantasy with Steven Donaldson and David Eddings.  I read more fantasy with Glen Cook's Black Company series in when I got into my twenties.

However, my reading was consumed by military history in my late twenties.  I stopped reading fiction by then.  Things remained that way throughout my thirties.  I read more military histories during this time than anything else.  About the time I went back to writing, I made a concerted effort to read on the craft of writing...

I wrote a military sci-fi novella.  I thought I knew my material.  And it read like a "Hammer's Slammers"/Honor Harrington novel.  I wanted to branch out into other speculative genres.  So I took the advice of Steven King and I started actively reading again.  Reading fiction.  All sorts of stuff...

Analog Magazine is supposed to be some of the best short story sci-fi available.  Though I'm hoping for more interesting stories.  I've made an effort not to write all military sci-fi.  My novels aren't military sci-fi.  But this is the sub-genera I keep coming back to.  That doesn't bode well for me as a writer.  Though I did subscribe to Analog for a year.  I need exposure to different materials so my writing doesn't go stale...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review of Ravenwing by Gav Thorpe

Author:  Gav Thorpe.
Title:  Ravenwing - Book One of the Legacy of Caliban Triology.
Publisher:  The Black Library.
Date Published:  2014.
Pages:  412.
Price:  $11.99 (US).

I finally finished Ravenwing this morning.  I've been reading it when I get a chance.  Usually, I can only get a chapter or two done before I have to do something else.  Learning from my other book reviews, I'm not going to summarize what happens in the novel.  I'll give my impressions of the characters and overall plot.

For plot?  How about the Fallen?

Ravenwing's job is to hunt for Fallen Dark Angel Space Marines who betrayed their chapter during the Horus Heresy.  That's part of the fluff.  Most of the story revolves around it.

Sammuel is the Grandmaster of the Ravenwing.  He leads the hunt for the Fallen.  His command has to deal with several local rebellions against Imperial authority.  Problem is he only has two space marine companies!

Good thing the space marines in the Black Library books are combat monsters.  They sure as hell die easily when I run my Dark Angel Deathwing Company in a game!  The whole Space Marine combat thing is rather unbelievable for someone familiar with real-life combat operations.  But these are GW writers.  I'm supposed to drink the cool-aid.  However, many people might have a problem with that.  Hammer's Slammers or Pournell's Prince of Mercenaries they aren't...

By the way, Gav Thorpe is an excellent writer.  I wanted to keep reading this book until I got done with it.  Some of the Black Library books are good.  Some are unreadable.  It depends on the author.  I can also recommend James Swallow's Horus Heresy books, too.

There are other characters like Brother Annael, who is a "new" Ravenwing recruit at age 400 besides Sammuel.  I liked Ravenwing.  But I'm a Dark Angel's WH40K player.  Though I've moved onto another Horus Heresy novel about the White Scars.  I haven't bought or read Master of Sanctity.  That's the second novel in the Legacy of Caliban series.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall 2014 Update...

My father is recovering from stomach cancer.  My mom is facing back surgery this coming month.  Needless to say, I'm not going to have much time to blog.  More important things have taken up my time.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  My parents should be in assisted living sometime next year.  The burden on me will be much less.

Here's what I've been able to get done this past month painting wise in no particular order:

1)  15mm Old Glory Dervish Ansar.  It was an experimental painting project for a friend of mine.  He'll have more figures for me to paint.  I focused on painting them two nights a week.  I'll stick to that method as I get more figures from him to paint.

2)  30mm WH40K Stormraven,  40K Deathwing Terminators, and WHFB High Elf Light Cavalry.  Those figures got sealed this weekend when I had the downtime to spray figures.  The weather has been bright and sunny.  I brought the figures in this evening.  I put them away before I thought about updating the gaming blog....

3)  30mm Warmachine Protectorate of Menoth figures:  12 Knights Examplars, 6 Choir of Menoth, 2 Vassals of Menoth, 1 Menoth Mechanic, 1 Menoth Solo, and 1 Piper of Ord Mercenary figure.  I plan on playing some Warmachine with a friend of mine tomorrow evening.  I don't know if I'll mix it up with the new figures or just do another Battle Box game.  Those figures are in my Sabol army Motor Pool bag I inherited with the army.  I need to get a proper Battlefoam bag for it and my Mercs army (when I have the money).

4)  28mm 1870 Bavarian Jager Battalion and 28mm Bavarian mounted infantry command.  The figures need to be flocked and sealed.  I'm not going to get them done in time for Command Con 2014, Friday, November 7, 2014 here in St. Louis, MO.  But I'll try and get another infantry regiment painted by the end of the month.

Here is what I've had on my work table:

1)  Assembling a 30mm Repenter Light Menoth Warjack from the plastic model.
2)  Assembling a 30mm Bastion Incinerator squad.
3)  Repaired a 30mm Knight Examplar figure.

I have lots more figures to prime and paint.  But they'll just have to wait until I get around to finishing my current project, like a 30mm GW Bane Blade kit (NIB)....

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review of Doc Savage: The Infernal Buddha

Author:  Kenneth Robeson (Will Murray).
Title:  Doc Savage:  The Infernal Buddha.
Publisher:  Altus Press.
Pages:  300.
Copyright:  2012.
Price:  $24.95 (US).

Ghost writing under the the name of Kenneth Robeson, Will Murray has written some new Doc Savage adventures for Altus Press.

The Infernal Buddha involves Doc, Monk, Ham, and the gang in the waters of the South China Sea in 1936.  Someone has discovered a crystalline material that consumes water.  The object is carved in the shape of an infernal Buddha.  People soon use it as a weapon to kill each other.

I liked the pulp feel of the story.  I felt like I was reading an old Robeson story from Doc Savage Magazine.  Murray does a good job keeping the action flowing.  Much of the action is set around Singapore and the South China Sea.  Doc becomes a pirate in order to capture the infernal Buddha.

The whole concept of another otherworldly crystalline matter that consumes water is interesting.  It was the only thing I had to accept for my willing suspension of disbelief.  I would have liked a more scientific explanation of the macgruff.  Plot wise, it works for the story.

But the characters are believable as Doc, Monk, Ham, and Renny.  I read Doc Savage stories when I was an undergraduate in college.  It's been along time since I remember the "Man of Bronze's" exploits.  The new Doc Savage stories are worth reading for a pulp-buff.  The only complaint I have are the price of the books.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review of The Emperor's Finest by Sandy Mitchell

Author:  Sandy Mitchell.
Title:  The Emperor's Finest.
Publisher:  The Black Library.
Copyright:  2010.
Pages:  316.
Price:  $24.99 (US).

This is a Warhammer 40K novel told by Commissar Ciaphas Cain about his exploits as an Imperial Guard liaison to the Reclaimer Space Marines.  Cain and the Reclaimers come to the Fidelis star system to deal with a planetary rebellion.  It turns out to be a genestealer infestation.

The space marines make short work of the stealers and infected Planetary Defense Force.  Cain becomes involved the planetary governor's daughter, who has eyes for him.  Cain's underling, Jurgen, catches up to his old boss.  But the Reclaimers and their techmarines have unfinished business for a drifting space hulk, called The Spawn of Damnation.  Cain, his lover, and Jurgen get carted away by the Space Marines who are in pursuit of the genestealers.

Along the way, the Marines accidently run into a huge Ork fleet.  After barely escaping, they arrive in the Serendipita star system.  Cain learns the techmarines want to board the hulk for rare Dark Age technology.  He advises against it.  But Cain is overruled.  The hulk then appears at the outskirts of Serendipita.  But the boarding parts are repulsed.

Left trapped on the hulk, Cain and Jurgen survive by their wits as they find there are two competing armies of xenos on The Spawn of Damnation, namely genestealers and Orks.  Both men avoid patrols of Orks and Gretchin before running into a brood of sleeping stealers.  They finally make it to the center of the hulk as the genestealers close in.  But Cain and Jurgen are saved when they are teleported back to the Reclaimer's battle cruiser.

The meantime, Cain's former lover turns her attention to the local planetary governor.  She politely asks Cain to leave the planet in the time of her wedding day...

Good book.  Entertaining.  Recommended.

WIP, 30AUG14

Here is what I've gotten done this past week (despite all the doctor appointments).  I'm now officially done with GW Blood Angel Army...


                                          GW Blood Angel Stormraven Gunship (second one of two).

Saturday, August 16, 2014

WIP, 16AUG14

Here are photos of works in progress, 16AUG14:

                                          28mm 1870 Bavarian jagers and mounted command.

                                          28mm High Elf Archer Cavalry.

                                          30mm Menoth individual figures and mercenaries.

                                          30mm Menoth Choir and Knights Examplars.

Mid August 2014 Update...

I been occupied by real-life recently.  My father has stomach/esophagus cancer.  He's supposed to find out out where it's located and if it's spread to the rest of his body.  Dad isn't a candidate for surgery.  His oncologist would treat his with radiation and chemotherapy.  I don't think my father will handle the radiation well.  It's hard on the body.  A friend of mine lost 80 pounds during his fight with liver cancer back in 2005 before he finally died.  He couldn't hold down any food because of the radiation.

That's what I remember when I visited him in the hospital in Des Moines, IA back in late 2004.  Craig Moran went through two surgeries and radiation.  And his cancer came back the second time.  But that was more work related to his exposure to carbon black fibers.  My father's mother died of stomach cancer at 84.  I think my father inherited it...

But my father has numerous other health problems.  The cancer is just the latest.  He'd been dealing with dementia and memory loss.  That's a horrible fate in itself.  If the cancer is terminal, I hope my father goes fast.  I don't want him to suffer.  If it's treatable, then my father has more time to enjoy his life.

I've made my peace with him.  I don't get along with my father.  I've never been the favored one.  I've been the dependable one.  My patience with my father tirades and temper tantrums over a lack of grandchildren have worn my patience thin.  I could go on about his self-centeredness and lack of objectivity in his life.  But that's part of the disease he suffers from.  Part of it is himself.  When my father does die, it won't affect me as much as my brother who is upset at my father's potential demise.  Then again, my younger sibling is as narcissistic as my father.  I've limited my contact with both of them for my own mental health....

The only gaming stuff I've been able to get done has been painting of 28mm FPW figures and some Warmachine Protectorate of Menoth stuff.  I'll take photos and try and post them tonight.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review of The Martian Tales Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Author:  Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Title:  The Martian Tales Trilogy.
Publisher:  Barnes and Noble.
Copyright:  1912, 1913, 1914, (2004).
Pages:  669.
Price:  $9.99 (US).

I hadn't read Edgar Rice Burroughs's works.  I started his novel back several months ago.  I just got finished with it today.  The three related books are Princess of Mars, Gods of Mars, and Warlord of Mars.  

The protagonist is ex-Confederate soldier John Carter and his adventures on the Red Planet.  He is magically transported to Mars and begins an odyssey on a new world.  John Carter fights, makes friends and falls in love.  All in an epic telling.  The writing is fast-paced and first person from John Carter's viewpoint.

The second book, Gods of Mars, is about John Carter's quest to win his wife back and put an end of evil practices of Martian theocrats who feast off the remains of the planet's ignorant masses.

Warlord of Mars continues John Carter's quest to free the Princess of Helium and the final battle on the northern polar region of Mars.

Recommend for Victorian Sci-Fi fans.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Real life getting in the way of things....

I've been dealing with insurance companies and making phone calls this past week.  My car got totaled.  I get to go car shopping next week.  And I'm without a car right now.  I also sat down and figured my finances.  There are many things I won't be able to get/do.  Bills come first (financial responsibility from a WH40K player, it's the End Times, aggh!).

I'd like get another 18mm SYW Swedish army and a 18mm SYW Prussian army.  Maybe next year....

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mid-Summer 2014 progress report

I'm blogging to let know people I'm alive.  I've been spending the weekends painting.  Specifically, I've been working on 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade.  I want to get a battalion done a week.  Problem is there are seven battalions to finish!  I also started a 28mm 1870 French Turco infantry regiment, too.  I'll be done with my 28mm FPW projects when those armies are finally painted.

Realistically, that puts me into September/October to complete my 28mm FPW game for Command Con 2014.  I'm only running one gaming slot this year for Command Con 2014.  That will be Friday, November 7th at 12 PM, I believe.  I'm also running a 15mm SYW Battle of Minden - August 1, 1759 on Saturday, July 19th at 12 PM at Wargamers Cave.  I'll also be running a 28mm Boer War Game 1881 on Saturday, August 9th at Guns of August for Big Muddy HGA...

Other activities have seen me writing and catch up on my reading.  I' finished Edgar Rice Burroughs' Princess of Mars.  I'm now reading the second book.  I have an interest in 28mm VSF.  But it's another expense I can afford to do without, for now.  I have a backlog of 20 books to read before I'm caught up with everything.  Any progress I make towards my unread pile is progress none the less...

Good painting and good gaming,

Saturday, June 28, 2014

WH40K Demo Game by Hostile Contact

Steve Hood (Combat Colours) and Joe Collins (Sapper Joe) squared off in a WH40K demo game run by Curtis Tuner (Hostile Contact) today at Wargamers Cave in Granite City, IL.  Both sides had 1,000 point armies.  Combat Colors had Space Marines.  Sapper Joe had Chaos Marines.  They fought over several contested objectives.

Combat Colours blew up one of Sapper Joe's Rhinos.  Sapper Joe returned the favor by pinning down Combat Colours' dreanought.  Sapper Joe had a Nurgle predator that pounded on the dreadnought to little avail.  But he got lucky and blew up Combat Colours' Razorback.  Meanwhile both sides' infantry shot it out over contested terrain until the two brought their jump troops and terminators on board.

Then, things got really ugly.  The game went six turns.  Steve lost by the narrowest of margins because he didn't have any troops available to contest an object other than his devastator squad.  Sapper Joe found the game to be a good learning experience.  Combat Colours is also interested in playing more WH40K, too.

I'm hoping for another 1,000 point demo game next month at Wargamers Cave.  BTW, we're doing 6th edition WH40K.  I've played 7th edition.  It's no fun.  I found that out last night when my Blood Angels fought Dark Eldar....

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review of Hitler's Guards by James J. Weingartner

Author:  James J. Weingartner.
Title:  Hitler's Guard - The Story of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, 1933-1945.
Publisher:  Battery Classics.
Copyright:  (1974), 1989.
Pages: 194.
Price:  $22.50.

This is one of those stories about books I'd purchased, read them, and then realized I used to own a copy of it and had already read it!

The books is the story of Joseph Sepp Dietrich and the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.  The unit originally started out as a ceremonial bodyguard unit.  It was an entire panzer division by the end of WWII.

How that happened is part of the book.  The other part is how the unit was used to deal with the Third Reich's enemies, both foreign and domestic.  The Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler fought all over Europe during WWII.  They were seen as an elite of the Waffen SS carrying out Adolf Hitler's personal orders.

Starting with the "Night of the Long Knives" and the murder of Ernst Roehm to the final days of the Reich, Sepp Dietrich willing became Hitler's personal "paladin" in carrying out his master's orders.  This places Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler not only among the elite military units of history, it also ranks them as some of the worst war criminals, too.

Though little thought was given to Himmiler's propaganda, Sepp Dietrich and average ranks of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler say themselves as a new racial elite fighting the Bolsheviks and international Jewry in their crusade on the Eastern Front.  For they liked to say, "My loyalty is my honor."  Recommended.

WIP, 23JUNE14, 28mm 1870 French

Here are some photos of 28mm 1870 French, WIP, 23JUN14:

                           28mm 1870 French Command and dismounted Chassuers d'Afrique.

June painting and figure purchases...

I've been working on 28mm 1870 French command and 28mm 1870 Chasseurs d'Afrique this weekend.  I'll get some photos of the finished pieces up soon.  I'm taking a break from painting this morning.  I feel like Napoleon III at Sedan sometimes.  The amount of figures I have to paint is overwhelming.  I'm trying to make a dent in my unpainted miniature pile.

Some days, it goes better than others.  This weekend was productive.  However, I still have an entire 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade to finish.  I moved onto 28mm 1870 Prussian and Bavarian artillery to finish later this week.

I finally got a large purchase I'd bought about 1.5 months ago.  A WH40K Baneblade kit.  I have no idea what type of tank I'll assemble.  I'll finish my 28mm FPW armies before moving onto the remaining WH40K vehicles...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review of Warmachine Prime MKII: Steam-Powered Miniatures Combat

Title:  Warmachine Prime MKII:  Steam-Powered Miniatures Combat
Publisher:  Privateer Press.
Copyright:  2010.
Pages:  256.
Price:  $29.95 US (softback).

I bought and went through the Warmachine Prime MKII:  Steam-Powered Miniatures Combat rules.  I'll say they are thoroughly written and developed.  I like that.  The examples are easy to follow.  It's spelled out what you can and can't do.

Each Warmachine army has a warcaster who controls steam-powered robots named warjacks.  There are also solo characters and units can be added to an army.  The point values for normal Warmachine play are 35 and 50 points.  Each figures has a card telling what it can do and any magical abilities.  You win the game when you kill the warcaster.  There are different scenarios you can also play.

I got into Warmachine by accident.  I traded a WHFB Warriors of Chaos army for a Menoth Protectorate army.  There are several different factions in Warmachine.  I have the angry Catholics who cleanse everything with fire.  There are also Cygnar, Khador, Cryx, Retribution, and Mercenaries.  I bought a Mercenary army as my second faction.  I have yet to put them together.  I first have to paint and assemble all the Menoth Protectorate models first.

I'm lucky there's a community of Warmachine players here in St. Louis, MO.  I've learning to play on Wednesday afternoons/evenings at a local shop.  Instead of FOW, I'm now playing Warmachine because that what the majority of other gamers are playing.

There are numerous gaming systems besides WH40K.  Warmachine is the best play tested and tried.  I've enjoyed the games I've played.  But the system rewards an aggressive play style.  Keep that in mind if you decide to invest in it.  Recommended.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review of The Franco-German War 1870-71, Vols. 1-2

Author:  German General Staff.
Titles:  The Franco-German War 1870-71, Vol. 1 - The War against the Empire. 
           The Franco-German War 1870-71, Vol. 2 - The War against the Empire.
Publisher:  Battery Press.
Pages:  582; 663.
Prices:  $34.95 (US).
            $39.95 (US).

It's cheaper to buy the entire five volume set of The Franco-German War 1870-71 by the German General Staff from Battery Press for $149.95.  It'll run you more to buy the books individually.  Fifteen years ago, I'd bought the first two volumes.  I then moved and eventually sold off my copies after I got rid of my 15mm FPW armies in Hays, KS.

That was a mistake.

Now, I'm rebuilding 28mm FPW armies for a different gaming system.  But I still wanted to have the books as reference materials.

Getting to the books, they are dry reading.  The first volume covers Weissenburg and the frontier battles to the climax at Gravolette-St. Privat.  The second volume is dedicated to the Sedan campaign and the fall of the Second Empire.

The other three volumes cover the Siege of Paris, battles in the provinces, and the final victory and occupation of Paris.

My interests are with the Second Empire when France still had a chance of winning the war.  The Republican phase of the Franco-Prussian War is interesting.  However, much of it revolves around sieges and relief expeditions.  The early Imperial campaign has more open battles and room for maneuvering.  If you want a more balanced account of the FPW, look at Michael Howard's The Franco-Prussian War.  He goes into details about the Republican phase of the War and how the French responded to the German invaders.

But the Official History of the Franco-German War 1870-71 is probably one of the better first hand accounts of the conflict in English.  It's still academic reading.  Not for the casual reader.


Book purchases from Battery Press

I've purchased the following books from Battery Press:

Official History of the Franco-German War, Vol. 1 and Official History of the Franco-German War, Vol. 2 by the German General Staff; Russian Campaigns in Turkey 1877-1878 by Greene; A Soldier of the Legion by Manington; and Hitler's Guards by James Weingartner.

I'd been wanting to buy these books for a while.  This month finally allowed me to purchase them en masse.  I've read the Official History of the Franco-German War before (at least the first two volumes).  The rest are on the to read list, which has grown into a huge mess.  I've bought too many books to keep up with.

I'm going to stop buying books for a while and read what I own.  I'm currently reading The Martian Tales Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I'll finally write a review of that when I'm done reading it.

Until later.  Good gaming...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Play-testing 7th edition WH40K

As much as I hate the newest edition of WH40K, I played 7th edition with my friend Brian Bigford Friday, May 30, 2014, at Game Nite in St. Louis, MO.

Not much has changed.  There's a new psychic phase based off 8th edition WHFB.  You use dice to cast your powers.  I get so many dispel dice to stop it (i.e., Deny the Witch).  I need a "6" to cancel out a power, Brian needed a total of 6 on however many power dice he wanted (or had) to roll.  The warp score costs on the new psychic powers cards.  The more points they cost, the harder it is to activate the power.  Conversely, it's easier to destroy stuff with a more powerful spell.

So all the 6th edition psychic power cards are no longer useful.  Older codex psychic powers are also nullified, too.  So much for the bad news...

But the mechanics for the rest of 40K are the same as 6th edition.  Nothing has really changed except the damage table for vehicles.  You now need a "7" to destroy vehicles.  I lost both of my Land Raiders in my Terminator Deathwing army to melta-gun fire.  Brian whittled down the rest of my surviving terminators.  My awful luck did the rest for me.  I was left with one figure left on the table (Belial) at the end of turn 5.  The game ended after that as I congratulated Brian for his win.

So much for the new 7th edition WH40K....

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Working on 28mm 1870 Franco-Prussian forces

My current painting project is 28mm Franco-Prussian forces.  I've got an entire 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade base coated.  I'm now working on a 28mm dismounted regiment of Chasseurs d'Afrique, a 28mm 1870 Bavarian artillery battery, and a 28mm 1870 Prussian Krupp mortar battery.

Once I get the base coats done, I'll go back and finish up the 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade and the other figures.  I started this project back in December 2013.  I've been working on it off and on for six months.  I'd like to get completed by August.

I still have another 28mm 1870 French Turco regiment to paint along with French command and a 28mm 4 pdr French battery.  Then I'll be done with my 28mm Franco-Prussian War project!  That should put me into the fall of 2014...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WIP, 21MAY14

Here are photos of works in progress as of Wednesday, May 21, 2014:

                                          28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade, WIP.

                                          WH40K DA Deathwing Terminator Squad, WIP.

                                          30mm High Elf Cavalry, WIP.

                                         30mm Menoth Bastion Infantry, Completed 21MAY14.

                                          WH40K Stormraven Gunship Kit, WIP.

Photos of a 40K game

Photos from a friend's WH40K game this afternoon:

                                          Scott and Ahmo playing WH40K at Game Nite in St. Louis, MO.

                                         Ahmo got on the losing end of vanilla marines.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review of Space Viking

Author:  Henry Beam Piper.
Title:  Space Viking.
Publisher:  Bibliotech Press.
Copyright:  2013 (1922).
Pages:  164.
Price:  $13.00.

Overview:  This retro sci-fi novel is set in Henry Beam Piper's Terro-Human future history.  The Terran Federation has collapsed into barbarism.  Some worlds are more civilized than others.  Refugees from the Terran Federation settle on the Sword Worlds and found a feudal space faring civilization. 

The main protagonist is a Space Viking.  His wife is murdered on their wedding day.  Everything he does is to hunt down the man responsible. 

This premise of revenge drives the entire story.  The background is interesting.  Seeing how different civilizations respond to political crisises from the constant raiding and piracy that accompany the Space Viking way of life.  Outside of chain smoking on recycled air, the story is believable.  I enjoyed it (then again it was written in the 1920s).


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

28mm Darkest Africa WWI, 10MAY14 AAR

I played Don Cox in a 28mm Darkest Africa WWI on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at Wargamers Cave in Granite City, IL.  I ran the Belgian Force Publique.  Don had the colonial German regulars and askaris.  Things didn't go well for me.  Here are the photos I took of the game:

                                          Initial German positions.

                                          My Belgian askaris and artillery initial positions

                                          Don gets the the second movement cards.

             After losing my allied Tribal Muskets and Belgian artillery, I advance the rest of the army.

             Over half of my army is routed or destroyed.  I call the game and congratulate Don.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review of Osprey MAA 191: Henry VIII's Army

Author:  Paul Cornish.
Illustrator:  Angus McBride.
Title:  Osprey Men-at-Arms No. 191:  Henry VIII's Army.
Publisher:  Osprey Publishing.
Copyright:  1987 (2005).
Price:  $15.95.

This Osprey Men-at-Arms has illustrations of Henry VIII's army by Angus McBride.  Alas, this Osprey is now out of print.  I purchased mine on the secondary market.  I thought I was getting a good deal.  By the time taxes and shipping were included, I paid more than retail for it.

Paul Cornish, the author, does a good job of presenting the different armies Henry VIII fielded during his reign.  The major enemy was always France.  But Scotland figured in the fighting, too.

I bought this book as a painting guide for a future 28mm English Tudor army I want to buy.  I also wanted a 16th century Spanish army as its opponent.  I have all the gendarmes and their followers I need right now.  The rest I'll purchase later.

MAA 191:  Henry VIII"s Army is recommended alone for the illustrations and drawings of the Tudor army and its allies.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Review of Death of Integrity

Author:  Guy Haley.
Title:  Death of Integrity.
Publisher:  The Black Library.
Copyright:  2013.
Pages:  414.
Price:  $16.00 (US).


Death of Integrity is a story about Terminators and genestealers.  It involves two different Space Marine Chapters:  the Nova Marines and the Flesh Tearers.  I enjoyed the whole space hulk premise.  But they didn't have enough marines to kill the hundreds of genestealers they had in the novel.  My suspension of disbelief isn't really big enough to believe that several companies of Space Marines in Terminator armor could kill that many genestealers.

Maybe I've played Space Hulk too long.  The size of the vessels they talked about were kilometers long.  It would take thousands of Space Marines in their terminator plate to secure a hulk like Death of Integrity.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the novel.  Recommended for the casual WH40K fan.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Yearning for Oldhammer 40K: Part II

For those who don't have the GW disease, it looks like May 24th will be release of 7th edition WH40K.  And I say to myself.  Why?

To which the answer is:  Money!

Well, I need to talk to my friend, Scott McCoy, about settle down on an older edition of WH40K to play with my friends.  I'll be damned if I spend $85.00 on a new rule set.  Let alone $50.00 codexes!  The whole GW pricing has gotten obscene.

Though I do have a bit of good news.  I purchased a GW Baneblade kit for $0.96.

"How did I do that?" you may ask.  I have $149.00 in credit from an auction at a local gaming shop here in St. Louis, MO.  The Baneblade kit ran $149.96.  I purchased it for less than a dollar.  Now I have to wait for it to show up.

My friend, the mad Don Cox, showed up with 13 Lemon Russ battle tanks last Friday.  I promised him to play an Apocalypse game some time in December 2014 once he has all his tanks painted.  I'll bring out my 40K Deathwing Terminators, Land Raiders, and Baneblades to take on his Imperial Guard.  It'll be one of those epic fights.  However, I want everything painted and assembled by then.

The only things left are a box of 40K Deathwing Terminator Command Squad and another 40K Land Raider.  Then, I'll be done purchasing GW stuff.  The new 7th edition rules are my excuse to stop buying stuff and complete my armies.  Playing a revised 5th edition rule system will give me peace of mind to the corporate greed that is GW's current management....


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review of Old Man's War

Author:  John Scalzi.
Title:  Old Man's War.
Publisher:  Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
Copyright:  1/2/2007 (mass market paperback)
Pages:  368.
Price:  $7.99 (US).

This is more a friend's recommendation than anything else.  There is an entire series of Old Man's War stories.  The premise is simple.  Humanity is at war with the rest of the galaxy.  The Colonial Defense Forces recruits senior citizens to become 25 year old soldiers again in order to fight humanity's wars on the frontier.

This has been going for over 200 years.  And humanity is only on the periphery of the conflicts.  If a soldier survives a ten year commitment, they get to settle on one of the frontier worlds.  Recruiting soldiers from the nursing homes and giving them new bodies is a cool premise.  The whole service thing in return is also very Heileineques.

But be forewarned, this novel is filled with gratuitous sex and unadulterated violence.  It's one of the reasons I'm turned off to it.  Also, the descriptions of the aliens could stand some more work.  People either love or hate Scalzi's work.

This book is recommended by my friend, Brian.  He normally won't touch anything from the Black Library except for Space Wolves novels.  He's also into Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.  But I don't like Ender's Game, either.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Simple joys of painting...

I wrecked my plans for the weekend.  I looked at the alarm clock and turned it off this morning.  8:00 AM turned into 10:30 AM.  It was 12:08 PM by the time I got up.  Half the day was gone.

However, I painted another 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry battalion tonight.  I plan to go back and complete the 28mm 1870 Bavarian Lifeguard Regiment tonight.  I'm painting boots and helmets today.

It was good to paint for about hour.  I got done with several 30mm GW High Elf cavalry figures this past week.  I need to paint some more if I ever want to get my 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade done this year!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend ebook purchases.

I kind of regret the weekend ebook purchases I made through Barnes and
However, I've added more books to my reading list.  Here they are in no particular order:

1)  Prince Lestat by Anne Rice.  I enjoy the first three books in the series.  I'm hoping this one will be just as good.  It was a pre-order that won't be available until October 2014.

2)  Scars.  Another Horus Heresy novel from the Black Library.  Another pre-order for the hard-copy.  Available from The Black Library for e-sale now.

3)  The Falklands 1982:  The Winter War.  Another ebook for the Nook that ran me $4.99.

4)  Osprey Men-at-Arms:  Henry VIIIs Army.  No ebook available.  I was forced to buy an out of print hard copy.  Ran what would have been a reasonable purchase into an expensive one.

5)  The Last Stand of Fox Company.  Ebook for the Nook.  It's about US Marines in the middle of the Korean War as they hold off the PLA in the dead of winter.

6)  Age of Shiva by Landgrove.  Another ebook for the Nook.  Godpunk type novel involving a graphic artist and the Hindu end times.  I have no idea what to expect.  Other than it's different...

There are other books I want to get on WWI, Vietnam, and Korea.  Also a booklet on the South American Wars of Liberation.  I hope some American distributor picks up The Liberatores that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this past year.  I really want to see it on the big screen...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review of Osprey Campaign 98: Kalka River 1223

Authors:  D. Niceolle and V. Shpakovsky.
Title:  Osprey Campaign No. 98:  Kalka River 1223.
Publisher:  Osprey Publications.
Copyright:  2001.
Price:  $19.95 (US).

This book covers Subodei's raid into Russia in 1223.  The Russian army and its Polotsvian allies were lured into a trap by the retreating Mongols, only to be snared on the banks of the Kalka River on the steppes of the Ukraine.  Most of the Russian princes were either captured or killed.  The survivors were bound and slowly suffocated to death beneath the Mongols' victory feast.

The Russians had made the mistake of killing the Mongol ambassadors when they first demanded the fleeing Polotvsians, who were allied to the Russians by treaty and marriage.  Not being able to outfight the Mongol hordes, the Russians would have been better off submitting to Genghis Khan while the Mongols were still at a distance.  Alas, that didn't happen.

The Mongols considered the killing of emissaries to be unpardonable.  They got their revenge after the battle of the Kalka River.  However, the 40,000 strong Mongol army was called back by Genghis Khan to help finish off the northern Chinese kingdom.  It was up to Ogedei, Genghis Khan's son, to destroy the Russians in 1237.

Though I still think things would have gone better for the Russians if they'd first submitted to the Mongols when they first came in 1223.  The subsequent dark ages wouldn't have been so oppressive or barbaric.

Recommended reading for starting with the Mongol invasions of Russia.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My April reading so far....

I'm about halfway done with Death of Integrity by Guy Haley.  I'll save my comments for the next book review when I finish up in a couple weeks.  It's an entertaining book.  But it isn't serious sci-fi.  I could go on.

The problem is there are too few space marines and terminators to do a particular job in this novel.  The Horus Heresy novels, the Space Marines fought as legions of ten to twenty thousand space marines.

In Death of Integrity, the number is a little over several terminator companies to take on a massive genestealer infested space hulk.  Let me put on my suspension of disbelief hat at the door..

That is my complaint.  The author doesn't realistically address the number of space marines they'd need to assault a space hulk.  But what can I say?  It's a game foremost.  The books are there to sell product (hopefully).  People ready the Black Library novels for the fluff.  I only have two more Black Library novels to read this year.  Once called Ravenwing and the other is Scars, another Horus Heresy novel due out in May (naturally about the White Scars).

I also have other fantasy/sci fi novels to read.  More retro stuff like Space Viking, The Martian Trilogy by Rice, another Doc Savage novel.  I did add on two more Vietnam War books.  One is called Hill 488.  The second book won the Pulitzer Prize last year for non-fiction.  That's Embers of War.  I'm planning on moving to other histories that include Ancient Egypt, modern Chechen combat, finishing a biography of Catherine the Great, and other Zulu War history called Like Lions They Fought.

The rest is six to seven books on different aspects of Vietnam told by various authors.  By the time I get done reviewing all the Vietnam books, it'll feel like I lived through several tours by the time I post reviews...


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Will I be joining "Oldhammer 40K?"

I woke dreaming this morning I was playing "Oldhammer 40K" with my friends Brian Bigford, Ahmo, Scott McCoy, and Curtis Turner (Hostile Contact).  I'm not sure what edition of WH40K it was?  I'm thinking 3rd edition.  But I could be wrong.  It was just a dream.  Or premonition of things to come...

I mentioned my dream to my friends who play WH40K at lunch with afternoon.  Scott McCoy said seriously he'd use old 5th edition rules with house modifications if 7th edition WH40K bombs.  I'm having enough trouble with 6th edition WH40K.  I haven't kept up with all the new codexes and supplements.  I can't afford to keep my armies up to date.  I sold off a 40K army in order to pay for more super heavy tanks/APCs for my Dark Angel Deathwing Terminators.  I need about $800.00 in Battlefoam for my Chaos and DA Deathwing Company.

The only things I'll be buying for WH40K is a Baneblade Tank kit, a Land Raider Tank kit, and a Deathwing Terminator Command squad.  Most will be bought at local stores.  The rest my mail order.

Maybe I'm ready for "Oldhammer WH40K."  I'm no longer playing WHFB and I'm now learning Warmachine.  Things change.  The problem is I have thousands of dollars tied up in WH40K.  I just can't walk away from it all.  So, I'll probably resigned to playing "Oldhammer 40K" like some washed out Napoleonics player who couldn't give up gaming Empire 1st edition...

What does that say about me?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review of The Faded Sun Trilogy by C. J. Cherryh

Author:  C. J. Cherryh.
Title:  The Faded Sun Trilogy.
Publisher:  DAW.
Page:  775.
Copyright:  1978, 1979 (2000, paperback).

The mercenary mri lose a war with humanity.  The mri's former employer, the regul, betrays them on the desert world of Kesrith.  The only survivors are a brother and sister who are joined by a human soldier to retrace the mri's footsteps back to their home-world.

The mri themselves are an honor bound caste of priests, warriors, and civilians.  The novel take off once the three leave Kesirth for the mri home-world.

On a dying desert world, they encounter the other mri who never left for the stars.  The survivors have regressed and no longer live with technology.  It takes the outsiders to show them the benefits of the planet wide AI that still exist (along with planetary defenses).

But the regul show up to finish off the mri.  However, humans intervene.  The regul fleet is destroyed in orbit and the mri reach a compromise with humanity.  They promise to serve as mercenaries in exchange for leaving the mri home-world alone.

I enjoy C. J. Cherryh's writing.  But the desert settings are much like Dune.  It took me a long time to finish this book.  Not that I didn't try, but life got in the way.  I'd hoped to have it read in a month when I started in January.  But I've had to deal with a parent who has dementia issues along with other health problems.  I can't even begin to say how much time I've spent in ER waiting rooms these past three months.

Alas, I didn't have The Faded Sun Trilogy to read when I had downtime.  But I finished it this weekend.  Recommended.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

28mm Warlord Game, 28MAR14: AAR or Battle of the Geezers

Here are photos from a 28mm Warlord game on Friday, March 28, 2014 at Game Nite in St. Louis, Missouri.  There were only three players.  Both my friends showed up late.  They didn't start for over an hour.  They called it before it got dark.  I wanted to call this "Battle of the Geezers," however, both players are old enough to qualify as senior citizens, now.  But that doesn't bode well for me (the mere lad of the group).

                                          Kevin Joyce's Dwarfs take the field.

                                          Don Cox finishes putting out his unfinished GW Empire army.

                                          Opening moves.  Kevin brings out his dwarf battle line.

                                          Don's armored knights are slowly whittled away by the Dwarfs.

Kevin's Dwarfs disengage from Don's archers.  However, his halberdiermen are slammed by more dwarfs.

The dwarfs finally won.  Don called it as he lost.  It would have taken a few more turns to declare a real winner.  However, I get to play both Don and Kevin our next 28mm Fantasy game sometime this month or next.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

28mm Modern Afghanistan AAR, 22MAR14

I ran a 28mm Modern Afghanistan game using Ambush Alley at Wargamers Cave on Saturday, March 22, 2014.  Steve Hood (Combat Colours) and Curtis Turner (Hostile Contact) ran the American and Taliban forces respectively.  The Afghanis were shelling an off board position with a portable rocket launcher.  A squad of US Marines and a Humvee had been sent into to neutralize the Taliban artillery.

The American player had off board air support to call in Hellfire missile strikes.  Once Combat Colours realized this, he rolled like mad to make radio contact with the circling Apache helicopter.  Steve then got lucky with his fire support rolls as Hellfire missiles rained down on the insurgent buildings.  This left cratered remains of buildings.

But I had Hostile Contact roll a 1D6.  He rolled a three.  Curtis managed to shell his off board target for three turns before retreating and claiming victory against the infidels.  However, Curtis lost an entire platoon of insurgents to Hellfire missile strikes!

Blame it on me.  I didn't balance the scenario well enough with limitations on rules of engagement for the Americans or limits on the availability of air assets.  I wanted something similar to real life.  I got it.  The US Marine held off and let their air support tear up the table.  Good simulation, but bad game.  However, I'm learning from my mistakes.  But Combat Colours was the man.  He rolled like God with my cursed dice.  I guess it could have been worse.  I could have rolled for both of them.  That wouldn't have been good, either (given my track record)....

Here are photos from the game:

                                          Taliban artillery position.

                                          Building where the Taliban advanced and then died in the trees.

                                          Combat Colors deciding where to call in air strikes.

                                          Taliban still shelling the ISF off board positions.

                                          Surveying the carnage and ruined buildings at the end of the game.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Making good on a promise...

I made a promise to myself last year to do something about the amount of figures I had in the basement.  I have lots of 28mm historical wargaming projects.  I also have WH40K and WHFB.  I want to keep my my 28mm historicals.  When I posted my open letter to GW, I had 2 WHFB armies and 4 WH40K armies.  I traded away my Warriors of Chaos for a Warmachine Protectorate of Menoth army.  I finished up painting my GW High Elves for use as a large 25mm Warlord army.  I also bought fantasy vikings to fill out my other fantasy race.

I looked at my WH40K stuff.  I own Dark Angels Ravenwing, Dark Angels Deathwing, Blood Angels, Khorne World Eaters Chaos Space Marines and Khorne demons, and traitor guard.  I'm about done with my Blood Angels.  I'm also done with my Chaos Space Marines and demons.  I'd like to add on another Baneblade and Land Raider to my DA Deathwing terminators (along with a command squad of terminators).

The Traitor Guard I hardly play.  It's all infantry with a few vehicles.  I also have all the Ravenwing bikes I need to finish up.  The only army in Battlefoam is the Blood Angels.  I could spend another $800.00 just in foam and cases on my Chaos and DA Deathwing terminators.  That isn't including any new models...

So I made the decision to liquidate the Traitor Guard and Ravenwing bike army.  I'll still have three armies.  All three of them I could use an apocalypse game.  It's just the Traitor Guard and the Ravenwing are going into a local comic book auction at the end of March.  Whatever I get for the figures will go to buy a Baneblade, Land Raider, and whatever Privateer Press Mercenaries stuff I can afford to buy.

That doesn't even put a dent in the $800.00 I'll need to buy in Battlefoam to complete my WH40K forces.  Or the Battlefoam I'll eventually need for my Warhmachine Menoth/Mercs armies, either...

Review of Osprey MAA No. 481: The Spanish Tercios 1536-1704 (ebook)

Author:  Ignacio Lopez.
Title:  Osprey MAA No. 481:  The Spanich Tercios 1536-1704 (ebook).
Publisher:  Osprey Publishing.
Copyright:  2012.
Price:  $11.49.

This Men-at-Arms Osprey covers the Spanish Tercios 1536-1704.  These 3000 man units were made of pike, sword and bucklermen, and arquebusiers.  The Spanish used these infantry units to fight off heavy cavalry and defend themselves from other enemy infantry units.  The tercios were the forerunners to the infantry battalion/regiment other nations would soon adapt.

The tercios came into their own during the third Italian Wars between Spain and France.  They continued through the rest of the 16th century into the Thirty Years War.  The Bourbon monarch finally disbanded the old tercios in favor of the French infantry regiment during the War of Spanish Succession.

The beginning tercios wore civilian clothing.  They eventually evolved into military uniforms during the 17th century.  A tercio was normally divided between 1/3 pike, 1/3 swordsmen, and 1/3 arquebusiers/musketeers.  There are color plates in this newer ebook format.

Given the ease of electronic download, I still prefer having a hard copy of my Ospreys.  Call me old fashioned, but I like being able to go back to the hard copy and seeing what I'm doing when I'm painting.  I can't quite do that with an e-reader like a Nook.  But that's my only complaint.  Given the fact I'm running out of room for books (like Sapper Joe).  The more newer books I can read electronically, the better off I'll be in the long run.

Recommended for fans of the Renaissance.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Can you roll 7 '1's' on 10D6?" - A WH40K AAR

I'm done with WH40K for a while.  I played a 1500 point game with my friend, Brian Bigford, last night.  He had Ultra-Marines.  I had Dark Angels Deathwing.  Brian brought out the the new $80.00 space marine versions of CSM obliterators.  They obliterated a squad of Deathwing terminators.  Brian needed 2 or better to wound. He caused 10 AP 2 wounds.  I needed 10 saves of 5-6 on 10D6 for my invul saves. I rolled 7 "1's".

Can anyone else on the planet do that on a consistent basis?  I challenge anyone.  Sapper Joe, Hostile Contact, and Combat Colours have seen my dice rolling in person.  It's not pretty.  I've managed to roll 5 ones on 7D6 before.  But this is a new record in infamy.  Needless to say, I lost.  I'd taken pictures of the game up to that point.  Afterwards, I gave up....

What's the point me playing WH40K if I'm going to roll consistently awful?

Good question.  Why do I keep putting myself through such misery?

I'm at a loss...

The End.  For now....