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...