Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review of The Kaiser's Pirates by Nick Hewitt

Author:  Nick Hewitt.
Title:  The Kaiser's Pirates:  Hunting Germany's Raiding Cruisers in World War I.
Publisher:  Skyhorse Publishing.
Copyright:  2014.
Pages:  238.
Price:  $25.95 (US).

Overview and Impressions:
This book is about 201 pages.  The rest is indexes.  Nick Hewitt talks about the cruiser war between Imperial Germany and Great Britain during WWI.  The German's lost most of their overseas colonies in early in the conflict.  The German cruiser raiders were in 1914 and 1915.

The Kaiser thought a strong Imperial Navy would be able to challenged the military might of Great Britain.  So the theory of 20th century naval power went.  Germany was a victim of geography.  It's ports were on the North Sea.  That meant all the British had to do was blockage the country and starve the people into submission.  That's what happened later on in the war.

However, the Germans sent out a group of aggressive sea captains to wage war on British commerce in the heady days of 1914.  The commerce raiders preyed in the South Atlantic and South Pacific.  There was also a German light cruiser causing trouble in the Bay of Bengal and Emden stuck in an  African mangrove estuary.  The book also covers the highlights of the cruiser actions at Coronel and the Falklands.

There's also some attention paid to the armed merchantmen the Germans equipped with weapons, too.  After reading A Naval History of World War I, I found this book more enjoyable and easier to peruse than the encyclopedic campaign histories on different oceans.  Recommended.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

WIPs, 28MAR15

Here are some photos of current WIPs:

                                          WIP, 28mm armored Vikings, 28MAR15.

                                          WIP, 30mm Covenant of Menoth and WH40K Vehicles, 28MAR15.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

28mm Armored Vikings Competed...

I worked this morning and this afternoon on completing 41 28mm armored Vikings.  The figures are a range of Old Glory Ghost and Eureka Miniatures Dark Ages line.  If I had some sense, I'd stop with that many 28mm Vikings for a SAGA army.

Alas, I'm not that sensible.  I'm working on a 28mm Viking army for Warlord.  I'll have 160 Vikings by the time everything is done.  I started and stopped on the Vikings back in 2013.  I thought I'd jump start them by completing the figures I'd painting and adding 24 Old Glory Rheinland Maidens to the unit.  It has Beowulf its leader.  I know it's not historical, but it was a nice change painting something simple (instead of 28mm FPW uniforms).

I'll post photos later.  I'm also assembling a WH40K SM Land Raider.  It's small when compared to the GW Baneblade.  I'm going to prime both these vehicles Beached Bone Army Painter Primer and then dry brush the details on them.  I'll have to wait on the weather before spray.  Hopefully, this weekend.  I hope...

Now my focus is going back to my 30mm Menoth Protectorate Warmachine army.  I have bone more character solo to prime.  The rest of the figures are needing to finished up with detail work.  Hopefully, this all will be done by the middle of April 2015.

Time, unfortunately, moves on...

WIP, Armored Vikings and GW Baneblade kit

Here are photos of current WIP, 26MAR15:

                                          WIP, 28mm Armored Vikings, 26MAR15.

                                           WH40K Land Raider assembly, 26MAR15.

                                          WH40K Baneblade Hellhammer variant kit, 26MAR15.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WIP, Vikings and GW Baneblade kit

I'm working on 28mm Vikings right now in my painting queue.  I'll have some photos tomorrow.

I'll have a progress report on a 30mm WH40K Baneblade kit.  I'm building the Hellhammer Baneblade variety.  It was one of GW's newer kits.  It cost me about $149.96 last May.  I had $140.00 in credit for a local store action.  I paid ten dollars for the kit.

Now I'm finally building it.  It's been a pain to assemble.  It's not a well-designed kit.  Things don't fit well together, unlike their other models.  After the Hellhamer Baneblade kit, I'll have a fourth SM Land Raider for my DA Deathwing army.  That will be much easier to assemble than the Baneblade.  Though you get all the variants for the Baneblade and Shadowsword vehicles with the new kit.

Late March 2015 reading

As part of a New Year's resolution, I'm cutting back on my television viewing to what I record on a DVR each week.  I watch too much sports.  I'll still get to watch it.  Just not the amount I had been....

Anyway, I eluded to the backlog of books now piled up both in hard copy and electronically.  I'm wanting to reduce my reading pile and eventually catch up with all my books.  I started War Dogs by Greg Bear this past weekend.  I'm also trying to read The Kaiser's Pirates by Nick Hewitt. 

War Dogs is classic military sci-fi set on the Red Planet.  I'm reading that on Friday evening, Saturday, and Monday evening.  The other nights I have open during the week, I'll try reading The Kaiser's Pirates, which is about the German cruiser war during the Great War.

The good thing about these books is that War Dogs are 300 pages and The Kaiser's Pirates are 200 pages.  It should be relatively light reading compare to Embers of War that was 715 pages!  I'll write reviews when I finish them...


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Started in my Fantasy/Sci-Fi books tonight...

I started in my Fantasy/Sci-Fi book pile tonight.  The first thing I grabbed was War Dogs by Greg Bear.  I've read about a dozen pages into it.  The book looks interesting.  I'm curious to see how he describes Mars, though.

Review of The Element of Surprise: Navy SEALs in Vietnam by Darryl Young

Author:  Darryl Young.
Title:  The Element of Surprise:  Navy Seals in Vietnam.
Publisher:  Ivy Books.
Copyright:  1990.
Pagers:  274.
Price:  $7.99 (US).

Overview and Impressions:
The author talked about his six month tour with Juliet platoon while on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.  Young spends ten pages in the preface on SEAL training.  After reading that, I thought I'd die.  Out of seventy-eight candidates, twenty seven made it in his graduating class.  After that, the SEALs spent another nine months training before being deployed in country.

The missions were interesting.  The SEALs were mainly concerned with capturing members of the Viet Cong alive for interrogation.  The SEAL spent a lot of their time doing intelligence gathering on the river.  Most of their insertions were by boat.  There were occasional helicopter insertions.  But Young didn't like those missions.  He preferred watercraft.

Young's SEAL platoon didn't lose one member KIA.  But they did take some casualties from shrapnel and small arms.  Throughout his book, the SEALs also showed their dedication to their small arms and training.  But this particular SEAL Team dresses anyway they wanted.  I was told by a friend some of the SEAL Teams are by the book, some of them are really loose when it comes to their dress.  I guess it's been that way since their inception.

Still, it was an easy and enjoyable read.  This now ends my reading collection on Vietnam for a while.  I still have one book about the US Army in the Mekong Delta in 1970.  But that is on my Nook to be read at a later date.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Retro book shopping...

I stopped in at V Stock today to look for books.  I found a science fiction novel called Cold Victory by Poul Anderson.  It's a collection of his short stories from Astounding Tales and other pulp magazines during the golden age of sci-fi.

My brother didn't forget my birthday either.  He got me a WH40K Horus Heresy novel called The Unremembered Empire.  That brings the backlog of science fiction and fantasy books about a half dozen novels.  I also have Unbreakable:  A Promise Paen Novel by Bauer and another WH40K battle novel called Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe.  In addition to that, there's also Kill Team by the same author and The Lost Fleet:  Beyond the Frontier:  Dreadnought by Jack Campbell.  I also have a fantasy novel called Half a King by Abracrombie.

I'm working my last hardback Vietnam book.  It's called The Element of Surprise:  Navy SEALs in Vietnam by Darryl Young.  The action takes place on the Mekong delta during 1970.  I'll hopefully will read this book in the coming week and write a review on the blog afterward.

I'm hoping the sci-fi will read quickly.  There's a lot to tear through.  I let you know how the reading progresses this spring.

WIP, 16MAR15

Here are photos of my completed 28mm Franco-Prussian figures and some new 28mm Rheinland Maidens:

                                          28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry regiment 1, 16MAR15.

                                         28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry regiment 2, 16MAR15.

                                          28mm 1870 Bavarian jagers and command, 16MAR15.

                                          28mm 1870 French artillery battery, 16MAR15.

                                          28mm 1870 French Turco Regiment, 16MAR15.

                                          28mm Rheinland Maidens, 16MAR15.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

28mm Franco-Prussian project completed...

After three and a half years, I'm now done with my 28mm Franco-Prussian armies for Chassepot and Needlegun.  I have the following "divisions" for my armies.  Here we go:

28mm French Army:

1st French Corps, 2nd Division:
1st French Corps, 2nd Division command
1st French infantry brigade
2nd French infantry brigade
2 French batteries of 4 pdr guns
1 French Mitraileuse battery

French Cavalry Brigade:
8th French Cuirassier Regiment
2nd French Chassuers d'Afrique Regiment

28mm German Army:

1st Bavarian Infantry Division:
1 Bavarian Infantry Brigade
1 Bavarian battery of 4 pdr Krupp guns
1st Bavarian Jager battalion

1st Prussian Infantry Division:
1st Prussian Infantry Division Command
1st Prussian Infantry Brigade
1 Prussian battery of 4 pdr Krupp guns
1 Prussian battery of Krupp siege mortars

Prussian Divisional Cavalry:
Magdeburg Cuirassier Regt. No. 7

These are the units for my 28mm FPW armies.  Each army weighs about 40 lbs.  They are not easy to move.  I wish I had a table in my basement to run games.  The last time I took this to a convention, my back nearly died going up and down steps.  But all the painting is done.  I can celebrate and move on to other projects...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review of Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

Author:  Robert Mason.
Title:  Chickenhawk.
Publisher:  Penguin Books.
Copyright:  1983, (2005).
Pages:  492.
Price:  $17.00.

Overview and Impressions:
My uncle, a decorated Vietnam veteran, never talked about any of his combat mission while he was alive.  Author Robert Mason did.  I have a clearer idea of what the helicopter pilots went through in Vietnam after reading his book, Chickenhawk.

The books is a no bars held account of US Army pilots and their flying machines in the early part of the Vietnam War (1965-1966).  Mason wasn't wounded in combat.  The PTSD drove him to drink heavily.  My father's brother would never talk about his combat experiences.  I think he was with First Air Cavalry.  Mason gave me some insight into what my uncle went through flying combat missions in Vietnam.

Much of the time was spent transporting troops in Huey slicks into LZs or retrieving wounded out of contested LZs.  There was also mundane supply runs and transporting Army brass around when the news crews came out to film the troops.  He also commented about the unit differences between First Cav and the helicopter unit he transferred into.

Chickenhawk was an easy read.  I wish most of my military history books flowed as smoothly.  Recommended.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

28mm Franco-Prussian War and other nonsense...

I went book shopping this past week.  I got Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe, Unbreakable:  A Promise Paen Novel by Bauer, and an illustrated book on ancient Egypt.  I'm still reading Chickenhawk.  I'm at page 280/485 pages.  I'd like to have that book done by the end of next week.

I had trouble sleeping.  I spent last night painting 28mm 1870 French Turco.  Here is the regiment:

The figures need flocking.  I primed my last 28mm 1870 French artillery battery this weekend.  I'm starting in those figures, too.

I spent the afternoon playing The Sword and The Flame between 1882 Egyptians and 1882 British line infantry.  The British eventually won the game.  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of it.  I also scheduled a 28mm Imjin War game for the end of March at a local gaming store.

I also picked up some Battlefoam Pack 216 paint load out for my paints.  I organized all my paints this evening.  I also went through my Windsor Newton inks.  Some of the inks had dried out.  The orange drawing ink also dried out before I opened it.  Some other extra inks were congealed, too.  I should replace my Windsor Newton drawing inks at some point.  I do use them for inking figures.

Now I have a massive flocking project of a 28mm 1870 French Turco Regiment and 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry line regiment.  I'll start that as soon I as get the 28mm 1870 French artillery batter completed.

But the laundry gods called me this evening.  I caught up on my television viewing and went back to punching out pieces for a GW Baneblade kit that's been sitting in my basement since last May 2014...