In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Warg Says "Aah-Roooo!"

RAFM had a 40% off sale over the summer so I got some wolves for my Legions of Angmar. To get a variety of poses I ordered a pack of the Reaper wolves (RAFM sells Reaper in Canada under licence) and a pack of RAFM wolves.

As you can see from the picture below, the Reaper wolves are a more realistic scale. The RAFM wolves are big enough for a big orc to ride. What to do? I briefly thought about mixing them together, but decided that would look weird.

Reaper wolf (L) RAFM wolves  (R)

Then while digging through a box of old minis, I found an Old Glory /Ghost Miniatures wolf rider.  So if I add in my under performing werewolf, that'd give me five miniatures, or a slightly reduced unit of light riders/warbeasts.

The wolf based on his own is my first werewolf, painted a couple of years back,  who was the pack mate for the other Old Glory wolf.

These are going to be brigaded with my Vendel wolf riders to give the Necromancer's cavalry a bit more strength.

The Reaper wolves have been painted as dogs and will form an elite unit with some elf nobles that I wasn't sure what to do with.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Cow Says "Moo!"

I've been casting about for livestock for my medieval village for a while now. I've looked at many varied options; the Pegaso set didn't have enough sheep, the Pendraken animals you got too many of anything! Then in October Warlord Games ran a free shipping deal and they had what I wanted, so I jumped on it. The sprue of plastic farm animals, the blister of metal sheep and a pack of tufts was enough to get the shipping deal.

The larger plastic animals come in 2 or 3 parts and required some gap filling putty.

After a bunch of Google searches for inspiration my village now has two cows

Eight sheep and a goat

Two stands of 4 sheep each would be too balanced and symmetrical. So I added the goat for some dynamic energy. The cattle and sheep are based on wooden oval craft shapes.

A donkey, 2 geese, 4 chickens, 2 ducks and a cat.

Mr. Tibbles and the waterfowl are based on the metal disks punched from holes in electrical boxes.

I used inks on the cows, donkey and chickens.

There is another cat curled up asleep, but I need to Google image search orange tabby cats in order to figure out how to get it looking the way I want. There is also a sow and two piglets which I'm trying to decide how to finish.

I based them with usage as objectives in mind. Those English or Goblins need something to loot after all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Two Solitudes

Recently I was engaged in a very wide ranging and multi-voiced discussion (verging on debate or argument at times, but civility won out unlike in politics) on the Ontario Wargaming Convention Facebook Group about that most terrible of monsters under our beds How to Grow the Hobby.

Earlier this fall a couple of shows had experienced some bad turn outs and one of the organizers started a discussion to explore possible reasons and ideas for moving forward. This discussion, which got very hard to follow as everyone chimed in with observations and replies on other people's posts, generated a few points.

1. the kind of gaming that I and my friends do, that is scenario based games, often historical but not necessarily, of the type that table top wargamers have been playing since H.G. Wells first knocked over a lead soldier in the library with his child's spring loaded cannon, the wargaming of Donald Featherstone, Charles Grant and Brigadier Peter Young, is considered "obscure."

2. much gaming now occurs in stores and these stores have set up tournament circuits of their "mainstream" games; i.e. Warhammer 40K, Hobbit Strategy Battle Game, X-Wing etc. It was noted that at the one show KEGSCON, there were some faces notably absent because they had instead opted to take in an X-Wing tournament elsewhere and also the Hobbit SBG tournament was under attended (growth had been expected in this) because another Hobbit SBG group had decided to run a competing event.

Stores naturally want to sell product, so some stores limit games played in store to what they sell, instead of charging a table fee for allowing a gamer to play anything they want. So it's hard to get the gamers out of the store, because they're already playing for free so why travel and pay admission to an event just to play again?

Back in the day, there was a gaming store nearby, with an open minded owner who let us come and set up games. Which we did, hoping to 'grow the hobby.' We just ended up playing with ourselves and often encountered sneers of derision from the Warhammer kids who thought my Burgundians looked stupid (this while pushing around an empty base because his Daemon riders of Slaneesh weren't even assembled yet).

3. the organizer of a local convention called Skycon felt that everyone should basically join him. He's built a solid base of tournament events, but wants to attract traditional gamers too. His idea was that Hotlead, KEGSCON and Council Fires should all just join their banners to Skycon rather than dilute the efforts. Or else we'd all just die out.

I observed that yes, if one wants to grow into a Very Big Convention (i.e. Adepticon or Gencon) then yes, build a base of mainstream tournament and RPG events adding scenario gaming after the fact. But you're going to have big overheads in a big convention center and will have to charge correspondingly bigger admission fees. Also I'm not sure that there is much point, since Canada doesn't have the population of dealers to be attracted to such an event, which would make the admission worth while for someone like me who isn't playing a tournament. And does one want the headaches organizing something like that? I know I don't.

4. much air was burned on the "but the tournament players will see the other games and cross over" to which I replied with a polite "bollocks." Honest, I said it nicer than that but they got my drift. I do know a few who have done this, my friend Scott is one. But I think that for 90% of them, they are locked in their tournament and won't have the time to try another game. If they notice the scenario based games they might think 'cool' but most likely they'll say "hey look at the weird old guys".

Your average Flames of War player, if he tires of FoW, isn't going to think "what other 15mm WW2 game can I play with these figures?" No, he's going to sell his army and use the money to get into X-Wing or Warmachine or whatever.

5. much discussion from me on the negatives of tournaments for shows like Hotlead. They take a lot of floor space and table square footage for players engaged, vs. scenario games. And the tournament players rarely cross over, so why make the effort? This was seen as me being bitchy.

But I see it as defending my turf.

To me scenario based games are what I want to play, What I want to see. What I want to encourage and support. Most tournaments (the Ontario Hobbit SBG guys who come to Hotlead are an exception, which is why I like them) have really awful tables to look at, so they aren't even good to view for the non players. Gamers like me need a nice show where we are the norm, not a minority of "weird old guys" on the fringes of Very Big Con lost in a sea of FoWX-Wing and 40K tournaments.

I've tried to "grow the hobby" by going to stores, but it's like trying to convince people who like Top 40 to try listening to Jazz. I've tried having tournaments at Hotlead. I had Games Workshop Canada run tournaments for a few years. But not many of those players came back.

Tournament gaming and scenario games are two different hobbies that share the same medium.

Am I not worried about dyng out? The dreaded greying of the hobby? I've decided I don't really care. I'm not interested in growing Hotlead into something bigger and shinier or joining it to Skycon and thereby lose control of the event and the money. I have lots of friends to play with, not sure I need anymore to be honest. The only person I want to convert into a love of wargaming is my grandson, and he's not even two yet.

Like Galadriel resisting the Ring I shall fade and go into the West.

Monday, November 26, 2018


My day of cadet training on Saturday was cancelled by the Reserve unit who's Armoury we use, so I was available for a road trip with Mike and Dick to take in the last Broadsword event of the year. These game days are put on 3 or 4 times a year by the Hamilton Table Top Gaming Society as a fund raiser for the Hamilton Legion Branch who let them use the hall for their weekly meetings. So a very symbiotic, and I hope mutually advantageous, arrangement.

It's a very old school, local game convention, held in a down at it's heels Legion hall. A bunch of tables with some nice games. Some folks playing board games. A couple of dealers. Cheap admission. Really, it's the most fun you can have for $10.

I talked my fellow travellers into leaving early so we could play in the morning too and after braving the near freezing rain, the highway, a traffic jam on the parkway and then taking the switch back road down the face of Hamilton Mountain we made it, only 5 minutes late and the three of us sat in on a super cool and amazingly pretty 6mm 1:1 scale American War of Independence game. Figure scale matched ground scale and three stands of 16 figures equaled a company.

The rules were equally innovative. Much fun was had but it was interesting trying to get used to the long musketry ranges, although long range volleying didn't do much to each other. But my partner took our half battalion of British line and engaged in long range volleying to tie down the 2 battalions of Continental line whilst I took my Loyalist troops to march across their front, cross the ford and join our allied Natives in burning the town and tearing up the Rebel militia.

British column

The ford. Close up of the really superb terrain

British lights skirmish with Rebel rifles around the house

Continental infantry engage

Continental deployment

Loyalist troops have crossed the ford and are deploying to attack the town

Fighting around the covered bridge as the Americans try to reinforce the flank. Indians in the woods at the back have driven off most of the Colonist militia. Other Indians and Loyalist troops are firing the buildings.

After lunch I kept to the 6mm theme and played in my friend Brian's Franco Prussian War game. This time he staged the Battle of Spichern, using Bloody Big Battles. I took the French this time, having played the Prussians last time (which was I think 2 years ago). It was brutal. The Prussians got within range quickly, negating the advantage of our rifles and thrashed us badly. I was in a strong position flanking the main Prussian thrust down the valley, but I promptly ran out of ammunition and got swamped by 3 large Prussian brigades, so the Prussians grabbed 4 of the 5 objective markers in one bloody turn! C'est le Guerre!

French brigade moving up from reserve

Prussian assault columns ready to swarm over the wooded heights

Prussian attack developing in the center

French cavalry

French C-in-C
There were lots of other good looking games too, but since I was busy playing I only got a few snap shots of the many well presented games.

Pirates "Blood & Plunder!"

Kings of War fantasy

"What a Tanker" in North Africa

Trench Hammer WW1

More "What a Tanker" but in Burma.
Al in all a good day out and it was nice to get some gaming in. The basement has seen much action lately. But I'm trying to finish up some elves and then I'll set up some solo action if no one is available.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Panzerschreks in Ambush

Scott was free last weekend for a game, which is a rare event indeed. So the two of us played I Ain't Been Shot Mum. The game was an attack by Canadian infantry and armour supported by Wasps on a village in Normandy held by Fallschirmjaeger and a platoon of STuGs.

Mainly because I wanted to put my new haystacks on the table. And the FJ hadn't been out of the box in a while.

Canadians attacked from the left and tried flanking move through field at top

Canadian view of entrance to town 

FJ panzerjaeger team springs ambush 
I deployed from the road,  with one troop on the road, the Sqdn HQ in a field left of the road and the second troop on it's left. The two infantry platoons were following in line on either side if the road. The Wasps trailed behind waiting for something to set on fire.

Scott revealed his trip wire, a section of FJ with two of his three  tank hunter teams who promptly brewed up the leading Sherman.
"Ambush right!"
A section of recoilless rifles were also revealed in front of the Sqdn HQ.
FJ support gun section revealed 
I got the 'Armoured Bonus Move' card so I decided to try and overrun the FJ. Of course, I quickly learned that this doesn't work so good against unpinned troops who aren't in foxholes. I did crush one gun, but everyone else evaded and even made a few antitank attacks. Sqdn HQ had one tank brewed up and the other two damaged. The right hand troop had three Shermans burning after their charge.
Burning Shermans 
The Wasps moved up to toast one panzerschrek team while the infantry rushed forward, clearing the hedge and then the first house at bayonet point. The surviving Shermans got busy shelling everything they could see. The FAC was also calling in Typhoons by this time. The infantry charge swept in before the smoke from the rockets could clear.
8 Plt takes the first house with bayonets
On my left, my remaining Shermans were thinking about crossing the road to flank the town. But Scott tried being cagey and moved a blind along some cover on my flank.  Thinking these were his STuGs I redeployed in cover to protect myself and dropped a Typhoon on the blind to find it a dummy.
Shermans move around the flank

Typhoons give support 
By this time he had revealed his second platoon in the big green house, so my Shermans shifted to put HE into the houses instead of maneuvering more aggressively.  This saved them from getting killed by his STuGs who were sitting patiently covering the field on the edge of town. The field I had been thinking of moving across!
FJ second line

STuGs waiting in ambush 

Surviving Canadian tanks being cautious 
It was now midnight and time to call the game.  His infantry and AT were pretty beaten up, but the STuGs were still a threat.  I had two good infantry platoons but I'd lost half my armour. So it would come down to keeping my remaining Shermans alive to fire HE, while the Wasps burned out the remaining FJ and supported the infantry attacks.

Not a good day for the Canadians. But I enjoyed setting up a bigger game for a change and I liked how the table looked.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Rabbitman's BIG Kegscon Purchase

For the last few years, every convention, I've been bugging 6Squared Studio for their 15mm haystacks. They've always been sold out.

At Broadsword in August Kevin said "Send us a message a week before and we'll cast some up for you."

So I remembered a few days before Kegscon and ordered a dozen.

Here they are, all painted up with some 15mm sheep and Austrian Jaegers for scale.

Expect to see these on all my 15mm WW2 and SYW battlefields now.

This picture reminds me I haven't had my SYW armies out for a few years. Might be time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

KEGSCON 2018- In Which Mr. & Mrs. Rabbitman Have a Romantic Getaway

This past weekend I think I achieved the impossible: I combined a weekend getaway with Mrs. Rabbitman while attending a wargame show!

This was possible because Kegscon is held in the delightful Retro Suites Hotel in Chatham. The accommodations are top drawer, so Mrs Rabbitman didn't mind lounging and working on her knitting while I pushed toy soldiers about. Plus the restaurant is very good, so splendid meals were eaten.

I took Friday off, so we were able to check in around 4:30 and settle in before dinner. Then she went upstairs to lounge and I got in 2 games. The first was "What a Tanker" with Brian, Thomas and Frank (the GM).

Frank's table and 1/48th scale tanks were very enjoyable. We did 2x M4 Shermans vs. 2x Pz IVs. I was trying to hunt Thomas and we chased each other around a stand of trees, then Brian brewed up Frank and hunted me. I ended up caught between the two and brewed up in spectacular fashion.

"Driver advance!" My tank for the game 

"Target left!" You can just see Brian's Sherman nosing out behind the shed.

Then we got roped into a game of "Gaslands" the Mad Max/Death Race 2000 car wars game from Osprey. I went for speed and was heading for the 2nd gate when Keith set me on fire with a very unsporting flamethrower. I shot at Brian as I slid past out of control, then Keith flamed Brian and some one shot Keith, all of this resulting in a spectacular 3 car fireball blocking the second gate. But I was surprised at how fun it was trying to balance hazard with speed. Lubricated with more alcohol it would be even better.
I'm on FIRE!
The next morning after a hearty fry up, Mrs. went walkabout and I ran my game with three players. Same basic scenario but I added tanks (because I forgot the gunship at home). My friend Rico commanded the UNMC with considerable skill and held the FOB at games end. The new rocket launchers helped too, I think.

UNMC fire team with missile launcher 

Brian's 6mm Battle of Spichern (FPW 1870)

Then after lunch with Mrs Rabbitman  (a grilled bacon and brie with apple sandwich and fresh cut fries ) I got back to the show in time to play "Chain of Command " with Thomas' 20mm 1940 Blitzkreig toys. Rico and I took the French mainly because I find their Art Deco design tanks quite charming. We deployed into a village, contesting a vital cross roads with Les Boches. I thought I'd be clever and put a section out on the flank, but they attracted the fire of two sections in a house at the cross road and never got out of the turnip field. I sent in my platoon leader to rally them but the shock and casualties piled up, he got wounded and there were tears and recriminations.  But good fun playing a game I like a lot but get little chance to play and the German player Barnaby, who organizes the Broadsword game days, was a gracious opponent.
"La Guerre, c'est merde " the doomed section.

After that, Keith's wife Tam, Frank and his wife, Mrs Rabbitman and I, all went out for some great Indian food at a little hole in the wall place.

I talked to some of the guys on returning but except for the Hobbit SBG tournament there wasn't much going on so it was up to the room to unwind and watch some TV.

The next morning was check out and meeting Keith and Tam for brunch at another great restaurant, then a leisurely drive home, stopping at a deli we like in London. Home and tea by 3:30.

All that rich eating played havoc but well worth it.