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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking backwards and forwards

Been looking over this past year on the blog and thinking about next year, as one does. Life is entering a new phase with the girls and the job and some adjustments need to happen.

I think that 25% of this year's blog posts appearing in the past month (after finally getting a new job) indicates how much time and energy my job search this past year really took out of me and my painting/gaming. I do find that my reading, painting and gaming all sort of feed into each other. I'll paint a new model and want to game with it, or read a new book and suddenly I want to paint and game that subject. Start diverting time into the depressing field of job hunting and it all kind of grinds to a stop.

It's also been bloody hard to get the boys together for a game too.

I didn't get much painting done this year. The Medieval artillery (which still aren't played with),

and a bunch of additions to my SYW Austrians (infantry, jaegers, artillery),

 for WW2 I added the 17 pdrs

17pdrs 001

and sniper teams to my Canadians (neither have been played with)

snipers 002

and have as Works in Progress some PSC Churchills, plus just yesterday I got platoons of Fallschirmjaeger and Canucks based for Chain of Command.

Did add a bit of terrain with the redoubt,

the 4Ground buildings

and the grassy fields. But no churches.

For games there's not much to report either; no ancients, no medievals, a bit of SYW with the Padre, one Colonial game

and a bit of WW2. My Sherman squadron hasn't had a chance to hit the table again after being chewed up by Kampfgruppe Peterson last August.

So this coming year I'd like to paint more and find a way to play more. Perhaps with my morale improving I'll be able to get back to some commission work too. Being on afternoons every other week should help with the painting at least. Although the mandatory overtime every weekend will complicate scheduling games.

The plans I made last February for my Medievals didn't get very far. I should push those plans along as well as my Sharp Practice on the Frontier games. I have been working on some nicer cards for that using Google images etc. And Chain of Command has, if you hadn't noticed, grabbed my attention, so moving that along and getting those platoons painted up seems like a good idea. I have thus far resisted starting 15mm Russians for WW2, maybe I can keep resisting this year and spend more on terrain and whittling down my lead pile.

Playing some more Hail Caesar and Black Powder also seem like good ideas. Nice fast moving rules that can accommodate a group. The glory days of getting together every Saturday night with 4-12 gaming friends seem to be well and truly gone. We're all older, busier and more tired. This year I'm hoping to play maybe once a month with 2-6 players.

So that's the plan anyway. Let's see how long it lasts until my wargamer ADD acts up.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

More Chain of Command with the Padre

The Mad Padre just put up a lovely game report of our town fight on Friday using Chain of Command and my spiffing new 4Ground buildings.

You can see his post here.

Suffice it to say the good Padre opened a can of holy whup ass on me as my poor Canucks got hammered under a barrage of 80mm mortars and then shredded by massive amounts of MG42 fire. I thought I was being clever taking a Wasp carrier as support but it never got on table. In hindsight it would've been smarter and more economical to have taken a FOO and an extra section, or maybe an extra 2" mortar even to smoke the crap out of him.

My jump off points were all kind of bunched in the center as well, I should've used the cover on my left and pushed out in that direction during the patrol phase to give me some flexibility.

Live and learn.

I am going to base my last platoons of Fallschirmjaeger and Canadians on some 15mm round bases for more Chain of Command however!

Best Book of the Year

When I was a youngster in High School, every year we were subjected to a piece of Canadian Literature, or CanLit, or as we took to calling it; CannedLit. Invariably it seemed to be a book about coming of age on the Prairies during the Depression. I remember wondering if anyone east of Winnipeg ever wrote anything? Where were the stories about coming of age in Newfoundland? or maybe suburban Southern Ontario?

Then I read The Way the Crow Flies by Anne Marie MacDonald (published 2004) this past year. The book begins in 1963 with a wonderfully poetic and thoughtful description of a young RCAF family moving to RCAF Station Centralia, which used to be a flight training school located just north of where I grew up in London, Ontario. Our protagonist is 9 year old Madeline, an Air Force brat and still in the golden innocence of childhood where one can view the reality around oneself but still believe in fairies.

Of course, coming of age in the Post-Modern era unfortunately involves the threat of nuclear annihilation, Cold War lies and deceit, a sex molester and murder. The happy golden family is forever changed by the events of 1963 and 64 and it takes Madeline a long time to heal. I won't be a plot spoiler though but much of the conflict is inspired by the Steven Truscott case which happened around the same time at the nearby RCAF Station Clinton.

Part of what got me hooked was the opening chapters about life in a career military family, moving from post to post and Centralia in particular. My step-dad worked at Centralia in the '60s as a civilian graphic artist and this always fascinated me. Also at one point in the novel the family is in London Christmas shopping and they go to the Simpsons department store downtown where everybody went. It was also where most of the buses stopped so it was a common rendezvous, I met the future Mrs. Rabbitman there for our first date! Then they go to the Covent Garden Farmer's Market behind Simpsons and visit the German deli which I loved going to as a kid. Either the authour grew up in London in the '60s or she really did her research. But it was nice to be actually, finally reading a book in which I'd been to some of the settings and driven on some of the roads and knew the kind of landscape instead of always reading novels set in London, or Boston or New York.

The authour also keeps her prose firing on all cylinders right to the end as well. I find many novels start strong and then just become kind of, average at the end.

So bit of a military interest, bit of a creepy murder mystery, some interesting early '60s cultural commentary and lots of really damned fine writing. Highly recommended.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More 4Ground Goodness

Right, just finished off the last of the three buildings I got for Christmas. Up next are 15S-EAW-105 Semi-detached Type 2 and 15S-EAW-105D Semi-detached Type 2 (Damaged).

105 went together in about an hour, but the construction was much the same as the first kit so I was on a roll and didn't need to take as much time sussing things out.

105D was interrupted by dinner and then a game with the Mad Padre, so I'm not sure how long it took. But the exposed brick work is a lot of fiddly bits to glue on. Tweezers are recommended!

Again very happy with both.

note poster and road sign on side wall

Again the floors come apart on the intact version. With the bombed out version I added a few bits of off cuts to make some rubble in corners so it wouldn't look too tidy! I do need to make more piles of rubble. Urban games very often feature streets that are far too neat and passable.

I also got an add-on floor for 105, but it didn't make the picture.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Playing with some Christmas goodies!

Mrs. Rabbitman didn't know what to get me for the holiday, so I helped her out and picked off the shelves some 4Ground 15mm buildings for my WW2 games.

Spent this morning putting together 15S-EAW-103 Terrace Type 1 along with the add-on floor 15S-EAW-103A.

As usual careful pre-reading of the well illustrated instructions and dry fitting things first to see how it all goes together pays dividends. I also used a small syringe to apply the glue and kept some damp paper towels close to hand to wipe off excess that leaked out of the seams. Once each floor was together I used some elastic bands to clamp it all in place until the glue set.

The roof sections were a bit tricky and took a bit more thought and I had to trim the dormers a bit to get a flush fit. A couple of pieces were mislabeled, but the dry fitting helped sort that out easily.

But they went together well and look quite spiffing.

As you can see the floors and attic are all accessible for that essential house clearing. I also picked out some sidewalks to wrap around the building. I just need to sort out how to make some cobbled streets to complete the look.

But this all went together in about 2 hours. I was listening to the 70 minute long classical music CD daughter #2 gave me for most of it.

Included on the instruction sheet are some period advertisements, street signs and propaganda posters.

The cheese poster is a must, but now I need to decide if we're on the way to Bastogne, Calais or Maastericht?

On to the next kit!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas from the Rabbit Family.

Hoping everyone has a joyous holiday season with those you love and a prosperous New Year.

see? I have done some gaming!

The Mad Padre finally got some of his pictures off of his phone and emailed the links to me to share.

First up was a game of the new Too Fat Lardy rules Chain of Command.

end of the patrol phase

my German Jump-off points in good cover and close to the objective

Mike's jump off points not as well situated

Mike comes on strong
my section in the ruins on the left gets pounded, but I reinforce with the 4th section I chose as my support

I blast Mike's section covering the crossroads and you can see in the background my reserve section coming across the field to outflank him 
I've decided I quite like Chain of Command a lot. Previously I had thought the platoon level skirmish of limited potential, but Richard's blog posts about his North African campaign games featuring very limited terrain make me think that the late '44 battles in the featureless polders of Holland might actually be gameable. I also wonder about the potential for more recent Canadian operations in the Panjwayi.

Next up was a game of Maurice. We used the terrain generator system from the rules and my Austro-Bavarian force got a nice defensive position between two villages  to hold off Mike who commanded my Prussian 'blue meanies'. Mike outnumbered me by about 1.5 to 1, although I got to use my supercool redoubt, just because of the coolness.

Austrians in the background, Prussians advancing in the foreground
Mike\s grenadiers seize the objective, the bierhaus
Pandours try to snipe from the woods
the redoubt
Even though I blew a hole or two in Mike's center, his grenadiers were firmly ensconced in the bierhaus and made my right flank untenable. Although in this game you can see we've quite a few units on table and I think we've pushed the upper limits of Maurice. Next time smaller armies of 12-15 units I think. For bigger games, I think Black Powder would work better.

This holiday season I am hoping to get together with the Padre for more Chain of Command. Him being a grad student and me being off until the New Year (the joy of being in a factory again!) will make this very possible. As an early present for myself I ordered in an extra hard copy of CoC for myself and have been reading it and pondering rebasing a couple of platoons from my 15mm collection.

Monday, December 23, 2013

More Austrian Artillery!

Massive influx of 15mm ordnance for the Austrian artillery park. One 12 pdr, one 6 pdr, one 3 pdr and what I think might be two Russian supplied licornes.
Suspected licornes are on the left

The 12 and 6 pdr are Old Glory models. The 3 pdr and the licornes are of unknown manufacture.

Three of the crews are Old Glory and the two crews with the licornes are Lancashire.

This brings the Austrian artillery park to an impressive seven tubes; 2x 12 pdrs, 1x 6 pdr, 2x 3 pdrs and 2x licornes (which I'll class as medium 6 pdrs).

I really need to balance this out with more infantry and cavalry next.

Monday, December 16, 2013

15mm PSC Churchill tanks

I splashed out and got myself a box of the new 15mm Churchill tanks from Plastic Soldier Company the other week. I hadn't thought I wanted Churchill tanks. They are after all, awkward and ungainly looking and the Canadian Armoured Corps never used them, except during the disastrous Dieppe Raid. But ironically, due to a personality clash between commanders during the Italian campaign, 1st Canadian Infantry Div got much of it's armoured support from British RTR Churchills while the Canadian Armoured Division was supporting British and Indian units. And who's to say my troops may not want to be British in some scenario as well?

The box comes with 5 tanks and you have the option to build each one as either a MkIII, MkIV, MkVI(with 75mm gun), MkV CS (with 95mm howitzer) or a MkIII AVRE. So the option of fielding a troop of three heavy "Infantry" tanks and a couple of AVREs to support my infantry attacks seemed like a good one. I've put a couple together this past week while watching TV with Mrs. Rabbitman.

So far I've done up one Mk VI since that, according to Wikipedia, was the most common variant, especially during the Italian campaign. I also built an AVRE just because I think they're super cool.

The hulls and tracks went together with ease. As usual I found if you aren't getting a good fit you are probably trying to put things together backwards. The track assemblies come moulded as one piece which is very nice. The Mk VI turret is one piece and pretty easy to put together, although I  realize I glued on the wrong turret bustle. I'm going to say it was a field workshop modification. The MkIII turret is a little trickier, with four sides, the bottom and roof all needing to come together. I had to trim some overhang off the front mantlet and when it came to the turret bustle I discovered I had put the back wall of the turret on upside down and had to trim the locating lip off to get the bustle on! The 290mm Petard was a tight squeeze and you can see some pressure marks in the plastic.

The new command figure is nice. His arms are separate and you can glue them on with the binoculars up to his eyes, down at his waist, or I chose a more dramatic mid-way to catch him in the act of bringing the binoculars up to view a potential threat. I also opted to use a commander from a PSC Sherman M4A4 (he's the green fellow) to give a bit of variety and have him hunkered down in the hatch of the AVRE. Having the open hatches moulded on already was also very nice. I found trying to glue the hatches in place on the Shermans a bit fiddly.

All in all a good kit to get for your British WW2  force or to provide some exotic support for your Canadians, and at $7 Cdn a tank the price isn't bad.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Austrian Jaegers

Broke my painting doldrums last week with a small unit of 15mm jaegers for my Seven Year's War Austrian army.

These are from a large box of Lancashire figures I got very cheap a few years back. So I think this unit might have cost me about .50 cents, including the cost of the fenders washers they're based upon!

Although the Austrians already have 2 battalions of Pandours (and I have more in the lead pile!) I thought these more regular skirmishers would be fun.

As you can see I've got five guns of various calibers and crews lined up for my Austrian army as well. In the box behind them are a battalion of musketeers and a battalion of grenadiers waiting their turn.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fabulous Christmas Sale!

Festive Greetings to one and all!

Since this is the season of gift giving, I'm running a 20% off Christmas sale on everything in stock from now until 5 Jan 2014.

Use the coupon code "Christmas2013" on page 2 when you check out.

In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of our family Christmas tree from last year.