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!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Digging In

I was gifted some bags of excess figures by a friend. Some British and some Germans. The Brits and some of the Germans were kinda of old fashioned and boring sculpts without a lot of animation or detail. A lot of pioneers with mines and flamethrowers. Even my nephew turned his nose up at them when I offered. Some of the Germans were kinda of interesting; all late war helmet covers and zeltbahns, wielding StG44 assault rifles and panzerfausts. Enough to organize a platoon of Volksgrenadiers.

But the idea didn't stick and I wasn't too keen on painting them up. So I chucked them all in a box to sell off at Hotlead. (Trying to be clever this year and sort my Bring and Buy stuff out early instead of the night before.)

Then I had an even cleverer idea. So clever you could put a tail on it and call it a fox.

I chopped them in half.

I cut a bunch of 25mm by 30mm bases (a Flames of War small base I believe). Then I squirted on nice little rounds of caulking and smoothed these into roughly oval/rectangular embankments. Before the caulking dried I buried them in my fine sand.

Slit trenches

The next day I shook them off and glued two half figures into each slit trench.

Dug in Canadian platoon
 Don't worry, after the picture was taken I straightened out the squaddie leaning against his fellow.

Section of Germans
So I've done all the Canadians and have enough for a dug in platoon. For the Germans however, it looks like I've got a couple of platoons worth with lots of MG42s once I fashion some more slit trenches for them.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Some Hail Caesar

Had the boys over last night for a game of Hail Caesar. Didn't get to prep things as well as I would've liked and then had wireless issues when Patrick was trying to buy $200 worth of stuff from the store.... so game got going late and I was fair frazzled when we finally trooped down to the basement, but everyone had fun anyway.

My camera died, but Scott R. stepped up to be combat cameraman for the night and sent me his snaps.

Fulk the Bastard has recruited the mercenary Black Company and some Moorish allies and raised the banner of rebellion against the Good Count Raymond. He has also enlisted the support of some unholy allies (as if the heathen Moors weren't bad enough!). The witches gave any unit with LOS a reroll on a failed Morale Save once per turn. Came in very useful when they remembered to use it.

Fulk's household troops
Moors advance
Villagers watch the storm gather around them
Hillmen hold Raymond's right
Raymond's host musters
Heavy infantry on Raymond's left
Raymond's chivalry in the center
The Bishop wandering about in full vestments was able to give the Count's troops some divine aid in the form of re-rolls and Rally commands as well.

Both sides made a generally disorganized advance hampered by universally crap die rolls and fighting along the length of table (the deployment zones chosen in spite of the terrain obstructions because people didn't want to shift their seats!).

I pushed my foot into the village and the crossbowmen started potting at the Black Company causing some hits.

Patrick advanced his Moors and then the hillmen swarmed down to beat them up causing  a lot of hits and making some units Shaken. I managed to get one charge in with a squadron of knights to finish one unit off, but more crap command rolls meant I failed to get the rest of my cavalry up to exploit and ride down the rest of the heathens and opening the enemy flank.

Raymond's knights ride down one unit of Moors
In the center Mikey attacked piecemeal and was held at bay by my troops in the village. Unfortunately I only got the spearmen up to support and never managed to roll enough to get them in the front of the fight!

On the left the Black Company also advanced piecemeal, the cavalry getting shot up and forced to withdraw. One company of foot finally pushed me back from the fence and the second company advanced to get pincered by foot and knights at game's end.

The Black Company push me back in the center...
...and get destroyed on the left!
So a victory of sorts, not a great victory. No tactical brilliance was demonstrated by either side. 

In that year, Fulk the Bastard, enemy of God, did raise the banner of rebellion against the Good Count and did hyre many heathens and black-hearted soldiers of fortune. There was much stryfe of fyre and sworde throughout the land...

Lessons learned are to include the special rules on the order of battle sheets I made up (I noticed that everyone, including myself, was forgetting them), have some predone armies and order of battle sheets already sorted, so I can spend my pregame time setting out terrain and deploying armies, and maybe getting a smaller wargame table so my larger friends can fit behind it and won't feel like they need to cluster at the ends.

Of course once the rabbits have hopped off to the Big Warren in the Sky (and they are 8 years old now) there will be more room in the basement once again. I might even get a permanent painting table again! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Hobbit 2: the Desolation of Canon

Daughter No. 2 had a bit of cabin fever during our Christmas holidays, so she suggested a delightful father-daughter movie matinee (we hadn't had one since her 5th birthday when I took her to see Disney's Hercules)to take in the second installment of Peter Jackson's latest epic, of The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. Long time followers of this blog will know I am a complete and total hobbit-head. I would spend lottery winnings (should I ever get any) building a hobbit hole to live in. I think Tolkien is the greatest writer of the 20th century (as stated here). I really like the idea of second breakfast and try to have it as often as possible.

So last year I was rather disappointed by the first installment of the 3D Hi-Def thrill ride that has become the Hobbit. Of course, that movie was operating under the terrible burden of anticipation of a frothing fan who had been looking forward to it since he was maybe 12. Mrs. Rabbitman, with much lower expectations, was pleasantly surprised. I did see part 1 again later in the year, in 2D with no-Def and actually enjoyed it.

So this year I was resolved to get out and see part 2, before the 2D regular definition viewings were gone. Part 1 of course pre-warned me to Jackson's vision, so I sat back with a big bag of popcorn and just enjoyed the over-the-top, adrenaline fueled, thrill ride that only bears a passing resemblance to the beloved book.

Sadly I think all the deviations from the book added too much padding and took film time away from some parts that I really quite liked (such as Bilbo's teasing of the spiders). The fight with the spiders, cut short, the sojourn at Beorn's homestead, also cut short, the search for the door and waiting for Durin's Day, cut short,... everything just jammed together so we can have Tauriel the elf archer girl, the barrel chase scene (which I have to admit did give me a few laughs), a fight with Orcs in Laketown and Thorin and Company fighting Smaug in the caverns of the Lonely Mountain.

There were a lot of WTF? moments.

I did like the barrel chase scene, and Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown was brilliant as usual.. I also liked the extra depth given to Bard. The whole political conflict added to Laketown was interesting too.

This fake movie poster from kind of sums up how I feel:

So I have rather mixed feelings. I will get the boxed, extended DVD set, if only to view the making of documentaries, because Peter has a lot of 'splainin' to do.