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!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Modern Canadians Done

A rainy cold weekend was perfect for staying inside and finishing up my platoon of Canadian infantry.

The tablet I'm using has some odd color when I'm doing posed shots, with a lot of yellow. This may have something to do with the blue backdrop I've been using. I've tried to fix it in editing.

We'll start with some attachments. I added a pack from the S and S stowage to this female soldier to turn her into a combat medic. Apparently they didn't wear the traditional Red Cross arm band in Afghanistan. Shame. It would add a splash of colour.

Female combat medic
The signaller is wearing a ball cap instead of a proper helmet, but he'll do for now.
This figure with no rifle can be a dismounted crewman or truck driver.
Platoon WO and Commander
Now for the troops. Three more fire teams giving me a platoon strength of 20 men in 5 fire teams.

I think I finally got it right with the third fire team. The burnt umber base coat was thin and light and I remembered to go from khaki to sand instead of the other way!
3rd Canadian fire team
Here's a shot showing a figure from each attempt. Earliest on the left, latest on the right.

The last two fire teams are American Rangers. They'll get turned back into Rangers when Elheim finishes the Canadian line.
Rangers painted as Canadians
Female soldier using her combat scarf as a hijab
Full Platoon posing with the LAV

I think this is a record. Or 20mm modern Canadians are that easy to paint! Still more Taliban and Afghan security forces to do though.

And terrain.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Another Saturday Night on the Road to Moscow

Last night I had my last game for a long time with the Mad Padre. Since he's getting posted to CFB Borden next month it was a bit of farewell game (Mrs. Rabbitman made sure we had chips and dip to go with the beer) and Mike got to choose what we played.

He opted to break out some of the 15mm Soviets he'd recently bought and play Scenario 1 from the Vyazma or Bust campaign supplement.

The game requires a German force with 2 platoons of infantry, a platoon of Panzer IIIs and a weapons platoon to clear a stretch of highway weaving through some woods to a bridge. I used every tree I own and fleshed things out with my box of lichen but things still looked sparse. Ironically we ended up dong all of our fighting in one half of the table!

Patrick and I opted to throw the Panzers and Panzer Grenadiers straight at the bridge while the truck born infantry and support platoon cleared the woods in the middle.

This threw us right into the bulk of the Russian defenders, which included a KV1 and a pair of 45mm AT guns in enfilade across the river.

The Panzer Grenadiers stormed a house taking out a Maxim gun, but then got shredded. The Panzer IIIs were getting badly hurt trying to take on the KV. Stukas arrived with a gratifying frequency but didn't have much effect.

Some pictures:

My bridge spans the Padres nice rubber river. Zis 3 guns stand in for the 45mm AT guns.

Stuka missing the KV

Stuka doing a little better going after the T26s
Notice how few Panzer Grenadiers there are and they had a lot of shock on them and had lost their platoon commander. By this time one of our Panzers had had it's gun knocked out and shock was piling up on a couple of others. We just couldn't put enough damage on the big KV fast enough and the 45mm gun on the T26 isn't to be sneezed at when you're in an early model PzIII! So it was time to withdraw.

Fun times though and I avoided a hangover this morning. But with the Padre moving away my gaming is probably going to get very quiet for the rest of the summer. But we have hopes that once he's settled we can visit each other for overnight gaming events (assuming that is I manage to get a job with weekends off).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Adventures in Temping

These past few days have demonstrated the old adage "It doesn't rain but it pours".

This time last week I was feeling terribly bleak. Even though I have had 4 phone interviews and 3 face to face interviews in only 6 weeks and after 3 dozen or so applications. But still I had just interviewed for a job that would only pay $13.50/hr and require a lot of driving around and odd shifts. The recruiter kept stressing the room to move up and make better money but it kept making me think of vacuum sales that I did many many years ago.

So I just kept plugging away firing out job applications. A lot of the jobs around here are through temp placement agencies. So you see a job and send in the app but well they;'ve already filled it with people in their pool, so they sign you up to add to their pool of candidates for the next job. I've been registered with one agency for a few weeks now and not a nibble.

A friend's wife had me send her my resume and she sent it to the agency that hires for her warehouse. So on Wednesday I got called by the same temp agency twice, the local office for some jobs I had applied to and the office in the nearby town where my friend's wife works. So I go see both on Thursday and am all set to take the temp job  with my friend's wife when on Friday another agency calls me!

Would I be interested in going to a local factory on Saturday morning to see if I have an aptitude for MIG-welding? It would be a 3 month contract to hire, straight days. $14/hr to start (raises after 3 months) but only a 10 minute commute instead of a 45 minute commute for the other job which is $1/hr more but just a straight temp placement.

So instead of going to check out Hold the Line yesterday, I spent my morning trying my hand at MIG-welding. The plant manager who was coaching us on our welding seemed to like my attitude, so I will find out early this week if he wants me back.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Japanese Peasants

My tablet was giving me grief the other night so I never posted a picture of the Japanese Peasants I previously mentioned.

Fresh from getting their tufts and flocking, here they are:

I guess they need some more fences to go around the village though. I don't think bamboo spears and no armour will keep them alive long!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Giving a Toot!

Last night the Mad Padre came over to paint, help finish up some of the beer he's left in my fridge and provide some fraternal support.

When he arrived he gave me a bag of goodies; a partial bottle of Woodland Scenics Water Effect to finish my Afghan irrigation ditches, a used copy of Rapid Fire! (I'm hoping this might be faster and easier to play for Wierdy-Beardy), a volume of P.G. Wodehouse short stories and this:

It's the signalling whistle his father carried as a young subaltern in WW2 and Korea. I mentioned the Padre's Dad once before.

He had heard me mention earlier that I had been thinking of getting one from the local Scouting Shop to signal my cadets on FTXs (much easier to get their attention across a bivouac site or extended training area than yelling), but spending $8 on a whistle when newly unemployed seemed a tad extravagant. He said "Oh, I've got one. You can use it."

I was quite touched to be handed such a personal memento."It was just sitting in the bottom of a drawer. I think Dad would be happy it's being used with your cadets." I just wonder if Lt. Peterson was carrying this whistle when he lead his platoon on the raid in Korea than garnered him the MC?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Black Dog Blues

A few months back I had committed to running a Ronin game at a newish (I think this is their 2nd or maybe 3rd year) local gaming convention called Hold The Line. But then I was gainfully employed and full of hope for the future.

But these past 6 weeks have been pretty sucktastic with a lot of depression and anxiety and not much painting getting done. So an opposing force to to fight the Lord of Tea is in varying states of not being done yet and even more critical, I haven't been able to play any more games, so I'm not confident enough with the rules to GM something for unknowing victims. 3 or 4 of the past 6 weekends being booked solid didn't help with the play testing very much either, otherwise I could've used Mikey's Monks. So I had to contact the organizer and pull my game sadly. I'm hoping to car pool with Mike and attend as a punter instead.

I felt a bit better the past couple of days though and have gotten my Black Hat Japanese peasants done and I've bashed on with some more Afghan stuff completing the first 4 ANP, the News Crew, another Canadian fire team and 15 Taliban insurgents to make life difficult. These guys I started with a dark brown undercoat which I wasn't sure of after I had it on (I almost tossed the lot into the Simple Green to start over!), but I decided to muscle through and finish them.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Spent the weekend taking 18 of my senior cadets to EX PRO PATRIA 2015.

This is an event that our affiliated regiment, 4th battalion the Royal Canadian Regiment puts on every year for its affiliated cadet corps. The cadets (who all have to be 3rd year or up) are given some basic instruction on the C7A2 rifle, do some practice on the computer simulator and then on the Sunday morning they shoot 50 rounds total for both grouping and application scores.

Cadet engages his target

Cadet with Reserve Force coach

All pretty exciting stuff. The cadets start asking about it in their first year. Sometimes the officers get to shoot too, but this year we had a big group of cadets.

The weekend is also used to put some of the Reservists through their PWT (Personal Weapons Test), and then these Ptes and Cpls get to help the Sgts set stuff up and coach the cadets on the range. This morning the cadets got to watch a late arriving squaddie (who had to bring the coffee, the Canadian Army runs on Time Horton's coffee after all) do his PWT; starting at 400m he had to run down the range in "full battle rattle" (helmet, ruck, tac vest full load) putting so many rounds into each target at each firing point (400, 300, 200, 100, 75, 50 and 25 meters). I found it interesting to see at least.

Saturday night after we got settled into the range a 4RCR warrent officer showed his pictures and talked about his deployment on ROTO 3-06 as part of the Force Protection Platoon running convoy escort and having his RG31 Nyala hit by an IED. He also helped do some casualty evac when Charles Coy got hit by the A-10 during OP MEDUSA. Also very interesting.

It was a drizzly hot humid day this morning for the shooting. I'm glad I left my rain gear in my kit bag. I dried out soon enough as it was and I didn't have to carry it around. But the cadets had fun and my cadets won most of the prizes (which made the CO happy). It was actually also my first time taking a group of cadets somewhere on a bus overnight as the only officer in charge (I had a volunteer mom with me to supervise the girls). No drama. (These are teens after all, and I was concerned about a couple of them.) We had to have one picked up Saturday because he was sick, but otherwise no issues at all.

Yay me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grappling With Grape Huts

Grape huts. They are fairly ubiquitous in the Panjwayi; massive mud brick structures used to dry the grape harvest into the renowned Afghan raisins. They also made for ready made strong points for the Taliban insurgents, so I figure I need at least one, if not two or three.

But how big?

Here are some pictures I collected to my Pinterest idea board:

grape drying huts afghanistan - Google Search

grape drying huts afghanistan - Google Search

Grape drying huts are often found in or near vineyards

grape drying huts afghanistan - Google Search
Scale (or the lack thereof) is obviously an issue. The first two seem pretty big. The third and fourth are a bit smaller (if we assume the doors are man height).

But look in the background of this picture:

terrain idea

Those two grape huts behind that fairly substantial Chinook helicopter are the size of small castles! I wonder why one would build a grape drying hut that tall? Unless there are interior floors in the bigger ones?

And compare the LAV to the two grape huts in this picture from the RCR website. They appear to be roughly parallel to each other:

Grape hut goes boom, Op Medusa

The one on the left is quite tall.

Many seem to have thatched roofs, but I've also read of troops or Taliban taking up firing positions on top of them, so some must have solid roofs as well.

But at least the interior detail is pretty straight forward if I don't worry about the holes to stick the grape branches into for drying.

grape drying huts afghanistan - Google Search

grape drying huts afghanistan - Google Search

I figure if I have some grape huts, ditches and walls I can start some skirmishing before I even get any compounds built.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Some Terrain

A rainy Sunday afternoon and then feeling a bit more positive last night for scheduling a job interview for today resulted in this:

I started some irrigation ditches for the Panjwayi.

The bases are plastic poster boards. The banks are made from foam core. I had already precut the pieces for a previous project so the short pieces were made into intersections and I added some end pieces with culverts to cap lengths of ditch.

The banks will be coated with glue and sand before painting.

The interview went well today, I think. I am hopeful for a call back.