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, April 27, 2016

Rabbitman's Salute Post

No I didn't get to go to Salute. In fact if I ever get to England I'll be with Mrs. Rabbitman and I highly doubt that she will want to spend a day out of our trip at Salute.

But Pete did. He goes every year to visit his parents and shop at the big show.

This year he gets home and sends me an email. Found a 1/72 scale BTR-60. Yours for 5 bucks. 

And here it is just out of its packaging and on the arm of my recliner:

I have no idea of the manufacturer, except that the packaging is all in Cyrillic except for one line in English naming a Chinese factory. The wheels are cast to the lower body with added rubber tires and don't spin, which is a plus actually.

Here are some of my ANA checking out their new ride:

And some comparison shots with one of my LAVs:

I think it compares pretty well and seems in scale.

According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know, I know....) the ANA have a few hundred of these still. Most pictures I see are technicals and Humvees though. But maybe they're keeping them somewhere? Who knows? I'll have to figure out a way to get it into a game.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


I have thrown out the last of my paper gaming catalogues.

I have a three drawer filing cabinet in the basement of rabbits. It's main function is to hold up my broken stereo. But I used to have one drawer FULL of rules. A second FULL of miniatures catalogues and the third was random crap (terrain idea sketches, scenario notes, photocopies of articles, insurance papers, job search material etc.).

I passed along most of the rules to the Mad Padre, since my nostalgia for old games is less than his and I no longer needed them for design ideas or army list research. The rules I like, use or have an interest in returning to are now all on one shelf under my paints near the gaming table.

With the internet I decided that I did not need all the out of date catalogues for reference anymore either. Catalogues for companies that are not in business anymore are especially wasteful of space and indulgent.

So now all my gaming files, mostly notes, drafts of rules, sketches for terrain, scenario ideas and photocopies of articles, are in one drawer.

With a change coming up in my Cadet employment, I've decided a lot of the papers accumulating in the spare bedroom (where I keep my uniforms and equipment) can occupy the remaining drawers.

These are the papers I'm keeping!

Instructional guides for the third year training
So all my army stuff, CIC course books and training materials (sorted by training level) are stored away instead of taking over all three drawers and the entire top of my daughter's old desk and drifting like snow around the room.

The top drawer is now empty and reserved for my upcoming posting, of which more anon. But I suspect that it will generate it's share of waste paper.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Where to Next? More Musings

Of course there are a few other ideas I'd overlooked last time in my Zeppeliny excitement.

Samurai. I really should do more with them and maybe look at Lion Rampant sized forces. Downside of this is I might have to buy some more figures to finish off units. But I like the figures I've done thus far, and I spent money getting them, so I'd feel stupid shelving the project.

18th century. I have a few Austrian units in progress (they've been that way for a couple of years now...) Plus lots more in bags and a few units to round out my Prussian army. Upside, don't need to buy anything. Downside, painting... Is that a downside? Any of these ideas involve painting. Being able to play biggish SYW battles would be uberkewl.

Also Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies has embarked upon an 18th century Imagine-ation as a project for Sharp Practice 2, which has got me thinking about the Duchy of Mantovia again. The army of Amadeus II got sidelined because I can't settle on a uniform colour and just bashing on with painting Austrians was easier.

Although after checking my inventory of SYW figures I could probably do all the Austrians I'd want and still have enough to build a Sharp Practice force for the Duchy of Mantovia and a yet to be named foe!
Lots of SYW figures!

I am also blaming the Mad Padre for getting me thinking more about 28mm Middle Earth gaming which then triggered the happy idea of using A&A miniatures gorgeous Middle Empire Romans (mid 2nd century to mid 3rd century AD) as the forces of Numenor/Gondor (I really hate PJ's depiction of the Gondorim in the movies). The middle Empire is different enough to be exotic and people won't just say "ooh! Funny painted Romans!" But I think a Roman/Byzantine vibe is appropriate for Gondor. Especially with the Rohirrim settled in northern Gondor as feoderati. The downside is that this would be the biggest expenditure. Probably even more than doing some modern British including vehicles.

Of course right now I am just enjoying the virtuous buzz from finishing up stuff in the lead pile too. So I think I'll ride that buzz for now, decrease the lead pile and enjoy playing with my mediaeval armies while pondering coat colours for the Ducal Army.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Op Thundering Dice ROTO 1-16

Just concluded another highly successful joint operation between the Chaplain Branch and the CIC. After a couple of delays as we sought mutually free weekends, the Mad Padre was able to come down for our second gaming weekend/sleepover; the first Thundering Dice weekend of the year!

Saturday morning he arrived good and early for gallons of tea, waffles and bacon followed by a game of Black Ops. This scenario was an extraction. The JTF2 team was inserted into the arid Western Regestan desert to snatch a high ranking Taliban commander from his compound.

Table layout. Teams infiltrate from dry river bed at top and pot field at left of picture. Sniper team on hill out of frame to the left

Sneaking in from the river bed
I ran the defenders and for most of the game my sentries were on random dice roll generated movement as Mike did a lot of cautious sneaking to keep his noise markers to a minimum. The sniper team on overwatch took out a couple of sentries that were a threat. One team infiltrated behind a sentry in the orchard and eliminated him from behind with a knife.
Sneaking up on guard in orchard
He kept one team in reserve while the other two slipped into dark rooms to silently eliminate my sleeping fighters. All the while my sentries were looking in the wrong direction or failing their spotting roll.

Clearing buildings

The sentry on top of the building in the above picture did finally look down into the courtyard. He ripped off a burst from his AK, the special forces operators fired back, the sniper fired. The sentry passed eight saving throws before going down!

All the noise markers finally roused my commander who walked out into his courtyard to see what was going on.
Team sees the target walk out in front of them!
Other team starts a truck and takes out my one alerted guard
The JTF2 team dashed up and took him down in a flurry of hand to hand fighting. Zap tied and hooded, he was hustled across the street to the red pickup where my one remaining sentry was finally sure something was up and challenged the shadows, who fired back, gunning him down.

Mission accomplished the teams headed for the dry river bed to exfil back to the pick up. Behind them an airstrike swept out of the dawn light to blow the compound sky high.

So a lot of fun and pretty tense. I may have to revisit the stealth rules. I may have been making the sentries too dim or the special forces too stealthy.

After some pastrami sandwiches and beer for lunch we knocked some rust off our Chain of Command awareness. Mike used his new Soviets to attack a reinforced platoon of Germans holding a village in Russia.

He took a pregame barrage, a Maxim HMG team and a scout section as supports. I took two green rifle sections, to get the extra muscle and as a cheap way to get two more MG42s!

He tried to quickly bounce my one jump off point (JOP- the highly stylish white poker chips) with his scouts, but I deployed a section in front of them effectively ambushing his elite troops.

We had another pair of sections firefighting in the grove of woods at the fork in the road.

He brought another section on to support the scouts pinned in the farmyard.

I brought a section on and moved them up the middle to flank the new section. He deployed his Maxim gun to counter them, which scored 10 hits on its first round knocking out half of the section. The second time they fired though he rolled 10 misses!

His remaining scouts assaulted the farm house, causing some hits on me before becoming martyrs for the motherland.

I then brought on my two green sections. One deployed into the embattled farmyard to pin the Soviet force around his one JOP. The second section went around my left to pounce on an unprotected JOP and then assault the rear of his section in the grove, killing them and capturing another JOP.

Game over. Time for tea, rest up and then have some Indian take out.

After dinner, Mikey and Patrick joined us for some Lion Rampant. Since the Padre had brought his Lord of the Rings figures, he used his in progress orcs and the rest of us built retinues from my 11th-12th century troops. Mikey was new and allied with Mike by virtue of sitting on the same side of the table. So he got my nefarious Black Company bad guys to fight alongside the orcs of Isengard.

Patrick tried the Italian retinue from the book and I tried out a Welsh force. My Welsh faced off against the orcs (sergeants, expert sergeants, archers, fierce foot/berserkers and the warg riders were mtd sergeants with bows).
Welsh yoemen flanked by bidowers

Mike's half-painted orcs

Patrick's troops foreground facing the Black Company coming through the town

Close up of my yoemen

I fought most of the battle with the bidowers. Aided by some spectacularly bad courage tests, the skirmishers routed the Orc berserkers and expert sergeant uruks. They also put a lot of hurt on the warg riders, repeatedly battering them. Eventually though the two remaining warg riders rallied enough to ride down two units of the pesky bidowers who failed their evade rolls. But they then got shot down by the others.

Mikey and Patrick meanwhile had laid into each other with a vengeance. After taking some initial losses Mikey got his men at arms stuck in to destroy Patrick's cavalry and a unit of sergeants. Fortunately some good shooting from his crossbows destroyed what was left of Mikey's force.

This morning I woke with a runny nose, so after more waffles we played his shiny new boardgame The War of the Ring while drinking gallons of tea. Lovely board, pretty cards and chits, special bespoke dice and lots of figures for armies, leaders and characters. Took a bit to set up. But he'd played it a bit at home so he new the rules and we could get going.

I played the Free People who have too much stuff to do and not enough dice to activate everything. You have to spend some dice on diplomacy to push the various nations to war, when they can start mustering armies and attacking. You can hasten this by separating off characters from the Fellowship, but that weakens the Fellowship who can only use certain cards if certain characters are with it. You also have to use some of your meager dice to move the Fellowship to Mordor. So strengthen the Free People militarily or get the Ring to Mount Doom.

The Shadow player has similar decisions: raise troops, move armies, attack the West or hunt for the Ring. You can't do everything.

The Fellowship is handled quite elegantly. As long they stay hidden progress towards Mordor is marked on a track, which also marks any Corruption points caused by successful Hunt die rolls. Whenever Sauron had 5 or more dice allocated to hunting I kept the Fellowship stationary. Moving the Ring caused a Hunt and risked Corruption points and being revealed. So I spent a lot of effort keeping the Fellowship hidden and healing Corruption and then moving whenever I could.

I lost Merry (he didn't die, just separated from the rest) to save a Corruption hit in the Vale of Anduin. And I sent Strider to get him and head to Minas Tirith, where he could become Aragorn and do a bunch of cool stuff (plus generate another action dice). Gimli got sent off to rally the dwarves for war.

So by the time I got the Fellowship to Mordor, Frodo had Sam, Gandalf, Boromir, Legolas, Pippin and we'd picked up Smeagol somewhere too. In the final dash to Mount Doom Gandalf, Boromir and Legolas all died hero's deaths saving the Ring bearer and for the final push I was able to use the power from the Rings of Elrond and Galadriel to help Frodo get the action dice needed for the last two moves. Using the Elven Rings is a one shot deal and then Sauron can use them, but it was an endgame move and too late for Sauron.

So pretty cool. Lots of good Tolkien chrome and details from the story (like being able to use the Elven Rings, but there are attendant risks too). The handling of the Quest is nicely done. Much more elegant than what I recall of the old SPI game (I'll admit to only fuzzy memories of that classic), but the military part is a lot simpler (which will probably appeal to contemporary boardgames). I had big fun, but it took us a solid 5 1/2 hours to play. Not for a casual game after supper. Only serious Tolkien geeks with a day to spend need apply.

So after that it was time for the Mad Padre to head home and we can begin planning Thundering Dice ROTO 2-16 for the summer.

Friday, April 8, 2016


My work space has exploded this past couple of weeks...

I had gotten the Perry Miniatures mediaeval gun I picked up at Hotlead assembled, but bad weather has kept me from getting them primed.

Last week the Lion Rampant Facebook group announced a painting contest. "Great!" thinks I, "motivation to paint up some of the lead pile!"

So I dig out these Norman cavalry.

But then Mikey was able to pick up for me a box of Perry halberds, which I'd been needing for several years to arm a bag of Old Glory Swiss (sold as pikemen but I need more halberdiers so...), so I switch to those, and why just do 12 for the contest? May as well prep the whole bag while I'm at it.

Also last week I finally assembled the Apache model I picked up last fall while watching Midsommer Murders with Mrs Rabbitman and painted it up this week.

Not a great model, but good enough. Just need to apply the decals and finish the stand I made from a heavy washer and length of wire.

The Taurus ARV is also done but awaiting a vehicle commander for the open hatch.

So my crowded table is quite the magpie collection of paint and lead shavings and 6 different things going on.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Where to Next?

With my Canadians in Afghanistan project winding up I've been tidying up on some unfinished projects and pondering what to do for my Next Big Thing.

15mm Middle Earth gaming still calls out to me. Copplestone have some nice dwarves. Eureka have nice elves and goblins. I have enough unpainted Goths to field a Riddermark's worth of Rohirrim. There is also a new company called Battle Valor Games who do nice figures, very Nordic looking dwarves and elves in long chain hauberks. I'll just be ruthlessly picky about what I choose for the armies.

It is something to think more upon.

And I've just heard that Great Escape Games is teaming up with 4Ground on The Chicago Way and gangster skirmishing. Like their successful western gunfight game Dead Man's Hand but with Tommy guns. Certainly the buildings intrigue me, since that was my issue with doing gangster skirmishing previously. I have lots of gangsters and cops. They just need decent real estate to fight around.

The new edition of Sharp Practice could get my 28mm Napoleonic troops another look and time under the brush too.

Or I could just do some British or US Marines for the Helmand.

Or I could keep picking away at half done bits and pieces and not rush my fences.

I've also for a long time had a bizarre notion to do Pulp alt-history airship fleet battles. At the Ontario Model Show I picked up this baggie of spare drop tanks and rockets for 2 bucks.

I'm thinking they look like small zeppelins.

Some flight stands from Litko and some other pieces from Brigade Games (they have airships among their aeronef models) would be cheaper than any of the other ideas.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Old Friends Returned

Many years ago I spent a lot of my allowance on Rocco Mini-tanks to use with my Airfix soldiers.
Eventually I passed them along to my friend so he and his young son could use them.
Then while perusing the Bring & Buy at Hotlead I see these

My friend's son is grown and he is moving house, so there were all my old Mini-tanks some 30 years later being sold off at 2 bucks each.
The Centurions were my favourites (I like the Centurion still) and these two were the backbone of the armoured corps for my African Imagine-ation, Ruanda in their long struggle with the neighbouring and quite aggressive People's Republic of Simbaziland.
Now reunited to me, they guard the Canadian section of my book shelf.